Archive for January, 2010

Open Thread

Open threadiness activate!

I have been devouring “2666” by Roberto Bolano.  I’m not even sure  what captivates me in this book.  Not my usual reaction to a book I am devouring, indeed.  Is it the raw emotion that isn’t explained or rationalized?  The writing style reminds me of the thoughts I would have during EMDR (a therapy for PTSD)… at the same time, I realize that this is exactly the kind of writing that would’ve very much put me off in the past.  I wonder what has changed.  Is it my own growing comfort with my own emotions? 

Your turn!  Comments?  Questions?  Musings?

Time for me to eat pudding…



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Walking the Talk



My left leg has some mysterious issues.  My mother claims this is an injury my bio-dad gave me in a drug-induced fit.  As my mother is prone to makeing dramatic stories up, this may or may not be the truth.  Who knows.  What I do know is that my pediatricians wanted me in a leg brace for my left leg.  My mother compromised on in-steps for my shoes.  The main symptoms of my left leg’s issue is pain that usually feels like a very bad “head ache” in the groin or from the groin down to my knee.  That and my left foot was visibily turned out further away from my body than my right foot was or anyone else’s left foot was. 

In my early twenties, image was everything to me.  I learned to turn my left leg inwards, so that it felt like I was walking only with that one leg as pigeon-toed.  I worked hard to make myself walk the way I saw women on TV walk – with my toes pointed straight ahead.  This caused a plethora of problems like inefficient walking, back pain, knee pain and who knows what else. 

I’ve been quiet lately.  I have a habit of blogging the big “ah hah” moments and realizations that cause a big emotional reaction for me.  Lately, I’ve been pretty steady, which has made for some interesting writers block.  What I have experienced are many smaller realizations that aren’t so dramatic… at least not to me.  Realizing this, I started to pick my brain for the smaller “ah hah’s,” so I could give blogging about those a shot.  And so…

A couple of weeks ago on a walk, I was trying to walk more intuitively and less in the contrived form I made up years ago when I was trying to conform to fashion ideals.  I realized that I walk far more comfortably and naturally if I let my toes on both feet angle outwards a bit.  My first thought was that allowing my toes to point out like that was something to be embarrased of… something that was not feminine or lady-like.  I got over that.  Body acceptance isn’t limited to acceptance of fat or one’s natural weight.  For me, it is acceptance of the way my body wants to walk… with my toes slightly turned outward and my left toes turned slightly out more than my right toes. 

It’s funny to me that I once made such a big deal out of the way I walked and worked so hard to “perfect” it.  Walking with my toes pointed slightly outward is just so natural that it feels ridiculous that anyone would judge me over it.  There are people in the world who will judge others for pretty much anything.  Their ways of thinking aren’t my concern.  😉

The realization about the way I naturally walk has opened the door to other small realizations… like realizing that body acceptance is going to include accepting the way I talk instead of worrying endlessly about my deep voice (at least, I’ve always thought it was deep for a female) or my love of jeans and trackpants or height.  While I have worked on self-acceptance for years, I am experiencing a renewal and fine-tuning of the lessons already learned and it feels good.  Not to mention the reduction in back pain. 


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I have many fears. I’m afraid of spiders, snakes, the unknown, death, dark alleys, etc…but I also have fears based on my weight and my recovery. Now hear me out…I’m not saying these fears are rational, I’m just thinking I really need to work on these and possibly work through them.

I actually have a fear of losing weight. Now this one I really want to work on! I have used my fat as an armor and shield, like something to fend off unwanted sexual advances, unwanted communication with anyone or even to just physically keep a distance. I know that sounds strange to some but I know for a fact that some of you out there can totally relate to what I’m talking about.

I’m going to try and work on this and reframe this. This has been a major issue with my recovery process and now that I’m on the road to self-acceptance and no longer have the goal to lose weight, I have to approach this fear in another way.

When I first started what I thought was recovery, I thought that I needed to approach this from the standpoint that “if I start seeing that my fat is not an effective way to repel people, then I’ll be able to release it and lose the weight.” But at this point in my recovery (what I consider to be my REAL recovery) I realize that weight loss may never come and I’m ok with that…so what does that do for me when it comes to dealing with this issue? It takes the “weight” out of the issue completely.

I gotta tell ya, it’s freeing to take weight out of an issue or to make weight a non-issue.

So what does that leave me with? If I take weight out of the equation, that leaves me working on the issue of why I feel I need an armor to protect me or why I feel like I want everyone to keep their distance from me.

I think this comes from my religious upbringing (as do most of my “issues”). I was taught that I was to be “set apart” from everyone else and I was not to be like everyone else so I put up that barrier. I was also taught that sex, sexuality, nudity, wearing shorts, swimming with the opposite sex, physical attraction, etc…were taboo and not to be acted upon or addressed. I was not to draw attention to myself in any way, whether it be sexual or not. Being taught that is why I believe I formed an armor around myself. I didn’t want anyone to notice me or judge me as being promiscuous or “bad”.

What have I learned thus far? Well, I’ve figured out that I may never lose weight so I need to deal with stuff, not bringing my fat into the process. Dealing with the taboos of my upbringing are what I need to really address, not the fat.

To lose weight to fix this issue would never work. Instead, I need to address the ideals, mores and “rules” I was raised with and challenge myself to have the gumption to think as an individual and not be blindly guided (or misguided) by someone else’s ideals.

For many years, especially as a teenager and young adult, I was quite introverted and nervous around other people. I was scared to be a part of any group or club because I was to be stay to myself. When I did venture into a group of any kind like my band in high school, my voice quivered when I had to speak aloud, I would get nervous to the point of tears and the butterflies in my stomach kept me in the restroom.

Now that I’m older and in recovery and learning that my religious upbringing was detrimental to my emotional health, I’m seeing that I can change my ideals and values and not constantly fear eternal damnation. That’s what I’ve got to do in this situation. I need to reframe all of this in my mind. I’m just not quite sure how to go about doing that.

Any questions, comments or suggestions would be greatly appreciated!!!

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Open Thread Time!

So today seems like the perfect day to open up the blog and see what’s going on in the hearts and minds of our readers.

This will be an open forum to post whatever you like as long as you remain respectful and stay within the rules of the blog.  I’m sure I’ll have something to post later but I’m going to let one of you get the ball rolling.

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So when I first heard about “intuitive eating”, I thought it was a crazy concept.  Now, a couple of years into it, I’m seeing where it is the natural way to live and it’s actually how our bodies were designed to be nourished and cared for.  We as humans, with our constant desire to better things and sometimes go against nature to do it, are the ones that have screwed up the way we feel about food and weight.

Over the years I had been so terribly brainwashed about my weight and the food I ate, that I ended up living according to other people’s standards, policies and plans…whether it be a diet plan, a cleansing technique or just listening to people bad mouth me for my size, it all affected how I saw what I ate or how I felt about myself.

For me, eating intuitively is basically “going back to eating the way nature intended in the first place.”   Your body will naturally tell you when you’re hungry and when you’re full.  If you have never fallen prey to society’s judgments and the barrage of advertisements to go on a diet then you should feel very blessed. 

But for those of us who have suffered the abuse of people calling us names and making us feel “less than” just because of our size, then sometimes we have to re-learn how to live naturally and how to listen to our bodies.  AND IT’S NOT EASY!   If you’re like me, you’ve spent years living (and eating) according to everything and everyone other than myself.  I’ve kept food logs, I’ve cut out particular food groups, I’ve taken diet pills and I’ve been very close to suicide because I no longer trusted my own body, but put my faith and trust in things other than the “natural”.

I was taught not to trust my hunger signals and to starve even though I was sometimes famished.  I was taught that I was “bad” if I binged but I only binged because I was trying to cope with an emotional hardship or I was physically starving myself. 

I was really hungry today at lunch and I was craving chinese food from a local restaurant so I left work with my money in my pocket and drove to the restaurant.  I got a “to go” plate and filled it to the top with the foods I love.  I got fried rice and sesame chicken and some buttered potatoes and crab rangoon.  I even got some egg drop soup and an egg roll.

I took my plate home and set it on the table with a napkin, a fork and spoon and some soy sauce.  I dug in!  It was delish!  But I got full.  I got full and caught myself thinking, “there’s just no way I can eat all of this.”  I thought about saving the rest for another sitting but I decided I had had enough chinese food and I had quenched that desire so I threw the rest away.  This is monumental for me.  I mean I do this more and more every day but it’s still amazing to me that I can do it.  I don’t have to finish everything on my plate.  I don’t even have to keep it for later if I don’t want to.  I have the choice to do whatever I want with it.  That is eating intuitively.  I’m not living by anyone else’s instructions or models.  I’m trusting my own body to tell me what to do and it’s working.

If you haven’t experienced intuitive eating or haven’t tried it, I would whole-heartedly recommend it!

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I have literally been chomping at the bit to post and it seems obstacles have come at me from every direction.

First, I got terribly ill around Christmas…so much so that my doc wanted to admit me into the hospital but I talked him into letting me stay at home, take my meds and go to his office four times a day for breathing treatments.  I’m finally, after over a week of coughing, hacking and blowing my nose, coming back to some sort of routine in my life.

The obstacle that pissed me off the most though, was the fact that our internet service didn’t work at home since around Christmas and we’ve had techs to our house and tried repair calls over the phone 5 or 6 times.  My husband and I have been trying to scratch out messages from our phones but it’s nothing like having a full keyboard and monitor in front of you at your disposal.

So today I’m at a working computer with my box of kleenex and cough drops at the ready and I’m READY TO BLOG!

I know it sounds cliche’ to say at the beginning of a new year that you are inspired to begin anew but I really do feel that way.  Anyone who has known me for very long knows that I tend to take detours from recovery, normalcy, sanity, etc…from time to time.  It’s like I just have to give myself a break to begin anew (there’s that phrase again).  Well, I’ve taken my break of a few months and I’m ready to get back on that recovery road!!!

As a point of reference I’m going to give a little background which a lot of you already know but it’s what my recovery is all about so I’m going to share it with you.

I was born in a little shack, no, no, no!!! 

I was born 46 years ago.  I was raised by fanatically religious parents  to believe that I would never be good enough…good enough at or for anything.  I was raised to believe I was bound for hell and that I would never be good enough to change that…although I should try to live “perfectly” every day of my life and never sin.  (that’s a whole ‘nother blog)

Food, eating, self-loathing and self-degradation became a way of life for me very early on.  The cycle became fierce.  Eat, hate myself, eat some to comfort myself, hate myself some more, food will make it better, hate myself even more.  You know the drill.  During all these years I was going to therapy and never felt that anything was changing.  I wasn’t “getting it”.

In January 2005, I made a visit with my hubby to his therapist and that’s when his therapist informed me I had an eating disorder known as compulsive overeating (COE) and that I needed to get treatment for it or it would only get worse.  He spoke very candidly to me and told me he didn’t know of any local therapists who could help me because the ED specialists in our area focused on anorexia and bulimia.  He suggested I get help online.

I went online that night and found a community that I felt would support my recovery effort and would encourage me to get the help I needed to work through some of the issues I had with food and eating.  I stayed in that online community for three years and even though I came to see that their version of recovery and my version of recovery are different, I know in my heart I would not be as far along as I am now without the help of some of the wonderful people I met on that site.

So where am I in my recovery now?  Well, I guess I need to define for you what I believe my recovery is.  SELF ACCEPTANCE.  Plain and simple.  Am I recovered?  No, not completely.  I still have my days where the pity party comes at me with horns blowing and balloons flying that say, “poor pitiful Sas”.  But am I closer to recovery now than I was in January 2005 when that therapist told me I had COE?  Hell yeah!

The main thing that triggered me to blog about this has been my recent illness.  I went to the doctor when I first got sick on December 23.  Doctor’s visits can be such telling events in your life.  That particular visit was a real eye opener to me.

I go into the doc’s office feeling like shit and coughing my fool head off and I sit in the nurse’s area while she takes my BP and temperature.  Fine and fine.  I even commented, “yeah, I’m the healthiest fat person I know”, because I’ve never had BP issues, cholestrol, sugar issues, etc…  She weighs me and though the numbers don’t really bother me much anymore, I didn’t look at the weight.  I was escorted to my exam room and waited on my doc to come in and see what my problem was.  He prances in (ok, maybe prance is a bit too fluff because he was worn out from seeing so many patients but) and he looks at my chart.  As he’s looking at it I’m coughing loudly and deeply and my lungs are wheezing to beat the band, he looks at me and says, “I don’t know what’s caused the cough but you need to keep it up.  You’ve lost 20 pounds.”  (I guess it’s been a couple of months since I’d seen him last)

WTF?????  Excuse me??????  I said, “I know you think that’s funny but doesn’t it concern you in the least that I’ve lost 20 pounds without even trying?”  I mean I’ve been trying to eat intuitively and listen to my body but I haven’t noticed a huge change in my eating.  He gave me this long speech about how if I were already skinny or thin and had lost 20 pounds, it would concern him.  But since I could stand to lose 120 more, it doesn’t concern him.

Excuse me while I get out my handy dandy soap box a moment…

YOU MEAN BECAUSE I’M FAT ALREADY THEN WEIGHT LOSS IS NOT A HEALTH ISSUE THAT MIGHT NEED TO BE ADDRESSED MORE CLOSELY! ?!?!?  You mean because I’m fat already, I don’t get the same care and concern that a “normal” woman would get????  You mean because I weigh almost 300 pounds, a 20 pound unexplained weight loss doesn’t concern you?????  You mean to tell me that I should REMAIN ILL FOR THE SAKE OF LOSING WEIGHT???????  DO YOU KNOW WHAT A FREAKIN’ EATING DISORDER IS?????????????  You just defined it in that insane statement you just made!  Stay sick to lose weight….are you kidding me??????

Ok, soap box tucked back away under the bed for now.

I will say that in some way I was elated to know that I had lost 20 pounds in such a short amount of time but it still concerns me that there really is no reason for such a weight loss.  I even had thoughts like, “oooooh, 20 pounds!  How did I do it?  Why question it?  Just accept it!  Eat less and make it 30!!”  You know, those disordered thoughts that come with never feeling good enough, thin enough, pretty enough, perfect enough.  I even have to admit that I obsessed for a few days on the words “you lost 20 pounds”.  I know there are so many in the world who would love to hear those four words.

So where am I in recovery?  I’m where I can say I’m no longer obsessed about those 20 pounds.  If I lost them (which I still somehow doubt and think that the doc’s scale was screwed up) then that’s great.  It doesn’t change who I am, where I am, who I’m with or anything else for that matter.  My recovery tells me that I’m fine just the way I am right now, at this moment in time.  Change is good and if I want to change anything about me then that’s my perrogative.  However, if I were to stay the way I am for the rest of my life, the earth would not spin off it’s axis and life would continue on.

And as for my ED-ignorant physician?  Well, I won’t stop going to him but I won’t depend on him for ED sympathies either.  That’s ok.  Another thing I’ve learned about ED’s is:  “ignorance is bliss”.  My doc believes his stuff, I believe mine.  I’m strong enough in my recovery to ignore his stupidity on such issues.

Well, there it is…my first post for the new year.  I hope you guys are safe and sound and that this new year will bring you much joy and SELF ACCEPTANCE!


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