I have a very sordid history with food. At my thinnest, back when I was modeling, I was under 100 pounds at 5'6 1/2. That's very small. But I didn't think so at the time. Anorexia and a charming condition called "body dysmorphic disorder" prevents a person from thinking his or her body, despite any level of fitness, looks anything but freakish. So it didn't matter if I weighed 98 pounds or 180 pounds, I still felt (feel) like a freak. It's something I've dealt with my whole lfe, and frankly, it's so much a part of my twisted thinking that it really doesn't torment me any more. Sure I still will stand, aghast, in front of the mirror and scowl at myself, but the days of hysteria over my body being somehow deformed (it isn't) are thankfully behind me. But yes, weight has always been a very sensitive subject, one that is a lifetime battle.
And then there's the other side of the situation. Food. I love food. I am a proud foodie. I read Anthony Bourdain's books about the restaurant biz and his food travels around the world and I can see it all in my head. The glorious, wonderful food. And the more adventuresome, the better. My parents can attest to a tiny Banshee eating olives and deviled eggs and Roquefort dip as a child of 2 or 3. I've always been an adventurous eater, and the fact that i developed an eating disorder seemed a cruel joke for someone who would try absolutely anything, and most of the time, enjoy it. Except corned beef. And coconut. They can go straight to food-hell.
MamaPop has been running the MamaPopLoser weight loss extravaganza for the participating writers for over a month now, and I'm down over 20 pounds. You all know what that's been doing to my pants (on the ground instead of on my ass) but what of my brain? A diet? That's mostly vegetarian and organic? Going to dinner at my parents' house on Sundays and excusing myself before dessert? Buying absolutely nothing processed, no white sugar, no white flour…a hardcore, super-healthy, non self-destructive diet. Can I really do it? Will my brain LET me do it?
So far, so…sorta. Sure I've had moments of weakness, and struggled with being so. Damn. Hungry, but unable to do anything about it because one of my non-negotiable rules is no eating after 8 pm, no matter what. I'm a snacker at heart, and the whole "no night munchies" has been torturous at times. But I also have a pretty substantial case of obsessive compulsive disorder, so fiercely following rules as if my life depended on it comes rather naturally. It all more or less evens itself out, in its own weird way. I've grown up a great deal as well, since my eating disorder was full-blown, and as I've battled so many other demons that just keep showing up no matter how much I try to avoid them, I've learned to see the signs that i'm falling into bad habits, eating-wise, and for the most part – I'm FAR from perfect – i've been able to deal with them in a semi-constructive manner.
The strangest thing has been in those moments of weakness, hunger, or flat out BOREDOM that come with the territory of dieting, I have been known to think, in all seriousness, "god, this was so much easier when I was in ICU with the feeding tube. At least then I didn't have to THINK about food at all. Because when I start thinking, I start fixating, and obsessing, and suddenly I've worked myself into a tizzy when all I was trying to do was eat a stupid string cheese.
I could talk about my issues with weight all the days and into the nights, but that would be tragically boring for all and sundry, so I'll leave you with this. Be careful falling asleep to the dulcet tones of Tony Bourdain talking about his favorite foods, or the first oyster he ever ate, or the food that he has cooked, traveled for, and written about for years on end now. You'll wake up gnawing on a pillow.
All in all, I think I'm doing pretty well with the diet thing. We've still got over a month or so left in the challenge, and I'd love to get to my goal weight before my brain twists this perfectly healthy meal plan into something vicious and self destructive. It's a ticking time bomb, but I think I've still got time on the clock.
All I know is that i use food. i use it for comfort, security, and routines (Oh, how my eating habits are a huge exercise in routines.) i use lack of food as a punishment, or, sometimes, as a twisted sense of smugness, a symbol of the MASSIVE CONTROL I have over my body and environment. It's a lie, naturally, but when you're full to the brim with emotional disorders, you (I) crave control at every turn. It's textbook eating disorder stuff.
The point is that I've been able to do the MamaPopLoser plan thus far and I haven't screwed myself up beyond all recognition YET. I'll take that. It's a pretty good run for me, and speaking of running, I've got the 30 Day Shred all queued up and it's time for Jillian Michaels to make me her bitch for the next 20 minutes or so.
Stewie gets to write the blog tomorrow, aren't you excited? I knew you were!