Feed Me, Seymour

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!



Feed Me, Seymour — 11 Comments

  1. I adore food. And I could talk about my weight issues and image issues for hours and days on end because they encompass who I am.
    This was really good. Hit home for me.
    And Jillian Michaels made me her bitch last year and I haven’t been able to find her damned DVD since. There’s a little piece of me that enjoys her making me her bitch because I know how good I’ll look!
    Keep up the awesome weight loss work!!

  2. Your words here ring true in a way that makes me very uncomfortable, because it hits way too close to my own issues with food/dieting. It’s something I probably should write about sometime, just to get it out of my system, but I don’t know if I’m brave enough to face all of that head on & admit it.

  3. Here is my dirty little secret: As a survivor of eating disorders, obsessions and stupid selfish “me and food” scripts, I have learned that marathons and the like give me free reign to eat. A LOT. I’m talking entire pizzas after my event with a fountain Coke from Sonic on the side. Sometimes after a week of many training miles, I will buy 3 boxes of supermarket sushi AND a Dole Salad in a bag, AND ice cream. I have to keep myself nourished and losing weight while staying strong for a 40 miler is simply not doable. It’s been fantastic, life-saving, delicious and completely something that my calorie-obsessed friends are jealous of me for. And for the first time in my life, the last 4 years have been WORTH IT.

  4. Oh, me and food. It’s my most complicated and longest relationship. I struggle every day. I was bulimic for years, consistently, for even more years sporadically. I’ve been 100 pounds and 110 and every number up to 200 (the day I gave birth). Losing the weight (this time) healthily and slowly and without the use of any of my old tricks is the hardest thing I’ve ever done, and I think I knew it would be, which is why I waited so long to do it.

  5. Interesting. As also a former anorexic, I cannot diet AT ALL. I had to do an “elimination diet” while I was breastfeeding because of my son’s food allergies and I thought I was going to end up. . .well. . .ugh.

  6. I am an emotional eater. I can usually measure my state of mind by how obsessed I am with food on any particular day. I can really empathize with the OCD, need for rules thing. For me, everything is all or nothing. Either I am eating absolutely no chocolate or I am eating all of it. Either I am jogging exactly four times a week or I’m not going at all. It’s hard to find a balance.
    PS: do you know this post was linked to by Roger Ebert on Twitter? Pretty ephing cool.

  7. Food and me, we hate each other so very much, but we’re like Micky Rourke and Kim Basinger in 9 1/2 weeks. We stand around in front of the fridge and we sometimes just want to gorge and take in and pour honey down our bodies, and then we panic and do stupid things.
    It’s been that way for longer than I want to admit. I hoarded food, sneaked around with it, was caught with it, and approached it with a whole “Well, I’ll show them, those people who dare to worry about me!” approach. Then I’d go through fits with diet pills and excessive exercising and “Oh, this bite of meat and a tiny swallow of vegetables is fine. You go on now. Don’t you worry about me!” business. Then I landed in treatment for an eating disorder and oh my god, I panicked. The guilt! The guilt that surrounds me and eating! Still!! I am very, VERY regimented about what and how I eat. I sometimes track to the point of compulsion, and, well…yeah. When I lost weight (and, um, we’re talking triple digit numbers), I struggled with the compliments that rolled in while my head was still that of ‘the fat girl’ and all her thoughts. She’s still in there, and sometimes she’s very loud, and sometimes she still wants to let Mickey Rourke shove food down her throat.

  8. I’ve done this too! Anoerexia, hospital stays, turned emotional overeater, turned anoerexic, turned vegan..foodie…body image trouble lingers anyway. It’s horrible and it’s such a cruel metaphor for what we emotionally distraught feel inside our brains. Good luck with your goals but be kind to missbanshee in the process. Thank you for your blog. I’m loving it.

  9. No wonder your pants keep falling down. 20 pounds in such short time! You are amazing. I desperately need to lose some weight… I just can’t seem to get the motivation.

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