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Thursday, February 14, 2013

Health at Every Size, and the Scary Truth About My Relationship with Food

Food is infuriating.

We need food to live, but it can also slowly kill us. There is no other basic life source that has the ability to wig us out as intensely as food. Like, I don’t get upset with myself if I breathe too much oxygen while drunk at a party. I may hate myself a little for sleeping too much, but I don’t obsess over it and I can just stay up later if I need to get stuff done. No biggie, right? But with food, there is a CONSTANT battle between loving it and being afraid of it, and it is fucking exhausting.

So when I heard about Health At Every Size through Stephanie at The Louthmouth, I was intrigued. The first lines you read on the front page of the website are, “Let’s face the facts. We’ve lost the war on obesity.” How daring and thought-provoking! HAES promotes accepting natural diversity of body size, but also respecting your body by feeding it what it needs, but enjoying food, and exercising in a way that makes you feel happy and healthy.

I love the idea of the movement, but it makes me feel weird. I am making a very conscious decision to lose weight. I am dedicating myself to this goal 100%, which is SO RARE for me, but more about my laziness in another post. Should I do that? Should I be making the decision to essentially obsess over food for the next year (or so) until I reach my goal weight? After reaching goal, I still plan on eating well, but I obviously won’t need to adhere to such a rigid system. I DO obsess over food. I obsessed even before I gained weight, but in a very different way. I try not to. I know it’s not healthy to hate myself for eating a cookie, especially if I have the points saved up for it. That’s one of the beautiful things about Weight Watchers, or any program that teaches you to healthily lose weight: You can eat whatever you want, but moderation is essential

I do believe that I’m doing the right thing by trying to lose weight. Though there are many reasons I want to lose weight (again, topic for another post), I know that I need to in order to feel good about myself again. My goal is not to be “skinny.” I want to feel good, healthy, strong, and happy with myself.

I’m not happy with myself now. I try to be, but I am unfortunately a very negative person. It is something I am trying to change about myself, but it requires constant, conscious effort and I will not become Suzie Sunshine overnight (or ever, because people like that make me want to kick puppies). Now, if I overeat, I beat myself up. I do move on from my blunder, but only after a few tears and hurtful words towards myself. Even though "overeating" to me now is different than it used to be. A few months ago, I had a girls' night with my friends at my house. During that five hour time frame, I ate three slices of Pizza Hut pizza, drank wine, ate several breadsticks, and some candy. The next day, I made the huge mistake of weighing myself like a sadistic idiot, and proceeded to cry on the bathroom floor for, like, twenty minutes. 

Today, I split a Valentine's cookie with Joel in the morning and then my normal, healthy breakfast. I went to the gym and had a 45 minute workout, and I was really proud to push myself. But, I hadn't eaten since breakfast, and I was starving. We went searching for Valentine's cupcakes because I've been looking forward to one all week. At the bakery down the street, they sell really good thin crust pizza. I was planning on going home and eating some chicken, veggies, and yogurt, but the pizza was there and I was starving and I scarfed two slices before we even got home. 11 points. It would have been A LOT more if it weren't a local bakery who makes quality pizza with thin crust and small slices. But, that left me with a whopping four points for the rest of the day, and I was (am) very upset with myself. I cried like I did after the Pizza Hut and candy binge-fest, which was obviously way worse. Joel was planning on making pad Thai (a Weight Watchers recipe) for our Valentine's dinner, but I can no longer afford the points. After reading inspiring articles on How Not To Hate Yourself After Making a Mistake, I feel better. I know that tomorrow is another day. I won't starve myself the rest of the day, much as I am tempted to. I'm having light soup and veggies for dinner, but I will still probably dip into my Weekly Points for the cupcake, because it's Valentine's Day and I want to celebrate. We're having the pad Thai tomorrow and I'm going to get back on track for the rest of the week. I am thankful to have an amazing husband who understands and supports me, and is willing to be flexible. 

I don't always want to feel this way about food. I truly believe the general population has a bad relationship with food, but typically in the opposite end of the spectrum. Most people don't think for even a second about what they put into their bodies. I used to be that way, and I don't want to be that way again. But I know that I need to find a happy medium between not caring and obsessing to the point of insanity. I need to be mindful, but I need to enjoy food, and I need to forgive myself if I don't reach my goal, daily or otherwise. 

So, I am reading more about HAES, pledging my commitment, and learning more about their resources. I am still trying to lose weight. I am learning how to find that happy medium in my relationship with food. I need to incorporate more positive feelings into this epic journey of mine, and I need all the help I can get.

By the way, this is the cupcake I will be enjoying tonight while not hating myself:

Thanks, Nantucket!


  1. Keep up the hard work! We can only change if we continuously make the effort to face our fears head on by acknowledging it. It's not an easy road but you'll get there and will feel so happy that you accomplished your goals.


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