This post is a long time coming. I’m taking a break from The Token Fat Girl for awhile. I write this on the heels of attending BlogHer 12′ this weekend. This just feels right, right now.
It’s been a struggle for me to keep the blog up this past year, if not longer. To be frank, I’m bored with talking about fat, food, and fitness. I’m tired of reading about it as much as I am writing about it.
I’m not, however, tired of working towards being a healthier person. But, blogging about this, doesn’t feel healthy to me anymore. It feels degrading. I find myself waiting for others to tell me if what I ate looks healthy enough, or if my diet plan is to their standards, if I’m eating few enough calories, if I’m losing weight like they did, moving like they are, doing it their way. Congratulations and encouragement when they approve, silence when they don’t. I’m done waiting on approval and acceptance with my weight loss.
I don’t stuff myself because I have goals every single day that I need to accomplish. When I eat too much, I am physically and mentally unprepared for my day. Eating has been a way to shut down, and when I have a lot to do and creative energy to spent, that just isn’t an option. Eating enough good food, makes me feel good and more excited and energized about life and my direction. It’s not just about weight loss, wearing a smaller size, or looking better, there are perks there too, but more simply, I have big goals and binge eating doesn’t fit well into that vision.
I’ve come to realize in these past six years that I’m the token fat girl because I put myself here physically and mentally. I’ve become and stayed, in many ways, what I assumed other people thought of me. Waiting for other people to tell me that I’m worthy. A habit I’ve worked on many, many times. I also believe that right now, I am everything that I need and want to be. I possess every ability to get where I want to go and I have no reason to wait to live, or wait to be granted worthiness. Today, I am enough. I imagine tomorrow this will be true too. I have the ability to think and act today as someone who doesn’t have issues with weight or food or self-worth. I have the choice to go down another path. Right now. Not when the weight is gone.
I just have so much more to offer than a blog about eating less food. I’m shifting my focus to one blog over at Beautiful Layers and I’d love to have you visit! It’s been a very long road to this singular place and peace with having just one project, but it feels great! I want to blog about all the wonderful things that inspire me. I want a place to share more about my creative life, my big dreams, my every day bits of happiness. I want more about a woman making her dreams come true and less of a woman feeling better about herself because the scale tells her she should.
For now, I plan to post here once a month or once every couple of months with updates and pictures. Until then, thank you so much for sticking around here for so long and for providing countless words of encouragement and motivation. And just being there. Thank you times a million!
I followed the recipe almost exactly as she has it listed and used peanuts as my chopped nut of choice and full-fat plain yogurt instead of greek. The result? It’s good! Really good. It tastes a lot like a cookie, except it’s chewy and not so buttery, crumbly, or sweet. It’s sweet, but not overly so. I think I will save this one for a special weekend treat because it’s not the most feel good thing for me to eat the first thing in the morning.
I could, however, see myself eating this after a long workout. Maybe with a little less chocolate, some mashed banana and peanut butter stirred in. The possibilities are endless!
This morning I just couldn’t get out of bed. I’m usually right out around 7 or 8 so it was weird to see 10:34 on my cell phone. What’s what about?
I didn’t end up eating breakfast until lunch time, and I imagine that rest of the day will follow suit. Who knows when I’ll get to dinner?
I made a big batch of fruit salad yesterday. Half for my sister-in-law who just had a baby, and the other half for us. I love fruit salad and I don’t know why I never think to make it ahead of time. It reminds me of Christmas. My mom always make fruit salad for Christmas morning to eat with sausage and cheddar biscuits.
I added a honey, lime zest, and poppy seeds to give it a little zing. It’s so good! Kiwis might be my favorite fruit. They’re up there with blueberries.
I also toasted a slice of whole wheat bread and topped with a couple of peppery scrambled eggs and cheddar. I always drink several glasses of water as soon as I wake up. Ice water is my coffee, I can’t do anything else without it.
Lunch was a Mediterranean inspired pasta salad using this recipe. The only think I changed was fresh tomatoes instead of sun-dried and whole wheat pasta instead of white. Delicious and filling.
Once you realize that it’s possible to feel good by not eating certain things and including others instead, the compulsion begins to fall away because you’ve found something better: getting your life back.
This was the first thing I read this morning on my Facebook feed. By Geneen Roth of course. I had to share, because this is what I’m feeling. I’ve spent the past three weeks exploring all sorts of foods. Nothing has been off limits. I just haven’t been binging or overeating like I thought I would. Some days are better than others, but I’m at the point where I feel like I’ve tried eating everything and still want food that I feel is best for me. Food that makes me feel good. I was worried I would never get to this point without a diet telling me I should.
I’ve cut out a lot of “noise” in my life. Unfollowing negative blogs and massive amounts of conversations on twitter and facebook. I’m barely plugged in, just skimming the surface. I can’t tell you the difference it’s made.
I thought I would start sharing what I’m eating again. I find this hard to stick with, but I’d be willing to try sharing what I eat and do for exercise.
I feel excited for life in a way that I was afraid to be before. I want more of this and I do 100% believe it exists. Less self-loathing!
If I’ve learned anything about life, career and wellness, it’s that nothing good comes from panicking. Yet, I feel like I’m always relearning that lesson.
I went to a salesmanship conference a couple of years ago, where the speaker made it very clear that you can’t be creative if you’re panicking about money, success, stability or the future. I took that to heart and have found that the only thing that keeps me from going over the edge is a solid plan. I find solace and security in a plan, even if that plan changes.
The same goes for health and weight loss for me. I panic when the scale goes down, and when it goes up. I panic that I will lose my mojo, that I will slip and someone will find me face-down in a vat of chocolate sauce. Nothing good, like with my creativity, has ever come from panicking.
When I panic about weight loss, I start a diet. I get rigid. I set unrealistic goals.
Right now I’m panicking a little bit. I’m panicking because I’ve never been so free with food. It’s never felt up to me or in my control. The decisions I make are directly from me. And that feels very scary.
I write this because I want to break the pattern of taking cover and finding comfort in a diet plan. Intuitive Eating feels like I was plunked down in the middle of the woods without camping gear.
There are things that I do to make it feel safer like planning my meals, but it’s still just me in a world that is filled with a million ways to continue being obese.
This week has zipped by! I say this on the heels of driving an hour away to stay with my parents and Josh in a cabin for the weekend. No internet and probably little phone reception. I’m bringing lots of books and notebooks and will be inspired, relax and swim.
It’s been a little over a week since I made the resolve to find peace with food through Intuitive Eating and I must say, it’s been a roller coaster of emotions. Mostly good and liberating. Some filled with fear and worry. A lot less guilt. I’m working on less guilt.
I’ve thought long and hard about what I want and what I’m willing to do to get it.
I want to be healthier without worry. I want to weigh less so that I if I fall on a dog (like I did in February) and hurt my knee, I’m not worried about going to the doctor and having them say “well, you fell because you’re fat” or some other nonsense. I want to go to the doctor and have whatever it is I’m there for be the conversation. I want to be told at my annual exam “fit as a fiddle” and I hope my doctor, uses that exact phrase.
I want to fit comfortably into an airplane seat without an extender. I want to fit on a small boat and amusement park rides. I want my style decisions to be by choice, not by what’s available in my size. I want to feel free to be myself without worrying what people think of me because of my weight. I want to get out of this subculture that being obese sometimes seems to put me in. I want to go sleeveless. I want to run up stairs or take a brisk walk outside without breaking a sweat or losing my breath.
I want all of those things without the confines of a diet. Without so-called good or bad food days. Without worrying about all the food that could kill me. No food combining. No time frame for eating when I’m hungry. With a lot less guilt. Without bingeing or overeating. Without measuring a new recipe to come up with the calorie count. I want to put a reasonable amount of food on a plate, eat it and be done with it. I know, by now, what reasonable looks like.
I don’t want the ups and downs that come with dieting. The seesaw of self-loathing and self-congratulation. The I’m so awesome and amazing because I lost 10 pounds. I’m unstoppable! Or even worse, I’m off the wagon! Time to get serious! Time to make it happen! I want bigger things for myself and my life than weight loss.
I want to be more than a woman who loses weight. I want to be smaller, healthier and fit, but god bless, I want so much more for myself. I’m not the fat around my thighs no matter how big or how small. Weight loss will not be my greatest achievement. Is that so wrong?
I want to step on the scale and have confirmation of my efforts, not my self-worth. I don’t want to have any more buckle down, get serious, militant, yet very fleeting rules and regulations. I want sustainable weight loss that involves all foods. I want to eat reasonably no matter the circumstance. I want to take responsibly for today and all of the choices that lead into results.
I want to travel to Paris and eat the market vegetables, cheese, fresh squeezed orange juice and croissants without worry or regret. I want to go to NYC (in three weeks!) and have one really good treat, rather than stuffing myself with everything that will pass my way and say “I’ll be good when I get back”. I want to have a giant slice of pizza for dinner if my appetite calls for it, and move on. Walk it off. Better yet, dance it off. I want to go to a party, a wedding, an event, and not stare at the cake with longing yet skip a bite or two for fear I will spiral out of control later. For fear that it’s not in my plan. I want to eat without worrying that I will never be satisfied. I can be satisfied on much less, I can’t say the same for guilt. Guilt will always have me reaching for more. Wanting more. Waiting for tomorrow.
I want to eat well because it makes me feel good, not because I should for weight loss or for being a better, humane, ethical, or skinny person. I want to eat vegetables because they call to me when I really listen. And fruit because it’s sweeter than I ever gave it a chance to be. I want to be intuitive because it’s what I know that I can live with. It makes sense for the life I want.
And it’s not easy to just sit there and not eat. To not grab something just because I have the calories for it, or because I planned it out. Regardless if I want it or not. I doubt I ever did.
I want to sit with whatever it is that tells me to go eat. That I’ve been good. That tomorrow I’ll be serious. Next week, I’ll start. To sit with discomfort.
I want to make better choices every day. I want to celebrate food, eating and cooking because of their importance for survival, community, entertainment, love and passion. I don’t want to punish myself with it.
I want to stay off the scale for two or three weeks at a time and let my actions take the seat. To move so much in a day that I collapse into bed at night.
Last night, I had to sit with my emotions and strong desires to eat even though I wasn’t hungry and I wasn’t full. It was hard. It was hard while I sat on the fence about it. Trying to justify a nibble of something. But then I got out of my head and thought about my body, how was my stomach feeling? Fine. Do I really want food? No. What would it mean for me to let this moment pass without diving into to whatever is in the house? A lot. And so I made the decision, I wasn’t going to eat for no reason. I wasn’t going to have guilt if I did. And once that decision was made there was no struggle, no self-loathing or guilt for wanting. I wasn’t hungry, so I didn’t eat. Life goes on, do something interesting with your time- that’s what I told myself.
I take responsiblity for my idealistic path to my goals. My romanticized view. I know it’s not very Dateline-20/20 of me not to be screaming the dangers of everything on this planet that could and will eventually kill me. To not preach the diet rhetoric of the must and the should nots. I know it’s not glamorous to hope that I can achieve my goals without the confines of counting and tracking. Especially now.
There is a part of me that says, how dare you think you could relearn to eat and listen to yourself. What gull you have to think you can be healthy and fit without regiment. You must think so much of yourself to want to have peace with food, to eat and not be consumed. To think so highly of yourself to dismiss everything you’ve ever tried to do to lose weight. To trust that I can lose weight without a diet. To believe that I can have just one.
When I take away all of this over thinking about food, I have more energy to focus on fitness and exercise. The stuff that makes me feel really good.
And a bonus: That bridesmaids dress is zipping up!
Here of my non-rule rules:
1) Am I hungry?
2) Treats are for special occasions, not for the house.
3) What do I really want to eat?
4) Am I full?
5) Exercise every day.
6) Have fun.
7) No food guilt. Ignore food and diet police. Stop mentally calculating and tracking.
This magazine has been a long time coming, and morphed out of my Wear it Well project. This is the direction I want to be in, it’s my first self-motivated project in awhile that has simply felt focused and directional. I can’t wait to for the fall issue!
One of the hardest parts of intuitive eating is sitting with an emotion. The emotions vary from fear, worry, anxiety, anger, stress, and even startlingly, happiness and contentment. Asking myself, am I hungry? What am I hungry for? So many times in a day keeps me in the moment, in today, rather than starting over tomorrow…again.
I’ve found that emotions really are not as strong as when I try to bury them. They become less powerful when I let them flow out. Usually they are fleeting and normal and I remind myself of that. It’s funny how more vivid life becomes when I just feel.
When I start a new diet, I’m trying to tackle it all at once: stop overeating, feel emotions, don’t eat when not hungry, eat super healthy, calculate it all, write it all down, 150+pounds, how fast?, exercise a lot, stop eating dessert, less flour, more protein, less butter, more vegetables, more fruit, more whole, more ethical, more green, more responsible. I would be new, super human, super healthy. A bright and shiny version of myself. I would diet into a swan.
I liked to pretend that dieting would transform me into a better person. A newer version of myself. A version whose hair doesn’t tangle up at night, doesn’t work in her pajamas until noon, doesn’t kill plants, doesn’t ignore emails and keeps an always tidy house. I always felt, deep down, that a diet would make me a whole person. Fix all my problems. I was setting my goals for someone else, someone who isn’t me. Whose life looks nothing like mine, even on the really good days. And therein lies the problem:
When I couldn’t change everything in an instant, I must be a failure. No will power. No drive. No determination. That must be true right?
The process is much less complicated now.
The steps are starting to look like this for me:
step one: feel the feelings. write if you need to.
step two: overeat/binge less. stop feeling guilty about food.
I can’t tell you how long it’s been since I prepared meals for the week ahead of time. This is a weird form of life satisfaction for me. I love having breakfast and lunch options available for me and Josh, mainly because we eat at different times and I want to cut back on eating out. I tend to think about food less throughout the day when my meals are planned out.
Here’s what you see: 1) prepared turkey, cheese and mustard sandwiches on whole wheat, 2) curry chicken salad on whole wheat wraps, 3) breakfast wraps with turkey bacon, scrambled eggs, cheddar and sweet potato tater tots on whole wheat wraps, 3) Kodiak cake waffles, 4) unsweetened mixed berry tea (two pitches), 5) coffee concentrate for iced coffees, 6) peanut butter and jam bars, 7) salad in bags, 8 ) fresh beet juice, 9) several servings of rice, 10) chopped onions.
This illustration is funny to me because I feel like this on most days. I know I’m not alone, right? This is a topic I’ve touched on before, but I want to revisit it because it’s a big one for me.
I’ve spent years trying to figure out why I overeat and I’ve come up with two main reasons: dieting and habit. The other part of the equation is productivity and a sense of purpose. I’ve made note in my private journals and word documents time and time again that my productivity is directly related to how often I turn to or think about food.
This has been a trend in school and various office jobs that I’ve held and even when I’m working from home. When I’m stuck, unmotivated, or procrastinating, I almost always overeat or I want to. Now, don’t get me wrong, this doesn’t mean that I overeat every time that I’m not working or when I’m taking a break from a project, but when I’m overwhelmed, procrastinating or stressed, I want to eat.
I’ve discovered that I have a lot of fear when it comes to the work that I do. And I figure I’m not alone here. I worry that I’m not good enough, and I fear that people will realize that I’m just making it all up and figuring it out as I go along (because I am, this is a little nugget of wisdom you never hear about until way too late in life.) Sometimes when the steps to get a project done are blurry I get anxious and start putting it off and away and then I go find something to eat to make the discomfort of not knowing what to do go away.
This is a pattern I’ve had for a very long time. When I was in school I was so worried I wasn’t good or would never be good enough at art or design, so I would skip class and binge on a box of donuts or an all fried meal at Captain D’s to feel better in that moment. As procrastination goes, I would feel even worse and it would spin out of control.
These days, I’m getting better at productivity and just doing it rather than fretting over perfection, but it’s a tough road to be on. Making mistakes for the sake of learning is never easy. On the days that I meet my set tasks, and face my discomfort head-on I don’t overeat. I just eat and go on about my business. It feels natural and right to me. It feels good and it boosts my self-esteem. Meeting a deadline and being creative is life saving and essential for me.
Here are some of my anti-procrastination tips:
1) Change of attitude. I touched on this in an earlier post, but I often remind myself that if I’m biting my nails over a project, I’m not having enough fun. Once I change my perspective and feel gratitude for my work, I can do anything.
2) Writing down the details. Sometimes a task is vague or feels too big to complete. When this happens, it’s hard to find the starting point. Instead of feeling overwhelmed, I write down every single step it will take to get the task done. I break it down into smaller steps and pick a starting point. More often than not, this just helps me to clear my head.
3) Do it for 5 or 10 minutes. When there’s something I really don’t want to do I will allow myself to just do five or ten minutes of work. I can handle five or ten minutes of anything. I always notice that once those few minutes are over, I can handle more.
4) Rewards. Having a set of rewards is really motivating for me, especially if I’m tough with myself and don’t do it unless I’ve completed said task. For me a reward is watching TV, surfing pinterest, or going on a little trip.
5) Pick tasks at random. On days when I don’t have a pressing deadline, I will write down everything I need to get done on a little piece of paper, fold them up, and put them in a jar. I will pick one task at random and challenge myself to do only that task until it’s completed. This is really helpful for staying focused.