Monday, February 9, 2009

my body is a cage

Two days post-birthday, and I am still nursing a serious booze / food hangover. My body is totally pissed.

"What the eff was that all about? Why the sudden carb overload?? Ok, your birthday was one thing . . . we can overlook the lobster roll / mac n' cheese / chocolate bread pudding onslaught . . . but yesterday -- did you really need to consume a huge-ass chicken and mozzarella wrap and a pint of froyo as a "hangover cure? Seriously - what did we ever do to you?!" -- direct quotage from my liver, digestive system and solid Italian birthing hips.

Hi, my name is Tea, and I have food issues.

Like so many other women in America, I obsess about my body and the shit I put in it. Even as I rail against the madness of stick-figure-models and the ridiculous emphasis placed on women's appearances . . . I am also budgeting my calories for the day and beating myself up over that extra ½ cup of grapes. That's right, grapes. I have also been known to feel remorse over having too many pieces of gum throughout the day.

I am not very kind to my body.

Now, there was a time when I had some legitimate chub-issues. The first two years of college found me drowning my sorrows in all-you-can-eat benders at the Dining Hall. A chocolate-chocolate chip muffin with a giant smoothie was a "healthy" breakfast choice, in my opinion. I had a "Membership" card at TGI Friday's. Those were dark times, people. Dark times.

I spent the summer of 2003 doing the LA Weight Loss Supervised Anorexia Diet and lost 40 pounds, which I have more or less kept off since. My attitude towards food went from: "Don't think, just eat!" to "This is War, Bread Is My Enemy!" I keep food diaries. I diet. I eat the same basic meals day after day after day. And I have managed to keep the bulge at bay, mostly. But I am certainly not a "skinny" sistah, either. I'm average. I'm probably the size of girls I used to look at back at my heaviest and think, "What must it be like to be a normal size and like your body?"

It's been a long time comin' . . . but I think I've finally concluded that the size of one's pants does not equate directly to one's personal happiness. Or at least, it shouldn't. And when it does . . . there might be a problem.

I can't tell you the hours I've spent in the past 5 years agonizing over food. Depriving myself, bargaining with myself, consumed with guilt over what I have consumed. I think about food more now than I ever did when I was fat. And it's exhausting. One can only ration out slices of 35 calorie diet bread for so long before willpower dissolves into a binge of epic proportions. As a result, when "special occasions" like my birthday come around, I use it as an excuse to cram in all the crap I don't allow myself to eat the rest of the time. Instead of indulging in an occasional, sensible half of a sandwich, or a serving of ice cream on a regular Saturday night . . . I say, "no, no, no, you can't!" for weeks until I finally break down and eat my body weight in crap.

I know that isn't right. Hell, half the time I'm not even really hungry!

So, why am I like this? What is it I'm looking for . . . and why do I think some magic number on the scale or the tag of my jeans is going to solve it? I'm 26 years old, for fuck's sake - too old to be afraid of a slice of bread.

My Month of Love needs to extend to my own body, too. I need to accept and appreciate it for what it is and stop letting the numbers on the scale dictate how I feel about myself and my life. That's just craziness - I realize this.

So -- #1, no beating myself up over my delicious, over-the-top food orgy of the weekend. No starving, no hatin'.

#2, No more War on Food. If I really want something, I am allowed to eat it. In sensible amounts. Listening to what my body actually wants, and whether or not I'm actually hungry, is ultimately more healthy than this starving-binging roller coaster.

#3, Appreciate the bod. Really, I should be grateful for this sack o' guts and bones. It is pretty resilient - it gets me all over the city without need for a vehicle. It works well - I have no weird-ass syndromes of chronic diseases. My brain is tumor-free. My boobs are pretty hot. Really . . . what's not to love?

#4, Learn to be full. Just because the food is there doesn't mean you have to eat it. There will be other opportunities for bagels and birthday cake. If I let myself eat things whenever I really want them, I won't need to resort to the "Oh my god, you suck! You broke down and you're eating ice cream - so you might as well eat the entire carton and make it a worthwhile sin!!" mindset. Which is the mindset of insane people. I know this.

#5, Move the eff on, already! It's true, maybe my body tends to hold on to carbohydrates more than some other people's . . . but I've come leaps and bounds in my dietary outlook on life. I crave salads now. I enjoy grilled chicken and broccoli and apples. Never again will I be a card carrying member of the TGI Friday's Appetizer Fan Club. And when I do put on a few extra holiday pounds, I know I have the ability to amp up my work outs and bulk up on salad to trim the fat.

I just need to trust myself, love myself and focus my time and attention on other things. My body and my brain will thank me for it.

1 comment:

  1. You are beautiful. And yes, putting things into your body that it's not used to handling will make it mad (did you know I only had three rum & cokes that night?). And just general hugs over food issues. Someday, I will rant at you about me and society and food.