To My Friend and Co-founder

Earlier today, I sat down to write about the woman, my friend, who helped me develop this blog. She died nearly a year ago at the age of 29. She has been much on my mind this past week as it gets closer to the anniversary of her death.

We two talked a lot about weight, body, self-esteem, bulimia, anorexia, compulsive eating and mostly, about the best way/s to get well. We always planned to start our own group and began researching our options.

Then she got sick. And suddenly our eating disorders seemed truly unimportant. In fact, they seemed like a luxury.

She died quickly after her diagnosis. Such a loss.

So, I planned to write about her earlier, but a friend who called and asked me to go to a 12 Step meeting with him. I wasn’t really in the mood – I’d always rather be home with my cat, reading a good book – and almost said no. But off I went.

When I walked in the door of the meeting, the first thing I saw was my late friend’s 8 year old daughter. She was there with her dad, who was celebrating 12 years. I hadn’t seen either of them since the funeral so many months ago.

Father and daughter both looked okay, although when he accepted his coin, he referenced what a rough year it had been. But he is okay. And so is his daughter.

I’m not one of those people who believes that everything happens for a reason and that there are no coincidences, but seeing them at a random meeting in an out-of-the-way town near me….?

Or maybe I am one of those people who does believe…

Rest in Peace forever, Abbey

Advertisements

Weight Loss; Good, Bad and Evil

This morning, I went for a regular physical. Waiting in the doctor’s office, I felt an old familiar thrill. I know I’ve lost a few pounds recently and got a little excited to see that reflected on the scale. Bending over, I started to unzip my boots – gotta get those babies off before getting weighed, right?

Then I remembered yesterday. Yesterday, I took my dear friend, Laura for chemo. Before treatment, she gets her vitals taken in a separate area. Well, she came flying out of that room, beaming from ear to ear. Yippee, she’d finally, finally gained some weight – 5 whole pounds from the week before. We high fived. Then I looked at her feet. Laura was wearing full-on heavy-duty hiking boots.

“You took those off when you got on the scale, right?”, I asked

“Absolutely not”, she responded. “I need all the help I can get. I’d put lead in my pockets if no one would notice.”

Oh.

Sitting at my own doctor’s, I started to think about my current 5 pound weight loss and how it’s become just a little too interesting. And has gained too much space in my brain.

I love how my clothes fit now, and I’m having more fun getting dressed. Sometimes, I’ll catch glimpses of myself in a mirror and think, “wow, I look really thin. Cool.”

The weight came off pretty naturally – I run around at my job all day and night, as opposed to previous positions, where I sat all day. Also, there’s a salad bar at work, and I love salad. So I’m eating lots of greens and lean proteins.

BUT, I’ve noticed some old tricks moving back in. Why have salad dressing when plain vinegar’s fine? Why order a hamburger, when there’s turkey on the salad bar? Why have a small scoop of ice cream….if the scale might inch up?

Whoops. Not a good path. I’m course- correcting. But man – the lure of weight loss is surprisingly still strong. I need to be more vigilant than I thought!

What’s the big excitement about a five pound weight loss? To Laura, it’s terrifying.

Before writing this post, I called Laura to get her permission to tell this story. She was home making herself eat pop-tarts.

We had a laugh. Several years back, before Laura got sick, she and I battled middle-aged weight gain together. We complained bitterly about gaining weight even though we weren’t eating more. “Nothing fits”, we’d wail.

Today, Laura chuckled ironically at the prospect of now making herself eat anything and everything she could manage to keep down. In fact, even though she was exhausted this afternoon, she wouldn’t let herself sleep until she consumed as many calories as possible.

When I was seriously anorexic, I’d take Ambien to make myself sleep so I wouldn’t want to eat.

Back in the day, a 5 pound weight loss would make me thank God and jump for joy.

Today, I am so very, very grateful to have Laura as my dear friend. Now, there’s something to cheer about.

Dating and Body: Confession Time

I write a lot about society’s pressures on women to look ‘good’ and young and thin and pretty, and for me, particularly when dating. Shall I mention for the zillionth time the guy who told me I’d have a nice body after a half dozen abs classes?

I get annoyed that a lot of guys seem to be looking for younger women. And it sure gets tiring trying to always look ‘date ready’. I envy my married girlfriends who’ve gone gray, never wear make-up, have gained a few pounds AND don’t care if their teeth aren’t sparkling white, their nails are a little chipped, and in strong light, they look their age.

BUT, BUT, BUT, I have to confess when I am completely honest – I’m actually not much better than the guys.

Especially with online dating where a lot of it is based on pictures. If I meet someone at a party, I have a chance to really be attracted to their personality and charm. But online, there’s no way to really gauge all that. Some profiles are clearly prohibitive and some are very inviting, but let’s face it, I AM looking at the pictures.

AND, the men I pick are physically cute to me. And what is that? Well, given my druthers, they’re taller than I am (although I have dated shorter men whom I’ve met offline), they’re not too much older (although I’ve dated much older men who I’ve met offline) and they look appealing in a very and purely physical sense.

And guess what, given my druthers and picking from pictures, they’re all pretty thin. Hmmm.

Of course, I only continue to date them (if they’re interested in me) if they are kind and interesting and good.

But all 4 guys I have dated have been pretty lean and one even borderline skinny (the guy who had zero interest in food). What does that say about me?

When a Woman Weighs More Than Her Husband

In this space, I often write about topics AND my reactions to them that make me uncomfortable. The following encounter (and my reaction) isn’t comfortable at all, and I waited a few days to write about it. But here it is:

The other night, my friend and I had dinner at the bar of a local restaurant. Sitting next to us, was a friendly couple, and we four started to chat.

The wife, who announced she’d already had a few drinks, was particularly talkative. Her husband sat drinking soda. She mentioned that she was drinking tequila because she had a stressful job but that he her husband, really didn’t drink.

Before long, I knew all about them – how long they’d been married (26 years), how many children they had (twin boys – I saw pictures) and what each son did for a living and for fun.

Somewhere in there, she said, ‘I used to be skinny, you know’.

And there it was.

I confess, the uncomfortable stuff, that it had gone through my head that she was pretty heavy and puffy and he looked trim and healthy and young. And yes, I confess, I’d wondered how each felt about that.

She: “I used to be skinny and go to the gym for two hours a day. But after I had the twins, I didn’t have time. And now, I don’t have the discipline.”

She: “He looks exactly like he did when we got married. He can still fit into his tuxedo.”

He: “Yup. Still can.”

She: “I used to look just like Jennifer Lopez. Seriously.”

I looked over at him. If I’m not mistaken (and maybe I’m making it up), he looked a little wistful and then nodded his head (sadly?).

He: “Yeah, yeah, she did.”

Am I reading something into this that comes from my own issues? Am I wrong to worry about her being out of shape and him still looking hot?

Does he wish she’d eat and drink less and lose weight and look more like the woman he’d married? Does his eye wander — yes, yes, yes, I’m really embarrassed to write this, but it went through my head!!!

Am I so jaded by society that all I can think is that this man is completely materialistic and just cares how his wife of a quarter century looks?

Any thoughts on the topic?

How to Lose Weight Easily and Keep it Off Forever

“How to Lose Weight Easily and Keep it off Forever Without Even Trying” was basically the title of all the articles I devoured as a kid/teen/young woman. Everyone of my favorite women’s magazines boasted plenty of such fare. And I ‘ate’ up each and article, without ever losing a pound or keeping it off. In fact, I gained a lot of weight during those years, because for me, there was no easy fix; no way to cut calories, exercise more and become a natural sylph for life.

“How to Lose Weight Easily and Keep it Off Forever” is not what this post is about, because I don’t know that formula.

But I do know that somewhere inside of me that title still tempts me. And I still wonder why. Does it still tempt you? And doo you have any idea why?

It’s late and I’m tired. I’ve worked a long and busy week, I will leave my thoughts on this to a later post.

BUT, I will ponder the question – why does a 54 liberal feminist with dear friends, a good job, and a very satisfying life still perk up when she hears – lose weight weight easily and keep it off forever?

If you’re interested, ponder it too. I’d love to hear your thoughts AND I’d really love to know if the blog title peaked YOUR interest.

On another, and probably related note, I am longer dating the guy who had no interest in food. It didn’t work out – we didn’t have much in common.

He was a great guy, and I will miss many things about him. I will really miss his disinterest in all things food. I found it peaceful and intriguing and yes, was secretly hoping it would rub off on me.

And again, I wonder – why.

Strong, Not Thin

Working at the restaurant, I’m running around all the time. I almost never sit still, throughout 12 hour shifts. Sometimes, my legs hurt at the end of the night. Each week, my arms can carry more and more dishes at once. When we’re short-staffed, I do dishes, run food, bus tables, seat guests, run up and down to storage, over and over. I’m physically tired by the end of the night.

Still, I’ve gained weight since I started. I’m definitely eating more – it’s just kind of what you do when you work at a restaurant, I guess. I’d thought that all the extra steps would balance out the extra calories, but they haven’t at all.

At my old job, I only sat. All day, sometimes 12 hours a day and more. Then, I’d come home and sit some more – reading, watching TV, taking a bath, and snuggling with my cat. My entire existence was just sedentary.

However, I weighed less. I never worked up an appetite (obviously!) and wasn’t really around food. Also, at my old job, I was simply too busy to eat. There just wasn’t time. At least, now, there is down time and I can have a meal. Also, the staff tends to eat together, which is nice and civilized and family-ish.

So, with all the many pluses of my current job AND the fact that I move so much more, which has to be healthier, I will take a few of a different kind of plusses – extra pounds. 🙂

Is Body Size Indicative of Mental Health?

I saw my friend Tina the other day. She seems to have to found some peace around food and her body AND her life. Because of course, it’s not about the food. The food is used to anesthetize the pain and fear that lie beneath. Still, it’s only a band aid and the pain’s still there, so we need to face those things that lead us to overeat. Or we keep eating, drinking, smoking, gambling…)

Tina seems to be doing this. She says she’s ‘good’ with her body and the way she is eating.

And yet, she has put on a lot of weight and my once svelte friend says she has trouble breathing when she walks and her knees hurt.

Me being me, I can’t help but wonder how she’s ‘really’ doing if she is eating to that point. I’ve always assumed that if I am really in tune with hunger and with simply nourishing my body, I may not be super thin, but I won’t get to a place where movement is uncomfortable or actually hurts.

If I have to be perfectly honest, and this doesn’t sound nice, it did occur to me that Tina can’t truly be eating to a place where she is feeding her body as is wants to be fed. Does her body want to be that big? Is she truly listening to nature’s signals?

But that’s not mine to know and frankly, none of my business. Tina’s body is not mine. I don’t live it in or make choices for it. And I can not judge.

Heck, she may look at me and think I’m too thin. But somehow, I doubt that. And yet, that’s just one more presumption.

I find I can be pretty presumptuous. One more thing to work on!