Normal Appetite, Mental and Physical

I’ve written this before, but I am always thrilled that, these days, when I am stressed, bummed, really miserable or just having a bad day, I lose my physical appetite AND my mental and emotional desire to eat. Back in the day, everything and anything was a reason to eat. I ate compulsively through break-ups and stomach viruses.

Sounds weird to be thrilled about ANYTHING when the day has been really tough, but I suppose it’s a silver lining, right? I’m having a normal reaction. Kind of incredible, huh? I DON’T WANT FOOD AT ALL. In fact, I actually feel like I couldn’t choke it down. Miracles CAN happen. And if I can be free of the desire to eat compulsively when I’m down, anyone can. I’m not special – that’s for sure!

Now, it’s time to go off and to do something about this day!!!! Action, action, action.

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Appetites

This follows up from two posts ago – the idea of wanting and eating any and all the food in the world.

I am reminded of my alcoholic friends who would drink anything with alcohol as an ingredient – mouthwash, cough medicine – and in large quantities. It didn’t matter what it was as long as it was ‘something’ proof.

That’s me and food. Nothing proved off limits. For years, I didn’t eat meat, because it seemed cruel and kind of gross. But one night during a binge, I drove by an Arby’s and drove through the drive in. Many, many roast beef sandwiches later, I suppose I wasn’t a vegetarian afterall. Morals and gross-ness meant nothing in my quest to stuff my belly and forget my life.

Pop tarts, twinkies, liver – it didn’t matter, I shoveled them in.

Those foods do seem really in gross in theory, yet, I don’t know – I guess I also like them, on some level. My sister would probably do anything rather than have to eat a twinkie. Me, I’d pick the twinkie.

The weirdest people to me are my friends who fought with their parents about finishing dinner. These odd people were such picky children – they wouldn’t eat much besides chicken nuggets and peanut butter. Their folks would beg and cajole them to eat other foods and sometimes make them sit at the table until they’d finished everything. My friends would cry and pout, desperate not eat to varied meals. Dinner was a stand-off in many of those homes.

Parents loved me – they’d barely have to do dishes after I’d cleaned their plates. One neighbor had me over to show her daughter how much I loved vegetables. At five, I polished off brussels sprouts, spinach, cauliflower, tomatoes. Little Linda Gross probably hated me.

It didn’t matter what it was, I devoured it.

I don’t eat junk food now. Twinkies and pop tarts aren’t in my life. They’re not good for me, physically or mentally. But in my heart (and belly), like my friends swilling Listerine, there a just fine option.

I am not normal, by nature, when it comes to food. That’s what I take all the Steps that I do.

My Outsides; Her Insides

A couple of posts back I complained about not being invited to Michele G.’s sleepover party 40 years. I have to confess that I checked Michele out on Facebook. She looks exactly the same. She”s still gorgeous. She seems to have a great husband, great kids and a great career. I am very happy for her……….

I also looked up Michele’s best friend from those years, Alise Child. Back in the day, Alise was pretty, tiny, confident and popular. She was good at everything. She was also one of the nicer cool girls.

I expected to find Alise also still gorgeous, happy and successful. But that’s not what I saw. Apparently, Alise has suffered from severe depression for years, she’s a single mom, doesn’t seem to have a career, and she’s obese.

I struggle with writing that she’s obese, in case it sounds judgmental. Who knows how she feels about it? However, I have not yet met the person who likes being morbidly obese. And I do believe there’s got to be some disordered, unhealthy and emotional eating involved.

I was sad to see that she’s suffered. And it’s a lesson – we really don’t have know what’s going on inside someone else. Alise is on my prayer list.

Michele G. is also in my prayers. It is best to have kind thoughts toward all. And who knows what SHE may suffer deep inside.

I will say – I sure am glad I’m not 13 anymore! And I am so grateful that for me, these later years are the best ones so far. I am very lucky, indeed.

When Food is Weird

It’s an odd thing – an eating disorder. Eating is one of the life sustaining things most people do most easily.

When I was in my 30s – a laxative dependent, bulimic, insomniac – it struck me that I couldn’t do what even babies do by nature – eat, poop or sleep right.

Twenty years later, it’s all come together and healed, but my approach to food can still seem weird to most people. I picture my sister reading my last post and wondering, “what does it mean that sushi is difficult to gauge?” It is an odd concept – raw fish as portion, not nourishment.

For sure guys really don’t get it. Food is great. Food is caring. Food is love. Sharing a meal together can only mean one thing – sex is next.

But it most certainly doesn’t work like that for me. (Sorry!) Food is something I have to put in it’s place. Food, once an enemy, is now just food.

Sushi and Me

Last night, I ate sushi for the first time in my life. Delicious! (And surprising to most that I’d lived in New York for 15 years and never eaten sushi. More on that later.)

My friends were surprised that as a novice I dove in to all manner of raw fish and enjoyed each piece thoroughly. And hey, bring on the wasabi, ginger and soy sauce!

What my friends don’t get is that I find all food delicious and would eat anything and everything. I may not eat foods that I find troublesome for me, a compulsive eater, anorexic and bulimic in recovery, but trust me, it’s not because I wouldn’t find each and every one delectable.

At heart, I am a compulsive eater. That’s me. I am not discerning, picky or fussy, by nature. It’s a choice to be selective, guys. And a very good one for me.

Re; sushi. I’d stayed away from it because it’s hard to gauge a portion, particularly when eating away with chopsticks. And I really do try to eat protein, vegetable and starch with each meal and thought that work be tricky here. But I had raw fish, veggies and rice. It worked. It was kind of hard to figure out how much was enough. I ate slowly, looking to connect with ‘hungry’ and ‘satisfied’. And it was just fine.

Better yet, I thoroughly enjoyed the beautiful summer evening with dear friends that I hadn’t seen in a while.

Would I pick sushi again, if it were my choice? Don’t know. But if someone else picks it, I’m cool. Yay

Annoyed with my Body

Okay, I have to admit – I am a wee bit annoyed with my body. Or maybe disappointed is a better word.

After years of eating fine and weighing the same, I feel a little betrayed that this body keeps gaining weight.

For years, I have been very careful to eat healthfully, to not overeat and, of course, to never eat compulsively. And I’ve been rather successful, I have to say.

For years, people have told me to “live a little” and “loosen up”. For years, I’ve been told that I could eat more and still not have to worry.

Well, I wouldn’t even say that I’m eating more, I haven’t loosened up and for me, living me a little still means participating in life, not eating differently.

I’m also annoyed that I still grapple with this – when will I officially let my body be? One day. I am not, never, ever giving up.

So, I’ve confessed. That’s off my (rather voluptuous) chest. However, such is life. People have real problems. Moving on.

Getting Started Getting Well

The first step on my own road to recovery was giving up purging. I had an ulcer, my teeth were rotting, and I was gaining weight anyway. But mostly, I couldn’t spend one more night, all night, hanging over the toilet,making myself throw up.

I’d been purging in some way since high school, when I discovered diuretics. In college, I turned to laxative abuse (which by the way is really, really disgusting on so many levels.) By my early 30s, I’d become laxative dependent.

On September 11, 2001, I lived in NYC. Fear and horror brought me to a place where I could not stop binging. In desperation, I taught myself to throw up and binged and purged every day.

In June of 2006, I put it all down. That’s when my mom died. While she’d been ill, I’d gotten sicker and sicker. Ever time I’d leave her house, I’d head to a bar and get stinkingly drunk and then run around to all-night stores, all-night – binge, throw up, repeat, binge, throw up, repeat. I almost never slept.

When I stopped purging, I didn’t know what to do with myself all night. My brother owned every episode of the great show, “The West Wing”, and I watched every single episode from beginning to end all night, every night. When I finished, I watched them again. (Great show, by the way. It’s the only show I’ve ever binged watched.)

And I had no idea how to eat. I’d been starving all day, then binging and purging all night, every day for the prior five years.

Yes, initially, I gained weight, but I’d decided to go to any lengths to stop the vicious, miserable cycle of my life. I let the it go. It didn’t matter. Get well was all that counted. (Eventually, I did lose that weight naturally. More on that later.)

A few times in early recovery, I did binge, but I rode it out and started over the next day, eating as normal meals as I knew how.

The last time I binged was October, 2006, after a wedding. I was feeling lonely and very very sorry for myself (if you’ve been reading the blog, you’ll recognize my beliefs about how extremely dangerous self-pity is for the addict.) I spent the night at TGI Fridays, eating hamburgers (note the plural), french fries and desserts.

When I woke up the next morning, I was done, and I haven’t eaten compulsively since.

What happened next in my next post.