One of my favorite things in the world to eat is toffee. Not just any toffee, but the homemade Christmas toffee I make. Nearly two cups of sugar, 1 ¼ cups of butter, this year I added chipotle…you get the point. I typically make the toffee only at Christmas because…well, I’ve only ever made it at Christmas.
When the toffee is around it is hard for me to eat responsibly. I eat piece after piece whenever I want it. I know that with my disordered eating I need to eat at certain times of the day …7:00, 11:30, 3:30, 7:00 and 9:00 pm. (give or take 30 minutes on either side) When the toffee is around, I will break that schedule tricking myself into thinking that because it is a “special” food, I can have it whenever I want it. It has a Christmassy glittery shimmer that screams…EAT ME NOW BECAUSE YOU HAVE TO WAIT A YEAR TO HAVE IT AGAIN!!!!
Even Watson the Cat can’t deny the glittery spell of my Christmas toffee.
Trying to debunk the “this is only a Christmas food” myth, I made the toffee again a couple of weeks ago for a dinner party. At the end of the night I gave the remaining toffee away. I was proud that I was able to let it go to another family; it needed a good home. Apparently the toffee didn’t appreciate our breakup because it returned to me this weekend. (how that family I gave it to didn’t finish it in ONE WHOLE WEEK, I’ll never understand) I was completely unprepared to travel with it in my car on a long road trip and I was unprepared to sleep with it in my cabin 2 nights in a row.
This refreshes two lessons for me.
I need to stop making certain foods seem so special. If the food’s glitter and shimmer diminish, I am less likely to get dreamy eyed around it. An example, one of my favorite foods is Haggen Das Chocolate Peanut Butter ice cream. The truth is that I can get it at any 7-11 and 7-11 is open 24 hours a day. This is not a so called “special” food. (I believe there are guys from my past I treated this way as well)
I need to plan snacks and meals that include these foods I have deemed as “special.” My list includes, peanut butter M & M’s, Trader Joe’s Peanut Butter pretzels, toffee, popcorn, and dark chocolate. As I look toward the rest of my week I am going to plan to have a couple of these as a planned snack.
At some point in my life I started to challenge my fundamental belief that my self-worth is tied to how much I weigh. I believed that if I lost weight I was good. If I gained it I was bad. That might sound ridiculous, but I share this belief with millions of people. Ask a friend if she can relate to this, my bet is she can. We are sent thousands of messages each day confirming this idea. I sit in a room full of FABULOUSLY BRILLIANT women 9 hours every week talking about removing this core belief from the shelves of our souls and chucking it into the ethereal compost bin. I can’t get the Peter Gabriel song Shaking the Tree out of my mind. That’s what we are doing, shaking the tree of disorder and throwing away the rotten fruit. This core value, core belief is not fair, it is not true, and it is deadly.
Our culture praises weight loss and thinness and loathes fat. Imagine someone saying, “Your ass looks so much bigger in those jeans than it did last week.” How do you think that would go over? But for some reason the opposite statement is ok. We justify it by talking about the health impacts of weight, makes us feel all “doctor like” as we criticize someone else’s food choices and weight gain. If I lose weight, it doesn’t mean I am healthy, it could mean I have cancer! But ultimately, it is my body, my business.
I don’t know a thing about how healthy you are based on what size you wear. I don’t know your blood sugar, A1C, blood pressure, cholesterol levels or when you had your last period just by looking at you. Are there negative consequences to being overweight? Yes and there are medical professionals available to help you. I don’t happen to be one. It can also be dangerous to be underweight which is why there are health professionals for that too. Call one. Please. Quickly.
A couple of years ago when my blood sugar levels were getting dangerously close to pre diabetic, my doctor advised me to lose weight. She told me it was easy, I just needed to keep the carbs out of the house. In that moment I almost lost. I was dejected, I knew I had an eating disorder but I had already “dealt” with it. My doctor, my trusted advisor had invalidated my struggle. It was so simple, why couldn’t I just do it? I kept going up and down and up and down with weight loss and gain. I am fortunate she saw my despair and put me in touch with mental health professionals for eating disorders.
With that I ask you to remember that giving weight loss and dieting tips to someone with disordered eating is like giving an open case of beer to an alcoholic. Just don’t.
Resources and Links:
Ascend CHC offers the Midwest’s most comprehensive behavioral health treatment.
Insight Behavioral Health Centers provide specialized treatment for eating disorders, mood and anxiety disorders and obesity at five Chicago, Illinois treatment centers.
Dr. Lisa Oldson “…an Obesity Medicine physician coming from a Primary Care background, I understand the impact of obesity on health as well as on self-esteem, employment, relationships, mood and productivity.”
I am proud of my struggle, tumbles and stumbles along the way. This blog has meant a lot to me. I am lucky to be able to go back in online time to see and read how far I have come in this crazy journey. I am happy to say that I very RARELY deal with feelings of self loathing like I did back in 2008. Getting the alcohol out of the way was a huge piece of it, but finally addressing the disordered eating is doing it’s job opening my eyes as well. Back in 2008, here is what I had to say. So much still holds true today…..
“This is about me (and maybe you??)
It is about my struggles with self loathing. It is about the struggle to be better, but never defining better so consistently “failing”.
It is about the revolution of not doubting my own worth based on how much weight I lose.
I started to struggle to come up with phrases that would help me when challenged about my reversal of dieting culture. I often came up speechless when someone would comment on another person’s weight, what they ate and how much of it in a day, how many pants sizes they had dropped. I had to come up with some one liners to lead me through the responses. This became my mantra.
I am not how much I weigh or how much I’ve gained or how much I’ve lost.
I am not what I eat…I’m what I do and what I say.
Changing my shape and size isn’t going to make me happy
Changing the way I feel about my body/myself will.
I respectfully decline to discuss your size, my size, her size or his size in any way.
I will eat what I want, and move on.
I swim, bike, or run every day…being healthy doesn’t mean being thin.
I don’t know how this is possible, but finally the facebook ads worked for me. I was browsing around on your newfeed (yes, you there) and I saw an ad pop up. Usually these ads are about getting gastric bypass surgery or about other juice diets. But here is what I found… (I almost don’t want to tell you) A store called Gwynnie Bee. They had me with the name since by BFF from high school is Gwyn. Something with this store that can’t be right! A mail order plus size clothes rental store? This sounds like Tom Haverford’s store in Pawnee, only it is not for kids AND it isn’t in a make believe town in Indiana. It is online and it is for ME, ME, ME, and big girls like me.
I am the type of person that goes to the store and buys a new dress, I wear it a few times and then the shimmer and glimmer from the newness of it all quickly fades. With this, I can wear it once, twice, or not at all and then I send it back. They’ll then send me another. Like Netflix. Of course there is a monthly fee, but the first month is free! I am going to try this out and let you know how it works out. Please, please, please, if you decide to try it out, use this link. This is not joke, they call it clothing without commitment.
When I was a little girl, my mother took me for a weekend trip to Indianapolis. We stayed at a hotel with a pool that you could swim inside and then slip through an underwater door and swim outside. We ate at the hotel restaurant where I tried my first chicken breast (I was a leg girl before that), I ordered my first kiddy cocktail and I order a Chivas Regal on the rocks for my mom while was in the bathroom.I don’t remember what else we did on that trip, but I remember my mom driving the car while we listened to Marvin Gaye and Gladys Knight.
I decided that when I became a mother I would take each of my children on a weekend trip, just like my mom did with me. Next weekend is the first of those trips. I will take my daughter to the Goats Music and More Festival in Tennessee. She is obsessed with goats, LOVES them LOVES them. She saw an article in a Readers Digest magazine at the doctor’s office last year about this festival. Since then, she has been planning for us to go. Friday we head to Nashville where we’ll pick up our rental car and head out to Rock Creek Park in Lewisburg, Tennessee. We’ll stay there till mid day on Saturday when we’ll head back to Nashville to do some sightseeing, some swimming at the pool, relaxing in the hot tub, and hopefully, we’ll be able to find some good white food for my girl along the way. On Saturday evening we’ll head to the Grand Old Opry! I was reminded by a friend that I went to college with a guy who actually works for the Opry .He helped us get tickets and will be getting us a back stage tour! We plan to sleep in on Sunday and then head out to A Cowboy Town in Whites Creek where we’ll do some horseback riding, pan for gold and enjoy the Tennessee countryside.
I hope to give to her memories that she will cherish, similar to those that I have.
Cute goat print hanging in Aida’s room
A clay goat I made as a topper for Aida’s birthday cake last year