I don't buy fashion magazines. I avoid full-length mirrors when I can. I work hard at not engaging in guilty whispers with other women about how fat we are and how we should be exercising more and we should be eating less. I eat anything and everything. I avoid food rules. I abhor the culture that glorifies skinny while ignoring actual skinny people who are that way because they can't afford food. I work at not judging my value by the numbers on the scale, or by the number of indents in my thigh. Inner and outer. I put (Brian's) scale up high so I won't be tempted to climb onto it and so that my daughters won't fall into the trap that I did at their age.
But I have times when I am fat. Embarrassingly fat. Encumbered by fat. Obsessed with fat. And I search my mind for ways to lose weight. To return to that weight where things fit better. Felt better. I dream about it. Conscious and asleep.
And this is a trap, decorated in numerous red flags. I've learned too much to diet. I know its unwise, and a seemingly innocent "first step" to falling down the rest of the stairs, broken and bruised, down into the hell of obsession and possession.
But I hate my weight. And then because I am frustrated, and "too evolved" to diet it off, I just turn it inward and hate myself. Which I hate. And when I hate myself, I want to improve, and to improve, I want to lose weight. But I can't because I won't diet.
Couple that with the fact that my disorder is closely enmeshed with my emotional health. Stress me out, embarrass or frighten me, or throw life into overdrive, and my brain goes straight to default: must control. Must manipulate body.
Sometimes if the stress level gets high enough, it all sort of works itself out in a dysfunctional way. I get upset enough to feel nauseated and I can't eat. I feel myself begin to lose weight. I rejoice in my stress. But here's where things get weird. (er)
I feel frightened.
The looser feeling in the rear of my jeans scares me. As much as I've been craving it and dreaming it and desiring it, I'm scared. And my appetite returns. My ass returns. And I hate it.
(Anyone still with me?)
What I really need is peace in my head and in my heart. The irony is that when I have that peace, the fat falls off without me becoming obsessed with it. My recovery was largely thanks to Geneen Roth, author and speaker whose sensible, rule-free approach to making peace with food and body resonated with me like nothing else. So, many times over the past nine years, I have picked up her books, determined that I will once again find my way. But her words fall on rocky ground. I continue to eat mindlessly. I continue to abhor my body. I go back to considering desparate measures like the cabbage soup diet or something equally revolting.
I need a gifted surgeon to separate all the entangled stuff in my brain so that I can think/behave straight again.
Or maybe a lobotomy.