Saturday, January 31, 2015

Food History Pt. 1

It might be interesting for you readers to know that I type this whole blog with one finger on my iPad while I nurse. Sometimes, when I get really excited, I use two fingers! (no wonder I haven't finished the sequel to my book yet) Anyway, I committed to at least one post a month, so you're getting a lot of bonuses. 

As I post this, it has officially been a month since I weighed myself! This is not a record yet - In 2011 I went about three months when my husband had an internship in Texas and we left most of our belongings in Utah, including my scale. It wouldn't fit in the car. 

Here's where I tell you what I've been thinking in regards to weight: only 11 months left till my next weigh-in! I guess I need to focus on doing more forgetting and less fantasizing about how many pounds I might lose between now and then.

I know I said I would tell you about my history with food in this post, but I want to be in-depth, and I think the easiest way to do that is a bit at a time. I also don't want to incriminate anyone as I go - this blog is about cleansing, not about blame. This means the act of telling is going to take a lot of thought.

As a child, I knew what was health and what wasn't: wild rice = healthy, chocolate = not. Some little things might have been cultural, some particular to our family, but I think I had a pretty good idea. To be skinny, you eat salad and don't add chocolate syrup to your milk. That was around age five.

At age six, I told a friend that I didn't eat white bread ( interestingly, I remember eating a rice crispy treat with no guilt that same week). She applied peer pressure - she wanted me to take just one bite. I refused, proud of myself and comparing it to a situation where I might be offered a cigarette in the future (I never have been offered a cigarette, thank goodness).

Around age eight I started recognizing who was thinner than me.

By age ten, I understood food consumption could be connected to emotions. I knew it was a bad idea to add too much brown sugar to my cream of wheat. I knew the blue ice cream at Maggie Moo's was the worst choice of ice cream you could make, made only worse if you topped it with crumbled Oreos.

I should point out that these are mostly black and white thoughts. Children are black and white thinkers, so it was obvious to me that there were "good" foods and "bad" foods. Emotional eating was a new idea, but it was hard for me to think about it too deeply because it was so complex.

At age eleven, I went on my first "diet."

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Thinness vs. Healthfulness

This week I've felt mostly hungry - translate, thin. It's been hard to not think about what I might weigh right now for that reason. When you spend more time being hungry, is there anywhere for your weight to go but down? 

One day the temptation was so bad that I took the scale from its hiding place on the top shelf of my closet and moved it to the garage. That definitely worked, temptation-wise. While I haven't thrown it away yet, part of me is still planning to. Pros to getting rid of it: I don't easily fall back into my old ways once 2016 comes, and any and all temptation is permanently thwarted. Cons: the rest of the family won't be able to access it. While my husband only weighs himself bi-annually, we like monitoring the kids' weight as they grow.

I want to clarify - I haven't been going hungry on purpose. I've just been short on time. What I really want to talk about: why does hungry equal thin? And why is thin such a good thing? I look at some people and think, "They could use an extra ten pounds," specifically when I can tell they work to stay where they are. I don't want to look like I've worked to look the weight I do. I hate it when people compliment how thin I look, or say stuff about how I look like I've never been pregnant. I don't want my body commented on unless someone says, "Wow, you're glowing," or "You look healthy." I don't want to talk about my weight. I want to move past weight as a defining characteristic and focus on who I am, and the work I've put into my HEALTH, not the work I've put into LOOKING a certain way.

Because I want you to think I'm healthy. THIN is not always the same as healthy. 

But maybe being thin IS being hungry. For many, it is. I don't like being hungry. And, really, hungry is not healthy. Feeling hungry is not necessarily a bad thing if it, say, means you're going through withdrawal from something addictive and you're actually craving the addictive item. But, outside of addictions, hunger is the body's natural signal that you're in need of either calories, fiber, or nutrients. So if I'm hungry, and that means my stomach's flatter than usual, that shouldn't mean I hold my shoulders back and my head a little higher because I feel particularly attractive that day. Having an empty stomach shouldn't be attractive (I'm not talking about spiritual fasting in these statements - that's an entirely different topic). What's attractive is when you're evidently giving your body what it needs, when you're taking care of yourself. I'm not THIN, and I know it. My body wasn't designed to be thin right now. It was designed to make, feed, and cuddle babies. I'm full of energy and thriving. The number on the scale, or even the number on my pants, is not what counts. What counts is vitality. Ability. Health - in both body and mind.

Lastly, I wanted to clear up something I didn't explain well in my last post: I didn't feel guilty about those homemade cookies. I'm just naturally weary of any food I feel as if I'm "losing control" over. Food and me? We have a history, and I'm careful where I tread when it comes to my attitude in everything I consume. Mental health and physical health go hand in hand. Before I could accomplish the spot I'm at now, physically, I went through a lot of mending when it came to how I thought about food. I know the warning signs, the signs that say I'm not thinking rationally about what I'm consuming. When that happens, I take measures to ensure I continue consuming food mindfully. I'm thinking I might need to explain my history with food thoroughly in my next post.

Thank you for reading! If there's anything you'd like to see me talk more about in regards to body image, or mental health in regards to food (eating disorders, etc.) please let me know. This blog is a cleansing tool for me, but I want to help others too, if I can.


adj.  thin·nerthin·nest
a. Relatively small in extent from one surface to the opposite, usually in the smallest soliddimension: thin book.
b. Not great in diameter or cross section; fine: thin wire.
2. Having little bodily flesh or fat; lean or slender.
a. Not dense or concentrated; sparse: the thin vegetation of the plateau.
b. More rarefied than normal: thin air.
a. Flowing with relative ease; not viscous: thin oil.
b. Watery: thin soup.
a. Sparsely supplied or provided; scanty: thin menu.
b. Having a low number of transactions: thin trading in the stock market.
6. Lacking force or substance; flimsy: thin attempt.
7. Lacking resonance or fullness; tinny: The piano had a thin sound.
8. Lacking radiance or intensity: thin light.
9. Not having enough photographic density or contrast to make satisfactory prints. Used of anegative.
1. In a thin manner: Spread the varnish thin if you don't want it to wrinkle.
2. So as to be thin: Cut the cheese thin.
tr. & intr.v.  thinnedthin·ningthins
To make or become thin or thinner.

[Middle English, from Old English thynnesee ten- in Indo-European roots.]

thin′ly adv.
thin′ness n.
thin′nish adj.

Thursday, January 8, 2015


Tonight I found myself making a list labelled "The Perfect Diet." This was following a day in which I was tired all day and couldn't stay away from a certain bag of cookies - cookies I myself had deemed 100% healthy, and therefore something I could eat as much of as I want. I'm all about these types of food, and my of doing things generally works for me. However, with these particular cookies I was in error. Why else would I think about them all day, sneaking bites between diaper changes and role playing with pigs and putting on my own Signing Time play? By 4 P.M. I had vowed to never make them again. By 6:15 they were gone. By 10:30 I was literally crying because I wanted them so badly.

Hormones were involved, of course. But just yesterday I told someone that not weighing myself kept motivating me to take a few bites less at each meal, worried I'd gain weight while I wasn't watching. She kind of gave me a look, which made me realize the flaw in what I was saying: wasn't the point of all this to gain a healthier mentality? I can't do that if I'm thinking about cookies or worried what it's going to do to me if I eat one more ladel of lentils.

I went back to the drawing board so I could bring back my focus. I don't have to do things 100% correct all at once. There's a lot of learning that comes with. You must retrain your body's expectations, as well as your mind's. The whole point of eating a "perfect" diet, to me, is specifically so I don't have to worry. I eat as much as I want, and feel great doing it. I guess grain-sweetened chocolate chips are a failed experiment.

Well, hey. At least I don't see any evidence of weight-gain. And I haven't even weighed myself! The numbers are feeling more distant, even though I spend a good chunk of time wondering - and still have that phantom impulse to step on the scale every morning and evening. This has replaced the time I used to spend calculating all manner of possibilities for my future weight - useless numbers that all relied on chance.

I think it's working. I'm not seeing the number anymore when I look at myself in the mirror. Instead, I've been admiring my hips a little more acceptingly. They actually look pretty good after all.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Day One

I weighed myself last night at 11:52 P.M. I forgot to check the time, so I'm glad I didn't accidentally break my resolution so soon. My weigh-in was low enough that I knew, if I weighed myself this morning, it would be a new low weight (still having a bit of post-partum weight loss even though, for all intents and purposes, I'm already in goal range). This morning, it was PAINFUL not to step on the scale. But I didn't do it. Even though I knew the number would make me feel skinny all day.

I am posting this the day after my final weigh-in. Nope, not telling you what it was - that would defeat the purpose of this blog. I know, I love seeing the numbers too. In fact, that's why we're here. I am breaking the cycle. I have promised the public (via this blog) that I will not weigh myself for the entire 2015 calender year. Gulp.

I regretted this whole thing the very next day after starting this blog. Sure, it's a nice idea. But WHAT ABOUT MY NUMBERS?? Okay, I'm really not worried that I'll gain weight. From a medical perspective, I'm healthy. From a holistic perspective, I should have sprouted wings and flown off into the perfection sunset by now.

There's still those pesky body image issues though. I've been working on them long and hard the past 5 years, and I think I'm almost there. I think I'm close to perfecting my self image (haha, wouldn't that be nice?) Getting away from the scale is what I perceive as the last step.

When I walk around, sometimes I feel like I have a big number pasted to my chest: 000.0. It's the number I saw that very morning, and it affects how I envision myself for the entire day.

We're getting rid of that.

Since the last time I posted, I've thought about the upcoming New Year's resolution with dread. Anxiety. I DON'T WANT TO DO THIS. But I will because I'm not a number. No one is a number. I'm just me, eating the way I know to eat to feel and perform my best.

And I'm not just doing this for myself. I'm doing this for my family. I'm doing this for everyone out there who can't look in the mirror without their most recent weigh-in coming to mind.

While everyone's out there deciding how much weight they're going to lose this year, I'm setting a different sort of resolution. I'm resolving NOT TO KNOW. It's scary. But my body knows what it's doing. My body will tell me if something's wrong. It's time to trust my body, not a piece of technology.

I will report in on how things are going at least once a month.