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Sandwiches

I’m going to try to write everyday–it’s good for me to be consistent and I have a lot I want to talk about, but we’ll see. Sometimes I get exhausted or too busy or just too deflated to talk about something significant.

There’s two ways I know how to eat. 1) All the things. The “worst” possible things I can find, in huge quantities. Drive thrus, delivery, convenience stores. 2) None of the things. Salad, with a protein on top if I’m feeling brave. A boiled egg. A low carb protein bar. A 100 calorie pack of god knows what. Popcorn.

Nowadays, I’m working hard to learn how to nourish my body. I’m “allowed” (by me, because listen y’all, I’m only listening to me from here on out) to eat anything I damn well please, and I do. I still go to drive thrus and convenience stores, and get way more delivery and takeout than I can actually afford. I never eat fucking diet food anymore, unless I actually want it, like I sometimes still want popcorn or a hard-boiled egg.

But more and more, when I discover that I am hungry–and that’s hard enough to do without waiting so long that I’m panicking–that’s not what I want. I want something that is going to make me feel good and be satisfying. Funny, that I should want those things. 😜

Small problem. I have no idea how to feed myself that way. Forty-fucking-two years old, and No. Fucking. Clue. I’m not kidding. I feel like it sounds dumb; everyone around me seems to pack delicious, reasonable, nourishing lunches like noodles, or chunky soup, or cool bento boxes full of little fun things like hummus. People seem to go home and eat dinners that they cook or prepare or whatever, at tables with other people and silverware and such. Not weird rabbit diet food, but not giant piles of delivery chinese either.

All I can handle so far are sandwiches. With my nutritionist’s help, I’ve managed a few pb&js and one or two turkey sandwiches. Turns out, there is bread out there that is actually yummy, and mayo doesn’t have to be measured out by the teaspoon. Also turns out that pb&j is delicious if you don’t use fucking powdered peanut butter and low-sugar jelly. Turns out those things are allowed. Turns out, if I eat those things, I don’t need deep fried cookie dough in the mid-afternoon. Turns out, pb&j is not the devil.

What will turn out next?

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My Story

A whole new world

About six months ago, I started to work with a new nutritionist. I’ve been dieting, weight cycling, and bingeing since I was about 10 or 12 years old, so I’m an old hand with nutritionists. I had a psychologist who specialized in eating issues, and she suddenly left private practice, and I had no one to talk to anymore, and I panicked. I told my regular psychologist about this and, a week later, she had a name.

With apprehension, I went to meet this new nutritionist. Every nutritionist is different but they always have charts and lists and forms and numbers. This one didn’t. She wanted to know about my dieting life, how I felt about myself–my body and my size and my weight and my eating. And she asked me what was wrong with me as I was.

Why was I at war with myself? Was I a lesser person because my body was bigger than almost everyone else’s? Did I somehow “deserve” to suffer shame, stigma, self-hatred?

I had no answer to those things. So I started to think. I thunk. It made no sense–if I was, as I clearly was, unhealthy as I was, then surely the right thing was to fight my body, hate my body, attempt to forcibly shrink my body. Surely I simply hadn’t yet–in 30 years of dieting–found the right path to force myself to finally give up eating? That’s how I thought about it–give up eating.

She pushed. She got me reading–Intuitive Eating first, then, when she felt I was ready, Body Positive Power. She got me talking to others who had similarly disordered eating. She more-or-less forced me to go on Instagram and look at some of the amazing people who share of themselves in that forum.

It worked, all of a sudden, like an earthquake. One morning I woke up and I was there. I spent an entire day and night looking at fat women and plus size clothing options on the internet. With my husband, who was not unappreciative of the new visuals.

Of course, I’m still fighting. Forty years of mental habits don’t vanish overnight. There are many bad hours and bad days. But the future is now and I am in it. My nutritionist has told me again and again that I need to tell my story.

Very few of the fat-positive, body-liberation folks on Insta are nearly as old as I am. Aging sucks sometimes, and pairing it with being an “infinifat” (a new term I learned today and find charming) is fraught with peril. I brushed her off, because, frankly, I have a life. I have an excellent job in a conservative industry. I have a wonderful marriage. I have hobbies and a social life. I don’t need, or have time for, a blogging habit. It could even hurt my career.

So why am I here? I’m here because every single goddamned time I tell a woman friend about my new perspective, they are blown away and desperate for help, advice, sympathy, you name it. Today a friend I hadn’t seen in a while started weeping when I spoke to her about body positivity and self acceptance. Last week an acquaintance with whom I went for drinks for the first time spent an hour interrogating me about the changes in me and who/what/when/where/how.

Maybe no one will ever read this story, and that’s fine. It’s helpful for me to put things down while they are fresh even if I am the only audience. But if even one person gets something from hearing about my journey, it will have been worth it. So here we go.