I like when I have to think

Big Liberty, in her response to my latest post in Intuitive Eating said (in part):

Of course, it’s a slippery slope from saying it’s okay to restrict and unrestrict based on personal health, and then it’s okay to restrict to lose weight, which some would argue is also for personal health. The difference is that weight loss is temporary, its effects are temporary, and as one’s system gets to that “low-flame” state, one will cease to lose weight on the same diet, and even start gaining it back. Losing weight is basically just an exercise in self-harm.  

That part I bolded there just blew me away when I read it.  I’ve never actively thought about it in that way.

Yes, I’ve agreed with writers (too numerous to link to) who’ve talked about how losing weight to fit in with society’s standards is not being true to the self.  I’ve even agreed when I’ve read different blogger’s feelings about fat trolls, that it’s fear (that they’ll end up fat and sick) and jealousy (that the fatties are — presumably — eating everything they deny themselves) that keep them attacking us. 

I’ve posted in a few different places about the Minnesota Experiment.  I’ve equated dieting to lose weight with starvation a few times.

And yet, I’ve never seen the relationship to dieting and self-harming.

Sometimes, I miss the obvious (and sometimes I make understatements too).

I’ve struggled for a good part of my life with self-harm.  The past couple of days, since I read that comment, I’ve been looking back on my life, and seeing the correlation in my own life between self-harm and dieting to lose weight.  Every time I was in the worst episodes of self-harm (until a few years ago), I either started a new extremely strict diet, or modified the diet I was already on to be even stricter.   I never made the connection until this week.

A very long time ago, when I was with my first counselor, and very trapped in the diet mentality, one day I told her that to work on my self-confidence, I was going to lose weight.  During the session we talked about how I was planning on doing it.  I told her I was going to be “gentle with myself” and only lose 5 pounds a week.  She challenged me on how 5 pounds a week might not be a realistic goal, and that it wasn’t “being gentle with myself”, especially after she heard how I intended to do it (reduce calories to 800 per day and exercise at least two hours per day). 

I went home and thought about it all week, and came back the next week and told her that she was right, I was being too hard on myself.  Instead of having my goal be 5 pounds lost per week, I was going to have my goal be 20 pounds lost per month.

The thing is, I really didn’t see how it was the same goal.  My counselor tried to help me understand, and understand that I wasn’t being “gentle with myself” in the way I was wanting to lose weight.  I never understood while I was seeing her.  It took years before I realized what I had said and believed.  And when I did, the effect was like this statement is having on me now.

If dieting to lose weight is supposed to be about loving yourself, and loving yourself enough to “let the thin person come out”, then why does it create such body hate?  How can that be about self-love?  I mean, if I love myself, I’m not going to do anything to harm myself, and starvation or semi-starvation is harm.  I know it when I see the TV commercials pleading for money to send to the starving children in (fill in country here).  So why don’t I know it when I am doing it to myself?

Am I the only one who had that disconnect?  Who didn’t see how dieting can be equated to self-harming behavior, even when equating it to semi-starvation and starvation? 

This one statement has given me a lot to think about.  Thank you, Big Liberty, for giving me so much food for thought.


Another Post on Intuitive Eating

Spawned from things I’ve been reading on the fatosphere in the past couple of days.

First, I read There are Diets, and then there are DIETS by meowser, who linked to Fillyjonk’s post Stumbling Towards Ecstacy.  Both of those articles gave me a lot to think about, and then I read On Diets by Big Liberty, and finally, Rebellion or Restriction? by sassyblonde.

Y’all have said so much and given me so much to think about.

It should be no surprise to long time readers that I struggle with doing IE right.  You know, correctly.  I wonder sometimes if it can really be as easy as eating what I want, when I want it.  And sometimes, I do question if I’m doing it all wrong.

All these posts have helped me to realize, again, I’m not doing it wrong.

But they’ve also addressed something I’ve not seen addressed a lot when people talk about Intuitive Eating.  That while a person doesn’t have to restrict any type of food (like they would on a diet to lose weight) there may be other reasons to restrict specific foods, that vary from individual to individual. 

I have a sensitivity to carbohydrates which triggers migraine for me.  As I also have PCOS, that gives me another sensitivity to carbohydrates, and while I do take Metformin which helps my body metabolize the carbohydrates better, I still have to be careful about how many carbohydrates I eat in a day, and how much protein I eat.  The more protein I eat, the more I can eat carbohydrates and not have migraines. 

However, there still is an upper limit of how many carbohydrates I can eat, no matter how much protein or exercise I do.

I think I’m starting to get the idea that IE isn’t just about how a person can eat anything they want any time they want, but it’s also about what’s good for each person’s body, and what their body can and cannot eat.  Like meowser, I know some people who are diabetics who can have sugar and alcohol.  They know their body well enough to know how much insulin they need to take to offset the simple carb ingestion.  I also know people who can never eat anything with sugar in it again, due to how rapidly it causes their system to spike and possibly lead them to a diabetic coma.

The thing is, I already know this stuff.  In discussions with the MiL recently, I’ve said that what an individual body needs is what they should eat, and that only the individual who is in the body can make that call.  We were talking about MiL’s sister, who’s been having some liver problems lately, and been told by her doctors to cut down on protein ingestion.  MiL’s sister is also an insulin dependant diabetic, and has been for years.  MiL thinks all her sister’s health problems are related to her weight problems (MiL’s sister is obese), and that if she’d just lose the weight, she’d be so much better.

Of course, it’s hard for me to sit here and just listen to MiL decide how much good health everybody else would be in if they just lose weight.  So, we’ve been talking about how she doesn’t get to make the decision of what anybody else can and can’t eat.  That it’s up to what each individual body needs, and the only ones who can determine what they need are the people living in their bodies.

So, I’ve been saying the right things.  I even believe the right things — for other people.  It’s just when I am looking at this for myself I find I have problems.

Yes, IE means you can eat whatever you want, whenever you want.  As I understand it, IE is about giving up food restriction just to lose weight.  But there may be other reasons why a person has to restrict their food intake (like me and my carbohydrate trigger of migraines).  It’s still not a “one size fits all” mentality, not that anybody who I’ve heard or read who talks about IE has tried to make it that way.

In a sense, I’ve still got a “diet mentality” that I’m trying to get away from.  IE is supposed to be this thing, so I have to do it perfectly, or I’m not doing it right.

One of these days, I’ll really understand it.  The fact that I can understand it for others shows me I can understand it for me eventually.  And until then, I’ll keep working out the feelings that tell me I’m doing it wrong, and if I just had more willpower/determination/whatever I could do it right.  Of course, since there is no right and wrong in IE, that line of reasoning makes no sense.

Art Show and Fluffy topics

We are home from the Art Show, where I read the essay I wrote in front of about 50 people.   The show was really good, even if some of the images in the art were hard to look at. 

There was a huge quilt, at least the size of two king size bedspreads put together, made of nothing but blocks of hands.  Each hand print was another person who was a survivor of sexual assault in some manner.  All of the blocks had names on them, and many of the blocks had words.  A lot of the words were pain-filled, but there were two blocks in particular that caught my attention.  One read, “I have SURVIVED!” and looked almost triumphant as it was surrounded by blocks with either just hands and names or hands and pain-filled words.  The other block that really caught my attention read, “He didn’t steal my soul.”

Powerful words.

After we were home for a little bit, Conall and I went to our favorite sushi restaurant.  Okay, myfavorite sushi restaurant.  He always eats something else because he thinks raw fish is “ucky” and he also doesn’t like the seaweed in non-fish sushi.  Dinner was fantastic, as usual there.  On the way home, I asked him for some fluffy topics for this blog, as I still wasn’t quite feeling “fluffy” from earlier.

The smart alack my husband is, he replied with, “Dryer lint.”  I looked at him quizically, and he said, “A feather.”  I started laughing, and he kept going, “Puppy fur.  Goose down.  Snow in January.”

“Depends on the kind of snow,” I countered.

“The dry snow that doesn’t even bend a blade of grass,” he said, with a smile.

So, there’s the fluffy post for today.  Filled with puppy fur and dryer lint and what they call “powder” up on the ski slopes.  I hope you enjoyed!  (I did tell Conall I was going to post this, and he didn’t believe me.  He should know me better than that!)

The Butterfly Effect

This weekend is the art show, Finding Our Voices. It’s in honor of April being Sexual Assault Awareness Month.  I’m going to be speaking tomorrow (part of the art show is authors reading poetry and other things).

Because of that, I’ve been thinking a lot about sexual assault and abuse, and how it’s affected my life this week.  See, I’m a procrastinator.  I seem to do my best work right at the deadline.  So, I’m speaking tomorrow, and I’ve yet to write something specifically for this show (although I do have a back up plan should I not come up with anything).  I’m not worried.  Yet.

But I digress.  I’ve been thinking about the effects of the abuse in general and sexual abuse in specific in trying to get a feel for what I want to say tomorrow.  In talking with my heart sister about it (okay, while I was having a panic attack Tuesday night saying there was no way I could do this, there was no way I could actually, you know, talk about this in front of a crowd), something came up that has had me thinking even harder all week long.

It was a butterfly effect.  My heart sister, in trying to help me past the initial terror that I was going to break the “don’t tell” taboo, beat her wings in my life. 

She only echoed something my therapist had said earlier that day, when I was talking to him about my frustration of being stuck where I was.  About how, after 19 years of therapy (give or take) I should be a lot farther along than I am.  That I was feeling as if all this time in therapy wasn’t worth it because, while I could see where I’d been, and I could see where I wanted to be, I had no idea to get from where I was (somewhere in the middle) to where I want to be. 

In trying to help me to see that this frustration is normal, just part of the process, he used my journey of becoming sexually healthy to help me understand.  And I got what he said, but I didn’t get the bigger picture of what he said.  I even mirrored back to him what he was saying, “So this is like when I was a teenager and cold and wasn’t interested in anybody because I was too afraid all sex was going to be abusive like what I’d already experienced, and how I went from that to where I’m in a healthy, warm, and loving relationship with appropriate physical displays of affection, but when I was going through it all, I didn’t know how I was going to get from the former to the latter?”  (Yes, in therapy, I actually do talk like that.  I have a lot of years in therapy and have read a lot of self-help and psych books trying to understand myself better, always trying to heal.)

It wasn’t until later that night, when I was in a panic about breaking the “don’t tell” taboo, and my heart sister said almost the same thing (that I could talk about my path to being healed from the sexual abuse) that I realized what was being said.

Other people recognize health in my life, where I’ve not seen it, I’ve not recognized it.

For the past 19 years (longer really) I’ve been so focused on what is wrong with me that still needs to be fixed that I’ve not recognized where I’ve achieved the healing I’ve so long sought after.  The fact that I can be in a loving, warm, emotionally and physically intimate relationship with somebody shows the healing that has taken place, the health I have.

The butterfly effect. 

Every time since then that I’ve looked at Conall, it’s been with a different understanding of myself.   Conall’s noticed something has changed, but he hasn’t been sure what it is.  He says that I’m more confident now, and that (in his eyes) makes me more attractive. 

But this realizing that I’ve achieved health in one area I thought I was never going to heal in has helped me to have patience with myself in the areas I am still working on.  I don’t know where the gentle breeze of the butterfly wings flapping are going to blow me, but for now, I’m enjoying the ride.

Tomorrow I’m going to read something I wrote to an audience filled with strangers (and one familiar face).  I’m not terrified anymore.  I’m not panicking that I’m breaking the “don’t tell” taboo.  I’m very excited that I’m going to be able to do this.  Another outcome of my heart sister’s words to me.

Now all I have to do is write something worthy of the venue.  🙂

About that “Study”

On May 18, 2008, I wrote (in my private journal) this about the “study” that has surfaced again, you know, the one about how fat people are the cause of all the worlds ills.  I decided since they recycling the study, I’ll just recycle this post to a bigger audience. 


I’ve tried to find the study on the School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine site, and can’t find it at all. But I’m not alone. Others have tried to find it too, and can’t find it. Even googling Dr. Phil Edwards, Ian Roberts, the Lancet (the medical journal they were supposed to have published the report in) AND obesity in the same search criteria.

So I googled the name of one of the authors of the finding. The things that come up in google are either 1) fat bloggers up in arms about this so-called report, and 2) so-called news outlets just repeating the same thing, that it’s the fat people who are responsible for global warming and food shortages.

However, after 45 minutes of searching, I finally found:

According to ABC News, it was a LETTER to the Lancet (as opposed to a published study), written by Dr. Phil Edwards as a co-author, and who is a senior statistician at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Health.

Link here: http://abcnews.go.com/Health/Diet/story?id=4865889&page=1

It’s taken me some serious digging for this, to show the reality of this situation. It’s a statistician who’s making these “implications”. It wasn’t even a STUDY, but a LETTER in the Lancet.

And it was PURELY CALCULATIONS, not even a study based on actual data. Edwards maintains the rationale for his calculations is solid. Out of the roughly 6 billion people alive today, about one billion live in developed countries like the United States and the United Kingdom. It is in such countries that obesity rates are the highest. Edwards and his colleagues created a hypothetical model of these 1 billion people using the U.K. population as a template.

The researchers then divided the total amount of greenhouse gases generated by the world’s population — about 42 billion tons — equally among the world’s population. By this method, each billion-person segment would be responsible for about 7 billion tons of greenhouse gases every year. Edwards estimated that one-fifth of these greenhouse gases are generated through food production — in total, about 1.4 billion tons.

Tons of news outlets reporting something that wasn’t even a STUDY, but just something that numbers people came up with basically out of the blue.

And yet, almost Every. Single. News. Service out there is saying that these are experts, and that they are blaming the obesity epidemic for global warming, the economy failing, and food shortages.

THIS, ladies and gentlemen, is how hysteria is produced. Not very many people are going to sit for 45 minutes searching and searching and searching to find out the truth of the reporting.

And people wonder why I’m afraid of what the world is becoming? How this stupidity is being pushed? The sheeple of the world won’t look farther than their noses.

It’s a LETTER, not a study, for pete’s sake. But then, the true story of a couple of statisticians who wrote a letter blaming fat people for all the world’s ills just isn’t as newsworthy, is it? Even if it’s TRUE!

(I won’t talk about how the ABC news report epically fails by adding in the opinion:

“Certainly at an individual level, it stretches the imagination to think that this knowledge would be the tipping point for an obese person to finally make the commitment to lose weight.” , director of the Southern California Evidence-Based Practice Center for the RAND Corporation. “Even if it is true, which it probably is, I doubt this would have any beneficial effect.Shekelle”Obese people don’t need to be told that they may contribute a disproportionate share to the global warming problem,” said Dr. Paul

Cuz, gee, that’s certainly not going to have me try yet another frustrating diet — frustrating when I CAN’T lose the weight, not don’t want to lose the weight. I mean, with me being so selfish and all that. No, really, I have no care whatsoever about the earth, and leaving it to my step-daughter and her children and their children and their children. Gah!)

Edit to add: In one article (http://news.sky.com/skynews/article/0,,91251-1316270,00.html?f=rss), they did tell how they came up with the 18% more consumption level.


in the healthy range of 24.5 consumed a total of 2,500 calories per person per day.BMIThey estimated that populations with an averageof 29 required 2,960 calories per person per day – an extra 18% of food energy.BMIBut an obese population with an average

Well, lets see, if I eat AS MUCH AS 2500 calories a day, I get sick from too much food. And I know athletes and body builders and TEENAGERS (my own kidlet as one example) who eats far more than 2500 calories a day. Their ‘research’ is down right wrong. That’s what you get for letting a statistician do a researchers job.

The cynic in me is wondering just what diet plan/company funded the so-called research.

Article for Discussion

I saw this link on Twitter from Rachel over at The-F-Word.

The article is “Which is Worse These Days:  Being Called Fat or Whore?”

It seems almost impossible for people to talk about their food without invoking a larger meaning. I do not know anyone for whom food is simply sustenance. And perhaps it has always been this way; a cellular mechanism designed for survival in lean times. The colloquial term for this is food porn. And our infatuation with it is growing. If the proliferation of food blogs is any indication, then food has become the new sex and our obsession with regulating food, the new national religion.

Mary Eberstadt of the Stanford-based think tank the Hoover Institute, has noticed this change but in addition to the deifying of food she adds the secularization of that other great appetite: sex. In an interesting switch, food and sex have completely reversed their roles in society. And all within only a matter of two generations.

Think of it: what if humans were given access to limitless food and sex. The bottomless cup of hedonism, if you will. What does common sense dictate that we would do? Most would think we would become unrestrained in both areas, succumbing with equal glee to both gluttony and promiscuity. Yet for the first time in history we have a very large society in exactly this situation and the answer is not what anyone expected.

Eberstadt illustrates her point by using the example of Betty, a 1950’s housewife, and her contemporary granddaughter Jennifer summing up their attitudes by saying, “Betty thinks food is a matter of taste, whereas sex is governed by universal moral law; and Jennifer thinks exactly the reverse.”

The second link, the one in the block quote, goes to the full article talked about in the first link (and is written from a decidedly and unabashedly Western viewpoint, but also the author states she’s talking about more affluent Western nations).   She takes an arbitrary fictional example, but it’s not so far off from people I know (both people who grew up in or were adults in the 50’s and people who grew up in the 90’s are are adults today).

It makes interesting claims about the juxtaposition of the immorality of sex (pre-70’s) to the immorality of food (now).  While I don’t agree with everything that’s written, it’s definitely food for thought.

Time Tested Beauty Tips

I’m not one to pass on beauty tips, but I got this in email, checked the veracity of it (and found the real author) and decided to pass this on.  I hope you all enjoy!


Time Tested Beauty Tips


For attractive lips, speak words of kindness.


For lovely eyes, seek out the good in people.

For a slim figure, share your food with the hungry.

For beautiful hair, let a child run his or her fingers through it once a day.

For poise, walk with the knowledge you’ll never walk alone.

People, even more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed; Never throw out anybody.

Remember, If you ever need a helping hand, you’ll find one at the end of your arm.

As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands, one for helping yourself, the other for helping others.

The beauty of a woman is not in the clothes she wears, the figure that she carries, or the way she combs her hair. The beauty of a woman must be seen from in her eyes, because that is the doorway to her heart, the place where love resides.

The beauty of a woman is not in a facial mole, but true beauty in a woman is reflected in her soul. It is the caring that she lovingly gives, the passion that she shows, and the beauty of a woman with passing years only grows!

Sam Levenson