Since starting the overcoming overeating program, I cleaned out my closet of the clothes that no longer fit and that I didn’t like anymore. I went shopping for new clothes to fit my new shape, freaked out and resorted to buying 12 pairs of XL black leggings at $6 a pop from Target, leg warmers and a bunch of sweaters and long sleeve shirts from the 2nd hand store down the street. This has gotten me through the winter pretty smoothly, being as leggings are easy to put on- no need to squeeze my belly to zip up and button.
Well, my sister friend decided she was tired of seeing me in black leggings everyday and took me shopping for my birthday. She is a non-dieter and has read Overcoming Overeating. I was a bit terrified and excited at the same time. Terrified because shopping for clothes is usually a stressful and dramatic experience that has left me feeling awful and headed for a binge as soon as I escape the dungeon of a dressing room with its trickster mirrors. To calm down, I kept reminding myself that my current size is a result of my genetic heritage, aging, history/relationship with food and history/relationship with dieting and history of exercise. Luckily, we kept having to reschedule our shopping date, so I had ample time to mentally prepare. Don’t pay attention to the “size”, just get what fits and looks good on me is what I kept telling myself. Oh and breathe.
Tuesday we finally went. I sat in the dressing room and she brought me different sizes to see what “size” I fit now. And then we tried on what looked good in that “size”. I basically sat in the dressing room while she brought me clothes to try which was pretty neat. I felt like a little girl shopping with mommy and a star shopping with my personal stylist all at once. I went through soooo many emotions in that dressing room. At moments on the verge of tears and then the next moment breathing and accepting and feeling good. If I had been alone, I would have ran out of the store and straight to a bakery! But it was quite a pleasant experience. She even noticed that my bra no longer fit my current shape and she fitted me for a new one. I’ve been wearing the same bra size since I was a teenager and would have never gone up to the size we did on my own. I didn’t realize I needed too. But now I’m seeing with new eyes. Although I’ve been doing mirror work and I thought my breasts were bigger- it didn’t compute. And I didn’t realize that the side area counted as breast. I’m finally out of a B cup! lol
She also “tricked” me by taking us to eat before we went shopping. When we were in the fitting room and I said that I shouldn’t have eaten first and she said that it’s best to eat (if you’re hungry of course) because you get a more
accurate read on how you will feel in the clothes in everyday life. So when you do eat, there is comfortable room in your clothes for a satisfied belly. After the shopping I was having a little anxiety and felt an urge to eat, but since I was still full from our midday eating experience, I didn’t eat again until much later.
It was a pleasant experience and I feel I can do it on my own (without freaking out) next time. Having assistance made it fun and much less stressful. Oh yeah, and I cut the size tag out of the clothes when I got home. 🙂
In the teenage years to follow, I had dreams of running on the track team (and being skinny), jumping high as a cheerleader (wearing short skirts and being skinny), dancing pirouettes across a stage( and being skinny), dancing in a Luke Skywalker video (shaking my butt and being skinny), being a model with long luxurious hair (that hung down my skinny back) and being in front of somebody’s camera- smiling, running my mouth and doing something fun and entertaining (wearing amazing clothes and being skinny). I just knew whatever I wanted to be, involved being skinny and I wasn’t skinny.
Unfortunately, as a young girl, I didn’t have a clue about what I was and what I wasn’t. My body is changing. Things are growing, popping out and sprouting up. And I developed into a more womanly body much quicker than many of my peers. In my attempt to stop what was coming, I began dieting. In an attempt to deal with the realities of home life, school life, inner self life, and life in a society that promises a happy life to The Thin & The Skinny, I began the tumultuous diet/binge cycle. I began the Change Your Shape, Change Your Life Game that Jane Hirschmann & Carol Munter speak of.
The funny thing is that when I look at pictures of my younger self, I wasn’t even fat. I was a southern girl who was raised on southern food-minus the chitterlings. My body shape was the result of my genetic heritage, aging and lifestyle. I tried so hard to fix something that wasn’t broken. I have come to learn that dieting is never about the food or the body.
Finally after 20 years, I am getting out of the game. This site is about breaking the diet/binge cycle, healing eating disorders, learning to eat from physiological hunger opposed to emotional eating and learning to love my own self.
If you or someone you love is struggling with these issues, please join me. I do not have all the answers. I’m learning. This is not about a magic cure or pill. There is no promise of perfection after you lose x amount of weight in x amount of time. This site is about loving, living, caring, nurturing, giving, accepting myself, yourself. We are already perfect and so friggin AMAZING!!
The more I tell a young man to pull up his pants, the further he will sag them. The more I tell my girlfriend that her boyfriend is no good, the tighter she will cling to him. When I tell a child to stop doing that, she can’t wait to do it again. The more I tell women & girls what size to be, what color to be, how tall to grow, how much to weigh, how to style her hair, what clothes to wear this year, what foods to eat today and how to shape her butt-boobs-belly, something really amazing happens. She tries & often succeeds in varying degrees to do just that! She cuts, squeezes, burns, fasts, restricts, constricts, dyes, twists, suffocates, stuffs, lifts, tightens, contorts, bends, blends, stretches, sucks, tames her body to fit into the acceptable female body box. It’s absolutely fascinating to watch her to do this. And even better, we get filthy rich day after day from her efforts.
We train one and she teaches her daughters, cousins, sisters, best friends and everyone she encounters to do it too. She becomes a champion campaigner for our cause. Even women that fail miserably try and try again. Regardless of her body screams of rebellion, she continues to beat it into the box. Regardless of her own personal tastes, she will eat what ever we say as long as the reward is the acceptable female body box. She will even go against her own body need for food to fit. She will attempt to curb her appetite with any product we sell her. She will not eat, as if eating is an abnormal act. And she will spend decades & thousands of dollars on or off what we call a diet. Did she never realize that the first three letters in the word diet are d-i-e? HaHaHa. LOL. What silly women! Her own body even knows it. Why does she think The Diet fails and she gains the weight back, has to exercise like an athlete to keep it off, is always “falling off the diet”, it gets harder and harder to lose the weight each time (thanks to her smart body’s survival switch), and is constantly seeking a new diet? I’m scared to wonder what will happen when women stop hating their bodies and stop listening to us. I’m quite sure we will be out of a job. But for now, we are safe. The New Year is approaching and millions will sign up for the game of Change Your Shape, Change Your Life once again. Chi Ching $$$$
I never considered myself to be an overeater compulsive eater. I just thought myself to Be Fat and that I Ate Too Much and that I feel fat and that I have
no self discipline or s elf control. And then you come along and say, “Fat is not a feeling.” I say, “The hell it ain’t! Hell yeah it is!!! I feel fat pretty much all day everyday! What the hecky are you talking bout?!” LOL I can laugh now but I was serious then.
After my initial shock at this concept, I thought about it. It’s true. Fat really isn’t a feeling. Fat is just fat. Having excess fat in my body is just that. Do I feel it? I’m not so sure anymore. I am learning to identify what my true feelings are, instead of transferring my emotional feelings into a one size is not fitting me feeling of fat. What I really feel is pain, discomfort, anger, frustration, inadequate, shame, foolish, powerless, vulnerable, confused, loveless, Hungry, Angry, Lonely and Tired (H.A.L.T.). And these feelings have nothing to do with how much I weigh that particular month, if my jeans fit that day, what diet I’m starting Monday or breaking by Tuesday. Although I may not feel all of those emotions right now, I have over the course of my life. And dieting has never alleviated the anxiety. It’s just given me something else to focus on. It’s really given me even more anxiety, headaches, pain and discomfort. It’s given me many bruises all over my body from “falling off the wagon” and beating myself up. Years spent attempting to fix something that wasn’t broken. Me. Years spent hating my body. Trying to squeeze it, burn it, fast it, speed it up, sweat it away, suck it in, carve it, shape it, dissolve it, empty it, starve it, flush it, and lose it. So many years spent trying to get rid of what I have. Why? For who? For what? What is really fueling the wanting of being a new person in 30 days or 60 days or 90 days or 12 weeks or by spring or by summer or by the holidays or after New Years Day. Lose it. Find it again. Gain it again. Be miserable. Find a new diet and then restart the cycle for the 100th time.
“A moment on the lips, a lifetime on the hips”, a phrase I wish I’ve never heard. It’s such a joy stealer.
What will happen as I stop hating my body?
(from When Women Stop Hating Their Bodies by Jane Hirschmann & Carol Munter)
1. learn to eat when, what and how much my body needs
2. overcome my fear of living a diet free life
3. look in the mirror, love and accept what I see.
4. decode my fat talk to reveal my real concerns & feelings
5. stop trying to measure up to society’s ridiculous and impossible standards of female beauty
6. learn to accept myself and all body shapes as well as my feelings- unconditionally
There are many programs, plans and systems out on the market and in books that promote a non diet approach to lasting weight-loss. They lie. The only way to stop dieting is to stop dieting.
This blog is about me me meme me me me. Not my mommy. Stop being a busy body Safiar. Trying to fix somebody that doesn’t need fixing. Didn’t you just say “I ain’t broke and I don’t need fixing?” Well, she ain’t broke either. And neither of us are victims. Breaking a cycle. Sending love to my mommy and all the mommy’s around the world that have Chosen. Now I am free to choose for my own life.
“A feminist perspective to the problem of women’s compulsive eating is essential if we are to move on from the ineffective blame-the-victim approach and the unsatisfactory adjustment model of treatment.” Susie Orbach from Fat is a Feminist Issue
So I get to the last paragraph of an awesome book. The first line is so hot and pointed, I have to share this! With who? My mother being the critical thinker she is, would get this. She needs to read this line. So I text her- “Compulsive eating is an individual protest against the inequality of the sexes.” Wow! She texts me back- ” I don’t believe it. Compulsive eating is a compulsion. That’s a brain issue that needs to be solved. I do not believe that we eat compulsively because we are mad at men. If that was true, happy women would not be compulsive.”
Whoa doggy. That didn’t go well. Definitely not the response I expected. I’m so glad I didn’t send her anything from the introduction of the book. Like that “Fat also expresses the tension in the mother-daughter relationship, the relationship which has been allocated the feminization of the female. This relationship is bound to be difficult in a patriarchal society because it demands that the already oppressed mothers become the teachers, preparers and enforcers of the oppression that society will visit on their daughters.” I can hear her response now. “You’re blaming me because you’re fat and eat too much?”
My dream of her saying, “Wow! Tell me more!”, quickly diminished. My hope of the sentence spear penetrating her very core and switching on the light, freeing the both of us, was met with the very emotional blocks the book speaks of. My excitement got away from me. I have a quirk. Whatever I learn, I want to share with everyone I think it will help. One of the guidelines of my new diet free lifestyle, is to leave other people and their shyt alone. Discuss Diet-Free-Way-To-Be with only people who are 100% supportive and understanding of what I’m doing. Do not push it on anybody else. And cease from having “I’m fat, I need to work out, I’m going on a diet, I need to lose weight, I’ve gained weight, This is why I’m fat” conversations with anyone. Especially women. Especially men. Oops.
I text her back that I didn’t think that that is what she, being the author, is saying. I just found it interesting and I thought you would too. My bad. I refrained from texting her the book word by word. I refrained from calling and attempting to explain my nu found religion. I just let it go. She responded that she didn’t have any context and how am I doing? When am I coming to visit?
She’s right. I didn’t give her any context. I have read three books so far that have put me on a nu path. The Tao of Fuck You! I’m Amazing and I Ain’t Going On A Diet Ever Again! The funny thing is that her initial response made perfect sense and gave me a prime example of the societal programming many of us are under. A woman. A Yankee. A college graduate. A mother. An academic. A wife. Slaving over a hot stove. Preparing homemade biscuits from scratch for her southern husband and her two, three, four, no five children. A woman who would rather be in a library than making fried chicken and banana pudding. From scratch. Preparing meals, frequent trips to the grocery store. Milk eggs cheese bread. Six people need to eat and you want to be as far away from the kitchen, laundry, cleaning, housekeeping as possible, but can’t be. Somebody wants sweet tea, white rice, fried fish, spaghetti, sandwiches and Kool-Aid. You love it. You hate it. No freedom. A 24/7 nurturer and caretaker. Maid. No alcohol. No cigarettes. No anti-depressants. Only a sweet treat here and there. Everywhere. Run, Run, Run to your bedroom. You know the second someone has turned on the stove. You scream, “Turn off the stove, it’s HOTT!!!” A walking thermastat. Tethered to a buttered roll that feeds you and your family. Secretly resenting the damn roll. And maybe even the Role.
In 1978, I am born and the book Fat is a Feminist Issue by Susie Orbach is published with my hot and pointed sentence included in last paragraph, first sentence. “Compulsive eating is an individual protest against the inequality of the sexes.” Compulsive eating is not about a brain problem that needs to be solved. I ain’t broke and I don’t need fixing! Susie Orbach writes that ” Fat is not about food. Fat is about protection, sex, mothering, strength, assertion and love. Fat is a response to the way you are seen by your husband, mother, boss and yourself.” Although, I love this book, I’m glad I didn’t read it first. I read Overcoming Overeating by Jane Hirschmann and Carol H. Munter first. This book gets you off the diet binge cycle immediately. It stopped me from dreading this holiday season, giving into the seasonal depression that is trying to pull me in, devising a plan to lose 80 pounds by my birthday December 23 and once that failed, making a new plan to lose it by February 1st, then March 1st, then April 1st and definitely by the spring. Laughing out loud. 🙂 Dieting is out. Living is in~
My current bibles: Overcoming Overeating by Jane Hirschmann and Carol H. Munter
When Women Stop Hating Their Bodies by Jane Hirschmann and Carol H. Munter
Fat is a Feminist Issue by Susie Orbach