Fillyjonk, Food

How’d you do it, redux

When Kate and Sweet Machine went to see Joy Nash on Saturday night, Joy was being filmed for an MTV show about fat-positivity. In an unprecedentedly out-of-touch move, MTV had actually contacted me about doing that show, but I turned them down for several reasons — I’m too old and uncool (I haven’t watched MTV since The State and Beavis and Butthead), I’m far too cynical and thinky, and I’m a bit private. Plus, I was really hoping they’d go for a charismatic person like Joy, who is beautiful and energetic and thrives on publicity.

But I did talk to the associate producer on the phone, and while it handily confirmed for her that I would be no good on TV, it was significantly less decisive for me. It actually derailed me pretty hard. Because she wanted to know how I got over an eating disorder. And I just didn’t know the answer.

Part of the problem, of course, is that the honest answer is “I didn’t.” You never really do. Just as being fat changes your body weight setpoint, disordered eating changes your relationship-with-food setpoint, so that what’s easy for other people (like eating when you’re hungry) is a struggle for you. And it took me a long, long time to get to a place where I even thought that struggle was worthwhile. Even in my first year of graduate school, when I thought I’d left “kid habits” like purging behind me, I was still eating approximately once a day. When I lived alone and got sick or snowed in, a friend would have to bring me food, or I would just go without. My refrigerator was hilarious. At one point I believe it contained half a bottle of white wine gone to vinegar, a box of baking soda, a bottle of water, and a grape stem with a couple of raisiny grapes clinging to it. This particular fridge condition persisted for months. I did eat, but only when it was effortless; I certainly couldn’t be bothered to bother to feed myself. And I didn’t see any problem with this. I wasn’t thin, and I sure wasn’t hungry, so what could possibly be wrong?

But since severely restricted eating is the norm, or at least the hotly-pursued goal, in this society, I was in good company. I can’t speak for every cultural tradition, but I know that if you grow up white, Western, and female, you probably get your feelings about food warped at an early age. It took me years to recognize that hunger and satiety were both worthy goals, and that’s when my relationship with food became atypical — not before, when I thought that recognizing hunger was a failing and feeding it was even worse. So when I have to steel myself up to eat something just because I want it, I’m not just fighting my personal history; I’m fighting decades of cultural history as well. This is true for many people, and that’s part of why the MTV interview threw me so hard — since I couldn’t say how I got over it, and since my particular struggles are so common, I started wondering whether I’d even really had an eating disorder in the first place. That’s how fucked-up the standard relationship with food really is — I questioned whether years of restriction and purging really constituted an eating disorder. Were they not, perhaps, merely a quirk?

I think MTV wanted me to say something easy, something like “I went to Overeaters Anonymous” or “I make sure to eat at least 1500 calories a day” or “I consider the food pyramid a religious icon.” Or even “I went through extensive therapy to reconsider my feelings about food.” They wanted a version of the “I quit emotional compulsive eating by going on Weight Watchers” story; that would have meant that I had a real problem that I was properly atoning for. I didn’t do any of these easy fixes, though, because they’re not fixes: you can’t replace disordered eating with a different kind of disordered eating. If you replace compulsive eating with a restrictive diet, or compulsive dieting with a 12-step program, you’re just giving the problem a new name — like I did when I was a kid and quit sucking my thumb by starting to bite my nails. I got over my eating disorder, to the extent that I did, by just getting over it. I stopped giving food that much importance. I stopped making fat my scapegoat. I let go of the idea that anybody gave a rat’s patoot if I ate ice cream in public. It was slow and it isn’t over, but for the first time in my life I’m not replacing dysfunction with dysfunction.

There are some great blogs out there to inspire people who are struggling. I read and cheer for everything that Good With Cheese writes, even when she’s momentarily losing the fight. We all do that sometimes. This is good, because there’s no easy answer for “how did you get over it”; it’s a long process, and blogs like Good With Cheese make that clear. But while I can’t give a simple answer, I can offer a couple of ways to loosen your dependence on the Holy Regimen:

  • Take up a physically and mentally demanding activity. Kate has talked about how yoga put her in tune with her body; I’ve found the same thing with yoga and with dance. And my college fencing team, though as rife with interpersonal drama as any other college sports team, was instrumental in helping me figure out how to relate to my body — and, perhaps more importantly, in giving me the personal discipline to quit dieting. It sounds counterintuitive, but because you’re going against the grain, it can take more willpower not to diet. Activities that require focus and proprioception will help you in a way that watching Oprah from the elliptical never will. (And I love the elliptical, don’t get me wrong.) ETA: The always astute Meowser has pointed out that this needn’t be a “sport” or anything that recalls gym class. Musical instruments, meditation, tai chi, sculpture — anything that requires concentration and bodily awareness will do.
  • Take up… anything else. Disordered eating often feels like a compensation for your other shortcomings — fat becomes the scapegoat for personal dissatisfaction. If you’ve got a full life, you have nothing to scapegoat, not to mention no time to count calories. I suck at this one, by the way, but that doesn’t make it any less important.
  • Get angry. Read Kate’s blog, read Pandagon, read the news, get on the mailing list for your favorite organization. Social justice causes are, in my opinion, all connected. If you can learn to advocate for something, even just inside your head — if you can become an angry feminist, an angry progressive, an angry animal rights activist, if you can make your issues inflame and motivate you — then you can learn to advocate for your own needs. If you can recognize miscarriages of justice, you can learn to be more fair to yourself.
  • Cook, or find someone to cook for you. Yeah, sometimes it is about food. Learning to see food as something besides a necessary inconvenience can make the difference between really letting go of your disorder, or just replacing it with a new dysfunction. When I was generally managing to feed myself, I thought I was okay, but I didn’t really learn what “okay” was until I moved in with someone who cooks for me. This is the second-hardest one for me, and when I’m out of the house I definitely have a tough time seeing food as anything but a burden. But now it’s also a family event, something that is emotionally nourishing as well as physically — not to mention being tasty. And it’s something I still have control over (“no I don’t want peppers,” “yes I do want veggie sausage,” “all I want tonight is orzo”) without having to control it via restriction. This would be even more the case if I learned to cook myself. That one’s too hard for me right now, but if you can do it, it’s a great way to relate to food as a source of pleasure and nourishment.

That’s my answer, or part of it. It’s boring and difficult and people with Food Issues are liable to feel like I’m leaving them empty-handed, with nothing to count or give up or venerate or fret over. But just as you can’t go on a diet and expect to succeed long-term, you can’t go on a dieting diet either. You have to learn new ways to nourish yourself, not new things to deny yourself.

39 thoughts on “How’d you do it, redux”

  1. Thanks for this. I’m afraid I can’t really comment on much of it, but for me cooking is definitely key to eating real food, and I’m lucky to both be able to cook myself and have a boyfriend who also enjoys it.

    On a technical note: I tend to read this blog via the RSS feed. Is there any chance it can be tweaked to show who’s posting? It’s mildly entertaining working out which of you it is by what you write, but I can imagine getting it horribly wrong.

  2. You know, I haven’t got Clue One about this. I’ll consult with Kate when she’s back from vacay, but honestly I wonder whether my original klugey solution (putting a line at the top that says “posted by Fillyjonk”) isn’t the best one, considering that it sidesteps the RSS issue and lets us use a more readable template. Hm.

    Anyway, thanks for bringing this up… we’ll work on it.

  3. You’ve been through quite a lot of strife.

    No, not really — that’s part of the point. My experience is not terribly far from the baseline experience of other middle-class white women in first-world countries (or members of other races, classes, sexes, and nationalities, but I can’t really speak to their experience as a whole).

  4. There was no magic moment for me when I hit rock bottom and realized I had to give up bulemia. I think it was no more profound than I hit adulthood and suddenly found myself unwilling to suffer for the sake of being thin anymore. When I was a teenager it was very, very important to me to get my family to approve of me, but they never did, and at some point I stopped caring.

    The funny thing is I didn’t get fat until I was in my late 20s. When I was a perfectly normal sized teenager I was related to as fat because I had a small chest and big hips/thighs. I’m sure if the proportions had been reversed (as in if I had I grown big tits, instead of big hips), nobody would have thought I was fat. I was never higher than about 115 lbs then. When I was 27, I weighed about 170 lbs, and I was for real fat. My family was FREAKED about this, having humilated me so much for being a tiny kid with big legs, how could I actually let myself be fat? They thought they had shamed me enough that I would never let such a thing happen, actually, it was breaking away from them, and their shaming ways, that gave me the freedom to just let myself be the size I was gonna be.

    Even though I’m consideralbly smaller than that now, it was great to let myself be fat, and not let them hurt me for it anymore. It was also great to find out that I can be fat and happy. When you’re literally killing yourself to be thin, you tend to think that getting fat is the absoultely worst thing that could ever happen. It’s not, and I remember thinking at the time that every woman should let herself get fat to discover the lesson that I did – it ain’t so bad, in fact it’s fine, you just live your life only you live it with a bigger body!

    I think for a lot of people, letting go of making others happy and trying to simply be good to yourself is how we overcome our disordered ways.

  5. Shit howdy, if a woman in this society actually grows up with a healthy attitude about herself and food and her body, she’s probably an athlete of some kind. Good for the girl athletes, it didn’t used to be much of a great time for them either, but not everyone is an athlete any more than everyone’s a math wiz or an ace at spelling and grammar. There’s got to be some room in this world for those of us who are not quite so gifted of lung or reflex or musculature. My “mentally and physically demanding activity” turns out to be music. Hefty legs actually turn out to be a plus when kicking a big old double bass drum pedal!

  6. My “mentally and physically demanding activity” turns out to be music.

    Oh hell yeah, that’s a perfect example of something that gives you focus and discipline without dredging up gym class memories. I’m always impressed with my friends who play djembe — that would probably be a great one too. Drumming takes a lot of proprioception and concentration.

  7. I knew for a while that I needed to give up the eating disorder before I actually acted on it. I was just too scared of how I would live without it. My eating disorder was my security blanket, my way of coping in the world. It was my method of survival.

    But every day I went to work and felt the knocking of my heart against my chest. I used to be an EMT and I knew my blood pressure and heart rate were very low – too low. My teeth were ragged. My hair was falling out. I used to journal religiously and looking back now on this time, most of my entries contain my fears that I was dying.

    I was.

    I know a lot of people who find recovery in a therapist’s office. I tried a revolving door of therapists, but none worked either due to my hang-ups about it or insurance. I found recovery via other means – writing, designing, photography, academics. These things can all be considered forms of meditation, which A. got my mind off calorie counting, and B. expanded both my perception of the world and my knowledge of it. I also found much reassurance and solace in buddhism.

    Eating disorders are all about control. You revel in your willpower. You hold yourself above others who appear to have little or no willpower. I find these days that it requires far more willpower to avoid purging than it does to give in to the temptation. Each time I don’t purge when I really feel the need to is like a small victory.

  8. Anyone else who’s struggling or in a transitional period should go read the entire archives of Rachel’s blog, by the way.

  9. No, not really — that’s part of the point. My experience is not terribly far from the baseline experience of other middle-class white women in first-world countries (or members of other races, classes, sexes, and nationalities, but I can’t really speak to their experience as a whole).

    I think this is an enormously important realization for our culture and I think a lot of people are going to turn a blind eye to it – no one wants to admit this sort of actually horrible thing is going on in society on such a wide level. We console ourselves with the small numbers of fatalities but if we looked at the true cost of disordered eating and disoriented body image….

  10. I could probably write a tome about the similarity of my own experience, and I wonder how many other middle class white women can say the same. It’s almost impossible NOT to have some sort of disordered eating, what with the cultural messages we receive at every turn and the media indoctrinating us from a very tender age. It’s a risk factor of growing up in this society, i guess, and perhaps not even something parents can protect their daughters against try though they might.
    I guess i realized the depths of my disordered living when i was finally depressed enough to see a therapist, and he asked me what my hobbies were. I said running. After all, i did a ton of it. it was pretty much all i did.
    When he asked me more about it, it became clear to me that i did not run because I enjoyed it, but so that i could get thinner, get rid of lasts night’s calories, or at the very least, keep from gaining any weight. It had never even occurred to me to run simply for enjoyment.

  11. You have to learn new ways to nourish yourself, not new things to deny yourself.

    To me, this is one of the most important messages of fat acceptance, and one of the ways it connects to certain strains of feminism. Recovering from disordered thinking is not about trying to master the game of self-denial, deprivation, and discipline in a different way; it’s about replacing that deprivation-based ethic with one of pleasure and acceptance.

  12. Recovering from disordered thinking is not about trying to master the game of self-denial, deprivation, and discipline in a different way; it’s about replacing that deprivation-based ethic with one of pleasure and acceptance.

    Damn, Laura, I guess this post coulda been a lot shorter. :>

  13. The Rotund, you’re so right. I try to convince people that most middle class North-American women have disordered eating tendencies and a bad relationship with food and body image, and they just don’t believe me! Especially men. They lecture me on increasing obesity rates, and diabetes and heart disease. I point out examples of all the women I know who are constantly dieting and obsessing over food (including several who are already quite thin) and they get dismissed as exceptions. It’s just… I’m just banging my head against the wall. People just don’t listen.

  14. I point out examples of all the women I know who are constantly dieting and obsessing over food (including several who are already quite thin)

    Not to mention, several who are fat and have always been fat, despite eating as little as they can get away with. You’d think that would give people pause.

  15. You’d think it would, FJ, if they could bring themselves to believe such women actually exist. Most people have an easier time believing there are talking pigs.

  16. Terrific post once again, Fillyjonk!

    Eleanor, the author’s name shows up in Google Reader for me. Maybe showing that just isn’t a feature of your reader?

  17. I’m rambling here, but thanks for posting this. I finally gave in when I was 22 and was hospitalized for bulimia. I was told by the admitting nurse that people my size didn’t have eating disorders and I was puking for attention (I weighed 320 — same as I do now.) It didn’t matter that I was puking 10 times a day and often passed out in the toilet. The people at the hospital would make extra effort to insult me and humiliate me, including putting me on a 1000 calorie per day diet with NO EXERCISE. I didn’t get an official treatment plan until the day before I was discharged.

    All the 80-pound anorexics on feeding tubes? They had treatment plans by day 2 and were fed warm and fuzzy attitudes. The clinic’s doctor was featured on Oprah so he was supposed to be this expert. I found that ironic because many of the severe anorexics returned in a few months because they still weren’t healed. Some in with me were yearly visitors. Truth is, there is no such thing as a quick fix for eating disorders, no matter what side of the spectrum you’re on.

    How did I get over my eating disorder? There is no answer for how I got over it — other than working my ass off to find out what was making me feel like hurling everything I ate and then completely redefining my attitudes and feelings toward food. And you’re right — no one ever really gets over it.

    Quick answers don’t exist in anything. Not diet, eating disorders, weight loss, nothing. And the sad thing is no one ever wants to admit that because they still hope there will be that magic bullet in the form of a pill or fad diet.

  18. Oh, another resonating post…

    I don’t think there was ever a crystalizing moment when I “got over” bulimia either…and I don’t even think of bulimia as the sum-total of my eating disorders. I, the chubby (but not fat) girl, was taken to the hospital dietician at age 6, whereupon I learned to count calories. At 12, I was enrolled in Weight Watchers. By 18, I was doing all kinds of weird diets on my own: I remember one that required me to eat nothing but plain rice (no salt, no butter), rice cakes, and fruit. Overeaters Anonymous at 20. By 22, surprise, I was bulimic. How is anyone supposed to figure out what “normal” eating is with a lifetime of that? (And it’s going to be worse for the next generation…SO many victims of the “childhood obesity epidemic” hysteria.)

    How do you “get over” stuff like that that in one fell swoop, or by some miraculous cure, when you are inculcated from early childhood to obsess about food and weight? It’s true, you can’t do it all at once. For me, it’s an every day struggle. I’m 38 now. I spent 11 years WORKING in a feminist organization, where I learned enough about self-acceptance to last me four lifetimes. And even *I* still sometimes have to fight things like the urge to think myself “pure” when there is “good” food in the house. (Just in case I die and the CSIs are inspecting the contents of my fridge, you know. *wink*) Constant self-reinforcement is essential, I think, especially because we aren’t going to get it from very many others, if we’re fat.

    You know what I think is missing from the list, though? Maybe it falls under the category of “getting angry,” but I think just plain standing up to the every day weight and food bullies requires its own category. Man, that is empowering. And no matter how old you get, you have to keep doing it, as new people come into your life. I can still remember all of the moments when my words finally won the battles with people in my life, and I got them to shut up for good. Sooooo satisfying. (Oh, Grandad, I will never forget that time I shamed you into silence in the Greyhound depot….)

  19. Dorianne, really important points. It’s impossible to instantly or even quickly kick a habit when you’ve never known anything else, and most of us learn our dysfunctional food and body relationships very very early. (I wouldn’t even remember my first diet — too early — if I weren’t deliriously lucky enough to have my baby pudge and my efforts to lose it written up in a national publication. My childhood was a little weird.) Kicking disordered eating means rewriting your understanding of food from the ground up. And yeah, it’s only going to get worse.

    I was thinking of my list as a very early primer, getting back in touch with your body and feelings before you even start thinking about fat positivity. But you’re right that being vocally pro-fat can be the most powerful step — even if you can’t immediately bring yourself to defend your own fat, defending other people’s fat can be a gateway drug. I think any social justice cause can open that door, but exposing yourself to body positive messages and learning to espouse them can be really life-altering.

  20. Oh, and fatgirlonabike — I had no idea you had an ED history, and it makes what you do now all the more impressive. You’re the poster girl for fat athletes!

    There’s been more recognition recently of EDNOS, and one would hope that this would make doctors more aware of atypical ED symptoms, like ED sufferers who are officially “overweight.” Realistically, though, doctors tend to work with a pretty narrow set of schemas, and “fat bulimic” probably causes as much cognitive dissonance for them as “fat triathlete” would. :> They have an efficient but not at all thorough or accurate way of compartmentalizing patients. I’ve got an article to post tomorrow, though, that — only if you read between the lines — implies that some docs may be slowly opening their eyes.

    Puking for attention. Christ. Puking in secret, in a way that did not visibly change your body, for attention. I guess you were just putting them out, what with being sick and needing medical care and all. So self-centered.

  21. Don’t get me started on the insurance nightmare after I was finally discharged (by the way — it took them 10 days to take me off suicide watch. Anyone who’s ever been in a psychiatric hospital knows you’re normally taken off within 24-48 hours.) In the end, my regular psychiatrist, who was on staff with that hospital, filed a formal complaint about the admission and insurance mess and I never saw another bill.

    Strangely enough, there was a 35-year-old woman who had been battling anorexia for more than 20 years. She knew she would likely die from her disease and it broke my heart because I couldn’t imagine the horror her mind was putting her body through. She knew she was ill but had no way to help herself. But she stood up for me, telling the staff during a particular group therapy nightmare that perhaps they should be paying attention to the things I was saying instead of ridiculing me for having violent thoughts about wanting to cut off the rolls of fat. I doubt they learned. And I doubt their on-call medical nurse ever learned not to ask if fat people had any sores in their fat rolls and did they need a bath to make sure everything was clean. It’s not like I was immobilized person or unable to take care of myself. Christ, I was only 320, not 620.

    Oh and I’m sure the concept of “fat triathlete” is a total mindfuck for most people, let alone doctors. But strangely enough, I’m TOTALLY not the only one out there.

    I’ve been lucky with regular doctors who know I’m healthier and stronger than most people and just let me be me. I no longer get harassed about losing weight or get told I’m going to die. The only douchebags have been the OB-GYNs. But most doctors (and people) still have a hard time understanding that we almost all live eating disordered lives these days. I cringe when I turn on the TV or read popular women’s magazines. And they say the media doesn’t cause eating disorders — my ass they don’t. And I’m a card-carrying member of the MSM, thank you very much.

  22. Re RSS: hmm, drat yes, if I look in the raw code I see the author is included as [dc:creator]fillyjonk[/dc:creator]. But the livejournal syndication completely drops that. Oh well, I’ll just have to make more of a point of following the link rather than reading it with the rest of LJ.

    Thanks for checking anyway!

  23. UGH the tales of medical staff thinking you’re just ‘puking for attention’ because you’re bulimic and fat? are soooo….. beyond frustrating. Aren’t most bulimics average weight to fat? I read that statistic somewhere, because even though you’re puking up a bunch, you’re still keeping 30-70% of calories ingested. How do medical personnel not know this? And, don’t they teach bedside manner even MORE so in the psych unit? jesus. obviously not.
    Fatgirlonabike, i know you don’t necessarily want to be held up as a role model, but you just so are. You’re an inspiration.
    And Dorianne, it makes me so angry that you were never even given a fair shake at having a healthy relationship with food when growing up. You were robbed.
    My sister has a 5 month old daughter, and already her husband has commented that the baby “looks fat” and “perhaps she shouldn’t be fed so much”. Obesity doesn’t kill. Obesity hysteria does.
    I think i have to go punch and kick things now.

  24. Obesity doesn’t kill. Obesity hysteria does.

    And starving babies. That tends to be harmful.

    But we wouldn’t want them to be OMG FAT.

  25. This whole discussion kind of makes me want to have children just so I can nurture and feed them properly and give them messages other than the ridiculous crap that most kids have to hear these days. My heart is breaking for the little versions of all of you who ended up on the road to disordered eating, and for that 5-month-old baby. For all that my mom put me on diets from a young age, and kept only “good, clean” foods in the house and all that stuff, and for all I did end up a compulsive eater, she basically loved me and thought she was doing the right thing. And her behavior was nowhere near as pernicious as that of some of my friends’ moms, nor indeed as bad as the way fat kids routinely seem to get treated these days. Our society is completely broken.

  26. First, thanks for the kind words. Second, what you say about taking up *anything* other than your disordered behaviors really resonates with me. I was an awesome dieter because I flat-out wasn’t good at (or didn’t perceive myself as good at) anything else in my life. And feeling GENIUS at something for the first time in my life? Heady stuff. Now I’m trying to stretch myself to recognize that ‘good at’ isn’t a noble goal for me. I’m going to strive for joy and self-love. Striving for perfection can go suck it.

  27. Great post, fillyjonk. You are dead on: our whole society is so e.d. that you have to go against the cultural mainstream to develop a healthy relationship with food. You’re perceived as messed-up, in fact, because restricting is pretty much the cultural norm.

    I would add one bullet point to your good list: Learn to feed yourself joyfully and competently. (I didn’t make this up; this is Ellyn Satter’s premise.) That includes eating when you’re hungry, not eating when you’re not. Learning to recognize cues of hunger and satiety. Learning to trust yourself–that you won’t allow yourself to go hungry. That there will always be enough.

  28. I was an awesome dieter because I flat-out wasn’t good at (or didn’t perceive myself as good at) anything else in my life.

    goodwithcheese, your comment just made a light bulb go off over my head. I think one of the main reasons that I narrowly escaped ED/dieting hell as a younger woman is that I wasn’t good at it and I’ve always been an annoying striver. ;-) I don’t know if it’s because my blood sugar tends to be touchy or because I grew up with brothers or what, but I was really bad at restricting food. Obviously, I was bad at being a thin person, too, but not quite *as* bad.

    You’d think after 28 years I’d already know this kind of thing, but I guess not. Thanks for leading me to it.

  29. Right on, Harriet! and in learning to feed yourself lovingly and competently, we also have to learn to LISTEN to our bodies again. We’ve been taught NOT to listen to our bodies, while simultaneously receiving the message that cravings are WRONG and a sign of weakness and lack of willpower. Cravings are natural and important. It’s the body telling us what we need, if only we’d listen. We need to learn to trust ourselves again….take that trust we have now put in Merck and J&J, Splenda and the FDA, and bring it back to our own bodies. After all, who knows your body better than you?

  30. You know, I wasn’t really any good at it. I think I took it on as something else to beat myself up for not being good at. Chacun a son gout, I guess, pun intended.

    Good With Cheese, your comment reminded me of a friend Sweet Machine and I had in college, who was a really good smoker. She knew all the tricks, and she had this amazingly beautiful sculptured face so she looked great doing it. I was 50% more impressed with her, when she quit, than I was with any of my friends who were only middling smokers. It takes a lot to give up something you’re great at.

  31. I started tearing up while reading this, because I’ve been really freaked out for the last week or so, thinking seriously about my eating habits.

    I’ve been assuming all along that a) I do not now have, nor have I ever had an eating disorder, and b) that I *must* eat too much, because I’m so fat (though this hasn’t generally resulted in any dieting – sometimes in little spurts of determination to only ‘eat healthy’, but mostly in protestations that I’m in grad school and can’t afford to be hungry all the time *right now*, so it’ll have to wait, y’know?).

    But that’s just it: I don’t get hungry. Sometimes I get interested in something (not necessarily something productive) and don’t eat at all for a day or more. When it happens, I usually don’t remember to eat until I’m either suddenly presented with food or have gone without so long that my stomach is rolling. I’m not depriving myself deliberately (though going without food so long has been known to make me feel secretly powerful) or even trying to lose weight, I just don’t get hungry. That’s not good, right?

    I’m not trying to suggest that my situation equates to the very serious plight of someone with a life-threatening, diagnostic eating disorder. But I am realizing that this thing about myself I’ve been treating as a mere quirk might actually be a real problem. With some embarrassment, I will admit to having thought that my not getting hungry was my body trying to tell me, ‘Clearly you’ve already eaten enough for a lifetime, you cow!’

    The last couple days, I’ve been keeping track of how much I’ve actually gotten around to eating, and if I’m doing the math right, it ends up being a lot less than you’re supposed to eat each day. I’m glad you pointed out that replacing one disordered mode of eating with another isn’t the way, because my anxiety about this was steering me in the wrong direction. I’m definitely gonna check out Good With Cheese.

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