what i'm eating (day three)

after my posts on attempting to eat as little sugar as possible and why (onetwothreefour) one of the common requests was would i show what i eat on a daily basis. what follows is my best attempt… day one | day two | day three:

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i'm gonna level with you. this challenge (we can call it a challenge can't we?)--this challenge of accurately representing what i eat has been quite difficult for me.

for a few reasons.

mostly because in the same way that language inherently distorts an experience, just knowing that i'd be sharing what i was eating affected my choices.

which is to say, these sorts of posts...wherever you may see them... should be taken with a grain of salt.

(if SELF magazine tells me that Jessica Alba eats x, y, and z, then i very much doubt that Jessica Alba actually eats x, y, and z. and if she does in fact eat x, y, and z then i like to remember that she has a chef or delivered meals or a whole team of professionals making sure she looks her best. and i don't blame her for this--looking good is part of her job. she should invest in that. and if that means time, money, and ability and she has said time, money, and the ability to hire a personal chef--more power to her).

{that tangent was all to drive home the point: grain of salt. take. this all. with a grain of salt}

but whether we get paid for looking good or not, i do think we can all invest in our health which will then be reflected in our appearance. it is important, for all of us, whether we have huge funds or not, to take pride in what we reflect to the world. it immediately lets others know the respect we have ourselves and the respect we in turn demand. dressing up and looking good are important (and can be done at any size, in any body, on any budget).

okay, so there were like three tangents there and i'm not even tremendously sure where the rest of this is gonna go, but follow along, won't you?

one of the first things that tom said to me was that any calorie can save your life. if you're starving, the calories in a twinkie can be of huge import to you. but not all calories are created equal. if you have a normal diet (which is to say you aren't starving yourself) you may go out to dinner, way overindulge, and wake up in the middle of the night hot and sweaty. why? because when we aren't starving ourselves the body doesn't feel the need to store every calorie. so it knows it's just gotten a huge influx and it can get rid of 'em. and it works a little harder to do just that, hence the sweat.

i know for myself, that the further i get away from the years i restricted my intake and my brain feared i'd never again eat, the more forgiving my body is about those moments i consume too much.

there's a new trend in the diet world... the starvation diet. and all of the tests on mice and rats have shown that their vitals get really good, which in a lot of ways can be explained by a thing called repair response in which the body senses it's not getting everything it needs and has to kick in to high gear and make the most out of everything it has. essentially, the body gets really effective. to explain this a little further, because it's confusing: when i was in school we did a ton of voice work (remember i trained to be an actor) and i often got colds in which my voice was compromised. but whenever i went into class with a cold my teacher would remark on how well my voice and breath were working together. well, that's because it was hurting and damaged and didn't have any extra effort to do anything beyond what it knew how to do best. it got super efficient, and outsmarted me. but i still sounded like i had a cold. because i did. when the repair response kicks in the body takes over and does what it knows how to do best and churns out the sort of results that look really good when measuring markers in the blood. but it's still working from a diminished capacity. tom made a great point last week. he said, we can measure quite a bit about those starving rats. but we can't measure their quality of life. they may seem healthy and fit, but may be actually and acutely totally miserable.

when all you think about is food--to have or not to have--that is a miserable existence. when your very worth is tied to how many calories you did or did not consume that is a miserable existence. it is small and narrow-minded and totally not the point. of life. life! (i can say this because for years i was that person so i have tremendous sympathy). but i am also the person that will be the first to say, we must choose, day after to day, to want something bigger for ourselves. all of society and commerce conspire to make us overweight and unhappy (we buy more then), so we must choose, actively choose, to prioritize our health and our happiness and outsmart the system.

as we approach, or rather, find ourselves smack dab in the middle of swimsuit season (for all of my norther-hemisphere readers) something tom said years ago keeps coming to mind: when we think someone is looking at us and judging our body, they're only thinking about us for at most...five seconds, before their mind turns to judging their own body.

and a lovely reader, Agnes, sent me this article which i just think is so genius and everyone, everywhere should read. but if you don't read the whole thing, let me at least share this:

"An eating disorder is not one person's disorder; it is our society's disorder. We need to stop telling girls to be thin and lithe and carb-free, and we need to prize our intellectual and powerful women like true heroes rather than curious little pseudo-Thatcherite oddities of history. We have to stop celebrating strong women while also mocking their bingo wings. We need everyone to rejoice in the love and friendship and balance that we experience every day when we eat food with others or alone, rather than treating it like woman’s worst enemy."

so i want to say, in regards to these "what i'm eating posts"...they should not be a template for what you are eating. rather, they should show you, i eat what i want, when i want it. serving size is not accurately represented in the photos 1. because it's a personal thing 2. because it's hard to. one of the issues i have with diets like weight watchers is that (essentially) they tell us we should eat the same amount everyday. and that is just a load of hooey. some days i eat more. some i eat less. some months i eat more, some less.

so without further ado, what i ate (day three)i woke up and had half of an at-home-latte + quite a few tortilla chips. that was it, until around three pm i went to momofuku milk bar and got myself a compost cookie (so see there, i ate sugar, full out) and a large iced latte. and then when i got home from work i went to the corner restaurant and ordered myself a big burger with cheese and fries. and i ate it at eleven pm. and that was my day. there are few redeeming qualities about those food choices, but for the fact that i don't feel bad about any of them. it was one day. i wasn't hungry (stress can make me as nauseous as the next person) until eleven when i felt the need for a serious bit of meat.


and in conclusion:

"how about instead of 'all body types are beautiful' we say 'beauty is extremely subjective and fleeting and doesn't determine your worth and you don't owe attractiveness to anyone so why don't you focus on something important like being a worthwhile human being.'" via.

(i don't know who said this, but i think it's genius in the way that few things ever are. and for any woman, or girl, out there who thinks men care if they are ten pounds lighter or not, i've yet to meet a man i've liked who'd even notice such a thing--it's sometimes frustrating how little they notice!).