what i'm eating. (the expanded addition). day one.

not long after graduating college a good girlfriend turned me on to a blog: the actor's diet. the whole premise behind the blog was to show in a real way what an actor ate day-by-day. 

what i took away from lynn's blog is that here was a woman who had struggled for years with eating issues and she had moved past disordered eating by...actually eating. and she felt good, felt beautiful, and had a slim, healthy body that she empowered her when walking into auditions. 

i remember looking at her blog all those years ago and thinking, wow, this girl actually eats! she eats quite a bit! in truth, she eats a totally normal amount (but it seemed so much more than the amount i thought i needed to eat to lose weight {1,000 calories, it turns out, doesn't look like so much--mostly because it isn't}).

i always bristle when reading magazines or health articles that say you can lose weight while eating a hamburger, can you believe it?! or a square of chocolate won't undo everything, so go ahead, indulge!!

it is my deep-seated belief that you can lose weight eating anything. all in moderation. yes, stay away from processed foods and choose fruits and veggies when possible, but a hamburger isn't the worst thing in the world. 

the same friend who introduced me to the actor's blog suggested that i do something similar: reveal what i eat as a way of providing some information. 

i've been hesitant because i don't want anyone to look at this and think it's a roadmap. someone else may eat exactly what i eat and have a totally different experience. eating is an experiment. you have to find what works for you. and that means trial and error and a little failure. because at the end of the day it's not really about food, is it? loving one's body is about loving one's self. and the more you love your self the more your body rolls with the punches. the more forgiving it becomes and the more it works to give you exactly what you've always wanted. 

for one week (just one week, i promise) i will endeavor here to show you what i eat. please, take it with a grain of salt. it's my way of saying you don't have to have your coffee with low-fat milk to have a happy body. and you don't have to cut out nachos. in fact you can have full-fat milk and grilled cheese sandwiches and a piece of chocolate cake and wake up each morning feeling better than you did the day before. 

what i'm going to attempt to show is the anti-diet. the take-much-of-what-you've-been-told-and-turn-it-on-its-head lifestyle.

day one: wednesday

i have a latte more often than i'd like to admit. not because i'm ashamed of the drink, but because of the cost associated with it. i take mine with either soy milk or full-fat whole milk. i don't add sugar, but a a hefty-shake of cinnamon keeps me in good stead. 

for a while there i experimented with a vegan way of life. but it was an experiment. and what i came away with is that right now, it's not for me. most mornings i have two eggs (full eggs, not just the egg whites), full fat cheese, on either one or two slices of spelt bread. spelt was a bit of an acquired taste--but now i'm smitten with its nutty flavor. 

one of the things that i don't particularly love about my life right now is that i often leave home knowing i'll be gone for hours and hours and hours upon end. yesterday was a rare day in which i packed lunch/dinner. pumpkin filled ravioli with a little bit of olive oil and salt + a slice of spelt bread with a hefty bit of peanut butter. 

one of my absolute favorite salads is arugula with toasted pine nuts (you must toast them--the flavor is so much better!), capers, and a bit of oil (i use olive mixed with walnut). it's so simple, but i tell ya, it packs a punch. 

when i arrived home at just after one in the morning (yes) i made myself some nachos. yes, i ate nachos at one in the morning and there wasn't a lick of guilt anywhere in sight. tortilla chips, refried beans, cheddar cheese, and jalepenos. all washed down with soda water. this photo makes it look totally unappealing, but don't be fooled. it was darn good. 

(the only things not pictured were some salted almonds i had at work and a few handful of reduced-fat cheeze-its. i do not believe in reduced-fat anything. i think foods should be consumed in their whole form. but that's all that was there and i got hungry during the course of my six hour shift. sometimes you gotta take what you can get). 

don't worry, this blog isn't about to become one on which i'm constantly revealing what i eat. and then showing you how thin i am. this is not meant to be a guide to nutrition nor a this-is-how-to-get-thin series. this is just my way of combating all those 1,500 calorie a day segments in the health magazines in which the food is all so darn "healthy" and always leaves me feeling bad about myself. 

just a week. another experiment. because my body--my health is still, very much a work-in-progress. 

two months. six years.

mnhtn in back (1 of 1)
i don't know that i've ever felt so beautiful as i did this past summer.
something shifted and i felt myself living in my body, breathing as a relatively normal person, and thinking, alright, here goes...
and then came september. and october. and november.
and all i could think was oh, shit.
i felt so low. so deep and blue and bruised.
even after all this time i often lack the courage to use the right words. and so i use other words. sadness. i'm feeling blue,i say. to make it palatable, understandable, manageable.
one of my dearest friends, over a cup of coffee, looked right at me and said, we all get blue, meg. that's life. we all have those moments. 
and i knew what she meant and i love her dearly and think her wiser than almost anyone i know, so i closed my mouth, sipped my coffee, and directed the conversation to... something else, anything else. men, probably.
but what i should have said is this: i can handle the blue. i can handle the sad. i don't live in it, i let it pass through. it's this damn eating disorder. it's something all-together, entirely different and it's suffocating. do you understand that? that i'm slowly panicking over here in this corner, and that i'm only ever (at best) two paces from losing it?
it slipped back in this fall. slinked and seeped right through the fissures and fault lines that living a courageous and open life invites. the thing is, to live courageously, to thrash about in the unknown, to stand on the brink, to look down and breathe deeply, these are the things that make one well. in the long run, these are the things that make one well, i know this.
but on the road to well is not-so-well and really-really-really-not-well and a lot of pit stops in between. and it’s exhausting.
it was back in november that i took down the link from the sidebar.
it was back in november that i went home for a week. last minute. unexpected.
why did you take the link down from the side of your blog? my mother asked in one of those talks we had in the car, paused in a parking lot, me crying, her helpless—as any good parent in that situation is. she sat and she listened and cried with me and then asked me that.
because i don’t want that story to define me. i’m done with everyone knowing.
i don’t remember what her response was, but i remember about a month later climbing the hill from my apartment here in new york and having the though: it only defines me if i say it defines me. only with my consent. it is as big or as small as i allow it to be.
and when i’m doing well, as i am most of the time, it’s just as big as i need it to be, which is to say, not at all.
but back in november, the shadow it cast was large and unforgiving. and for a moment there i lost my footing.
everyone i loved told me to let it go. stop thinking about it so much. but i was determined to really know the thing this go round. if i was gonna be stuck in the middle of it I was gonna study it from the inside out and i'd be damned if i didn't emerge just a little bit wiser about the whole thing.
back in college we studied the alexander technique. it is a method of learning about and freeing the body. it has to do with posture and energy and blockages and is tremendously helpful for actors. one of the things you do is trace your body. meaning you, or a partner, feels along the ridges of the collarbone or the shoulder blade or some such--it's meant to help you know the anatomy of the body--to feel the whole size and breadth of each part.
one of the hallmarks of an eating disorder is something called body checking. we most of us do it without even realizing--little things like checking our reflection in the store window or taking note that our pants are a little bit tighter today. but back when i was was really unwell i checked by body often and in strange ways. like feeling for my collarbone--checking to make sure it was there--judging my weight, my worth by that bone alone. or using my middle finger and thumb to see if they could wrap around my wrist. comparison was the hallmark of the body checking. is this easier to do today? can i feel the bone more easily today? i'd ask myself. when i returned to my second year of school having lost nearly twenty pounds from my frame (two months on weight watchers) i remember thinking, it'll be so much easier to trace my body in alexander this year.
oh boy. big red flag.
when i did weight watchers i lost three pounds the first week. and two pounds the week after that. and two just about each week following. and each week i defined myself not by my weight, but by my loss. by the space between. i’m seven pounds less this week, i’d think. seven less than when i began. i’d study my body in the mirror carefully take stock of the changes. my face looked leaner. my collarbone protruded a bit more. this dress fit better than the last time i tried it on. it was never just this dress looks good, it was better than. comparison to a past moment. the difference, the subtraction.
comparison. always, always comparison. comparison isn't just the thief of joy, it is the thief of the present moment and the slippery slope to what feels awfully akin to insanity.
the body is a constantly changing thing so if you keep trying to look for the changes and is it different and maybe it’s not—you loose your footing quickly and you stop seeing it at all. everything’s refracted, distorted, and you lose the sense of which way’s up, which down. it’s a tremendously confusing and terrible way to live your life.
now there is a chance that someone, somewhere is reading this thinking: she lost twenty pounds on weight watchers? okay, that's what i'll do then. and off that person'll trudge to a meeting and they'll count points and follow the plan and they'll lose weight too.
so let me be very clear in how i say this: i did weight watchers for two months. i lost twenty pounds. and i  spent the next six years paying the price.
two months. six years. do the math.
and i followed the plan. i ate the twenty points each day. twenty points was roughly 1,000 calories. 1,000 calories each day is starvation. period.
weight watchers was recommended to me by my pediatrician. 
i think i've lost track of why i began writing this post.  something to do with comparison. how coming out of of this last bout of blue had much to do with waking each morning and making the active choice to not study myself in the mirror or lift my shirt to check the flatness of my stomach.
and to put the sidebar (FED) back up.

cleaning the closet

i attempted to clean out my closet last night.

i'm a big fan of cleaning. or sorting and moving around and making piles--this to goodwill, this for a friend, this for no one else to ever have to see. ever.

i have a wonderful closet. filled with delicious and vibrant pieces. but much like my mind i utilize such a small portion of it. so i approached it last night determined to be ruthless in my weeding process. doesn't look good? get rid of it. doesn't have good memories? toss.

this is a luxury. i know that. i am tremendously spoiled in many, many ways. and the extravagance of looking at my closet through this lens is not lost on me.

given my history (that wily, little eating disorder that ate up six years of my life) i have a tenuous relationship with clothing. a friend came over recently to help me sort through and put all the pieces together in new and inventive ways (she has enviable fashion sense and sees things in ways i simply don't) and as we were pulling piece after piece there came a discovery.

why does so much of this stuff still have the original tags on it? kim asked. i have a beautiful lace skirt that i got end of my junior year of high school. still has its tags. that's like nine years. it's in perfect condition and not out of style and i have every intention of wearing it. and i can now (meaning, it fits) and that's a huge triumph for me. but seriously, nine years? oh hell.

and that's just the tip of the iceberg.

for so long i bought clothes thinking, well, five pounds from now it'll look great. (more often the thought was, ten or fifteen--i was optimistic and deeply, deeply unwell).

and so there i was last night, trying on nearly every item of clothing i own, attempting to look objectively--does this look good, is it wearing around the edges? no, look again. does it actually look good or is it just that it looks better than it did before? i did make a pile of clothes to move on from. luckily, shockingly, it was not terribly large. i have some beautiful pieces with real staying power. and i resolved to wear more of them. to let my staple, go-to loves stay on the hanger more often than usual. to remove all those tags and wear the clothes that for years i thought, i'll be more courageous when i'm comfortable in my own skin.  there's more courage now, sure, but it has little do with looking (or thinking i look) better and much to do with appreciating where i am and who i am and that my personal brand of beauty has very little to do with the size of my hips. don't get me wrong--it has some to do with the size of my hips--but these hips i got here now, i didn't get 'em from dieting. i didn't get 'em from counting calories or cutting carbs or spending hours upon hours on the stair master. i got 'em from years (yes, years!) of eating well and healthfully day in and day out. i got 'em from going to the gym and going to physique because i know that my body needs to be challenged, because i wanted to build bone density and improve heart health. i got 'em and they're mine and they're not perfect and yes, okay, sometimes i wish they were slimmer, but in the end, they're pretty damn good.

and tomorrow these hips of mine might look just a bit different. and it'll probably have nothing to do with anything i've eaten and everything to do with the fact that our bodies change. we age, we mature, we prepare to bear children. life.

the thing that really struck me last night--me laying on top of all those beautiful clothes, on top of my bed, halfway through the process--was that: some of the items, while the initial memory they conjured was anything but good, i found myself unwilling and unable to let go.

because the memory was not just not good. it was also sweet and redemptive and important. some of the worst--the absolute worst moments and phases of my life--were filled with some of the greatest love. i look back on those times and remember that the love of my family was electric--tangible.

i have a dress that at this point is just a little too big. it was like ten bucks from H&M but it's worn really well. now i pull it out when i'm feeling not-my-best. so i should just toss it, no? well,  i tried it on last night, knowing full well i got it when i was sad and ashamed of my rounded stomach, but standing there, studying myself in it , i knew i couldn't yet let it go. because that's the dress i was wearing when a man i once loved pushed the navy fabric this way and that to get to all the best parts of me. revealing the beauty of my body in a way that mirrors have never been able.

this is all to say: it's not so easy. there is no black and white to the story. just  a lot of gray. i can feel that this chapter of my life is really closing. the time is upon me. and i've so long waited and wished and hoped for this, but there is still the loss of it.

on having my picture taken.

before beginning:
this is a continuation.
of a story.
about ned.
ned being my nasty,
little eating disorder.

more info here.

sarah, myself, carolyn, and amanda

i thought it was about weight.

my anxiety about having my picture taken.

i thought it was about the weight.

thought it was that the pictures reflected what i couldn't admit to myself.

that i was fat.

i thought that was it.

but it wasn't. not really.

we were out on saturday night. my friends and i.

i with my little camera nestled deep into the folds of my go-to-black-bag (which has finally reached the critical point of looking just-worn-in-enough {but i digress}).

yes, i with my little camera. i who knew it was there. i who wanted to take it out. but couldn't.

until amanda (my infinitely wise roommate) asked where it was and began to do what i could not.

and it was there, in the bar on saturday night, perched on my stool, with prosecco in hand, that i stared at that little camera screen and declared, oh, i look like an adult.

but that wasn't quite right. that wasn't exactly what i meant to say. what i meant to say was, oh, there i am. that's me. that's me, happy. huh.

illumination ensued.

i realized it was not the reflection of fat i feared.

it was that i couldn't find myself.

it was that i saw instead this girl who was so sad. this shell of someone i once knew.

but now, after all this time, i am beginning to see the picture in its entirety. and it is one of such happiness.

yes, yes, i still see the bits and pieces--of course--my disappearing eyes and brand-new-renegade-cheek-mole (an audacious little thing it is!). but i can see beyond those things. beyond what i like and do not like.

and suddenly there i am. an adult (or so it would seem). and a happy one at that.

go figure.

and he's dreamy to boot.

how to say this?

i think food and weight is one of the next great political issues in this country.

all you have to do is read the information out there.

for the first time in our history obese women are giving birth to children in huge numbers. and no one's really sure how's this is going to affect those children. but the studies done indicate that it won't be good.
sorry, that's an understatement.
it will be bad: predisposition to diabetes, brains that actually crave fatty, processed foods.

so you can see how this obesity thing might snowball. will snowball.

there is movement, across the country to legislate how we deal with food.

the new york city calorie count law. (which i happen to think is bad).

a tax on sodas and juice drinks. (which i happen to think is good--it's like taxing cigarettes, that extra money makes it slightly more difficult for people to buy. and the idea is more people will turn to water {good}).

to say we need a revolution in the food industry is not histrionic or hyperbolic. it's a fact.

diets do not work. over the long run, they do not work. people do not fail. the diets do.
processed food is bad. how food is manufactured is bad.

i've been watching jaime oliver's food revolution over the last few weeks. and i've been floored. by the lack of words like weight and calories. the emphasis on health.

the thrusts to his program are

1. eat real food
2. learn to cook

do you know that if people were to those two things (two things!) the obesity epidemic could be cut in half?

hmm. so maybe he's on to something?

it's the first and only reality television show i've ever seen that's gotten it right--that hasn't been a quick fix for one person or one family. that wants to make small and very possible changes that could actually, yes, revolutionize the way america eats.

this is all to say: the season finale is tonight. i think you should watch it. or dvr it. or hulu it tomorrow (as i will do).

(climbing off soapbox now).

image via google