chocolate

All posts in the chocolate category

The Easter Bunny Brings More Than Just Chocolate

Published April 4, 2010 by sleepydumpling

Happy Easter everyone, regardless of your spiritual beliefs.  Welcome to Spring in the Northern Hemsiphere, Autumn in the Southern.

This Easter has been a bit rough on me.  Oh don’t get me wrong, I’ve had a good time and had some lovely celebrations with friends over the past few days.  But at a time when chocolate is so central to many celebrations, among other foods, I’m feeling a bit worn down by all the food is morality and disordered thinking/behaving that is swirling around me at the moment.

You see the Easter Bunny brings more than just chocolate.  He brings the all the strings that are attached to food.

It is no secret that I am recovering from eating disorders.  It’s taken me years to retrain my brain to think of food in a different way to how I have done over the first 30 something years of my life, and it’s hard work to keep thinking that way.  I have to keep very conscious of the thoughts around food I have and pull up those that are disordered very quickly, to prevent relapses into disordered behaviour.

So it’s very difficult for me to be around others who have disordered attitudes towards food and eating.

From the woman who sits near me almost every day at lunch time with her diet shake or “meal” (I hesitate to call those things food really), staring longingly at my lunch and going on and on about how good she is being to stick to her diet products.  Yet she is miserable and asks me things like “Is there chicken on that sandwich?” and when I say yes, sighs longingly “Oh I miss eating chicken, but I’m being good.”

Then there were those starving themselves and repeatedly justifying how they could go to an Easter chocolate buffet that was to be the celebration of a 50th birthday.  I sat amongst this for about two weeks, listening to how they wouldn’t eat anything in the lead up, or “I’ve been so good for weeks, I can go along.”

I went, though on looking at the menu beforehand noticed that there was NOTHING savoury, so I had my lunch beforehand and went to it as a dessert, as I can’t bear the thought of all that sweet stuff for a meal, my tummy protests just at the thought of it.

I probably shouldn’t have gone, not because of the food, but because of all of the disordered behaviour around me.  The hardest to deal with of those being the ones that starved themselves beforehand then binged when they got there.

I felt terrible all afternoon, despite  having a lovely lunch and then some nice dessert afterwards.  It wasn’t the food, it was having to deal with and process all the feelings that other people brought to the fore in my mind.  I had a whole mix of guilt, shame, anger, depression, anxiety and simple exhaustion swirling around in my mind all afternoon, that I am sure I would not have had if I hadn’t been in the company of some people who have really messed up attitudes about food.

It doesn’t help that these people are far less fat than I am either.  I can’t speak up because if I do, I know the thinking is “That’s why she’s so fat, she must be a pig, I don’t want to get like that.”  Some of them have even said so, in less harsh terms.

I was lucky however with Good Friday, I spent the day with friends by the bay, talking over a barbecue lunch and the day spent in good company.  Nobody had screwed up attitudes towards food, or none that were apparent anyway, and I could feel my soul floating back to where it should be, and my mind at ease and comfortable.  Being around people who do not beat themselves up about food was very healing.

However I will confess there was a hangover from the disordered talk of the day before.  The friends who I visited on Friday happened to have a set of scales in their bathroom… which, despite my promise to myself that I would never do so again unless it was medically vital, I weighed myself on.

And I survived.  I surprised myself by not hating myself for the number I saw on the scale.  I saw it, thought about it for a bit, and let go of it.  So I am getting better, I am recovering.

Of course Easter is still here, still happening.  On Twitter and Facebook I am seeing status update and tweet over and over again of messed up attitudes towards food.  People are “pigging out” and hating themselves for eating chocolate.  There are all kinds of crazy bargains being dealt, where one can have chocolate now if one does something later, or has “been good” up until now.  Then there is the remorse after eating the chocolate, or the hot cross buns, or whatever else they have deemed as “sinful”.  Talk about how they’ve been bad, how the chocolate was evil for tempting them.

I just want to scream “It’s just chocolate people!  It’s not the anti-Christ!!”

I have got a ton of chocolate in the house.  People have been so kind giving me Easter gifts.  I am being very conscious of reminding myself that it is not Kryptonite or nuclear waste, it’s just chocolate.  It won’t hurt me, and I am not a bad person if I eat some.  I can have some any time I want some.  Strangely enough I don’t want it much, I prefer cheese to chocolate any day.

How do you cope when the people around you are displaying disordered behaviours and attitudes?  Do you struggle with it?  What are your coping mechanisms?

Eating Normally

Published March 18, 2010 by sleepydumpling

Continuing on from the topic of Fat Folk and Food, I’d like to talk some more about the whole minefield of eating when you’re a fat person.  We’ve talked about how other people perceive and treat fat folk around the subject of food, but how about how we treat ourselves?

Just as a bit of a background, I’ve been on every diet you can pretty much think of, including some I’ve made up myself at the time, thinking it made sense to me.  I also now identify as in recovery from an eating disorder, as the more I learn, the more I realise that the behaviour I exhibited over about 20 years of my life was definitely disordered eating.  I was a starvation fan, followed by bouts of purging.  Between that and eating weird shit (or weird combinations), food was always a fucked up thing for me.

About four years ago, I somehow stumbled across www.normaleating.com and a light went on in my head when I read about the principals of removing the emotion from food and eating, and learning to just eat because as a living creature, I require food.

Over the past few years, I’ve done a lot more reading about the subject, on to intuitive eating and of course health at any size.  I have been working to train myself that I don’t have to have a terrible guilt/hate relationship with food, and that if I just stop and listen to my body, it tells me what I need.

When it needs red meat, it tells me so (I suffer anaemia).  When it needs leafy green vegetables or lots of potassium or magnesium for example, it tells me.  When I need some chocolate it tells me too.  I am learning that if I give it some of what it asks for without agonising over it, or punishing myself, then it only asks for as much as it needs, until it realises it needs something else.

That’s not to say that I totally get it right, that I’m “cured” of all the disordered eating.  I still have times when I feel guilty just for eating anything, when I get self conscious about what other people think about me when I am in public and am eating, times when I wake in the night thinking “Oh God, if I just give up *insert food here* maybe it will make a difference.”  I still find myself denying myself food when I feel bad about myself.

But I think now I’ve learnt to recognise it for what it is.  It’s shitty self esteem, depression and self consciousness that makes me think like this, not the food.  Food is not good or bad, it’s just food.  It has no moral value.  Food is what fuels our body and we must eat.

Since I have been learning to eat normally, I’m noticing a few things.  I’ve become a major food snob!  I am very lucky in that I have a good income and good quality food available to me.  I realise a lot of people don’t have that, in fact there were times in my life where I didn’t have that.  But now that I do, and I’ve been learning to eat in a normal, sensible way, I have discovered that the thought of eating a lot of the cheap, quick fix things that I used to crave so desperately when I was eating disorderly really grosses me out.

A prime example is chocolate.  Oh in my starvation years, I would dream of chocolate.  I would think about it all the time while I was on an exercise binge, I would torture myself with visions of chocolate in my head.  I would cut pictures of chocolate out of magazines, I would buy things shaped like chocolate and that smell like chocolate.  I was such a bitch to myself with denying myself chocolate, but torturing myself with thoughts and images of it all the time.

Consequently, when I DID allow myself to have chocolate, I would eat ANY old chocolate.  I tended to buy really cheap chocolate, generic brands and mass produced stuff.

I have noticed that now I have told myself I can have chocolate any time I want it, I rarely think about it.  From time to time I think “Damn I’d like some chocolate.” so I go and get some.  And I have noticed that I have become a massive snob about it.  I turn my nose up at the cheap stuff.  I won’t even touch Cadbury any more, it’s horrible.  Lindt is the only chocolate I will buy from the supermarket, but I far prefer the hand made stuff from the markets or one of the boutique stores.  It just tastes so much better, and consequently you get twice the chocolate  happy buzz from the same amount, because it’s not full of vegetable filler and cheap ingredients.

But it’s the same with everything.  I’ve stopped shopping in supermarkets for most of my food.  I now shop at my local farmers markets (it’s cheaper anyway) and have farmers co-op fruit and veges delivered to my house (also WAY cheaper than the supermarkets).  I buy meat that has a name, because it comes from a local farm, cheese from a cheesemaker, eggs from an egg farmer.

Do you know what?  It tastes a million times better than the supermarket stuff and you feel so much more satisfied and nourished after eating something made from decent produce.  Not to mention that eating food without pesticides, colouring, additives and without being gassed or irradiated to make it ripen quickly is far better for me than all the crap you get from the supermarket.

Did I mention the taste?  Seriously, go buy a banana from your local supermarket, then one from a farmers market, and eat the farmers market one first, and taste the supermarket one.  I bet you will throw the latter in the bin.  If you don’t like bananas, try it with anything else.  I hated apples until I tried one from a farmers markets.  HOLY CRAP!  It tastes like happiness!

I really think I have had to re-train myself to actually taste again.

I’ve gone from someone who lived on Healthy Choice or Lean Cuisine “meals” (or should I say reconstituted slop)  to someone who buys bucketloads of fresh fruit and vegetables, high quality meat, cheese and eggs, and prefers to dine out at places that use these ingredients.

That’s not to say I don’t love Maccas chips (McDonald’s fries for those of you outside of Australia) or pizza from time to time, but for every day eating, I much prefer produce that is local, fresh and free of all the chemical junk.  It doesn’t have to be wholly organic, just direct from a farm is far less polluted than the supermarket stuff, believe me.

The funny thing is, the minute I slip into the guilt and denial mode again, what do I dream about?  Cheap chocolate and junk food!  So it’s quite a simple equation for me to remember:

Don’t eat properly = crave rubbishy food.  Either starvation or shit food makes me feel shit.

Eat good quality food when I’m hungry = happy tastebuds, sated appetite, healthy body, clear skin and eyes, and yes, even a happier wallet.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,918 other followers