Friday, September 25, 2009

self-imposed famine

I am recalling, as I contemplate the reading on my scale this morning, a comment Kim made fairly recently to a post on this blog. A fellow writer, and a darn good one, Kim has a way of being direct while at the same time saying something in a way you've never heard it said before. Normally, I find this very enjoyable. This time, it caught me off guard.

Bad news, she writes, none of the experts have come up with a better way to lose weight than a self-imposed famine. I chuckled as I read it, but deep inside, there was something about it that was decidedly not funny. Not Kim, mind you, but the deeper implications of this particular comment. I stored it away, along with some notes I scribbled as I processed my emotional response.

The thoughts have returned this morning, ready for me to explore them further. Despite two weeks of working out hard and reigning myself in, I have not only not lost weight, I have gained two pounds. While I am confounded, I am not surprised. I could feel it. I knew it in my body. But knowing it and understanding why it's happening are two entirely different things.

I know enough to know that I obviously am eating more calories than I am burning, so I need to re-evaluate my intake. But I also know enough to know that I was NOT eating so much that I should have gained weight. Maintained, perhaps. But not gained. This is what drives me to despair. I am trying not to go there, today. But the urge is strong.

I return to my notes from Kim's comment. I already deprive myself. I already say no to ice cream with the kids, to a third or fouth peice of pizza, to cookies in the break room, to french fries or garlic bread or pastries at Panera. I already reign myself in. Why must I do it more?

I already work hard. I already do some form of exercise, which I still, for the record, don't LOVE, four to six days a week. I walk, I cross-train, I strength-train, I interval-train. I already push myself beyond what is comfortable. Why must I do it more?

This is the struggle. I get that I have to watch what I eat and work out, and will need to do that forever. What I don't get is why I work out harder than my husband and don't eat half the stuff he does yet weigh 30 lbs more. What I don't get is why we can eat the same foods in the same portions and I gain weight and he does not. And what I don't get is why on earth God thinks this is a good idea.

Self-imposed famine. How much? How long? And to what end? Can I do it, knowing my body may or may not respond? Do I want to? (No.) But do I want my clothes to fit again? (YES.) So, what choice do I have? (None.)

Self-imposed famine. Restrict. Deny. Reign in. Work out. Burn.

And pray that the God of body fat has mercy on my soul.

So today looks like boycotting the gym (though I have a sinus infection on which I can lay blame), and eating whatever the heck I want, because I'm done. Tomorrow looks like paying better attention to my caloric intake and getting serious about getting this weight off. Because I'm done.

And so, at least for a season, self-imposed famine it is. Not to an extreme, mind you, but to a greater degree than what has obviously not been working. We'll see if my body plays by the rules this time...

Wednesday, September 2, 2009


The scale reads the same as it did two weeks ago. This would be great, were I trying to maintain my weight. But I'm not. I've been trying for over six months to lose the weight I gained over my Winter From Hell, so as to be able to actually WEAR the clothes in my closet. (How vain and self-absorbed of me.) I gained ten more pounds in the process. I dieted, lost seven pounds. Gained it back. Dieted. Lost six pounds. Went off the diet because I couldn't stand it any more. Ate clean, ate reasonably, worked out like a sane person. I felt good. Until this morning. I'm not losing weight.

If I were a glass-half-full person, I would celebrate that I was able to maintain my weight even through a camping trip and the first week of school. But I wasn't trying to maintain. I was trying to lose. I was consciously reigning myself in. I was consciously choosing healthy, low-fat, clean foods. I was making myself exercise when I wanted to sit on my butt. Why is there no fruit on this God-forsaken tree? Even Jesus cursed the tree that bore no fruit. So where does that leave me and my God-forsaken body?

It leaves me in despair, curing my body and shaking my fist at the God who gave it to me. I'm angry. I'm hurt. I'm confused. Why does my body not respond like other peoples' bodies? Why must this be a lifelong struggle? Why must I police every bite of food I put in my mouth? Why do I work out like the buff girls at the gym but LOOK like my friends who only exercise occasionally? Or worse, why do they look more fit than me?

Acceptance, many will preach to me. Accept your body. Make friends with it. I would not ever be friends with a person this fickle and unreliable. Ever. I don't want to befriend 154 pounds. I want to return to my normal level of overweightness and be able to wear the clothes in my closet. I don't think that's unreasonable or unhealthy. It is a reasonable desire. Unless, of course, you live in my body.

I pray, in my ridiculous rubbing-the-genie-bottle way, every time I step on that stupid contraption. (And don't bother to tell me to stop weighing myself—I won't. I only do it every couple of weeks, to find out if what I'm doing is working. Typically, it's not. I'm sick to death of disapproving glances and comments every time I check the numbers to see if they add up with what I'm trying to accomplish. So there. How's that for snarky?) I close my eyes and I take a deep breath and I intone Please God, let it go down. Please. Please make it go down.
Then I step on the scale and it whirs and clicks and I hold my breath and I wait to either be reassured or to have my heart drop. Most days, the number is of the heart-dropping variety.

Obviously I'm eating more calories than I think I am. Obviously I'm not exercising as much as I need to. Obviously something must be wrong, right? But what? Starving myself is not right, either. Obsessive exercise that wears me out and makes me want to cry is not right. And even when I do what's not right, hoping it will be right, it is still wrong. What. The. Heck.

I am so tired. Tired of feeling deprived. Tired of exercising when I want to write or be with people instead. Tired of eating fruit while my family eats ice cream. Tired of feeling week and weary and sick to my stomach when I work out. Tired of feeling frustrated, weary, hopeless. I'm tired. But I'm also tired of wearing the same six outfits. So which is worse to endure?

My body is not my friend. My body is the mean-spirited class princess who smiles sweetly to your face then spreads devastating lies about you behind your back. It cannot be trusted, yet I am suckered in every time. And as for the God who made that body? Some days, to be quite honest, I question if he can be trusted, either.

Friday, August 28, 2009

has it really been that long?

"I wish that Girl would EAT SOMETHIN' so I'd have somethin' to read," my good friend Cindy lamented, at least a few weeks ago. I laughed, but inside I cringed--how is this writing thing every going to happen if I don't actually, WRITE? The problem, of course, has not been a lack of eating anything (good heavens, no) but more a lack of time, energy, clarity, and courage. All essential ingredients necessary for writting, blogging, or creating a manuscript. All ingredients I fear I don't have in my cupboard.

What was I thinking?

The struggle remains, of course, a month later. The scale continues to go up and down. I continue to freak out about it, then pull myself together. My body continues to cling to every bit of fat it can, and I continue to fight to excise at least ten pounds of it in order to have pants to wear this winter. Words continue to swarm my already crowded mind, and I continue to gather them in silence.

My desperate hope is that this year will bring some changes. More time, less work. More writing, less running around. More energy, less depression. More resources, less drains. More health, less of all that is not health. As for the part of that which is within my hands, I am setting aside nine hours a week to write as a starting point or goal.

Writing. Being fit. Being sane and at peace. My goals for this school year.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

the best laid plans...

The fight to not freak out is never-ending. The battle for control over my thought life is tiring at best, excruciating at worst. Take today, for example.

Prior to my birthday this past Saturday, I'd lost seven pounds on my way back to my pre-sucky-winter "normal" weight. My clothes were fitting better, my mood was hopeful, my spirit was lighter. I was encouraged.

I was not even fearful about the weekend. I knew what was in store. I had a plan. Hiking and ice cream on Friday. Salad for lunch then dinner out with dessert on Saturday. Back on my eating plan come Sunday. It was a good plan. It allowed for treats, allowed for celebrating, allowed for a little birthday revelry. And it allowed me to maintain the all-too-important momentum that had built over the last few weeks. It was a good plan, and I followed it well.

Problem was, I did not plan for a surprise party.

I did not plan for chocolate cake with mousse in the middle and real butter cream frosting. I did not plan for homemade apple strudel. I did not plan for kettle chips and chocolate chip cookies.

One day of celebration--of enjoying the love that was behind these wonderful, delectable treats--and the familiar tightness in my waistband is back with a vengeance. The number on the scale is higher. And the sinking in my spirit is much, much lower.

It was ONE day. I know this. I'm right back on track. I know this, too. But...

The momentum was stalled. The progress interupted. The direction of the scale reversed. And for someone whose greatest fear is that the weight won't come back off, again, this can be panic-inducing.

So, I am trying today NOT to panic. I'm trying to silence the voice in my head that screams, "SEE!!! This is what always happens! You're doomed to be fat forever!"

I can ignore it for a while.

But I can't, for the life of me, make it shut the heck up.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

happy birthday to me...

So, for the record, birthdays completely screw with your diet. I had my whole weekend mapped out, complete with ice cream and key lime pie, and vowed to be back on the wagon come 7.26.09. That would be today. Given that I've lost seven pounds in the last three weeks, my determination was strong and I was doing, if you don't mind me saying, darn well. Then my husband surprised me.

That meant cake. The good kind that has the chocolate mousse in the middle and real butter cream frosting. That also meant apple strudel, which my mom bakes for me for my birthday. AND it meant Kettle Chips and chocolate chip cookies from Krista, who takes my blog title VERY seriously.

That means I did NOT get back on the wagon today. That means I had apple strudel for breakfast, lunch, AND dinner. And that means that I'm struggling to not freak out that I've re-gained all seven pounds in one day. So far I am winning that battle, but the fear is relentless. One day, that fear will be gone. One day...

So, back on the wagon tomorrow. It was my birthday, after all. And if I'm going to have my cake, you better darn well believe I'm going to eat it, too.

(Will be back to posting regularly soon...)

Monday, June 15, 2009

rambling in my fatigue

I'm not avoiding writing. Not much, at least. No more so than I'm avoiding everything else. There is just a pervasive lack of time for anything other than the necessities. Do I squeeze in a workout, or write? Do I have the energy for either? Do I even have the desire?

Spent the weekend at a string of unavoidable food events. I have yet to master saying no to the bounty of the buffet. Is it a lack of discipline? Gluttony? Guilty pleasure? Joy in God's culinary creativity? All I know is that Helen's lemon bars made me happy. And so I ate several. In addition to my German Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars, which also made me happy. In addition to the "Texas Caviar," which also made me happy. In addition to...

Food makes me happy. I have yet to determine if this is good or bad. What it does to my body, however, at least in the current quantities, is decidedly NOT good. But here's the thing... one lemon bar is just not enough. So where's the limit? Thirty-eight years, and I've yet to figure this one out.

Lemon bars and chocolate chip cookies and chips and salsa--happy, colorful moments in a gray, melancholy life. Without them, lots of them, what is left?

Monday, June 8, 2009

forbidden fruit

It's no secret that those of us who struggle with disordered eating have some twisted thinking. There's nothing rational about believing that I may never get the opportunity to have Cap City Diner's Big-A Chocolate Cake ever again in my life when we go there several times a year. There's nothing rational about binging over the weekend then being surprised when the scale registers a higher number on Monday. There's nothing rational about gaining five pounds then making the leap that within a month I will have suddenly gained another 95. Let's face it. We're not exactly known for rationality.

The issue, I believe, is one of deception. Somewhere along the line, we have come to believe that which is not truth, and we cling to it doggedly. There are a multitude of lies that get stuck in our main frame, but for me, the lie that sends me into the greatest amount of panic is the one that whispers to me there is not enough for you. Now, was I a survivor of the Great Depression or a Nazi Concentration Camp, that would be a valid fear with a clear root. But I'm obviously not, and, to look at me, you know that I clearly get more than enough. So where is that fear rooted?

One of our pastors slapped me upside the head a few months ago with the answer, and I didn't even realize I was asking the question at the time. He was teaching on Eve and the Garden of Eden, and if you've done any reading on this subject, you know that most people point the finger at Eve's pride as being the problem—the "original sin," so to speak. They assert that Eve's great transgression was wanting to be like God—eating of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil so that she could know what God knows and therefore be on par with the omniscient creator. This pastor disagrees.

Eve's offense was of a much different nature, he contends. When Satan questions what she is and isn't allowed to eat, the issue was not what she chose to eat and why. The issue was that she responded to that question in her heart with distrust. In her heart, she believed God was withholding from her. And if God was withholding from her, then he must not really be for her, and therefore he must not really be loving and good. The heart of the matter was not one of pride, it was one of distrust. And as much as I'd like to convince myself that I would never have taken from that tree, the truth is that I eat of its fruit each and every day.

When it all boils down to it, I struggle to believe that I can "taste and see that the Lord is good." When I am told I cannot eat X, Y, or Z, I don't receive that as loving. I perceive it as withholding. When I already feel sad and lonely and tired and unhappy and deprived, to be told I can't have something that brings me a brief moment of happiness feels like punishment at its worst, withholding at its best. I don't know how to uproot this. I don't know how to put the proverbial apple back on the proverbial tree.

I don't know how to believe that which I don't truly believe. I don't know how to trust in a love I cannot taste, see, feel, experience.

If the truth has not set me free, do I not really know the truth?

Thursday, June 4, 2009

down the drain

Swirling thoughts—I cannot pin any of them down. I cannot pen any of them down. Clarity eludes me. I don't know what to say.

Perhaps it is the full moon. Perhaps it is my full stomach. My full mind. My full calendar. Everything is full except that which matters.

And so it goes that the stomach is full but the heart is empty. Hungry. I am always, always hungry. The one spot nothing fills. Nothing satisfies.

I cannot do this. This is not within my power to fix. The more I try to fill that which feels empty, the emptier that which cannot be filled by my own hand becomes. I am at my end. Again.

Thoughts, swirling. Words, swirling. Scraps of paper, swirling. Slices of pizza, swirling. Scoops of ice cream, swirling. Longings, legitimate and otherwise, swirling. Dreams, desires, and disappointments, swirling. Schedules and school work and Saturdays off, swirling, swirling, swirling.

It is out of my hands.

Sovereign Lord, I beg for the reassurance that it is all, indeed, in yours.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

fear or trust?

Writing...I've discovered, has much in common with resolving weight issues. You can proceed from the fear that unless you force yourself to do it, you won't. Or you can proceed from the belief that you want to do it, and will, but that doing it may sometimes look like not doing it. One way is as difficult as the other; both require perseverance and commitment. The way you choose depends on how you want to live. You can fear yourself or you can trust yourself.

Geneen Roth

Doing it may sometimes look like not doing can fear yourself or you can trust yourself.

Love this quote. Right now, life looks like not writing. Life looks like not exercising. Life looks like not losing weight. I cannot begin to tell you the panic this creates internally.

I want to learn this trust. This ability to rest in knowing that I will write. That I will work out. That I will get my weight back into normal limits. I want to trust that I will parent well, love my husband well, pay my bills on time, get the laundry done... all without having to force myself out of the fear that I won't do it otherwise.

The way you choose depends on how you want to live. I do not want to live in this kind of fear any longer. But to say that seems as ludicrous, as unnatural as a fish saying I do not want to live in water any longer. Striving has been akin to breathing--how does one suddenly not breathe?

Monday, June 1, 2009

ten current reasons why i'm not losing weight

1. If my family is eating Graeter's Ice Cream, there is no way in hell I'm not having it, too.

2. My head hurts. Again. Since Friday. I don't want to do anything. (For the record, I did exercise three times despite the head ache. But I didn't want to.)

3. If my family is eating Knight's Homemade Ice Cream, there is no way in hell I'm not having it, too.

4. My favorite quickie dinner is a plate of nachos with cheese and some fresh salsa. It's my standby when I'm stressed or my head hurts. Guess what was for dinner tonight?

5. If my family is eating Jeni's Ice Cream, there is no way in hell I'm not having it, too.

6. My head hurts. Again. And it makes me nauseous. So in order to quell the nausea, I have to have something salty. With a chocolate chaser...

7. If my family is eating Dairy Queen, there is no way in hell I'm not having it, too.

8. My second favorite quickie dinner is a big, honkin' bowl of cereal. Maybe even two. Guess what's for dinner tomorrow night?

9. If my family is eating plain ol' grocery store-bought ice cream straight out of the cardboard tub, there is no way in hell I'm not having it, too.

10. My family eats too much ice cream.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

curses on isaac newton…

Finally stepped on the scale this morning. I think I was in need of a shock to finally wake me up out of this sugar-induced stupor. It woke me up, alright. I won't go through my list of emotions—I'm sure you can pretty well guess by now what my response would have been.

I did not, however, spend twenty minutes crying in the shower, which is a fairly typical response for me. Probably because the number really wasn't a surprise, given what The Woman Formerly Known as Lorie looked like in pictures from the weekend. And how can I act shocked when I know what I've been doing? The first ten pounds I can legitimately blame on a crappy winter—they truly snuck up on me. The rest? Well, it's all me, baby. Rebellion? Anger turned inward? Apathy? Self-care? Who knows. I just hope it's over.

It is odd that I did not cry. But I think I am moving toward resolve. Moving toward… In the meantime, there are Oreo cookies in my pantry from the weekend. Will I eat one when I'm done? Before I tell my husband to take them into work tomorrow? Will I eat more than one? More than two? Or will I drink my water and retreat to bed, knowing that there are more Oreo cookies in the world that I can have any time I want?

Mr. Newton claims for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. Pig out—gain weight. Starve—binge. Weigh yourself—freak out and create a new resolve to, well, to do what?

I don't know.

I'm tired of equal and opposite reactions. I want a new and different reaction. I want to stop swinging from one extreme to the other. I want to be free.

But does freedom mean eating the Oreo cookies, or not?

This, I cannot determine for the life of me…

Monday, May 25, 2009

who is this woman?

She's showing up in our family pictures, again. I don't know who invited her, but it ticks me off. It has been four years since I've last seen her, and we've still not reconciled. Truth be told, I have no interest whatsoever in doing so. She is not welcome here. I will not be reconciled.

I want her gone, plain and simple. I liked the woman who took her place. She smiled a lot more. She laughed and played with her kids and didn't sit with her arms wrapped around her waist. She didn't have that fearful, self-conscious look in her eyes and she rarely checked her reflection in the many mirrored surfaces surrounding her. I'm not sure where she's gone, but I want this woman back.

For four years I was not The Fat Girl any longer. I was The Fit But Curvy Girl. Or The In Shape Though Slightly Big Boned Girl. I was The Healthy And Almost-Accepting of Her Five-Foot, Two-Inch, 140 lb Frame Girl. While that girl was still slightly on the neurotic side, I still liked her much better than The Fat Girl. But I don't know how to get The Fat Girl out of our family pictures for good.

I don't want her here. She is not welcome. I want The Healthy, Smiling Girl back. But I don't know how to find her. And I fear I won't, ever again.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

spinning my wheels

Yet another moment of distress. I pull on a t-shirt to wear to bed. My size M which I've worn so proudly for the last several years, for the first time since—when? Junior high? It clings to my middle, refusing to fall down smoothly over my rear-end. I feel exposed.

The day was filled with these moments, as was the week, the weekend, the month. Putting on my jeans this morning, fresh from the wash, and having that initial moment of dismay before they finally relaxed slightly around my enlarged frame. The reminder, each time I stood up or walked, that I have gained weight because of the way they cling stubbornly to my thighs. How many times to today did my heart sink at that rub-rub-rub?
I cannot stop. I cannot start. Eating. Exercising. I can't get past this place of spinning my wheels.

Am I going to stop eating everything in sight? I ask my husband, in bed.

Yes, he replies.

When, I ask.

When you want something else more than food.

I don't like his answer. He wonders why I won't let him put his arm around my thick, bulging waist. Why I pull away. Why I shut down. Again.

WHEN I want something more? As if I don't already? As if I don't long, achingly, every day of my life for something more?

The problem, of course, if that he is right. And wrong. I want both nothing and everything more than food.

Friday, May 22, 2009

quote of the day

From my daughter, as she opened the fridge this morning, THIRTEEN DAYS after placing her peice of cake inside:

"GASP! Where's my cake? What happened to my cheesecake?!"


Wednesday, May 20, 2009

longing: in response

My last post, which also ties in with my most recent colla voce post, received some very passionate comments from a few good friends. I responded to the colla voce post here, but wanted to likewise share some comments here in a more extended fashion. As it is getting late, and I am getting tired, I will respond to direct comments rather than trying to pull together a coherent line of thought, as I did on the other post. I'm sure you can handle it!

Cindy, I completely agree that not every longing is really masking a longing for God. My preference for chocolate over vegetables and the desire behind that has nothing to do with God. Ditto for any number of things. But when I ask myself, as any number of secular authors have encouraged me to do, "what am I really hungry for?" the answer is, obviously, not always food, nor is it necessarily something tangible or expressible. There are times when the answer is, legitimately, chocolate chip cookies. And so I bake them. There are times, however, more often than not, when no answer comes. When I can't figure it out. When the emptiness in my spirit is really what's behind the perceived hunger in my stomach (like I write about in the poem on the sidebar) and there's nothing else that will satisfy that. I believe that, in the deepest part of my being, I am starving for more than I am currently experiencing of God. And more often than not, I solve this by eating. I don't believe I'm alone in that.

As for the second part of your paragraph, I'm honestly not sure how to respond to that, because, to be honest, I do feel that way sometimes. And you know that. But I felt that way before the weight and food issue, so I don't think it is simply because some well-intentioned but poorly-thought-through Christian self-help book introduced the idea that what I'm really hungry for is intimacy with God, and then left me feeling powerless to attain it or manipulate it into being. I've felt that way for as long as I can remember, free of any one's "help." Is it me? Is it God? I don't honestly know. But that's part of what I'm trudging through currently, trying to understand what it means to "be intimate" with the God of the universe. I suspect I have a lot of it all wrong. Then again, I may have more of it right than I thought...

KP--I agree we must look at these things holistically, and talk about that within the other post as well, so I won't be redundant here. I can't recall the context of his quote currently, but if I recall correctly, his point was to be sure that people were taking addiction/compulsion holistically, by making sure the spiritual component was included in their consideration. (I also mention in the other post how we often, even as Christians, still want to leave this part out--though there are others, I admit, who want to single in on this area to the exclusion of all others.)

Now, I have to be honest that the "God made carbs" bit hits a nerve for me, because to me, that sounds Christianese-ish. I agree whole-heartedly that he made them, that they are good, and that all things are permissible, though not all beneficial. But I don't believe God created my compulsive urge to eat them WAY beyond the point of getting full, to the extreme point of gaining 10, 50, 100 pounds. Carbs aren't truly the issue, and of course we both know that. The issue isn't that I eat them, nor is it that I enjoy them. I believe both are okay. The issue is that, regardless of the food group, when my body signals tell me I'm full, another signal tells me that I desperately need more, and I cannot stop eating. This has nothing whatsoever to do with food. And this is what I'm trying to figure out in my own life through these ramblings here.

That being said, I agree that I, too, read quotes like this sometimes with the same feeling that "I always leave with no real clear sense of how to 'do better' or 'be better' but that I'm failing and somehow I'm missing the answer." Again, I don't know whether or not the context provides an "answer," but I don't know having that answer is the point, and that's part of what I'm trying to sort through in my head as well. It can't be about doing. It just can't. But I've not yet learned how to relax into this notion of being, and I do believe this will be part of the key. Not in a corny, hokey, "what the heck does THAT mean?" kind of way, but in an honest, seeking, what DOES it mean kind of way.

Lisa, I agree it's deeper than food versus God. Wholeheartedly. There are a multitude of things I'm hungry for that are not food--greater intimacy with my husband, more time to relax and enjoy my kids, sunsets along the Gulf Coast, the time to put words on paper. And I agree, as well, that there is, embedded within each of these things, a longing for God, because I know that I meet God and experience God in each of these things. (And I definitely experience God in chocolate chip cookies. Fresh from the oven. With a tall glass of ice cold milk. But I digress...) Are these things solely veiling a longing for God? No, I don't think so. I believe they are legitimate longings in their own right. But I do believe that there is a longing for God within each, and that the two are not mutually exclusive.

As far as trying to go about being this person who longs for God in my own way versus whatever way God may have us go about that, I think this is often times hard to discern. Probably because we're too dazed and confused from beating our head against the wall...

All this thinking has left me exhausted and craving a big bowl of Cinnamon Puffins. Is that a legitimate desire? Am I truly hungry? If so, what am I really hungry for? I don't know. Nor do I know whether or not I'll go eat them. But I do know this: I appreciate the dialogue and hope nothing I've said has offended. I don't have the answers. As LifeHouse sings, I don't want to pretend I do. I'm just tryin' to find my way, best that I know how.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009


Been sick again in addition to running around like a chicken with its head cut off trying to get this school year wrapped up. May 29th, here I come! In the meantime, when I can't write the way I really want to, I'm trying to get better at sharing quotes and short little thoughts. Working on slaying that all-or-nothing demon. Not doing so hot so far, but I'm working on it. So here goes.

Gerald May states, in Addiction and Grace, that "we naturally seek the least-threatening ways of trying to satisfy our longing for God, ways that protect our sense of personal power and require the least sacrifice." This truth is behind the title of this blog, which I hope to write more about at another time. Suffice it to say that I believe what I (and all of us, if I may be blunt) am/are really, truly hungry for is more of God--more intimacy, more depth, more power, more real-ness--but I turn to more carbohydrates instead.

Why? Because they are safer. And they taste better. And I know that, as long as I've been to the grocery lately, they will be there. They are immediate. They are satisfying. They demand nothing of me. What's not to love?

I know the Truth. I know it will set me free. But I don't know what to do with that unsatisfied longing May talks about in the mean time.

Friday, May 15, 2009


I once described, with a great deal of bewilderment and, I must admit, the slightest bit of disdain, my husband's bizarre and mysterious ability to not eat a piece of cheesecake simply because he was not hungry. I likewise marveled, within this same post, about his ability to reside within the same house as that piece of cheesecake without devouring it immediately. Such things are, truly, beyond my comprehension.

It appears my daughter has not fallen far from the proverbial tree. On Sunday, my father-in-law treated us to Cheesecake Factory for dessert on Mother's Day. My daughter, or at least the part of her that is like her mother, insisted on having HER OWN piece of Chris' Outrageous Chocolate Cake. The part of her that is like her father could not finish it, and brought it home.

Where it sat in the refrigerator until last night. When I ate it. Because I couldn't stand it anymore.

I refuse to feel guilty about it. She was clearly not going to finish that piece of cake. And it was simply too outrageous, truly, to go to waste. I mean, com'mon—a layer of rich brownie, topped with coconut-pecan frosting, topped with chocolate cake, topped with chocolate chip coconut cheesecake, topped with more cake, more frosting, and more brownie! How could you NOT eat that?!?!

I waited for FOUR days. Granted, I did not remind her it was in there. But, for crying out loud, who needs reminded they have a piece of cake in the fridge!?!?!

So yes, if my daughter asks, I ATE HER CAKE. And it was darn good, too. But here's the scary thing—I think something is going very wrong within my internal wiring. I did something I NEVER do.

I didn't finish it. GASP.

The last three bites—the part where the back of the cake was drizzled with chocolate fudge and huge chocolate chunks—it was too sweet. I threw away the last three bites of Chris' Outrageous Chocolate Cake. Did you hear that?! I THREW AWAY THREE BITES OF CAKE!!! Either something is very, very wrong, or, well, hmm… or something is finally getting right. I'm not sure which, but I'd better go finish the Dark Chocolate Cookie Crumble ice cream before some weird manifestation of my husband rises up in me and decides I'm not really hungry!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

not making a statement

I am not stepping on my scale. You can't make me. This is not a statement about the tyranny of weighing ourselves. This is not about rejecting the notion of the mythical "ideal weight." This is not even about taking a stand against my obsessive-compulsive nature. This is about fear. Plain and simple.

If I look at the scale, I will cry. Therefore, I will not look at the scale.

Not until I can pull my favorite pair of capris up over my big fat rear end again.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

pre-binge melancholia

having one of those days... not feeling well AGAIN... still not over the FOURTH sinus infection of this winter/spring... feeling like crap tonight and feeling fat and miserable to boot... i've started four new posts and haven't had the clarity to finish a one of them... so much running through my head and nowhere near the time necessary to get it down "on paper"... these are the times when i think, "who the hell am i kidding?"... i'm never going to get this weight back off... i'm never going to complete a manuscript... i can't even complete a clear thought... i can't even get a moment to myself, and when i do, i feel so tired and lousy i can't do anything productive with it anyway... there is so much i'm hungry for... so much more that i want my life to be... knowing how to get there and getting there are two very, very different things... for tonight, it looks like having chocolate cookie crumble ice cream and going to bed early... tomorrow morning, it will look like getting my fanny back to the gym... hopefully tomorrow night it will look like complete sentences and finished posts...

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

a matter of trust

It is 9:00 Wednesday morning, and the children off being educated for the day. I've not managed yet to find a sufficient diversion, so I am stuck with a dilemma. What do I do with my morning?

I've not been to the gym since last Monday. With the exception of a few one mile walks around the block with the kids and a brief walk with my roommate over the weekend, I've not moved my fanny at all. So am I going to move it this morning, or not? Truth be told, my body doesn't feel like moving. It is tired, sluggish, a little achy, still recovering from yet another sinus infection and the monthly interruption to all health and sanity. What I want to do is to go back to bed.

On the other hand, my body is restless. Used to working out five times a week, it is straining at the bit somewhere deep inside, ready to be let loose. I need to get out and move. It is a rare day when these competing forces don't exist in conflict, when I actually feel good and want to exercise at the same time. Lately, if that miracle occurs, it usually is on a day when I wouldn't have time to do it anyway.

Geneen Roth, in her book Breaking Free from Emotional Eating, speaks frequently about the need to trust our bodies—to listen to them and learn their cues about eating or exercise and to regard those cues with respect. "Remember that your body does not want to destroy you and will not go haywire as soon as you let down your guard. Trust that the two of you are working for the same end—your health, your happiness, your peace."

Therein lies the problem. I do not believe this for a moment. I do not believe that my body is a benevolent force intent upon my health and emotional well-being. I have chronic pain. I have IBS. I have a life-long weight issue. What, exactly, am I supposed to find trustworthy about these things and my inability to rectify them?

Let's take the last three weeks as an example. In a moment of desperation and insanity, I went on a strict two week diet and actually lost six pounds. I was ecstatic. I finally had some momentum going. I went to a cookout at my brother's house and was a little freer than I should have been. Over the next week, I relaxed my guard and tried to eat "normal" again. I didn't pig out. I didn't binge every day. I ate fairly reasonably, although not perfectly. I don't know what I did that was bad enough to undo all I'd done. But here's what I can tell you with certainty: I did NOT eat enough food in that week to gain six pounds, but that's exactly what I did. Put every last pound back on my sorry, fat butt and then sat on it and wallowed in self-pity for a few days.

When left to its own devices, my body raids the kitchen for carbohydrates and plops on the couch with a book or my computer. What is there to trust about that? If I trusted my body, I'd weigh 240 pounds again, have a headache every waking moment, and be bloated 24/7. I can't make friends with that. I just can't.
So it logically goes to follow that, if my body is the place within which God resides, and I can't trust my body, then I probably can't trust Him, either. And if I don't believe I can trust the God "who is able to do exceedingly more than I can ever ask or imagine" to bring freedom from headaches and stomach aches and endless obsession and bondage, well, then I'm pretty much screwed.

And that is a much bigger dilemma than whether or not to hit the gym or hit the bed.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

shame on you

Now that we've established I'm neurotic, we might as well jump right in.
There are common threads that run through all of our lives, weaving the fibers of each individual story together in one large textile. As I look back over the fabric that represents my life to this point, there is a dark, thick thread that stands out throughout most of the piece. It starts somewhere around elementary school gym class and winds over and under nearly every memory since, overshadowing the colors with its dark, foreboding presence. It tangles around friendships, around stage costumes and prom dresses, around family holidays, around playing on the playground with my children, around sex with my husband, around looking in the mirror on a daily basis. It both holds together and tears apart the entirety of my life's story. That thread is called shame.

From the first time Donald Houchins said to me, in his puny, nasty voice, "Boy, your legs look big," it began. I wasn't just embarrassed. I was ashamed. When my costume didn't fit for the spring musical, I wasn't just embarrassed, I was ashamed. When my wedding dress had be let out a size, I wasn't just embarrassed, I was ashamed. When years of depression and two pregnancies launched my weight to over two hundred pounds, I wasn't just embarrassed, I was ashamed. And now, when a change in seasons has created a change in my waistline, my response it not just embarrassment. It is shame.

I wear it everywhere I go. It is most evident in the large, loose clothing that falls away from my frame to cover the way my midsection oozes out over my pants. But if you look closely enough, you can see it in my face as well. The tentativeness in my smile, the sad, fearful look in my eyes. If you're perceptive, you may notice they way I avoid your gaze or the way I constantly fold my arms across my middle, as if to protect myself from your appraisal. You may recognize the way I constantly pull my shirt down farther or pull my waist band up higher or hide behind the nearest thing to hide behind. But then again, you may not. Because hiding behind other things is something I do well.

Whether I've managed to hide it from you or not, it is there, though I've yet to fully figure out why. Much has been written about glorifying thinness and vilifying fatness—I'm sure there are judgments I've made along the line, both of myself and others. I'm also sure our culture deserves a lion's share of the blame that is to be taken. After all, if I lived in the Elizabethan era, I'd likely be the subject of an oil painting. But I don't, and I'm not, and I digress.

When I lost weight, for the fourth time, I was proud of myself. When I kept it off for four years, I was proud of myself. When I finally fit into a size ten, I was proud of myself. Now, I am gaining weight, and I am ashamed. I want to cover my body with a multitude of layers and hide in my house until it's gone. I want to cry every morning as I attempt to get dressed and still can't fit into most of my clothes. I want to eat chocolate ice cream and Kettle Brand potato chips to numb the despair and depression throbbing in my chest. I want to run-run-run as fast as I can from myself, from my hunger, from my emptiness. Oh, and I want all my friends to get fat, too.
But above all else, I don't want to tell you this. Because probably more than anything else, I am ashamed that I am ashamed. I know better. I am a fairly smart woman. I have two masters degrees. I graduated with a 3.99. I'm writing a book. I speak to groups about weight loss and a healthy attitude about weight and food. I help other people find freedom. I thought I'd found it, too. But losing weight, and even keeping it off, is not the same as finding freedom, as it turns out. And I still, apparently, have a long, long way to go.

Perhaps there will be a day when I will finally rip out all the dark, heavy threads that overshadow my life's story--but then again, without them there, what will hold those scraps and pieces together? Perhaps, instead, I must focus on putting down the entangling strings of shame and pick up instead the golden, gossamer threads of grace. They are thinner and more delicate, and much harder for my clumsy fingers to handle. But they shimmer softly when they catch the light, causing me to smile for a moment, despite myself. If I don't put them down, perhaps, in time, I will learn to weave something of value with them.

Monday, May 4, 2009


I should have walked tonight. Instead, I spent the evening recovering from the busyness of the day and the misery of YET ANOTHER SINUS INFECTION. I am achy and exhausted and devoid of patience, not to mention depressed as snot. This has been my life the last six months. And this is where it has gotten me.

Over the last week I have written snippets here and paragraphs there, all part of trying to sort out this deluge of emotion surrounding the thickening around my middle. But I've not managed to post a single one of them. My hope has been that this blog would be the place for me to sort some of it out and perhaps find freedom. Problem is, I'm finding I'm afraid to write about it. Why? Because it's not pretty. And I want my life to look pretty.

It's not pretty to admit that I think about food and my weight and my body nearly 80% of my waking hours. It's not pretty to admit that I still struggle with compulsive eating, even after all this time and knowledge. It's not pretty to eat on occasion to the point of feeling sick to my stomach, just because "I won't get to have this again for a while." It's not pretty to look in the mirror and see 240 staring back at me. It's not pretty to realize that I am withdrawing from life, hiding in big sweatshirts and BSG episodes, all over 10 or 15 pounds. It's not pretty to recognize the self-hatred that has shrouded my frame like a big, black trench coat, attempting to hide all that I don't want anyone else to see. But if I don't let you see, if I don't look myself, there can be no freedom.

I want to post a disclaimer. I want to warn everyone that what they will find here is not going to be pretty. That the thoughts I think as of late are filled with fear and anger and doubt and self-hatred. That the content of this blog is as self-centered and perspective-less as content could possibly come. That I will go on and on and on about gaining ten-plus pounds, not because of the ten pound themselves, but because of all they represent to me. Then I want to take it all back, and delete the entire blog, and pray that you will forget everything that you've read here and return to thinking, "That Lorie—she seems to have it pretty together, as far having it together seems to go."

I have fought this battle in my head, hidden in darkness, for far too long. I must bring it out into the open, into the light of truth, for the lies within to be exposed. But this openness, this fully exposing how wide and long and high and deep these issues run within me, is not something that comes easily. It is one thing to do it once I'm through it and on the other side, back "together" again. It is another to do it from the trenches—muddy and messy and up to my waist in the mire. It is a struggle to remain "broken open," to not retreat back into my head and allow the words to just spin and spin and spin until they drop to the floor, tired but not spent. Today, I can do it. Tomorrow? I just don't know.

And so this is my disclaimer. I do not have it all together, but I want desperately for you to continue to think that I do. If we can work out a little agreement here where I tell you how awful I am but you still think I'm wonderful anyway, I think we will get along just fine. Perhaps.

Monday, April 27, 2009

too much yes

Alas, there can also be such a thing as too much yes.

Despite several years of working toward finding that point of moderation, I still find myself in situations (notice the passive terminology there—part of the problem perhaps?) where my intake valve gets stuck in the “on” position. This weekend was the perfect example. Burger and fries on Friday. No problem. A little no, a little yes. S’mores by the campfire on Saturday. No problem. A little no, a little yes. Cookout at my brother’s on Sunday. Big problem. All yes. Yes, yes, and more yes. To the point of complete and utter discomfort for the rest of the evening. Too much yes.

I used to swing wildly and widely between the extremes of too much no and too much yes. Diets. Vilifying foods or groups of foods. Counting calories obsessively. Too much no. Binging. Unable to step away from the potluck table. Ordering too much out of an uncontrollable fear of not having enough. Too much yes.

Over the last several years, I have worked toward an all-things-in-moderation mentality. I restrict, but don’t outlaw, sugar, gluten, and dairy 90% of the time because I just feel better when I do. But I also eat a piece of sugar and white flour laden cake at a birthday party for the exact same reason—I just feel better when I do. I eat clean, I eat healthy, I eat a reasonable amount. Most of the time. Most.

Somewhere in my spirit I can’t break this classic starve-binge cycle, particularly the binge loop, no matter what I do behaviorally. At least 85-90% of the time I eat moderately and happily. I eat things I enjoy, and I enjoy the things I eat. I don’t feel deprived, I don’t feel hungry, I don’t feel compulsive or anxious. I just eat. At home. At work. At a friend’s house. At Chipotle. I just eat, and I’m fine.

But then I go to a cookout. To a potluck. To a sit-down restaurant. A switch is flipped, the intake valve turned on, all restraints removed. Why? My mind begins rationalizing. I just want to eat like everyone else is eating (although I’m not—I’m eating much, much MORE). It’s a special occasion (like a Friday… or a Saturday). I won’t get the opportunity to eat this/like this again for a while (like until NEXT Friday or Saturday).

The classic model would suggest I’m binging in these situations because I am starving myself in others. But that is no longer true, at least not in a dietary sense. This same model would also suggest that I’m vilifying the foods that trigger me, therefore causing me to gorge on them from time to time in rebellion. This is also no longer true—I don’t treat these foods as “bad” any other time, I simply eat them in moderation.

So what causes the “safety” on my intake valve to come off? Why, when unlimited options are placed in front of me, do I become a pistol cocked and fully loaded? And why can I be reasonable and healthy at one place during one moment in time, but be completely unable to restrain myself the next?

What am I hungry for that causes me to eat in such a way? These are the questions I am seeking to explore.

Friday, April 24, 2009

deep, cleansing breaths

I am better now.

A good night's sleep, a small downward turn on the scale, and the relief that I can still fit into my shorts—a relief, indeed, on this our first shorts-worthy day—have all come together to snap me back into my right mind.

That, and I'm sick to death of eating fish and chicken.

After a nice, healthy (if you call wanting to cry "nice" and nausea-inducing "healthy") four mile run, the "fast" was broken at Five Guys Burgers and Fries, with only one very, very small order of guilt on the side.

While I know, truly know, that dieting is not the answer, there was a certain shift that was created over the last two weeks—a breakthrough of sorts, if you will. I was able to remember my ability to say no, which had gotten lost somewhere over the winter amidst the roaring PMS and the appetite-stoking sinus infections. My appetite had outgrown me—I fed it after midnight and it grew into something ugly and uncontrollable. These two weeks helped me to remember that I can say no and not die. That is a good thing to remember.

Tonight? Well, tonight helped me to remember that I can also say YES. And that is a good thing to remember, too.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

more of the same

This is the point at which I go crazy. (Nothing like jumping right in.)

I sat down tonight to a dinner consisting of a six ounce fish fillet, one cup of zucchini, one cup of asparagus, and three cups of plain salad greens. For the tenth day in a row. For someone who loves food as much as I do, this is tantamount to torture. The first night, it was pretty good. The second night, I cheated and put one tablespoon of dressing on my salad. By the fifth or sixth night, my portions were shrinking and my appetite exploding. By night ten, I could barely choke it down. I can’t eat any more.

Let me back up, as the big picture might be helpful. I have struggled with weight my entire life, sliding the little lever up and down the bar in increments that increase with each re-gain. Five years ago, with over 200 pounds on my five foot two inch frame, I determined it would not happen again. I was done. I was going to get to a reasonable, healthy weight and marry it for life.

Over the next year I lost 75 pounds and six dress sizes. At 140, I was in a size ten for the first time since probably junior high, and fairly comfortable with my stronger, trimmer, but still a little big-ish frame. Fairly. I filled my wardrobe with colorful, curve-accentuating clothes, and for the first time in a long time I felt okay. Not good, not out of the woods, but okay. And for someone who had not been okay for quite some time, okay looked pretty darn, well, okay.

I kept the weight off for four years, albeit with many points of struggle and frustration. But I kept it off nonetheless, and I was still hanging on to okay, if only by a thread.

Then came the half-marathon. The carb-craving-inducing monster that made me so hungry I could have eaten my God-awful plaid hand-me-down couch. Then came the injury, followed by the month of rest the doctor ordered right at the beginning of Christmas Cookie Season. Then came the vacation to Florida, and the four sinus infections in the last three months. Then came seasons two and three of Battlestar Galactica, delivered right to my mailbox in a pretty red envelope, paired with my increasing desire to sit on my tired, achy butt and not make myself in the least bit any more uncomfortable than I already was.

I gained ten pounds. My pants wouldn’t button, some wouldn’t even pull up. Tops wouldn’t meet comfortably in the middle—button amicably greeting hole without each pulling away from the other as if in great disdain. And so I did what anyone who has gained weight before would do. I panicked.

I reigned in my eating, when I wasn’t blind-sided by cravings for anything made out of starch of any kind. I tried to work out harder, when I could narrowly carve out the time and the energy to move a muscle or two. I tried to be reasonable. I tried to be moderate. I tried to be healthy. The scale didn’t budge.

Panic grew and spread like the layer of fat sprawled across my backside. My weight consumed my every thought—trying to figure out what to wear, what to eat, what to do. I was at a point of despair. So I did something desperate.

I went on a diet. A restricted-calorie, clean-eating, metabolism-bursting “lose ten pounds in three weeks” diet. I knew better. But desperate times call for desperate diets. I sucked it up and cut veggies and boiled chicken and broiled fish and I followed it 99% perfectly for ten days. The first five days, I lost four pounds. I was tentatively hopeful, but terrified to really let my mind go to anywhere vaguely resembling hope. I’ve been here before. I know the terrible truth. When push comes to shove, none of it matters. My body can’t be trusted.

The scale has read 150.2 for the last four days. I’m still following the diet. I’m exercising as I can. I’m doing what I’m supposed to do—I’m following the formula. I’m not losing any weight.

THIS is where I go completely crazy.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

a new blog, more or less

For four and a half years now, I have blogged at colla voce about life in general, from the mundane to the sublime. Parenting, sex, eating, dieting, living, loving, learning--it's all there, and will all continue to be. But as of late, the struggle for freedom from the tyranny of "more" has been overwhelming, and the only way I know how to deal with it is to write. Not wanting to bore my already limited readership with post after post about my weight and food related neuroses, I felt it best to create a separate home for these entries. There will be much more to come--about me, about the title, about my struggle and my desire to be free. But for now, an appetizer...


…fresh-baked chocolate chip cookies with a large glass of milk… order in the midst of chaos… time… apple crisp, right out of the oven… heart-felt worship… connection with friends, with family, with God… chips and salsa… faith, hope, and love… but the greatest of these is more chips and salsa… time at the piano, at the computer, at the art table… creative outlet… mama mimi’s pizza… intimacy… play-time… touch… fresh-baked bread with real butter… a night out with my husband… freedom… relief… breakthrough… satisfaction… more chocolate chips cookies… warm brownie sundaes with nuts and caramel… apple pie a la mode… the last pack of school lunch cookies… the crumbs at the bottom of the potato chip bag… stale graham crackers out of the back of the pantry… anything I can get my hands on…What am I hungry for?

Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and your soul will delight in the richest of fare.
Isaiah 55:2