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.