Sunday, November 13, 2011

Eating My Feelings.

I remember the day like it was yesterday.
I was in the aisle of a grocery store with tears streaming down my face. My stomach was empty, as was my cart. I was so lost amongst the Lean Cuisines and Tuna Helper. I had no idea what to buy and was overwhelmed by the daunting labels of the food. Each label telling me which diet they were approved by, which items had no fat, which had low fat, which had no sugar, which items were vegan friendly, which items had low carbs, which had no carbs. My head was spinning. I just wanted to grab a 6 pack of Tab, some Melba Toast, and hop in a time machine back to 1988 when dieting was simple.
I left that day with a bruised heart, and a bottle of Franks Red Hot.

What is good for us any more? I have tried every diet there is, I have been losing the last 15 pounds for about 5 years, and just recently have I finally began to look at food as an energy source as she was intended, as opposed to the backstabbing bitch I have called her for years.

I began counting calories at a young age. I didn't beg my mother to let me take gymnastics or to go to summer camp. I pleaded with my parents for months to go to Weight Watchers. Every little girls dream. However it didn't really work with my life. Ya know, pulling out your Points Finder in the lunch line and bringing my food scale to sleepovers didn't always go over well.

As I got older I began to tackle other diets. South Beach seemed to work for a couple of weeks, but then I had to "moderately" reintroduce foods into my diet. Elise Castle and moderation go together like 50% of heterosexual marriages, it just doesn't work. I also tried veganism for a bit. I totally support it, and think it is a really great healthy way of living. I also think you have the worst gas of your life, you piss off all your friends, and your grandmother doesn't understand when you say you're a Vegan and thinks you are now in a blood-drinking cult.

The list goes on and on, you name it I have tried it. I drank that water with cayenne pepper, maple syrup, and lemon juice. Bullshit. I ate too much, I didn't eat enough, I didn't eat sugar, I ate things that tasted like sugar but were not sugar and probably made from whale ass, I had a vodka only dinner for years, I stopped drinking all together, I counted calories, I counted pounds, I gained weight, I lost weight, and then I lost my mind.

My brain was consumed by all the diets I had tried in the past. Weight watchers said I could have a little bit of bread, Atkins said not at all, it was a staple in my Vegan diet, and in my vodka diet I was passed out with the loaf in my hand. Then something changed. I woke up one day and said "Let it go. Just for today. Eat when you're hungry. Eat what you want. Stop when you're full. Repeat."

I was shocked. I did just that. Surprisingly after years of hellish dieting I had learned SOME things and my body had no interest in fried or sugary foods anyway. I began to eat when I was healthy, eat a sandwich and not feel like I had committed a crime, go to the grocery store and leave with more than just a resentment and hot sauce. I began to feel free.

So what is good for us? Food. Eating. A healthy relationship with the energy that keeps us going. Now, I am not going to lie. I am not a 100% reformed woman. There are times when no one is home, I put on my black dressing robe, grab a pint of Ben and Jerry's, turn on a delightfully sinful Shannon Doherty Lifetime shitshow and eat my feelings. The difference today. I am OK with it.


Lauren C said...

Wonderfully honest and endearing. You've put the modern female experience into words as no one else can. Next time one of my high school students complains about her body in rehearsals, I'm going to direct them to your site (Lord knows they never listen to me). You, my dear, are the epitome of fabulousness (shut up, it's totally a word). Keep up the good work.

Side note: never buy fat-free ice cream. That shit is nasty.

Sam said...

I couldn't identify with you more Elise. I spent years and YEARS trying to establish a food/exercise regimen that would keep me skinny...I would work out six hours at a time...only eat dinner...try eating three meals a day...not eat at all...only eat meat....only eat vegetables...only eat grapefruit...and then it hit me...I wasn't treating my body with the respect that it deserved. We are incredibly lucky to be in good health and to be able to use our bodies to create characters and tell stories. It's always nice to read someone else's journey and realize you're not alone in your struggle. I may eat a whole bag of valentine's hearts...or I might have a good day eating healthy foods...but all in all...I've learned to stop being so hard on myself. Thanks for this're candidness is infectious.