Big fat realization, Part 1

It’s been ages since I’ve posted anything here. So much has happened…

I am now 315 days sober, and I feel all settled and calm and happy about that. It is truly remarkable how the urge to drink has drifted away.

As noted before, when I first quit drinking I fought tooth and nail against the idea that I should eat whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted. My cravings and feelings and fear were out of control, and I assumed my eating would follow if I gave myself permission.

But I didn’t want to drink. I was feeling too good, emotionally, to go back.

So I ate all the ice cream, dark chocolate and a few burgers here and there, feeling guilty and afraid the whole time. I was convinced that the sugar and carbs were ultimately going to undermine my sobriety. I’d get fatter, and I’d get pissed and sad about that. So I’d give up on sobriety, go back on low carb dieting, and would be content knowing that thinner is better than sober. And you know what? Our society at large would probably agree with that idea, except that whole “health” thing. But no one had to know that I’m bingeing on bottles of wine every night. They would just see a moderately overweight (e.g. not obscenely obese) middle aged woman with a great wardrobe who knows how live life to the fullest. You GO girl.

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So I started low-carbing again as soon as I felt a bit stronger on the sobriety front. I figured I didn’t want to slide into total body disarray just because I wasn’t drinking. And you know, sugar is deadly and evil, and gluten causes gut chemistry issues, and all that stuff. Oh, and high protein and fat diets keep us satiated longer and ensure we never have those terrible horrible sugar crashes and, well, as a nice side effect, we can lose weight too. Everyone knows these things as fact, right? So, it’s the best way to eat. So I should eat that way. And now, friends, I would be PERFECT. Sober, thin, and awesome forever and ever.

I did that for about three weeks. Seriously, three weeks (I know – what a brilliant and successful dieter I am). And I think I even cheated and had a cupcake at work during that time (it was the most delicious Trophy cupcake – so worth it). And yes, I remember that cheat moment because I felt both THRILLED and BAD about it. A little guilty and annoyed, and yet ridiculously happy because it turned out to be so delicious that it was truly worth it, vs a slice of crappy or boring pizza, or some bland mac & cheese.

Then just at the moment my (stretch) jeans were starting to feel more comfortable, I got stuck working on a very big new business proposal at work. It was 12-14 hour days, locked in a conference room with a bunch of co-workers and firm partners for two and a half weeks. We were served bagels, egg sandwiches, pizza, and sushi for 2.5 weeks straight. And coffee. I ate whatever they gave me, mostly because I was already the team weirdo for not joining in when very fancy bottles of wine got opened every day at 4:30pm.

I didn’t feel good after eating pizza and sushi and coffee and bagels for 2.5 weeks. I felt run down and fat. So I started gearing up to return to low carb eating. But then another thought popped into my head: shit, I’m going to have to tell my husband, yet again, that I don’t want to eat waffles and bread and pasta anymore. That his fresh baked cookies are off the menu for me, again. And it hurt to even think about bouncing back to low carb and dragging my marriage into it, since this would be my 20th attempt to low carb while married. And I decided I didn’t want to do it again. I was OUT. Done. Stepping out of the boxing ring.

My next series of thoughts went like this: I actually don’t HAVE to care about my eating habits. I don’t HAVE to be “healthy” according to the world’s ever-changing diet-driven discoveries. I don’t HAVE to be thin. And, because I’m somewhat educated in these matters, being thin does NOT EVEN EQUAL “healthy”. Restricting what I eat isn’t even really truly about being healthy for me. It’s always been about changing my body. And, there’s one thing I know: I am fatter now than I was before I started dieting. Dieting made me fatter than I would have been naturally, not sugar or carbs. And even if I don’t get thin from stopping dieting, I don’t have to give a fuck what my body looks like and if it’s pleasing to the world, especially men. I can choose to eat healthier, non-processed foods. I can choose to move my bod because it feels good. BUT I DO NOT HAVE TO COMPLY WITH WHAT THE WORLD THINKS I SHOULD LOOK LIKE, and I don’t have to hate my body. And I know for sure (cue Oprah) that my body hatred leads me to eat shitty food/binge anyway. #whattawaste. And I don’t have to play the fucking diet reindeer games with other women anymore. I don’t have to live with shoulds and shouldn’ts.

BUT: I needed to come up with a construct in my head and heart that explained why abstinence from booze = good life, but abstinence from certain foods = bad life (for me). This conflict was driving me batty.

And I think I’ve figured it out. More to come in the next post…

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