The Diet Temptation

Dieting is tempting. It provides a linear path to a simply defined goal, and clearly set rules and guidelines that can get you there.  “Good” and “Bad” are suddenly black and white, and there’s no room for speculation or doubt.  You can let go; you don’t have to think or decide, you can put all your faith in these rules and follow them blindly. And everyone will admire you along the way, people will validate you and fawn over your apparent moral superiority.  Losing weight is tangible, visible, frequently reinforced and praised. (Intuitive eating, on the other hand, is none of these things – though that’s a post for another time.)

give in

I’ve been off dieting for about three years now, but that’s not to say the temptation has entirely faded away.  It comes in waves – if I’m feeling fat or ugly, if I had a bad day, if I feel like I’m not accomplishing anything, if I’m feeling lonely.  In a way, my relationship to dieting at any given moment acts as a signifier of my mood, and of how I feel about my life.

Last week, for the first time in these three years, I let myself fully succumb to the temptation – I signed up for Weight Watchers.  It felt scandalous and thrilling to just give in, to stop the fight and let dieting back into my life… to hand the reigns over to a corporation, to let them tell me how I should feel about my body and what I eat.  It was a weight off (no pun intended).

I understand why I succumbed. I’m working at a relatively demanding job I have no passion for, that is rarely rewarding, and that is hugely unappreciated. My next step career-wise is uncertain at best, mostly because I struggle with a paralyzing fear of failure.  I’m not currently doing anything that I truly value, or that maximizes my potential.  I’m single, as I’ve been for many years, and I crave support, love and connection.  On top of all this, there’s my tenuous relationship with intuitive eating and my seemingly unending struggle to truly accept my body.

OF COURSE I want a goal, something to work towards, and something that will be praised and admired. Of course I want to achieve something that society would ubiquitously validate, and that would make the process of getting dressed a little less fraught.   Losing weight would (on the most superficial of levels) make some things better.  For a while.

So I shut the door to my bedroom and, with a feeling of guilt as though I were searching for pornography, I googled “Weight Watchers.”  I quickly paid $58 for a three-month membership (it was the best deal, after all…..)

Researching point values was entertaining for a while.  Why do I ever put mayonnaise on my sandwiches? Why do I by 2% milk when skim shaves off a point? How did I eat a BEEF BRISKET sandwich for lunch and not gain ten pounds??  Points are everywhere, especially in all the wonderful local Seattle IPAs I enjoy drinking.  I might as well chug milkshakes.

At any rate, I only tried Weight Watchers for about a day, and I found it to be something of a relief that I couldn’t entirely get into it. I couldn’t find it within myself to embrace the diet mentality – it was like trying to believe in Santa Claus after someone has already proved to you he doesn’t exist.  Because he doesn’t.

The main thing I was forced to remember, which I hadn’t experienced in a long time, was the extent to which dieting dominates your thinking and limits your capacity to live.  When I was on Weight Watchers the first time around, I said “no” to everything.  I was a drag to be around, and I gave off an air of superiority when I asked waiters how much oil was used to cook a piece of fish.  Since then, I’ve become a “yes” person, and I embrace life instead of cower in fear of it.

That’s the thing about dieting…. it’s all about postponing life.  I’m not ready to postpone my life right now.

One day of dieting was more than enough, and I feel as though my faith in intuitive eating, and in the wisdom of my own body, has been partially restored.  Or at least I’ve been reminded of the disparity between the life I live now, and the life I lived while I was on a diet, and I’ve proved to myself that I really can’t go back. It would be only a band-aid anyway, and would do nothing to solve anything real in my life.

So… to tie this post together and bring it to the corniest of endings… maybe my one-day fling with Weight Watchers was worth the money, after all.

 

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Reading Geneen Roth is like reading a giant hug.  I found this quote particularly relevant after my last post on the self-torture thoughts about exercise can induce:

Exercise is a lure the way dieting is a lure.  They both hold the promise of thinness if only you stick rigidly to the “program.”  In a short time the freedom (from misery and size 16s) that exercise promises turns into the dailiness of prison bars.  No longer a matter of desire, exercise becomes a matter of necessity, an act upon which your well-being depends.

We fool ourselves if, when we give up dieting and turn to exercising, we think we have broken free.  We have in fact exchanged one kind of rigidity for another.

When you turn exercise into a “have-to” rather than a “want-to,” you take the strong and healthy part out, you take the joy out, you make it an endurance test, just another act in the long line of other grudgingly performed acts that you have to do because you have to be thin and you have to exercise to be thin.

… Appreciation of movement is learned through direct experience.  Being told “it’s good for you” isn’t good enough. If you’re causing yourself mental and physical anguish because you’re trying so hard, let it go for a while.  Or spend time sampling different kinds of movement and physical experiences. They are as varied as foods, and it is possible to find the ones that hum to you.

… I feel that the link between fitness and thinness must be cut.  If you exercise to get thin, the implication is that the way you are now is not good enough.  This engenders a slew of critical judgments that eventually lead to frustration, hopelessness and a decision to forget the whole thing. Negative judgments almost never lead to long-lasting change. If you are exercising because it makes you feel healthy now, then you are not involved in any sort of Catch-22. You are moving because you like yourself.  It is the difference between punishing yourself and taking care of who you already are.  – Geneen Roth, Breaking Free from Emotional Eating

The Lure of Exercise

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Gym Thoughts Are Relentless

 

hamster-wheel

My brain is exhausted.  I cannot stop the constant stream of thoughts both for and against exercise, shoulds and shouldn’ts, wills and won’ts… the clashing and battling seems like it will never quiet down, will never be resolved.

Do I go to the gym tonight? What would I do there? I could run on the treadmill, but I dunno, I’m feeling pretty tired and I don’t really want to do anything too intense.  I could just walk for a little bit.  But then what’s the point of that?

Well, that would be better than nothing, right? At least I would be burning some calories.

Oh, wait, I’m not supposed to be thinking in terms of weight loss or calories. I’m supposed to be exercising in ways that I enjoy, only in ways that make me feel good.  I’m supposed to listen to my body and honor it and move how it wants to move.

Okay, well how does it want to move right now?

….

I’m on the bus, I just finished a full day of work.  My eyes feel tired, they have that burning feeling right behind them that just makes them want to shut.  I ate a piece of chocolate raspberry cheesecake at work.  I feel fat now, I can’t deny that.  I feel fat and guilty and I can feel the familiar urgency to do something to combat that overindulgence, to work it off immediately, to run and run until my thighs don’t chafe anymore, till my cheeks don’t bounce and my back doesn’t have automatic folds.

But that’s impossible to do in one workout.  One workout doesn’t do shit.  So what’s the point of going tonight? If I go tonight, I’ll have to go again tomorrow and the next day and the next, and I know I’ll never keep doing that, so isn’t it all just futile to begin with? What’s the point of going at all if it’s not part of a pattern?

I know the irrationality of this.  Logically, intellectually, I know that, in order to get to a place where I can truly and totally accept my body, this is the opposite of the kind of mentality I need to have.  I shouldn’t be thinking of the future, but of the present. How would it feel today to move my body? How would it feel right now to lunge or ellipticize or walk on incline?

The thing is I find it utterly impossible to even entertain the idea of exercising without taking weight loss into consideration.  I can’t walk up a single flight of stairs without picturing my thighs slimming down, ever so microscopically, step by step.  I can’t lift a heavy box without relishing in the bicep burn.

I’m so tired of the thoughts.  They take up so much space in my brain.  Like a never-ending hamster wheel.  And I can’t help thinking… if only it were a literal hamster wheel.

At least then I’d be getting my heart rate up.

 

 

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Jeans

The other day I decided that I was going to confront my fear of jeans.

Everyone at work is always talking about “getting” to wear jeans.  They’re so “comfortable” and “casual.” Who are these people and what kind of jeans are they buying?

When I contemplate putting jeans on, when I even so much as glance at the one surviving pair of jeans I have hanging in my closet, comfort is the furthest thing from my mind.  I go straight to constriction, inflexible, inner-thigh holes, muffin-top, flat butt. I go to all the jeans I used to have that I can’t fit into anymore. I go all the way back to my first pair of Joe’s jeans with a patterned patch on the rear pocket my mom bought me when I was in tenth grade and a size 27.  I go there and I feel the (by now) predictable onslaught of old, buried feelings; I feel a wave of familiarly crushing failure, of humiliation that I had to give away an expensive pair of jeans (and then several increasingly larger pairs) because they no longer came up past my thighs.  I still go there, my non-teenage self, about eight years later.

Why can’t I give myself a break???

Anyway, so it’s getting cool out, crisp and breezy, and I was standing outside on my lunch break and staring at this girl’s butt.  It was an average butt, nothing spectacular, she wasn’t a rail, just normal. And I thought to myself, there’s no reason I can’t have a comfortable, warm, weather-appropriate pair of jeans.

And so I walked, very purposefully, mind you, to Nordstrom Rack, feeling ready to be self-accepting, ready to fight any implications of any particular numbers on any particular tags, and to just find a pair that fit.  Comfortably.

Here's a pic I snapped of myself in the dressing room mirror.   (Heheh)

And voila! Look how GREAT I looked! (Just kidding).

But despite my determination and my relatively calm, collected mindset before the lunchtime shopping extravaganza (challenge, really), I found myself hesitating to take the size 32s off the racks, and sticking to the 31s. That one extra inch, something in my head just wouldn’t let me go there.

The first pair of 31s didn’t even come close to buttoning.  They didn’t even entirely clear my thighs. And I knew this would happen, too.

… the thoughts started to bubble up, I could feel them forming and festering, like water being heated on a stove, little bubbles at first, then bigger, stronger, threatening to blow the lid clear off.  I’ve never worn bigger than a 32, and the way these jeans were fitting (or straining, rather), it seemed like I’d have to go all the way up to maybe a 34, and they rarely even carry that size on the racks.  Soon I won’t be able to shop at regular department stores. Soon I’ll know names like Lane Bryant and have to buy jeans at Costco and wear only miu mius and black. Lots of black…

I struggled to keep that lid down on those thoughts.  I fought hard. Because I know where that leads, letting the thoughts spill out and over, and I refused to spend the rest of my day under a big, thick cloud of self-loathing, debating whether to throw in the towel on the whole intuitive eating, trust-your-own-body thing and just get back on Weight Watchers.  Quick and easy fix.

Like a Band-Aid.

What deeper issues?

Nothing’s wrong, just fat. Fat’s in the way.

I carefully peeled those jeans off my bulging thighs – how had I not noticed before walking in here how soft and offensively BULGING they are??? – and bit my mental tongue as I tried on the next pair.

Here’s where I stopped feeling shitty about myself, blaming myself, (okay I didn’t stop I just lightened up on the self-hatred a teensy bit) and instead got really pissed.

Same brand – True Religion.  Same size – 31.  And they buttoned.

No, they didn’t fit comfortably, but they fit one hell of a lot more comfortably than the previous pair.   Same number on the sewn-in tag, but undoubtedly different sizes, unless there was some kind of Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants bullshit going on.

I can at least begin to understand how sizes might vary from one brand to the next, but within the same brand? It just doesn’t make any sense. It doesn’t make any sense at all and what infuriates (and saddens) me even more is that I know there are so many women out there who are beating themselves up over these numbers. These numbers rule our lives.  And they’re not even reliable.

I don’t know what I’m suggesting.  I know it’s not possible to throw out the whole sizing system and start afresh, with everything matching up perfectly and consistently across the board, from California to Italy to China (though I’m not aware of any Chinese designers…).  But I just wish we could take some of the stigma off of certain numbers, and, because I know I’m not dramatically overweight, if I’m even technically overweight at all, and because I know there are probably tons of girls just that little bit bigger than me who would love to shop at Nordstrom Rack, I wish the good, quality jeans-makers would go bigger than a size 32.  How is that the biggest size on the rack?  Why is that where they draw the line?

Well, I left the dressing room empty-handed and bought myself a nice, size-free Steve Madden purse.  Because purses are non-threatening.

 

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Teach Me How to Cope

Today is one of those days where it’s all you can do not to set a match to a pile of envelopes and sprint out of the office.  This job is soulless, it’s meaningless, it’s boring, it’s mundane, it’s trivial, it’s a waste of my brain. My precious attention span is being used up, I can feel it draining away, bleeding into the greedy pockets of these real estate brokers… if I stay here any longer I WILL do something crazy.

Like forget to track the mail one day.

Or eat chicken wings at reception.  And answer the phone without wiping off the sauce.

I can’t focus on a thing. I have my list of to-dos, I have my priorities, my tasks, my chores… but I don’t want to do any of them. Nothing. Because I hate it here. But I have to stay… at least for four more months.  Four. More. Months.

But I guess that’s a different issue. The present issue, the problem staring at me in the face right now is how to get through this day, this hour… without consuming everything remotely edible within a 27-floor radius.

Food is everywhere… not only in the gift shop downstairs, but in the Starbucks across the lobby, the Tully’s near the elevators, the vending machine by the mail room.  Food promises distraction, sweetness when things get sterile, warmth when things get cold, crunch when I’m feeling hopeless and low and bored.

I’ll eat till I’m too full, then spend the rest of the day marinating in the tragedy of my discomfort. Then I’ll go home, eat “dinner,” look at myself in the mirror, bury myself in my comforters and wait till it’s time to do it all over again.

I’ve come to realize that, for the past six years or more, when it has come to coping with my emotions, the blanket-soother known as food has covered pretty much all my bases.  Loneliness, despair, frustration, sadness, boredom, anger, confusion, even joy… all of these things have been kind of balled up into one big mass of “feeling” and remedied – numbed – with food.  It’s no surprise, then, that I now find myself poorly equipped (understatement)  to cope with my emotions, especially today, in the oh-so-public workplace, where sinking beneath a hot bath is neither an acceptable nor an accessible option.  And anyway, hot baths are effectively soothing only when I’m at least somewhat chilly to begin with.

So what about summertime?

No one has ever taught me coping skills, and they are so important.   I don’t even know how to identify my emotions with any semblance of accuracy, let alone feel them, deal with them.  Why haven’t I learned these things?

In a lot of the books I have read about disordered eating and the path to recovery, the path to discovering your physical hunger and disentangling it from your emotional hunger, the most crucial step is always, essentially, to figure out what it is you’re feeling when you find yourself bingeing (restricting, depriving, throwing up, whatever the case may be), and then, once you have identified that feeling, to find a different way to cope.

I get it. I understand it. It makes perfect sense to me.

And yet, I don’t seem to be able to put those pieces together.

Yes, here I am at work. I am lonely amongst all these people. They are people who don’t know me, people who have different values and who work there for far different reasons. They don’t care to know me, and I don’t particularly care to know them.

I am also frustrated. I am frustrated that the first thing this crabby old woman named Pat says to me on a Monday morning, before I’m even technically on the clock, before I’ve even changed out of my boots, is: “Good morning, I just wanted to let you know that there’s a jam in the color printer.”

I am also scared. I am scared that I won’t find it within myself to do what I truly want to do, to follow through with the arduous and expensive path to grad school and beyond, and that I will just stay here.  Settle. I’ll stay behind this desk, stuffing envelopes, processing multi-million-dollar closings on commercial real estate properties (not my money), feeling simultaneously indignant and embarrassed that I, an Ivy League graduate, am where I am.  And then proceeding to feel disgusted for feeling so entitled and self-righteous.

Okay, there, I’ve done some of the investigative work, some of the naming and classifying.  Now what?

I’m not physically hungry.  In fact, I ate lunch only a little over an hour ago.  But I still want to go downstairs and order a large, extra-dark, with-whip hot chocolate and an old-fashioned doughnut on the side.  I still want to go ramble around in the gift shop and allow the kind yet mildly intrusive Asian man watch me deliberate over king-sized chocolate bars.  It still feels like there cannot possibly be enough food in this building to sate me; surely I would need something more like a Costco-scaled pull-cart stacked with muffins, cinnamon rolls and coffee cakes, at least to start, not this measly bag of Famous Amos cookies.

 

So I guess my question is, how do I cope?

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As long as there is that voice of “not allowed,” as long as there are foods you feel you shouldn’t eat, you create struggle and conflict.  As long as there is struggle, there is bingeing.  And as long as there is bingeing, there is fear about eating what you want.

You can’t eat what you want and still lose weight because you don’t truly eat what you want.  You eat in accordance with the Voice or in rebellion against it.  But that voice is not your voice.  It is the voice of whomever (your mother, lover, doctor) or whatever (any number of diets, articles, books) you have internalized.  Over the years, you have come to believe it is not only your own voice but the correct one.

When you let go of the struggle by allowing yourself choice about what you eat, you let go of one end of the rope on which you have been tugging and straining.  When you let go of your side, the rope immediately falls to the ground.  War requires at least two sides.  When you decide that you will listen to yourself and not to your calorie counter or your fears, there is nothing to rebel against.  There is nothing you can’t have tomorrow so there is no reason to eat it all today.

From Breaking Free from Emotional Eating by Geneen Roth

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Don’t Look At Me

Friday morning, I snoozed until I had only twenty-two minutes in which to make myself appear presentable for work before walking to catch the bus.  Well, twenty-five minutes, if I carried my heels and sprinted.

I woke up fat.  The night before, I had mindlessly eaten my way through a bag of chocolate-covered pretzels and fallen asleep detailing the number of ways I had neglected to work them off.  Now, surely, nothing would feel comfortable.  Nothing would fit, everything would squeeze, pinch, suffocate, serve as a persistent reminder of my uncontrollable, ever-increasing, unstoppable weight.

I pictured the masticated mixture of half-digested chocolate and pretzels crumbs spreading thickly over the surface of my body, like cream cheese on a bagel, to settle as an extra layer of fat, making me bigger, making my bra strain and my waistband struggle.  Making my legs jiggle and my arms soften.

I crawled out of bed toward the mirror and cringed at my reflection.  Brazenly ringing in the imminent arrival of my period, a few deeply-rooted zits had apparently used the night to fight their way to the surface of my skin, making the right side of my face an angry, crater-sprinkled mess.

And the hair… I looked at the clock again, only to confirm what I already knew.  Showering was out of the question. I would have to, somehow, and quickly, mold the pillow-pressed nest into a shape that would be, at best, a little greasy.  Hats, unfortunately, do not fall under the corporate umbrella of appropriate professional attire.  Neither do black, netted, face-shrouding, beekeeper veils.

Neither do giant sweatshirts or floor-length cotton skirts, for that matter. Or sleeping bag pullovers a la Lena Dunham.

sleepingbag

Yes, if you Google hard enough, you can buy this fantastic orange… garment? …online.

 

I wanted nothing more than to hole up in the safety of my room, to wait out this wave of shame and anxiety under layers and layers of sheets, blankets and quilts.  How could I POSSIBLY go spend nine hours like this in an office building, where PEOPLE were?  All day?

How could anyone stand to look at me?

I considered calling in sick.  But what reason would I give?

“Hi Heather, sorry I can’t make it in…

… my insecurities are flaring up today.”

… I binged last night.”

… my bra feels uncomfortable.”

… I’m too ugly to work.”

All legit, I think.

Anyway, I missed the first bus but, head cast down all the while, I managed to drag myself out of the apartment to catch the next one.  And from the moment I sat down in my cubicle (so exposed), I started the countdown.  Eight hours and fifty-six minutes till I could get the hell out of there, away from the gazes and the men and the skinny women, till I could hide.

I spent the day battling with this crippling, all-consuming desire to hide myself.  Several times I fought back the impulse to literally duck behind desks, to shout at anyone who happened to glance in my direction: DON’T LOOK AT ME!!!  The longer I was away from a mirror, the more intense became my paranoia, the increasingly distorted delusion that my face was unfit to be seen, so I would run back and forth to the restroom to reapply makeup in vain effort to camouflage my acne.  When a coworker would walk by or near me, I would cover my face with my hands as though to conceal my nonexistent jawline and pudgy double chin, which were both on full display thanks to the necessity of having to put my hair up in a short, limp ponytail.

I kept a running dialogue in my head that voiced what I perceived, with the utmost certainty, to be their thoughts (they being others, the people who looked, the people who judged):

Wow she looks like shit today.

What happened to HER?

Geez, you think she could at least TRY.

Ugh, that’s who we have greeting clients?

Unable to channel my anxiety elsewhere, I began to fall into an old habit: I plucked out my eyebrow hairs with my fingernails, one by one, each small sting bringing a welcome – albeit brief – sensation of relief.  But, as I’ve learned time and again, this habit only serves to make things worse.  As my eyebrows slowly diminished, so did the remnants of my already dwindling supply of self-esteem.

I don’t know how I got anything done that day.

At some point, as I was well aware, reality had morphed into delusion, the delusion that somehow, my paralyzing feelings of fatness, of ugliness, of being too full, were as blatantly visible to others as they would have been had I written them out in large, stenciled letters and carried them around on a sandwich board.  But knowing that didn’t make the delusion any less powerful.

I’m still not entirely sure what triggered my feelings on Friday.  I do know it was more than just the mild breakout, or the uncooperative hair.  It was more than the chocolate-covered pretzels.  It was something deeper, maybe my body crying out for compassion, for acceptance. Maybe it was a manifestation of loneliness or fear of failure, self-doubt or uncertainty as to the future.  The creation of such a strong, painful delusion was probably my body’s way of letting me know that something is wrong, some feeling or emotion is not being fully acknowledged, felt or taken care of.  I know I need to find out what that is, and to let myself feel it fully. But how?  If I ever possessed the ability to name and experience my emotions in a real, healthy way, I have lost it…

I’ll end with a quote that seems appropriate, something insightful that I came across in a Jodi Picoult novel (yes, I was surprised too… don’t judge!).  It relates most specifically to what I experienced, through picking at my eyebrows, as a physical, identifiable pain, which provided a welcome distraction from my larger, more difficult and ambiguous feelings.

(For some context, here Lacy is getting ready to go to her son’s murder trial.  He shot like ten students at school, so obviously she’s dealing with some heavy shit).

 

“By the end of the day her shoes would rub blisters on her feet, and Lacy thought maybe this was a good thing; maybe she could concentrate instead on a pain that made perfect sense.”

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The Bra Metaphor

I’m writing this post at work.  I’m writing it out of anger.

I ate a 3 Musketeers bar at lunch, and the guilt has been crashing down on me in waves ever since.

I was still a little hungry after my chicken quesadilla, and I wanted chocolate.  So, staying true to the principle of Unconditional Permission, I gave it to myself.

Maybe a 3 Musketeers bar wasn’t really what I wanted.  I think I wanted something with a little more crunch to it, something that would involve a little more teeth-work.  Maybe I would have preferred a Ritter Sport Milk Chocolate with Butter Biscuit Bar, and, since that just seemed far too indulgent (and expensive), I made the mistake of compromising, causing me to now feel guilt rather than satisfaction.  Maybe I was comfortably full two-thirds of the way through the 3 Musketeers, but finished it anyway because it is so hard to wrap up or discard only a few measly bites of a candy bar.  Or maybe I was denying the residual twinge of guilt I felt from eating the quesadilla and, consequentially, decided to eat more in order to bury those feelings for just a little bit longer.

Whatever the cause for my guilt, its effects were obvious.  My bra immediately shrunk.  It must have shrunk three sizes.  I can feel it cutting into the top and sides of my rib cage, and separating my back fat into thick, fleshy halves.  They’re probably visible through the back of my shirt, those unstoppable overflows of flab, which is why I’ll choose to spend the rest of the day sweating rather than take off this sweater.  Rather than let someone see the soft back of me.

I want to take this bra off.  This bra, which entirely escaped my notice all throughout the morning, now clutches at me like the jaws of death.  I’m at the front desk, no one else is around, surely I could just slip it off through my sleeves and tuck it into my bag, very quickly and discreetly, and spend the remaining two and a half hours with my arms folded across my chest.

No, I can’t do that, this is a new job and taking one’s bra off while manning the front desk is probably – definitely – not a good idea.  A client might walk in.

Breathe.  Sit up straight.  Think about something else.

I can’t.  It’s so uncomfortable. I need it off. I hate this job, I hate that nothing ever fits, I hate that I have to keep buying bigger sizes.  I hate bras.  They’re sexist.  And suffocating.

I can imagine the angry red lines that are surely imprinting themselves into my skin as I sit here.  I hate that I have to sit here.  And my pants, the waist, it’s cutting in now too, and I won’t have time to go to yoga later, I’ll never be able to work out again, look at all these overweight office women, soon I’ll be one of them, eating at my desk until my bra pops and I spend my lunch breaks shopping at Ross for sizes I’ve never conceived of…

Breathe.  I accept my body.  I accept my body. I trust my body.  Breathe.

Fuck this.  Fuck spending hours tormenting myself over one candy bar, and fuck struggling to accept myself.  I am so tired of hating my body.  I am so tired of being self-conscious and afraid.  I am so tired of depriving and bingeing and judging and repeating empty mantras in my head to somehow trick my brain into believing I’m a normal human being worthy of love and acceptance. That I’m not disgusting and hideous and irreversibly undesirable.   When am I really going to be free of this? When does it end?

Will it end?

I hate this motherfucking bra.

bra back2

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Dustin Hoffman May Make You Cry

I couldn’t figure out how to embed this video, but trust me, click on it.  Especially if you are a woman. No, scratch that, especially if you are a human.

http://www.upworthy.com/dustin-hoffman-breaks-down-crying-explaining-something-that-every-woman-sadly-already-experienced-3

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Half-Mast Panties: A Day in Uncomfortable Undergarments

I always dread those final few days leading up to laundry day – the days when my hamper is bursting at the seams and I’m futilely scratching the bottoms of drawer after drawer for something decent to wear.

I dread these days not because I’m forced to throw what could feasibly pass for an outfit together with only a raccoon-hat-tail and a sarong (admittedly, that was an extreme occasion), but because of my underwear drawer.

The comfortable underwear is always the first to go. And then things get… tight. And holy.

I know I shouldn’t keep old underwear. I know that the six or seven pairs of what were once cute, sexy, lacy Hanky Panky’s don’t fit anymore, and that they’re only taking up valuable space in the dark corners of my panty-drawer. Yet I can’t seem to get rid of them. Throwing them away seems like giving up, acknowledging my too-fatness, being forced to face the very realistic possibility of my never fitting comfortably in them again.

So yesterday morning, after some fruitless drawer-rifling, I resigned to wearing a pair of lacy, lavender booty-cut (I’m bad with underwear terminology) panties from Victoria’s Secret… just barely too small.

Seriously, though, they’re really cute. They fit perfectly like, practically, eight months ago. Or maybe nine. They’ll surely fit again, in the very near future. I mean, look, they even pull up all the way, so what if I used the conveniently torn holes scattered along the waistband as leverage in my upward yanking. You can barely tell. They’re lacy, after all, and what is lace, really, but just a bunch of holes anyhow, right? Right? (Wrong.)

I looked at my reflection from a few different angles in the mirror, but before I could get too caught up remembering, in painstakingly nostalgic detail, every and any long-past instance when the panties did fit, when I had been able to put them on without even a second thought, when I might have even pranced around in them in front of some (probably dumb) boy, I forcibly snapped myself out of it, threw a loose dress on and got away from the mirror.

(This is a good rule of thumb, by the way: When in doubt, walk away from the mirror. Just stop it.)

About twenty minutes later, before I had even stepped onto the bus two blocks away from my apartment, my lovely lavender lacies were halfway down my ass. And, as it turns out, not only is there no discreet way to effectively pull up your sagging underwear on a packed bus, or while walking from the bus to work, but also it’s rather difficult to get a good grip on the waistband-holes when an additional layer of fabric is in the way.

After a whole day in half-mast underwear, I can say only this: Comfort cannot be beat. No one needs a constant nagging reminder, whether it be a waistband that’s too tight, sleeves that cut into shoulders, or underwear that’s falling off your butt, of not being small enough… which inevitably leads to thoughts about not being pretty enough, desirable enough, good enough, etc. And the same goes for the clothes you keep around. Your space is yours and yours alone, so why clutter it with ultimately useless, and unnecessarily painful/triggering reminders of how thin you aren’t?

Confidence, freedom of movement, and, ultimately, body acceptance won’t grow from discomfort. How can you live your life fully when you’re constantly on the look out for the most inconspicuous location in which to give yourself a wedgie?

Throw out the underwear (or the pants, jeans, bras, blouses, whatehaveyou.) Buy stuff that fits. You deserve comfort. I know I will… Once I do some laundry.

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