Stomachs Speak

Antonio's Pizza

Antonio’s Pizza (Photo credit: The Pizza Review)

When I’m upset, I can’t eat. When its miserably hot and humid I can only eat certain foods, fruit, cold veggies and gazpacho, When I’m worried I don’t eat a thing. But, when I’m unhappy, I can eat the entire refrigerator plus everything in our pantry and then order a medium pizza with extra cheese and mushrooms. Why is that?

I guess you would call me an “Emotional Eater.” Lately, I haven’t been emotional so my weight has been low. No, don’t  do a cheer, don’t be jealous or wag that finger at me and say you’d like to change places because when I’m happy all those jeans that I just put in the basement fit me. I love food, I ENJOY f00d and fantasize about food and now I don’t care. For a foodie it isn’t fun. Trust me. Maybe I’m depressed?

I also don’t know my body image which is a little scary. I was talking to a woman outside a gym that I contemplated joining for two months and I said my concern was that there would be only 20- somethings and skinny girls there. This woman glanced at me oddly. I am, by no means, thin, but the way I was talking, it sounded like I was really overweight and that’s how I felt. Scary stuff. This nice woman was overweight and I only realized when I left I sounded like a crazy person. I think there’s a term for this Body Dysmorphic Disorder?  I’ll have to look it up but my sense is that you don’t act the way you really look or you think you look a different way than other people perceive you. I’ll have to ask my shrink.

Which basically gives my mother, yes, she the mother who “left the NY Times page open to the fat camp for girls” for me to see on the kitchen table when I was a young teen, totally perplexed. For all those years that she looked up and down my chubby, curvaceous body with a critical eye, now is lecturing me on being too thin. “You should eat more” she says, “how about dessert” Do I have a shot at winning here?  You really don’t have to answer, I know. Mother-daughter relationships can be very complicated, or am I the only one?

It’s too hot to eat but I’ve been drinking plenty of liquids to keep me hydrated. What I don’t understand is that even with the air-conditioning on, I still feel hot and I still feel the humidity.Does the fact that I have Fibromyalgia make things different? I can’t win because in a matter of weeks, months, I’ll be complaining about the cold weather, shivering, my bones freezing at the slightest wind and I will be wearing my down jacket in the fall. The only advantage of winter is that I’ll be hungry and will feel like cooking, pea soup, stews, banana bread, muffins.  Now? Not so much.

Glass of Lemon Water II

Glass of Lemon Water II (Photo credit: MEL810)

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Free Write: Kellie Elmore (Resolve)

Description unavailable

Description unavailable (Photo credit: wakingphotolife:)

I stared into her eyes of lead. I would continue to stare until she blinked. She had been abusing me verbally for years. I would take it no longer;  she was the one who was mentally unstable not I. As a child and teen I spent hours sobbing from her nastiness, the cruel streak that ran up and down her ruthless spine. I refused to call my mother “mom” I could barely call her by her first name, Joyce. It was a little better when our dad was alive but not by much; she hid it from him but we knew better.

People who met her thought she was charming and well-mannered. Peals of laughter wafted from her enraptured audience, that sat around her at the tennis club. Her friends would hang on to every word.  I’m sure to the public she appeared charismatic. She introduced me to her friends without name, as if I were her maid. Maybe my extra twenty pounds didn’t fit her expectations of perfection or beauty. I had always felt ugly and ashamed of my body. As a child, I hated to shop with her, although she forced me to, never once thinking about why I didn’t want to go, not bothering to question me about it. Instead, she left magazines open on the oak, wood table in the kitchen with the New York Times open to the black and white pages of “Sleep-Away Camp For Overweight Girls.” Subtlety was not her strong suit.

She fully admitted that if she was in her twenties now she would have lived a different life. She would NOT have had children, she would have had a successful career,  she would have lived in NYC and would have been an executive. She would have gone to the theater, eaten dinner out in small Parisian cafes, lit by candlelight, attend the ballet. She wasn’t the “motherly type” we all knew that. We think Dad even knew that but he humored her. Her nurturing skills did not exist, there was no evidence of her common sense skills either. She blurted out words and sentences, never thinking about how the other person would feel, never knowing the hurt feelings she could cause because she only thought about herself. “She didn’t mean to do it” she would say as her defense; she would vow that she would resolve that problem by trying to change. We rolled our eyes; this was her standard line; we all knew that it would never last. She might try for a day or two but then she would turn it around and become nasty, trying to make us feel bad for her lonely life. My little brother, Brian, took it the hardest. All I wanted to do was protect him, to take him out of this house and run away.  I just needed a few more years to earn money and then I would take him with me and we would disappear. She could have the life she wanted then, we didn’t care. We just wanted to get away from her poison. We still hadn’t gotten over the loss of our father due to a massive heart attack many years ago.

Joyce was a troubled woman, an even more troubled child. Her own parents had been killed in an automobile accident when she was seven. She had been adopted quickly by a family who adored her yet she never got over her own anger. She never trusted another soul, because they could leave her too. As a mother she knew her children would leave her when they grew up, so why get attached to them? This was not the life she wanted anyway.

Carry On Tuesday – Only In Our Dreams

Eating Shiva

Eating Shiva (Photo credit: Mirror | imaging reality)

I felt virtuous when I sat, eating an open-faced veggie burger, with stone ground mustard and drinking ice water. I don’t feel the same way now. It’s three hours later and my son is having a barbecue for his friends. He came running up the stairs with a freshly charred hamburger on a bun dripping with ketchup and a slice of cheese slithering on top, shining with grease. I did not hesitate, I ate it  in one minute and I’m paying the price, in fullness and actual physical pain. I can’t lie; I have enjoyed it immensely along with the toasted marshmallow he brought up too. I know this game very well.

It started at birth with me, a six-week premature baby having to stay in the hospital until I gained enough weight to be able to come home. After that, my mother overcompensated and then I went full speed to fat or what they used to call “chubby.” I can pretend to eat healthy food now (most of the time) but I know that I will always be the fat, round, girl, that I have always been.

My mother could never figure out why I never wanted to go shopping when I was a child and a teenager, how could she not know? I was a very slim child only from age five to six until she decided to fatten me up, relentlessly, wherever we went. The Nestle’s Quik was at my side, spooned generously into my milk at every meal, like a religion.

Last year, I gained forty pounds when our house was demolished by termites and carpenter ants and we had to stay in a hotel, in one room, three of us and our dog, our disappointment and our dreams, dashed. My husband was also on medical leave for a snapped Achilles tendon, our sixteen year-old daughter cooped in one room with us while our house was built again from bare walls. That’s when you know who your real friends are, because it is at their house you are sharing a meal, they are asking you in and treating you like family, it saved our souls and sanity.

The only comfort in our lives was that our son was away in college was missing the trauma we were living through, and FOOD. We ate out at restaurants, two or three times a day. It was clear we were not eating healthfully, we were eating to comfort ourselves, dessert for lunch and for dinner every single day and night. French fries with your sandwich? Yes please. The only decision to make was what flavor milk shake we wanted, vanilla, strawberry or chocolate. Candy bars, cookies and crackers were stored in our hotel room like paper cups.

Piles of cakes and pies, white tendrils of coconut smiled down at us from its vanilla perch. Chocolate mousse cake winked at us from its place on the revolving cake display, cheesecake with strawberries, we denied ourselves nothing. Deep, deep down I knew what was happening though I chose to deny it; only in our dreams did I believe that we were not feeding our depression. When times were easier, better, we would deal with it. Then, we couldn’t cope with one more detail, one more restriction.

In three and a half months we moved back into our completely disorderly yellow house. For months we didn’t know where anything was. There are still boxes missing, items that some day we hope to find. I started taking responsibility for my unhealthy body. I worried about my heart, I started slowly and decided to eat more vegetables and less red meat. In the end, I lost forty pounds with another five to ten to go. I drink ice water with lemon instead of soda. I try not to have dessert but lately I have been craving something sweet. It’s a slippery slope; I have to be very careful.

I know I am the same chubby girl I was when I was little. I will always be that child in my mind and body; I will always be the last girl picked for any team sport, the fat kid, the ugly, stupid child. I don’t measure up, why should I be able to do something when my parents always said I wouldn’t be able to do it?

As we get older we make our own choices, we slip away from the past and make up our own rules, our own belief system, we cherish different qualities than those that we were taught. I taught my own children that they can do anything they want and they can do it well. Whatever they want to do they should do it with pride. There is nothing that they can’t do, nothing they can’t succeed at; in my heart, I love and like these two people. When they were young, if I was fearful for them, I hid it, because they had the right to experience life through their own feelings and not become unnerved because of mine. That, is what parenthood should be about. This was my gift to them; the gift of freedom, freedom to choose, but most of all, freedom to believe in themselves, knowing, always knowing, that I believed in them too.

My Freckles Are Spreading, No Really

Ashton Kutcher at Time 100 Gala

Image via Wikipedia

I was in a small shopping mall last week and I passed a mirror and I thought, for a quick second, that I saw my reflection. No, that couldn’t be me. I must have seen someone else. Whoever it was, looked bloated, tired, pale and cranky. She was wearing a green shirt, and mom jeans with protruding stomach rolls, and she was frowning furiously that showed deep wrinkle lines.  That’s NOT me! Um, but I am wearing the same outfit and my eyes are green…..

Maybe the mirror I looked in was one of those funny mirrors that they use in amusement parks, or pranks!  I looked around for Ashton Kutcher because I thought I was being  “Punked”or at the very least, pranked. Ashton, however  was no where in sight and the only camera looking at me was a security camera following my every, suspicious move.

That old, sad, mad, fat person warily looking back at me made me want to weep and hide in some stranger’s musty attic or move to Canada or better yet, Italy. I can give good advice to others about positive body image but it wasn’t working for me today.  Today, I flunked the course.  I  ordered a chopped salad for lunch (appetizer size) and I had that lovely tiny slice of Italian cheesecake with the essence of orange, but don’t those things cancel each other out?

If big, cranky, frowning lady wasn’t enough I also saw that there is now something quite wrong with my skin. I’ve always had that pale, cream-cheese complexion but things are changing.  My freckles are joining together; I’m sure that’s what it must be.  It couldn’t be the dreaded old age spots, could it? This day just keeps getting better and better.

Just one more thing: I remembered the cashier at A & P  who asked me my age. I was so confused…..until she told me that Seniors, 55 and older get 5% off their bill on Tuesdays. It was Tuesday and while I am not 55, I’m really damn close. So, thanks for the discount but your people skills stink.

I know all the reasons why women gain weight in their, (cough, cough) mid to later years and I lend these pearls of wisdom to friends as easily as I would a  button-down blue sweater. My own body crashed with Menopause, followed closely by an Underactive Thyroid condition and an Auto-immune Disease called Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis. After that, I was diagnosed with  Fibromyalgia. But, today I’m just not buying it. I don’t care, I just know how awful I feel. Today, I am allowing myself to sulk.

Maybe tomorrow I will be able to put things in perspective. I will remember that good health is more important than weight, that I have a wonderful family and I am grateful for so many things. As for the cheesecake? It was worth every bite. The mirror? That, was pure evil.

The Incredible Shrinking Sensa Lady

Cover to The Giving Tree, depicting the tree g...

Image via Wikipedia

Every time I see the commercial for the  incredible shrinking “Sensa” lady on my computer I get agitated. I am like a 5-year-old child that wants to growl. I am Max of Where The Wild Things Are. I am a roaring lioness protecting her young. This stupid Sensa lady appears every day, first she is full-size (and there is nothing wrong with that) and then she diminishes on my computer to become a very skinny (too skinny) cartoon shadow of herself. The commercial comes on practically every time I turn on my computer and I want her to go away. Or gain weight. Or, most importantly, be happy with who she is without shrinking to a skeleton. I want to see her eating chocolate truffles, and fettuccine alfredo with garlic bread dripping with mozzarella cheese. I want to see her with a date, a lover, a friend, a husband, anyone. It’s time for “Single Shrinking Sensa Lady” to hit the road.

I googled “Sensa” and all I could find out is that it is something you sprinkle on food and, allegedly, you feel full faster, but don’t quote me. If it works for you, that’s fine. I am not judging the product because I don’t know it. (maybe I’m judging just a teeny tiny bit?) I’m sure you would get the same results without using the sprinkles and just using a smaller plate!   Brand recognition? Sensa, you win!  I recognize the product each and every time, but it doesn’t in any way make me want to buy the product, it just makes me groan out loud and roll my eyes. Wouldn’t that be negative brand recognition?

As one gets older your body changes naturally. There is not much you can do about it and really, why stress about it so  much. Try to be healthy but don’t hit yourself over the head if you have a slice of warm apple pie.  Life is short, enjoy it. As that great movie with America Ferrara says”Real Women Have Curves.” I’m happy with myself, you can be too. Feel beautiful for who you are not what you weigh. Weight gain, weight loss, isn’t it time we get over it already? Be comfortable in your own skin, be healthy, eat whatever you want in moderation and take a walk; maybe even try to walk a little more every day. Do what you can.

I am no Jillian Michaels (and  heaven forbid, I don’t want to be.) I don’t think people need abs like cement bricks nor do I think they have to be tortured if they don’t lose enough weight in a week (I know it’s a television show called The Biggest Loser, but still……)  Jillian, please stop screaming so much. People are trying as hard as they can; if I was at “The Ranch” your screaming would make me gain weight for the emotional stress you were putting me through. How about a nicer, softer Jillian..oh wait, his name is Bob. Tone it down a little, no tone it down a lot (and I don’t mean in a weight loss way).  Yell at me, bitch, just try. I am comfortable with my body and myself. I am not skinny, I’m closer to chubby, ok, full disclosure; I AM chubby and I am fine with it. Enjoy life, think things through, have dessert, have a big heart and give back to others. Read and reread The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein. Success is not always measured in pounds, it’s also measured in pride.

We’re Allowed To Have A Horrible Day …..Or Two

dark and stormy

Image by lilli2de via Flickr

When I spoke to my friend on-line I told her I was thinking of writing a blog with the title “Losing Hope.”  I’ve learned to wait a little while and see how I feel later on. Granted, passion fruit sorbet and coconut sorbet helped a little. It was probably a combination of the sugar and the unique sorbet flavors that worked so well together.

The morning started with a phone call my husband made to a hiring manager. The good news? He is definitely the candidate that they want! The bad news? They don’t have the funding for the job.  This is the second time this has happened to my husband. He’s been unemployed for a year now. (Anyone know of a Software Engineer job?)  I see his sadness and as hard as I try to boost his spirits today I just sunk lower with him. I’ve been good and supportive but today was too much, so we acknowledged we were blue and then went out for an inexpensive Latin dinner (with a coupon) where he had tilapia (fish)with mole sauce and I had a quesadilla filled with spinach, mushrooms, cheese and horrors of all horrors, green peppers. After I finessed the green peppers to the side, I was happy.

We took our dog out for a short walk after dinner and as much as my joints hurt, and my knee locked, my fatigue overwhelming me, at least I did it. It was one of those perfect, beautiful, warm, dry evenings. It was also something my husband wanted to do and he does not ask for much. So, our 8-year-old mutt, Callie was in heaven, my husband was smiling and after giving myself a tiny push, I felt better too.

There were some “family” issues which bothered me but I got over it with helpful prompting from my husband as in “what do you expect? They always do that….”  Enough said. My mother warned me about not eating too much food on the free cruise and the chubby girl resurfaced and I felt my body inflate and swell.

It’s hard to be sensitive, I can be very empathic but also hurt easily. It doesn’t seem to be a lesson I’ve learned or accepted. I try to “not care as much” but it’s a skill I lack and don’t think I will learn it anytime soon. At least  I’ve learned to get over something quickly which in the past could have been long and drawn out.

I’m vulnerable, to diseases, to emotions, to temperature; we all are.  After trying to fight the knowledge of a cranky,  “snarky” day, I’ve learned (most of the time ) to just give in to it and ride the waves until everything calms down. You never know, maybe the next day will be filled with sunshine,  honey and bright blue skies; it’s possible. Allow yourself to have a bad day or more when you need it and don’t feel guilty about it; we deserve it.

The Brownie Smuggler (A Foodie Blog)

I knew that I would snack at 10:45pm. I wish I could say I tried to stop myself but that would be really lame. Sometimes, you just have to eat. This was one of those times. I started off my “snack”, okay, second meal with the leftover piece of barbecued chicken I didn’t finish for dinner. I can totally justify that, I had half the portion at dinner. What I can’t rationalize are the brown rice, sea salt crackers to go along with it.  Or the watermelon that followed. I am ashamed and I am not. Now I am nibbling on a brownie in my bedroom and no-one is supposed to know. No one DOES know except for my dog, Callie and now you. She sits up in perfect form, her warm brown eyes staring at me, begging to be fed. “I can’t” I say to her out loud, you are not allowed to have chocolate.” She lies down on the carpet as if she understood what I was saying; maybe she did. It isn’t even a really good brownie, it’s the type that you pack in your kids’ lunches, pre-made and wrapped individually. But still, I had to have it and I am not sure that I am done eating and I am okay with that.

So, tomorrow I will try to be better, making healthier food choices but I will not beat myself up about tonight. Tonight, after a stressful day, this made me feel better, comforted me. I know it’s not a healthy living style but either is denying yourself everything. If anyone at Weight Watchers reads this, please don’t write me, I’m not interested.

I watched the show “Huge” for the first time today on Hulu. I think it’s a great show and will do for overweight people what Glee did to EVERY kind of person. It’s called validation. Finally. People come in different shapes and as my daughter showed me on an episode of “One Tree Hill” a woman (not a model) walked the runway with a tee-shirt that said “zero is not a size.” Hallelujah.

Sometimes I get ravenous and all my common sense, my willpower goes swirling down the drain like a tornado. I am the eye of the storm, and I can’t be stopped; no, I will not allow myself to stop until it’s over. Hopefully it will be months before this little extravaganza comes around again. If it does, I will deal with it, eat it and then the next day go back to being…better.

This is why I cannot watch the Food Network at night. I see the food, I want the food and then I hurl myself down the stairs for something to eat. A peanut butter and jelly sandwich with a glass of milk always does the trick (with baked potato chips on the side).  Tonight while I was watching “Huge”, I saw a plate of fries and a double chocolate milkshake and it made me hungry. Perhaps I should switch and watch game shows or old movies. It would keep me grounded. Literally.

I am dreaming now of a cheeseburger and sharing a plate of fries with my husband at a local little pub. They have killer (sorry vegetarians and vegans) burgers, inexpensive and made of incredible quality, moist, pink and thick. I am salivating just thinking about it.

Lesson to learn? Do what you have to do, don’t beat yourself up afterwards and start fresh the next day. It isn’t an easy process, for those of us with food or weight issues but it works.