Tomorrow, I will have had no refined sugar for one month. What I’ve gained is sanity, greater nutrition, and an abundance of food sharing with my toddler (and he shared his cold with me-lucky mama).
What I haven’t lost is weight. Not that I was quitting sugar so I could lose weight but ya know, a girl never says no to losing a couple pounds, especially when I feel so very virtuous by not diving headfirst into birthday cake like I normally would.
Nope, no weight lost, in fact, my clothes are tight. I’m reminded of the end of my bulimic days. After a decade of bingeing and starving and over-exercising, I couldn’t do it anymore. I had zero will to starve and I had zero will to madly sweat it off; “it” being extreme fear and self-loathing. I sat on my parents red couch, and I ate. I ate whatever I wanted. I cried. I ate some more. I sat for two months, and then I saw Tori Amos in concert. I watched her and I thought, that greatness I see in her, in all she has created, I have that same greatness in me, and I’m so tired of hating myself.
That was it. April 14, 2005. I still have the ticket, which I keep in my God Box. From that moment on, I have not binged or starved or over-exercised.
That isn’t to say that I don’t have body or food issues still. They’re with me every day, and I see ways that I hold on, trying to glean control from the uncontrollable through what I put in my mouth or how I eat it or maybe-if-I-get-to-a-90-minute-yoga-class-once-a-week-my-inner-thighs-will-magically-go-back-to-their-pre-pregnancy-glory (although I’m sure I didn’t like them much at the time).
When I quit sugar, what I didn’t expect to surrender to was my hunger. My TRUE hunger that was masked by sugar highs from protein bars eaten all day or the cupcake I’m waiting until my kid’s asleep so I can make love to it uninterrupted. Taking away the sugar has opened up my food world: Oh yeah, I LOVE fried eggs and toast! Tuna mixed with guacamole on asiago bread-swoon! I want to eat cantaloupe with Ian, too! And oatmeal! And roasted carrot soup with yogurt!
So…I’m eating. And I feel like I’m keeping track of calories in the same way I always do and I’m eating the same amount and it’s SO much more nutritious and yet…clothes are tight. Perhaps it’s because my body is so excited to be getting the variety and quality of food that it’s “hanging on” to everything? That was my experience post-bulimia. I gained 15 pounds during the “eating months” and when I started eating normally again, the weight didn’t come off right away. My body didn’t trust me to feed it properly. We had to foster a relationship, and I feel like that’s happening again, on a deeper level, because even though I’d come a long way, I was still hiding in my food. Waiting to be alone with it. Now, I’m mostly eating with Ian, out in the great wide open, and my body (and heart) often want more.
Acceptance. My intention is to accept this as beautiful, because if any of you were telling me this story, I’d be so fucking happy for you. I would say who cares if your clothes are tight? You’re feeding yourself and your family beautiful, real food. You’re running with your toddler and playing soccer and doing things you’re afraid to do every day. You’re LIVING. Way better than visible hip bones. Now go bake something.