Archive for October, 2010

Filling ME Up.

Posted: October 17, 2010 in Uncategorized

I once wrote that some of the best gifts in life come unwrapped: no curly ribbons or bows; no gift-wrapping. They arrive, for some, in the form of curious curve balls–lovely things life tosses our way. It’s up to us what we do with what’s tossed our way.

Which brings me to the here and now.

My journey to this blog actually began more than two years ago. My high school friend, Maria Rago, was visiting San Francisco. We’d been in good touch over the years. Actually, we grew up across the street from each other–she, her sister and I used to pal around and ponder the world, our parents’ behaviors, and so much more. During the visit, Maria caught me up on all the things she was doing with her eating disorders program at Linden Oaks Hospital in Naperville, Illinois. I was so intrigued with one program she launched, dubbed Real Meals, that I wanted to write about. I did and it made its way into the pages of Oprah Magazine. Afterward, Maria and I began discussing the possibility of a book that tackled issues of eating disorders and body image disorders, among other things (loving your body, enjoying food, “thinness” does not magically spawn happiness forever after), and the result came to be “Shut Up, Skinny Bitches! The Common Sense Guide To Following Your Hunger and Your Heart.” Release date: Early December.

Enter the curve ball.

What I didn’t anticipate in writing the book with Maria was that I would come face to face with my own issues surrounding body image and eating. I was an overweight tween and teen. I was mortified every time my mother took me shopping at the boy’s department at Sears, mostly because every visit forced us to go deeper into the nether regions of plus-size pants section for boys, politely labeled “HUSKY.” Maybe it was me, but that area of the department seemed shove into a corner. (Yeah, I think it was me.) Anyway, I never could seem to fit into those jeans. I dreaded zipping up, because zipping up became a major workout. My Polish ass was growing. My stomach was getting bigger. I hated the way I looked.

Hello Hell.

As an adult, I dieted and my weight flucuated but I found a nice plateau where me and my body seemed more in balance (for longer durations than in the past). But as Maria and I wrote our book, I found myself nervous and frustrated and I soon began binge-eating more often, something I had always done over the years but moreso during this time. I could only conclude that in writing the book I was touching a raw nerve. I was, in some way, rubbing up against my own issues. And it didn’t feel comfortable. (Not all growth is.)

Last week, I sat down with a professional to begin trying to understand some of the deeper layers of what’s going on inside of me. The woman I met with was an art therapist who dealt with eating disorders and body image disorder. An enlightening meeting to say the least. (When all else fails, draw. I tell you, you’ll find out something new about yourself.)

What I am most curious about today is not so much the food I wind up eating, or bingeing on … I’m fascinated with what is behind that behavior to do so. Could I be hungry for something I don’t even realize? What is it that is wanting to be fed to such a degree that I could “black out” and eat an entire pie or a huge bag of Doritos?

Author Geneen Roth, whom I recently interviewed, talks about this sort of thing in “Women Food and God.” (A stellar, enlightening read. Get it.)

Another curve ball.

During the last week, after the meeting with the specialist, I noticed something different. For longer durations during the last few days, I felt as if I was meeting myself–like, really my SELF–somewhere new. It felt as if I was touching a pure, undiscovered part of me that had been screaming for attention. I want to give it to that part of myself and so … I go on … learning how … day by day …

More on all this later, but for now, I’ve taken the advise from the art therapist. I purchased an art journal and some colored chalk. Yesterday I drew something. A stick figure. In the midsection, in the colors red, orange and yellow, I drew a bunch of large circles. I colored some gaps in. The stick figure looked as if it were attached in its midsection by behind a giant beach ball.

I felt “fat” yesterday. (Now … how the hell did that F word become such a “bad” one?)

And today? … I’ll suppose I’ll learn more about that when I draw more.

Stay tuned …
Thanks for reading…
Eat up …

Hello World! Eat Up! Round One.

Posted: October 14, 2010 in Uncategorized

So … it’s the first day of a new day of a day I never thought would arrive—the day that seems to have me officially exploring my own Eating Disorder and Body Image Disorder.

Why?

Well, be careful what you ask for.

I’ve been a writer for years and for years, I’ve asked for guidance on what to write about, often following my own instincts. I’ve done well and continue to evolve both professionally and personally. But then … one day, some time in late 2007, a colleague and friend of mine, Maria Rago, PhD, told me about an eating disorder program she runs in Naperville, Illinois. One ongoing event she orchestrated, REAL MEALS, captivated me so much that I wrote about for Oprah Magazine. (In a nutshell: Dr. Rago took her eating disorder patients to feed the homeless in the shelter. She oversaw people with food issues, buying food, preparing food and serving food to people who needed food. It helped the patients see the universal value of food and took them, even if was brief, out of their disorder and right into the benefits of giving service.)

Flashforward: I had been asking for a “sign” for my writing. Somehow, Maria and I decided to write a book, dubbed SHUT UP, SKINNY BITCHES! which tackled eating disorders, body image disorders, why dieting doesn’t work and much more. But during the process of writing the book with her, I found myself binge eating more than usual. I love that I said “more than usual.” I have always binged… not daily, but it seems to happen after much restricting of foods … after failed attempts of controlling my body, my weight, my food intake.  And, mostly, whenever I feel consumed with emotions that I’m convinced I cannot deal with.

Co-writing the book made me nervous. I was irritated. The Swings mooded and I swung on them relentlessly. Why was this happening? It would only be after going through the editing process of the book that I realized just how deep my own Eating Disorder/body image disorder might actually be. Somehow, I had been guided to write about an issue that I was struggling with. I began to wonder: How did I view myself—really? Inside and out?  

Suddenly, I was fascinated. A door had opened.

And now … I’m walking through it.

My intention here is to write about my own experiences surrounding food and body image. Perhaps it can create new conversations–within my own psyche, and with others experiencing the same thing.

Thanks for stopping by …
More to consume soon …