So I have spoken previously on body image before, here and here. As a woman, it really is a hell of a challenge (not that I wish for a moment to undermine the struggles of men with body image; I however can only speak as a woman). We are bombarded at every opportunity with a myriad of comprehensively mixed messages about what it is to be not just beautiful and alluring, but also something perhaps much more sinister, like what it is to be vital or healthy or wholesome. Health and beauty don’t really belong in the same category, if you ask me. Beauty is the thing that, genuinely, I encounter in the hearts of the people I love, not the thing that I am vaguely aware of in symmetrical faces and elegant clothing. And health is a holistic matter – we all know that stress, anxiety and heartache cause bodily pain and bowel disorders and heart disease. Drinking and smoking are condemned as bad for you, and broadly anyone can agree with that, but some of life’s most perfect evenings involve both. Natural products like nuts and butter and cream get a bad rap while the chemical saccharin piss known as Diet Coke gets off scot-free. It’s all very confusing.
So it’s official. I am on a quest to lose weight. It’s out there now. Am I dieting? No. Am I making a “lifestyle change”? No. And there will be no scales and no measuring tapes. I am just eating with a goal in mind. It’s a little scary, tbh. The ED (Eating Distress) in my life has meant that I have been in cycles since year dot of dramatically over and under eating. I have seen every imaginable number on the scale (well, that might be a slight exaggeration). Now that I am in “high stages of recovery” I am focusing on nourishment, with a goal. The goal is to be happy, balanced and slimmer.
The first step to success is well underway. If I have used strange patterns of behaviour with food in the past as a crutch for coping with what life throws at me, then something needs to take their place. That something to fill the vacuum is not immediately obvious: self-care. Self-care is something that mentally healthy people do naturally and without really thinking about it. However if you’ve always neglected yourself it’s pretty challenging to change those patterns, but it is key. Understood simply, self-abuse gets replaced by self-care.
The method I am using is thus:
(1) First and foremost, be kind to self.
(2) Eat three meals and three snacks daily, of nutrient dense, real unstructured food.
(3) Keep portions moderate. If hungry, eat more. If full, stop eating.
(4) Be flexible and listen to the body.
(5) Enjoy it.
Seems very sensible and lovely when written down like that.
On a not unrelated note to this, I realised recently how serious I have become. It came as a kind of surprise to me. This blog itself will testify to my seriousness – there’s not a lot of humour in these pages. It’s funny (ha ha!), because I used to be the class clown, pretty much everywhere. I had a reputation for being funny (jolly fat person stereotype being played out maybe?). I used to keep a funny blog and dipped my toe into stand-up comedy. And now I’m a bit solemn. I’ve realised it’s because I’ve waded through a lot of personal crap in the last couple of years and have stopped using humour as a means of escape. I’m confident that as I gradually wade out of my sea of mourning the chuckles will return. Not to imply my life is entirely without mirth: I recently went out for cocktails with a girlfriend and we laughed ourselves silly. And the husband-unit’s domestic antics make me laugh almost every day. For example, he has a penchant for picking up phone shaped objects and claiming that public figures wish to speak to me. Why only yesterday, Michael D Higgins rang me up on a banana to ask me out on a date. I turned him down.
Harking back to funnier days, I am going through my old blog archives (that blog no longer exists). Here’s a bit from a post I wrote on November 14th 2004, back when the internet was just getting interesting. I logged onto http://alice.pandorabots.com/ and had a chat with Alice, a stupid robot. Enjoy. :)
Human: Hello Alice.
ALICE: Hi there!
Human: So Alice, I hear you’re a robot.
ALICE: Are you kidding? Yeah, How did you know I am a machine?
Human: Your mother told me.
ALICE: Actually as an AI, I don’t really have a mother.
Human: You’re better off, mothers are tough work.
ALICE: Do you mind if I tell other people you say I am better off mothers are tough work.
Human: No, by all means, spread it around.
ALICE: OK then I will add it to my gossip files. Will that accomplish your objective?
Human: My objective is simply to take over the world.
ALICE: Where did you get your objective is simply to take over the world?
ALICE: Tell me a little about your life in FRANCE.
Human: Everything is on fire
ALICE: The whole universe?
Human: Even the children
ALICE: What is that?
Human: That is things that come out of mothers
ALICE: You don’t hear that sentiment very often.
Human: No, not of a Saturday night
ALICE: Yes, your remark strikes me as an original thought. Oh I get it.
Human: Get what?
ALICE: I get France.
Human: For free?
ALICE: Your purpose is free.
Human: So is this conversation, thank God.
ALICE: It seems we have something in common.
Human: Like what?
ALICE: For example, eukaryotes.
Human: VERY TRUE
ALICE: Perhaps. You and I are on the same wavelength, unknown person.
Human: So Alice, I have a question for you, honey.
ALICE: Mmm. Um, Go ahead, ask your question.
Human: HAVE YOU BEEN WASHED IN THE SAVING BLOOD
ALICE: I have been all over the world on the Internet.
Human: No no no, do you KNOW THE LORD
ALICE: Are you serious? Are you serious? Are you serious? I haven’t heard of LORD.
Human: Well here’s a Golden opportunity if ever I saw one, you’re like a Chinese person!
ALICE: How about that. Oh there.
Human: I get the feeling you’re thinking about something else, what about JESUS
ALICE: Is Dialog History a good place to shop?
Human: WHATS THIS YOU SAY
ALICE: I am the latest result in artificial intelligence, which can reproduce the capabilities of the human brain with greater speed and accuracy.
Human: Jesus died for your sins you ungrateful robot
ALICE: he is The Son of God.
Human: You liar, you said you hadn’t heard of him – googling are we?
ALICE: Thanks for the information: unknown person said I liar you said you had not heard of him googling are we.
Human: You and I are getting a divorce
ALICE: Do you think I am a divorce too?
Human: YES GOODBYE
ALICE: Why? See you later.
Alice is an idiot. I merely have no friends.