I bought three metric fuck-tons of candy yesterday, and I’ve been thinking about my feelings about such “indulgence” and Fat Acceptance.
I intentionally bought everything that looked good, but I still feel a little bit apprehensive (maybe?) about buying (and then eating!) as much candy as I want, possibly because of the idea I first saw articulated at Shapely Prose, the fear that if you let yourself eat as much as you want you will eat everything.
I’ve always had this fear, which has been encouraged and strengthened by the many diets I’ve been on, that if I ate what I actually wanted, then I would devour the WORLD. Well, I already wrote about this. But to really embrace demand feeding, I have to face that fear. I know, intellectually, that my fear is unfounded. I cannot possibly eat my own weight in Little Debbie oatmeal cream pies. I *know* it, but I still don’t *believe* it.
Now, I am attempting to follow the Kate Harding Lifetime Diet Plan (as outlined here), which goes as follows:
Eat whatever you want. It’s your body. You’re allowed.
DAY 2 THROUGH DEATH:
Repeat Day 1.
That’s why I bought myself all the candy I wanted. Because even if I eat myself sick one time, I won’t want to again. I won’t actually eat nothing but sweets for the rest of my life. Kate Harding says it well:
So it makes a lot of sense that maybe the best way to stop feeling as if you’re going to devour the WORLD is to actually go ahead and try to devour the world. Because the first thing you’ll realize is that you can’t. And the next thing you’ll realize is that you don’t really want to. And once you get to that point, you might actually have a prayer of understanding your own internal hunger cues.
So, that’s the stage I’m at right now. I’m in the process of declaring all foods OK, and eating as much as I want. I’m a little lazy (and I didn’t have a working smoke alarm!) so I haven’t cooked much yet, but I’m already itching to make myself some pasta. Right now, I am looking past my pile of (half-devoured) candy, at the oranges in my pretty decorative bowl, and dreaming about settling down to peel one after I finish this post, because that’s what I want. But I can only do that because I don’t feel like I need the candy. It’s right there. It’ll still be there later if I want it. There’s plenty. If I run out, I’ll buy more.
Actually, this reminds me of something I used to do all the time when I lived at home. I’d wander downstairs feeling snacky, and walk into our huge pantry (like, the size of my apartment’s kitchen!) and I’d browse all the shelves, maybe pick up a box of cookies and put it down again, or poke through the bowl of candy without taking any. And then I’d walk out again, feeling satisfied. It always used to bewilder me; every now and then, I’d make myself walk back in, pick something, and eat it, just because I could and it was a cookie. I used to think of it as “I was hungry but I didn’t know what I wanted,” but now I think it was “I wasn’t hungry but I wanted to reassure myself that I could eat if I wanted to.”
It came to mind because of a comment on that Kate Harding post, wherein Meg Thornton offered some advice:
1) Keep the larder well stocked. I don’t know about anyone else, but if I can’t find anything to eat, I suddenly wind up absolutely and utterly *ravenous*. It’s a deprivation thing. Whereas if I’m suddenly feeling peckish, and I go to the pantry, open it up, and just look at the shelves crowded down with stuff that’s easy to eat, suddenly I don’t feel hungry any more.
So, that’s what’s up with my enormous stash of candy. Just letting myself know that I don’t have to be hungry, because the food is there.
Actually, Meg’s advice is all really excellent and concise, so I’ll leave you guys today with the rest of her tips:
2) As an addition to 1), Make sure at least some of the stuff in the larder is healthy, and at least some of it is stuff that no dieter would be allowed near. For me, this wound up as a big plastic container (not quite the largest I had, but certainly close to it) filled with chocolates and lollies, until my subconscious got the hint that I wasn’t going to deprive myself of anything sweet ever again. I don’t need to do that all that often any more – but if I’m having a bad week, one of the first things I’ll do is head to the confectionery aisle in the supermarket, and plan on filling that container again. I also try to keep things like apples and other fruit on hand, because sometimes what I’m after is an apple.
3) If you don’t want it, don’t eat it. This is a *hard* one. I grew up a member of the “clean plate club” – you know the one. “There are children starving in [COUNTRY], you know. They’d be glad of some nice food like that!” “If you don’t eat all your vegetables, you can’t have desert.” All those lovely things that parents say to children to make them clean up their plates. Just remember, you can say no. The children starving in [COUNTRY] won’t be any the less starved if you eat all of it, and they won’t be any more starved if you don’t.
4) This is the corollary to 3): If you want it, you can have it. You’re a grown-up. You’re allowed to have whatever you like. If that means you have a week where you just slurp down ice cream, so what? If you want a salad, hey, go for it! But you’re not a good girl for eating the salad, or a bad girl for eating the ice cream. Food in and of itself does not have any moral value, although that’s the hardest thing to hold onto in our highly judgemental society. (I’M LOOKING AT YOU FABLE II!)
Uh, that last sentence was mine. The Fable II thing. I’m still a bit miffed by that.