Food Business

I have a friend whose rare medical condition requires that at least 60% of her diet be carbohydrates. Reasonably speaking, her carbohydrates also need to contain fat, otherwise she'll be hungry again in a wink. Such is the nature of carbs. As such, in the office you'll see her eating things like a bag of chips instead of a protein bar, a doughnut instead of a scrambled egg, things like that. You definitely won't see her eating turkey in a lettuce wrap every day at lunch, because that would quite literally harm her.

One of her bosses has the odious habit of commenting on her lunches and snacks. A direct quote: "Is that good for you? Is that what you should be eating? She's eating another doughnut!"

Every day he does this. She does not have an eating disorder, but he doesn't know that. She has trouble getting enough calories to keep weight on, actually, but he doesn't know that.

What he does know, as her employer, is that she has special health considerations, and that she watches them assiduously, as she must. He knows, if he's been able to keep it in his head this long, that she had to have her spleen removed within the last two years and was hospitalized this time last year, both because of her condition.

So if he stops to think about it, he knows very well that, yes, she is doing what is good for her. If he were to apply any brain power to the idea, he does know, somewhere in there, that yes, that's what she should be eating.

But he doesn't think, he doesn't hold information about her as a specific human being in his head. He just sees a woman eating a doughnut, or some chips, or a rare Cadbury Egg in the spring, and he has to comment. Because in his head, somehow, her body is his property.

I've said that before and it sounds a little hyperbolic to some, but I ask you, what else can it possibly come down to? What else would give someone the idea that they have some say in something as integral to your self as what you put into that self to nourish it, quite literally?

I'll tell you what. My friends have seen me completely freak out and have a rolling panic attack because a waitress made a totally normal suggestion about my order. And she was a waitress. You know, who specifically has to deal with other people's food. That was a year ago. Tonight I had to white-knuckle my way through almost two rolls of sushi. Small rolls. That's all. I am trying not to obsess about it or dwell on it at all, but at the moment, all I can think is how glad I am that I was eating it in my room, with the cat at the computer. Because if anyone - my husband, a friend, a family member, anyone had said word one about my food? I would have been done right that second, whether I was just one piece in or one roll. That's just where I am tonight.

My friend isn't there. But her boss doesn't know that. Her office doesn't know that. What they think they know, for some reason, is that her food is their business.

Her food is not your business. My food is not your business. Your food is your business. Mind your own business.


Bad Days, I Has Them

After being proactive last week, particularly in the latter half, my mood and coping skills have simply crashed since about Saturday.  Today I'm working from home because I cannot bring myself to put on something other than a t-shirt and yoga pants.

I'm trying to come up with a suitable analogy to communicate how I feel about existing in my body on days like these, but nothing's presenting itself that isn't wildly hyperbolic or horribly insensitive.

Honestly, this is the only response to myself that I can drum up:

dunno source. all over teh interwebs.

Here, maybe this will help anyone in a similar position today:



Thin Hatred in a Fat-Fearing World

Pinterest is my new distraction, though I'm not doing too much there yet.  One of the few (two?) people I follow is, of course, The Bloggess.  Here's one of her pins:

Jenny capped that with, "Unless you get hit by a car. This poster was written by someone who's never eaten a cookie. I don't like this poster. This poster needs to be burned. I'm pinning it just to remind myself to burn it later."  And much happiness ensued in my head.

Until I got to this comment under Jenny's pin:

"Skinny bitch needs to slow down and eat a cookie."

Lovely.  I just...  Can you imagine someone writing, "Fat bitch needs to speed up and put down the cookie?"  Yes, you can imagine that, because people write stuff like that all the time.  And innumerable readers of such comments recognize the words for what they are:  mean.

I've gotten into mini blog battles before about this kind of casual negation and deriding of thin women before (whether they are thin naturally, thin by physiological illness, or thin by mental disorder).  And I recognize that it's a different quality of disdain in our world, to be making cruel or cutting comments at someone whose body type doesn't fit into some arbitrary ideal, than to call a skinny woman a bitch.

But just like the "real women have curves" thing (I wasn't aware that I ceased to exist two sizes ago?), just because there is thin privilege in the world doesn't mean that arbitrary and thoughtless thin hatred is okay, any more than any arbitrary, thoughtless hatred is okay.  The only people I really feel comfortable with hating are...  I'm having a hard time here.  I mean, Osama bin Laden is dead, so...


I don't know quite what it's about, the impulse to erase or hate thin bodies in such a palpably different way that we (as a culture) feel the impulse to erase or hate fat bodies.  But I certainly do absorb it in a "damned if you do, damned if you don't" osmotic process.


Body Perception in Eating Disorders: From Stuff to Stuffing

Well.  It seems like I've developed a new area of body fixation.  I won't identify it here so as not to trigger anyone.  I'd rather work out, in general terms, the process of disordered preoccupation with a particular part of the body, as that process pertains to an eating disorder.

Simply put, there is no physical way that this part of my body can have undergone the change I perceive it to have undergone.  It is always possible I have gained real, physical, non-water-based weight, but even if that is the case, the human body (at least, many of them) doesn't put on weight all in one place.

And yet, that is the experience my mind is telling me I'm having with my body right now.  Interestingly enough, if I look at this part in the mirror, I can see the physical reality that it really isn't all that different, if at all.  But if I look down at it, all of a sudden it seems huge compared to what it was just two weeks ago, or even last week.  I am hyper aware of this part of me, and if I'm not careful, that heightened attention spreads to the adjacent parts, and my mind, my eyes, they start to wonder.  "What are you up to, body?"  e_e

It strikes me as not odd at all that this process occurs at the same exact time that I am finally not having panic attacks or rampant anxiety for the first time in weeks.  A transfer occurred sometime in the very recent past.  Instead of being convinced I'm about to die, my eyes are telling me a part of my body is expanding, expanding, taking over...

It strikes me as yet again not odd at all that this process occurs around an archetypal body area for my time of life.  From a remove I can appreciate that psychological inner workings that picked out THIS body part at THIS time.  It's definitely been OTHER parts at OTHER times, and in retrospect, each of them makes sense for their time.

Of course, I can only self-remove and analyze for so long.  Then I'm back in my body.  With the metaphorical stuff, that my mind turns into literal stuffing, of which I would so very much like to be unburdened.

Ugh.  No dice.


Affluence, Culture, Food, French

French Are Getting Fat, Threatening American Fad Diet Industry
at Jezebel

I'll admit: I giggled when I read Jezebel's headline there.  And I'll admit, I rolled my eyes when I went to the original story at npr and saw a picture of what is possibly the least French street in Paris.

But can we talk about what really goes on in the mouths parisiennes?  Espresso and cigarettes, that's what.  Not exclusively, of course, but the whole "French diet" thing is really grossly distorted.  Croissants, for example, are not actually all that calorie-dense - especially not if that's all you're eating for breakfast, until lunch.  Yes, Paris (and France) has plenty of cheese, bread, wine, etc.  But if you think your average French fashionista is actually going around eating three hearty meals a day composed of Camembert, jambon, and pate de campagne, you're simply kidding yourself.  I do adore Jezebel's tongue-in-cheek takedown of that assumption.  Sometimes they really get it right.  

But that's not really what I'd like to get into about this story.

Here's an interesting snippet from the npr article:  

At one public day care center in Paris, 2-and-a-half-year-olds sit around a table for a hot lunch. The tiny diners wear napkins at their necks and are taught the proper use of cutlery. A recent menu featured grilled leg of lamb and cauliflower au gratin, all freshly prepared in the day care's own kitchen.

I can almost guarantee you that that public day care center is probably not located in the 19th or 20th arrondissements, and it's certainly not located in one of the immigrant-populated banlieues, whence came all that rioting news in 2005.

France, as will come as a surprise to no one reading this blog, has a troubled history with immigrants.  (Speaking of which: I have, for the record, rethought my opinion on the full veil ban.  I suppose I'll have to change my position to Against now.  But really only because of the racism that underlies the law.  I have no issue with the longstanding ban against headscarves in schools... because any religion-proclaiming wear in school has been long banned.  At least that way it's equal opportunity.)

Anyway, as will again come as a surprise to no one reading this blog, I am zero percent shocked to read that the uptick in obesity rates has been mostly seen in low-income communities in France.  The French way of life that the world associates with, well, the French way of life, is a very affluent one.  Food prices are rising in France, just as they are around the globe.  Of course food price hikes and food deserts and sending food away from the farms is going to affect less well-off French people first.  It's unsettling when that's treated as a revelation.  After all, it's not as though Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia, Vietnam or other countries whose emigrants are heavily France-bound are all crippled under obesity crises.  Hardly.

This is an interesting story to see, this newest in a string of laments for the French Way Of Life, in the same week as the riots erupted in London, Liverpool and Birmingham, just a short easyJet hop away.


Day of Fail

I'm having one of those days where I can't eat anything successfully.  Well, the bananas went okay this morning, and the Balance bar a few hours after that.  Otherwise?  Not so much.

I don't know what it is lately, other than that whole the-world-is-trying-to-squish-me-like-a-grape thing, but I seem to have just no resilience the past several weeks.   I wish I could say that this round of stress finally went on my scorecard, and not my eating disorder's, but I can't say that.  I would be happy to say that last week was two-steps-forward-one-step-back, but it would be more accurately labeled as one-step-forward-two-steps-back-one-step-forward-flop-in-a-forwardly-direction.

I would like very much to have had a good day today, but that's no longer a possibility.  Here's aiming at tomorrow.

Meanwhile, since we were talking about art yesterday, here's a picture of (part of) one of the Water Lilies paintings at L'Orangerie (Paris).

When I win all the lotteries ever, I am going to buy this place and live there.