Saturday, October 30, 2010


Hi Folks,

I wrote about Dorinda Rumbold a few weeks ago and received several responses from people interested in her journey and wanting to hear more about the journey she's been on with muscle testing, weight loss, and working through bulimia.

Since Dorinda began visiting her muscle testing practitioner, I have seen her blossom before my eyes and transform, losing about 38 lbs on a mostly raw diet, and carrying herself with a new confidence, happiness and self assurance.

I asked her to do an interview for us.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

M: Hey, Dorinda, thanks so much for agreeing to share your story with us. Since we’ve been working together at Arnold’s Way, you’ve shared a lot of intimate details with me about your struggles in life, and your difficult past, which you’ve said has been filled with a tremendous amount of abuse, which led to eating disorders of anorexia, bulimia, compulsive eating, and a struggle with alcohol. I’m sorry to hit you right off the bat with the painful stuff, but can you talk about the abuses you’ve suffered? We’ll get into your diet after that…

D: Sure. Well, I grew up until I was 5 years old with my grandparents. My biological father, who I call my BF, was an alcoholic and took off after trying to kill me, and after he realized he could not have custody of me.

My mother remarried when I was 5.

There were a lot of good times and some bad times. My mom was a young mother, had me at 18, and during the 60's, it was a time to look after yourself, a very self indulgent age. However, I am certain she did the best she could with what she had at the time.

What I can remember of childhood was that food was a comfort for good times and bad times. If you were sad, sick or just plain unhappy, Mom-mom always had a cookie to make things better.

Happy hour was also huge at the farm where I grew up with my grandparents, and I did partake in alcohol from the young age of 3. Some people thought it was cute. Again, it was a different time.

Through my early teens, my mother and I did not get along. There was emotional abuse. However, again, it was all she knew.

During that time, a close friend of my parents befriended me and gained my trust, which I did not have for my mother (which is a long story and one that I have forgiven her for). Please know that this predator took a year or maybe more. I don't have my diary any more as I trashed it years ago, unfortunately. He began to sexually abuse me, and it lasted until after I graduated from High School until I confided in a friend, my parents’ age, who I babysat for. She and her husband made sure that he never hurt me again. I never told anyone else, not my parents, or friends. No one knew.

In my 30's and again in my 40's, I opened up to telling more people, including a letter to my parents.

M: It is common for women with eating disorders to have suffered sexual abuse. I have. Anyway, go on.

D: Well, during the time I was being abused, I began to be very emotional and difficult to deal with, so my mom felt that it was my need to meet my BF. So for my 17th birthday, I met him for the first time. Also, during this time, I began my rollercoaster of anorexia and bulimia eating disorders, which escalated with more drama. Forced eatings, people going to the bathroom with me, screaming and yelling that I am making mother look bad... blah blah blah... I felt like I lived in hell.

Then one traumatic Sunday afternoon, I came home late from a lunch date with my BF. This was before cell phones, and my mother screamed at me, “Where were you? What were you doing all this time!!!!?” God, I felt like I had been on a date with a boyfriend or something. I could not figure out why she was so mad. I kept asking her, “Why?” She ignored me all day. Then finally, she blurted out that my BF had raped his sister. My stomach dropped. I was already during this time being raped by her friend. Now I had to worry about this man who brought me into this world. Of course, I was mean and distant with him after that, and our relationship would never be the same. He died when I was in my 30's - another story…

My early 20's brought on heavy drinking, either starving myself or binging & purging (purging is a nice word for puking), and a short time of drug abuse, which only lasted two years due to an overdose. I was too embarrassed to call 911, so I promised God that if He allowed me to live through the night, I would never touch drugs again. I should have included alcohol in that prayer. I now wish I had.

I was married during this time, about the age of 22, to a wonderful man, but we both had our baggage. He divorced me when I was 30 years old and we still remain friends. If it had not been for his care and friendship, I don't think I would have lived through that time.

It was a big mistake, but I moved back home at the age of 30. Please don't get me wrong, my parents are very good people, just very controlling and only see the world through their eyes. If it is not their way of doing things... it is the wrong way!!!!!!

M: That sounds exactly like my parents. I wonder if it is typical of women who struggle with food to have come from overly controlling parents. Mine are! And they are so inflexible, just like you said, “if it is not their way of doing things, it is the wrong way!” I so relate!

Go on….

D: I would say that I was pretty anorexic during those years, as well as obsessed with exercise and work.

I married my current husband, Andy, a few years later, and I felt at first my life coming together, but things quickly unraveled and my obsessive behavior with food was back with a vengeance. We moved into my parents’ home for two very difficult years as we paid down debt and saved for our current home. It was a very bad choice, but at the time, I felt like it was our only choice to live with my parents. Issues between Andy & I were made worse by my parents’ involvement. The one bright spot was that I did get to see my grandparents every morning and I will cherish that forever.

Once Andy and I bought our home in Perkasie, all seemed well. We were out of debt (other than our home...LOL) and things between us seemed good.

Then we, or I must confess, my husband (though I never spoke up to him about this) decided we wanted a baby, so I went through all the awful testing, shots, etc… The stress was too much for me and weight just piled on. Then I had just had it, enough was enough, and my husband agreed. A month later, I got pregnant, only I had no clue. I began to hemorrhage. I thought I was dying never thinking that I was losing the baby. It was the most terrifying and emotionally devastating thing I have lived through.

Now at 5'1,” I weighed 170lbs and I hated myself, hated my family.... hated everything. My bulimia came back with a force that almost destroyed me. I was numb, hateful & just plain out of hope.

I know I talked more about the emotional, and less about weight, etc... The next part is when I couldn't walk due to bursitis, and then I began the raw food stuff.

M: Thank you so much for sharing all of this with us, Dorinda. You've suffered through a lot of pain. I’m glad you could share it with us and that you're overcoming it all. It does seem ridiculous always to focus on the food and the weight and to not look back at our history, at our upbringing, at the abuses and pains and hurts we’ve endured, and not say, ‘What got me here, to this place, where I do these things to myself?’ You’ve been through a lot, but something tells me it was not all for naught. Have you heard the saying, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger?” You’re a very strong, capable woman, more than you realize. I really admire you. And we’ve talked about your amazing nurturing, healing qualities. I see a future for you in helping others move through their abusive pasts, their eating disorders and addictions.

So, let’s move on. So, what finally brought you to raw? You mentioned bursitis?

D: Ok, so I tried to lose weight, I tried boot camp, the gym, and I ended not losing anything and gaining bursitis. I had bursitis in both hips and it was so painful that I could not walk or get out of the car or up from a sitting position without pain and looking like an old lady.

So I had read that the raw food lifestyle might help heal bursitis, and since an ineffective cortisone shot was all the doctor could offer me, I decided to try it. January 1st, 2009 was Day 1 of going raw. By mid March, I was cured of bursitis as well as warts & any illness at all. Others were still getting colds & flu’s around me, but I wasn't.

I lost a few pounds, but not a lot, however I felt great and, so, I just enjoyed that. I was only 70% raw at this time.

I met Arnold from Arnold's way in April and decided by August to take it up a notch and go more raw.

It was at this time that a red rash beamed around my lips. (As Michelle puts it, I looked like ‘Bozzo, the clown’).

M: Dorinda, you’re such a beautiful girl, but it really was that bad. Your lips were swollen and had a bright red 1 inch ring around them like the red crayon Bozo wears. What was so extraordinary was the grace with which you carried yourself during this time. This big red rash around your lips lasted for many, many weeks and you just went on, working, smiling, laughing, making the best of it. I really admired how you handled this. And when your lips finally cleared? My god, we could finally see this beautiful lady in front of us! But, it must have been a very big hardship, and frightening, since it was happening from raw…

D: It was unsightly and it hurt. The more raw I went, the worse it got! However, I slowly did shed more and more weight, and besides the lips and a few personal problems with family, life was good.

M: How did you come to the muscle testing guy? Were you seeking help for your eating disorder or weight or was it for the lips?

D: I was at the end of my rope with the lips when a regular at Arnold's suggested that I call her friend who had them SAME issue. So I did. And she referred me to Ian Kennedy, who is the head clinician at True Wellness in Montgomeryville, Pa. He does European Biological Therapy. Some call it muscle testing, or quantum neurology, let’s call it muscle testing.

So he began to ask my body questions. My mind/brain sometimes didn't know the answer, but the body did.

He tested me for different foods to see if they made my body “weak” or “strong,” and it turns out that I was allergic to tomatoes and bananas, a raw foodist’s nightmare! I stopped eating them. But, then, somehow someway, through the muscle testing, he helped my body clear that allergy and I can now once again enjoy those foods as long as I don't overdo it.

Although I have cleared myself of those allergies, and the ring around my lips left, hallelujah!, I still go to True Wellness once a month (or more if needed).

And I am currently working on emotional issues as I have a few, to say the least. I am learning not to blame or hold anger against those who have hurt me in the past, nor to expect anything from others in the future, such as an apology or a change in behavior.

M: This is profound.

D: Instead of holding onto blame and anger and hurt and expectations, I am really embracing who I am BECAUSE of what I have gone through, and some days, it is all good. And other days it is not. Life is really a journey.

M: You’re doing great. You mentioned bad days. What do you do to help yourself on “bad” days?

D: I still struggle with food when those days are rough. But I try going for a walk, petting my doggies, meditation, devotions, or calling a friend. The best thing is to talk through it even if you are alone, because you really aren't ever alone, you are always loved by someone.

M: That is nicely said.

Hey, so talk to me about the diet a bit over the last few months and about the weight loss.

D: I eat 80% raw, and 90-95% vegan. I was not doing well before the muscle testing, but things just cleared and I was able to do well.

My downfalls are pork (as it reminds me of my Poppop! ) and occasionally cheese, but I do get sick after eating that, so that is very seldom that I cheat on that, but it does happen once in a great while. My other cheats are corn chips, and this week, pretzels! (Don't know why!)

M: Do you exercise?

D: After breakfast, I usually take a walk. I walk the dogs and/or go to yoga.

M: I’d love some details. Can you detail what you've eaten over the past 3 days?

D: For the past 3 days, hmmm…, breakfast is piece of fruit, like an apple or a mango, or Kombucha, or a green smoothie. I always have a light breakfast. Snack may be some greens. Lunch is usually a lot of water. Or if I’m at Arnolds Way, some smoothie leftovers. Dinner has been steamed or sauteed veggies from my garden over rice noodles, or a raw rich green soup. I made one Friday and I’m still trying to finish it. Or greens topped with whatever. Snacky stuff would either be greens, dark chocolate covered almonds, and this week, pretzels. I love salty/crunchy.

M: I notice you don’t eat much during the day, just a smoothie maybe and then water, but you eat a dinner and you like to snack. I know you were on Weight Watchers (counting points) eating mostly raw over the last several months. How many points is your target?

D: My target points are 18.

M: That’s not much. You are a little person.

D: But I don't really count points anymore (although being mostly raw it would be easy). I did make lifetime status last week and I will most likely go to a meeting at least once a month. I began WW on May 4th of 2010. (However, this is my third round at WW... LOL)! I went through what they call maintenance for 6 weeks, and then I hit lifetime status.

M: Congratulations, Dorinda. You seem to have a pretty good hold on the weight now.
Did you used to eat more, when you were heavier?

D: When I was heavier, I ate more, but always in the evenings, and that is still my time of eating more than I do the rest of the day. I just don't really get that hungry during the day.

In the past, for breakfast, I might have eaten a bagel, or something from a bakery, but I do not do well with grains, especially processed flour, so I try to stay as gluten free as possible now - more for digestion, and the fact that it is too addicting. Lunch, if I got it, used to be a sandwich, and somewhere along the way, during the week, I would slip up and eat bacon or something else really gross and fatty. Dinner would just be a double meal - one for me and one for my alter ego... LOL! I still tend to eat more at dinner time... It’s usually a quiet lonely time and I guess I tend to fill that void with food. I just try and choose better choices now.

M: How much have you lost?

D: At my peak I was 170 lbs. I am 5'1." When I started WW, I was already down to 155.4 LBS. This morning, when I weighed myself, I was 132, which is comfortable for me.

IF I lose more, GREAT, if not, that is ok. Hey, my clothes fit me. Oh, and I just got rid of all my "FAT" clothes so that there is no way I will go back!!!

M: Bravo! Did the muscle testing also play a part in developing your new way of eating?

D: I think it helped me clear my emotional blockages and gain self worth. Now I make good choices. I am just trying to do as much raw as I can without being militant about it.

I do like some veggies steamed. I just don't like certain veggies raw by themselves, or I should say, it is not my preferred way of eating them.

Also, obviously, the muscle testing helped me to avoid certain foods until I was able to eat them again in small quantities.

M: Does the muscle testing therapist support your raw food diet?

D: Ian is not a raw foodist, and occasionally will ask me my blood type and offer up that I should be eating meat, which is wrong.

M: You sound pretty certain.

D: Meat will turn your blood acidic and that is where disease can pop up. If you have a blood type that needs extra protein, EAT LOTS of GREENS. And if you are like me and will eat a little meat a few times a year, just enjoy it. But don't make it a weekly habit. That is just my advice. Oh, and know where your food/meat has come from. Factory meat is dangerous… Again, just my opinion.

Ian feels that I should eat meat for protein, but I know I can get that from greens. I had digestion issues in the beginning most likely due to chemicals, GMO foods, and bulimia, which rids your body of its natural enzymes. But my digestion is so much better now.

M: How was changing your diet for you?

D: Going raw in the beginning was tough. And it can be for most people, so take it slowly and build up. Both hemorrhoids & the rash around lip area are signs of digestion issues. Digestion begins with the lips and ends up in the anus area!!

So yes, raw agrees with me on so many levels, but I did have to work at it and work through the detox/reactions I experienced. It was worth it because my digestive system was screwed up and needed to be healed, but I’m so much better.

Out of 7 days now, like maybe 3 or 4 meals I’ll eat cooked.

M: Do you still struggle with bulimia?

D: Well, my binge eating is more emotional. Sticking with simple raw, it is very difficult to binge. Actually I don't think I have ever binged on greens apples, etc.

Cooked foods are so much easier to binge on. Crunchy foods are easier for me to binge on.

Last week I started a process of giving up alcohol for 30 days, and my bulimia returned for the first 3 or 4 days. It was tough as I struggled to gain control, but I appear to be over that hump now.

I cherish the day that binge eating and my bulimia will be a thing of the past. As for now, I cherish every day that it is not an issue.

M: You’re working through it. You have a lot on your plate. Be gentle on yourself.

You’ve said you were anorexic, then bulimic, then an an overeater. What was anorexia to you? And what is bulimia and overeating to you?

D: Well, Anorexia and Bulimia are one in the same to me... For me, I had no control over my childhood or things that happened to me. I also had controlling parents. They meant well, but it was tough. So when I would be in an anorexic state, I would control what I would eat. So, water, & maybe 5 small pieces of cerery, I would allow. I would also exercise to burn off those small calories... I would go for two or more hours trying to work off all that fat I ate... LOL! My lowest weight I am aware of was 92 Lbs.

Bulimia has changed for me. I used to eat large amounts of food and then puke and use laxatives. Now, it is maybe just eating a meal I think is not healthy or just over eating a bit, sort of what normal people do, but I am usually stressing about something in my life and so to control that feeling, and numb it, I have on occasion reverted to puking. Sometimes I have to force it, but I must confess that my mind is a powerful thing, and many times I have to run to the bathroom as my body gets rid of everything all on its own.

So I think that all forms of eating disorders numb pain. I think they are all related. And it is a control thing. People think that those who overeat don't have discipline, and I totally disagree with that on so many levels.

Alcohol & drugs numb pain too, and like eating disorders, have a strong foothold on each individual trying to heal. As hard as it is to stay away from alcohol & drugs, it is my opinion that food is far the most difficult thing to grab a hold of because you need it to fuel up every day. So it stares you in the face and your mind tells you, “Hey don't eat an apple. A bag of corn chips will satisfy you and make this uncomfortable feeling you are going through sooooo much easier.”

And so sometimes you rise above the lie and sometimes you buy into the lie...

M: What is a typical binge like for you?

D: Before raw, a typical binge would be pasta, ice cream... things that are easy to get rid of... and don't hurt you coming up...big amounts.

Now, it might just be a meal of stir fry, Chinese, or pasta. Now, it isn't a huge amount of food. More than I should eat, but not several helpings. I don't know why that changed it just did.

I think I spoke with you once that after getting a large french fry from one place, I almost went somewhere else for another... I was tempted….they wouldn't know that I already ate a large fry. I remember feeling like that last year a few times... I think it was when my parents were not speaking to me.

I was out of control and my life was out of my control…a horrible feeling, feeling like your own parents don't love you. Ugh.

M: I suppose if we really look at what’s happening to us during our times of out of control eating, we would see our lives were out of control.

A lot of what you’ve said about eating disorders has been really insightful to me and actually makes sense concerning what I've been going through. My life is sort of out of my control at the moment, staying with my parents to help my mother get better. And I start to eat, and it’s like a ball rolling that doesn’t stop. And I gain and gain. And then I feel bad and it becomes a vicious cycle.

D: I am so sorry you are having this difficult time. I know it’s difficult regardless, but living with your parents? Yikes, that just adds to it. I know!!!

M: When you say that people with eating disorders don't lack discipline, clarify what you mean?

D: Mmm, many moons ago, I read a study that overweight/over eaters & people with eating disorders (which encompasses all of them), who are usually regarded as "being lazy" or undisciplined, are actually very intelligent and high achievers. I, of course, don't remember the rest of the study, but what I got from it is just because of our disorder, it does not mean we lack discipline.

In fact, I think it takes a lot of discipline to either overeat, or not eat or eat and purge... because we have to time everything, it’s this whole masquerade, and at the same time, function in society, work, keep house, hold down jobs, take care of family, pets, hobbies, you name it. It is another thing on our list "to do." I think that whatever our disorder is, we are so disciplined to do "it" that that is why it is so darn hard for us to give up the disorder! So instead of saying “I need to be more disciplined,” I think we need to say, “I need to change my discipline to something more healthy, something that supports me better!”

I guess it just upsets me tremendously that people will say, “Just stop, or don't eat that, or eat something.” When you have an eating disorder, it just ain't all that simple.

M: I’ve been struggling for decades. No, it ain’t easy! But, you’re getting better…

D: Yes, thank God.

It’s been like peeling off the skin of an onion. As you get closer to core, there are lots of tears and it can be painful, but so worth it.

M: Curing oneself of an eating disorder is so much about the emotions, so much about spirituality and learning to be good to oneself, learning to value onesself. But, it can be confusing. How do I practically eat? Do I follow this diet or that, do I do this program or that one?

D: Look, everyone is different and there is no one way, right healing. I just say try everything you can, with one exception – You have to realize that there is no magic pill. It will be work, it might be painful but you can do it and you are worth it.

M: You have to go THROUGH the pain to reach the other side…

Nevertheless, in your experience, does raw help binge eating?

D: Yes I believe so. I do feel stronger, happier and more in control when I am eating mostly raw.

M: It seems like you have a handle on your weight now and that you have found a plan that really works for you that includes a mostly raw diet, mostly vegan dinners, often a raw dinner, and pleasurable snacking, a really nice blend of pleasure and health. It also seems you are also being led through your own strength and ability to cope to allow bulimia and alcohol to fade into the background. This all has such a great benefit on your overall wellbeing.

Where has your newfound control come from?

D: A rose…each week I will purchase one single stem rose to remind me how strong and delicate I am, just like the rose. It will be proudly displayed on my kitchen counter to remind me that I can make wise choices with my food and exercise. I can be caring and loving to myself. That rose will be my reminder until I no longer need it.

Another form of strength and control is my faith in God, and a return to my personal relationship with Him.

M: That is important, the spiritual aspect. And you are a rose, Dorinda, strong and delicate and beautiful!

I remember a time we spoke, you told me about the muscle testing guy asking you how much you value yourself, and when you first started with him, you answered him, “Not even a dollar.” Now, you value yourself at $125/an hour!” What a remarkable change! Why do you now value yourself so much higher than you did?? What have you learned?

D: Growing up, my parents were and still are very critical people. Truth is, if you want to, you can pick anything apart. Anyone put under a microscope isn't going to look too great. That being said, we are all in the same boat. So, what do you want to focus on, your good points or your not so good points? I know my shortcomings, so I try to work on them, but since I have so many great qualities, I try to focus on them. I am a caring, nurturing person who loves to be a part of others’ lives and make the world a more beautiful place. So how can I not value that?

M: Beautifully said!

D: And, sometimes when that little voice in my head starts up with the criticism, I think what I would say to a friend, “NO!!!” So I think loving thoughts, and so, yes, I do value myself much more than I did a year ago. And when you do that, I think you make better choices for yourself.

There is a great song from a band called ‘Sixx A.M.’ called “Accidents Happen.” I can't remember all the words but, it’s something to do with…if you make a mistake and fall off the wagon, “it’s ok, it’s just one day, you haven't thrown it all away.” I love that. So sometimes, I screw up but tomorrow is another day. Start fresh every morning with good goals and make it happen.

M: Thank you for sharing this beautiful message of self forgiveness with us.

Here is a youtube of “Accidents Happen” by Sixx A.M. with the lyrics, which are very moving and uplifting:

I think this is a beautiful way to end the interview. Thank you so much!!!

D: Thanks Michelle, I hope this helps.

M: I'm so happy and privileged to be witnessing this amazing transformation you’ve gone through over the last year. You are feeling finally the way everyone else feels about you, that you are wonderful and beautiful, and very worthy, and you are!!! I'm so inspired by your success and wish you continued success in your journey!

~ ~ ~

Let me remind you about the wonderful soaps Dorinda makes from recycled biodiesel in her company called, “Wash Tyme.”

I had bought another brand of natural soap, a Hawaiian brand, from Arnolds Way, that was appealingly white and had an intoxicating scent. Well, my skin was so itchy and dry from it. I was suffering! Awful!

With Wash Tyme, I was initially kinda skeptical about the brown color and that it was made from French fry oil or something, but Dorinda explained that it’s not BLEACHED, so I came to accept the color, and after using Wash Tyme, and feeling my skin, I was HOOKED! I LOVE it! When Cliff touches me, or I touch myself, silky soft! Nothing else I use does that. You also don't feel slippery. I hate that. Your skin just feels like cream.

Dorinda's been using her soap for 2 years and her skin, no lie, feels like a baby's tush.

Wash Tyme is available on the website or at Arnolds Way in bar, or liquid soap, which is perfect for laundry or dishes. Liquid Wash Tyme is now available in bulk at Arnolds Way, which is a real money saver. Dorinda can also be found at many local farmers markets selling her very popular soap. She has loyal customers because the stuff is FABULOUS!

xoxo michelle joy

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


Okay, time to analyze.

Thanks, Sari, for your comment! Sari is encouraging me to do what's best for me, and I appreciate that! I'm not sure if it's a U.S. thing to want to be a raw vegan! I think since that's how I established this blog, it is called "Pure RAW Joy," it nags at me that i'm going against the grain now. I did seem to generate many more comments and much more interest when i was doing the Dr. Graham thing. That seemed much more popular than what i'm doing now.

I, for one, am finding THIS journey FASCINATING on a very intimate level. I'm actually figuring out what works best for me and my body! Weren't you sick of me seeking out every last Guru available for counseling and direction?????? This is SO much better!

So, I weighed myself this morning, 316. I'm coming down, naturally. THAT is exciting!

I've awoken with an allergic reaction to something i ate last night at the hospital and I'm so curious about it and want to write about it and about my food day!

So, we were at the hospital, and knowing we'd be in the E.R. for a LONG haul, we packed a giant bag of fruit, which was ironic, because the day before I'd mentioned in my blog how carrying a 10lb bag of fruit was a hassle and i was so glad to be free of that, yet, it was a very handy, healthy way to deal with the 12 hour E.R. stay. So, dad and I snacked on fruit whenever we got hungry, which seemed to be often because we hadn't had a heavy lunch. I'd only eaten some low-salt homemade veggie soup i'd just made, all fresh and yummy.

So, i'm peeing like crazy all afternoon, and my mom, laying in the E.R. gurney keeps saying to me, "Did you take a water pill? Why are you going so much?" I only took a water pill that one time I talked about it, last week. I guess the constant flow of peepee was from the fruit! Fruit is mostly water and so cleansing and purifying! My body was liking it. My body was saying, "Ahh, i can let go now..." I generally hold so much water.

So, paying attention, I noticed my belly felt nice all afternoon from eating fruit, and even though i didn't necessarily "want" a clementine or a pear, which i really "didn't!!!," I found them utterly delicious upon eating them and thoroughly enjoyed them. THAT was an interesting and telling experience!!!

In this whole game of "eat what you want," where does "eat what you know is good for you" come into it? It's a confusing process. Parents often have their children eat what's good for them instead of what they want. Children always want crap, but if they offer them healthy early in their rearing, children often want healthy. So, do we need to do this with ourselves? How does that work in the whole Geneen Roth-type of "demand" eating or "legalization"?

Anyway, now i can't wait to eat all the fruit we have at home, again. The fruit we got at Wegmans is SO good! Nice, organic and juicy big fat red pears and juicy clementines.

So, i'm peeing and peeing all afternoon. It even surprised me. It was like a pee an hour.

All i'd eaten that day was cantaloupe for breakfast, the homemade veggie soup for early lunch and now fruit, fruit, fruit.

So, we're in the E.R. 8 hours, 9 hours, 10 hours. It's maddening, the waiting. I keep peeing, and then i'm starting to run low on fruit and frankly want to want a meal. I keep asking myself, "Are you hungry yet for a meal?" The answer kept coming back, "No." It was so bizarre. I wasn't really prepared for that negative answer. I didn't have a sense of hunger for anything in particular and really wasn't hungry at all, but hadn't eaten much all day, and WANTED to eat. I was mostly tired as I'd been up from 5a.m. Hungry for a meal, i was not.

Close to 9pm, i finally said to myself, "Maybe if i go to the cafeteria, i'll see something i'll want and i'll get hungry."

In the cafeteria, i don't think i was hungry, but decided to eat. I scanned the offerings to see what looked appealing and desirable to me. Hotdogs? Baked fish? Cooked Veggies? French fries and hot sandwhiches? Creamy soups, like i used to love there? The pizza, which is really good there? Green Leaf lettuce! Kapow! My eyes just went toward green!

I made myself up a nice BIG salad, even though i had no real appetite. Not a good parent. Still learning.

I wasn't sure if i wanted a protein on it. I was debating. It was hard to tell if i wanted it or didn't. I didn't know WHAT i wanted. Did i want anything? I figured eggsalad would taste good. And i enjoy the crunch of some sunflower seeds, so i sprinkled those on top.

Choosing a dressing felt like torture. What did i want??? I didn't know! Balsamic? French? Italian? After looking at each one like 3x, it felt like an eternity, no sure answer came, and people probably thought i was nuts. I looked like a crazy person there looking at every dressing choice repeatedly. I picked Ranch, because i always like Ranch.

After 3 bites of dinner, which tasted so delicious, the intense flavor left, and I wanted to stop. But how could i stop? I'd just paid 8$ for this thing? My mind was going a mile a minute. What do i do????

The Weigh Down Workshop teaches to lose weight "eating what you want," but stop when the flavor leaves. They teach demand eating...eating as many times a day as you need to, little portions. Dr. Graham, however, was trying to teach me to eat more substantial meals and less frequency of eating. All of this is going in my head.

I decided to finish the salad. Eating when the flavor has left is not as enjoyable as eating when it tastes the best.

Then i wanted to have a little icecream, too. It was a VERY small serving and i did enjoy it.

For a little while, i didn't know how to feel about my dinner. Did i just do something bad? But I decided i'd just had a normal meal, so i should get over it, and i did. The world didn't come crashing down.

Walking back to the ER, I noticed my belly didn't feel that great. It had felt better when i ate the fruit. Interesting to notice and kind of annoying. Why does it annoy me to find i feel good on fruit? Isn't this legalization supposed to be about eating what you want? What am i supposed to listen to? My head or my body or both? And what about AFTER i eat, isn't that just as important? Aren't i supposed to consider that into the picture as well?

When i got back to my mom's cubicle, i noticed I felt my ankles swelling. I thought i was crazy. I didn't choose anything overly salty. No pickles, olives.

When i got into bed last night, my ankles felt really swollen. And when i awoke, they STILL felt swollen.

I got up this morning to go to the bathroom and looked in the mirror. My eyes were swollen and so was my face! Something REALLY swelled me, like an allergic reaction! Come to think of it, after the salad, I had felt almost an immediate swelling of the ankles! What was THAT about? Was it because i'd eaten no salt all day? No, i'd had salt in the homemade soup at home. Was it because of all of the fruit? I've had days where i've eaten fruit most of the day and that didn't happen.

I wonder if they sprinkle some sort of preservative on the salad or use some sort of preservative on the eggsalad, especially since it is hospital food and needs to sit out for hours and hours, until 2am when the cafeteria closes???

Even after INDIAN food the other night, i didn't get swollen, even when i expected to!!!!

Another observation: I noticed that my cold seemed better after all of the fruit. Was that a coincidence, or was it the power of raw, of fruit?

I wondered this morning if i'm prolonging my cold by eating cooked. I've been sick for 2 weeks.

This is a process of self-awareness and self-discovery. I feel blessed to be able to participate in this journey, and I pray that i learn to read the signs and make the best decisions for myself based on my personal experience. This is not easy, but I'm hangin' in. All in all, it was a good food day: cantaloupe, veggie soup, fruit, and salad and a little icecream.

I'm making progress.

xoxo michelle joy

Monday, October 18, 2010


Hello there,

My mother is back in the hospital. This is getting a little old. It's her 4th trip in the last month, i think. For almost 5 months total, she's been away from home in the hospital or rehab. So, they took out her last drain last monday, and only a few days afterwards, she developed fever, and pain in the abdomen, making us suspect that they pulled the drain prematurely. Her white cell count is elevated, and it was determined today after the CAT scan that the absess in her belly from before is filled again with infected bile. So, they're going to insert another drain in her abdomen tomorrow and she will likely be in the hospital for the week. She's back on anti-biotics.

When will her body be able to fight these infections without the use of antibiotics? When will her body heal itself? She's not interested in doing raw again. Does her cooked diet really have something to do with prolonging this long drawn out illness?

~ ~ ~

12 hours in the E.R. has left me utterly exhausted.

I did well, however, with my food today, and I'm happy with the direction i'm going in, though it goes against the grain of a raw blog. But to tell you the truth, i did eat quite a lot of raw today, so i have nothing to be sorry for, really.

Regretably, I noticed that i had 60 people who follow the blog yesterday, and 59 today. Apparently, some poor soul dropped out, is disgusted with my eating habits or my daily extensive ramblings. It made me think alot about raw and how I must be viewed by others, by raw foodists, how dissappointed some must be in me.

And then i ask myself how could it possibly be viewed as better for me to go on a 35 day banana fast, only to have it be followed by a month of voracious binge eating, stuffing myself with giant amounts of the greasiest most fattening food...compared to what i am attempting now...just eating "normally." I ask myself how others can view what i'm doing now as bad when i am FINALLY experiencing real CONTROL over my eating. Perhaps what i've been choosing to eat...oatmeal, Wendy's baked potatoes, disgusts or irritates people who have made the choice to leave cooked evil sinful dead food behind in order to improve their health.

But, what i find so incredible is that i'm able to CHOOSE what i want to eat today. Before, I ate what i was told to when i was eating raw, and then when i "broke free," of someone else's rules, I ate without choice, i ate with utter compulsion and abandon. How could what i was doing before be seen in any way as better?

I suppose the ideal would have me eating 811 or 811 with some gourmet, and NO binge eating or eating cooked, like was originally my goal at the concept of this blog. If i could have accomplished that, without binge eating, i would have. Therein lies the crux of the whole thing. I couldn't. The tighter I tried to reign myself in, the more out of control my bingeing became as a rebound.

But, i can't turn back what happened. This past year, a door opened and I stepped through it into cooked world. It's been a year, and the door never closed. I tried and tried and seemingly, the harder i tried, the more forcefully i pushed the door open. It was if i was screaming for someone to hear me, "I want THIS!" So this is where i am.

I'm so curious. Do you REALLY think it's so BAD???? Do you really think i'm doing BAD??? or WORSE?

The more i talk about loving cooked food, it seems my choices are improving daily. I had a lot of raw today.

For breakfast, i had cantaloupe cut up. Yum.

For lunch, i had 2 bowls of homemade vegan vegetable soup with a butternut squash base and lots of fresh veggies.

All afternoon waiting in the Emergency Room, I snacked on fruit when i was hungry - 4 clementines, 2 pears and 2 bananas.

After 8pm, I made myself a nice big salad in the hospital cafeteria with green leaf lettuce, fresh tomato, onion, broccoli, cauliflower, pickled beets, a scoop of egg salad and some ranch dressing. For dessert I had a very very small serving of icecream with chocolate sauce and cookie sprinkles on it, about 1/2 cup.

I'm pleased with myself even if it upsets others. I think i'm going to finally beat this. I think i finally am. I'm planting very important seeds right now. Can you not see that???

Please let me know your thoughts. It's been quiet here.

And please send my mom healing vibes during this what-i-hope-will-be-her-last stay in the hospital.

In gratitude,
xoxo michelle joy

Sunday, October 17, 2010



I had my opera today! Considering I have a cold, my last aria went well!!!!!! The longer I sang, the more warmed up I was. I had a hard time warming up here at my moms. P.S. My mom is sick again. 100+ fever and pain in the abdomen. We have to take her to the hospital tomorrow.

A friend from Arnolds Way came to the opera. That was such a nice surprise! And 7 other friends and family members gave their support. I had a whole rooting section.

After the opera, I visited my old high school friend, Tracey, in from Sedona, AR, at my best high school girlfriend, Audra's house. Lots of laughs and good memories and fun catching up. Even though i didn't go to the reunion, I still had a reunion.

I felt good about my food today. Not much raw at all, but everything eaten when i was hungry, I stopped when i had enough, and I ate what i wanted, enjoyed my food, and didn't participate in any self-beating up afterwards.

People take these skills for granted. I apparently never learned them, so am needing to learn them now. Everyone else learned these skills as a baby and child. When they come to raw, they already know how to feed themselves without being compulsive. I had to fall off track so bad with raw to face my demons with cooked food and recognize I needed to NOT focus on raw to actually get better. Go figure!

Getting "better" is so subjective. I feel like i am....just because i feel so much better mentally about NIGHT and DAY, and i haven't binged in days, even though i'm eating "binge food." I even told my friend, Tracey, "I'm doing great!" and I really meant it.

Whether I am "healthier" from eating what i am is a different story. I'm certainly not getting "thinner" by much, or focusing on weight loss, though i keep track of my weight and keep tabs on it. Even after eating dinner out tonight, i didn't gain weight because I ate a small portion. I'm gaining trust with my weight that food is not SO ultra destructive, as long as i control it. Who woulda thunk it?

Food and healing are complex. I'm healing my binge eating disorder, it just so happens, by eating cooked food. Whether I am healing my kidneys or liver or lungs, etc... like one does on raw, is a different story, and frankly, not the concern for right now. Rome wasn't built in a day. Maybe it should be? But, I'll have to be patient. What i'm doing now is obviously a step I missed long, long ago, so i have to go back and do it now.

I had oatmeal for breakfast with honey crisp apple and banana in it. Yum!

For lunch, before the opera, i had a baked potato with low fat sourcream from Wendy's. It's a good choice for me. Better than a burger!!!! Going to a fast food restaurant does not mean "binge" necessarily anymore.

For dinner, Cliff treated me to Indian! We went to our favorite old spot, "Malik's Tandoor," to celebrate my success with the opera! We shared Palak paneer, Nan bread, rice, Spicy mixed vegetables, and I had some kind of a sweet cheese ball for dessert. Yum! I really didn't eat much, maybe 1.5 cups of food total, and found that i got satisfied quite fast. Indian food is rich, and my stomach is shrinking eating "normal" meals, instead of binges! We had a lot of leftovers to take home! How NEW!!!

My appetite is normalizing. Wow. Wow. Wow.

For snack at Audra's, I was hungry and had an apple, and was still hungry when i got home, so had a yogurt and green grapes.

From someone who was binge eating wildly weeks ago to today is a vast improvement. After Dr. Graham, anything I ate that wasn't a banana sent me into a huge binge. Today, I'm having UNPARALELLED success controlling myself with ALL foods. These last few days have been blessings. I feel like the binge eating "disease" has been lifted from me. Could it be possible that this can all happen from accepting myself, not beating myself up, no self recrimination from what i eat, eating when i'm hungry, stopping when i've had enough, and actually just enjoying food? It's totally amazing to me that the whole thing was really MENTAL.

Tracey and I talked about how eating what you want seems to really decrease binge eating.

There are lots of raw restaurants in Sedona, and she is well aware of raw foodism, and even dabbles in it from time to time, but she also binges. She remarked that when she was pregnant and only eating when she was hungry and anything she wanted she was never happier.

I'd have to agree that my food life IS happy and carefree feeling these last few days, feeling free of any binge drives, or drives to restrict my eating because i don't feel "good enough" the way i am. Stopping by Wendy's for a potato off the cuff is refreshing, and frankly easier than packing and lugging a 10 lb bag of bananas. It's free-ing to not be thinking of my "health" all of the time, or thinking in advance about "what i'm going to eat." It's freeing to just go with the flow like everyone else. Satisfying myself with what I want feels like a treat everyday.

It was so great seeing Tracey and Audra, but no one said i looked good. You know how you scream at your friends you haven't seen in a long time, "Oh my god, you look great!" No one said that about me. It kinda hurt, but i mean, i KNOW i don't look my best. I gained i think 70 lbs this year. Remember last Halloween I sang in Rittenhouse Square at a Halloween Party? I fit into my size 18 gown then, weighing alittle over 250. Today, i've settled at 317-319.

That's the only other drawback to legalizing I have found - you have to weigh what you do and you can't really focus on losing weight too severely, otherwise you may start binge eating again as a backlash to restricting again. The other draw back is the health issue. Raw is the cleanest diet we can have that detoxifies the body. Eating "normal" is very freeing, but you don't get the benefit of all of the enzymes and nutrition.

However, I'm watching all of this...i'm noticing, i'm paying attention.

Rome was not built in a day. I AM improving my diet by leaps and bounds over what i was doing to myself before. God forbid I go back to that. It seems like eons ago. What is better? Eating an ENTIRE pizza and 10 billion other things in one sitting hating myself the whole time, or just one slice and actually enjoying it?

One day at a time, i'm going to beat this destructive binge eating, and I think after that is done, I can move on to refining my diet more towards raw. For now, I'm just having fun being ME and i'm enjoying it. Admitting to enjoying it is honest, and actually HEALING. You know how gay people must feel when they finally come out? That's how i feel as a reforming binge eater. I can actually say to the world, "Yes, i ENJOY cooked food and i don't do it in secret anymore."

So far so good!

xoxo michelle joy


Hi Folks,

I'm writing in the middle of the night! I fell asleep so early last night and woke up after 5 hours feeling rested. I'll go back to bed soon.

Last night was to be my high school reunion, but I chose not to attend, and i'm really OK with it. It's not because of anything to do with feeling fat or being afraid to go because i gained weight, blah, blah, but simply because i still have a cold with lots of mucous, and i have to sing my opera today. All in all, I think it was the smartest decision I could have made with the way I feel. Too much talking to old friends on a scratchy throat would have left me not as well rested vocally for the opera. I had my own reunion of sorts on the phone with my good friends, and today, after the opera, plan to meet up with them to hang out. That's much better timing.

I'd even set my outfit out for the reunion, so i was ready to go, accepting myself as a new heavier, plumper but pretty version, so i'd really worked through the shame/embarrassment issue (weight gain), and was purely protecting my health.

You know what this was an issue of? CONTROL. Do i allow others to control me? (Friends who want me to go out). Or do i pay attention and respect my needs/desires and do what's best for me, no matter how it upsets others? (Friends who want me to go out). I took control of my day. I thought ahead, I considered how i'd feel with a cold talking the night away and realized, you know, it's not a smart thing to do before i have to sing.

No wonder I was able to do well with my food yesterday. I was true to myself and my own needs. That's a lesson right there.

So, what did i eat yesterday. Let's examine.

For breakfast yesterday, I was so hungry and had such a hankering for hot oatmeal. We were out shopping, so i respected that craving, and I waited until i got home and made myself a nice big bowl of oatmeal with craisins and almonds. We didn't have any fresh fruit in the house like bananas or apples which I wanted and would have been nice in it, so i made the best with what my mom had. I still enjoyed it.

For lunch, I was starving! We were at the market buying fresh fruit, it was like 4pm already, so I dove into my avocado sushi and into my california roll in the check out line and in the car on the way home. It was yummy and I enjoyed it. Cliff, of course, was concerned...on many levels...Is she binge eating?...Is she eating cooked bad food?...Is she eating things she used to not eat that she "shouldn't"?...Is she going to gain all of her weight back?... He said, "Is that vegetable sushi?" I was eating the california roll then, which has pollock in it. I said, "Yeah." (I didn't want to mention the fish in it because i knew he was irritated with me eating as it was). He said, "It looks like there is fish in there." I said, "There is." He said, "Oh, so you lied to me." I said, "Because you're being judgemental and I didn't want to upset you. But, there are vegetables in there, too. I'm starving, i haven't eaten since 11am!"

Cliff is only trying to help me. I'm wise enough now on my journey to know that. He acted as if i was doing something, as if i was in a binge, that's how he was acting, and he was scared for me. This legalizing thing is not easy for others who don't trust i'm not binge eating.

I'm learning to TRUST THE PROCESS.

And, fish is now on the OK list for me...I don't know how that's been a few months now after being vegetarian for 4 years, but I feel totally fine about it, especially since i'm working on legalizing food and making EVERYTHING OK so that i don't binge. I LIKE fish!

In terms of binge eating...which is my MAIN concern right now (not my cholesterol), legalizing really works. The most important part after eating what I want is I don't recriminate myself after I eat now and I'm finding the binge reflex dying BECAUSE OF THAT, like totally. Well, at least it did yesterday and has for several days. Yesterday, I had zero binge thoughts. Zero food thoughts. I just enjoyed my food when i was hungry and ate what i wanted.

This is a pleasure for someone who was so used to beating herself up over EVERYTHING she ate. No wonder I binged so much. Now that i give myself permission to eat what i want, I don't have to binge (which means I eat it later in private in huge quantities). I eat it publicly in normal quantities, giving myself permission.

And I now demand permission from others, as I did from Cliff.

I shoulda done this as a kid when i was getting punished for eating Ricky's cookies.

Legalizing seems to be working.

Dinner, I made spaghetti and meatballs for the family, so I allowed myself to feel permitted to join in and served myself up some spaghetti with just sauce. It was nice. No problems afterwards, even though it is wheat and wheat is supposed to make you starving and addicted. I'm beginning to see that MOST of that stuff was just in my HEAD - how the chemical nature of food makes you addicted is not as powerful as how you treat yourself - what you tell yourself and say to yourself.

I think i was purely addicted to beating myself up, that's all.

Later, i felt hungry and had a big, big bowl of fresh cut up fruit: strawberries, cantaloupe, green and red grapes, with greek yogurt and honey on top. It was yum.

In terms of binge eating, it was a FANTASTIC SUCCESSFUL day! As long as I don't binge and eat relatively "normal" serving sizes of relatively "normal" healthy food, I feel terrific about my food/myself.

My weight has stabalized at somewhere around 317-319, which is a heck of a site better than 330. It's not 250, like I was last October, but I think i'll get back there.

I have to be HERE now.

Here is....okay!

I know the more simple raw I eat, the more the weight will come down and the healthier I will be. I bought a ton of bananas and spinach and apples and clementines and lettuce and lots of raw stuff. But no rules now, I'll eat what i want. Hopefully, i'll want raw!

When I ate raw for 3 years? I ate it, because i WANTED it! That always BLEW my mind...that i actually CRAVED salad!!!

The problems happened when i ate COOKED and, SHAZAAAM, wanted THAT in an ultra powerful driving compulsive BIG way and binged in secret for an entire year on it.

Now that i allow myself permission to eat it, I'm seeing that I am not a cooked food addict. I have a binge eating disorder that seems to demand I feed myself what i want, and that I, yes, I, say it again, yes, I remain in control of my food intake, no one else.

Control seems to be a big issue.

I was in control of my life yesterday, so i was in control of my food.

I wonder if on the days I am OUT OF CONTROL of my food....if I am feeling OUT OF CONTROL of my LIFE? Something to explore.

On days like this when food is no issue, it seems it's a lesson to me that it's NOT the food that causes the binge, it's the emotional reaction to the food. Don't react, and I don't binge.

So, I'm thrilled to be working through the MENTAL part of my eating disorder, and having success CONTROLLING myself. Hey, and without the help of any GURU, other than MYSELF. I'm gaining confidence in MY ability to CONTROL MYSELF. Pretty amazing stuff. Woohoo, Mishy.

Yes, I still have a pretty bad cold after a week, and so i am obviously missing out on one of the wonderful benefits of being a raw foodist - of moving through illnesses quicker. Although to tell you the truth, even as a raw foodist, i still got sick with sinus infections and bronchitis at the change of season. It just didn't go to pnemonia like it used to. Hopefully, my cold will continue to improve this time, despite my cooked food intake, and not go to pnemonia either.

Maybe all of this self love will raise my immune system, too! You know, you can't discount that self love is IMMENSELY powerful!!! It's been said that someone with cancer can eat raw food and NOT heal themselves if they don't love themselves and send themselves lots of healing energy.

So, it's not JUST the raw food that heals us. We HAVE to love ourselves. Whereever we are today. I'm just finding that out via cooked eating. What a lesson.

I'll come back, i know i will.

Being a raw foodist was GREAT, but what do you do when you fall off and have to work your way back and all you want is to eat everything you denied yourself for 3 years and you can't stop binge eating? What do you do then? You do like i did and PAY Dr. Graham to help you, and you run to every raw guru to help you, when the only help you really needed was inside of you. It'll just take you a little patience to get back to where you were.

I believed that cooked food made me binge. I'm finding today that that was a fallacy.

So, what do you do? You forgive yourself, you do the best you can everyday, you don't beat yourself up about ANYTHING YOU EAT, and you work your way back...with SELF LOVE.

You start with identifying true hunger. And you start with eating what you want. You start with getting rid of the secret eating. And unfortunately, you have to give up dieting, and put quick weight loss on hold.

This legalizing thing is a process like any other and it takes TIME, but i'm coming into my own. The fact that i am accomplishing something i never thought i could...stopping binge eating...controlling my own food intake...enjoying food and eating what i weight is lower than it was...God, i'm happy for that. I feel like i'm out of prison.

I'm proud of myself and think i'm doing great.

Time will tell how this all works out.

xoxo michelle joy

Friday, October 15, 2010

My Friend, Dorinda & Two Good Days

Hi there,

I've had a pretty good couple of days. I weighed myself this morning and was 317, which is much better than 330. That was very pleasing to see.

Thursday I worked at Arnolds Way and stayed raw all day, even when i went home, yay.

I felt very inspired and blessed by my co-worker, Dorinda Rumbold. She is having amazing success right now in her life and her diet. She has been seeing a therapist-of-sorts who does muscle testing on her. She's been seing him for months now and she's down 35 lbs!

Dorinda is eating mostly raw and all vegan. She eats some cooked, eats very little salt, except for when she indulges in corn chips or a meal out, and she eats very little fat, except for avocado or a slice of raw pie. She used the Weight Watchers point system to help her gauge how much to eat. She is now on "maintenence" and feeling very thrilled to be finally in control of her eating and her weight.

Dorinda has a history is bulimia, anorexia, and compulsive eating.

Dorinda is experiencing miraculous emotional healing as a result of the muscle testing, as well. She credits this emotional healing with her newfound ability to control her eating.

During the muscle testing sessions, the practitioner manipulates Dorinda's body and then notices tension and asks her tense body part, "What happened here when you were young?" Dorinda is coached to say the first thing that comes to her mind, and the practitioner continues to probe her subconcious to uncover the reasons she has been overeating. Dorinda tells me she now knows, "The body doesn't lie." She says, "We may not remember what happened to us, but the body knows." The longer she engages in the sessions, and moves through these emotional "blockages," she finds her ability to control her food intake easier and easier.

She even values herself more. The therapist asked her at the beginnng of their work how much in dollars she values herself. She answered him, "not even a dollar." She also admits that she was suicidal and a "complete mess" at the beginning of their work together. Dorinda giggled to me proudly on Thursday that she now values herself at $125/an hour! That's more like it!

You just have to look at her new trim figure and feel her joyous energy, and you KNOW she has made an incredible transformation. I'm looking forward to hearing directly from Dorinda more about what she eats and more about these muscle testing sessions in an interview I am going to do with her that I will share here at Pure Raw Joy.

So, i was all raw yesterday, yay.

And today i ate two very sensible meals. Brunch was a great big salad with all fresh raw veggies on it, cooked beans, 1 egg, pickled beets and dressing. It was a nice time out with my parents. My dinner was two Wendy's baked potatoes, dry, with ketchup and broccoli on them. I figured i'd save the cheese or butter calories, so that i could enjoy my small Frosty, which i did. It seemed very normal and sensible. That should be my goal more often, "sensible."

I'm okay with how the last two days went. I'd planned on being back on banana island, or something similar, but found moderation instead, and it was okay.

Tomorrow I have my high school reunion, and Sunday i sing my opera.

Wish me luck!

xoxo michelle joy

Thursday, October 14, 2010


I had my first almost all raw day in quite a while. A bagel, butter and breadsticks for breakfast preceeded banana/water smoothies, honeycrisp apples and clementines the rest of the day. A miraculous turn around!

Well, I have a cold. Sore throat, runny nose, cough. These things happen when the immune system is run low from eating poorly, and from binge eating, and in all honesty, I had stopped taking my DE since I moved into my mothers. I'd left it back home. It's possible had I kept up the practice, I'd have averted the cold.

However, the cold feels like a blessing in disguise. It's kind of shocked me back into looking after my physical health, and in an effort to pass the cold through faster by eating foods that digest quickly and flush the system, i actually CHOSE healthy raw fruit, and felt convicted and proud of myself for it. Yay.

I have to sing my opera this weekend, making wanting to pass the cold through faster even more desirable. The cold seemed to be the catalyst needed to nudge me back to raw. I know that eating lighter, raw fruits and greens, will help my body overcome my cold quicker.

I lost control of my eating the last few days. It's been discouraging. The blissful experiences I described in recent blogs where I eat a small portion of a binge food, enjoying it and then stopping, were wonderfully instructive about the possibilities of just enjoying normal people.

But in terms of my weight, they did nothing to budge it. I have big stuff this weekend and I'm stressed over it. Frustration set in, and i returned to binge eating again.

I weighed myself in yesterday at 330, and I looked very, very bloated. There is always the inclination to look at myself with disgust, but i tried not to, and in loving my bloated reflection irregardless, it seemed to help push me in the right direction, rather than further into more out of control behavior.

Then later in the day, I had a sneaky brilliant idea about how to knock off some of this water weight QUICKER before i have to work tomorrow at Arnolds Way and present my face to the public. I took a water pill! Something I haven't done in a very, very long time. It's an unnatural way to lose water weight, but water weight I did lose. After every trip to the bathroom yesterday, I weighed myself. The first release of water left me 4 lbs thinner. It went on like this all evening, and i can't lie, it was titilating watching the scale move down and down and down. By this morning I had lost 11 lbs of water weight in one day and weighed in at 319.

My unnatural pharmaceutical remedy felt like a blessing for it restored my weight to a more agreeable number and rendered me temporarily sane and confident to continue to pursue simple salt-free raw the rest of the week to keep this( albeit unnaturally induced) losing track going.

If I can manage all raw until this weekend, I could drop a little more of the bloat before I attend my High School Reunion on saturday and sing my new opera on sunday.

I'll look bad, but not as bad as I did yesterday.

We're filming the opera on Sunday to send clips to a music associate friend who just accepted the position as Artistic Director at a regional opera company in New York state. He has always praised my singing to the hilt and, well, now is my chance. If my singing impresses, I could receive my first paid gig as an opera singer with his company.

Big frightening events like auditions and reunions weigh heavily on me. My confidence suffers terribly and I succumb to fear and binge eating.

A stupid little thing like a water pill helping me drop the bloat, and I feel recharged in my desire to attend the reunion and film the opera and eat raw. Sometimes a girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do.

The opera is beautiful and hopefully my voice is clear by Sunday. We have another performance the following Sunday, so we have twice the opportunity to film good clips.

I've been sounding very good the last few days (despite the cold) and weeks (despite the reflux). My teacher has been teaching me how to sing through those. Pretty amazing. We've been working on me singing on the ring of the tone and not allowing consonants to interfere the flow of the voice. It's a new focus and one that brings it rewards in ease of singing, ring of tone and a feeling of control over dynamics. I'm on the right track. Wish me luck with that as well.

Michelle Schulman sings the role of "Fidelia"
Sunday, Oct 17th & 24th at 4pm
Tabor Lutheran Church
Mascher and Roosevelt Blvd
Tickets: $22 in advance, $25 at the door

If you are local and would like to attend, i can set aside a ticket for you.

It's been quiet here at pure raw joy the last few days. I guess there is dissappointment in me with this legalization stuff. It's a legitimate pursuit, and the Weigh Down Workshop is a legitimate pursuit also, learning to fill onesself with spirituality and love of God to replace the drive to eat.

But "the choice for raw" has been working on my mind ALOT the last few days. Especially since it's been so quiet here. The silence has made me think, "Michelle, maybe you're not going in the right direction, honey."

I also heard something on TV that made me think. The show had nothing to do with eating, someone just said something that made me go, "Ooooooh!" This guy says, "That's what this life is all about - CHOICE - you can do anything you want. You get to choose."

I often get stopped up mentally because of the legalization thing. All of the Eeating Disorder therapists, hospitals, most of the books on that subject say it's the ONLY way to overcome binge eating.

What i'm finding is that in the obese binge eater, legalization can be hard on the weight. And discouraging. It can be very discouraging to do terrifically eating what you want and paying attention...and then to not see the scale budge. Calories in, calories out. Raw food is less caloric. And if one is eating fattening stuff and then succumbs to binge eating find yourself gaining more and more weight.

Dieting did do something. It did provide a respite. It served a purpose. Perhaps i can learn from that.

Why do i have to eat what i want every day? Why can't i set aside a few days a week to do that, and eat raw the rest of the week? That way, my WEIGHT will be better in control. It's a new idea i'd like to start playing with.

As for now, pray for me I can stay on the salt free raw track for this weekend!

And pray for me that I can sing well on Sunday and that i'll enjoy myself at the reunion on Saturday.

How are you all doing? I miss hearing from you.

xoxo michelle joy

Tuesday, October 12, 2010


Hi Folks,

Still struggling with the choice of which direction to go in with food. Do i go back on raw? Or dedicate myself to learning how to be binge-free on cooked?

Here are a few interesting videos that illustrate the opposing sides.

What are your thoughts?

Alissa Cohen coverts a chubby cooked chef into a trim raw foodist/raw chef! -

Gwen Shamblin of the Weight Down Workshop teaches Tyra how to eat - Hunger and Fullness, Slowing down Eating and Cutting portions in half! -

xoxo michelle joy

Thursday, October 7, 2010


HI Folks,

Cliff and I moved in with my parents and brother Wed night to help take care of my mom. Here's a picture from last year or the year before, i think. That's mom and dad and me and Cliff.

Mommy Ruth had been in the hospital for 3 months and at Rehab (and back and forth back to the hospital again) for the last month and a half. It was a 4.5 month ordeal, but she is finally home, yay!

Mom is doing well. She is tired, but seems to be holding her own, healthwise.

The drs said that the bacterial infections she was left with after a super long stay in the hospital and non-stop antibiotics, Mersa, and C-Dif, in her colon, could reappear at anytime, so we're sitting on eggshells. But after an initial scare the other night, when we thought she was sick again, which we think turned out to be nothing, we're beginning to feel hopeful that she is progressing forward.

~ ~ ~

Back at home, being a mom and a wife, mom is having to adjust. She wants to do everything she used to be able to, like get down on the floor to pet the cat, but now she hesitates because she may not be able to get back up. Or she calls to me, and i have to come hoist her up.

There is A LOT of reprimanding happening around here because Mom is prone to overdo. She can easily get into compulsive shopping, which is another story, but now her compulsive cleaning is really being revealed. Yesterday, we were all at her to stop already and rest, and i had to sit her down and talk to her. "Mom, what are you DOING to yourself? You say you are tired, you almost fell asleep in your soup, but you continue on dusting and cleaning. Yes, everyone is irritated at you because you're overdoing and yet you won't stop. What IS it? If your compulsive cleaning is ANYTHING like my compulsive eating, then you're upset about something. Are you? Now WHAT is going on? Are you depressed?" "No," she answered. More probing - "Mom, your habit is to work yourself like a dog and then you'll be in pain and complain you're in pain afterwards. You know you're supposed to be taking it easy, yet you continue to do and do and you're going to hurt yourself. And everyone has to yell at you to stop. You have GOT to learn to stop YOURSELF. Now what is this driving you? Are you upset about something?" (Putting our bodies through pain because we're upset seems like de-rigeur for this house). I went on, "You're taking something out on yourself instead of communicating. Are you upset at Daddy?"

I knew she had been irritated. Then it all came out, how irritated she was at my father. The 4.5 months she's been away, Dad has had to take charge of the bills. The older he has gotten, the cheaper and cheaper he has become. So what does she do? She cleans, non stop. "Did you talk to him about it and come to some sort of agreement or solution?" "Not yet," she answered.

We went through the same scenario again today. I have to yell at her to get her to stop, and then she still doesn't stop. And then she'll have terrible back pains and complain about those and never address the issue with my father.

No wonder i learned to be compulsive and hurt my body instead of talk about my feelings and resolve issues. I had a good teacher.

~ ~ ~

As you know, I'm working on accepting myself heavier, and working on stopping binge eating by legalizing food.

I'm having serious success in reducing binge eating.

I think and hope my weight will come down with time. I am going to have to be very, very patient, i think, about the weight. First things first.

Integrating food from the cooked world and the raw world in an effort to stop binge eating is a very complex process. How to "legalize" is detailed in many Eating Disorder books. You eat when you're hungry, basically, and choose what you 'want.' I'm finding that in eating food that i used to binge on, alot of awareness and focus are necessary, internally, watching my mind, watching how i feel, staying vigilant against self hatred, self judgement.

Legalizing food is, in essense, giving UP dieting. Giving up dieting can be EXTREMELY scary for a person who has dieted her whole life and invested her self esteem in feeling good only when she's lost weight, but i'm gaining trust in myself that i can eat 'normally' without binge eating. With every succesful meal i have, I say, thank you. I am on the road to reclaiming myself. The next logical step after this will be to focus more and more on raw. But, first things first.

My weight seems to have leveled off and fluxuates a little, but is not climbing and climbing like it was when i was wildly bingeing after the 35 days of bananas. I'm in the 320's. I was 322 this morning. 328 last night. 324 the other day.

It's certainly an just BE and not be CRASH dieting OR wildly binge eating. I'm just BEING. This is new and feels different.

Instead of weight being the focus, satisfying myself, eating when i'm hungry and stopping when i've had enough, not judging myself negatively, not accepting judgement from others, accepting myself as i am, and loving myself are the big focuses now. It's a very internal process, but i'm finding it very healing, and the most amazing thing is I seem to be working my way out of binge eating one meal at a time.

How many times do you have to fail at radical diets before you say, "I give up."

~ ~ ~

WED, OCT 6, 2010
What a new and amazing experience dinner last night was! We ordered chinese. Chinese is ALWAYS a binge. I was being courageous from a legalization standpoint and ordered a veggie spring roll, shrimp chowmein, brown rice and eggdrop soup. On a scale of 1-10 health wise, i'd say it was about a 5. It wasn't a super fried fiasco, and it wasn't the steamed salt-free broccoli. It was somewhere in between.

And, if i'm going to eat it, i may as well not hide. I'm big on hiding. The nature of binge eating is that it is in secret. It's REFRESHING to eat out in the open now. As long as i "allow" myself internally to enjoy, and teach whoever i'm eating with that i now enjoy all foods, and to please not judge what i'm eating, I don't have to hide. I don't have to binge.

I tasted and savored every bite and ate my Chinese food consciously, with love, although it was an effort at first. I was scared of eating an eggroll in front of my brother when all i've eaten in front of him in 4 years has been salad and bananas.

I didn't have any binge impulses during dinner or after. I enjoyed dinner and felt pleased with myself and proud of myself.

I'm bloated afterwards and the next day, but psychologically closer to who i need to be to be binge free.

~ ~ ~

: lots of cut up fresh fruit (apple, orange, strawberry) with 1 cup fat free greek yogurt and honey. Yum!
Walk: 35 mins with Cliff in the beautiful Autumn weather
LN & DN: Worked at Arnolds Way, so i ate raw all day.
Later: Veggie Burger, 2 cookies and small fries

Work was challenging, and i had a hard time sticking to meals. Was i hungry? Wasn't I? As the day wore on, i found myself tasting alot more, and feeling more and more physically bloated from salt.

My body retains tremendous amounts of salt, so it is best for me to go light, but i love the way it tastes. A real catch-22. How do i RECONCILE that? Learning how to use salt - enough to enjoy my food so i don't have to binge later - but not too much that i am uncomfortably bloated - is going to be a process of trial and error. I am just going to have to figure it out.

~ ~ ~

Cesar Milan, the dog whisperer, was talking about parenting dogs. "You can't just LOVE them. Discipline is involved in love," he said.

Aha, I get that.

But what does that mean? You can discipine a dog so severely, it's abusive and they turn violent. What is the right way to discipline myself?

I've disciplined myself SEVERELY with my diet (35 days of bananas), only to rebel and unravel ALL discipline immediately afterwards.

Today, I'm choosing to not see the REBELLING as the problem anymore. I'm choosing to look at the SELF DENIAL and ask if it's really not too severe for me.

I'm going to have to learn a new EFFECTIVE way of disciplining myself with food. I'm loving myself, allowing myself to eat what i want and enjoy and desire, but will need to learn to control what hurts me and also apply intellectually what i know is good for me. That's a complicated job and a balancing act!

I'm disciplining myself to be MODERATE now, rather than diet strictly.

~ ~ ~

Driving home the other night, I got seriously lost! A road was closed and i took another and I didn't know where the heck i was. I stopped for directions at a coffee shop...mmm...nice aroma....and the woman giving me directions was eating the coffee shop's delicious homebaked cookies from a bag. Ping! Next thing you know, I bought two cookies. I'm as conditioned to food in times of stress as Pavlov's dog was conditioned to salivate at the ring of a bell. I also compulsively stopped for a veggie burger and fries from Burger King after that. When a binge starts, i'm so ingrained to keep the ball rolling.

Back at home, i wanted to continue binge eating. But, Ricky, my brother was in the kitchen. It is a blessing he is up late and mulling around in the kitchen. SAVED by the bell!

~ ~ ~


Walking this morning was not easy at first. I'm heavier, 325lbs, and walking is not as easy.

Mentally, emotionally, i react to feeling poorly and I begin to beat myself up. But I recognized it and stopped, and kept walking. Walking got easier the longer we went. We went a good 35 minutes.

Beating myself makes me depressed and feel NOT like walking. It's self defeating, but it's an old abusive habit.

~ ~ ~

Cliff and I were conversing about how important it is to be happy in any situation. "You take yourself with you wherever you go," he said. "If you're a miserable person and you move to Hawaii to be happy, you'll still be miserable."

He told me a story of an innocent man jailed for 20 years. "Here's this innocent guy stuck in a concrete box for 20 years, unjustly. So what did he do? He 'made peace' with the cell. He had to choose to be happy every day in that cell. He could have given into hatred and anger, but he didn't. You take yourself with you wherever you go."

So true.

~ ~ ~

What does it mean to love yourself? For some it may mean going raw!

For me, today, I'm giving up dieting, giving up binge eating. It's not so much about cleaning up my food right now, but about cleaning up what's going on inside of me. I think the food will take care of itself. I'm sure i will go back to more raw. I felt better.

But, I gotta be happy, and embrace this new heavier me, and just love me exactly where i am today. I don't have to be "happy" about being heavier, I'm certainly not, i just have to LOVE me here and accept it, stop fighting it.

Loving myself and accepting myself is VERY NEW. I'm learning that there is no other way for healing. The more I beat myself up, the more I eat, the more I hate myself, the more i eat, the more i hate myself.

Dieting as a way to love me is ineffective, because i always fall off and hate myself again. If i am perfect, i love myself. Can i be imperfect and love myself, too? Today i can.

Anyone can love themselves thin or on a diet or eating perfectly 811, but what happens when you fall from perfection, fall off of of raw, gain weight, look horrible. What do you do then???? This is a real eye opener to see just how much self hatred had been alive in me. If i can't love myself fat and love myself eating crap, i'll never love myself thin and raw...because i will always binge eat and hate myself and always gain everything back and have to start back at square one.

Love is the answer, now.

The only way OUT of through self LOVE.

~ ~ ~

FRIDAY, OCT 8, 2010
I woke up this morning feeling bloated and confirmed to eat lighter and with less sodium. I wanted to eat bananas all day and lose 30 lbs tomorrow, but decided to be more moderate.

Br: 4 bananas
Ln: banana/strawberry smoothie
Dn: sushi and stirfry veggies, 1 almond cookie and 1/2 cup icecream at the Chinese Buffet

It turns out i had ZERO binge impulses AT dinner at the Chinese Buffet, or AFTER dinner at home. I was even in the kitchen ALONE with PLENTY of opportunity. I simply didn't have any desire. And my mom sent me to the market for icecream and cookies. She enjoys a treat daily. But i'd already had a little icecream at the chinese buffet and one luscious almond cookie, my favorites. So i didn't need anymore! I didn't just EAT it, i ALLOWED myself to eat it, with LOVE. Cliff had a heart attack i was eating shrimp and was very negative and fearful and miserable during dinner. I did my best to explain to him that i'm not hiding anymore and i'm going to eat in the open now. He seemed to calm down after that. He said, "If this takes away your binge eating, i'm all for it." Still, it will take some time for him to adjust. I understand the fearful place he is in. Me not dieting is a scary place for my loved ones. And for me. But, i'm learning i CAN control myself, if i only ALLOW myself to feel good about whatever i eat and don't take any crap or recrimination from anyone.

~ ~ ~

I said to my mother about the compulsive cleaning, "Now look, mother, we cannot monitor you and watch over you and control you 24/7, you have GOT to learn to control and monitor yourself. I am exhausted trying to control you."

I felt like i was talking to myself in regards to food. Control yourself. Monitor yourself. No one needs to look after you, you look after yourself.

The crux of it is to be AWARE of emotions and how they affect you. The other day at ARnolds Way, i was so hurt. I said hello to this kid over and over and over and got no response. This child is prone to ignoring, and it hurts!! I watched the hurt and tried not to judge it and it soon passed. You know that phrase, "You'll get over it?" I did.

Emotions surface and then receed. We had fun later playing together. I have to work on not taking things personally. People are funny and kids go through phases.

~ ~ ~
SAT, OCT 9, 2010

Cliffy and I had a fabulous day out in the sunshine today, it was gorgeous! We went to a german shepherd show in Frenchtown, NJ and walked all over New Hope. We walked quite a bit today!

Back in Frenchtown, we were hungry. I had eaten fruit all morning, clementines and apples and bananas, and was ready to eat a meal.

It took me a while to figure out i wanted veggies in my omelette. I looked at the menu and kept asking, 'What do i want?'

I savored my meal. A few bites of homefries, oh, man, good!, then they became too greasy for me later. The rye toast with butter and jelly, oh man, fabu, then it became too greasy for me later. My tea with honey and milk, oh man, awesome, then it became too sweet for me. The veggie omelette? oh, man, yum. Then i only liked the veggie part and the egg part i didn't want. Interesting!

Cliff commented that something was different and i was eating much slower than i usually do. His mood was upbeat and positive. I left about 1/3 of my food on my plate. That was new! I ate until i was satisfied.

When we got home nearly 3pm, i was hungry and made myself a salad with a nice homemade dressing.

I've been craving homemade soup, so for dinner, i cooked up 2 big pots of veggies and beans, no meat. I kept the salt low in one pot and the other, i made normal for my mom and Cliff. The low salt one doesn't taste as good, but is better for me. I ate two big bowls of the lo-salt one and had a yogurt before bed.

I'm still retaining alot of water. I weighed 324 this morning. I may not lose weight or water weight doing what i'm doing, just eating normally, and walking, and I can't lie, i'm a tad discouraged. You'd think that all of this weight that i gained binge eating so out of control would start to dissappear. Patience is a virtue. I may think about going back to to learn to eat even less portions on regular food if i decide this is the best route for me. Either that, or i'll have to eat lighter, more raw, less salt.

My dad was abusive growing up. I confronted him yesterday. I kept calm. I told him how he always used to say the food i made was 'fair,' and how negative he is.

He seemed much nicer later. Cliff even said, "Boy, your dad is in a good mood." I told him that i really gave it to Dad earlier and maybe that did something. We shall see!

What a journey!

xoxo michelle joy

Wednesday, October 6, 2010


Hello folks,

It's a lovely crisp Autumn day, and the rustling leaves and cool breezes bring a new, fresh feeling to life.

I awoke feeling filled with love! From my head to my toes and everywhere in between!

Yesterday I cried alot, and it cleared some channels.

I'm fat. I'm depressed. Blah, blah, blah. Enough of that. I'm sick of complaining.

Cliff said to me yesterday after my 20 minute crying spell, "You need to be more objective." I was an emotional MESS.

~ ~ ~

The reminder to be objective snapped me back to reality and to my meditation exercise i learned years ago from Roy Masters (

Being objective to me means "getting out of my head and living in the present moment, experiencing the present moment."

It is a lovely place to live!

There is no binge eating in the present moment. Binge eating is all about ruminating the past or worrying about the future.

Being objective, everything is fresh and new and I feel happy, regardless of my situation! Never let me forget about this way to live!

~ ~ ~

I have often remarked that living in my head like i do when i binge makes me feel like how a serial killer must feel. He thinks about killing people and plans and plans and then does the thing and is excited with a rush of adrenalin, and then must feel awful, and then he only wants to do it again. And he walks around somewhat dazed to the present, but lost in his own twisted reality and world.

With me, my mind becomes obsessed with food, binge eating, self-pity, depression, and i'm not really there. Not really living.

And I realize, very simply, now that it has lifted as a result of me "switching the dial" and coming out of that false "reality," that that ISN'T reality at all. It's all imagined.

Living in the present moment, all of the depression vanishes, the obsessive food thoughts vanish, the bad feelings about yourself, the remorse, the self pity.

It all vanishes...and in a rush, the cleansing Autumn breezes wash away all negativity, and you feel LOVE, you notice the flowers, you really taste what you're eating and let yourself enjoy it, you look in the mirror and like yourself, you forgive anyone who's ever hurt you, you forgive yourself.

You feel born again!

~ ~ ~

Oh, yay, my mom is moving HOME today!

The rehab people were VERY impressed with my mom! She could have stayed 100 days, her insurance would have paid, but she got too strong too soon, so they had to kick her out!

Mommy Ruth has been off of anti-biotics for, i think, 2 or 3 days now, so I am crossing my fingers that her C-DIF, a type of colitis brought ON by antibiotics since all of the GOOD bacteria is killed along with the bad when you take antibiotics for 4 months like my mother has, and her Mersa, will not re-develop. The doctor said the infections could reemerge at anytime causing increased bowel movements, pain and fever. (She still has one abdominal drain left in her.)

We will be on the lookout for signs of illness. She will have a visiting nurse come for one week, and then we are on our own. We will be praying. We will be hoping. Please continue to pray along with us for Mommy Ruth's full and total recovery.

~ ~ ~

Cliff and I will move in with mom again. It will be different this time. This time we'll be cooking chicken, instead of making green smoothies, i think. My father is still very opposed to raw, still thinking it caused my mother to be sick. But, I think i set him straight several times when her blood/urine was tested in the hospital after a month of eating cooked food (and 2 months of taking intravenous nutrition), and she was still dangerously low on electrolytes and potassium and magnesium. Logically, if raw was the problem, it would have resolved itself by the new nutrition by then.

Anyway, i'm not a nutritionist or a doctor and i don't really understand that well how the body works, but i always trusted that more raw would help her, but now is the time for her to rebuild her body, and food is her choice, and it is my parents' house, and I will do as they desire.

This will be a new journey at home for all of us.

~ ~ ~

Not to dwell on it, but I've been really bad, physically and emotionally. I've been binge eating several times a day for what seems like weeks and feeling like an absolute wreck, failure, dissappointment, hopelessly unable to get back on track to raw? To just eating normally? My head was in a constant whirl. Call Dr. D back? Go to Weight Watchers? Call an eating disorders therapist?

The feeling of being so depressed frightened me. And i asked Cliff if he thought it was because i was toxic from cooked food. And we both agreed, yes.

But, I'm not even sure if it had so much to do with the food, this overwhelming depression, because today i awoke up feeling emotionally cleansed and renewed. If it was the food, you know, the toxicity CAUSING the depression, i'd still be depressed this morning. But i don't feel depressed today. I feel rejuvenated. Alive. And grateful. And fed up with feeling bad.

I think it was self-manufactured by living in a negative reality, bombarding myself with guilt and fear and remorse and hopelessness.

~ ~ ~

I just want to eat whatever i do, with LOVE.

~ ~ ~

I found a website last night that really impressed me,, with a blog called "A WEIGHT LIFTED" containing an article entitled, "Does Perceived Deprivation Cause Binge Eating?"

Here's the article:

It felt divine that I should find the article, because I've been asking myself this over and over and over. Is it the perceived deprivation on raw (and more specifically lately, bananas) or any diet that causes a binge, or is it the chemical toxic nature of cooked food mixing with ME (a cooked food addict) causing a binge?

These are long held questions here at pure raw joy. I am on a constant search to find the answer. Because in the answer lies my salvation.

The article seemed to confirm the general stance on eating disorder healing that one must embrace ALL foods to recover. This is a message I've heard repeated my whole life. And it's been something I've often tried to accomplish, embracing all foods and stopping binge eating. I've not yet been successful, but maybe the concept is not at fault. Maybe it's been ME whose at fault. Maybe this is what i need to work on. STOP focusing on weight loss. And focus more on LOVE and ENJOYMENT and yes, dare i say, PLEASURE in food.

The website is connected to a retreat for women (run by female doctors, nutritionists and therapists) to teach women how to eat again. Not health foods. Just regular food, only this time, with love and acceptance. Ala Geneen Roth. The website and their blog is just an interesting resource for me and us interested in why we binge eat, and maybe how to stop.

I'm not consciously trying to go in this legalization direction. Actually, all i did yesterday was cry about how i had to get back on raw. But, somehow, it seems that this is where i'm being led. I keep coming back to the fact that every time i go off of raw, i binge on cooked food. So, everytime i go BACK on raw now, it feels inevitable that i will go off because it happens every time. So, if it is inevitable i will go off, why should i wait? Maybe the going off is something in me shouting at me to learn to embrace going off...instead of repress it.

I keep getting myself geared up to white knuckle a Banana Island scenario again, and I can't seem to make myself do it.

I keep asking myself if that's not a message to me saying that other work needs to be accomplished first, like actually learning to ENJOY food. When i binge, I'm not enjoying food. I may look like i am, but i'm not. I'm suffering.

The woman in the deprivation article, Marsha, made her peace with food and is amazed that she now craves SALADS and gets excited when there is extra salad left over at the retreat!

That's what i'm wanting - coming to a desire for raw food again, but naturally.

Marsha mentions that there was a time in the beginning of her healing when all she wanted was cake and cookies.

In ALLOWING herself to have them, she soon lost the desire. And now all she wants is salad!

~ ~ ~

I often recall that feeling of how allowing myself something and eating it with joy - removes the buzz and the need to binge - the way that memorable meal at Friendly's was with the fried fish and french fries. I remember feeling disinterested after i had allowed myself to eat and enjoy.

THAT'S why NORMAL people, who are not food obsessed, can eat and just stop thinking about food. They have no harsh judge living in them. They just enjoy.

~ ~ ~

I can't get enough of cooking shows.

So, i say to myself today, 'Okay, you enjoy cooking shows. Stop hating yourself for it and ask it to teach you what it needs to.'

Yesterday, i watched the wonderful hispanic TV-chef, Daisy Martinez, cry on her show explaining to her guest, Puerto Rican authoress, Esmerelda Santiago (pictured left, Daisy, right) how her mother's Puerto Rican cooking was to her "a plate of love." With tears in her eyes, she remarked, "Remember in your book you said that you were in your room and your mother brought you some food and you described it as a 'plate a love'? That's what MY mother's food was for me, a plate filled with love!!!"

People talk about food being love in a BAD sense, but i'm drawn today to uncovering the mystery of how food can be love in a positive sense, because a great majority of my experiences with food have been filled with self hatred, self berating, remorse, regret, loss of control, depression, binge eating. Need i go on?

I am always so impressed and astounded by Daisy Martinez. She is so womanly, so entirely sensual and BEAUTIFUL and vibrant and filled with love and joy and wonder and desire. So communicative, so expressive. I just ADORE her. And then i watch her cook with such passion and she always says, "Oh my god, my mouth is watering," and so is mine watching her cook, and she's a normal weight (!!!), not only normal, she has a KNOCK OUT FIGURE, but serves herself up always a big plate of food, and let me tell you, she does NOT go light on the oil OR the salt. And i look at this gorgeous VIBRANT ALIVE creature, and i say to myself, 'How the hell does she DO that? I want to be able to DO that!'

How does she eat "bad" food, and not feel bad about it, and actually STOP and not devour the whole thing compulsively; What allows her to EAT and actually FEEL GOOD ABOUT IT and FEEL GOOD?

To her, food is love.

L O V E, Love.

Tears came to her eyes when she talked about food being love for her and a constant reminder of her mother's love. Everything ABOUT Daisy screams LOVE. I so admire this beautiful woman!

To her, food is family and fiesta and celebration and pleasure and health and vibrant living, not something to be afraid of, of feel trapped or enslaved by. To her, food is "not the enemy and she is the victim." (quote from the deprivation article)

This is how i have felt my entire life, that food and being fat were my enemies.

~ ~ ~

I think feeling loved by any kind of food is the first step in reclaiming yourself.

If you eat a chunk of dirt from the ground, eat it with love, and it will probably nourish you.

~ ~ ~

Speaking of TV chefs, I am also particularly drawn to Ina Garten. She is a plump goddess of sensuality, love, and joy. She just radiates love. How she loves her Jeffrey. She always cooks him up the most wonderful treats, pampers him, loves him with her food. He is one lucky man.

Being plump and round and adorably wonderful, it doesn't appear she counts calories or watches what she eats. She's just plump and perfect.

~ ~ ~

How do these people DO it? I ask myself all of the time. How do they eat food and enjoy and not weigh 800 lbs?? I WANT THAT!

~ ~ ~


Self Acceptance.

They know who they are.

They love food.

And they love themselves.

And they don't judge themselves.

Or restrict themselves.

They don't see food as something that is going to kill them or make them ill, and with their attitude, it probably won't!

~ ~ ~

My fortune cookie last night at the Chinese Restaurant said, "THINK HIGHLY OF YOURSELF, FOR THE WORLD TAKES YOU AT YOUR OWN ESTIMATE."




Talk about profound.

It seemed like an answer to a prayer.

How i've been struggling with my weight gain and my fear of attending my upcoming high school reunion. Do i go? Do i not go? Do i hide my fatter self? Do i go and just accept myself?

THINK HIGHLY OF YOURSELF, the fortune cookie reminded me.

~ ~ ~

My singing teacher thinks so highly of me. She is teaching me to sing from the inside out, not with tricks and manipulations, and force, but from nature.

Something about the process i'm going through with forcing me to want the same ease in everything...and to embrace flexibility...inside of myself....with me, with food.

~ ~ ~

Can I think highly of myself, no matter what i'm going through, no matter how much I weigh?

~ ~ ~

I've gained ALOT of weight. I can't hide that i've been going through a tremendous tremendous mental / emotional / spiritual / physical CRISIS...or ILLNESS (or is it a JOURNEY...or a PERIOD?).

~ ~ ~


How do i work myself out of it?

~ ~ ~

The answer keeps coming back to LOVE.

Love yourself, Michelle.

Accept yourself, Michelle.

Be TRUE to yourself, Michelle.

Forgive yourself, Michelle.

Enjoy what you love, Michelle.

Stop hiding, Michelle.

Eat out in the open, Michelle.

~ ~ ~

I can't go back to who i was. I can only be who i am today.

I've been tormenting myself, "I have to get back to 250 lbs. I'm no good! I'm a failure!"

Something says, 'Stop trying so hard.'

My singing teacher, Dolores, said to me yesterday concerning singing, but it applies with eating, "You have to feel helpless before you can gain control."

~ ~ ~

Resolved to eat bananas only today, as if bananas were the CURE to my self hatred and binge eating, which i'm not sure if they are, i needed more evidence to prove to me that the answer is not bananas but - LOVE. LOVE is the cure.

I had an interesting experience with rice, which i will detail below.

It led me to surmise that with love, you can eat anything, because you're not acting on compulsion or from restricting yourself.

When you eat anything with LOVE, that's a whole heck of a site different than eating bananas because you 'have to.' How long would that really last anyway? And i know that.

~ ~ ~

Making Cliff's mom a meal, i felt it was important, being that she is so picky and sensitive to spices, that i taste for seasoning the rice and gravy i was fixing for her. She lives in a retirement home, but i cook for her often and we bring it to her.

Okay, crisis. 'What the hell do i do?' I'm supposed to eat bananas. I'm only good if i eat bananas.

Fuck this. I said to myself, 'You know what? It's not even about the food. It's about self love.'

I decided to taste the rice, with love in my heart, no fear, just love. How do you do that? You just savor and feel loving thoughts.

A very pleasurable experience!

Pow! Then the fear came. Cliff left, and it came over me to binge on all of the leftover rice. 'Oh, fuck, what do i do now? You see? You see? It always ends up like this!'

But i remembered the article on perceived deprivation and the assertion that not truly 'allowing' yourself something causes binge eating. Can i ALLOW myself to eat some rice? I obviously wanted some.

So i kept myself back a serving. I took a bite, mmm, another bite, and with each bite, filled myself with loving feelings and feelings of entitlement.

After 5 bites, i was done.

Oila. I didn't NEED anymore. The urge to binge vanished.

~ ~ ~

In that instant, something powerful came back to me from my childhood. Something about judgement and never feeling good enough and it somehow tied in with food. I knew i was making a powerful insight.

I used to cook for my parents as a child. My negative, abusive father used to rate the food i prepared for him as 'fair.' Fair. Fair. The word still conjures up feelings of hurt.

Now an adult, i can be more objective, but it was so painful as a child.

He'd just come home from a hard day at work. He was never happy. I'd slaved over making something for him that would please him, knowing now it was a losing battle - there was never any satisfying him.

Sitting in silence after serving him, watching him eat, with every beat of my heart, with every one of his silent tastes with dissappointed looks on his face, my soul would become a little more crushed the longer the silence would last. The negativity would hang in the air. No 'yum.' No 'mmm.' He'd never compliment my food, or even be aware that i was waiting or wanting his approval.

My mother, MUCH more sensitive to my feelings than he could ever be, would say wonderful things about how good it was and say, "isn't this delish?,' prompting Dad for a compliment.

"It's fair," he would grimace.

My heart sank. It crushed me every time.

There was never any pleasing him.

No wonder I binged after dinner and after school. Where was all that about food being a celebration and a happy joyous event? Food was a painful experience for me.

~ ~ ~

Everyone at Arnold's Way knows i'm a great cook.

~ ~ ~

The child doesn't understand that not getting her father's approval is more about his own unhappiness. A child doesn't understand that, and heaps onto herself deepseated feelings of unworthiness.

That last a lifetime.

~ ~ ~

After making the rice today, i wasn't sure if it was good. I know this is silly, but it felt important.

The feeling of wanting to satisfy Cliff's mom and generally satisfy anyone who i cook for is natural, i think. Wanting to binge on the rice is unnatural and twisted and somehow tied up in fear of a poor judgement of it or fear of judgement of ME. I'm no good. There's something very deep and painful there. My apparently very, very sensitive soul had been bruised repeatedly as a child, not just by lack of compliments from what i'd cooked, by so many other things.

~ ~ ~

Moving back home, again, perhaps has been the thing bothering me. Can i do it in a new place, with forgiveness?

~ ~ ~

Pains are coming up in me, like waves, just wanting to be healed. My messy room at home and my father's dissaproval of me.

And then kids making fun of me in high school for being fat.

This is all tied up in my fat and my food.

~ ~ ~

Even if the dinner wasn't any good, you tell the kid it's delicious. "A for effort, baby!" I didn't get that.

No wonder why i need to talk so much about re-parenting myself. I was abused.

~ ~ ~

So, i tasted the rice, and asked myself if it was good, noticing that judgemenal parent in me, and told her or him to shut up.

After a beat, a kind and loving and TRUTHFUL answer asserted itself...that it was. It WAS good!

I'm good.

And somehow acknowledging that it was good and that i'm good was involved in losing the need to binge.

~ ~ ~

The binge is about the judgemental parent saying it's fair when it's good. And then me having the PROVE to myself by not being able to stop eating it....that it is, infact, good.

Cut to the chase now, i can acknowledge it's good now, without having to binge on it. I can actually ENJOY it, and then stop.

~ ~ ~

It's so strange to talk about these things. I don't know if anyone relates or understands. Hard to put into words.

~ ~ ~

KAREN from Ardmore
I've had my blog friend, Karen, on my mind lately. She's in LA taking care of her mother. Let's send her some love in LA!

Karen read a book that i talked alot about here, the Karen Hampton Book, the christain book about overcoming overeating, "The Diet Alternative", and expressed to me frequently how much she got out of it. Now, as a result of reading the book and being inspired by it, Karen now blesses everything she eats, and is finding a new connection to spirituality by loving herself, by loving her food.

In doing this, she has been blessed with times away from obsessive thoughts of food and binge eating that she calls, her "windows of peace."

I often think of this. Bravo, Karen!

~ ~ ~
I'm Jewish, but i'm often reminded of what Jesus said about blessing food. The Jews would not eat pork because it was unclean. Much like raw foodists will not eat cooked (because it will kill them or give them cancer or heart disease). But, Jesus came to wipe away all of the rules. "Eat it in my name, and it is clean."

I GET that, now. Eat with LOVE, and it is clean.

~ ~ ~

Anorexics have a overactive sense of health and how it relates to a fault. They have a distorted image of themselves and think that food is out to harm them, make them sick or make them fat. What's so cunning about Anorexia is that there is truth in food affecting health and weight. But, for them, it's become a sickness.

Much like binge eating is for me. It's a sickness.

There's nothing wrong with raw. I think it's GREAT!!

But there's been something wrong with my HEAD and my HEART...and i've been trying to heal my BODY with clean food, when i was missing the point.

Anorexics in treatment are encouraged to learn that food can be their friend. "Eat with love, and it is clean, it's healthy."

At that point, it's more about healing the MIND of the mental illness than worrying about cancer and heart disease. Much of those worries might not be grounded in reality and might just be FEAR BASED anyway.

~ ~ ~

This is going to have to be my new motto: "Eat with love, and it is clean...and healthy."

~ ~ ~
Sure, raw food is healthier. It digests quicker. Sure, i felt better thinner. Are you kidding? ABSOLUTELY. Sure, I love the way my face looks on no salt. Sure, i'd love to be 250 lbs again, but i can't hate myself into eating bananas. Mykell loved that quote and it's true. Force isn't working for me in my voice or in my food.

I'm fat today and that's the way it is, and quick fixes keep failing me.

~ ~ ~

Have you ever heard that the quickest way to the end of something is to go THROUGH it?

I wish i could run away and get skinny, but i don't have the money to go to another raw retreat like i did 4 years ago. And the gumption to eat bananas all day so i can love myself doesn't seem right anymore. Can't i love myself ANYWAY?

Maybe if i love myself all day, day in and day out, fill myself with love, live in that objective state, get out of my head, i can choose to eat bananas again, because i WANT them, much like the experience Marsha had with salad in the deprivation article. She actually WANTS to eat salad, not because she SHOULD, but because she WANTS it.

xoxo michelle joy