Monday, December 5, 2011


Hello there, Blogger Fans,

Well, time for an update.

I was raw for a week when I started re-blogging, and the last week has been a week of experimentation with cooked and raw. I have two mostly raw email "sponsors" of sorts that i write my food to every day. I fall down, i get back up. It's been like that for days now. This is new. It's not complete and utter deterioration nor raw perfection. It is an expression of a deep yearning for balance.

I did some writing last night after my performance of Haendel's Messiah pertaining to where i've been at in my mind with food that i'd like to share.

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I think i had a very good day, but i had cooked food, and it's not really jiving that great with my reflux. Because of singing jobs i need to be taking reflux meds right now and i left mine at home (we're at my parents) so i had to take one of my mom's reflux pills and it doesn't work as well as mine. I'm belching and tasting dinner. (thanks for sharing, right?)

So, to make a SHORT story LOOOONG, I was getting ready for the Messiah performance this morning and wasn't hungry at all, but just as a precaution, ate 3 small bananas and 2 dates so i could survive singing for almost 3 hours. Good thing i did. And when the performance was over at 6pm, i was starved. We were in the neighborhood of one of our favorite Russian restaurants. So good and so cheap, and so hungry, i looked forward to going there. I got a peice of fish, very simple mashed potatoes and grilled veggies and had a peice and a half of their amazing bread and butter. I savored every morsel.

I don't think anything could have been more delish. Though, i recognize that raw food definitely doesn't "come up on me" like some cooked meals can. (Ah, well, probably due to the mis-combined cooked meal.)

Nevertheless, I felt very liberal and entitled at the restaurant, and thought geez, I barely ate all day and here it is dinnertime and i made it and I did good singing and I am damn well going to enjoy this treat!

After i ate, i thought, "Geez, if i could just eat like this, 1 meal per day, i'd enjoy food so much more and i would lose weight, as long as the meal wouldn't be much over 2,000 cals!"

It seems like every day is a new "place" with food. I'd committed to go back to 100% raw, but i find myself dropping off every day. After a few days of this, one figures, why not just "accept?"

With my 1 meal yesterday, i thought, "could i make something like this work? something healthy and raw in the morning and a healthy cooked meal for dinner?"

Why even classify it and put it in a box? Why not just let it be, let it exist as an experience and just look at it and learn.

I never know if i'm practicing moderation, which is such a persistent goal of mine, or if i'm just giving into being a cooked food addict. Something in me is fighting to not view myself as a cooked food addict. Like, what is so terrible about enjoying some bread and butter. It is so elemental. People have been eating bread for centuries. And fish. And vegetables. Some people pride themselves that eating that way keeps them very healthy. Some days i don't want to look at a glorious meal like that as "bad." God forbid. It's so good!

Being truly hungry, i really really really enjoyed and savored my meal ('ala' the teachings of Eating Disorder Author, Geneen Roth). Well, speaking of her, she would have said i did well tonight. (Ask arnold and he would say i ate fish urine and glue, haha).

Anyway, my body agrees more with raw, i know this, so i am not abandoning raw, by ANY means. I'm just watching. I'm living in the moment.

Yes, i become very ashamed and convicted when my coochie-coo smells when i eat cooked food and it doesn't smell when i don't. The problem is my REACTION to this. Then i feel guilty and immediately frightened and i want to binge - a message reaches my brain that says YOU ARE BAD, YOU DID WRONG and then i have the binge impulse and i want to stuff my face with every thing i forbid myself.

But why would my head tell me to do MORE of what i felt was bad for me if it were really so bad for punishment? In a way, I often think my binges are TRYING DESPERATELY to teach me, to force me to just accept and enjoy food, in the moment, like you're supposed to. "You don't have to DO this to yourself. You can just enjoy it as a meal like a normal person." Like, in my twisted eating disorder state, it is okay to beat myself to a pulp and wreck and destroy my voice with any cooked foods i love/crave/forbid myself, but to eat binge foods as a meal and enjoy it is so BAD? Sometimes i think my head WANTS me to eat cooked "normally" to prove to myself once and for all that i CAN. I received pleasure from it in the moment so why afterwards do i judge myself so harshly for something that was a pleasurable experience for me, as well as for most of the planet? Am i trying to tell myself i don't deserve pleasure? Can the pleasure i receive from a cooked meal - eaten in control - be GOOD for me? Sometimes i think it is.

The problem with my body's response to it afterwards seems like a separate issue. Learning to enjoy "bad" food feels important for some reason. Anorexics in recovery can probably relate. They think all food is going to kill them. When they start to allow themselves to indulge and actually ENJOY food they feared, it must be as frightening / liberating for them as it is for me. I certainly allow myself to enjoy destructive binges, but to allow myself to enjoy a simple relatively healthy meal? Why is that so hard? And then to have that be an isolated event that does not tumble out of control? It feels like an important accomplishment. I thought that just to have one meal yesterday, and make it a special meal out, was such a treat to give myself. When i binge i may be "enjoying" food, but it's a secret and hidden and shamefilled frenzy of out of control behavior. I don't really savor the food and never listen to when i am full. I listen to a voice in my head that directs me to go on and on and on and on to eat the next and the next and the next thing. I am disconnected from my body when i binge. My disordered mind has taken over. There is never enough to fill me.

With last night's dinner, i ate until i was satisfied, and there is something so blissful about being about to stop when one is naturally full, without feeling guilty and like you've stepped over a line. To savor and to eat until i'm satisfied is an experience that i rarely allow myself to have, so I am always surprised when it happens and then strive to maintain that blessed state as energetically as i might had i happened upon a string of days raw.

Where I am with food today is a journey.

There is this book by Diane Hampton called 'The Diet Alternative,' I've mentioned frequently on this blog. It is a Christian book i have had for many years and i re-read it from time to time. In it, Hampton explains how she lost all of her excess weight - by eating only 1x/day - whatever she wanted at THAT one sacred blessed meal. The rest of the day she gave to God as sacrifice and she suffered through the hunger, and prayed. I'm sure, soon, her body adjusted. She cites biblical reasons for this way of eating being healthy. I recall something about the people in the dessert being unable to refrigerate or store anything so they had to eat up whatever was available at at meal and then travel by foot the rest of the time. This one meal a day idea has always intrigued/appealed to me. I mean, if i could be thinner...and eat what i wanted, and not binge, why wouldn't i DO that? I mean, just by virtue of losing weight i'd be so much healthier than i am now anyway, and i would have enjoyed it.

And so i had this almost just 1 meal today, and why can't that be good enough? Does it have to be raw too? Why do i expect such perfection from myself?

My eating disorder is a thing of complete perfection versus completely out of control. To finally exist in one day "IN BETWEEN" those two extremes is thrilling and scary and enticing and like, what is so BAD about that??? I obviously "know" how much better raw food IS for me, intellectually. But emotionally I'm not convinced. I toy and test and re-test my limits and boundaries constantly. And in a way, i think maybe that IS healthy for me to do. Or maybe it isn't. I really don't know.

Two times in my life, i was significantly thinner and both times i was on very strict diets. So i tend to look in the direction of complete and utter deprivation and strict control as the way to succeed with my weight, but the minute i make a small infraction from perfection, kaplooey, i binge, and i have never been one to be able to jump right back on track, i give way completely, surrender myself completely to binge eating until i gain everything back. What if i didn't have to walk down that path anymore? What if i learned to just overcome the power of food like Diane Hampton did?

True, raw was the only "diet" i was ever on so long. 3.5 years. As long as i stayed on, I didnt gain everything back. There seemed to exist within raw enough flexibility and sensual enjoyment to keep me raw.

What happened when i went OFF of raw is that i wanted to be even thinner. I wanted to lose more and saw my ONLY way to do that was to give up fat entirely. And when i did, i lost weight daily, without exercising. And then, i'd binge hugely on gourmet raw and gain it all back. I was tired of the up and down 30 lbs and wanted to give up totally these enjoyment-binges of gourmet raw. I told myself cooked beans were better for me than nuts, (ala dr. fuhrman). But once i left the bounds of raw...i was utterly lost, utterly afraid, and dipping my toe into the "water," gave way to a total surrender to cooked binge eating again.

What if it didn't HAVE to be like that anymore? Isn't God supposed to be able to help us do ANYTHING?

This Diane Hampton diet alternative method says, 'You don't have to change the FOOD you eat to lose weight, you just have to have self control by abstaining from meals outside of 1 (or 2 when you reach a better weight) a day, but you need never watch the types of food you can eat again. Enjoy food within the boundaries of that one meal. And trust GOD to direct you.'

Eating cooked is seen as something good with this method. You mean that "horrible" thing i use to destroy myself....could maybe help me overcome binge eating???

You mean, i don't have to live in complete self denial anymore?

Raw, with it's simplistic answers to cure-all, can really get to feel sometimes like a cult. "Oh bullyhogwash," i think sometimes when i hear potatoes turn to glue in your system. I mean, come on folks, a freakin' potato?

There is something so appealing about Hampton's idea, and of asking God into my life to reign over my food and my health. Didn't jesus say it's not a matter of what we are putting into our mouths that is unclean, it is a matter of our gluttonous spirit that causes us to sin with food, and it is more of a matter of what comes OUT of us that is unclean (e.g. hatred, wickedness, etc..., from an unclean heart?)

Some christians look at us trying to be so healthy and perfect and saintly and "saved" on raw food and they think we are being foolish because only God can save you, not raw food. Will raw food get to you Heaven and buy you Eternal life? Sometimes, depending on what headspace i'm in, I don't believe in it.

And i'm a raw chef! Shame on me!

Like, intellectually, I UNDERSTAND that the right healthy food will make us healthier. It will. I understand this. And it's proven.

I'm talking about the ludicracy of binge eating. My mind forgets while i'm scarfing bucketloads of food how completely destructive this is for me.

What is a fish meal out - in comparison to bingeing? A drop in the bucket.

Is raw food the way OUT of binge eating? I thought at one time, and maybe that helped me to stay on raw so long, but then i proved to myself i could easily and frequently binge and gain on gourmet raw. And now i have experiences where i am in control with cooked.

And i say, 'What is the answer?'

I think it all comes down to BELIEF. What we believe we can achieve. If we believe raw food will cure us, it will. If we believe cooked food will cure us, it will. I want to be true and authentic to myself and what i believe. I want to live my life as ME. I want to integrate and stop binge eating. How will i get there? Stay tuned.

All or most of what i write is probably all rationalization, but that's where my head was today just because my day was set up so that i only had the opportunity to eat one meal and then i'm like, hey, that was freaking delish, maybe i can make this work!

And then i want to go kill it and binge.

Something in my head....that strives for freedom with food....will only accept complete perfection. Anything less and it says 'what the fuck, go unwind,' and i devour everything in sight.

We happened to be staying overnight at my parents house for a little visit, and after visiting, Cliff and I were in bed watching tv, i was a little bored, slightly hungry, Cliff was half asleep, no one was in the kitchen, my parents and brother were all in bed, the coast was clear, there was an opportunity should i want to take it, and i wanted to sneak out into the kitchen and binge.

I'd had that "awful" fish (in quotes for a purpose) and potatoes after all. [Because i ate that, I am no good. I deserve punishment.] It was delicious, but it made me smell and i was afraid of that and i wanted to unravel into food pleasure. When i tell myself enjoying food pleasure is BAD...i want to prove to myself it is devouring everything "good" in sight. Then i can acknowledge, "no, silly, it is SOOOO good." But i don't need to binge to acknowledge i like cooked food today. I'll tell you straight now, i like cooked food!!!!!

When i wanted to binge last night, I kept telling myself this affirmation that i made up, 'nighttime eating is self defeating.' It's a good practical affirmation and it really seems to curb my acting on the impulse.

Nighttime eating is SO self defeating for me because going to bed with a giant full belly is akin to pouring battery acid on my vocal cords. It is also bad, of course, because of the weight gain from the huge number of calories i blindly take in.

It was very difficult to not see the idea of a binge tonight as anything but "fun entertainment and exciting".

But i ended up allowing myself to just fall asleep.

Now i'm up, but don't feel in danger. I looked at myself in the mirror and my face looked pleasing to me and i want to keep it that way. i did good for myself and my voice by not binge eating, i got over the hump of the idea. Good girl, Michelle. Now i don't feel in danger. A binge would blow me up and why do i value myself so lowly that i would stuff my face for fun at the expense of my voice and health? That seems like a mighty healthy viewpoint. My singing wasn't THAT bad that i should want to kill it. No, no, it is golden, it holds such potential! I should want to baby it.

P.S. Eating once a day and going to bed on an empty stomach is THE BEST remedy for reflux laryngitis.

My coworker, my darling Shaie, talks about the golden nuggets. We shit out "golden nuggets," she says. That means we have to look at the beauty of what we do, what we produce, at our behaviors and accomplishments, and not focus on the turd aspect, but notice the golden nuggets.

With my singing, i judge myself very harshly, never seem to meet my terribly high standards, give into binge eating, ruining my voice and then it becomes a self fulfilling profecy because how could i sing well with a swollen throat? Today i want to cherish the golden nugget of my voice. It may not be perfect yet. I may be frustrated that i still cannot sing as perfectly as i want to, but i still must cherish it and not destroy it.

I really do believe i have so much potential with my singing. I was in good voice for the Messiah but didn't use enough support and my performance of my aria suffered for it. So sad that i still don't know exactly what i need to do in the moment for my voice.

Let's say my voice is a Lambourgini, which i totally believe it is that quality of voice. The problem is, the owner of the voice/the driver has to know how to steer it - and no matter how many lessons i take, i am not always so wise about what i need in the moment. Sometimes i think it's like a form of A.D.D. "I forget" constantly what i need to do. Support, support, support, dummy. And here i'm driving this Lambourgini and i'm not supporting. No wonder the voice was shaking and not within my control.

There are certain disciplines we just MUST abide by in life. To sing well, you must support. You eat when you're hungry and not when you're not. Look at the trouble we get into when we drive through red lights. We cause collisions and accidents.

I was talking with my colleague during the Messiah intermission. I commented, "Singing is so hard, one must constantly strive for balance between darkness and brightness, force and letting go. It's a terrible struggle." She said, "I know. I hate it!" I had to laugh.

I was noticing how it is the same difficulty with singing for me as it is to achieve balance in my diet - strictness vs. flexibility, raw vs. cooked, etc...

I revisit the same topics over and over. I dance in circles.

I have to believe, however, that i'm learning, that i'm making some sort of progress, even if you can't SEE it. If not physically, then spiritually, as I learn to surrender to God more.

YES, I strive for balance and so often it escapes me, but all in all, I must learn to congratulate myself that today was a success. I sang the messiah choral parts which were all new, and i did a good, not a great job, on my solo, and a much better job on the recitative section. I allowed myself to enjoy my meal and not allowing thoughts of binge eating to creep in afterwards.

I have to congratulate myself for the golden nuggets.

And i didn't binge.

So even though i ate cooked food, which may or may not be the best for me, (i'm never quite sure where i am that day on that belief), at least i didn't binge.

So that's how i am :-))

I have often commented that healing an eating disorder and losing weight and repairing one's health are all really separate issues, i think. And i'm maybe trying to do it all at once. No wonder why it's so terribly difficult.

I have this other pivotal book in my library, 'Overcoming Binge Eating,' by this Dr. Christopher Fairburn. I've talked about it here before as well. And in it, he says you will never lose weight and keep it off until you overcome your binge eating disorder. And this idea is constantly in my mind. His approach is to have the sufferer eat everything in moderation because when we binge we eat everything anyway - the binge is an expression that "i WANT this thing but i can't allow myself to have it." Only after we heal our need to indulge binge impulses can we begin to lessen the amount of food we give ourselves and lose weight and keep it off, permanently.

The one good thing about my 100 lbs weight re-gain is that it was not more, Thank God. I intend never to regain those 75 lbs that would put me at my top weight. At least i love myself enough TODAY to say, "Uh uh. This is as far as i will allow this speedtrain to derail."

So when i eat a meal and it's enjoyed and in control there is always a feeling of elation for me because i was able to be 'normal,' if only for a short time.

And i still don't know if the food thoughts i get after eating, like i did tonight, originate from guilt or from the poor quality of the food itself. I hear from Dr. Fuhrman that foods with more micronutrients will calm cravings. Is ALL binge eating is - is a tumultuous rushing force seeking nutrients ? Or is it a mental illness unrelated to the type of food we are eating? I still don't know.

Geneen Roth would say the latter.

So would Diane Hampton.

So would Dr. Christopher Fairburn.

Anyway, whatever i eat, if i would just exercise i'd lose weight and gain strength, but i often can't see to allow myself to be good to myself in that way because i'm always feeling so guilty about what i've eaten. I feel i don't deserve to be good to myself. Only when i am perfect in my diet do i usually start to feel like exercising. If i would just exercise no matter what i ate, i'd be 1000x better off anyway.

So, despite my talking up cooked, my intention is to get right back on track eating raw again tomorrow morning, because i'm trying to achieve balance in my life and not veer off the road every time i go over a hump anymore. I want to be a good driver. i'll have smoothie for bkfast at my moms [addendum: i did], and then i'll see where the day leads. I think there is something to be said for surrendering and allowing your Higher Power and your most inner honest intuition to guide you.

xoxo michelle joy

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