Sunday, November 13, 2005

Should and Shouldn't

So, there I was, enjoying seven enchanted and effortless weeks of eating exactly what my body wanted and stopping right when it had had enough (that is, practicing demand feeding). I was doing the thin fantasy every day (still am, pretty much) and was losing weight (or maybe it's just that I had ceased to be bloated) and I loved it and it felt fantastic.

And then it ended and I began to eat as I had been before the workshop, which then drifted into out-and-out bingeing--eating all the FFFs (those sometimes magical formerly forbidden foods) in the house, or trying to (it's not physically possible to eat them all).

After a few weeks of this, I realized that I had drifted back into being on a diet, the My-Idea-of Doing-OO-Perfectly Diet, and I was rebelling. (OO is short for Overcoming Overeating, and refers to the philosophy espoused in two books by Jane R. Hirschmann and Carol H. Munter: Overcoming Overeating and When Women Stop Hating Their Bodies.)

When I realized I was in effect dieting, I started by giving myself permission to binge permanently, and assured myself that I would accept myself at any weight. And then I realized that there were some other things I was rebelling against. One big one had to do with scheduling. After work, I have a schedule for the evening, which includes many things I like to do, but nonetheless accounts for every minute. I'm not rushed, but there's also no unscheduled time. And I think the bingeing was a way of saying, "No! I'm not going to do what's on the list!" And in case I wasn't getting through to myself, I also found myself getting to work super-late and not showering for a day or even two, which is extremely not like me. Obviously, some part of me was screaming, "No! I won't! I won't! I won't!"

I had recently added playing music back into my life, which is something I enjoy, but I was obviously trying to put too much into the mix and it had already started to feel like an obligation, so I also gave myself permission to stop. And then the bingeing stopped dead.

I realized that a lot of times when I overeat, it's a rebellion against what I think I should be doing, or else it's a punishment for something I did earlier that I shouldn’t have done.

Or perhaps I have a task to do that I'm not sure how to handle, and feel anxious and insecure. I feel that I should get the task done, get it done now, get it done perfectly.

It seems to boil down to obligation and rebellion.

And what is this voice that says I have to do everything right now perfectly, that I may not have my less-mature days, that I must eat in a certain way and look a certain way? That is a mean voice. My inner caretaker (another OO concept) will have to help me with that.