Friday, November 1, 2013

'Twas the Day After Halloween

'Twas the day after Halloween, when all through the house, 
The Snickers were snickering, "We won't tell a mouse."

The Twizzlers all wrapped in their cellophane fair,
Kept taunting, "Come eat us, till the cupboard is bare."

It's the day after Halloween and I want all the candy. I'm thisclose to lowering my high chocoholic standards to gobble down every CVS-bought mini stowed in my son's bright orange pumpkin, along with the sticky high-fructose crap I could pass up easily at the checkout line.

I'd be ready to eat it all–if it weren't for the photos.

I'd left the house with a fresh coat of makeup and adorable giraffe ears, thinking I might like what I saw when my friend obligingly took some shots. But even with a 20-pound loss (give or take), I still didn't. My BMI is an SOB.

I eat when stressed, plus I'm sure genes and possibly even my gut bacteria come into play. NYU's weight loss center sees obesity as a disease, not a character flaw. And then there's this: "For some people, [processed food] is a drug of abuse, and...many of us are equally unprepared to deal with synthetic substances as we are with synthetic pharmaceuticals," creating a "maladaptive" response–overeating.

But none of it makes me look, or feel, any better.

Despite all the science, society still judges the overweight–and overweight women, in particular–harshly. One headline says it all: "Stigma Against Fat People the Last Acceptable Prejudice, Studies Find." As one researcher put it, "Thinness has come to symbolize important values in our society, values such as discipline, hard work, ambition and willpower. If you're not thin, you don't have them."

Is it any wonder that I judge myself harshly, too? Yet it makes me angry that my sense of self is still so tied to appearance.

Despite the fact that I know I have some good stuff going on and try to be kind to myself, it's hard not to buy into the general population's way of thinking when the evidence of my "lack of willpower" is apparent every time I pass my reflection, go clothes shopping or, yes, see myself in pictures. Unlike, say, alcoholism, the evidence of food addiction can't be hidden easily.

Of course, it's not just about looks. I've never been small, but I used to be a lot fitter and trimmer. Over the years, I swam, skied, went to the gym. Now, my only hustle involves chasing after the boy. I can only hope my "fitness age"–my body's ability to deliver oxygen to its cells–is better than I think it is at this point. I'm not talking about wanting to be slim anymore, just healthy.

Still, I wish I were more like the boy, able to put down a half-eaten dark Hershey's and then forget it. I could learn a lot from him. He loves, but doesn't live for, his treats.

And so I will be posting no selfies this Halloween. Instead, I'll battle to avoid eating all things–even the snickering mini Snickers calling my name.

And maybe even take a walk.


  1. I am right there with you. I stress eat. I tired eat. I anxiety eat. I night eat. I everything eat. And I have no willpower. At all. I was looking through pics of a few years ago, when I had actually done well exercising and eating better (and got a really bad case of strep throat, that lasted like 3 weeks, and, yeah, bad way to lose a ton of weight, but ya know...), and those pics made me SO sad. I mean, I CAN do it. I HAVE done it. I looked SO good! I actually posed for photos, instead of diving behind something or someone. These days I close my eyes when I get undressed to shower, bc I don't want to accidentally see myself in the mirror. I just see myself as this bubbling Jabba the Hut now, and I hate it. I also hate it bc of K, and not wanting her to ever fixate on weight, as so many girls do (hoping autism helps keep that at bay, but who are MEAN.) It also doesn't help I have a fitness fanatic husband who can run marathons. I wish it was just easy for me. That I was naturally thin, or naturally athletic, or naturally able to eat to live and not live to eat. It is definitely hard.

  2. Thanks so much for sharing, Jen. It's good to know we're not alone. Losing weight and keeping it off is so hard, despite what we know about the health risk, not to mention the damage to self-esteem. I guess we just have to take it one day at a steps and all that. Let's both promise to not be so hard on ourselves in the meantime. I'm sure we're our harshest critics. Beth

  3. Lord yes! My stomach has been a mess all week. I ate a cupcake last night and my stomach did not like it. But what did I want to eat when I crawled out of bed this morning? Another damn cupcake. I've had three of candy too, and why? I wish exercise was my vice...

  4. Beth, please don't be so hard on yourself -- you are awesome. Halloween is the worst, and there is nothing more tempting than fun-size chocolate because it's easy to rationalize eating like 50 of them. I am only starting to change my eating habits now that my kids are both out of the house. This year, I bought crappy sour candy to give out instead of chocolate so I wouldn't be tempted to eat it myself. Taking baby steps is the only way to go and it is hard every single day. xo

  5. Angelique: Maybe we should both start to think of exercise as a vice and get on it. :-) Lois: Great idea re: the terrible candy. That's the only stuff I left alone in M's haul. And yes, baby steps. Thank you.