I hide my chocolate and I count my cookies. In a disciplined and controlled way, I allow myself snippets of deliciousness. But not too much. Because I might lose control and … what? Get fat? For me, denying myself food means I am in control and a good girl. Being hungry and thin is an achievement – I feel virtuous. At the height of my thinness, when I was dancing as a teenager obsessed with ballet, I liked going to bed hungry because that meant I would be even thinner in the morning. The opposite of thin – not being thin – is threatening. It means curvy sexuality. As a girl, I was angry at the unwanted sexual attention. I took out my anger on my self and my body.
Fat or thin, compulsive or controlled, we are all connected in our struggle with eating. Eating correlates directly with how much we weigh and what we look like and is tied up in our feelings about our self. We love to eat and we need to eat. We should enjoy eating! Eating can be a pleasure, if we let it be.
I have spent 50 years controlling what I eat (hiding my chocolate, counting my cookies, and measuring, always measuring, my calories). I am beginning to arrive at a still complicated but more peaceful relationship with food. My hope is to share some of who I am and what I have learned about eating – about living – with all who want a healthy and enjoyable relationship with food and a healthy and enjoyable relationship with their self and their body.
Sally is 53 – a daughter, a wife, and a mother of two teens. She is a marketing executive in the media industry and a certified yoga instructor.