Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Purging {to save my sanity}...

As I have become more involved with Social Media it's come to my attention that, just as in "real" life, my cyber life often needs to be revisited and prioritized.  Whether it be blogs or Twitter chats, I have recently become aware of the need to place more value on my time and cull the sources of information that I either no longer benefit from or can't contribute to any more (those that I feel my input falls on deaf ears).  It's a natural process yet I still feel guilty thinking of potentially removing a couple of blogs from my already over-whelmed Google Reader.

A few of the things that I am having trouble with lately involve those blogs that have become either all-day, every-day wedding posts as well as the "I'm Pregnant" posts.  Don't get me wrong, I am thrilled to tears when I find out someone is getting married or having a baby but I just can't find the time to read post after post of "25 MORE potential wedding venues" or "Here is our list of baby names..add your favorite in the comments section and we will use RandomGenerator to pick our baby's name".  I know that's harsh, after all, my own few readers may not give a crap that I like author David Sedaris or that I'm training for another stupid marathon, but there are so many wonderful blogs out there that I am finding it difficult to find time to read the ones I can't relate to.  (Note: These are blogs that I was reading sporadically that evolved very rapidly from health/running to almost strictly wedding/baby oriented reads, I have the same 'issue' with a few blogs I thought I liked but mostly seem to lack content in favor of posting daily about random things (like traffic or an hour-by-hour recount of their day)...I haven't built a 'relationship' with any of these bloggers and mostly just cyber-stalked them.  Had they been "friends" I, of course, would be thrilled to be a part of their new life circumstances.)

But the main thing that dawned on me after a recent Twitter chat was the emphasis that many, many people (not just bloggers or twitter users) place on food.  There's the WIAW (What I Ate Wednesday) posts, which are sometimes cool because you can actually *see* what some healthy, clean eating people eat that contributes to their healthy lifestyle, but this latest chat really seemed to be bordering on obsession with questions like: "what's your favorite cheat food?", "what are your favorite sweet snacks? salty?"...I swear, halfway through it all I felt like eating half a bag of Chex Mix followed by a hunk of dark chocolate (I may or may not have actually followed through on this thought, I truly can't recall).

It seems that many of us that try to focus on healthy eating or weight loss already have, shall we say, an unhealthy obsessions with food in some way.  Whether a binge eater, emotional eater, calorie restrictor, or exercise bulimic we probably spend far too much time thinking about what we will eat at our next meal, how many calories we've already consumed and often are plotting how to make a low calorie dessert even lower calorie.  So, while I want to be able to remain supportive, I also find that I need to protect my own sanity.  I've actually found myself living more 'in the moment' lately (this is a HUGE accomplishment) and to do that I can't be worried about how many more hours until my next meal...let alone what cheat food I would like to eat when I know I will not 'allow' it anyway.

Me, age 17, getting ready for Senior Prom.
This type of thinking only reminds me of the dark days of my anorexia.  I literally spent the majority of my days making lists of foods and food combinations that would maximize a feeling of fullness with the least amount of calories.  While I was failing Chemistry (I only passed with a C because the entire school felt sorry for me) I was filling my notebook with these calculations rather than deciphering the Periodic Table.  I dropped my Pre-Calculus course (which I was doing well in) because all of those numbers interfered with what I felt were more important numbers...the calorie count in every food known to man.  Although I really wasn't eating (I survived, and I use that term loosely, on diet sodas and clear broth) I was spending an unimaginable amount of time THINKING about eating.

While I viewed my own body as grotesque and imperfect I didn't see others in the same way. My mother, who I love dearly, has struggled with her weight for most of my childhood.  During the time I was anorexic she would have been classified as obese, maybe even morbidly obese...yet I didn't 'judge' her or even feel the slightest bit of disgust at her weight that I felt towards my own.  For me, anorexia was an internal beast...I could look at a fit, healthy person and wish I looked like her although I was 30-60 pounds lighter.

The battles that go on the minds of the binger and the anorexic are often the same...it's about control and the stifling of emotions.  Both generally suffer body dismorphia (distorted body image) and use food to 'penalize' their disappointment in the self.  Anorexics punish themselves by withholding food (and sometimes water) while bingers

I'm beginning to think that if I could just release the obsession...maybe spend 15% of my day concerned with food...that everything would fall into place naturally because no matter how obsessed, no matter what weight I've been (too thin, too fat) I have not found that 'happy place' for my self-image.  Obviously, if THINKING about food and calories could get me my dream body I'd be a successful fitness model by now.  I've read countless diet books...way more books on this one subject than is required for any university level degree program for almost ANY profession yet I STILL scan through new diet books and read about the latest and greatest diets that seem to spring up almost daily.  I've come to the realization that this isn't working...and it isn't healthy, for me.

Source: I highly recommend reading this article by the above artist.
So goes another Tough Love episode in my life.  Rather than focusing on trimming the fat off of my mid-section I am going to trim it off of the daily bombardment of food obsessed, diet obsessed, reading material in an effort to get me back to living in the present.  Please don't get me wrong...there are many 'weight-loss' and 'healthy-living' blogs that I adore and will continue to read, and I understand that it does help some people to talk out their food battles on their blogs while getting support from this community.  I will always be a supporter of these blogs/friends, people who delve into the emotional side of their eating disorders and can offer the kind of insight I have {hopefully} just gained.  And I hope to do the same for someone else.


  1. You are absolutely inspirational. Besides being fricken beautiful, You have such a gorgeous mind. Your mentally healthy and you know what you need to do to to keep your body and mind at peak condition. Fixing your mind first and then working on the physicals once youve got a healthy out look. I am in love with your writing. No, I haven't read every blog of yours. And I never try to catch up on in-between this one and the last one. I probably won't read another for a few weeks, but its not anything personal or uninterested. It's just me. So much respect for you women.

  2. I agree with you. I too had to sort out my Google Reader yesterday, to see which blogs still interest me or still post because I have to manage my time and my sanity :)

  3. I think that food is too big a focus in my life. I don't know how that came to be but I'd like to change it. I know that blogging about the issue and reading other blogs does not help, but I love it and it keeps me going. Sigh.

  4. Oh my gosh! Lynn your right we did write almost about the same thing! I find that the more I dwell on it the worse I feel about myself. So the question comes to mind "why do I read so many blogs and books about it?" My answer to that is most of them help me when I am struggling. The ones that talk about weddings, family or life in general I do not keep in my GR. I need heavy hitters to keep me motivated and to assist me in this new way of life.

    You do have beautiful writing!

  5. Another wonderful post, Lynn. I'm glad that you are taking more control of your reading material. This is a hard thing to do sometimes; virtual relationships are tricky and there is really no specific rules of etiquette when it comes to ending a reader/blogger relationship. But the bottom line is that if it is somehow not benefiting you, then a change needs to occur.
    And just so you know, I would feel exactly the same way about the need to move on from a blog that suddenly changed perspective - especially if it's something you have no interest in.

  6. Your first loyalty and commitment is to yourself, so yes, it's a must that you do what you gotta do for YOU. For example, a lot of my available time has shifted and I've had to make a decision to either continue to blog like a maniac, or tone it down (less posts, less time on Twitter) in favor of my family and other responsibilities that are demanding more of my time lately. Somethings gotta give a little, so the blog game gets shaved back.


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