“Unbearable Lightness”

15 02 2011

Recently, I read the memoir “Unbearable Lightness” by Portia de Rossi. Her journey is much, much different from mine. Yet, I saw parts of myself in her story. One passage struck me in particular:

“…Diets that tell people what to eat or when to eat are the practices in between. And dieting, I discovered, was another form  of disordered eating, just as anorexia and bulimia similarly disrupt the natural order of eating. “Ordered” eating is the practice of eating when you are hungry and ceasing to eat when your brain sends the signal that your stomach is full. “Ordered” eating is about eating for enjoyment, for health, and to sustain life. “Ordered” eating is not restricting certain kinds of foods because they are “bad.” Obsessing about what and when to eat is not normal, natural, and orderly. Thinking about food to the point of obsession and ignoring your body’s signals is a disorder.”

I don’t have disordered eating habits anywhere near the level she suffered with. (Perhaps the argument of overeating could be made to be as life threatening as anorexia, but that’s not my point.)  Yet, my eating is far from “ordered.” I’m not sure I’ve EVER known how to eat in an orderly fashion. I’ve been at the point of obsession (luckily, not as extreme as her experience, and it didn’t persist) but the reminder of what that was like is enough to scare me from wanting to get near it again. It is clear to me that that way of relating to food and your body isn’t healthy. I cannot seem to find one that is. (It is also possible that I use the excuse of past obsession as a reason to avoid finding a healthy balance now.) (I should be in therapy, most likely. Attempting to perform therapy on yourself is not recommended.)

My point? Hmm. I was so struck by her description of what “ordered” eating means to her and how far it is from my relationship with food. Maybe that’s all. I’m feeling optimistic right now, so I’m going to consider this train of thought as a puzzle piece I’ve found, but don’t know where it goes yet. (Does the metaphor even make sense?)

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