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Posts Tagged ‘food’

Since lockdown began, I have lost and gained the same seven pounds. Well, I cannot be absolutely certain that it is the SAME seven pounds. Let’s just say they’re not far away from my body at any given time. I am walking every day. I am stretching, eating mostly good food, and spending time outside most every day.

I have tried changing what/when/how I eat. No difference.

I’ve tried intermittent fasting. No difference.

I have tried two different “eating plans”. No difference.

If I read or hear one more time that I need more “willpower” someone will get hurt.

The reality of the situation is this: I am an addict. I have very poor impulse control. I cannot eat one cookie or one potato chip. I eat them all. Maybe not in one setting, but most often. So I try not to keep junk food at home. The cravings get awful.

I have made the conscious decision not to drink alcohol. I used to love drinking alcohol. Like, REALLY enjoy drinking. And, like junk food, if I opened a bottle of wine I would drink all of it. Sometimes I’d open a second bottle. I’d buy a growler of beer. Then I’d drink most, if not all of it in short order. Then I decided I didn’t need to do this to myself…so I stopped.

When I was recovering from surgery at the beginning of the year, I was offered a glass of wine. I agreed. It tasted awful and it wasn’t the wine, it was me. I went out for dinner and ordered a beer. And again, it tasted awful. Ick. So I made the decision to stop drinking, aside from communion.

I’ve not craved alcohol since. Yay!

Before lockdown, I had significantly lessened the amount of sugar/stevia/aspartame that I consumed. I would have a small treat every now and then. I was on the way to kicking the sugar habit. And was really proud of myself.

Then lockdown happened. My grocery bills started increasing because I was determined to eat healthy foods; fresh foods. No processed food. No junk. Excellent plan, not fully realised.

The problem with being a food addict is that you cannot abstain from food. You will never hear at an Overeaters Anonymous meeting: “Hello, my name is Andrea and I’m an addict. It’s been 45 days since my last bite of food.” Food is a very social part of who we are and what we do. If we don’t eat, we die. It will take a long, harrowing time, but we will die.

Eating is a central part to the sacrament of the Eucharist. We gather to share together in the body and blood of Christ. Not literally the body and blood, but a small, round wafer and a sip of red wine. Or a cube of gluten-free bread and a Jesus-jigger of grape juice.

I say often, of the Church, that we gather at the table; either the Lord’s table or the kitchen table. Except right now we can’t. We are unable to gather in our buildings and share these expressions of sacrament and commitment, because it simply isn’t safe to do so.

In the grand scheme of things, being addicted to food isn’t the worst thing, right? Wrong. You can eat yourself to death. You can damage your body, mind and soul from eating the “wrong kinds” of food and abusing food. Many people laugh when I tell them I’m a food addict. Because it does sound funny. How can you be addicted to something that is meant to fuel your body? Impulse control…or lack thereof.

I was talking to a good friend of mine the other day and we were chatting about how I’m struggling with the food addiction. Food carries a tremendous amount of shame for me. I have difficulty eating in front of other people. When I go out to eat, which I haven’t done in a long time, I carefully manage how much I eat.

I am capable of eating mindfully, and when I do, I feel great. Yet when I am under stress I “fog eat” when I sit down to eat something and before I know it the bowl is empty, the container is empty and I have no recollection of refilling the bowl or emptying the container.

Almost immediately I feel profound shame for my lack of control. Why am I so weak and powerless to food? When I keep junk out of my house I’ll be fine for a few days to a week, and then I’ll start craving and it will be horrendous. I can’t function until I tend to the craving. I try all the tricks; drinking water, counting to 10, breathing deeply, having something as a substitute. But none of these tricks work, especially when I’m craving mashed potatoes or cheezies or chocolate cake.

Mashed potatoes are comfort food to me. I make really good mashed potatoes. And I can portion control them, most of the time. But when it comes to potato chips and sweets, I will crave and eat them until they are gone. I’ll make a list and stick to it at the grocery store. I’ll be really disciplined, I’ll be really “good” and then I find myself waiting in line…and the craving begins…just a small bag of chips. You’ve been good. Oh go on, get the big bag, you’ll have a serving and put them away. You can do it.

Except I can’t.

No matter how well I justify “earning” the treat, I cannot stop until they are gone. Not all at once, but within a 24 hour period I will continue to go back to that treat until they are all gone. More shame and self-disgust.

My friend told me, in the grand scheme of things, that overeating, at this point in time, is not necessarily a terrible thing. Yes, it’s self-soothing. Yes, it’s not ideal. But we are living in a time of heightened stress. We are living in a time which is unprecedented for most of us.

I’ve decided to keep a food journal. Not to judge myself, not to punish myself, but to see if I can find a pattern to the cravings and overeating.

So, to that seven pounds that I keep losing and gaining, I say this: “it’s been a slice. How about you go away and stay away? I have no further need of you.”

If only it were that easy…

Wish me luck. Imma need it.

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My body is angry. I ache everywhere. I feel like I physically, from the neck down, have the ‘flu. My ankles are “clicking” more than usual. Same with my wrists. I was walking the other day and my ankle seized up. It simply stopped working and hurt a lot.

I stopped walking, rotated my ankle and was eventually able to weight bear. It scared me. I carefully walked back to my car, got home, elevated, medicated, applied heat and cold alternately and eventually dozed off.

I realised for the past two months I’ve been clenching everything. My jaw, my hands, my body and it’s unsustainable. We are living in a world most of us have never seen before. It’s scary. It’s frustrating. It’s unbelievable. And yet, it is our reality.

When I am at my best I eat three healthy meals a day. I cook at home, I drink lots of water, some decaffeinated tea, a little diet pop, and eat treats sparingly. I can get 8 hours of sleep and awaken feeling refreshed. I have few food cravings. My eyes are clear, my skin is dewy and I feel good.

Not these days, though.

My skin is sallow. I look haggard. I can’t sleep more than a couple of hours at a time. I wake before my alarm and when I decide to try and sleep more, I fall into a deep sleep and have difficulty rousing to my alarm.

I am craving foods I’ve not craved in months, if not years. I’m drinking mostly tea, lots of diet pop and a moderate amount of water. My skin is alternately dry and oily. Everything hurts. Well, except my hair. It’s just growing…fast…and a lot.

My food addiction is bad. I have so much shame about food that I feel humiliated. I am eating 1 – 2 meals a day. I start off with the best of intentions, then end up feeling ravenous, even though I KNOW I’m not hungry. I buy healthy food. Fruit, vegetables, lean meat, multi-grain bread. I don’t bring home a lot of processed food. And yet I crave chips and cookies. And I can’t eat one serving. I eat the whole bag.

I’m aware I’m doing it and I get angry and ashamed. Yet I can’t stop.

I’m currently using two online apps. One is through a wearable device which I really like because it gives advice on what to do as far as exercise in isolation. It’s adapted to the current reality of the world. The other is an online subscription app. I used it a few years ago and it was working well for me, then I stopped. I can’t remember why, but I know it was because I got frustrated with being moved from peer group to peer group.

The program has changed a little in a few years. And not at all since the pandemic. All the “helpful hints” involve getting together with family and friends, of going shopping with your girlfriends. Of going out to dinner, etc. NONE of which we can do right now. So, being the quiet and demure female I am… (you know, there REALLY needs to be a sarcasm font) I sent a message to my personal coach and the Concierge and didn’t receive a satisfactory answer.

I’ve asked questions about dealing with food addiction and been told “in their opinion” that such things don’t exist. Um, what?

I’m debating quitting the online program when my “course” is finished (August). I’m not losing weight, although I am following the course given the restrictions of COVID-19. Ugh.

I was listening to a podcast earlier today and there was woman who was raised by a crack-addicted mother. She was quite judmental with her mother for not having enough self-control. Until she found herself in her mid-twenties eating her feelings…until she weighed over 400 lbs and knew her life was in jeopardy. She joined Overeaters Anonymous and it helped her.

Food addiction is real. It is as valid an addiction as any other. Because I’m in a heightened place of stress, my coping mechanisms are weak…in some cases non-existent. My impulse control seems to be broken.

So, I’ve decided to check out Overeaters Anonymous. There are virtual meetings that I can drop into and drop out of. I think it would help me to talk to people who understand how I feel. Who understand the minefield that food addiction and grocery shopping can be.

Hopefully I can learn, again, to lessen my stress and eat properly so my body will stop being angry with me.

Oh! And then there’s the physical changes with menopause and HRT (Hormone Replacement Therapy). I’ll get there. I know I will.

It will take time. It will take effort. And it will take help. Help which I am determined to get.

Watch this space…

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I reached a major milestone this week…I drove home on Wednesday. Loading the car was an adventure as I overthought about putting the back seat down or what order to load things in. I made sure everything was at a weight I could safely lift so I put twice as many bags into the car to come home as I did when I left home.

Stopping half-way at a caf√© for a Chai Latte (first time I’ve had one of those) was quite good. I drove the last half hour home feeling determined and relatively pain-free. When I got home a friend was waiting to unload the car which was wonderful. We had a quick visit and she left.

A friend and colleague stopped by with his adorable new puppy and we had a cup of coffee and a lovely visit for about an hour.

I unpacked my clean clothes, toiletries, electronics and groceries. I took my time as I did all these things, stopping for a sit down and a cup of tea or glass of water. Then I had a lovely hot shower in my own shower, put on clean pajamas and snuggled into a freshly made bed. Bliss.

I was wide awake at 2:00 am. I wasn’t fretting about it, I realised it was because I’d had a cup of coffee at 4:00 pm and that was my first cup of coffee since I’d left home. Jeez.

Since I got home I’ve continued unpacking and making lists of chores to do, all fun little things like setting up a new recycle station in my storage cupboard. I bought some indoor plants and plant pots and plan to transplant them into pots with better drainage. I have two small sewing projects to take on.

I’ve been out to appointments, and while I’ve seen parishioners, given and received hugs, “shop talk” has been an absolute minimum. And I don’t feel guilty about that.

I’m still working on the “deep dive” and there’s still some yucky stuff to deal with, yet I’m striking a balance.

Yesterday I saw my family doctor in the morning and my counsellor in the afternoon. At the end of our session she remarked that this was the first session we’ve had where I didn’t talk about work for the entirety of the session. She said I look calmer, happier and healthier then she’s ever seen me. She said she was proud of me! I said I was proud of me too! Then she asked the difficult question…”So, how are you going to maintain this level of self-care when you go back to work?”

Fair Question.

The answer is difficult but necessary. Boundaries, communication and the realisation that I am just as entitled to look after myself as I am to look after everyone else. I don’t have to and shouldn’t have to put my needs last.

It’s taken me 52 friggin’ years, and I am finally understanding that I am a good person, a kind person, and I matter. I am going to continue treating myself as well as I treat everyone else. And sometimes even better. ūüôā

My relationship with food is still a big trigger and it’s part of the icky stuff I need to work through. I weighed myself before I had surgery and again when I got home and was shocked that I had lost 7 lbs. I’m not yet back to full-strength. I can’t walk as quickly as I was able to before because of an issue with my left foot.

I have not yet learned to be bored. I’ll need to apologise to my Bishop for that. Instead I’ve begun to daydream again. To take notice of my surroundings, be fully present when I eat and drink. To sit comfortably in silence or listen to music.

I’ve started writing poetry again…which I haven’t done since 1991.

This is work I’ve needed to do for years, no, decades. It’s brutally difficult work and I’m nowhere near finished. And yet I cannot imagine making time to do this work. I’m so very grateful that I’ve taken the time.

All it took was a hysterectomy and oopherectomy to make me take the time to do it.

I’ve missed my Parish and parishioners. I’m looking forward to being back to work, and doing God’s work in our small corner of Creation.

For the first time in a very long time I feel content.

Thanks be to God.

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My “tradition” since I moved West has been to take two weeks and explore closer to home, then to fly to Ontario and visit family/friends. This year, the first two weeks of vacation I spent visiting doctors and specialists. I visited some friends who live close by and spent time cleaning my flat and resting. It was not ideal, yet it was what I needed.

In August I flew back to Ontario. This year was different. I decided not to schedule every moment of every day. I decided to visit only those people I truly wanted to, especially folks I haven’t visited in many years…even before I left Ontario. I didn’t rent a car, instead I used the train to move from one place to another and it was wonderful.

When I lived in Ontario I used the train quite regularly. Where I live now there isn’t a passenger train service and I find myself longing for it.

I spent time with my brother and sister-in-law and two nephews. They are old enough now I can tell them embarrassing stories about their dad (being 8 years older has it’s advantages).

I went to Church the first Sunday I was away with a very good friend of mine. Back in 2014 when I was dealing with a mental and physical health issue that meant I was off work for a month, I drove to his community every Sunday for worship. It was life-giving to be with a group of people providing support, and having absolutely no idea that they were doing it.

My friend picked me up at the hotel where I was staying at an ungodly hour and we went to three services together. I heard him preach the same homily three times, twice at one church, once at another. And it was a marvellous homily. He invited me to con-celebrate with him, which was very powerful. And at my request he blessed and anointed me in the midst of his congregation as I await test results. It was a very powerful moment in which I physically felt the power and love of the Holy Spirit moving through him and the congregation.

The second Sunday I was staying with dear friends, one of whom first recognized a call to service. It was because of his gentle nudges that I tested the call to be a priest. He had not shared communion in four years because of many reasons and it was a tremendous honour to celebrate with he and his lovely wife. Needless to say, we were all in tears by the end off the service. We met outside, used a piece of bread and some red wine left over from the previous night’s dinner. we lit a candle, settled into lawn chairs and worshipped God in God’s creation. It too was a very powerful moment where the Holy Spirit blew through our gathering, gently and lovingly.

I spent time listening, walking, laughing and loving.

I taught my grandson and grand-daughter how to build and successfully light a campfire.

I enjoyed shenanigating with friends.

I spent time in the arms of one I have loved for a long time.

I said goodbye to the old and hello to the new. I disposed of things which no longer bring me joy in order that I can be prepared to receive the good that is yet to come.

I left home feeling anxious and exhausted. I returned home feeling grateful, refreshed and mostly well-rested.

I’m toying with the idea of driving to Ontario next summer, taking a full month of vacation and taking my time…stopping at the Museum of Human Rights in Winnipeg etc., on the way. I may even see if I can convince a certain someone to drive back with me and explore my corner of creation with me.

I ate well, slept well, laughed until it hurt, cried until it stopped hurting, spent time outside, watched a movie, did some laundry, got a tattoo (tree of life between my shoulder blades) and generally, had the best time.

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Balance is a strange word…it has multiple meanings.¬† My sense of balance isn’t great, ask anyone whose walked beside me and I careen into them.¬† ¬†The balance I’m talking about is life balance.¬† I am my own worst critic and my own worst enemy.¬† I am harder on myself then anyone else has eve been, and I’ve had some critics and enemies.

The still small voice gets loud at times and tells me I’m worthless, useless, lazy, stupid, etc.¬† The well part of my brain tells me to ignore the voice, or fight back against that voice.¬† The sick part of my brain says “See?¬† Told ya!”

I don’t make New Year’s resolutions.¬† I find winter difficult for many reasons.¬† So knowing I’m already emotionally “down” in the darker months, why set myself up for failure with promises I mean when I make them, but don’t really think them through…so for this year, as I was sitting at home with a glass of wine and a purring cat a word came to me — BALANCE.

It doesn’t have to be all or nothing.¬† It can be both/and.¬† I can be conscious of my health and still enjoy a lazy day at home or an ice cream when I’m out.¬† I can walk 10,000 steps some days and 3,000 another.¬† I can sleep a full night and have a nap, or work through the night and sleep part of the day.¬† Balance.

I am many things to many people and I believe I treat everyone the same.¬† Or that is my intention.¬† I am drawn to the underdog…to the one who feels invisible.¬† That is the story I seek.¬† And in most cases as trust is earned and stories are shared, there is a great deal of similarity.

There was a funeral for a gentleman from the congregation in early January.¬† He was a much-loved member of the congregation and the community.¬† The Church was filled to capacity (and then some) and we laughed, cried and remembered him.¬† I have another funeral on Monday for a gentleman I knew through visiting and services at a local retirement home.¬† He has a similar story to R.¬† But a very different story as well.¬† Isn’t that the same for all of us?

Our stories overlap with others, our experiences are similar until they are not.¬† We make choices that don’t seem to matter hundreds of times a day.¬† And on occasion we make choices are that more difficult.¬† There is always choice.

I eat as well as I can but on occasion I like to treat myself.¬† I like to eat something that I don’t usually have at home…or enjoy dessert.¬† I’m beginning to learn that food is not punishment or reward…it’s simply something with which to fuel our bodies.¬† I just re-read the first sentence in this paragraph…and I’ve got some work to do with my relationship to food.¬† BALANCE.

I love the way my body feels when I move it.¬† I joined a gym and go when I can…which is not often enough.¬† I walk as much as I can and sometimes that’s just around the block or across town and back.¬† I do yoga and I meditate, focusing on breathing.¬† I will not be an extreme athlete or run triathlons because I don’t want to.

My big purchase this Spring will be a bicycle.  One with a few gears that I can use to get around town.  Not off-road or in the bush, but on the trails and streets of town.

For the first time, likely ever in my life, I’m feeling good about who I am and how I look.¬† I’m working on lowering the numbers on the scale, and I’ve realised that those numbers do not define who I am as a woman of God, as priest, as a friend.¬† I may be fat, but I’m also kind, generous, loving.¬† I am respected in my vocation and in my community.¬† In my own small way I make a difference in the lives of others, in this community and in the world.

I am me, because that’s the only person I can be.¬† Everyone else is taken.

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All my life I’ve been an emotional eater…food was used as punishment and as reward. Over the winter my eating habits were atrocious…I would eat non-nutritional food far too often and usually I’d eat mindlessly. ¬†This winter was a tough one because I couldn’t get out and walk, which is one of my favourite forms of self-care.

So winter finally ended and Spring is trying really hard to get to the East Kootenays and especially the Elk Valley, but we’re getting there. ¬†I’ve discovered the trail system that links around and through the community. ¬†During Holy Week I discovered a new trail that I hadn’t hiked before and I hiked it. ¬†It rained and snowed, but I hiked it.

Easter Sunday I went out and hiked it again, and went a little bit farther.  Again, it rained, but I hiked it.

I’ve been out every day this week (granted it’s only Wednesday) but each day I’ve gone a bit further or tried a new path or link.

Today was a crappy day. ¬†I had an argument with a friend and I can remember a time when I would have eaten my feelings, as much fat and salt as possible…the emptier the calories the better. ¬†But today I didn’t do that. ¬†I went for a walk instead and had a conversation with them (they weren’t with me, this conversation was in my head). Originally the walk was going to be around the block…and then it was to the end of the street…and then to part of the trail…and instead of turning back I kept going and walked/hiked a 5 km loop of trail and then came home again. ¬†I was gone just over an hour.

I learned today that I don’t have to eat my feelings. ¬†I can walk them. ¬†I’m still learning to feel my feelings, but today I learned a new way to express myself. ¬†It may not seem like a big deal to you, yet to me it’s huge.

I am strong. ¬†I am capable. ¬†I am in control of myself. ¬†And my food choices today have all been healthy. ¬†This is a good step in the right direction. ¬†I’m proud of me…and it isn’t often I say that.

I’m learning a new way. ¬†I’m teaching myself to listen to myself. ¬†And that’s pretty awesome. ¬†Yay me!

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This is the third Friday I’ve been in my new home. ¬†The third Friday that I’ve taken as a day off. ¬†I have no desire to do anything and nowhere I really have to be. ¬†But there are things I’d like to get done.

As I’ve been unpacking boxes I’m piling them in my kitchen. ¬†Today I broke them all down and put them together for recycling. ¬†The community bin is across the street, which makes this OH SO convenient.

My kitchen is ready save for a couple of small things. ¬†I’ve been prioritizing wants from needs. ¬†I’ve got everything I need for the kitchen. ¬†There’s a few things I’ll obtain as I want them. ¬†For example, casserole dishes. ¬†I didn’t have any. ¬†I really didn’t need any but was out one day and came across an incredible deal. ¬†So know I have one that I purchased at 75% off.

I’m embracing a new attitude about “stuff”. ¬†If it’s something I will use (more than once) and will enhance my life, I will obtain it. Otherwise, nope. ¬†Don’t need it.

On my list still to obtain are a creamer and sugar basin for when I entertain, which I will be doing on Sunday.  An iron and ironing board.  Something I will be using, especially once I start home communions and will have linens to launder.

I am in need of new clergy shirts; the one’s I have are starting to come apart at the seams…granted, I have had them for 6 years. ¬†But I’m waiting for a sale as they are EXPENSIVE.

I also need new bras. ¬†The two I have are uncomfortable, too big and leave a weird line in my clothes. ¬†Living where I do means there’s no easy access to buying them, so I’m beginning to look online. ¬†Being a plus size gal makes it a tad more challenging. ¬†But I will succeed. ¬†I am determined!

Slowly I am mindful of a routine being established in my life. ¬†I like routine, I like order and I am finding for the first time in a long time, I have both. ¬†I work as hard as I ever did, and am mindful of myself and my needs. ¬†If I’m tired, I rest. ¬†If I’m hungry, I eat. ¬†I’m still struggling with food addictions, and overall am making healthier choices most days.

There are times I abuse myself with food. ¬†And I’m aware that I’m doing it. ¬†It occurs infrequently and I am pleased that I can recognize that it’s happening.

So today I’m going to have a shower and get dressed. ¬†Make my bed, go to the post office, drug store and grocery store, all of which I can walk to. ¬†I’m going to go to the hardware store on the other side of town. ¬†I could walk, but I’m going to drive. ¬†And if I don’t get what I am looking for there, I will drive to the next largest community; an hour away.

There is nowhere I must be today and no commitment I must keep.  Today is a day just for me.  And I LOVE that.

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All my life I’ve had a love/hate relationship with food. ¬†I am a self-described food addict. ¬†When I eat, I tend to eat a lot and when I crave, it’s never for healthy food.

Something that I’ve been seeing a lot of lately is articles about foods you should “never” eat. ¬†Foods that are “poison” and foods that can kill. ¬†Seriously? ¬†Toast is evil? ¬†Give me a break.

I should eat better than I do. ¬†And I will admit that on occasion supper is a bag of Smartfood. ¬†Which really isn’t all that smart. ¬†I know what I need to do to eat healthier and better. ¬†The problem is being motivated enough to actually do it.

In just over two weeks I’m heading to southeastern British Columbia. ¬†A whole new way of life. ¬†A new culture, a new geography, new grocery stores, and a whole new level of panic and anxiety. ¬†I know my local grocery store. ¬†And I’m sure it won’t take me long to learn my new grocery store. ¬†But the fear is real.

I am not moving with any food. ¬†I’m taking some of my favourite tea with me, the rest I will buy when I get there. ¬†Stocking a pantry, buying spices and condiments is both exciting and terrifying. ¬†I’m taking reusable bags with me to never use a plastic shopping bag again.

I will buy cookwear when I get there. ¬†And bakeware. ¬†I’d like to stay I’ll plant a little garden, but the reality is, I likely won’t.

I’d love to homestead where I grow my own food. ¬†But the reality is I don’t have the knowledge, experience or motivation to do any of these things. ¬†And that’s okay.

I am recommitting myself to a pescatarian lifestyle.  A pescatarian is a person who is a vegetarian but eats fish.  I have the proper supplements so I will be healthier in myself and in my diet.

Yes, I’m fat. ¬†Yes, I shop in fat girl stores. ¬†I’d like to lose weight but I don’t think my body is ready to let go of a lot of the stress it’s been holding. ¬†If I was a betting person I’d say that my cortisol levels are extremely high, due mostly to the stress with which I am surrounded.

Once I get moved I will re-establish a healthy routine that will include exercise, yoga, meditation, prayer and silence. ¬†I will eat healthier than I am right now. ¬†Because I will be ready. ¬†The weather here has been mild but also slippery. ¬†I’ve fallen a couple of times in the last two weeks, and while the injuries were minor, it’s scared me, to the point where I don’t want to venture outside.

This morning it was raining. ¬†Rain in January scares me because when it changes it’s almost always to ice first, then snow. ¬†Sure enough a winter storm whipped up, and there’s a thin layer of ice beneath the snow outside.

I’m not sure why I’m so scared. ¬†I suspect, in part, it’s because I don’t want to arrive in my new pastoral charge physically damaged. ¬†They hired someone with all appendages intact, I’d like to arrive that way.

I’ve started bookmarking recipes again, especially ones that replace pasta noodles with veggies. ¬†That kind of thing makes me very happy. ¬†I’m looking forward to buying a soup pot and I have two special soup bowls that are coming with me.

My goal as I pack and prepare to move is to downsize and simplify my life. ¬†I don’t need much to be happy. ¬†Open space, uncluttered, is good.

I think I will be writing more regularly as I prepare to move.  I may even blog at the end of each travel day.  Only time and wifi will tell.

 

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Recently there has been a great deal of attention given to fat shaming, usually in the guise of “concern”. ¬†There is a You Tube “comedienne” who recorded a video called “Dear Fat People”. ¬†I started watching it, got frustrated, angry and then started to feel sorry for her. ¬†I didn’t finish watching it because I’ve heard her arguments before. ¬†The thing is, this woman does not know me. ¬†She does not know my struggle. ¬†Yes I’m fat. ¬†But that’s not all I am. ¬†That’s not who I am.

I am a 47 year old woman who has battled demons that she would likely never imagine. ¬†I wouldn’t wish my burdens on anyone. ¬†They have strengthened me. ¬†They have formed me. ¬†They have softened the hard edges in me.

There was a time when I was under-weight. ¬†And I was in terrible shape. ¬†Psychologically I was unwell. ¬†Physically I was frail. ¬†I wasn’t anorexic, I didn’t struggle with an eating disorder. ¬†I was naturally under-weight and extremely sick. ¬†At 16 I was in a car accident that changed me. ¬†I became afraid of everything and everyone. ¬†I sought comfort, in food. ¬†So I ate, and I ate and I ate and soon I was a “healthy” weight. ¬†But still sick.

As I have aged I’ve had a love/hate relationship with food. ¬†There was a time when my diet was almost exclusively ready to eat or heat and serve. ¬†And I was malnourished although I was overweight.

I am not now, nor have I ever been a delicate person. ¬†I have an above average skeleton so I “hide” my weight well. ¬†But I am overweight; I am fat. ¬†You may think you know me, but you don’t. ¬†And you likely won’t ever get to know me because all you see is my size. ¬†Not my heart.

I am an Anglican Priest in a small town.  With my arms I have held those who were in mourning.   I have hugged those who are celebrating.  I have anointed those receiving the sacrament of baptism; and anointed those who have died.  I have written hundreds of pages of homilies, read thousands of prayers, and heard more stories than my heart can hold.  Some of those stories are of triumph and hope; some are of death and despair.  All of them are held sacred.  They are part of me.

I have witnessed people seeing the face of God for the first time. ¬†I have listened as folks poured out their heart and soul, looking for forgiveness which they didn’t feel they deserved. ¬†But they do. ¬†We all do.

To those who feel sorry for me because of my weight, please don’t. ¬†I have no desire to be on the cover of a magazine. ¬†For those who judge me when I order dessert or french fries, go ahead. ¬†Your judgment means nothing to me.

I have a weird relationship with food…I always have and likely I always will. ¬†I struggle with food addiction, but instead of feeling a victim to it, I am re-learning to enjoy food, without guilt or shame.

I walk every day, sometimes more than once a day. ¬†I walk for me, to see the world around me. ¬†I don’t listen to music or compete with besting my time, but instead, I walk to feel the rhythm of my feet on the ground, to feel the rush of air into and out of my lungs. ¬†I walk to strengthen my body.

My hearts desire is to make a difference in the world. ¬†I have the best vocation in the world…to teach people about love. ¬†I live that the best way I can. ¬†And in doing so I am learning to love myself.

So for those of you who cast judgment when you see me; my clothes, my hair, my weight, my diet…go ahead. ¬†I’d rather you cast that venom in my direction, then to someone who isn’t as strong as I am. ¬†You see, your words mean nothing to me, they don’t define who I am. ¬†Only I get to define who I am. ¬†Only God will judge me. ¬†Actually, many will think they can judge me, but only God’s judgment matters to me.

So go ahead, bring your fat shaming. ¬†I know who I am. ¬†I know of what I am capable. ¬†You don’t. ¬†And likely, you never will.

I am Fat Woman, hear me roar!

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I am less than a week away from two glorious weeks of vacation. And of course, we are in the midst of a horrendous heat wave in the part of the world where I live. So instead of bustling about, I’m sitting in front of a fan, praying for the weather to break.

I’ve got most of the big things in place to be away. I have the bulletins finished, just need to pick up one set from the printer. I have the readings selected and ready to go for the weeks I’m away. I have pastoral calls prepared for this week.

What I’ve not done yet is prepare my clothes, plan the itinerary and start packing. All of these things are fun but I need to get other things done first, including cleaning my house. Ugh. If only the weather would cooperate, so I could get up and do something without dissolving into a puddle, that would be awesome. C’mon Mother Nature, help me out here.

I am looking forward to two weeks of travel, leisure, yoga, stretching, fabulous food and drink, sleep and nature…not necessarily in that order. I have a new journal that I’m taking with me. I’ve not yet started writing in it, and I’m not sure why. But I’ll get there.

So, for the next couple of weeks, blog posts will be non-existent, but I promise to share all kinds of loveliness when I get back.

Can’t wait to get off the treadmill of “busy” for awhile. To redirect my rhythm and finally start to feel better. I am excited to feel better, for what will feel like the first time in a long time. But I can do it. I know I can. I have to.

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