Sunday, May 13, 2007

Mother's Day

Today is Mother's Day.

Last night I had this moment of melancholy when I talked to Hubby about how Mabel is now taking showers all on her own.

"She's getting so grown up," I sad sadly.

"Isn't that a good thing?" he replied in confusion.

Is it a mother thing to see the sadness in losing those baby years? I know I mourned the loss of rocking my little one to sleep every night in our rocking chair. I'd sing softly to her and she would nestle in and drift off to the sound of my voice. Sometimes that moment would be the most peaceful and calm of my day, and I treasured it.

Once those cuddly, chubby baby days are gone, they don't come back. The smell of baby powder and baby wipes (gosh those things worked great for stain removal!), the round little cheeks, the corn kernel toes. Marveling over each new word and step.

Of course, there are things I don't miss. Lugging around a baby on my hip plus enough accessories to choke a horse -- the diaper bag, the toys, the change of clothes, bottles, baby-friendly snacks, blankets, stroller. My car was always loaded down like a gypsy caravan.

And while I loved rocking little Mabel to sleep, I remember the countless nights of frustration when I'd try to lay her down in her crib after this rocking and she'd scream and cry. And how many countless nights did I have to get up and change the sheets because she'd pee through her diapers and soak every available piece of material in the crib? Oh, the joys.

I watched Mabel yesterday in gymnastics, doing her back handsprings and front limbers and all those acrobatic feats I could never dream of doing. Her body is changing from those rounded, soft baby days. She's getting a gymnast's body -- lean and toned, defined muscles in her arms, legs and abdomen. With her hair pulled back it ages her even more, and I see the young woman she's turning into. It's enough to make me smile and cry at the same time.

So Happy Mother's Day to all of you Moms out there. I hope today brings you more good memories to cherish.


Yesterday afternoon I had another binge-like episode. I say binge-like because again, it was limited in both food intake and duration. I'm wondering if part of it is habit -- for so many months now my weekends have been foodapaloozas, and it's a routine I've unfortunately gotten accustomed to. Now I'm trying to break that habit and we all know how hard that can be.

Also, I realized that this weekend is the dreaded PMS weekend. This might be a contributing factor to that "need to feed" that's been hitting me. I've also been a little emotional, but not nearly as much as last month. I definitely think last month's breakdown was me hitting bottom with the diet-binge cycle, so it's a good thing that I'm now on this IE path.

I have noticed one big thing about these past two days in comparison to binge weekends of the recent past. Before, for two or three days I would eat and eat and eat some more. I never seemed to get full -- in fact, my body didn't seem to register at all on my radar. I might be a little uncomfortable the morning after -- bloated, a little indigestion -- but once I got the feedbag back on it disappeared again.

These past two days, the extra food I have eaten lays in my stomach like a brick. It doesn't feel right. And both nights I have definitely eaten much less because of that feeling.

So I'm taking these episodes as a blessing in disguise, because it's alerting me to the fact that I am getting more in touch with my body. My stomach is communicating with me again like it probably did 30 years ago, before the dieting and bingeing took over my life. That's progress in the midst of imperfection, which is what this whole process is supposed to be about.

Before I go, I have to reply to Beula's comment from my last post. She asked if I thought I would have been able to go the IE route before losing my weight. I don't think so. But please, don't take that as my recommendation that everyone should go on a diet before they try IE. Looking back at my weight loss, in the beginning I really did try to do it in an intuitive way, along with cognitive-behavioral therapy. And at first that was really working for me. But here's what happened: the allure of that big of a weight loss was so seductive that bit by bit the diet mentality slowly took over my life. I wanted to lose more -- I wanted to be perfect. I got greedy.
And in the end, I think it's made it doubly hard for me. Because now I'm stuck dealing with my split personality of dieter/binger, a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, if you will. I have two sets of issues -- the deprived restricter and the compulsive overeater -- to now work through. I don't wish it on anybody.

Okay, I must finish getting ready for my Pittsburgh trip. Everyone have a great day!


Anonymous said...

Given your emphasis on dieting and weight loss, and the fact that you've had an eating disorder, AND the fact that your daughter is a gymnast, I strongly recommend that you be very aware of early warning signs of anorexia or bulimia (or both). Eating disorders have a big genetic component, and we know that environment plays a role, too. If your daughter has whatever genetic predisposition you do, your endless talking about your own dieting can serve as a trigger for her. And if you're struggling with overweight, you are likely to be tempted to see her thinness as a positive thing for too long.

I'm telling you all this because like you, I struggled for a long time with being overweight. Like yours, my daughter was a gymnast. And I did not realize she was anorexic until she was close to dying. I don't want other families to have to go through what we did.

Andrea K said...

As for genetic predisposition, there isn't any, because I adopted my daughter. She's Asian, with a small build, so very different than me.

That doesn't mean I'm not concerned about how my focus on dieting and weight loss will affect her. In fact, lately she's brought the subject up, and I've been doing my best to now tell her (in a child's version) what I've been learning in the intuitive eating books.

For example, while I want our family to eat healthy meals, I am trying to get across that we're not going to label foods "good" or "bad," nor are we good or bad for eating them. Some food has more nutritional value than others, but I'm trying to show her that there should not be any moral judgment over what we eat.

Also, just a few days ago my daughter asked me if I wanted to be a size zero. I told her no, because that would not be natural for my body, and that I was quite happy with the size I am right now.

She does bring up concerns about her own body, and I know I have a lot of blame for this. One of the reasons I lost my weight was to be healthier so I'd be around for her longer, as well as more active to do things with her. But now my weight loss has influenced her, and she does worry about being fat, even though she is lean and athletic. And I do have a lot of guilt about this. I am trying my best to reverse this by making her proud of her body and what it can do for her. And I try to tell her that there is nothing wrong with fat -- we all need a certain amount to survive and be healthy. I also try to teach her that there is nothing wrong with being fat -- it's another descriptive term like tall, short, Asian or white. But just like food, there is nothing "good" or "bad" about being one or the other.

I don't know if what I'm saying will counteract my past mistakes, but I'm hoping that going the IE route will help model a better attitutde about food and size acceptance for her.

Anonymous said...

In my experience, it's not what you say that your daughter will remember. It's what you do.

You can say what you like--what you've done is show her that losing weight is more important to you than anything else. In the process you've no doubt passed along many messages of self-loathing for your body, of equating fat with poor health and unattractiveness. She will internalize these, make no mistake. She already has.

Dieting is the number one risk factor for eating disorders. Anorexia has the highest mortality rate of any psychiatric illness--20 percent of anorexics die. It is never appropriate for a child or teenager to diet. Never.

I hope you will be vigilant about your daughter. If she is at all genetically predisposed to an eating disorder, you've set her up perfectly for one. If she isn't predisposed, she will probably be OK--if by OK we mean that she'll be no more eating disordered than you or the rest of American women.