Friday, February 15, 2008

Living & Eating


Master chef Julia Child once said: "Life itself is the proper binge."

I came across the quote recently on a birthday greeting card, and immediately, the wheels started turning--first, IS life really a binge? (Certainly, this is an individual question). And, if it isn't, is this reflected in our eating? If we feel that we're not getting enough out of life, do we compensate by bingeing on food?

Geneen Roth is famous for saying, "We eat the way we live." I wonder, though, do we sometimes eat the way we DON'T?

8 comments:

cmoore said...

Hi Dr Stacey,

Speaking as someone with a history of "disordered" eating, I really identified with a couple of the questions you posed here. I know for myself, a lot of the impetus to binge is a combination of feeling really unsatisfied with events or realities about my life and an almost paradoxical drive to "stuff down" any unpleasant emotions or perceptions. I both don't feel "good" and don't feel "enough". Learning to feel things like dissatisfaction, grief, anger, and helplessness is really difficult, and food has been an (albeit ineffective and unhealthy) coping mechanism for all that. It's also hard to learn how to "treat" yourself -- to indulge -- in a way that doesn't involve eating a whole half gallon of ice cream! Etc. I'm enjoying following your blog, keep up the great work.

Katelyn Sue said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Katelyn Sue said...

Hello Dr Stacey!

First off: Your blog is amazing. I read through the whole thing in a day, and it really made me think about the way I view things. But onto my comment...

I also have a history with 'disordered' eating. I developed basically all the symptoms of anorexia, aside from distorted body image (I knew I was freakishly skinny, I never considered myself 'fat'). About a year later, when I finally allowed myself to eat things that I had put off-limits for so long, the freedom I felt was literally intoxicating. That's why I binged. Then I'd feel horrible about it and start being ultra-restrictive again. I was like a swinging pendulum, back and forth between the 2 extremes.

Everytime, the pendulum swings out a little less far to each side, and I am soooo much better now than I used to be; but it's definitely still swinging. And each time I'm on the "binge" side, it's the freedom of it that appeals to me most. Because when I'm on the "restrictive" side, I count calories and limit foods and have all these rules for myself, and it's so STRUCTURED. And I've always been the type of person to have structure in her life, even before I developed food issues. So maybe it's true that we eat not the way we live, but the way we WANT to live.

heidi said...

Dr. Stacey-I love your blog!  I haven't had a chance to read as much as I'd like yet, but I'll be back daily to read what you have to say!  And upon completion of your book, I'll be certain to buy (and read) a copy!  I work with an organization which seeks to empower individuals with eating disorders to become active in their recovery and provide tools and information & to increase societal awareness of the truths and myths about eating disorders...check us out!  http://www.joyproject.orgI have been convinced of the fact that at some level most women experience eating disordered thoughts/feelings/behaviors for some time and I look forward to following your ideas on the topic.  I find the memoir "Appetites: Why Women Want" by Caroline Knapp to be quite illuminating on this point.  Thanks,Heidi 

Sara said...

It's the short posts like these that pack the most punch. This one really made me think. Keep doing what you're doing Dr. S!

emmy. said...

hey, i was just wondering how you post amazon books on your blog like that. is it amazon associates?

and, in response to your entry, that's an interesting thought. i think we *do* eat the way we live. more literally than we think. if we're emotionally starved, some of us... some of us get used to the starvation. some will purge emotion if they're used to being starved. when we're healthy and eat right, our lives come together. when our body's our nourished, our minds are nourished and our lives are more complete. it's a beautiful thing.

still bulimic said...

you pose some really interesting questions here. i wonder what julia childs really meant by what she said...but onto the heart of what you are asking...

i'm yet another woman with a history of eating disorders, and i would definitely say that yes, for me, life IS really a binge. and while food is what i binge on the most, it isn't the only thing. drugs. sex. material things...

for me, it's as if there's never enough time. just about everything i do is at a rapid pace, and i can't seem to slow down. it's so very all-or-nothing...and i think the parallels between the way i eat and live would be very vivid if someone were to look at my life under a microscope.

i wonder to what extent personalities match habits of eating (i guess this is another way to ask geneen roth's question). again, for me, yes. there are few gray areas. i have a difficult time finding moderation with most thing, and food is certainly at the top of the list.

sometimes i think that i'm too afraid to slow down, out of fear of what i might find out about myself. as i grow older and that fear recedes, i get glimpses of how moderation could potentially slip its way into my life in some areas. but it's not easy!

sorry for rambling...your blog is really interesting...my blog is still quite new, but stop by sometime when you have the chance: https://stillbulimic.blogspot.com/

Fauve said...

It's verboten to the OA mentality of "abstinence" and it's practically heinous to admit on extremely rigid, controlling websites like "Something Fishy" - but the fact still is there, hidden in plain sight: a binge has Genuine excitement attached to it. At least, at first. There is true vitality to a binge that is so often lacking in the binger's external life. And, there is secrecy to a binge that can make it seem (and, in fact, actually be) a practice that, however maladaptive it is (and it Is maladaptive; most assuredly so), also to be a Gift to the person bingeing. A Gift of sensuality and over-the-toppedness that can be hidden from this judgemental, prying, very sick world of food police and body-judgers. And so, because of these messy but undeniable truths, I Really Like that quote from Julia Child: "Life, Itself, Is The Proper Binge". Of course, even in life, some moderation seems called for, in service to balance and self-protection and health. But, probably not Nearly as much as our Puritanical, Work-dominated world habitually demands of us. And Wouldn't it be nice to look back someday and say: Despite any mistakes that I made, and in spite of the fact that I wasn't the "right size", I really LIVED!