Thursday, March 1, 2012

the last time my weight dropped

so all this talk of weight gain and loss reminded me of the ONE time in my life when my weight dropped in an unhealthy way.

i was living with my parents in temecula without many friends or a community. because i was working in San Diego but living in temecula, everything felt very disparate, with some friends here and other friends there, and I was often lonely coming home to a big empty house at the end of each work day. My primary relationship was with my boyfriend at the time who lived in LA.

I remember thinking once that it would really suck if we broke up because I would have nobody to talk to. Like bad foreshadowing in a made-for-TV movie, we broke up just a few weeks after I had that very thought. We were getting ready to celebrate his best friend's wedding and he called as he was driving back to LA from the bachelor party in santa barbara on a saturday night. Out of the blue, he started expressing serious doubts about our relationship and basically tried to break up with me right there on the phone, but I was not having it (you don't get off that easy! haha). We met halfway between temecula and LA to talk it out. There, on a cold metal bench in front of an outlet mall along the I-15, he dumped me.

on the drive back, I called my cousin helen and she talked me through a lot of my emotions. I felt better, but the whole time I remember feeling sick to my stomach. that was a saturday night, and I don't think I ate anything until around wednesday morning. In those few days my weight dropped to 102 lbs, the lowest I've ever weighed since I turned 20. it took me about 4 months to get back to a normal weight again.

In many ways eating is a purely carnal endeavor -- a literal filling up of your bodies' energy tank by crudely shoving food (energy) into your mouth-hole, chewing it to small bits so it can easily slide down your gullet and into your stomach, where it is further broken down by acids and stomach churning until your body gets nutrients that replenish your organs, muscles, etc. it's a basic bodily function!

I remember my friend Jesse once told me he hates eating on first dates because it's just embarrassing to eat in front of someone new -- almost as bad as going to the bathroom in front of them. it's funny, but it's sort of true! eating and going to the bathroom are just two sides to the same story.

but then again, there's something sort of profound and spiritual, even, about eating. How we eat, who we eat with, how much we eat -- all of these point to what's going on inside. for me, heartbreak -- or the vacuum that I felt from the act of someone snatching their love away from me -- was physically manifest in creating an emptiness in my body. it felt wrong to eat, and when I tried, I choked. it's almost as if i didn't want to feel fullness, because I felt so empty inside.

but i know for a lot of others overeating is another expression of pain, a way to fill up some vacancy in the heart by filling up the stomach.

i'm not sure where i'm going with all of this, but I guess i'm trying to say that a cigar is never just a cigar, and a person's diet is never just about what they put in their mouths. why am I gaining weight right now? well probably because I'm pretty freaking happy, and there's nothing wrong with that. I love celebrating with big meals and relishing in the pleasure of delicious food, and I hope I never lose that joy in the process of trying to implement some disciplines in my life. and I think diet and discipline should never become so strict that it results in restricting joy and happiness.

i'm reminded of one of my favorite lines from one of my favorite movies, Spanglish:
American women, I believe, actually feel the same as Hispanic women about weight: a desire for the comfort of fullness. And when that desire is suppressed for style, and deprivation allowed to rule, dieting and exercising American women become afraid of everything associated with being curvaceous, such as wantonness, lustfulness, sex, food, motherhood. All that is best in life.
all that is best in life. i'm gonna think on that for a while :)

In any case, I've so appreciated your comments on my most recent posts because everyone is celebrating healthy lifestyle changes, but with a strong caution against going overboard, and I completely agree. In my dieting endeavor, I hope to achieve a happy balance between discipline and fullness, guidelines and freedom, temperance and celebration.


  1. nice post jeannie! you'll have to blog like this more often.

    your mention of spanglish reminded me that I enjoyed that movie but it was actually really divisive.

    proponents loved it, dislikers hated it!

    but that awesome sandwich you reminded me of:


  2. Posting this for my friend ANDREA who blogs at "EVERYDAY EXTRAORDINARY" and is a truly extraordinary person. Read her blog, I link to it to the right -->

    Jeannie. I love this... Eating is truly interconnected with our emotions and our spirituality, and I'm beginning to think all aspects of our physical health are. I didn't realize that your weight dropped so much during that time... I know it was tough and I remember when it all went down like it was yesterday. I remember driving to Temecula with you a few times and being amazed that you did it every day. I am so happy that you are happy right now, that you are eating and drinking and being merry, and I love when you post pics of what you ate. I wish we could celebrate your happiness with a tuna sub or a California burrito. I love you!!!