Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Marathons

i saw the title of a post (or article, or some kind of written-internet-thingy) today that sparked my thinking about what it means to have a "perfect food day".
This kind of lingo is pretty typical in the eating disorder world.
Back when I used to talk to girls who were actively sick, we would discuss what we ate that day, and idealize what our "perfect food day" would be like.
For one girl, it would be eating X amount of calories, exactly. For another, it meant only eating at 12 pm and 5pm. For me, it meant eating nothing, but that wasn't even enough.
Eating disorders set up this kind of "receding horizon" (as I like to call it) in our minds. People with eating disorders are constantly striving towards some kind of unattainable goal, a target that keeps moving. It's like chasing a shadow.
We all know the story : girl loses five pounds and decides she wants to lose five more. She loses five more and decides she wants to lose ten more, and so on.
I would cut down my calories constantly, even down to the point where NO FOOD wasn't okay, and then where was I left? Chasing a freaking non-existent shadow.
I think this phenomenon doesn't only apply to eating disorders, though.
Think of a marathon runner. He or she didn't start out as a marathon runner, right? It's like someone who starts running, and then decides they like it. So they start running, say, five miles a week. And then maybe five miles 3 times a week. And then maybe 5 times a day. Then they do a 5k, and then a 10k, and then a marathon. And then more marathons. And, you get the point.
The problem, I think, is that in our society we all buy into this mindset of "more, more, more". The "American Dream", so to speak, is ruining us. It's this idea that nothing is ever okay just as it is that is causing us to be so dissatisfied with ourselves and our lives, even though our actual bodies and lives are really probably fine as is and would be okay if we just accepted them as they are right now.

I wanted to leave you with this song by Christina Perri today.
I'm not gonna analyze it for you, I think you all can figure out what I think it means...

8 comments:

  1. 1. yayyy for a blog from posie pants!
    2. i'm in love with that song
    3. i agree.so many people are: more, more, more or less, less, less...never good enough or happy with where things are :(

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  2. i find that so true ;( and sad of course, and i worry that i will never look at it or food or just like size, what not in a 'normal' mindset, or what i used to do before ed...but maybe i was never 'normal' even when i was much younger, always sort of distorted? but i really liked this post. and its sort of all relative, someone might have what many refer to as a 'perfect' food day in terms of health, and it seems okay nutrient-wise, perhaps its all 'healthy' but is still connected to what *they want and to some goal that they are trying to reach. not hat it's a bad thing though, it's nice to have goals :) xoxox

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  3. I admit I kind of disagree with this.  The starvation things feeds off negative energies.  The running though- coming from a marathoner- is connecting with a deep internal source.  It's like breathing and finding that it's good, so you keep breathing.  I love running and it's the only time I feel deeply connected in my own body, so I personally disagree with the supposistion anorexia and marathons are both obsessive-driven addictions.

    I'm so pysched you're reading Naomi.  That book did so much for my eating disorder.  The chapter about violence actually completely changed my perspective on certain things.

    Hope everything is going well with you!

    hugs, bailey

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  4. Hi, Rose.  I like your idea about "more."  Check out Laurence Shames's essay, "The More Factor," which discusses how this is a central part of American culture.

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  5. girlspinsmadlyonJune 1, 2011 at 10:44 AM

    Will do!

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  6. Lately I have been happier with less. Less everything. I agree that the American Dream just isn't always the ideal! And it only took me 35 years to realize that. :)

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  7. I had this thought recently: I am completely OK with not being extraordinary.  I have been in overachieving mode for most of my life.  high school to college, sports, jobs, my body...I always feel like I can do better and that I should do better.  I should be content with staying in one place for a while, being comfortable where I am, without setting out to achieve yet another goal.  Maybe in this stationary place, we can actually be happy for a moment.

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  8. It is easy to get caught up in the American Dream type of ideology. Eating disorders really struck a chord deep down that affected every part of my life. It can be a challenging process to change expectations or views/opinions and sometimes I don't think there is a right answer.

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