Friday, May 11, 2012

A quarter cup of anorexia

Back in November, something happened. I had a few days where I was really busy at work; so busy that I forgot to cram food down my gullet all day. I noticed when the three o'clock hour rolled around and I wasn't dying to go to bed for a thousand years, crying my make-up off with the fervor of my yawns. 

So I decided to consciously not eat all day and see if it worked even if I wasn't crazy busy, and it did. I was alert and awake all afternoon and into the evening! Ancillary benefit? I lost about twenty pounds over the course of 5 months. Now, everyone around me, who diets like mad and exercises, and eats the prescribed calories or the prescribed number of meals, or the diet foods etc., etc., etc.,.....lamented to me that what I was doing was completely unhealthy. I was told that starvation would never work, that I couldn't keep up the pace of this new diet etc., etc., etc. All these people LIVE in the fine mess that is the overweight-perma-dieting-woman syndrome that feeds the multi-billion industry of slimming us Americans down.

But seven months later, I'm still twenty pounds lighter and I'm still wide awake at 3pm. I have determined that for me to be my best person, I must be about one quarter cup anorexic. Just a quarter cup. I eat dinner without reservation or restraint. I don't snack much in the evening because I've eaten whatever I like at dinner. And I'm still drinking a few glasses of wine a few days a week. I'm not counting calories (that's a half cup anorexic) and I'm not limiting myself when I DO eat (that's three quarters cup....) And I still eat (which obviously disqualifies a full cup). 

My quarter cup of anorexia has shown me something pretty swell. Almost ANYTHING in moderation is okay for us. Now, obviously, let's use our brains. You can't moderately shoot someone. You can't do heroin in moderation, and I'm pretty sure that no amount of bleach in your eyeball is going to work out well. But some things, done with measure, with consciousness and intent, are perfectly healthy even though they might be positively morbid if done in excess.

See what I'm saying?

Religion is awesome. It's comforting, it's uplifting, it's a guidance counselor...unless you get kooky and start protesting people's funerals because you don't like something in society, or making mass quantities of Kool-Aid for people to drink because your God is coming in on a spaceship this week end. Moderation.

Love is builds you up, supports you, compliments you, and encourages you. It's really not cool once it consumes and smothers you. Moderate it for best results.

Being politically active is tremendous. But seriously...are you on Facebook? People need to get a life as well. Spending ALL your time searching for the internet meme that confirms your existing bias isn't really healthy or contributing to a positive national discourse. Being self-reliant and educated is one thing. Being obsessed means you're almost a full cup in and that's not okay.

Our work lives are important and we depend on them, but more than about three quarters cup and I'm betting you'll find it's too much. Something will suffer, whether it's your social life, family life or health. Moderation is the key.

A quarter cup of almost everything is fine. It's a good amount, it probably works in your life, allowing you to have room for other interests and pursuits. My quarter cup of anorexia leaves me alert, lighter, more active and no doubt healthier. I've moderated myself, perhaps in a way that wouldn't work for everyone, but which works for me. 

My Grandmother, who is celebrating her 94th birthday today and still lives independently, has always said that a little bit of everything is okay. I'm sure I can throw a rock and hit 10 people who can refute that ideologically, but you can't refute that 94 years in, her philosophy is working for her. And I think if it's good enough to sustain 94 years for her, it's good enough for me. 

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