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Read This. Right Now. | Manolo for the Big Girl

Read This. Right Now.

We briefly mentioned Frank Bruni’s memoirs yesterday, but “I Was a Baby Bulemic” which he wrote for the New York Times –adapted from his book– is the most honest, encompassing personal retelling of the beginnings of disordered eating.

I have a fairly healthy relationship with food now –I say that as I’m full from my lunch of mixed greens, pâté, homemade tzatziki (y’all I’m NEVER getting through these two gallons of yogurt) , my famous soda bread and one of those super crunchy foam-caged pear apples– but I recognized myself (and my mother) in almost every paragraph.

Enormous thanks to Lex for pointing this out.

So the rest of you go, read this and come back and let’s have a discussion. It’s a little heavy for a Friday, but who said heavy is bad?

8 Responses to “Read This. Right Now.”

  1. BrieCS August 28, 2009 at 3:44 pm #

    Wow, this was a tough read. A lot of the things he said about his early childhood hit home – I didn’t force myself to throw up, but had a stomach disorder in my toddler-to-child years and ended up sick from many meals. I was never chubbier as a child, always kind of small, but as soon as I hit my mid-teens, that changed – my hips got bigger and so did my shoulders, but no weight gain, until I turned 18, and now I’m unable to lose that extra forty pounds.

    I am incredibly glad I never fell into bulimia, although it appealed for a long time, as someone who loves food so could never give it up. I think watching my friends go through binging and purging and starving themselves is what kept me from it.

    I really feel for Mr. Bruni. What a story!

  2. mini_pixie August 28, 2009 at 4:21 pm #

    wow… the whole “more food than you could ever want but mustn’t get fat” attitude from his mom really hits home for me. Not so much from my own mother but from my grandma for sure. “Don’t you want thirds?” is immediately followed by “You could stand to lose some weight, dear” without a blink of an eye. It’s definitely hard for me to discipline my eating in an ordered way, and not go overboard.

  3. Plumcake August 28, 2009 at 4:35 pm #

    Brie, I know what you mean. My freshman year of college my stomach essentially prolapsed from starvation after my mother put me on Fen Phen and an incredibly restricted (think an orange a day) diet. I lost something like 80 pounds in four months but couldn’t eat anything other than soft breads and mashed potato-type thing without being sick for close to three years. Obviously by the end of those three years I’d gained every pound back, plus another 50.

  4. Plumcake August 28, 2009 at 4:39 pm #

    Pix, do we have the same grandmother? I think everything you need to know about my grandmother’s relationship to food is this: she has a whippet, the whippet is translucent in the sun.
    That’s right, he’s so thin you can actually see sunlight through him. One day as she was fixing his food, she told me he was “getting fat” I said, sensibly “YOU CAN SEE THROUGH HIM” but her opinion wasn’t budging. I looked over and she was pouring Parmesan cheese on his dinner.

    I suggested if she didn’t want the dog to gain weight maybe she shouldn’t pour cheese on his food and she said, completely deadpan “well he doesn’t eat that much anyway.”

  5. Lex August 28, 2009 at 4:40 pm #

    Hat tip back to the Plum, natch.

    How do I get freaky with food? Let me count the ways… Seriously. Y’all do not want to get me started on enumerating the myriad ways I’ve abused food and my body.

    Frankly, I’m still a little shocked when I run across people who DON’T exhibit disordered eating behaviors. Many of the comments on this post on the NYT’s Well blog reminded me of the huge gulf between those for whom eating is no big deal and those of us whose long history of disordered eating has left us so disconnected from our bodies that we have to re-learn basic physical sensations and behaviors.

    By coming forward with this in such a painfully honest way, I hope Frank Bruni educates some of the lucky sods out there without food issues about how it’s not as simple for the rest of us.

    Personally, I’ve been listening to the Intuitive Eating audio program, and I’ve found it incredibly helpful in working toward a healthier, more balanced approach to eating and exercise. Sometimes it’s disheartening, though, to realize how messed up my relationship with food is that I need to make a conscious effort to do what comes naturally to freakin’ infants, you know?

  6. Plumcake August 28, 2009 at 5:24 pm #

    Lex, I hadn’t thought about it like that, but you’re totally right. There IS a huge gulf between people who have normal relationships with food and those of use who don’t (or didn’t during a significant part of their lives). I’m definitely going to check out that audio program.

  7. Mimi Stratton August 29, 2009 at 12:42 pm #

    Excellent article, honest and compelling. Many of the elements of emotional eating described resonate strongly with me. I don’t know if awareness of all the aspects of hunger, real or imagined, help to solve life-long issues with food, but knowing others have fought the dragon, that you are not alone, is of comfort.

  8. sarahbyrdd August 31, 2009 at 2:19 pm #

    Plumcake, One more suggestion to help with your yogurt problem: you can use it (possibly thinned down a bit with milk if it’s a strained yogurt) as you would buttermilk in baking.