Because when I think Cave Man + Official it totally equals Me.
Okay, you guys remember the post, “On My Lifelong Battle With Obesity and How I Have Overcome It?”
It was the most read on this site, getting almost 2,000 views one day because Matt Stone posted it on his social media, and anyhow, remember how I said that in an effort to do blog tidying I had deleted a slew of photos in the “unattached” folder before Christmas? Except in reality, many of them were Not unattached?
All the photos from that entry bit the dust, and so I tossed the whole thing in the trash and deleted it because the words seemed to lose credibility without the photos, but now I am sorry because even if I couldn’t have recovered All of them, surely I could have found Some, and while you guys read it a lot, I didn’t and I only remember the general gist of how it went so I cannot even do a recreation of the original.
We live all Absolute Wherever We Are but are also absolutely Changeable In A Moment, and then Absolute There as well.
I am a “we.”
I guess that is just how it goes when you are me. #sayseyore
Okay, so before I update you on what it’s been like to transition to Paleo eating and why that’s been a good choice for me, I’m going to attempt a quick recap on my relationship with food using a few of the deleted Obesity pix I found in my albums so you will be able to see why I am so thankful for non-rabid Paleo life.
Basically that story went like this.
“Once upon a time there was a Little Stephanie who was a cute enough kid (except for some knobby knees and chubby cheeks) and she lived in a trailer in the woods with her Mother, Father, and 4 younger siblings. Working hard and being self-reliant was a family value, leaning on nature and not the government was the norm, and no one knew that there were people in the world who could be particular about food simply because they were not a fan of the current dinner choices.
Although she was a nature lover, and did not mind a bit of dirt, Little Stephanie was in reality a particular child #because INFJ, and oftentimes preferred not eating rather than delving into the venison chili (because she had groped the raw flesh, feeding it through the hand grinder onto the newspaper covered kitchen table and it gagged her) or the fish her Daddy had caught (because the bones gagged her) or saltine crackers and milk as cereal, or mayonnaise sandwiches, or liver and onions (because all the gagging) and one night she sat at the table for hours rather than eat said liver and onions til’ her Dad came and either shoveled the food into or mouth or let her be excused. At this point she cannot remember. She has effectively blocked all liver traumas. (As much as Little Stephanie adored Laura Ingalls and her farm/prarie/woods stories, she probably would have starved to death as a frontier wife. Or perhaps learned to stop being high maintenance with all the gagging and just sucked it up already. One or the other.)
She did however, love chocolate and Diet Coke, so Nutty Bars with soda became lunch at school. Or a Little Debbie with Diet Coke. Or a bag of Doritos and Diet Coke. Occassionally Oreos with Diet Coke. #junksnacksanddietcokeforever
By the time she was 10, not only did Little Stephanie have a poor relationship with food, she began shedding her very first unnecessary placenta, thereby ushering her into a long family line of women with uteruses who were all like, “We Win The Early Procreation Ability Wars!!”
This was a club she was not excited to join for a plethora of reasons.
So began her poor relationship with her own body, and she would spend the next 22 years waging war against food and the fat that caused feminine curvature, and was therefore responsible for so much of her unhappiness.
Later she would hear the story about her 10 year old maternal grandmother sitting at her families’ formal dining table while the maid served dinner announcing to her parents and siblings that she was sorry to say she was dying by way of bleeding to death. Upon hearing young Betty Jane’s sad farewell, her Mother excused them both from said table, took her to the bathroom for feminine hygiene supplies and shared with her all the joys of Overachieving Uteruses.
Grown Stephanie would consider the thought that perhaps her genetic wiring supported the “German Beerwench In A Corset” style of female (or at least German Fraulein) as opposed to the “Danish Beach Volleyball Athlete” form she was in pursuit of, but then she disregarded that as nonsense #becausedetermination #dedication #perseverance #pluscrazybrain and continued with unwavering vision her plan to fight obesity.
A few pregnancies at 17, 19 and 21 threw Obesity Wars for a loop which was incredibly challenging both mentally and emotionally, but by the time she was 22, she had committed to 1,000 calories a day via Slimfast and Lean Cuisine (plus all the Diet Coke) and though she had to quit breastfeeding her baby Girl at 5 months because of milk supply issues, at least she had a good battle plan that made her feel safer.
Sometimes she felt safer.
Other times she laid on the couch and cried because she needed to go the grocery store, but she knew everyone would take one look at her and think, “Seriously?? Why did that fat lady even leave her house??” and it would require great courage to push through that kind of opposition and commandeer the food her family needed.
Because of her struggles with food and obesity, Stephanie began to grow more creative in her plots, trying a few years of veganism, juice fasting,
water fasting, colonics, a heavy duty vitamin regime, and then the faith diet where you only eat if your stomach literally growls, plus running an hour a day and lifting weights. She recognized that perhaps it wasn’t quite healthy to be so focused on her body’s ability to regulate fat, and at a deeper level realized hating oneself did not serve the principles of her faith, so she added spiritual warfare type prayer to deal with the things that whispered so much accusation and said she should just starve and die, and while that did provide some healing for her spirit, it did nothing to help her body cooperate more fully with a fat free life.
One of the most painful things about Stephanie’s weight struggle was being terrified always, being certain that the day was coming when her husband would leave her for another woman.
A better woman.
One who had more self control, did not have problems with food and size, and who was pretty enough to be with him. She even had regular dreams about this other, better woman, and can still see her clearly to this day.
While faithfulness in marriage was never actually an issue, and her Love seemed to be all in, she did not relax her guard and remained prepared just in case.
Stephanie developed ulcers in the colon, female issues, shin splints so painful she could not walk up the stairs to put her kids to bed, daily migraines, and upon discovering she was literally unable to run any longer, she dropped her calorie intake to 500 a day so that Obesity would not continue to grow.
She also dyed her hair black to match her soul.
Then one day into her 22 Year War, a girlfriend who was also a health professor asked, ‘Stephanie, what if your problem is not in reality obesity, but anorexia?’ and Stephanie was like, “Oh please. Do I look near death to you? I am incredibly round. I could eat all this fat on my keister for a good 6 months and be healthy.”
But the Professor Friend persisted and said, “Just start keeping track. Eat 1,200 calories a day, then move to 1,500. When you are ready add an apple and 2 Tablespoons of peanut butter, and that will get you to 1,800. Then stay there. 1,800 – 2,000 calories daily are what an adult female’s body needs to function and be healthy. You can do this.’
So our girl cried and ate 1,200 calories. Cried and ate 1,500 calories. Cried and could not eat 1,800 calories.
But after a surprise pregnancy, where the baby died in the womb and was birthed by way of a D & C, she grieved deeply about how her body had been unable to support life, and felt responsible for the death of her child, and she started to eat more food, not because she wanted to or because her eyes saw a non-obese person in the mirror, but because she trusted that her Professor Friend, and her other friends, and her husband could see something she could not, and because she was angry that no amount of hard work and dedication and perseverance would give her the fat free body she had tried to attain without harming the tiny person living inside her frame, and if she couldn’t have what she wanted most, why even try?
She ate 1,800 calories a day in Mexican food and Margaritas, or spicy french fries, dark chocolate and red wine, and she had ice cream for dinner if it sounded good because she still did not actually like food, and sometimes she would take her baby boy for a walk in his stroller, and that was her only exercise, and you know what happened?
What Stephanie had always feared to be true all her days, was indeed true.
If you Eat The Food, you Get Fat.
Over the next 3 years she gained 35 pounds, and found that while her body did fill right out, 3 years of eating did not magically correct the health problems gained from a lifetime of under-eating, overexercising, and loathing oneself.
She vividly remembers this night, and how grotesquely huge her face felt and how hard it was to live in her own round skin and focus on the people in her house, but Jesus had told her her pursuit of fat free life was idolatry, and she didn’t want to mess with Him, so she kept doing the right thing. It was hard, though.
Every day was hard.
Then at the end of an incredibly stressful season where her kidneys were not functioning correctly, and there were all sorts of Lady Woes from an Overachieving Uterus while her Thyroid was being an Underachiever, her hair didn’t grow and her nails didn’t grow, and her health provider told her she was dealing with premature aging and her skin was thin like an old woman’s, and she itched all the time even into her ears, she stumbled upon Matt Stone’s book, ‘Eat for Heat: The Metabolic Approach to Food and Drink,’ and it was basically all about, ‘You people who have spent years on all sorts of diets depriving your body of nutrients while asking it to perform grueling workouts on no energy have tanked your metabolism, and these are the sort of issues you have (and he listed every one of Stephanie’s woes) and your body can absolutely heal, but most of you who put your body through that kind of crap are overachieving perfectionists in all arenas of your lives, therefore my recommendation is 6 months of 3,000 calories a day, and sitting on your ass. Just Rest. Eat and Rest and let your body recover. You’re going to gain weight. Most people gain 20 – 40 pounds in that 6 months. It will be hard. You will want to freak out. But your body will fill up the nutritional stores you depleted from years of chronic underfeeding. Your mind and spirit will heal from all the years you were a harsh taskmaster and pushed yourself to crazy lengths. And the weight will readjust itself once your body is certain you are no longer starving, and that you are well enough where a fully functioning metabolism will not harm you. You can recover and you can be well.’
And it resonated.
Stephanie and her husband were just ending a ministry season where they were leaving feeling injured and devastated and burned out, and a total life rhythm shift just seemed Right.
She was very, very, very scared about the ‘You Will Be A Pork Chop,’ part of the plan, as well as how the heck does one force 3,000 calories a day down the gullet anyhow? (Answer – Heavy Whipping Cream and Pecans #notevenkidding) and she talked to her lover about this, making sure he understood Super German Beerwench would be his new wife, and was he okay with that? And he was all like, “Stephanie. I love You. I want You. I am attracted to You. At every weight, level of fitness and hair color, you are my person. You are my standard of beauty. If round is what you need to do to be well, then I like round.’ (Because he is a fantastic human being, that is why. She is a lucky girl and knows this.)
This was what she looked like when they had that conversation.
This is what she looked like 6 months and 35 pounds later.
All her friends would say, ‘Oh Hey Brunhelga, wanna come serve drinks at my bar tonight?’ and she was all like, ‘Only if you provide me with a sturdy corset top and let me work for tips.’
Actually, one time she and the friend in the photo above were out having a Girling Day, and they got some whistles and cat calls from classy men who like to do that sort of thing, and Stephanie’s Plaid Friend said, “I swear I get more looks from men when I’m with you than I ever do alone. It must be the boobs.’ And Stephanie laughed out loud and was like, “I’m sorry, was that a compliment or an insult??? Freak.’
She had finally attained that which she had ever been afraid of – Real Live Full Figured Lady Status – and something new happened as she looked in the mirror.
Stephanie saw the actual person who was there.
Not bigger than reality.
Not smaller than reality.
Just the Stephanie Who Took Up That Amount of Space.
While seeing what a size 12 or 14 looked like on her own body, all those years where she had seen a sized 12 or 14 girl in the mirror suddenly showed themselves for the lies they were, and she knew her own fallen brain had played tricks on her (with help from nasty emissaries brought here by Lucifer’s Fall. She’s telling you, those words are Loud. They are clear. They are violent. They mock. They taunt. They assault. They want death. And today they are gone.)
Stephanie realized for the first time in her life that she’d never had an Obesity Problem. It really and truly was an Anorexia problem, and just because she was never under 100 pounds, or hospitalized while in need of a feeding tube (even though she’d always been somewhat bitter that her efforts did not produce that kind of dramatic fruit because she had worked so damm hard and faithfully, and how many people make it through a 2 week water fast? and it really wasn’t fair at all that she hadn’t ended up tinier, but probably it was Grace and Good and she should not fuss about it) didn’t mean that Anorexia was not the biggest, fattest, most hateful liar she had ever known in all her life with a concrete agenda to destroy her body, mind and soul.
That’s what resting for 6 months while eating 3,000 calories a day and growing into a legitimate full figured lady did for her.
It also showed her in real time that her husband really and truly did love her and like her and want her and was attracted to her for herself, whatever size that self might be, and all of the fear that had stalked the heels of their marriage disintegrated in one fell swoop.
Like POOF – Gone, and she knew without a shadow of a doubt that she was loved.
He is so thankful for that because today it is not uncommon for his bride to shriek, “DON’T CLUCK WITH ME, MARK. I AM THE BEST THING THAT HAS EVER HAPPENED TO YOU, AND YOU ARE LUCKY TO HAVE ME. NOBODY FEELS SORRY FOR YOU THAT I AM OCCASIONALLY HIGH MAINTENANCE. YOU GET ALL THE PRIZES AND TREASURES THAT ARE ME, AND CAN HANDLE IF SOMETHING IS NOT YOUR FAVORITE. HONESTLY,” and he is all, “Oh My Love. It is so good to see the way you have grown and are assured of my affection for you. I am so glad you are not a fearful little bird any more, but rather a she dragon who can flay me with one swoop of her tail. I am proud of you,’ and then they kiss.
While Stephanie’s brain remains inordinately full, that pressure to be perfect, that drive to keep working til’ she Becomes Right, that refusal to accept an ordinary, good enough self, has been truly, fully replaced and covered with Grace.
Grace and Love.
From Jesus and from Her Man and from Herself, which is such a weird thing to say, because it is so not her favorite Moral of the Story when the moral of the story is, ‘Learn to love and accept yourself flaws and all, because it is Jesus alone who makes you righteous, and nothing you will ever do can achieve all the perfect that you long for, and Yes it is coming one day, but that day is not today, therefore it is enough to be humble and receive love as a flawed human, and give love as a flawed human, and trust that you do not have to perfect to earn anyone’s affection, including your own.’
It gags her just a little bit to say that, but nowhere near as much as liver and venison or mushy crackers and milk do.
She had totally intended to share how a non-rabid approach to the Paleo lifestyle is helping to heal all those years of poor, irregular, unstable relationship with food, and also how it has assisted in settling that Overachieving Uterus, and other endocrine issues, and blood sugar woes, and how she is not so round anymore, though she does not own a scale, but you know how Stephanie is.
She is often surprised by where the words take her, just like you are, and clearly did indeed go on and do a retelling of her Lifetime Battle With Obesity story, so she will have to catch you up on all things Paleo tomorrow. You are so excited.’