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The Other Woman

by Dr. Deah on Jan.31, 2011, under Tasty Morsels: by Dr. Deah Schwartz

The all or nothing mentality is nothing new to people that struggle with addictions or eating disorders.  Anyone in a twelve step program whether it be Overeaters Anonymous or Alcoholics Anonymous will tell you that every day is the first day of their commitment not to ‘use,’ binge, or starve themselves.

Every person I’ve encountered who was a Compulsive and or Binge Eater will tell you about the countless Sunday night binges, (that would fall under the All category) before the “Monday Morning New Me Diet” began, (The Or Nothing category)  They will exercise EVERY day…if they miss a day, they hate themselves and stop exercising all together.  All or Nothing.

Other people who are restrictive eaters greet each morning with a new commitment not to eat more than a certain amount of calories of specific foods and sometimes even dictate where and in what order the food will be eaten. If they fail, they become All Bad.

All category for the Workaholic

Every man or woman Work-a-holic I’ve ever encountered had a deep fear that if they stop working they will transform into a prisoner of inertia, lazy, couch bound, giving over to their true personality that they are really complete and total ne’er do wells. Rip Van Winkles never to wake up and be productive again.

Nothing Category for a Workaholic

All or Nothing.

The fear of failure is an underlying fuel to these behaviors.  And of course the more failed attempts at mastering the insatiable beast within, the more hopeless and disgusted one feels about themselves.

Now, when we talk about food as an addiction it is imperative to differentiate that while there are many similarities between addictions to drugs, alcohol and food there are also powerful differences.

The Miraculous Brain

The way the human brain is wired is a miraculous thing.

Some of us are wired in a way that we can have just a little alcohol, or an occasional social cigarette, or imbibe in a passing recreational drug.  Others are not wired that way and while there is a school of thought called  Moderation Management or The  Harm Reduction Approach the most widely used approach in treating addiction is abstinence.

Food of course is trickier.  One has to eat to stay alive which puts us in the position of having to make choices constantly of what to eat, what not to eat, when to eat, how and where to eat it, counting points, counting calories, counting cravings, Counting Crows (sorry about that, started free associating).  Despite the enormous body (intended) of research that supports the point of view that Diets Don’t Work.

But in many cases our all or nothing mentality is not restricted to our addiction but is an integral part of our personality.  We often have all or nothing opinions, all or nothing judgments about our bodies and all or nothing goals and objectives in our personal lives.

My Butt

About six months before my son was having his bar mitzvah,  I channeled the Other Woman.  The Queen of Nothing….she entered my body and seemingly effortlessly erased all of my interest in food.  I suppose in retrospect, the thought of all those people looking at my butt as I walked on to the Bima (the “stage” in a temple where the ceremonies take place) was enough to exorcise the woman that usually lived in my body; The Queen of All.  All that was chocolate, All that was butter cream, All that was French fries and her place was taken over by the Other Woman. She stuck around until Jan. 22nd and I was 25 pounds lighter.  I was GOOD. The bar mitzvah happened.  I walked up on to the Bima.   and even though I was the thinnest I had EVER been, I was still thinking that my butt was eclipsing the torah, the rabbi, my son, and the cantor.  Ahhh, all or nothing….I had to have NO tush in order not to hate my tush.  (Insert Aha insight moment here).

The next morning I woke up and began feasting on the leftover knishes, black and white cookies, and challah French toast.

The Other Woman had left my body.  The Queen of Nothing vanished and left in her place was the woman that proceeded to gain back the 25 pounds as easily and as effortlessly as they had been lost.

Now, I was BAD.

That was years ago and the journey since, has had, (like the title of our DVD, Leftovers, the Ups and Downs of a Compulsive Eater), its Ups and Downs.

But over the years I discovered that there is a third woman that resides within me.  She is the Queen of the Middle Ground.  She is the one that does not focus on the numbers on the scale. She is not the narcissist that thought that everyone coming to celebrate my son’s bar mitzvah was really there to look and comment on the enormity of my butt.  This Other Woman is not feeling Good or Bad based on what she ate that day, and she is not planning her days around food.  Health is important, happiness is important,  accepting diversity and rejecting perfection is very important. There are still some areas of All or Nothing, but THIS OTHER WOMAN, she’s the one in the middle.  “Where’s she at? She’s in the middle.” (A reference to any Mona Love fans out there).

She has lovingly and firmly integrated the two other women into her kind, and self accepting Queendom. She has rolled all of the Other Women into one woman.  And I am a more integrated person because of her.

Because  of ME.

2 comments for this entry:
  1. I AM A PERFECT SIZE ME! | Leftovers To Go

    [...] up for an important family event was six years ago for my son’s bar mitzvah.  (My blog post, The Other Woman, discusses that in all of my “Jewish Mother’s [...]

  2. I AM THE PERFECT SIZE ME! | drdeahstastymorsels

    [...] up for an important family event was six years ago for my son’s bar mitzvah.  (My blog post, The Other Woman, discusses that in all of my “Jewish Mother’s [...]

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