This quote from Neil Gaiman beutifully illustrated and brought to life by zenpencils.com has been a huge source of inspiration.
To my handfull of readers I’m both deeply grateful to have your ear and deeply sorry. It’s been over a week since my last post and i left on a cliffhanger too! I’ve been working a new job and been having some health problems and havne’t felt much like writing.
Tough cookies, I’m doing this site for a purpose so I gotta kick my own ass a little.
I’m working on getting a pool of articles written so there will be a pipeline of material coming onto the site. My wife has recently offered to help me in editing my posts which you’ll thank her for I’m sure. So this is an IOU with more to come. I’ll be back to you all soon.
In working on my food addiction I can’t help but notice that the analogy to alcoholism doesn’t quite work. Sure, in one sense an addiction is an addiction is an addiction but I can’t help but feel there is a real substantative difference between a food addiction and a substance addiction that warrants real examination, exploration and making distinctions to better treat this illness.
For example I was terribly addicted to cigarettes in my younger years. I was a 3 pack a day smoker at one point in my life and probably averaged a pack and half for close to 8 years.
I had wanted to quit, well actually that’s not accurate, I’d felt guilty about smoking and shameful that I enjoyed something so much that I knew was harmful. I really loved to smoke. I can’t even tell you how gratifying it was to light up a cig when I was stressed out or feeling out of control. It was an instant fix.
Pissed off about someone and feeling violent? Smoke a cig, relax, everything’s manageable. Dejected and depressed that the world is a miserable shithole where the evil get whatever they want and good people suffer and struggle? Smoke a cig, take a break, focus on the next thing that was important, don’t think too big. Everything’s manageable. There was a time where Phillip Morris probably saved me from going to jail.
But there came a time when I didn’t want to pay the price. The hacking, persistant cough. Coughing up lung butter in the morning. The stench. I mean I smelled powerfully bad. The shortness of breath and the ease which which I contracted bronchitis and other upper respiratory infections which would lay me low for weeks even over a month at a time. I was done.
I tried to go cold turkey. The anxiety, which if you’d asked me if I was feeling anxious I would have vehemently denied, was powerfully overwhelming. The fear of loss of control or threat of violence was instant, persistent and absolutely compelling when I didn’t smoke. I’d been seeing a life coach and hypnotist who was helping me face this addiction. I’d been using visualization and mantras off of a truth list trying to convince my reptilian brain to let go of the
I was two days off cigs standing at a bus stop when I burst into tears so wildly uncontrollable I thought I was going crazy or having an absolute breakdown. My body was shaking uncontrollably, I couldn’t barely stand up straight as my limbs were short circuiting and kept dissappearing beneath me. Despite desperately trying to regain control a monsoon, earthquake and tsunami of emotion detonated inside my body and stormed and raged it’s way through every neuro-pathway, every inter cellular crevice, every blood vessel, organ and gland. My internal world just fell apart.
All the things I’d been using cigarettes to keep bottled up and under ‘control’ got out of their cages all at once. Now, had I been prepared for that shedding of all that stuff and had support and care from intimate people I could have ridden it out and probably quit then and there.
I was so embarrassed, so shameful in that here I was a grown man uncontrollably sobbing, at a bus stop, in front of strangers who were startled and uneasy at what could have caused such a socially unacceptable outburst, that I emphatically declared inside my mind “Fuck it. If quitting smoking meant I would be unable to keep my shit together, at least in public, I’m gonna keep smoking until I get this shit under control.”
I marched across the street to a 7-11, bought a pack of camel wides and a bic and lit up. And as intense of an experience as my breakdown was, that nicotine rush echoed it in the opposite direction. Still sniffling from the release, I was now euphorically giddy and lightheaded, my nerves manically reassured that everything would be all right. I chain smoked and skipped taking the bus walking and smoking the few miles to my apartment.
What does all this have to do with food addiction? Am I saying that food addiction more resembles nicotine addiction that alcoholism? No, not really. I told that story to set the stage for some other information.
What I’m actually saying is that food addiction is a lot more like meth addiction than alcohol. Whoa, where’d that leap of logic come from? Follow with me.
I came across a documentary on Youtube called San Francisco Meth Zombies. The first meth addict profiled was a rail thin homeless HIV+ gay BDSM prostitute who specialized in making meth porn wherein he would video himself in various leather costumes engaging in various sex acts while injecting himself with meth. Here’s the thing. Watching this man who outwardly couldn’t be any more opposite than me I saw myself. I fell in love with him.
Now this isn’t a coming out piece. I am not remotely turned on sexually by him, but as I watched this man so completely in the throws of both the euphoria of his drug & sexuality as well as in the clutches of his addiction and shame I saw in him my twin. My heart ached for him and being trapped by my prison bar ribs it fought and strained to leap through the TV and fly to his aid like a superhero. I felt such intensity of affection and protection for this total stranger that my heart could not tell the difference between him and my known loved ones.
And what was the lens that let me see me distant relative? What mirror shined the light in my eyes? Shame.
The shame that this man shared about suffering was the same shame that I had carried for years. Shame I think is perhaps the single most defining essense, the hidden holy of holies of addiction. This intense, powerful, profound yet incredibly subtle, cunning and baffling phenomenon we know as shame I think is the root of all addiction. I’ve never known a single person struggling with an addiction, compulsion, depression or anxiety disorder who underneath it all had a massive eternally renewed fountain of shame operating somewhere in their soul.
For me it started early with religious training. There was such silent shame passed invisibly between people in church. It was almost like a virus passed from one person to the next. Shame carried by judgment for the most part. Like HIV causing AIDS, I think judgment causes shame. Now I’m not talking about the ashamed feeling you get when you made a faux pas or are embarrased even for spectacular mistakes or embarassments. I”m talking about persistant shame that comes as result of the internalized judgements we suffer from ourselves, our society, cultures and conceptions of what ‘should’ be.
In my church people were always invisibly and most likely unconsciously sizing one another up. Passing judgement on one another and handing it back and forth like germs on unwashed hands. I watched how people would treat different people very differently and they had their reasons. When I walked into the room as a child, people would get very hushed in their speaking and cast sidelong glances at me. It was so damned weird adn I could never put my finger on what the hell was going on. Then people would be so over the top nicey nice it felt so strained and disingenuous I constantly felt like something was really really wrong but no one would just come out and say it. Was my fly down? Was there toilet paper stuck to me shoe?
What’s more insidious is that if you ever did speak up and ask what was going on or why were people behaving so strangely the response would always be some horrible passive aggressive response, or shunning, or changing the subject awkwardly and overly intentionally, or automatic vehement denial or some even more oddly weird unsettling behavior that you just stopped asking. The flip side was, at least for me, that I started thinking there must inherently be something wrong – – – with ME! And because there was no one who talked about it openly and easily with you, as least in my case, I began to think there must be something inherently wrong with ME!
When I was in high school I read ‘The Scarlet Letter” and that really rocked my boat because in it I saw how a religious community did the judgement and shunning and gossiping and reinforncing their moral agenda through passive aggression, coercion and manipulation. Here I was the only child of a single mother (at that point) and I was being treated the same way the main characters in the book were. What’s worse is that my mom was being treated horribly but she seemed if not happy at least content in playing this weird game of seeking people’s approval while simultaneously looking for any reason or opportunity to ruthlessly judge them.
While resenting how I was treated it also became very easy to judge the people perpetrating this insane thought system. And thus JUST like a virus it became self reproducing.
To Be Continued…
I admit it, I’m a Cokehead. I love the stuff. The red and white logo is seared into my memory and is associated with almost every great memory of my childhood. From family cookouts in the summer, to sneaking cokes into the movies as a teenager to late night college cram sessions fueled by the caffeinated elixir Coke was everywhere in my life. Coke memorabilia decorated various rooms and homes of my life. I even drink water out of those iconic Coke glasses.
And yet today I feel terribly uneasy about Coke. I’m watching a brand I’ve known and loved as far back as I remember become something other than the lovely memories of my childhood.
It began a couple days ago. I’m on a weight loss plan and have completely removed processed sugar from my life. I’m reading labels and if sugar or one of it’s disguises is higher than the 5th place in the ingredients list, I don’t eat it. I eat 8 oz of fruit per meal but nothing processed, nothing candy coated and no sugar drinks for sure.
So Diet Coke seemed like an awesome compromise. I could have something sweet and cold and sparkly when I was having a sugar fit. It would be my nicorette, my methodone for fat guys. I was proud of myself. As of today I’ve been off sugar for almost 3 months. And for the first 2 I was really loosing weight! I was posting on Facebook how I was moving up the notches in my belt. People were giving me props. I could see it in my face, I had dimples.
Here’s the rub. I haven’t been loosing weight for a couple weeks now. My food plan was intact, with some slips, but still I should be loosing a lot more weight a lot faster than what was happening. What was going wrong?
Well, I wouldn’t have to wait long for an answer. Last week I was listening to NPR and they were talking about how Diet Coke was going on an ad campaign to promote the ‘safety of aspartame’. Call me cynical but if something needs an ad campaign to tout it’s safeness it always makes me wonder. After having watched Don Draper on Mad Men sell the safety of cigarettes and articulate so glibly and easily how their ad agency would manipulate the masses for the bottom line of Lucky Strike it made me wonder if Mad Men will end their show in a flash forward to present times with a geriatric Don Draper slinging Diet Coke ads through a tracheotomy voicebox after loosing his vocal chords to Lucky Strike brand throat cancer.
My healthy friends, people who i collectively lump into my ‘lucky bastards’ category, had been telling me forever that Diet sodas were terrible for you. What the hell did they know? These were people that either had the metabolism of hummingbirds and could eat whatever they wanted or like spanish moss could eat nothing and subsist off of whatever nutrients were in the air. What the hell did they know about loosing weight or how hard it was?
Well, to all my friends in the who I think of as lucky bastards and/or skinny bitches I’m sorry. It took personal experience to blast away the cloak of denial and corporate brainwashing I’d been living under.
Here’s the deal. It turns out theres only about a metric ton of scientific papers out there that say that Diet Coke and other Diet Drinks are really, REALLY, bad for you. Here’s a breif synopsis of some of the ones I found
1. Purdue University releases (perhaps unleashes is more accurate) an opinion paper studying and synthesizing 40 years worth of research in the field of artificial sweetners. The findings?
“Although it seems like common sense that diet sodas would not be problematic, that doesn’t appear to be the case. Findings from a variety of studies show that routine consumption of diet sodas, even one per day, can be connected to higher likelihood of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, metabolic syndrome and high blood pressure, in addition to contributing to weight gain.”
Another interesting angle on this publication is that the author Susan Swithers in an interview for FOXNews (don’t hate me for citing them) said that the reason why researches haven’t bothered to examine the date around diet drinks and their safety is because researchers dismiss the people that consume diet beverages as being heavy or unhealthy anyway. So if you’re heavy or have a health problem go fuck yourself. Thanks researchers! Back at ‘cha
2. Diet drinks have been tied to premature births
3. Diet soda have been tied to massive weight GAIN?! University of Texas study found a 500% weight gain in people that drank 2 or more diet sodas a day. I’ve been drinking 3-4.
4. A 2008 U of Minnesota study found Diet Soda really messes up your metabolism putting you at a higher risk for heart disease. Persistant belly fat is also associated with Diet sodas.
5. Those academic slouches at a little community college in Boston called Harvard did an 11 year study and found that diet sodas mess up your kidneys.
These are just some of the lovely things I found in my research. Along with studies citing diet sodas doing damage to human DNA (I always wanted to be an X-man, now I know where my mutant super power came from), rot teeth, cause weight gain, cause more weight gain, cause weird fat deposits, damage to skeletons, cause cancer etc.
I’m not going to cite it all. I want you to do your own homework like I did. Prove it to yourself, like I did.
For me, I’m quitting Coke. Seriously, you guys are assholes. Shame on you for selling a product that’s getting people killed and trying to defend it as harmless. the lady doth protest too much.
Finding out about this is like realizing that favorite uncle of yours as a kid, the one who made you feel so special, so loved was actually taking pictures of you asleep or naked and posting them online. You don’t get to exploit people and slowly kill them for a profit.
So for me I’m off Coke and onto other wonderful things. For me I hope you get off diet drinks and sodas too. Fuck those guys, they’re the real bastards.
And to my beautiful friends who were trying to get through my thick headedness and soda stockholm syndrome. I’m sorry. I’m sorry I didn’t listen. I’m sorry I thought of you as skinny bastards. I won’t think of you that way again. That’s the same judgement and insanity skinny people have perpetrated on fat people and I can’t hold a persons size against them if I’m ever going to lighten up.
And for another post, I’ll share some of the delicious drink recipes one of my skinny pals made for me.
Love to you all ,
Fighting the body image nazis one squat thrust at a time.
Much has been made about the presence of female athletes at the London Olympics, with some commentators going so far as to call these the Women’s Games. And it’s true – audiences who have watched the Olympics have been treated to the sight of all kinds of women from all around the world doing things with their bodies most of us can only dream of.
Yet seeing all of these bad-ass female athletes doing amazing things doesn’t seem to be enough to change the way many people see women, which is that we are valued first and foremost for the way we look. The things we actually do…not so much.
Everything about the athletes – hair, clothes, faces, bodies – has come under scrutiny by everyone from anonymous “high-ranking officials” to the amateur asshats who make up an alarmingly large percentage of the people on Twitter. Even Conan O’Brien…
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I make things, do stuff, go places, and write about it.
My New Hero!
Another awesome reality based fitness post!
I’ve noticed something lately. I’ve noticed a lot of commenters either applauding authors for having awesomely lean physiques and wondering how they too can get to 12% body fat. On the flip side, I’ve also noticed many many commenters blasting bloggers/fitness professionals for not being super lean or totally cut, because isn’t every fitness professional supposed to have a body like this?
Gorgeous, yes. Realistic for most people? Nope.
The piece of this puzzle that really makes me want to scratch my eyeballs out is that there are so many people out there who believe that one must be incredibly lean, tan, and “cut” in order to really know what you’re talking about when it comes to fitness. And also that it’s healthy and sustainable for the general public to reach this level of leanness as well.
In reality, nothing could be further from the truth. First of all, and…
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Victorious BIG approves.
The Reembody blog, up to this point, has been a thoughtful exploration of human movement, a subject about which I am extremely passionate.
Today, however, I’m mad and I’m going to tell you why.
I have been planning a blog post for a while on fitness misinformation, and it was originally going to be the same kind of thoughtful deconstruction found in my other installments. But then I read this and it was one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever found in my newsfeed: so beautiful, in fact, that the rest of the health and fitness propaganda floating around Facebook like turds in a pool started to really, really piss me off.
So thoughtful deconstruction has been postponed for another day. Instead, we’re going to take a good look at a few of those turds and get pissed off together because, when someone preys upon your insecurities in an effort…
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