Eating My Words: When Dieting is WrongMar 08th

All of my pants have shrunk. It must be this new detergent I’m using. Or maybe the dryer is extra hot these days.

Also, my scale is broken. It’s like, five years old, so you know–this day was bound to come. The kids use it as a stool sometimes when they need to be 1/2 an inch taller.

We could all use an extra 1/2 inch.

That’s what she said.

On a completely unrelated note, my appetite has increased. Hmm. No.

I’m not pregnant. I swear it.

But my pants have shrunk, the scale is broken, and I am eating much, much more these days. The combination of these events has led me to say things like, “I’m fat,” or “I need to lose weight!” and “I hate my body right now.”

I’m fighting these phrases–but I’m losing. Therefore, I am confessing.

Here’s the sick part: for the past two years I have lived with an illness that robbed me of my appetite. It made me nauseous, feverish, and too achy to want food. While I went through spurts of trying to maintain a healthy, nourishing diet, the fact that food just didn’t taste right got in the way of healthy eating. What did appeal to me was a bunch of carby, starchy stuff. Crackers for breakfast, cookies for lunch, and a sweet potato for dinner.

Pretty terrible, I know. {By the way, I am fully aware of the inflammatory nature of these foods.}

Occasionally, my appetite would rev up and I’d find myself desperately craving a juicy hamburger, with extra cheese. Sometimes the appetite would last for a few days, or even a week, and I would eat like a normal person. But then the nausea would come back and zap all food love right out of me.

I remember always hearing people say, “Oh, but you don’t look sick! You look great!”

Those words would sting.

Look great? 

Um, I feel like crap. But I look great. Do you know how ridiculous that sounds? I remember saying (more times than you would think):

“I would trade my sick, skinny body in a heartbeat for an extra twenty pounds and good health!” 

What REALLY irked me was when people would say, “Dang! I wish I could get sick!”

Darling, that can be arranged. Shall I spike your soup with feces so that you may have your precious, skinny, disease-riddled body?

What the frickity frack is wrong with people??!!

Well, as you know, I went into remission. Hurray!  No more fevers. No more nausea. No more ice-picks stabbing the tissue between my joints.

Hello, appetite.

I didn’t really notice it at first as it came back right around the holidays. Food is so yummy at Christmas and it would be wrong to NOT partake. So I gained about five pounds (which I could afford) and I assumed they’d fall right off after the holiday hullabaloo was over. Say that ten times fast.

Holiday hullabaloo. Holiday hullabaloo. Holibaloo. Holibaludaboo. Holiblue. I give up. Let’s get back to business, shall we?

I didn’t know I was entering remission and that my body was finally feeling ‘normal’ for the first time in two years. RA is so capricious that I thought maybe the weather was mild, or I had gotten extra vitamin D, or maybe I was simply having a lot of “good days.”

Food like fruit, vegetables, meat, cheese, MILK, rice–all started to sound delicious to me. During the month of January, I probably drank two glasses of vitamin D milk each day–simply because I craved it. It sounded sooo delicious. The entire time I was in my gigantic RA flare I never wanted milk. The very idea of drinking it made me want to puke.

My point here is that my body needed fuel–replenishment–nourishment! And without even really thinking about it, I gave in to myself. I loaded up on calcium and protein. I desired a whole avocado every day for a week straight–and I would eat one. I NEVER ate like that with my illness.

Well, whadya know? I gained more weight. I have gained about ten pounds, to be exact. Those ten pounds have been the source of much whining, complaining, and pouting. And pant throwing. Or is it “pants throwing”? Thats gonna really bug me.

But then this happened:

My little Chaucer has been sick all week. So sick that he hasn’t wanted to play outside, eat, or do anything except lay around in my arms. The antibiotic he is on is very harsh on his stomach, so on top of bronchitis/pneumonia he has had diarrhea and a perpetual tummy-ache. Needless to say, he’s lost a few pounds.

Yesterday was the first day he acted like a normal toddler. And you know what? He was hungry. I’m not talking like normal-toddler hungry. I’m talking bear-that-hibernated-all-winter-and-just-woke-up-hungry. Because he’s allergic to dairy I made him his own cheese-free enchiladas last night. I just filled up a pie pan with his servings, and figured it would allow for some leftovers for the next day.

This is the part where he acted like a recently-woken bear.

The kid devoured the entire pan. He ate with enthusiasm, and relished each bite. When his plate was clean he’d immediately demand for more “yadas.” I was thrilled to see him eat so much. It pained me all week to watch him pick at a few crackers and then writhe in misery with his tummy-ache.

To see him enjoy food like the “old” Chaucer did my heart good. Of course he should eat that whole pan–well, I guess he could of eased into it a little more gently, but his body craved carbs, protein, fat–nourishment. And by George, he got it.

It occurred to me that those cravings of mine for milk, avocado, and grains are a source of joy for God. He gave me this wonderful gift–remission. He’s done his part, and now I need to take care of my end with both responsibly and gratitude. Why would I wish to starve a body that has been sick for two years? Shouldn’t this season of celebration be marked by feeding my body, getting stronger, and relishing the process?

Essentially, my stinky attitude about the extra ten pounds is just as disgusting as that phrase I used to hear. “Dang. I wish I could get sick.”

WHAT??!! I came this far, with this much pain, fear, and medical bills to think like that? Where’s the enlightenment? Where’s the change?

My remission was a gift from God. People ask me what I did to go into remission–nothing. I had a lot of people praying and the Lord healed me. I take it as a beautiful, precious gift. I don’t feel worthy of it, as I know there are so many people out there living in pain. I have met incredible people through my RA journey–people who find a post that resonates with their experience and reach out to me. These people are my RA family, and I pray for them whenever I thank God for my health.

What a sick, treacherous act for me to squander such a gift. First of all, I’m not fat; not even overweight. I just happen to live in a culture that values emaciated and sickly over filled-out and healthy.

Second, there are thousands of patients who would trade places with me in an instant to have a pain-free body. Ten pounds is nothing, so shut the heck up, Hillary!!

I’m eating my words. They happen to be calorie-free, Swallowed them whole–and I’m done with this nonsense.

From now on, my jeans have shrunk, the scale is broken, and all I have gained is good health. And a wonderful, amazing gift.

a present

26 Responses to Eating My Words: When Dieting is WrongMar 08th

  1. Amanda Nelson March 8, 2013 at 5:13 pm #

    Beautifully written! My Dad suffered with MS for many years, and he heard the same comment, “You don’t look sick!” But he simply could not keep any food in his stomach. All the pain meds that he was on completely destroyed his appetite. Last year he went into remission and he gained 20 lbs over the holidays. He complained at first, but we were all so excited to see him eat, we couldn’t have cared less!

    • hillary March 9, 2013 at 5:21 am #

      I’m sure that frustrated you as a daughter as well. Praise God for his remission! That is wonderful to hear!

  2. Beth March 8, 2013 at 6:59 pm #

    This makes me think of my post pregnancy body. I lost my pregnancy weight fast (within 3 weeks). I have had numerous people tell me how great I look, how awesome it must be to have lost the weight so fast, etc. Honestly, I loved being pregnant. It was the one time in my life I did not count calories or hate my body. Now, I am struggling to find that same peace. I am totally emotion eating and stress eating and know it. And not making healthy choices, because as a single mom, cooking for one is next to impossible (at least what I tell myself).

  3. HouseTalkN March 8, 2013 at 7:50 pm #

    I am so happy that your pants are shrinking! Thank you for these lovely words!

    • hillary March 9, 2013 at 5:08 am #

      Thanks, friend!

  4. Margo Hayes March 8, 2013 at 8:02 pm #

    I love this! And you’re so right – as you found joy in watching Chaucer regain his appetite, our Heavenly Father loves to see you feeling well and eating right! Thanks for your honesty in sharing this. I think almost every woman in our “culture of skinny” suffers from insecurity about their weight. It can become an obsession easily – and is so unprofitable. Love, love, love that you’re feeling well!!

    • hillary March 9, 2013 at 5:02 am #

      It’s totally an obsession–one that I have myself. But when you’re given a second chance like this and don’t change whats the point? I like to think that by drinking my whole-fat milk I’m putting a smile on God’s face.

  5. Natalia March 8, 2013 at 9:29 pm #

    Love it, I just love it! Good for you girl!

    • hillary March 9, 2013 at 5:00 am #

      Thanks, friend!!

  6. Kathy at kissing the frog March 8, 2013 at 11:10 pm #

    People often say things without thinking. I believe it’s called “Footinthemouthitis.” Most women can’t even imagine a disease that would actually make them thin. I for one am happy that you feel like eating again. And maybe you can go shopping!

    • hillary March 9, 2013 at 5:00 am #

      Yes, I know people didn’t think it through for sure. But when you hear something so much and feel so terrible it is infuriating.

      I have been going shopping! Hehe. Totally fun!

  7. hollow tree ventures March 9, 2013 at 1:24 am #

    This is really lovely. I know how struggles with weight can be, for sure, and even when there isn’t a long-term illness involved there are always so many mixed emotions. I’m so happy you’ve come to a place where you have a proper, healthy perspective and are happy and healthy, above all!

    • hillary March 9, 2013 at 4:57 am #

      Thanks, Robyn! Its a battle for sure, and I know this isn’t the last of it. But I really do want to change the way I talk about it because its just wrong to be so ungrateful for what I’ve been given.

  8. Chris Carter March 9, 2013 at 4:11 am #

    Oh Hilary! Rejoice! Feed that beautiful restored body and replenish that thirsty soul and renew that soaring spirit!!! God healed you for a reason and your purpose shines in every post my friend.

    Blessed be the healed and blessed be the sick…

    • hillary March 9, 2013 at 4:56 am #

      I am so thrilled you feel that way, Chris. I am still wondering what my purpose is exactly but I know for a fact it ISN’T wallowing in ridiculous self-pity or self-loathing. God did not make us to be whiners. He made us to be rejoicers.

  9. Kirsten Hayes March 9, 2013 at 5:48 am #

    Get it girl! Im so proud of you. Food is GOOD. and God is GREAT. Praise Jesus for remission and your healthy appetite! Love you sissy!

  10. candotche March 9, 2013 at 5:59 am #

    I loved this blog. I’m glad that watching Chaucer you saw the light. I wanted to beat you with a frying pan last wknd. You look awesome, no where near fat. In fact you look the best I’ve seen you look in 2 years. You are beautiful! And since we all know that my opinion is the only one that maters, you’re golden. :) You’re one hot moma. Drink that milk, eat your avocado and a box of girl scout cookies…you deserve to feel healthy again. Anyway, being a size bigger is good retail therapy! Love you, can’t wait to see you in 6 days!

  11. Denise Trone March 9, 2013 at 7:10 am #

    I started a prayer journal for 2013 to write down all the prayers God has answered for me, because I found myself having such a pity party about missing Bret. I started to forget how good God really is and how much He loves me. Thank you for yet another reminder of His goodness, faithfulness, mercy, and everlasting love, Hillary. And thank you for sharing. I get to record yet another beautiful answer to prayer along with the many, many others He blessed me with. Love you, girl. If you ever get back to T-town, I would love to meet those famous kids of yours, AND give you a long overdue hug.

  12. Steph at I'm Still Learning March 9, 2013 at 2:32 pm #

    So glad you’re feeling so much better. It’s funny how the body acts. It knows what it needs and wants.

  13. ilene March 10, 2013 at 10:55 am #

    I’ve gained wright recently for different reasons – but kind of good reasons like you! I am so glad about your remission. Eat up, girl!

  14. Kellea March 11, 2013 at 3:41 pm #

    I would love to hear the same story of remission for my own mother. That is truly a blessing. I’m new to your blog, and just love your funny, conversational style. ‘m a new mom of twins, and so happy to have found such wonderful forums. I already pinned your mommy-son dates and mommy-daughter dates for when they’re older. Since I know you have a daughter, and I do too, I think it’s especially important to not let them hear you degrading your body, or talking about your weight. The media is one source, but we as mothers can also provide a positive influence by telling our daughters not only that they are beautiful (because let’s face it, they are!:)), but that we are beautiful, too. If they hear us complaining about our noses or tummies or whatever, they probably have the same one, and will think it’s something for them to complain about too. My children aren’t old enough to really get this yet, but I’m starting to practice early, by telling her that she’s pretty like mommy.

  15. Kendra March 12, 2013 at 11:30 am #

    Alright, one post in and I pretty much love you. Well, your blog. Love at first post is rare, usually takes more than that. And, so you won’t have to check analytics, I found your awkward photos post on Pinterest. (;

    • hillary March 12, 2013 at 9:21 pm #

      Aww shucks! What a sweet thing to say. Glad to have you here! Hope you stick around :)

  16. Michelle March 13, 2013 at 4:45 pm #

    What a beautiful post and such a long and painful journey. I do pray complete and total restoration for you~

    XOXO
    ~RED

    • hillary March 14, 2013 at 6:21 am #

      Thank you so much. What a kind thing to say.

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