I thought by now I might have come back to the ground, having read every single one of your incredibly kind and thoughtful comments (and emails, and tweets), many of them more than once, and known exactly what to say. But I can’t seem to come up with more than one-syllable words, like wow. And thanks! And sniff. And then I go back to read some more. What an amazing gift, all this. I didn’t think it was possible to get choked up when I’m not even talking. You’ve gone and blown my mind.
Honestly, you have all relieved me of an enormous weight I didn’t even realize I had been carrying. The weight of my weight, I suppose. Collectively lifted it up and carried it away. I just wish I could pull up a chair and continue each and every conversation that has started here. I might try to take a stab at it, I think. I have a plan. I want to have a potluck, just for us, and I want as many of you as are able to come. Would you be up for that? Life’s too short not to.
Meanwhile, guess what? I made dinner. It’s funny how easily I forget that there is plenty of good, healthy food out there that I love as much as the not so good for me stuff. It has become ingrained somewhere deep that junk food will make me happy. It did as a kid, when we weren’t really allowed to have it, and I became somewhat obsessed. I yearned for the Hostess Fruit Pies and Ding Dongs I saw advertised on the backs of Archie comics, and when I finally made it to the states and got my hands on some, my brain refused to believe they weren’t as spectacular as I had built them up to be.
When I was pregnant with W, I lost my appetite all but entirely. For real. It was weird. I didn’t recognize myself. I finally understood those people who get caught up in stuff and forget to eat. How do you forget to eat? Do you forget to breathe, too? The concept has always been inconceivable.
And when W was born, everyone told me my appetite would come back. It didn’t. During those first few weeks even with the lack of sleep and breastfeeding I wasn’t that hungry. I panicked. One day there was a bowl of peanut M&Ms on the kitchen counter, and I didn’t want any. I told myself to just give them a try, that once I was eating them I’d remember that I really do like chocolate, and they would be delicious, and everything would be OK.
That must have been the sleep deprivation talking.
The interesting part of all this is that my connection with food runs so deep, I don’t recognize myself without an appetite. If I was given the option to flip some switch that dulled my hunger, made me uninterested in food, I wouldn’t do it, no question. Not even if it simultaneously eliminated all my weight issues. I would not give it up, not ever. No question. I choose this appetite.
Knowing that makes me feel better.
Which is all to say I have to consciously remind myself that I do actually like healthy food. I’m not 10 anymore, I do not gag at the sight of pan-fried fish. I DO NOT BEG FOR WONDER BREAD ANYMORE. I’m particularly hip on grainy salads, and so I’ve decided to make a habit of having one or two in the fridge at all times so that there’s always something proper for lunch or dinner or a quick nibble. Being prepared is a very Good Thing; hungry Julie is very convincing and can easily talk the rest of me into eating too much and starting tomorrow. The habit of starting tomorrow (and thus eating as much as I can tonight, in order to get it out of my system) is a big reason why I weighed over 300 pounds in the first place. Some days, just not falling into the “I’ll start tomorrow” trap is considered a triumph.
Oh! I also went to Pilates today! I did. Oy.
I sure can ramble over a rice salad. Especially when feeling speechless.
You won’t need a recipe for this salad, but more a general formula. My mom and I came up with it years ago, for a baby shower, I think. Sometimes we make it with orzo (small rice-shaped pasta) and sometimes with rice. It would be fine with brown rice, although this time I used white Jasmine rice.
Cook a cup or two of it as you normally would, and cool it completely. Toss it in a bowl with lots of sliced or torn fresh spinach (more than it looks like there is in the photo above), and a small chunk of slivered purple onion, some crumbled feta and the grated zest of a lemon. Add a drizzle of olive oil and the juice of the lemon, and plenty of freshly ground black pepper. Adjust quantities of each as you see fit. Enjoy, and keep in the fridge if you need something to dip into.