My present.


Tomorrow is my birthday.  I am going to be 42 years old.  I have spent far too many of those years saying really horrible things to myself, about myself.  So, for my 42nd birthday, I am giving myself the best present possible:  I am giving myself a break.

I have spent so many years being so blinded to the facts of my life, of the body I live in.

And the facts are these:

  • No man that I’ve been with has ever turned around and run screaming from the sight of my body.  Now, that’s not to say that any man’s reaction should dictate the way I feel about myself – it’s just that when I pause and THINK about it, the fact is that I’m obviously not a monster…no woman is.  I am way harder on myself than anyone else is.
  • When I am taking care of myself (getting regular – not excessive – exercise, and eating well), my body will be the shape that it’s going to be.  I refuse to view it as something that needs to be beaten and pummeled into something that I cannot naturally or reasonably maintain.
  • I am perfectly healthy the way I am.  My blood pressure, blood sugar, and cholesterol are all at (direct quote from my primary physician) “ridiculously normal” levels.  In fact, they’re at the very same levels that they were when I weighed 120 pounds.  This is me telling the Body Police to kindly stuff their “concern” that I need to worry about my health because I’m now carrying about 15 pounds more than some chart says I should.  That number takes virtually nothing into consideration, like my activity level or my age.
  • I am TIRED of beating myself up because I am almost 42 years old and don’t wear the same size skirt that I did at 18, or 25, or even 37.  It is exhausting to be constantly obsessed over what I can and cannot eat.  It is a colossal waste of my time and breath to APOLOGIZE for eating something, or to let everyone know that I’m going to the gym so it’s okay for me to eat this cookie.  NOBODY FUCKING CARES, and if they DO, I’m going to have to wonder why I hang out with them.
  • Whenever I equate food with character, I will always fail.  Eating is not weakness.  Food is sustenance, not something to be demonized.  Entire industries thrive on making me feel shitty about myself.  The ads that run along the side of my Facebook page tell me that my current jeans size is something to “fix,” that I will be happier, and “healthier” if I am at least 4-5 sizes smaller.  If I start on their plan(s) NOW, I could be a size smaller in a matter of DAYS.  This is me telling those companies to fuck right off.
  • A flat stomach and ripped upper arms are neither the essence of beauty nor an indicator of good health.  I needed to write this, and post it, so I can look at it again and again.

So tomorrow morning, I am taking the scale out of my bathroom, and I am putting it in the basement with the rest of the trash.  Happy Birthday to me.

The Skinny.


There are some things on the internet I wish I could UN-see.

I’m not talking about “two girls, one cup,” or just about anything else that comes with that NSFW warning.

I’m talking about Skinny Gossip.

If you follow Reddit, or Jezebel, you already know about this. If you don’t, here’s the Reader’s Digest version of what’s been going on over the past week or so: Skinny Gossip purports to be a community of like-minded women who are doing the internet an enormous favor by providing a much-needed “snarky counter-view to a culture that glorifies excess consumption.”

How do they do this, pray? By attacking other women who are happy with themselves. By posting their pictures and eviscerating them without their knowledge or permission.

Take, for example, their feelings about Kate Upton:

Huge thighs, NO waist, big fat floppy boobs, terrible body definition – she looks like a squishy brick.

and Lindsay Lohan:

Gross! – her boobs are big and porny, her stomach bulges in all the shots, her thighs, hips, and butt are chunky, and she has zero body definition. Even her back looks fat!!

…and this about a “plus size” model:

I’m really glad I can’t read the number on that measuring tape.. eww…can we say fat rolls!? Do you have any idea how much someone has to eat to look like this?

I sat there reading all of this vile, bilious nonsense until I was literally shaking and crying. It brought me back to every afternoon at the playground, or on the bus, hearing the girls in my class tell me how disgusting I was. It brought me back to an afternoon in seventh grade – before I had to switch schools because of the ceaseless bullying – as I stood in line for kickball. A group of girls were staring and snickering at me as one of them asked me when my baby was due, because my stomach stuck out so much (this same girl sent me a “friend request” on Facebook years later, which I politely declined).

Aren’t we supposed to be PAST this kind of middle-school bullshit?

The creator of the site has been frantically trying to defend herself and her “community” since the rest of the internet caught on:

I was a shy person growing up, so it seemed like fun to have an alter-ego where I could say things I’d thought but never said.

Well, this just explains EVERYTHING. “I’m shy! The internet lets me say what I want!” Listen, sweetheart, a lot of us bloggers are shy and/or have social anxiety issues; it’s why we choose blogging to express ourselves. But there’s a difference between expressing your beliefs (Americans eat too much, we need to be healthier) and attacking people who didn’t ask for it (OMG that model gained 10-15 pounds…what a fatass!).

As a thin person, I was also annoyed by our double-standards around weight. For example, people think nothing of telling a thin woman – to their face, in front of an entire group of people – how skinny they are and even to suggest what they should eat.

On this point, I actually agree. Body-shaming is something I try to be conscious of at all times. Telling a thin woman to “eat a brownie” is every bit as insulting as calling a heavier woman “a cow” (which you have done, as recently as last week).

But I’ve never seen the reverse happen to an overweight woman.

Really? You’ve NEVER seen that happen? This is so patently absurd I don’t even know where to begin. You’ve never seen it happen, so you’ve taken it upon yourself to make sure that it does. Bravo. Your parents must be so proud.

I have had my own issues around food and eating, both personally and in my family…

Then WHY – for fuck’s sake – are you writing this stuff?

But again there is a terrible double-standard: “big beautiful women” sites on which people exchange recipes for 4,000-calorie cheesecakes don’t seem to unnerve the social critics the same way we do.

Perhaps it’s because BBW and other body-positivity sites (at least the ones I frequent) aren’t bashing other women for loving themselves as-is. Just a guess.

We have never supported illness or self-harm.

Guess what, cupcake? When you call other women “disgusting,” when you have tags like “thunder thighs,” “fatties,” “thick,” “vulgar” – all in reference to other women – YOU ARE SUPPORTING ILLNESS AND SELF-HARM. And don’t tell me I misunderstand your intentions or am taking your words “out of context.” You are a bully. Period.

Not that any of you will listen to me about what’s counterproductive, but calling every skinny person anorexic doesn’t do sick people any favors.

Fair enough, as I’ve said. Now apply this sound reasoning to what you’re currently doing by ripping apart women who don’t fit your standard of beauty. Not all thin women are anorectics. Conversely, not all women who are carrying extra weight are lazy, vulgar, or unhealthy. Got it?

She goes on to detail changes she will be making to the site, effective immediately, such as removing the “Starving Tips” section, adding links for support with depression and eating disorders, and explicitly prohibiting the promotion of “self-harm.” Good. That’s a start.

I do not intend to visit this site again. I have my doubts as to whether or not the fat-shaming will cease altogether, and I don’t need to trigger all of those horrible memories again. I don’t need to sit in front of my computer crying because I cannot believe this is still going on. It has taken me decades to come to some kind of understanding and acceptance of my body. I have starved, taken laxatives, over-exercised, and engaged in the same kind of bashing (of myself) that I found so incredibly repulsive on that site. I don’t need to go there and see women comparing other women to barnyard animals. I prefer to surround myself with women who accept me exactly as I am, who are doing amazing and creative things without worrying if their upper arms are drooping. I prefer to visit sites where healthy lifestyles are promoted without bashing others. I prefer to see young women taking a stand against unrealistic standards of beauty. This site does none of those things.

I was once a size 2/4. I was miserable. When I decided to stop being miserable, when I decided to stop obsessing over every single thing I ate, I was no longer a size 2/4. And you know what? I’m okay with that. My blood pressure, heart rate, and cholesterol levels are exactly the same now as they were when I was a size 2/4. So kindly don’t tell me I’m promoting an “unhealthy lifestyle” by saying IT’S OKAY IF YOU’RE NOT A SIZE 2.

Here’s what I’m promoting: I love myself. I am beautiful even if my teeth are crooked and my thighs rub together. If you don’t like the way I look, fine. If you want to post my picture on your “thinspo” website and pick me apart, that’s fine, too. I don’t care what you think about me. But don’t eviscerate other women and claim it’s social commentary. Have the balls to call it what it is – bullying.




I really sort of LOVE this girl. She’s probably at least 20 years younger than I am and she’s GOT IT. She gets what it’s taken me most of my life to get.

I’ve said it before, here and on my old site: I have been a size 4. I have been a size 14. I won’t tell you what size I am now, because it DOESN’T FUCKING MATTER.

I am not a size 4 anymore. I’ll say that much. To be a size 4 required almost superhuman effort on my part to maintain. It meant not eating very much. It meant obsessing over what I could or couldn’t eat. It required way more counting and planning and denying than I could keep up with, so I stopped. And then I wasn’t a size 4. And I didn’t keep any of those clothes in my closet. I don’t refer to clothes as being “fat clothes” or “skinny clothes” anymore. They’re MY clothes. And they’re really, really nice. My body is really, really nice.

My days of clobbering myself over my body, of agonizing over what I should or shouldn’t put in my mouth, are nearly over. Hopefully. It’s almost like early sobriety. I’m counting days since the last day I stood in front of my mirror and said something completely hateful to myself.

Think about your body. It gets you around. It can do amazing things if you let it. Why insult it? It’s like telling your friend that drives you everywhere that her car is ugly. I saw a tshirt that said something to the effect of: “If you talked to your friends the way you talk to your body, you wouldn’t have any friends left.” That hit home. Here’s just the short list of what I’ve said to myself:


Why do we talk to ourselves like that? It’s ABUSIVE.

As for whether I was “healthier” at size 4 as opposed to where I am now? No difference. My bloodwork is always A-OK. Blood pressure is ridiculously normal. I belong to a gym (two, actually). But I’m not a size 4 because that’s simply not the size I’m supposed to be. And it’s okay.

I’m going for ice cream.

Apparently I’m “sensitive.”


I remember around sixth grade or so the big put-down was to be called “sensitive,” I suppose because it sounded better than calling someone a “baby.”  I would get it all the time.  I’d display what I thought was an appropriate amount of distress over being the source of “entertainment” at some girl’s sleepover party (I was never an attendee at these parties, mind…the entertainment was in calling me and letting me know WHY I wasn’t invited), only to hear:

“Tch.  GOD, Lisa.  You’re sooooo sensitive.”

In later years, I would use this sensitivity to my advantage.  Onstage, I could cry quite convincingly.  I was also the “sensitive” gal pal to boys I had crushes on, listening raptly to their hopes, dreams, and beliefs regarding the superiority of certain Rush albums, only to have them ask other girls out on dates.

In the throes of my active alcoholism, I also believed myself to be very sensitive.  Intoxication, as any recovering addict will tell you, mimics emotional authenticity.  It’s why some of us slobber all over you, telling you how much we love you.  It’s why others of our ilk engage in inappropriately intimate online conversations with people we’re not married to, as our spouses sleep in the next room.  It’s why still others watch the sad parts of movies over and over again while drinking Bacardi and crying.  You know – because we FEEL things so intensely.

But what I really want to talk about is CARB SENSITIVITY.  Becuz I haz it.

Muffins.  Scones.  Giant cookies the size of your head.  Rolls from Bertucci’s.  I love you all, but you’re no good for me.

I’d put on some weight after moving to the ‘burbs.  OK, I put on 15 pounds of said weight after moving to the ‘burbs.  My clothes had gotten to the point where — okay, you know when you crack open a cylinder of Pillsbury biscuit dough?  That’s what it was like.  And listen – I’ve never in my life been one of these hardbodies with the sculpted abs and all; I’ve always maintained that a little extra stuffin’ under the upholstery makes your partner all grabby in the best possible way.  But what was going on around my middle was on the cusp of unacceptable…for ME.

And so I cut calories.

And I hit the elliptical.

And I did this for weeks on end.

And I lost no weight.


Sad Lisa.

Now, I’d experimented before with cutting “white food” (flour, sugar) out of my diet before.  I did it for a full week, documenting it on me olde blogge, and lost something like 2-3 pounds.  Of course, I promptly put them right back on when I went back to my “blueberry scone a day cuz my life is HARD” diet.  But I remembered feeling, well, better when I wasn’t eating pizza and cookies and muffins for that whole week.  And so about 2 1/2 weeks ago I once again cut the white stuff from my diet.

And I’ve lost 8 pounds.

Before any of you sound the alarm, rest assured that I eat quite well.  Every couple of hours or so, as it turns out.  You become quite creative when the white stuff is no longer an option.  And no, I’m not eating pork rinds and chugging bacon smoothies.  My body simply doesn’t have all those extra carbs sitting around, and so it’s getting down to the business of burning that biscuit dough, as it were.  I feel better, and my clothes are fitting again.

But earlier this evening the houseboy decided to give me a blow-by-blow description of some dessert that a coworker made.

“You take chocolate chip cookie dough, right?  And you put BIG SCOOPS of it in a muffin tin.  And then, you take Reese’s peanut butter cups – the little ones – and you SQUISH THEM ON TOP of each scoop of cookie dough.  And then you bake it.”

And I burst into tears.

Because I’m sensitive.