Salad Days

I love hanging out with women and having women friends, but god damn it if I don’t get tired of talking about food. 

“What are you doing?”

“How are you eating?”

“What’s your exercise program?”

“You look great!”

“You’ve lost weight?”
“How do you stay so thin?”

No disrespect, but it’s all so triggering or me. I’m ready to come officially out of the eating disorders closet and admit to you that I suffer from disordered eating. I suffer not only from the compulsion of the body but also from the obsession of the mind. Right this moment, I’m very uncomfortable in my body, for a variety of reasons, having to do with changing medications, reasons that are tedious, private, and not worth reading about, frankly. 

Last night I went to a once-yearly get-together. Thank god we didn’t have to host this year. For all that not having to drive home is a bonus, the clean-up is a bitch. It always happens this week of July. It started in 2009 when I had a newborn infant Viva. She was about six weeks old at the time and I was still carrying 30 of the fifty pounds I gained, on top of the 20 “Happy wife” pounds I’d gained after my wedding. See, I went on the typical “bride diet”, but being at a normal weight at the time, I lost about 9 pounds to fit into my wedding dress, a size I consider my perfect size.

And then, the honeymoon ended and I went back to work (within a day) and all the excitement of getting married and planning a wedding was over. The result was not unlike pulling the rip-cord on an innertube. I gained 25 pounds quickly and seemingly permanently. The worst part was not the weight gain. At size 12, I hardly stood out in the general population as an overweight person. My husband never complained, except about how he hated seeing me unhappy. And I was. The obsession of my mind drove me (still drives me) batty. 

I bring up the weight because I worried. The group consists of many of my husband’s longtime friends and their wives. One of the couples owns and runs a couple raw vegan restaurant in a crunchy city. Their children eat nourishing food and are not allowed “screen time.” The Christmas card we get from this family every year depicts them in a collage of healthy living: paddle boarding, kayaking, cartwheeling, yoga nine-months-pregnant, hugging around campfires. They radiate health. They spend every get-together chopping vegetables while I drink. I’m always worried what they’ll think of how I look. I’m the second wife. I still feel like the “new wife” even though it’s been 10 years since Mrs. Odie 1 vanished from the scene. I imagine them all thinking, “How could Odie go for this shorter, chunkier, darker-haired, dumpier, OLDER wife?” This is what I mean by the “obsession of the mind.”

What a sad little world so many of us live in where we ruin all social gatherings with thoughts, discussion, and obsession about food and weight. Only one person noticed I’ve lost 25 pounds since last year’s gathering. I thought everyone would say something. It got me all up in my head. Were they not saying anything because they didn’t notice? Do I really not look any better? Were they more focused on my disastrous self-haircut experiment? Oh, look. Wine.

I had a great time. My kids stayed up until midnight. My favorite part was listening (sober) to the drunken proclamations around the bonfire. And surreptitiously making out with Odie behind the garage when no one was looking. The salad was just okay.


About Mrs Odie

Friendly Pedant; Humble Genius
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15 Responses to Salad Days

  1. Kelly says:

    Yes. This. Me, too. I hate this about myself, but my entire mood and general outlook on life fluctuates with my weight. Ugh. I also constantly compare myself to other women. Double ugh. How did I, an otherwise smart, savvy, and well adjusted person, let this happen? Better question, how do I stop being so stupid and shallow?

  2. Lisa says:

    I find that my women friends and I mostly rag – er, I mean TALK about the kids and the husbands, not so much about food. But I do think that body image issues are so prevalent and pervasive with women. I have terrible body image issues that affect too many aspects of my life. I wish I could shake them, but alas, it ain’t so easy.

    • Miguel says:

      Lisa, the body image you have that bugs me the most is why you don’t feel comfortable walking around the neighborhood naked anymore. Get over it! Those were good times. And Mrs. Odie, the stuff you think other people think–although I’m not a girl, except on Valentine’s day, and I guess father’s day–is stuff that most people don’t even notice. You’ve gained a few, lost a few, and so have the people around you. I am willing to bet everything I have–all 74 cents of it–that your husband loves you and finds you attractive, and really, other than how you feel about yourself, what does it matter that people who knew his first wife might–might!–think differently. Don’t worry about living up to other people’s perceptions–you don’t know what they are, and how you imagine them to be is probably so far off from what they actually are.

      • Lisa says:

        Miguel. Hmm. Where do I know that name from?

        • Mrs Odie 2 says:

          I love it when you guys flirt with each other on my blog. It makes me feel like we’re having a three-way.

          • Lisa says:

            I once called out your name when we were … you know. Wait, no, it was M who called out your name …

            God, I’m turning myself on.

            Okay, seriously, that’s not flirting. It’s busting each other’s chops. Flirting. Pfft.

          • Miguelito says:

            See, it’s funny you say that because sometimes we’re just enjoying a nice evening together, and then suddenly it’s like “is that your knee or mine,” and then “boom!” we realize we’re having a three way. Sometimes it’s cool, sometimes not.

  3. Shelley says:

    I believe the reason only one person noticed you lost weight is no one really cares. I have thinner friends who have bad skin or crappy hair, or husbands who aren’t nice to them. Your battle with your weight is in your own mind. I just remind myself that my heart is as big as my waistline and who ever judges other than that, tough sh$t. Some people every time they see me ask if I have lost weight. I used to be disturbed that they always remembered me bigger than I am, Now I just say thanks for noticing (every though I have not lost a pound).
    I was sick last year and had a cancer scare, I lost 15 lbs quickly and prayed that I would take every pound back to be healthy. Got my health back, got the weight back and it is what it is.
    No matter what your body I think everyone has things that bother them and they would like to change. Even the prettiest and thinnest people are aging along with the rest of us.
    Just my opinion, but since I have a few years on you, take my word on the life is too short part. Also you and Mr Odie chose each other, anything other people think should be irrelevant whether they are his friends or yours. Maybe they always thought Mrs. Odie1 was a bitch. 🙂

    • Mrs Odie 2 says:

      Haha! I think several of them did.

      Glad you got your health back, and you make an excellent point. I have been thinking about what you wrote for several days and it has been good for my perspective. Thank you! I do still need to maintain my neurotic outlook to some extent or I’ll have nothing to write about.

  4. I think everyone has to be whatever weight feels GOOD for them. You have your idea of a perfect weight/size for yourself and you don’t use it to determine what others should look like. That’s great. I spent my entire life being ultra thin. I didn’t have to try. That’s just the way it was. I started running in college and played adult soccer for 20 years after that and those activities (which I enjoyed), along with a tendency to stress easily kept things just the way I wanted them. I gained 50-60 pounds of pregnancy tonnage with each kid and lost all of it, though the last one was the hardest. However, in middle age I have to say that the stress of teaching where I did, along with a slower metabolism has brought me a body that I don’t recognize. It is one that looks normal–not bad—just normal. But not to me. I hear you, Mrs. Odie. I hear you.

  5. Anna says:

    I have to agree. The reason no one commented it’s because no one cares. It’s all in your mind. And it seems its distractive. They should notice your sense of humor, your wittiness, your eloquence…
    I also don’t like how in almost every social gathering eating and weight are a main subject or at least the conversations start that way. I don’t have a weight gain/lose issue. I can benefit from exercising and getting fit..but that’s another story. Yet everywhere I go women question me how do I stay thin…My answer…I don’t do anything. They stop being nice to me and don’t talk to me anymore. I feel discriminated sometimes. I want to make new friends at my daughter’s swim class…but these ladies don’t accept me cause I am a size 0. Even my own aunt comments on my “perfect” weight…But I didn’t take away anybody’s body?

  6. annie says:

    This post is exactly how I’m feeling right now. I love food. I hate that watching my weight means obsessing over every bite that goes in my mouth and counting every calorie that I burn on the elliptical. I’ve lost 20lbs since weaning my little guy and my sister – in – law who is chubby didn’t say a word. I don’t know why I let it bother me. I know my clothes reflect my loss, but for whatever reason I wanted her to notice. My mother – in – law didn’t say anything either. My mom pointed out that she never says anything because it only makes her feel bad about herself, or she’s worried that she’ll upset the person. Crazy. Those 20 pounds were hard to lose and even though I’m not a super model I want to shout it from the rooftop

  7. Michael says:

    Ok. I’m ready for the next post. I mean we’re ready for the next post. I can’t carry you anymore. Damn, I’m funny.

  8. Fiona says:

    I relate so much – I hate that how I feel revolves so much around my weight or my self image at that time – but it does. And I’ll be so caught up being self conscious that it ruins it. The reality is that life is too short and too precious to waste while we fret about weight. Especially when the people who we think will notice, don’t notice, because they are busy LIVING. xx

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