Thursday, March 31, 2011

dannon coffee yogurt

"Oona had been a fat child, 
had struggled with weight most of her life,
and didn't want to see her daughter suffer the same way.

All in all, it was your basic mother-daughter war. 
Miranda hid food from Oona; 
Oona was enraged that, 
despite her hypervigilance, 
her child was gaining weight.

My solution floored both of them.
I spoke bluntly to Oona: 
Fill up a pillowcase with MandM's, 
give it to Miranda, 
and whenever it gets even a quarter empty, 
fill it back up again. 
Stop commenting on her body. 
End the war now. 
Come back to me in a month and tell me how it's going.

Miranda thought she had died 
and gone to candy-coated heaven. 
Oona just wanted to strangle me.

A month later, 
Oona was convinced that miracles did happen.

During the first week, 
Miranda took the pillowcase everywhere; 
she even slept with it. For the first time, 
she could eat what she wanted without feeling rejected by her mother.

During the second week, 
she stopped taking the pillowcase to school.
She ate fewer MandM's.

In week three, 
she hardly touched them. 
By week four, she never wanted to see 
another MandM again.

But more important than the MandM's was that 
the war had stopped. 
Miranda no longer needed to eat to pay her mother back 
for her constant disapproval. 
She no longer needed the comfort of MandM's 
to make up for the hurt of her mother's rejection...

...The point is, we can be free from the endless cycle 
of depriving and restricting ourselves
if we cultivate a kind of welcoming 
and openhearted friendliness 
toward ourselves.
- Be Good to Yourself - Attitude Toward Food 
by Geneen Roth in Good Housekeeping

Two components here: legalizing food and shutting her mother up!
Shutting a mother up is not always do able.
Legalizing food is.

When I was a preteen and early teen (and every age after that till I moved out at age 23)
my mother pressured me to lose weight.
She policed my food.
She made comments when I ate more than she thought I should.

In the mornings I was permitted to eat one bowl of cereal
or one Dannon Coffee Yogurt.
No seconds.
Coffee was the only flavor I liked.
Not even sure how I first discovered coffee yogurt
since I was not permitted to select my own food at the grocery store.
But it was my favorite.

Gosh, I savored that single yogurt in the mornings.
Not only was it delicious but it was the only food I would eat between waking up
and school lunch time which fell anywhere between noon and 1:30pm.

My stomach growled wildly. I'm not sure how I concentrated in class while I was so hungry.
I remember school becoming difficult for me at that time. I was already into puberty at age 10.
I was hungry from being starved all day (school lunch was skimpy and unsatisfying, plus the girls 
in my class teased me for wolfing down my food so I became self conscious about eating).

That feeling of hunger scarred me psychologically.
My mother's condemnation hurt even worse.
It taught me that satisfying my hunger was 
made me unlovable.

For the past few weeks (or is it months)
I've been doing Dannon Coffee Yogurt therapy.
Sometimes I'll eat 4 or 5 of them in one day.
I feel like I am soothing my hurt from all those meager breakfasts
of my late childhood.

My hunger will be satisfied this time.
And it is.

I'm almost sick of Dannon Coffee Yogurt.
I've almost convinced myself that I no longer have to risk my mother's disapproval
or feel shame for my hunger if I sate myself with a second helping.
I'm so close to healing my longing for that second yogurt.

With the gastric bypass I cannot eat more than one and a half yogurts
without feeling sick. It's like I internalized my mother's scolding disapproval in the form
of a surgical gag order placed on my digestive tract.

I'll have to work around it.
Heal around it.
Eat around it.

I should not feel ashamed of my own hunger.
I am not a glutton for needing a second yogurt.
I am master of my own shopping list.
My money, my groceries, my food, my body, my choice.
No committee.
No mother to approve.
No permission from anyone.

When I'm  hungry I am here to feed me.
I'm building trust one yogurt at a time.


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Fireballsmile said...

Great, great post. I found myself questioning all sorts of things about myself. And, I love knowing these things about you, Lisa. You are so strong!
Strong as a role model, even in a "broken" state. Broken heart, broken perceptions. Your pursuit to fix yourself is absolutely beautiful and I am so grateful you let us (me) in to your world so transparently.

I won't look at coffee yogurt the same way again ... not without smiling and frowning at the same time.
This is also a good reminder to use caution with the kids.
I'm gushing - can't help it

Lisa Sargese said...

Nickie, You f*cking rock. Thank you!

Fireballsmile said...

HA! Back atcha BABE!

Yasi said...

Fantastic post! I have found that I am healing from years of disordered eating in the same way. I feel as if food has 'lost its power'.

I actually discussed the concept in this post:

Great job, Lisa!

Kimber Yoga said...

This is so beautiful, and so true. Good for you, for figuring out how to re-parent yourself around food. So many of us need this... to take away the taboos around food and let ourselves find a balance that doesn't make us "bad" for eating "bad" food and "good" for eating "good" food, but honors what our body needs. I've been working a lot with body issues myself... I found meditation and yoga helped with both my eating and my body-image. Good luck and I'll look forward to hearing more about your journey!

Megan said...

I am taking your life lesson to heart, thank you for posting it. I have been scouring the web in a mad search to find out where I can buy Dannon Coffee Yogurt since my store stopped selling it. If you'd like to join the DCY Fanatics Facebook group, here is the link . . . . Megan