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an alternative to all the terrible weight-loss, diet ads that bombard the start of the new year: in the form of a post.

before beginning:
this is a continuation.
of a story. about ned.
ned being my nasty, little eating disorder.
he's the worst.
for more information,
check my sidebar
(under the photo of me in
the winter mittens).

i have been meaning to post about ned.

for a while now.

and yet i put it off. sit down for another episode of the office and promise i'll do it tomorrow.

but many tomorrows of tomorrows have passed and i am no more ready today.

but i will begin. in spite of unreadiness.

it is hard to write about ned, but for extremes. or past-tense. let me explain: when i know where i stand with ned--whether it be really bad, or really good, i can write from those places. or if i know how the segment of the story ends, i can write the history. it is the unfolding story with no answer of an ending--the space between--the constant adjustment to perpetually shifting plates that undoes me. and steals my voice.

going home for the holidays was perfection. a place and season that were once the hardest, this year proved easy. and so for whatever reason i got through fifteen days binge free. i denied myself nothing and never once felt as though i over-ate. and because of that...because i felt so unerringly normal, i declared myself happy.

and then i returned to this city. and i am lonely. and now helplessly homesick. and i wonder if this is depression or ned. or are they one in the same as they have been in the past?

i want to write from a place of past. but ned is present and the war wages on.

but progress has been made.

actually there is so much good that has come out of all of this destruction. i am wiser and now a huge advocate of arming one's self with knowledge.

i've almost completely stopped eating meat. not because i dislike meat. hell, i'm from texas, i love the stuff. but i strongly disagree with the factory farming system as it exists today.* and i know that this decision is one thing i can act on each day that will have a positive effect on the environment. this is not to say that i am a vegetarian. as someone with an eating disorder i am weary of imposing any kinds of limits or rules on my food intake. if i want meat, i will eat it, but i like to know where it comes from--if it was produced locally, whether the animal was treated humanely.

i am trying to cut out processed foods. frozen dinners. candy. snack packs. are the ingredients simple and easy to break down? can i figure out a way to make it myself?

one of my goals for this new year was to make my own bread. and so yesterday, in my shell of a kitchen i baked up some spelt (an alternative to wheat) biscuits. and i loved it. i like helping to create the things that go into my body. and i like knowing that what i take in, for both sustenance and enjoyment, is not at another creature's or the planet's expense.

it is my great belief that food and health is now a social and political issues. diets don't work (but, shhh, don't tell that to the billion-dollar-a-year diet industry). there is a reason that 60% of americans are overweight and it sure as hell doesn't have anything to do with lack of will-power.

now is the time to seek out alternatives. a healthy life-style that is good for us and our planet.

what we put in our body affects our mood and mind. and whether the weight fluctuates up or down, our health is far more tied to fruits and vegetables than frozen smart-ones.

i am not ned free. but my real new year's resolution? to do everything i've put off in the past because of my eating disorder. (like going out on a tuesday night in search of cute guys). or taking pictures. {one day i might just write a field-guide for those with loved ones suffering from an eating disorder. i will explain why things like walking past a mirror or a confrontation with a camera can be both crippling and ultimately the answer to survival, but i digress--that is another post for another day}.

and so i told dr. tom that i am ready to take on the second-phase of treatment which involves standing in front of a mirrors and describing your body in non-judgmental terms. it's a five-week course that sounds like some new circle of hell yet undiscovered by dante, and i'm not ready, i am so not ready (i was going to wait for a time when i was) but sometimes it's best to jump in. even if you think you might sink.

and so here i go.


i want to be normal again. i want to be me without ned.

this might just be the year.

*loving in the information in Jonathan Safran Foer's Eating Animals and Barbara Kingsolver's Animal, Vegetable, Miracle. (in fact i gave both these books to my father for Christmas so we can discuss)


Brittany said...

clap. clap. clap. that's the sound of me applauding this post. so true, so needed, so honest.

beatrice said...

ned's song is ending, it is this year. can you feel it?

Kelsey and Riley said...

amazing. i love how brave you are and i love reading your posts about ned. gives me inspiration to my own life and my own struggles. thank you for sharing with us :) and best of luck!!

Em said...

Good luck, Meg - I really believe you can do it, you're an amazing young woman, and so brave.

Kimberly said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kimberly said...

I can't wait to read Eating Animals when I get back to the States. A few related books that I feel should be required reading for everyone (especially the huge number of us with food and body challenges):

In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan
The Beauty Myth by Naomi Wolf
Bodies by Susie Orbach

Your writing has such a great voice.

IIDA said...

This post was everything I needed today.

Camilla Salem said...

i have so many things to say.

first of all, i've been dying over that book. i'm hugely against factory farming and the american food system in general (studied about it at Berkeley) and that is on my must read list.

secondly, im thrilled you wrote this post. i imagine it must not be easy to lay it all out there. but actually, i went through all your ned posts the other day after you mentioned the mirrors thing to me. i often feel that i am just a stones throw away from developing my own ned. particularly when i deny myself things and if i diet. when i spoke with my new personal trainer - who i need just to keep me motivated to work out - i told her that i already eat quite healthily, and i do, and i cannot deny myself of certain things otherwise i will sit down one day and eat an excess of it - so i told her not to even bring it up to me. being a former collegiate athlete who had to quit because her life got turned upside down (see "serious time" in November of my blog), i suffer from huge body image issues and sadness regarding the massive change i have seen in my physique. and denying myself my favorite foods just makes me even more depressed about that change which will inevitably lead to a binge.

i do feel that i have pretty good control over it - though i've never talked to anyone about it. i've never actually had an all out binge - mostly because i'm rarely alone - but i do know that it is always a thought.

anyways, this is going on far too long. perhaps i shall email you about it soon. but regardless, thanks for this post...i appreciate how open and honest you are about something that so many of us face.

laura marie said...

{if you ever need any help or testimonies with your book, you just let me know} - and please know that this post felt like a sigh of relief for me on this cold, dark morning... thank you :)

H.M. said...

Meg, there are a few things I've really missed since I quit the Cupboard. One of them is your honesty and how you never move away from it. I'm tiptoeing back into Blogland as we speak. I have very little to say, but what little I'm saying, I'd love if you read.

You're a brave one, you know.

olivia rae said...

so amazing and inspiring meg. you always say things that give me such a better perspective. (and i LOVE foer's eating animals). that program sounds incredible. i hope you'll share what comes from it! xoxo

Meg Fee said...


my dear, beautiful friend, nothing would make me happier than to read your words.

cupboard lover

Sarah said...

Thank you.

Taylor Norris said...

thanks for putting yourself out there for us! it's my belief that (for the most part) the things that ruin us like to hide in the dark of ourselves and only when you force them to the front, into the light, do they begin to shrivel and die. you're doing that by sharing this so vulnerably! way to go. don't give up.

Emily said...

Thanks for being so open, meg! Your beautifully-written account is so honest. I wish you all the luck this year as you conquer mr.ned!

bandojoy said...

You are SO inspirational and brave.
The way you speak about ned is really amazing, and you are facing it in such a powerful way by sharing it.
Thank you.

AbbieBabble said...

Oh, Meg, you're so brave. You will do this, and be so much stronger at the end.

P.S. I've been meaning to read both Eating Animals and Animal, Vegetable Miracle. Have you read In Defense of Food? It's another really good one, and I see that others have recommended it.

Shannon said...

Good luck Meg! You're gonna do wonders!! Ive gone two weeks with out Charlie. Its amazing what food will do for your body when you actually eat it. : ) Hang in there!

Erin said...

As always, a wonderful post. You are very brave. You will beat Ned.

Jane's Next Door said...

you're an inspiration, my friend. I wish I knew you so I could give you a hug and make you feel less lonely (because I know exactly how that feels.)
Be brave! You are beautiful.

iheartkiwi said...

good luck my dear! i think this will be the year for you. i know you can do it.

have you read the omnivore's dilemma? it's incredibly interesting as well.

CrowNology said...

Hi Meg,
A "wonderful" post.
Very close to my heart.
Photography and blogging paired up to pull me from a life long battle with severe Depression and it's Side-Kick wasn't ned but another form of self punishment (that is way too close to talk about yet...)...
I still have days but they have not turned into months for the whole of 2009. Big Victory.
I believe that you are healing but that you, like me, still have to cautious in ways the "normal" don't. Some people would hide, but you are helping others. Thank you.
You deserve so much Happiness, Peace and LOVE...I hope 2010 brings it to you.

CrowNology said...

Oh Yeah. I've not eat beef, pork, etc. Red meat for about 13 years. Only the smell of BBQ makes me question my choice! ;) I gave up chicken this New Year. There are so many things to consider in these debates!
I hope you are successful in your search for "good" food. It is hard but so worth it!

Mrs. B said...

You. Rock.

Anonymous said...

Would you ever consider posting about Ned in more specifics? I am not as familiar with eating disorders as I thought, especially since I thought they mostly had to do with starving oneself.

Yours seems to involve binging, but not purging? What does a binge look like exactly? It is much more extreme than just eating too much for dinner? What does a day of binge eating involve?

Anorexics want to be skinny so they starve. Bulimics want to be skinny so they eat a lot but then throw it all up. Binge-rs want to be skinny so they.. eat? I'm confused...

Hanako66 said...

you are so wonderfully courageous and an inspiration to so many

Amanda said...

Yay!! The year of no more Ned! Maybe if we all think positively with you, it will happen!
This is so amazing because I'm right there with you! Not about the not eating meat thing (and I don't have anything against that either, but my blood type require meat and I love it so that's a whole other thing lol), but about being in a good place, even over the holidays when I would usually stuff myself to the point of puking, that I eat what I feel like eating when I'm hungry and feel very happy about it. Food is no longer ruling my life and it's a great place to be. As far as 5 weeks of standing in front of a mirror and being non-judgmental about my own body, I don't think I could ever be ready for something like that!

HillTopStar said...

thanks for sharing your courage. i don't have a ned, but i do have my own shortcomings. when you share your courage, it does help. thank you.

Belen said...

i love your blog, meg. i feel your determination and it seems to empower me as well with my goal of losing my weight.

"sometimes it's best to jump in. even if you think you might sink." i did that with my first "wednesday weigh-in" post. i actually did not plan it at all. in that moment of frustration over my weight, body, and unhealthiness, i blurted out that post.

i &heart; you, meg. thanks for blogging. :)

Emily G. said...

this year is going to be your year. you have so many people supporting and cheering for you!

Anka said...

that was very well said!

Brittan said...

I've been a vegetarian since I was 10 years old and would be happy to give you advice, recipes, tips, etc. In fact, I've been meaning to do a blog post about it. I'll do that today. It's smart to not restrict yourself to a vegetarian diet at this point, but by reading and talking to people you can learn healthy, yummy ways to replace meat when you cook at home. Also, NYC has the best vegetarian restaurants in the country (it's true, even better than Cali) so there's that!

I really appreciate all of the writing you do about Ned. It really hit home when you said:

"It is hard to write about ned, but for extremes. or past-tense. let me explain: when i know where i stand with ned--whether it be really bad, or really good, i can write from those places. or if i know how the segment of the story ends, i can write the history. it is the unfolding story with no answer of an ending--the space between--the constant adjustment to perpetually shifting plates that undoes me. and steals my voice."

I've struggled with self destructive behaviors and this is exactly how it is for me. You are so brave to share these things, both for yourself and for your readers.

kathleen said...

You are so strong and so brave. I can't tell you enough what a truly beautiful writer you are..., but more than that, you are such a good person. Thank you, thank you for sharing yourself with us.

Anonymous said...

Yay you. :)

Jenna said...

hey meg, i really enjoyed this post! ive been struggling with binge eating for almost 10 years now. I'm 25 now, and each year it gets better, but it continues to be difficult to find people in my life to talk to about it. I have a "normal" apparently healthy- looking weight and when i express my concerns, 99% of my friends and family dismiss it with "but you look great! you eat so healthy! you exercise so it's ok! etc." I get the sense they think I'm just fishing for a compliment versus trying to talk about a deeply personal problem I'm having, and that can be lonely. i also sympathize with the camera situation - new years eve this year was difficult for me. even though i should have been concentrating on hanging out with all my friends and having a good time, i got stuck early in the night on how clingy my shirt was and which angle to look at the camera to minimize my perceived trouble spots. this doesn't happen too often but when it does, it can be overwhelming and ruin an otherwise great evening. anyway, i enjoy your blog in a different way than the others i read; it's very powerful to me and reminds me to always keep working on myself and loving myself. thanks so much.

ashley lauren said...

It's been a while since I looked at your blog. I am in the second year of recovery from my eating disorder, I am so inspired by your words. I am glad that you are forging your path in recovery. Finding ways to love your body. And speaking out against the deceptions of the diet-industry.

I wish you all the luck in the world, I know that a full recovery is possible. So hard, but so attainable.

Thank you for your words.

buddens said...

Good for you. ED's are hard. My degree is in dietetics, and I've worked at facilities for girls with eating disorders. It's a doozy and I applaud your progress.

I wanted to comment on the fact that so many Americans are overweight, and in my opinion, it has more to do with the way food is produced and marketed in this country than it is with the diet industry. So much of the food produced is empty of anything other than calories, and our bodies end up craving and craving and craving SOMETHING - in dire search of the nutrients it requires - until we've eaten a day's worth of calories, but haven't consumed anything of value. I love that you are taking a look into how food is produced and taking part in the production of your own food because I sincerely believe that THAT more than any diet would help most American's on their journey to health.

Phew. Off soap box now. :)

hawthorne girl said...

don't get me wrong because i love new york but meg, get out of new york!