Image from Vicki DeLoach:Flickr.com
There are a few reasons I decided to name this blog “The Hungry Caterpillar.”
The hungry caterpillar eats and eats through one apple, two pears, three plums, four strawberries, five oranges…but he’s still hungry!
If you’ve been through recovery from a restrictive eating disorder like anorexia or bulimia, you know what it feels like to eat and eat and eat and still be hungry. It’s confusing, terrifying, and frankly, kind of funny.
Not that eating disorders themselves are funny. They can kill you. And worse than that, they kill You, in the sense of your personality, the soul or whatever it is you believe in that makes you an interesting person. You know that Snickers ad?
That’s anorexia. I’ve been there.
Hi. I’m Joyce.
A few summers ago (actually, the summer this picture was taken), I lost twenty pounds in 10 weeks. I had anorexia. But I didn’t know it.
Why not? Because of a lot of things. My own stupidity, partly. But also because a lot of things about our culture that make me mad. Like the fact that the standard of beauty is much skinnier than normal healthy body weight for most women. Like the fact that the health industry is almost as complicit in fat-shaming as the beauty industry. Like the fact that fat-shaming rhetoric is everywhere. Like the fact that everyone knows the supposed risks of being overweight, but no one talks about the risks of being underweight or of eating too little, whatever your body weight. I’m sure I’ll have more to say about all that in future posts.
Now I’m recovered. Not that all the anxiety and frustration is entirely in the past. But I’ve learned my lesson. Now I’m a master’s student in creative nonfiction–that’s memoir and essay–at Colorado State University. I teach composition to freshmen, which is, quite frankly, the best job I’ve ever had. When I can find the time, I swing dance. It’s awesome.
I cook a lot, and eat a lot, healthy food and fun food. I’m hungry half the day.
I have IBS. I’ve got it bad. : P And most of the time when I eat, it feels like this:
This is one of the many reasons, I believe, that I developed anorexia in the first place. I can eat a perfectly reasonable-sized meal and feel like I’ve eaten a ton–I call it the two Thanksgiving dinners feeling. I’m curled up in a ball with my knees to my chest crying I’m so stuffed. And then, an hour or two later, I find myself quite hungry again.
I went and saw a gastroenterologist about all this, and he told me it was just my anxious anorexic brain playing tricks on me.
Thanks for mansplaining away my biggest life struggle, gastroenterologist.
So I decided I’d do my best to solve my own problem. With
a little bit a ton of online research, I began to follow the low-FODMAP diet, which was developed by Monash University in Australia to help folks with IBS manage symptoms. For information about the low-FODMAP diet, I highly recommend this awesome handout from Kate Scarlata.
The low-FODMAP diet is not only rare and obscure in the U.S., but it’s very difficult to follow. So that’s why I’m starting this blog. Besides promoting body-positive and food-positive thinking, I’d like to provide recipes for folks who struggle with food intolerances and share recipes and hacks for low-FODMAP eating.
Please join me on my hungry hungry adventure!