Digital Detox

sugar snap peaA lot has changed for me since I started this blog.

When I started this blog four years ago, I had a new baby, I had just quit the 9–5 workforce, and I was trying to make it as a freelance writer and blogger. I was obsessed with going green and eating organic both for my and my new baby’s health. And I HAD to do it all on a budget, because I earned about $1500 that year. Total.

Today, my precious baby is now a precocious almost-5-yr-old, I run a successful content marketing business that grosses almost three times my previous 9–5 salary, I have team members, and I still love good food. I also lost my dad last year to leukemia, which changed my outlook on life.

But something else important has changed.

Last year, when my father was dying of cancer, I started seeing a therapist to help me deal with my grief, and she promptly diagnosed me with binge eating disorder.

This actually wasn’t the first time I was diagnosed with an eating disorder. Back in 2010, before I got pregnant, I saw a different therapist for a short time, and she also diagnosed me with “disordered eating.”

But I didn’t take the diagnosis very seriously either time.  It didn’t seem real to me — I didn’t have a real eating disorder (like anorexia or bulimia), I just had some issues around food. In 2011, when my primary care doctor asked me about the diagnosis in my file, I told her I was “better,” and she deleted it from the computer.

Just like that.

What I know now is that saying your eating disorder got “better” is kind of like saying an alcoholic or drug addict is “better.” We might be in recovery, but it’s not the sort of thing you ever cure.

In the last few months, I’ve gotten a lot more serious about tackling my eating disorder, and trying to come to a place of balance. For me, binge eating wasn’t about taking in thousands of calories at a single sitting (though I certainly did that as a teenager), but rather about the loss of control I felt around food, and the wild swings I had between restricting and eating anything and everything.

And one of the biggest changes I’ve experienced as I become more educated about my diagnosis and more open to working on those issues is that my feelings about food and food culture have shifted dramatically.

Junk in, junk out…

It’s become clichéd to say that the media isn’t good for women’s body images, but I realized this was actually extremely true for me. I would see magazines, Facebook posts, blog posts, TV programs all talking about the latest diet or “healthy” food fad, and I’d want to hop on that bandwagon so fast it’d make your boots spin.

But, as I was learning, dieting is a trigger for my eating disorder.

So I slowly started phasing things out. I’ve changed the magazines I buy from titles like Cooking Light and All You to body positive ones like Darling and Happinez and business mags like Independant.

I started unfollowing accounts on Facebook that were making me feel bad — for one reason or another. I unfollowed the Whole30 people, a couple of nutritionists, and even an acquaintance whom I like and respect very much — but who recently became a Beachbody coach, and whose posts were triggering for me.

Slowly, slowly I’ve been getting rid of the media that isn’t healthy for me, and replacing it with better stuff. I follow Anne Lamott and Elizabeth Gilbert, Bréne Brown and Geneen Roth.

And it’s made me come to some uncomfortable conclusions.

For a long time, one of the main rationales I had for fighting restrictive diets that promised me slender thighs and a less-jiggly belly was that I was a foodie; I couldn’t condone giving up entire food groups. I reveled in that self-appointed title. I loved being a food writer, a restaurant reviewer, someone in-the-know about cooking and eating and all things food.

But now I’m starting to realize, I don’t want food to define me any more. I don’t want my life to be all about what’s on my plate in public, while in private I agonize about what’s around my waist.

I’m craving more — and not more food.

Where does my voice fall?

I believe we have fetishized food in our culture to an unhealthy extreme.

One of the mental pitfalls I experience when I swing from permissive eating to restrictive is that I don’t know what to do: there are so many different rules out there, so much conflicting advice, so many hard and fast dogmas about what is and is not healthy that directly oppose one another. I become overwhelmed and, frankly, despondent that I will ever reach my goals — so I just go back to eating, because it’s easier.

To paraphrase Geneen Roth, when we are dieting, we are relying on other people to tell us what is right for our bodies. We’re listening to other people’s rules and advice and treating it as gospel.

When we give up dieting, we take back our voice.

I’m deep in the frightening process of remembering how to listen to my own body, to trust its innate wisdom, and to accept that the size it wants to be may or may not conform to what all the voices around me tell me I ought to be.

And I realized: I don’t want to be a part of the noise.

I don’t want to be one of those voices telling anyone else what’s right for them, for their body, for their family, for their life. I am actively trying to get away from that for myself, so I cannot abide the thought of being that distraction for anyone else.

I also realized that keeping up this blog in its current form had become a burden. What had once been a passion project had fizzled and become just one more thing on my to do list. And that’s never what I wanted this to be.

Putting the laughter back into Laughing Lemon Pie

This blog was born of joy. The family story that gives it its name was a moment of pure joy. The blog was born of a desire to share, to teach, to talk, to cook. For me, food has always been equated with love, and I wanted to share that love with an audience, with the world.

But I don’t want to contribute to the noise any more. I don’t want to be a part of that tsunami of information that keeps so many of us mired in negative thoughts, believing that we are wrong, or bad, or that foods fall somewhere on the spectrum of good vs. evil.

I need to preach what I hope to practice.

After much soul searching and talking with my dear friend and contributor, Emily Klopstein, we have decided to let the old version of Laughing Lemon Pie go. Its time has passed.

What that means practically is that we won’t be posting weekly any longer (unless we feel like it). We won’t be doing many sponsored posts, and I’ve removed the advertising from the site.

I also won’t be paying dear Emily to contribute here any more, though I will leave the door open if she ever feels the desire to come back and share!

It also means that you’ll probably be seeing more things like this essay, and fewer recipes, fewer reviews, and absolutely no dogma or judgement.

Instead, I may choose to talk about my journey, about the insights I gain as I turn my attention to the hard inner work of listening and being kind.

I still love to blog. I still love my silly laughing lemons. I want this to be a place that continues to provide joy, to me and others.

Thank you for coming with me on this journey.

Here’s to the next step.

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7 Comments

  1. Pingback: Digital Detox | BoulderBubble

  2. YESSSSS Lacy Boggs!! Nodding my head, and feeling admiration for your honesty with every sentence. I’m right there with you girl. Can’t wait to hear what you DO say if and when you say it. Thank you!

  3. What a fantastic post! Sounds like your mind has become tranquil and focused. In a world where most people operate from a state of reaction, this mental focus will make you IMMENSELY effective and happy. Since you are such a smart and kind person to begin with I am excited to see where you go from here. An eating disorder will seem like an easy problem to solve now that you have a changed outlook on life. Good bye to the cupcake bloggers and hello to the healthy lifestyle blogger. HUGS!

  4. I read this a couple days ago and wanted to say something, but wanted to think it through a bit first.

    First of all – thanks for being so open! There must be tons of people out there who feel the same way, or suspect they might but don’t know how to name it, and by talking about it you can help them. Being vulnerable takes a lot of courage.

    Secondly, I totally get what you’re saying about some of the nutrition trends seeming to have good principles or guidelines that promote health, but then you look at the pictures and it’s all about looking good in a bikini. Often they even have those really uncomfortable (for me) vocabulary words that we apply to women’s bodies (sometimes men’s, too, I guess) – saddlebags, batwings, muffin top, or even the “positive” ones like six-pack, bikini bridge, thigh gap… Our culture seems to be unable to decouple health from shoving bodies into some kind of mold. I don’t have control issues with food, but I hate that I feel unattractive when I start comparing myself to people who basically just work out for a living. And I hate that even some of my favorite fitness celebrities who are normally very pro-health and positive people sometimes use those terms. (I’m not going to name names.) I like to work out at home, but it turns out there are very few fitness gurus who don’t use at least some of those terms some of the time. I’ve been trying to design my own workouts more – choose exercises from a book, crank up my own music – to limit exposure to body-shaming language, but since I work out at home, not at the gym, it’s so easy to get in a rut. And I work out to blow off steam, lift my mood, keep my energy levels up, etc. – not to look hot in a swimsuit. (I don’t even like the beach…I sunburn so easily that there’s very little fun in it.)

    Our whole culture has gotten to the point that it’s hard to know what’s okay anymore. I have a friend who felt like her weight was out of control, and she started eating better and working out and lost a lot of weight, and she feels like she’s transformed her life. And I’m totally happy for her that she’s feeling more comfortable in her own skin and able to live her life the way she wants – that’s awesome, right? But when all of her online posts are about food, calories, working out, etc., I start to wonder – is it really healthy emotionally? Maybe she isn’t as obsessed as it would seem from her social media, but what if she is and my encouragement is actually have a negative effect on her? I finally posted one day to tell her she’s always been beautiful, at any weight, and I’m glad she feels healthier and happier now, but she shouldn’t feel bad about how she looked before.

    It’s hard to know what the right thing to do in these situations is. I’m getting to the point that I don’t even want to talk to anyone about food (except as, you know, something yummy to put in my mouth), diets, health, nutrition, working out or even how anyone looks…like, it even makes me question if it’s okay to tell my friends they look good in their evening dresses. I’ve got to wear I only feel comfortable complimenting people in ways that’s unrelated to their weight – like, instead of telling someone she’s “rocking that dress,” I tell her it’s a great color and brings out her eyes, or that she has a lovely glow.

    I know these things are only tangentially related to binge eating, because body image is not what binge eating is necessarily about, but I feel it’s wrapped up in this whole messed-up package that our culture has with food, health, exercise, and bodies.

    Anyway, thanks for being open and encouraging, and I just want to say that I don’t remember feeling your blog was ever contributing to the problem. I, too, started unfollowing and ignoring negative stuff, and I never felt like I had to unfollow you. I found a lot of inspiration from your blog because I like to cook and eat fresh, yummy food, and you didn’t have crazy dietary theories that I had to ignore every time I downloaded a recipe. 🙂

    • Wow, thanks for the heartfelt reply, Heather! I know you’ve been with me on this journey a long time, and I so appreciate your support! <3

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