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Ahh, love at first sight. Very romantic, no? You’re at the grocery store, selecting some artisan prosciutto, and your fingers gently graze the top of another hand that happened to be reaching for the very same packet of cured ham at the exact moment you did. You both look up, lock eyes, and suddenly find yourself entering a whirlwind romance. It feels like the kind of love you’d burn buildings for, and you haven’t even asked for his mother’s maiden name yet. …


The other night, I entered a blackout. This didn’t happen after I drank five beers (although I did drink five beers)- it happened when I got home and started eating. I hadn’t eaten much that day at all. I know I had coffee and fruit, and, at some point the five beers, so by the time I returned to my apartment for the evening I’d started to feel fairly food-deprived. I found a frozen pizza and popped it in the oven. Then, I located some leftover queso in my fridge and dumped it into a pan to heat up on my stove. …


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Late last night, I fell down a YouTube rabbit hole. I do this often. I’ll watch hours of true crime stories, makeup tutorials, or fifteen-minute windows into what Instagram influencers eat in a day. Following that last one led me to the YouTube account of Victoria Garrick, a vlogger focused on the concept of intuitive eating. I had heard the term before and even familiarized myself with the concept as it always sounded like the most viable solution to my binge-and-purge problem. Garrick even talks about overcoming her own binge eating disorder through intuitive eating.

We are all born intuitive eaters. We don’t come out of the womb calling foods good or bad, and we aren’t acutely aware of how much heavier we are than the other babies in the maternity ward. We unlatched from our mom’s nipple when we were good and done, and well into our toddler years, we happily left half a sandwich and three chips on a plate when we didn’t feel like putting more food inside our stomachs. We simply knew that we had to eat and that we didn’t like feeling extremely full. At a certain point, we lose this ability. We begin considering what we’re eating and how it’s going to affect the way we look. We forget how to live with a sense of food freedom. As adults, relearning how to maintain food freedom is easier said than done. …


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We’ve all heard it before- diets don’t work. According to WebMD, an estimated 80% of dieters gain the weight they lost plus some extra back within a year. This is because when you carry out consumption habits within a set of parameters that don’t align with your lifestyle, you’re fostering unsustainable habits in pursuit of a superficial goal. I’m no stranger to such habits. Ever since I was a child, I have experimented with heavily regimented diets and rules in order to achieve what I considered to be the perfect figure. Ranging from calorie counting and Weight Watchers to copying what my sister ate and veganism, these rules never left me feeling like I had any control over my own body. Ultimately, these methods conditioned my thought patterns to believe that getting as skinny as possible in the shortest time frame was both an attainable goal and a healthy approach to controlling my weight. Eventually, my eating habits became wildly disordered, leaving me to deal with bouts of starvation and binge-and-purge behavior for the better part of two decades. I became so committed to the idea of thinness that it often took center stage in my life, pushing out my social life, creativity, and the ability to simply live. It wasn’t until I took a more intuitive approach that my body began to settle into a shape that makes sense for my height and frame, as well as a more relaxed attitude towards my overall health. …


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The world is ending, and all I can think about is losing ten pounds. Alright, fine. Maybe it’s not ending. Even I, grown-up theater kid and perpetual seeker of attention with a flair for the dramatic, can admit that it’s possible that all hope is not lost. Be that as it may, it’s no secret that we, as a country, have been navigating through the throws of chaos and a relentlessly flowing stream of bad news at a particularly high concentration this year. While disaster unfolds in the news, I find myself fixated on the one piece of news I receive on a daily basis that affects me most personally. This piece of news is delivered to me promptly at 9 am every day (fine, it’s not prompt, and sometimes it’s noon) by the bathroom scale I purchased at Target for $17.99. I have gained seven pounds since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. And sure, I’m thankful for my health and I’m glad that these months of inactivity have prevented myself and those who I love from getting sick. …


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Food is a medium soaked in tradition, constantly evolving, and highly personal. The most personal foods are comfort foods, and most of us have a specific food we turn to when we need to feel grounded. For me, that comfort food is a simple red sauce, and my mom regularly stocks my freezer when she visits with slices of homemade lasagna slathered with the stuff so she’ll know I won’t go hungry. She never wanted me to live 1800 miles away from her, and leaving me with her homemade dinners after she boards a plane and flies home serves as a sort of comfort for her, too. She knows there’s nothing like a simple red sauce made with love. …

About

Leah Mulroney

Writer, Comedian, Real Live Human Person

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