Wednesday, November 23, 2005

On Writing, Risk, Books, and Thanksgiving...

Today, I posted the following on forum, a favorite spot for sorting out my writing issues:

Years ago, the writer Maxine Hong Kingston lost an entire manuscript in those California wildfires that wiped out thousands of homes, and she had no backup
copy. Understandably, she sunk into a deep depression, but managed to write a
different book in which she explored the loss of several years work. At the 2003
NCTE meeting in San Francisco, she spoke very poignantly about this traumatic
event. The minute I returned home, I decided to protect my work, even at the
possibility of risking spider bots crawling my work.

Life IS about taking risks; diet programs attempt to erase all risk from their clients' lives. Non-dieting involves taking risks, and that's a positive thing, for how else can we discover what works for us? I ordered Linda Moran's book How to Survive Your Diet and Conquer Your Food Issues Forever, and some other non-dieting books--I firmly believe in educating myself as much as possible. I like Linda Moran's online group (dietsurvivors); it's simple to navigate, and she responds to the messages, even the ones not directed to her. Where does she find the time? I also ordered Teacher Man (Frank McCourt) and Hungry Planet (Peter Menzel and Faith D'Aluisio), not a book directly about diet as weight loss, but diet as how people around the world eat. I heard about the book on NPR and knew instantly that I needed it.

Anyway, tomorrow is Turkey Day, and I wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving. In the past, this has always been a red flag day, just another food trap to navigate. This year will be different; I'm going to take Linda Moran's advice and enjoy small portions of the foods I really like. I think I can do it; I survived two conferences pretty well: I ate steak, crab cakes, turkey and mashed potatoes with gravy, rolls, and sweets. But I drew a line and ate limited amounts and, surprisingly, I felt satisfied. Not "buffet" stuffed--an awful feeling, by the way.

I learned something important; at one meal, I thought I had done fairly well, but 30 minutes later, I realized I had, in fact, overeaten.

Trial and error: that's how we learn.

I have discovered a simple way of determining true hunger and "mouth" hunger: with true hunger, no matter how much you try to forget about it, it sticks with you until you nourish your body. Mouth hunger, on the other hand, can be short circuited by engaging in another activity. Sometimes, though, mouth hunger has to be nourished as well--naturally thin people do engage in feeding mouth hunger, but they do so without guilt and guile.

Back to Thanksgiving. Last year, I was living in Skopje, Macedonia, and there was not a turkey to be had at any cost. So I bought two oven-spit chickens, noodles, cabbage, carrots, chocolate truffles--foods easily found in Macedonia--and invited some Macedonian friends over for Thanksgiving dinner. They loved celebrating an American holiday, and I loved explaining the meaning of the holiday (including the tradition of gorging and watching American Football). This year, we're going to my brother-in-law's for the traditional feast, which will be nice, too. Mark and Missy Siegel are thin people who diet from time to time, but they don't make a big deal out of it.

I love them for that!

Have a great day!

Jennifer Semple Siegel

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