"binge eating" "eating disorders" "body image" "body positive" "diet culture" "no diet" "no scales" "body shaming" "fat shaming" "body image"

Jackie Bluzer

Author & Illustrator

Popcorn is Still My Kryptonite

Beautiful Magazine: Awaken Issue/Winter 2018, pgs. 56, 57

After the current foray of superhero movies, I wished I could fly in a streak, flex my strength, and do the time bend a la “Matrix.” It occurred to me after watching “Thor: Ragnarok” that I do have a superpower, which does not include the cool suit, but that’s okay.

As I watched the movie I shoveled the popcorn; snatching hand after handful. After 20 years, I can avoid binging, but popcorn is my kryptonite. The compulsive action; hand to mouth, is almost impossible to stop. It reminds me of the days when I felt those intense out-of-control feelings. There were many weeks, and months when I could not stop. This sobering reminder made me realize that my eating disorder is not gone but lurking in the background like a flashback.

Two weeks ago, I went for a colonoscopy. Not eating for 24 hours had me all wound up and anxious. I tried to focus on the thereafter, and consuming a huge cinnamon raisin bagel with egg salad. For anyone that has not gone through the preparation, it is ghastly. I did get the reward in the end, but it was another reminder of how much “food” still plays a role in my consciousness; it scares me.

The last 2 years I went from a size 6 to 10. My rationalization; I am older, and I must eat less and exercise more to maintain my weight. I am already programmed to eat one slice of bread on a sandwich, ask for salad dressing on the side, no dessert, avoid starchy vegetables, fried foods and on it goes. I am back to hanging up my pants after washing to avoid shrinkage in the dryer. It was so miraculous for years knowing the clothes from the previous season would fit. I was able to reconcile with being a comfortable 8, but a size 10 has me back on the edge. Again, I have two sizes of pants in my closet and it is unsettling.

Return to the epiphany, and my superpower. I made a conscious decision to force my hand out of the popcorn bag. After a minute or two, I forgot about it. When I left the movie, it occurred to me how amazing it was to put it aside and concentrate on the movie. Popcorn is the only food that grabs my compulsion and turns on the eating machine. Please don’t equate this with “will power” or the lack thereof. It was the ability to distract myself long enough to mind-bend from the popcorn to the movie.

I was able to use my superpower again. I was out to dinner with friends at a pre-fixe dinner. The dessert came, and I was able to take 2 forkfuls of carrot cake. I realized it did not have the power to draw me back as I used my shield of resistance. In truth, cake does not shake me up as much as chocolate chip cookies. I am trying to replace, I was “good” with healthy and negate the concept of “bad.”

It is true that Superheroes will risk their lives to rescue others, but there is nobility in liberating your “self.” Anyone that has battled an eating disorder realizes the peril of denial.

Not unlike many Superheroes, my power evolved over time. Some don’t realize they have a unique ability, but it presents itself when essential. It seems like a movie moment when I can defeat the notorious food magnet once again.