Size of My Life

Size of My Life

by Karen Cigna


Publisher Size of My Life

Published in Self-Help/Eating Disorders, Health, Fitness & Dieting/Mental Health, Self-Help, Health, Fitness & Dieting, Nonfiction

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Book Description

Are you tired of being at war with your body? Do you want to make peace with hunger, food, weight, body size, true physical hungers, emotional hungers & yourself ? If so, read my book, as I share my recovery from hating my body. Today, I finally know that "THE SIZE OF MY LIFE IS NOT DEFINED BY THE SIZE OF MY BODY." Whether you need to lose/gain weight, you will positively lose body hatred & gain self-love. I was anorexic & bulimic for years & then I was a binge eater & overweight. I lost over 100 lbs. by learning to love my body from the inside-out.

Sample Chapter

When I was a kid, the size of Thanksgiving was measured by the size of the quantity of food on the table.

In fact, my friends of Italian descent and I would compare menus, listing the different foods paraded forward at the Thanksgiving table.

Why particularly my friends of Italian descent?

Because, if you are Italian, you may have had the experience of Thanksgiving, an American holiday, including the preparation of not only the traditional American meal but a traditional Italian meal.

Why have one meal when you can have two?

Who knows maybe the Indians and Pilgrims sat down to a lasagna and turkey dinner.

So my friends and I would compare holidays by comparing menus. Only after the entire menu was reviewed, including deserts, would the winner be determined, as to who had the biggest sized Thanksgiving meal.

The other measurement of the size of Thanksgiving was how many people, particularly relatives were at the Thanksgiving table.

We would review the list of those in attendance and the lists would almost sound the same.

Yes my Uncle Tony, Uncle Joe and Uncle Sal were there, so was Aunt Mary, Aunt Rose and Aunt Angela. Yeah , me too!

Then , of course, there was the question of how many cousins were at the kids' table.

It was not an adequate sized holiday if the relatives in attendance were not in the double-digits, because more was always better.

My family never understood the idea that less might be more.

What my friends and I never discussed was the size of the family fights.

My Italian experience was , as was dictated by Michael Corleone, in the Godfather, to Fredo "You never go against the family."

So I never shared with my Italian friends, or any others for that matter, that many a Thanksgiving ended up in a family fight with my having to leave before I even got a look at the deserts, as my parents hurried me out the door. Or maybe I should say my mother hurried us out the door before fists started flying.

Afterall, you put a double digit sized group of Italian relatives together on a holiday, any holiday, especially Thanksgiving where there are only so many turkey legs, and a fight is likely. At least back in the day, when it was not politically correct to allow people, especially those related to you, to have their own opinions, let alone own voices.

So I developed a love-hate relationship with the holidays, especially, Thanksgiving.

The"love" part of the relationship was based on the fact that I loved the promise of the magic of the holidays.

The possibility that once all the relatives were gathered around the Thanksgiving table, we would magically become the peaceful, loving family you see on the Hall mark holiday commercials. The love we had, the peaceful remained to be seen.

And just when it appeared that maybe this was the year where we would attain the aura of magic, a fight would brake out.

I would know all was lost when I heard the following: "Oh yeah, you can kiss my a-- in Macy's window!" because none of those Hallmark holiday commercials ever included that dialogue.

But I would be misleading you if I said that it was merely the arguments between the relatives that made me focus on the size of the meal at Thanksgiving, as opposed to the true importance of the holiday. Because I am sure most of you have had at least one Thanksgiving turn into family chaos.

No, it went beyond the chaos likely to follow at the actual Thanksgiving dinner, It was the depression of the very person who taught me to look for the magic of the holiday, that caused me to focus on the size of the meal and the size of the food I was going to eat, my mother.

My mom, who I loved very much, and who died in April of 2001, suffered with mental illness and depression. Unfortunately, anti-depressants were not yet available and she was treated ineffectually with valium.

My mom waited for the holiday magic to take over but there was no holiday magic that could ever overcome her own struggle with depression and mental illness. She could not put aside her pain to be truly present with my father and I, although she tried her best and succeeded in numerous small ways, some of which comprise my fondest memories.

The "hate" part of my love-hate relationship with the holidays was, I spent the holidays trying to read between the lines of my mothers words and to read her facial expressions, as well as her mind, to determine how the day was going to go.

Somewhere along the line it became easier to pretend that the real issue was about how much food I was or was not going to eat.

It seemed safer to worry about how many calories I would consume at Thanksgiving dinner than what was really worrying me.

My real worries were the following: Would my mother spend the day crying, with me not being able to make her happy.

Obviously, therein lied the misconception that we can ever be responsible for anyone's happiness but our own.

Would she spend the day fighting with my father? Would she refuse to leave the house and our holiday would be cancelled?

Being obsessed about the food allowed me to steel myself against my mother's depression and her need to act out drama in our home , as well as the likelihood that the relatives would argue once we reached wherever we were going, that is if she would agree to leave the house.

Somewhere along the line I learned to lose myself into the obsession about how much food was I going to eat today. Would I eat too much? Would I gain weight? Could I stay on whatever diet I was on? What if I skipped breakfast and lunch would that leave me more calories to eat for dinner?

Thus began my tradition of making Thanksgiving about the size of the food I ate or managed not to eat.

Fourteen years ago, at the age of 30 when I became tired of living my life obsessed with how many calories I was or was not eating I started to tell the truth about what I was really thinking about, every time, I was obsessing about food. What I came to know is a s follows.

If I am at a Thanksgiving dinner, or any holiday dinner, a party or event and my focus is on what I am going to eat or not eat, something else is going on,

I am avoiding telling the truth about what I am feeling about the people or places I am surrounded by.

This has even happened when things have been joyous and I have not known how to deal with my feelings of joy or happiness.

Even with overwhelming feelings of happiness, in the past, I would switch over to the food/ weight/ body size obsession.

Interestingly enough, it would happen whether I was wearing size 2 clothing or any other size.

So I learned the size of my holiday and my holiday meal really had nothing to do with what size clothing I was wearing and how much food I was going to eat or not eat.

The size of my holiday had to do with staying connected to myself and being present with the people around me.

Whether that presence required me to open myself up to a particular person to enjoy a connection or to establish a boundary and protect my own vulnerability.

I could not longer hide out in the food.

I also learned, that although I still love the holidays and do consider them magical, they can not bring magic to your heart if your heart is already troubled.

Holidays do not transform your life.

Holidays are merely opportunities to share in traditions that are important to you and or to make up your own holiday traditions to celebrate marked days of the year.

The magic of each holiday is not in the holiday, itself, it is in the magic of being true to our hearts.

Today, for me, Thanksgiving is truly about the size of my thankfulness.

My thankfulness is for all of my blessings and for all of my struggles.

In that the struggles, may not have seemed to be blessings at the time, but have been blessings in disguise, because they have helped me to grow into the size of the person I am today and to have exactly the size life I have today.

Happy Thanksgiving to one and all.

I am thankful for all of you and for what you have added to the size of my life.

Have a huge sized Thanksgiving, and have some food too!!!


Excerpted from "Size of My Life" by Karen Cigna. Copyright © 2011 by Karen Cigna. Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. Excerpts are provided solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
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Author Profile

Karen Cigna

Karen Cigna

I am am a wife, mother of a 13 yr. old girl, a civil negligence trial lawyer, a body size acceptance advocate, speaker and author. In writing this book, I, decided to make my life an open book in order to share my experience in searching for the perfect size body, (what is that anyway?) during the first 29 years of my life. This search led me through what I like to refer to as the ABC's of my Eating Disorder. They include: anorexia, bulimia, binge eating disorder (BED), chronic dieting, compulsive exercising, and compulsive overeating. I decided it was time to understand my own feelings, and find my voice to express them instead of starving or stuffing them away. Through self acceptance and no longer defining the size of my life by the size of my body, I was able to treat myself with a level of self-love, gentleness and kindness, at a size 24 Wide, in a way I had never been able to do at size 2. I celebrated 23 years of recovery from Bulimia in May of 2017. I have lost over 100 pounds and maintained the weight loss, but more importantly I lost self-hate and self-loathing. If you choose not to buy or read my book, I want you to know YOU are lovable, unique, and beautiful, whatever the size of your body, bank account, job status, home, car, or any other external values, you may be judging the size of yourself and the size of your life by. Have a large sized life!!!

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