Ok, so after my last post several people asked about what I meant when I said I would be living in an “intentional community.”
Here’s what I mean: Along with around 15 other people from around the world (mostly from within the U.S., but we also have a Canadian woman, a Korean family, a Kenyan man, a British woman and a British-Japanese woman), I have moved to a community in Pennsylvania and committed to living here for the next nine months. I’m living in what amounts to a dorm – I have a single room, but the ten of us who share a floor share four bathrooms. We have assigned jobs associated with preparing our meals, cleaning our living spaces, and so on. We eat all three meals together every day. (Everyone here is on sabbatical from work, so we are not going off to the office for the majority of the day; we take classes, some of us are working on outside projects, and so on). I’m happy to answer any questions anyone has (except the name of the community; although if someone is really interested you could e-mail me – fatgirlonadate at gmail dot com and we could talk more).
But what I really want to talk about is the food. The food here is incredible. Fairly traditional, but mainly vegetarian, mostly local (including much that comes from the big garden and green house right on campus), prepared by a staff of cooks and the residents themselves. But I have some concerns about eating here:
First, it’s an adjustment to be eating on such a schedule – and to always set aside time for eating. Back at home, in my “real life,” I would eat breakfast in the car, lunch at my desk, and dinner on the sofa. I rarely sat down to a meal. There is something very relaxing about knowing precisely your next meal will be – it takes most of the control out of feeding oneself, and for someone with as many food issues as me that’s something of a relief.
Second, I’m finding myself somewhat worried about my weight. Now, I’ve come about a million miles in accepting my own body – and fat bodies in general – since I started reading Shapely Prose just under a year ago, but I still struggle with it. Right now, I’m worried that I won’t fit into the airplane seats when I fly home for Christmas (this has never happened to me; in fact, I’m pretty sure that I’m quite small enough for this to never happen to me, but I am always wracked with fear about it when I fly). I’m also worried because I’m unsure of how much or what kind of exercise I’m going to get here. I have access to a pool and a gym, but it’s difficult and complicated to get to. There are no classes (and that’s the main kind of working out I did before I moved; I took yoga and pilates and tai chi and water aerobics and a dance class). There’s a walking trail, but that’s only good as long as the weather holds. Finally, I’m worried – and, on the flip side, interested – because my eating is so different here than it has been in the rest of my life. I eat regular meals, with a variety of foods*. I don’t snack. I don’t go back for seconds. We do not have desserts, except on birthdays and other special occasions. I do have some of everything at each meal. The food is rich. The portions vary. For the first time in a long, long time I have no idea how many calories I’m eating. Overall, this – along with the regularity of meals – seems like a good thing. But what if I wind up gaining weight? WIll my fledgling fat acceptance tolerate that in myself?