ETL Friday! “Oh The Places You’ll Go!” continued…

Hey, Everyone, welcome back 😀  It’s Argent’s journey from last week’s ETL Friday, this week. You can read the first installment, HERE.

And then continue here…

Oh, The Places You’ll Go! II

It wasn’t forbidden fruit, but it had the same zing. I had become extremely sensitive to zing. To be hungry is to have an enlightened mouth, an appreciative appendage that is almost painfully aware of the gorgeousness of the edible world.

ETLing myself to hunger that first year was a physical adventure. I felt along the edges of the sensation. I watched it between meals, engaged it at mealtime with mouthfuls of crisp, sweet salad, then watched it again. I felt like an extreme athlete—a mountain climber or big-wave surfer. In exchange for commitment, I had been given a heightened sensitivity, a vibrato aliveness.

Here are some stats, to put this all in perspective. I weighed 130 as an athletic, slender high-schooler, 145 or thereabouts the day I learned of ETL, 113 on my wedding day.

After my wedding day, my weight notched up. But, for a while, vanity and sheer habit kept me ETLing at 5 or 10 pounds below ideal.

ETL Year Two found me in New York City, working in a cubicle across from Mr. Prep, who also watched his weight. “Is it lunch time yet?” one of us would ask the other, hoping for leniency. We held each other to a 1 o’clock lunch, but occasionally 12:45 didn’t seem too egregious. At lunch, I gratefully ate a Whole Foods salad, or sometimes a hot plate of beans, greens, and kabocha squash at Souen on 13th Street. I often ate a dessert of a big, crunchy NY apple from the Union Square farmer’s market.

I remember the outfits I wore that year. I especially know what they did at the waist: the way the white blouse cinched with a tie in the back, the way the maroon silk skirt had both a hidden zipper and a hook-and-eye clip.

Soon I began a weekly swing, from strict and slender weekdays to binge weekends that I halted just soon enough to shrink back into Monday work clothes. I binged on vegan, whole food, but I binged.

The fluctuations widened like circles on a disturbed lake. Whereas at first, I was gaining and losing a pound or two within the week, I began to have wider swings that lasted longer. The lows became harder to hold on to; the highs put me in a panic. A high scale reading — low or mid 130s — would leave a residue of darkness that lasted hours and inspired tears and outbursts that I blamed elsewhere.

Was I ETLing, as I swung between 135 and 127, between self-loathing and a tentative, frightened self-satisfaction?

Sort of. And not really.

I think of this corollary question: Is it yoga, if you’re doing the poses but feeling tense all over and forgetting to breathe?

Sort of. But not really.

I had been given a fabulous tool for wellness, and I was sort of using it and sort of banging my head with it.

Generations of kale and cabbage, lettuce and arugula, have taken their places on my plate, supporting me as I emotionally pinball myself, waiting for me to get it.

To be continued…


~ Intermission ~

Go get yourself that Green Smoothie, sit back and read on! Part III is below 😉



  1. January 16, 2009 at 7:35 am

    These Friday expose’s are such a great idea! Good reading!!

  2. poxacuatl said,

    January 16, 2009 at 8:03 am

    Thanks for stopping by and commenting PicksOverPeas!

  3. January 16, 2009 at 1:50 pm

    I agree! Great posts by Argent!

  4. Argent said,

    January 16, 2009 at 1:56 pm

    Thanks for the feedback, ladies! Part III is also posted today. 🙂

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