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I got through it ok, just lasted a couple of days. Then a quilt retreat came along and I’ve been happily occupied with that.

An interesting thing happened on the way to a piece of banana bread. At the retreat, everyone was talking about how good the banana bread was, and I took a piece to try. Grabbing my coffee, I realized I wanted to spend some time MOL alone, so I went outside and sat  on the terrace.

It was almost like mediation, and the coffee and the bread just sat there. After a while, I tasted the bread and, while it was indeed tasty, I knew I wasn’t hungry and didn’t want it. Eventually I tried a bit more, but the feeling of “Yuck! I don’t want to put any more of that in my body’  became strong enough that I felt confident it was true. I eventually dropped the piece into the trash, discreetly covering it with a napkin so as not to insult the baker (it was tasty), and went on my way without a care in the world.

…and trying to get through it. Eating is ok, but I wish I had a fallback menu that is both low-calorie and easy to fix. That’s a question of building a good habit, I suppose.

Almost one and a half year’s pause, I’m letting you know where my head is at.

I have discovered  that I can reduce my overeating by addressing the voice yelling at me inside my head. For example, after a social event, I have a practice of yelling at myself all the way home. All of the reasons are specious, like “I shouldn’t have used that word” or “I should have talked more.” But that yelling makes me feel bad, and I would crave food to feel good again.

Now I’m actively practicing the habit of saying, “I want to treat myself great all the time, so I’m not going to yell at myself right now. And I’m not going to eat in such a way that I feel bad, either.”

When I am successful with this, I find that I don’t have to eat when I get home.

It’s not affirmations. It’s not guided journeys. It’s not cognitive behavioral therapy. It’s not binging, or nude meditation, or sewing, or EFT, or NLP, or scream therapy.

It may be all of those things and none of those things, but the bottom line is I’m changing the way I think, and it’s changing my life.

Beating myself up for EVERY.SINGLE.DECISION. was killing me. I was using food just to ease the pain of self-criticism. This is important to know, because when I am not self-critical, I’m not binging.

Then I faced a conflict. Part of me wants to be thin, and part of me wants to stay with binge eating and being fat, which are the devils I know. When I’m fat, I understand my world. There are no questions about “will they reject me,” of course they will, because I’m fat. Painful, yes, but in a convoluted way, that’s comforting.

Part of me wants to be thin and free of compulsive eating, but there’s a lot of unknown space out there. What do I do with my life? How will I accept that some people won’t like me even if I am thin?  How do I handle things when the answer is not always, “It’s my own fault.”

My choice is: comfort plus the known pain of being fat, or more physical comfort of being thin, but with many unknowns and risks, which might be even more painful than being fat.

Once I realized I had that conflict, I reduced it to this choice:

Do I want to continue with the self-criticism that drives me to food, or do I prefer the uncertainty that billions of people successfully cope with every day?

I prefer the second one, and am giving up the pain of self-criticism.

I’m currently working with two of the IOWL  guided journeys, Sabotage Self-Sabotage and Appetite Adjuster.

They aren’t magic, they are NLP-kind of activities that get you into the right mindset to do what you need to do. That’s the key, by the way. Having the right mindset so you move actively towards the skill you want to have (in my case, a naturally slender intuitive eater).

What does the Sabotage journey give me? A mechanism that helps me analyze my internal conflicts and choose a better option than food.

What does the Appetite journey give me? I’ve run it about a half-dozen times so far. I’m starting to be able to look at food and choose to not eat it because I’m not quite hungry enough and because eating it at that time does not meet my goals.

So I’m sorta combining the two techniques into one path for me. If you’re thinking about buying these, think about this before you decide. If that’s where your head is at, they might be helpful. If you’re still really into deep emotional turmoil over eating and “shoulding” on yourself a lot, don’t bother. Just give yourself plenty of loving self-care. One day something like these might be helpful, but not right now.

When I woke up this morning, I knew that I was satisfied with the Sabotage Self-sabotage guided journey, and what I have gotten out of it so far.

So far, I have worked through many conflicts that spur me to overeat, mostly emotionally. Many of these conflicts are resolved, but more importantly, I know how to recognize a conflict and how to accept it and take action on it without eating to compensate. That is success. I figure that this “internal conflict resolution” skill will keep growing as I continue to practice it.

Now I feel ready to work on hunger and fullness, so I bought the Appetite Adjuster guided journey from the same therapist, Renee Stephens. Journeys are available for purchase here, on hotdoodle.

After downloading the 22M file, I immediately listened to it. It’s about 18 minutes long, and has a slightly different structure than the Sabotage Self-sabotage journey.

There’s a thorough relaxation phase, a hunger switch recognition phase, and a teach yourself satisfaction phase. My immediate learnings are:

  • I knew what my switch feels like. When I am satisfied, I have a little sigh.
  • The big thing is, instead of feeling satisfied at the end of a meal, I feel satisfaction at the FIRST BITE. That means I always want more first bites, since they are satisfying.
  • Last bites create feelings of loss, rather than satisfaction
  • The feeling satisfied at the first bite is related to feelings of dissatisfaction at the end of the previous activity. When I eat, I’m more or less always using the first bite to create a food-induced feeling of satisfaction at whatever I just stopped doing. It’s a little funky, but I’m sure that’s what is happening.

How to change my funky thinking? First, I want to end activities with some little mental ceremony, so I don’t feel the need to eat after the end of each activity.

Second, I will deliberately use self-talk to positively end my meals, thereby creating a satisfaction experience at the end instead of the beginning.

Can I recommend that other people buy these journeys? Maybe. I’ve done quite a bit of analytic work to make sure I’m ready to take action based on these journeys. I’ve studied NLP, gone through many intuitive eating learning experiences, so I feel it’s appropriate for me. Two years ago, it probably wouldn’t have been right, but now it’s helping me make connections and take action I couldn’t have done back then.

Just as Maggie in Runaway Bride made a new life for herself, so must people who recover from eating disorders. The funny thing is, eating disordered people have spent so much time obsessing about food that it can be hard to figure out what a normal life is.

Today I learned more about myself. I slept late, and skipped breakfast, because I had snacked heavily late last night. Those snacks I labeled “early early early breakfast.” It totally worked with my (lack of) hunger this morning.

As I lay in bed, I figured I’d better sleep late so I wouldn’t be tempted to eat, since I’d already eaten breakfast, and was definitely not hungry. But I couldn’t sleep any more, and I wanted to do stuff, so I took the chance and got up at 8 a.m.

It paid off, because the next thing I knew, it was lunchtime, I hadn’t eaten, and I’d spent the whole morning doing fun things like recycling and sewing. I’m very proud that I practiced normal eating and self-correcting, just like a naturally slender person, and I didn’t even have to avoid food by hiding in my bed.

As the afternoon progressed, life got more complex. As the evening came, I recognized that I hadn’t gotten as much done as I’d hoped during the day. That triggered not a binge, but rather a steady eating pattern throughout the German version of Idol. More than I preferred to eat, but not so much that I can’t self-correct tomorrow.

So, all in all, a pretty good day. 50% normal eating, 50% not going overboard.

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