Archive for October, 2006

Today’s a bit stressful. Haven’t thought about why. Maybe because there’s been some unusual weight loss, some diarrhea (wonder if they’re related?;) some work stress, and more that I can’t think of right now.

Oh well, no point in doing anything except that which comforts me. In spite of a jillion tools to decode irrational thoughts, I still have them! Oh, God, when will I ever become perfect? And stay perfect, of course. What I would prefer is to take everything in stride – I wish I could just toddle through life, taking everything as it comes.

Techniques to calm myself at the moment included:

  • listening to my calming music playlist
  • taking a walk around the office
  • sitting a moment alone in the bathroom
  • thought about eating something (chose not to)
  • started writing this message, with the idea that I could list more things to be doing
  • ended up chatting with a colleague who came by my desk. I’d like to get better at stopping by people’s desks. It was quite satisfying.

Calm enough, so back to work! Long day today with overtime. Yuck.

And to top it all off, I finally remembered why I wanted to write this message. Cooking Sesame Chicken or General Tso’s Chicken is something I want to learn to do. Soon. May have to buy the ingredients tonight.


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The Hiller Method

I like The Work, but I find there’s a lot of overlap with Cognitive Therapy. The “Is it true?” question is powerful, and fits nicely in front of the ABCDEF process. That gives me an opportunity to find more irrational thoughts. Previously, I’ve been finding them by coincidence.

Now there’s J.P. Hiller’s The Hiller Method. “A method to obtain freedom from compulsive eating and excess body fat.”

His method is based on Chewing Routines. You chew each bite thoroughly, and really focus on attentively tasting it. I see his activity more as a process of eating in general, since he has advice for drinking as well. He went from 247 to 183 in 60 days. Over a pound a day.

“Thoroughly” means ground down to nothing, so only pureed food is entering your stomach. That means 20-30 times for each bite. Meat and really chewy stuff takes more for me, about 40 chews. Also a bite is roughly the size of your first thumb segment.

In terms of process, Hiller figures you will spend the first couple of weeks just getting used to pulverizing your food. Then you start getting into the taste of your food, followed by rejection of foods that don’t taste good pulverized.

Third phase is more active control over what you choose to eat. I suspect this comes more from any early weight loss than a “Chewing Routine.” Fourth phase is really getting into diet head, in which you desire to exercise and choose foods to help you lose weight. Phase 5 is recognizing that you have improved your self-confidence by success. The chewing is done automatically, and you’ll never be fat again.

Sigh. It’s clear that he simply got high off the weight loss, and the “Chewing Routines” were nothing more than the rubber band on his wrist that he snapped to remind himself to eat properly. It’s nice that it worked for him.

It’s working for me, too, so far. I learned the chewing process a few days ago, and have now got enough time to detect full. Combined with my cognitive therapy, I am able to look at food on my plate, and not give in to  an emotional need to finish it all.

After 3 or 4 days, I finally recorded a one pound loss. Regardless of how weight loss progresses, I find it a good tool to move forward.

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Byron Katie’s The Work:

  1. Is it true?
  2. Can you absolutely know that it’s true?
  3. How do you react when you believe that thought?
  4. Who would you be without the thought?

I can’t regularly eat half of what I’ve been eating.

  1. It’s probably not true – I can eat 50% of what I’ve been eating lately
  2. I do know it can be true under certain conditions, none of which actually apply to my current life.
  3. If I believe that I cannot eat 50%, then I’m happy and sad both. I get to still eat more. I can’t lose as fast as I’d like.
    The pictures I see include my plate piled high with food, messy, dripping, getting the furniture dirty. My clothes spotted with food stains because I eat so fast in order to get it all in.
    I see myself fatter than I need to be longer than I need to be.
    I see disappointment in not minding my food intake better (better = less)
    The thought first occurred to me when I ate to full after eating to 50%
    I hide from others when I am not eating the way I like. I feel less than they, especially the skinny ones.
    I have lived my life with a “need” to eat a lot, just to feed that belief.
    If I keep this belief, I get to keep eating, at the price of believing I’m eating too much.
  4. If I didn’t believe that thought, I would be thin and not spending my time on eating issues. If I didn’t have this thought in my head, I would be free, at least as free as any average human being.

Turnaround: If I couldn’t eat past 50%. If I never ate past 50%. If I never felt like eating past 50%. I can stop at 50% on a regular basis.

  1. It could be true. “I can stop…” is definitely true.
  2. I can’t absolutely know it’s always true,  but I have proven it’s sometimes true.
  3. When I think the thought “I can stop at 50% on a regular basis,” I feel wishfully doubtful. I see half-empty plates, lower food bills, more telling waiters it’s ok, I just wasn’t hungry, less compulsion to eat. I see more food tossed away, more room in my cabinets, more tea drunk, less hunger, clearer line between emotional hunger and physical hunger, more often physical hunger. I see days with little food because I’m simply not interested. I see more ability to motivate myself to other things.
    When I believe I can eat regularly to 50%, I think less about stress, inadequacy, and trying to measure up. I treat others more kindly because I’m not spending energy trying to “fix” my last “eat past full.” I treat others more directly because I’m not feeling guilty over food intake.
    If I believed I can eat regularly to 50% my whole life, then I have enjoyed things much more. I have eaten less and tasted more. I’ve had more time to reach out and develop myself in ways I want to go. I have faced my family history and come out with the same result.  This idea beings peace to me.
  4. Without this thought, I would less of a person, less happy, less fulfilled. Sad.

The Work leaves me with a desire to do something. I wonder if that’s the objective.

What is the effect of arguing with reality, of arguing that I cannot regularly stop? It becomes self-fulfilling, of course.

Byron Katie says to let repetition of the work dig deep into the soul. This will cause change. When I really relax and let the idea of 50% sink in, I see that it’s possible. I feel full, yet peaceful. I visualize myself fixing half of what I normally fix.

How will I enable 50%? By relaxing before a meal, eating a snack to take the edge off, by being in the question.

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Activating Event: I ate to full again, with a steady pattern of it, and not enough 50% eating.

Irrational Belief: I have to and can immediately eat 50% full and skip meals whenever the notion floats through my head.

Consequence: I keep having niggling doubts that I am not doing enough to lose weight. I sense the danger that it might border on  beating myself up.

Dispute the belief: Habits are built slowly (but I know I can! I know I have to !) Who says I have to feel emotionally comfortable every time I eat? Who says I can’t serve the weight loss gods a bit more than I am right now? Who says I’m not challenging myself enough right now? Why am I not challenging myself more? (I’m afraid of failing). Maybe the reason I haven’t binged is I haven’t pushed myself as hard as I really want to.

Effective action: Instead of a planned binge, why don’t I give myself permission to push myself hard and if I fall, not beat myself up over the binge? I can also reaffirm my beliefs around my weight loss path.  I can also do more EFT, or more attentive eating, and lots more permission to stop when not hungry any more.

Feelings: Calmer, but mixed. There’s a note of tension, because I’m basically giving myself permission to take risks, and I’m not normally a risk-taker. Feeling a little wise, too, because I know that the world won’t end if I go too far and binge. The world also won’t end if I skip food a lot more. Feeling pleased at having rational thoughts.

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I joined sparkpeople the other day.  www.sparkpeople.com

It’s a diet website, er, system, that gives you an intense program for managing your fitness and diet. I believe there are several hundred thousand members.  And it’s FREE, which is rare in the diet industry.

It starts you out by helping you set goals. Since I’m actively losing weight,  I have no problems with setting diet, nutrition and fitness goals.

What it’s done for me so far is

  • Give me some structure around fitness. I’ve probably doubled my activity in the past few days.
  • Annoyed me a bit because it’s so large a site. Took me  a long time to find how to add a tracker to my message board postings, for example.
  • Couldn’t set a final goal for my very large loss. Finally set a goal to go from 165 to 148 kilo
  • Got me into a group of people (a “team”) to help encourage ourselves. Nice women, apparently, and I’m looking forward to sharing

Most importantly, it has NOT interfered with my pursuit of normal eating habits. I ignore the food activities mostly, except to take good advice about lower intake, lower calories, etc. My only rule remains: do my best to avoid binges and eat well and lose as possible.

I’m hovering around 158, sometimes a bit more, sometimes a bit less. Not bad, but I still prefer to lose a little more dependably. After succeeding a bit at 50% volume eating, I’m looking forward to the next time I manage that.

The best part about the exercises is they give me flash video and sample exercise lists. I do strength training about 3x per week and aerobic the same. I save the minutes for aquajogging, so I still get in a lot more than I ever gave myself credit for. And I LOVE the idea of becoming freakishly strong from the strength training!

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Based on Albert Ellis’ 12 Rational Beliefs, which I’ve adapted them for myself.

My Rational Beliefs

  • Love, approval and respect from others are all good things – but they are not absolute necessities for my survival. Disapproval is uncomfortable, and I don’t like it, but it’s not catastrophic. I can stand it – as I have many times before. I prefer to learn to accept myself, independently of what others think of me.
  • I will always seek to achieve as much as I can, but complete success and instantaneous competence is unrealistic. I prefer to just accept myself as a person, separate from my performance.
  • It is unfortunate that people sometimes do bad things. But humans are not perfect, and upsetting myself will not change that reality.
  • There is no law which says that things have to be the way I want. Too bad. It’s disappointing when things don’t go my way, but I can stand it — especially if I avoid wallowing in frustration and demanding that it not happen.
  • Many external factors are outside my control. But it is MY thoughts (not the external factors) which cause my feelings – and I can learn to control my thoughts.
  • Worrying about things that might go wrong will not stop them happening. It will, though, guarantee I get upset and disturbed right now.
  • Avoiding problems is only easier in the short term — putting things off can make them worse later on. I also lose valuable time worrying about them.
  • Relying on someone else for happiness, solutions or entertainment can lead to dependent behaviour. It is OK to seek help, as long as I learn to trust myself and my own judgement.
  • The past cannot influence me now. My current beliefs cause my reactions. I may have learned these beliefs in the past, but I can choose to analyse and change them in the present.
  • It is good to empathize with and help others, but I can’t change their problems and bad feelings by getting myself upset.
  • Discomfort and pain are a part of life. I don’t like them, but I can stand them. Also, my life would be very restricted if I always avoided discomfort.
  • Problems usually have many possible solutions. It is better to stop waiting for the perfect one and get on with the best available. I can live with less than the ideal.

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After learning and practicing rational beliefs surrounding my eating, I decided to research other areas that might be keeping me on the sofa.

There is this fabulous website in New Zealand that has so much information about Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy, that I’ve spent most of the last week reading and learning.


The best place to start is with the “Self-defeating beliefs questionnaire,” accessible from the home page. Takes a long 10 minutes, and all you do is agree or disagree with the statements shown (96 statements). Then they analyze your answers and indicate to you which of the 12 Irrational Beliefs may be causing problems for you.

The site also explains the beliefs, and gives really good suggestions for taking control of these issues for yourself. My DH, DD and I all took the questionnaire. Turns out I have a ton of irrational beliefs, DH is a cold bastard, and DD is a heartless bitch. LOL

In any case, the beliefs I choose to work on are:

  • Number 1: I need love and approval from those significant to me – and I must avoid disapproval from any source.
  • Number 2: To be worthwhile as a person I must achieve, succeed at whatever I do, and make no mistakes.
  • Number 6: I must worry about things that could be dangerous, unpleasant or frightening – otherwise they might happen.
  • Number 7: I must avoid life’s difficulties, unpleasantness, and responsibilities.

DH actually had several questions in which he got scores of zero. Contrasted to my frequent scores of 7 or 8, I sorta wonder how in the world we ever get along, but we do. DD showed up in the middle, with scores that reflect a teenager’s mind, scoring highly on pain and discomfort avoidance, as well as externalizing all bad things. LOL

It’s actually a relief to be able to put food issues on the back burner while I sort out other issues. The past indicates to me that I simply don’t have a good base in practicing rational emotional thought, so there’s plenty to work on. Since weight loss needs to be slow to be binge-free and permanent, it’s not good to focus exclusively on that.

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