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Archive for December, 2007

The one way to get thin is to re-establish a purpose in life.
– Cyril Conolly

After two weeks of the Christmas season, I now understand how easy it is for normal eaters to absorb many more calories at this time of year. First, you are surrounded by people who are happy to cook their special treats and share them, so you know these treats only come once in a while, which encourages you to have a second (or twelfth) piece to prevent any possible craving next July.

Second, you are busier than average, which means you are likely more tired, and tired brains don’t judge as well as rested ones. I’ve found myself time and again grabbing a cookie on the way to somewhere, and next thing you know, one cookie is four cookies.

The consequence of both of these issues is a more full stomach containing higher calorie foods than normal. You don’t have to be stuffing yourself to be eating significantly more than average.  

How to deal with this? There are, of course, the usual activities of staying more in touch with your hunger and fullness, but that doesn’t really address the emotional part very well. So I’m going to take a page out of Cyril’s book (see quote above), and reframe my life a bit to better enjoy the holidays.

Yesterday I succeeded in putting up some Christmas decorations, effectively dealing with my usual depression over bad Christmases past. I went downstairs and picked out some favorite decorations, then was overwhelmed with some bad feelings, so I took the decorations upstairs, set them down, and did something else for a while. Many hours later I was able to actually decorate a bit, totally without having to “power through” bad emotions.

I also followed some self-care suggestions out of O magazine. Scented candle, nice bath, I even meditated. I like the idea of meditating every day, but rarely do it. Yesterday I went into the bedroom at dusk, determined to meditate for 15 minutes. It was peaceful, as I sat there in my robe after my bath, I was relaxed and accepting of the thoughts that flowed by. Then I thought, “I ought to be doing this naked.”

Flop. Off came the robe and I sat there and experienced naked meditation. It was even better than clothed. This gave me one more good experience at body acceptance, too. Doing the Overcoming Overeating technique of body acceptance can be hard and stressful sometimes, but if you can do something naked, like meditation, you get that added bonus too.

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Who needs poetry and lingerie when we have chocolate?

A box of California sunshine turned into a teeming, writhing haven for raisin larvae. Blech, I almost barfed when I realized I’d been eating those things. Still better than the actual raisin moths that FLEW out of the box previous to this one. Gross, gross, gross. It seems there’s a downside to intuitive eating – it isn’t necessarily a good idea to buy in bulk.

DH was at fault for this, so I let him throw the box out. Besides, I couldn’t quite bring myself to touch it again, it made me nauseous. So the damn box sat there on the counter day after day, because DH is impervious to reminders and gross things.

This morning I come downstairs as he is trying to kick the door open as he carries THREE boxes outside to the trash. One box of raisin moth larvae, one package of unknown substance that was probably once a box of linseed or maybe a sugar, and one package of dried nectarines. Hah!! It’s not just me!!! I bought the nectarines for him as a gift at the Ferry Market in San Francisco last October, and he let them go too long without eating them.

As I pass him on the way to the coffee pot, I comment, “Good. I’m glad you’re finally getting rid of those things,” to which he replied, “If it really bugged you, why didn’t you just deal with it?” never recognizing the pun.

Why don’t I just deal with it? Baby, that’s the story of my life. This is the single most persistent issue I have in my life. I excelled in my eating disorder because I was so good at not dealing with stuff. Hey, eating worked to keep me away from otherwise improving my life.

Now that overeating’s gone, I still avoid crap. It’s probably a good thing that magical porcelain chairs carry my real-life crap away in a flush of water, otherwise I’d be procrastinating about that too. My lack of peace with food was just covering up a lack of peace in my life.

I can’t fix it all at once, so I’m starting small. First, I’ll officially get over the fact that I left those raisins on the counter too long. Thanks, DH, for cleaning them up today. Second I give myself permission to do stuff I’ve been avoiding as often as I want today.

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Thinking is easy, acting is difficult, and to put one’s thoughts into action is the most difficult thing in the world.
– Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

A tricky thing about resolving an eating disorder is the onion effect. Every time you resolve one issue, another pops up. Makes you almost wanna cry, don’t it? (onion irony intended)

I can honestly say that I eat intuitively for the most part. It’s very natural, I choose a balance of foods, and I don’t obsess over any particular thing.

Peeling back that layer shows me at least two more layers: eating enough less to lose weight, and cleaning up the compulsive thinking.

Eating less is well known to all of us – as an intuitive eater, I am training myself to stop when just not hungry any more, and to keep up enough extra exercise so as to lose some weight. Otherwise known as a diet, but without the “stick to the program” screechiness found in commercial diets.

Compulsive thinking is a bit new to me, for I only recently recognized that it’s my compulsive and negative thoughts that keep me from performing optimally at any activity. Another name for this is being human. We all have our issues and demons to deal with, but it’s possible to conquer many of them sufficiently to improve our lives.

My desire is to dial down the negative thinking that keeps me from doing things that make me happier. Some of my personal challenges include:

  • Not taking action when I’m dissatisfied with something
  • Holding onto thoughts that can’t be resolved

That’s all. If I peel back those two layers, I’ll dramatically improve my quality of life. That’s how affirmations help, they are particularly good at helping me release obsessive repeated thinking.

The best (and so far only) thing I’ve ever wanted to take from The Surrendered Wife is the true meaning of surrendering. It’s not becoming a doormat or subjecting yourself to your husband’s every whim, but it’s giving up trying to control things you cannot control.

You cannot force your husband to change. You can control your reactions to his behaviors. Same for everything else in life – you can improve how you react to both positive and negative events, even when you can’t necessarily control the outcomes.

For today, I will

  • Consciously let go of thoughts that aren’t serving me well at the moment
  • Take action where possible rather than wait and worry
  • Do something else when I get stuck on any one thing

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Work is inevitable. Struggle is optional.

I’m still here – just swamped at work. I’m working in the mornings before I go to work, all day without a pause, then in the evenings again after I get home.

No chance to get out to swim since last Sunday. No chance to write thoughtful posts to my blog. Just work. There are at least some benefits, though. Our CEO for the very first time mentioned our team’s achievements and told all 2000 of us that we will all be working together on the goals that I have worked so hard to improve.

Now just one more big event before Christmas. I think I’ll sleep through the whole vacation.

Work is inevitable, struggle is optional. This is true for real, for-pay work. Same is true for beating an ED and losing weight. You can acknowledge that you have these goals, and you can make a plan to reach your personal goals, but how you think about them will determine how you reach them.

You can say, “I will diet until I reach goal weight.” If you say this, you are building up in your mind a time in which you won’t diet. That can be trouble, because you might not make it. Then you will feel discouraged and the effort will seem wasted.

How about changing what you say? Try, “I am permanently changing my habits to reach my goal weight. This involves a pretty interesting journey away from food and into a life I may never have known before.”

Wham, bam, presto! Suddenly the ED work is not a struggle, but a journey. Maybe even a vacation. What a dream. What a joy.

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Amazingly, your path to ever expanding inner peace involves something as simple making a decision to have inner peace, then listening to your inner suggestions and following through on your inner nudges. – Annette Colby

Today would be a great day to relax, take care of yourself, and explore what you want your life to become.

Enjoy some humor today. Take a nap. Take a walk.

Let Dolly Parton help you get on with livin’: 

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Just for today, I choose to live normally and not worry about food.

This has been an amazing week at work. Every night I come home exhausted, happy that I achieved so much. If you have looked at some previous posts, you’ll note that I went through a big round of possible change and discontent concerning my job. Now that I’ve taken some time to absorb and interpret what happened, I see things very differently.

Over the past 3-4 years, my job went through turmoil. Big big reorganizations, manager changes, goal changes. We worked hard to make positive improvements, but mostly it failed. The results in the past years were not very good.

Right after I made the mistake of interviewing for this job recently, my current job took an amazing turn, and now I have plenty to do, better integration into my local team, and we’ve made real improvements. This is a HUGE change compared to the mood that I was in when I interviewed.

I’m so busy, in fact, that I haven’t had time to worry about food. Or to obsess. Instead, when I begin to worry about things that used to fill my obsessions (mostly low self-esteem), I have good tools like affirmations to block the destructive actions. One of the easiest to use is to choose to not obsess for just the next few minutes. That generally clears my head enough to get on with life.

That’s why today’s affirmation is a good one. If you find yourself compulsively eating, or compulsively not eating, or compulsively putting yourself down, try choosing to just let it go for a short time. Promise to go back and obsess later if you really want to (and do it). I hope you find yourself more powerful and feeling more peaceful once you practice this for a while.

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