Archive for March, 2008

You might remember from my Easter post that I was listening to a couple of podcasts, and could tell some improvement was happening, but didn’t know which podcast was helping.

It seems to be the podcast from Renee Stephens, Inside Out Weight Loss. So far, I’m able to work with the ideas of getting my whole self aligned with my recovery, and setting holistic goals.

One of the major elements is writing out the answers to 4 questions. Here are the questions and my answers.

How do you know you want to change

1.       What unwanted behaviors do you have?

a.       I eat more than I need to get me happily to the next meal

b.      I blank out sometimes and eat unconsciously

c.       I eat high caloric-density foods when lighter ones would do fine

2.      What symptoms do you have?

a.       Knee pain

b.      I need a lot of rest

c.       150 pounds of excess weight

d.      Low self-esteem experiences

e.       Obsession with food body diet

f.        High blood pressure

g.       Bad fit in some physical situations

3.      What are the consequences of those behaviors and symptoms?

a.       I don’t enjoy life as I could

b.      I don’t lose weight

c.       I get ignored

d.      People avoid me

e.       Reluctance to go out in public

f.        I’m constantly critical of my behaviors

g.       I spend a lot of effort taking extreme precautions to avoid discomfort or embarrassment

4.      What other people are affected by your problem? How are they affected?

a.       DH must constantly listen to the broken record

b.      DD: I don’t relax and be as direct a mother as I otherwise could

c.       Colleagues: I’m inefficient in my work and frequently incommunicative


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On my honor, I will try, to do my duty to God and my country, to help other people every day, especially those at home.
– the Brownie pledge of yesteryear

Forty years later I still remember that pledge, even though I probably never said it more than 50 times as a child. But I was loyal, loyal to a fault in most everything I did.
It can be hard for me to give up traditions. Not that the traditions themselves were all good, it’s just very hard for me to stop doing them. That’s a likely reason why it’s so hard for me to give up overeating.
I stuck by friends who didn’t want me as friends, people who didn’t want me around, stayed in situations I should have left long before.
Even recently I stayed with an exercise class that I stopped enjoying for more than a year. I kept signing up again and again for each new session. You’d think I’d whack myself with a cluebat eventually. Finally I got enough gumption to tell myself that it’s ok to quit. I know now that a prudent decision to end my relationship with a program or a person or a possession is a good thing.

I’m highly loyal to the newspaper funnies. It nearly broke my heart to hear that Calvin and Hobbes was ending. It took a very long time before I could accept that it was a change for the good, as Bill Watterson showed in his last strip. magical-world.gif 

Now this year, For Better or For Worse is ending, then restarting, and even Doonesbury is taking 3 months off. Jon Stewart has been on vacation for so many days now I’m in Daily Show withdrawal.

Now I know that these things exist in my life for growth and pleasure, and that everything changes, and the sooner you recognize the change coming, the easier it is to accept. I mean, for goodness’ sake, we’re talking about ink on paper here! How upset should a normal person get about these things? OK, I guess normal has never been a good label for me.

My eating patterns are one thing I see now as in transition. The change is frustrating, and I often think, “Why can’t I just eat and eat and eat without having to think about moderation?”
But the answer is clear – if I want the state of normal weight, I have to change something, and that something includes how much I eat. It just frustrates me to keep experimenting, yet never finding the change. It feels like I was at the bottom of a well, and even though I’ve climbed, it seems I almost no further than before.

I know I have to find the baseline level of eating that I can both sustain naturally and lost weight. I just can’t seem to find it. Grrr.

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Your body is a temple, but only if you treat it as one. – Astrid Alauda

Dear Body,

We are going to improve our communication skills.

I promise to feed you when you are hungry, using foods that satisfy us emotionally as well as physically.

I promise to give you a large variety of interesting foods and flavors.

I promise to check in with you often to make sure you have plenty of rest and water.

I promise to spend time with you, doing nothing but listening.

In return, I trust that you will

  • Give me signals that I will better interpret as hunger and fullness
  • Adjust hunger signals to match physical needs as my size and metabolism change
  • Continue to give me cravings to guide me in choosing foods

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I am free, no matter what rules surround me. If I find them tolerable, I tolerate them; if I find them too obnoxious, I break them. I am free because I know that I alone am morally responsible for everything I do. Robert A. Heinlein

Something is letting go inside of me. I hope it’s not my sanity <grin>.

First thing I did over the weekend was get rest. Lots and lots of rest, at which point I realized that larger people often need more rest, simply due to the extra load they’re carrying around. Go grab a couple of gallons of milk and you’ll see what it’s like to carry around even 15 extra pounds. Then try it with 100 extra pounds.

Then a funny thing happened. I wanted to practice my harp, so I did. Then I wanted to take a walk, so I did. Then I DIDN’T want to cook dinner, so I sat down and rested and drank a cup of coffee. Then I felt like cooking dinner, so I did. The next day repeated itself, only with 2 walks.

And my eating – it’s getting less and less, much closer to the way I think I will be eating when I am actually losing weight.

I’m thinking more about what life will be like when I’m really free of the excess weight as well as the excess food and extreme thinking. And taking action to support that life right now.

When I imagine myself, sitting here, only much much thinner and eating much much less, I realize that I will be living differently as well. But the living differently I can do now. I can do the dishes without obsessing, I can eat an apple instead of a cookie without thinking I’m punishing myself.

Individual food decisions are easier, particularly portion control, because my mind asks, “Do I really want something this heavy right now?” and the answer is no. I often ask, “Can I go do this anyway?” and the answer is yes.

These are very freeing thoughts.

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One of my friends gave me a copy of her Easter picture to post – a Lindt take on a well-known internet cartoon.

Decide that you want it more than you are afraid of it. – Bill Cosby

I’ve spent the first half of my long weekend nurturing myself with some spiritual support. Mostly I’ve been doing things that feel good. For example, I told DH last night that I felt like loading the dishwasher, but I just couldn’t get over the mental block of unloading the clean dishes. He smiled over my little foible, but ultimately he did both unloading and loading, which freed me up to do laundry. I exercised during TV, and I let myself not eat as much as I usually tell myself I have to eat.

Here are 2 podcasts that I’m not yet confident that are good, but I’ll let you decide for yourselves.

Oprah and Eckhart Tolle: a podcast that is good about learning mindfulness and being present in the moment, but too heavy on spiritual awakening. I found that I get more out of the discussion when I download and watch the video podcast, which is 1G huge.  A New Earth

Renee Stephen’s Inside Out Weight Loss. Good about the need to change your beliefs, but bad about how to do it. Still nice stories. Also a Yahoo discussion group.

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Strength does not come from winning. Your struggles develop your strengths. When you go through hardships and decide not to surrender, that is strength. – Arnold Schwarzenegger

Yesterday was a great day for coping. I felt on top of the world all day, and didn’t need any throw-away therapy until nearly the end of the afternoon. Even then it wasn’t a big issue.

Today is a new day. I arrived at work in a low mood. I had to go for the Post-It notes before even getting my coffee. Here’s what I wrote:

Something feels bad.
I feel fat and incapable.
I lumbered into work
I will never lose weight.
I’m not as good as DH.
I eat too much to lose weight.
I can’t eat any less.
I’m lost.
This doesn’t happen as often as it used to, but it’s still happening now.
Tired? No
Hungry? No
Successful? No
High self-esteem? No
Frustrated? Yes

Aha, a “Yes.” Now it’s time to ask “Why” until an actionable reason shows up. Typically I have to ask “Why” at least 5 times.

Why? Not losing weight
Why? Eating too much
Why? Easy to eat too much
Why? No short term reward for eating less

Ahhh. That’s actionable. I choose to not make “easy to eat too much” actionable, because that goes against my IE principles. However, I can take action to give myself short term rewards whenever I eat less than I am currently eating now.

It would be pretty convenient to just go through the house and throw out everything I consider fattening, but it wouldn’t last, and I would certainly binge. That also wouldn’t solve work cafeteria eating or restaurant eating. It’s a much better decision for me to figure out how to reward myself for eating to a lower level of total caloric intake.

For me, the most successful actions to take are the ones that change my thinking. That’s where I’ll focus.

If only I knew how. Sigh. Something else to learn.

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The key to realizing a dream is to focus not on success but on significance – and then even the small steps and little victories along your path will take on greater meaning – Oprah Winfrey


So I have these big goals of living a wildly happy life and losing my compulsive eating weight. But I have to live each day moving ever closer to those goals. It can be a struggle to fight through the old thought patterns and create new ones.

Often I lose a battle in a split second. I might intend to only eat when significantly hungry, but the next moment I’m gnawing away on a chocolate bunny. I’m more successful when I can capture the thought that would drag me down and work through it.

One of the best ways for me to work through these short-term issues is to write them down. However, I can’t carry a journal around with me all the time, nor can I carry around the internets so I can post to this blog (I am not made of money, and my company has not seen fit to give me a Blackberry). Therefore I resort to the tried and true Post-It notes.

By the way, did you know they were invented by a 3M engineer and a 3M scientist? First was a failure, the newly invented glue didn’t stick well enough. Second came the problem, because the engineer’s bookmarks would fall out of his hymnal. Apply a little “bad” glue, and suddenly you’ve created a new billion dollar market.

Anyway, I use Post-Its for my in-the-moment analysis. I will feel stress, write down the problem, analyze solutions, make a choice, throw the Post-It away. Throwaway therapy, I call it. I use like 4 pads a month. Heehee.

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