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Posts Tagged ‘guided journey’

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.

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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.

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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.

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You might remember the guided journey I bought from IOWL a few weeks ago. What has happened since then?

I was listening regularly to the journey, working very hard on the conflicts (there are many), when suddenly one day, I stopped listening. Overnight I changed from listening to the journey twice a day to not doing it at all.

When I asked myself why I stopped, the answer I found was, “Sometimes you need to stop exploring why you do things, and just take action to not do them anymore.” So I did.I started reminding myself that I experience conflicts, and that not overeating is better self-care than overeating.

Even though I went through a lot of stress at work, with the second set of layoffs since January, I handled it ok. A couple of times I even noticed I was eating something, but it didn’t taste like anything. I was sometimes able to talk myself down from stress eating, and think my way out of the pain. Sometimes I ate, and noticed that eating too much hurts. I was even able to choose to not hurt myself by overeating. Sometimes I did overeat, and did self-correction by waiting until I was really hungry to eat again.

Why do I hurt myself with overeating? It’s a habit I learned back in my childhood somehow. Whenever something goes wrong, I punish myself by blaming myself, then eating until it hurts.  There’s both comfort and pain. The pain from eating too much, and the comfort from the food-induced sedation, so I don’t have to think about the thing that went wrong.

Is the journey helping? Maybe. I started to do it today, but got distracted, so I stopped it. It could just be that the changes are just so subtle that I won’t notice it’s helped until I realize that I’m regularly behaving differently.

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The guided journey certainly seems to be helping me cope with everyday stresses. Formerly I would eat in response to stress, but often I now can recognize that stress comes from competing wishes, and I need to make my decision about those wishes, not eat to suppress and postpone the inevitable.

For my birthday, everything went right.

First, I gave myself a morning alone at the museum and library (took the day off work, too!). DH took the afternoon off, and we had a lovely gourmet lunch, followed by a movie. When my daughter got back into town that evening, we all met for dinner. A nice, polite, conversational dinner – rare for our teenager.

As to eating, I basically spread one giant birthday meal across the whole day.

For breakfast, I had cake. At lunch, I ate a steak and lobster bisque.  For dinner, it was a great salad. No panicking about food, not even thinking about it very much. Didn’t even want a snack during the long film.

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Today’s guided journey brought me strong feelings, even though I didn’t go very deeply into the relaxation state. First, as I relaxed, I experienced a strong emotion. This isn’t explicitly part of the guided journey, but I just experience it as I go down into a deep state of relaxation.

Today’s emotion was feelings of sadness about my upcoming birthday. Next Tuesday is my birthday, Feb. 3, and I’ll be 50 years old. No one has said anything to me about it, or asked me what I want to do. That’s really disappointed me, and I’m busy making plans to do something nice for myself. Last night though, my mother-in-law called, but didn’t want to talk to me, just DH, so I figure at least she has thought of it. No, that doesn’t mean there’s a surprise party brewing – that’s not at all like us.

It’s also not logical that DH hasn’t thought of it, but I’m annoyed that he hasn’t said anything, since HIS 50th was last year, and I went to a lot of trouble to think of a nice present (a ride in a glider) and take him out for a nice dinner. His parents even traveled 3 hours to be there. And yes, I explicitly asked him before his birthday what he wanted to do. His parents did the same.

Anyway, I often experience irrational thoughts right before my birthday. Must be something to do with feelings of not being loved because I was an unwanted baby.

My mother left my father while pregnant with me. He had been violent, so she certainly must have struggled emotionally throughout the pregnancy. Then, going home to a closet-sized room at her parents, with a 2 y.o. and me on the way, must have been just as hard.

Back to the guided journey. I experienced the emotions described above as I drifted down into the state of relaxation. Even cried a couple of tears, but that’s not unusual for the journey.

Once in the relaxed state, my right hand experienced a feeling of confidence around other people. Being thin and looking like everyone else, increases general acceptance. Therefore it’s natural I would feel more confident when I am thin. The symbol in my hand is a heart. Not a pretty Valentine’s heart, but an anatomically correct, soft, pulsating heart. Eww!

My left hand, the side that benefits from staying fat, found that the benefit is reassurance of being loved. Food is love, and a full stomach is proof of love.  The symbol in my hand was a stomach. A living friggin’ stomach! Double Ewww!

The integration part of the journey brought the heart and the stomach together, which suddenly migrated into a complete nervous system plus stomach. Ick. Ick. Ick.

The feeling I get from the integration is wholeness.  Kind of a cool thought. Feeling whole is better than artificial feelings of reassurance from a full stomach, or from shallow confidence around other people.

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Every time I do this conflict resolution journey, it’s different. The conflicts I’m resolving are pretty much all around eating habits. In the journey itself, Renee talks about resolving the conflicting desires to stay fat versus releasing excess weight.

In this morning’s journey I learned that one way I benefit from staying fat is that the eating gives me a chance for rest and a feeling of relief. Funny thing is, I also get the exact same benefit from releasing the weight. After considering this during the journey, I realized that thinking I’m getting relief by staying fat part is a false belief. It actually causes more distress after the first few moments of eating.

At the end of the journey, the two symbols I’d created (a hard-boiled egg for the releasing fat and a hockey puck for the staying fat – what the heck do these things mean?) merged into the yin-yang symbol. Sort of a nice resolution to the conflict.

My immediate reaction? I just ate a larger breakfast than normal. It’s not too bad, just an extra piece of toast, but I compensated yesterday already a little bit at dinner.

Does the guided journey work? Dunno. Looks like it’s a long-term impact rather than an instantaneous miracle cure.

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