Wednesday, January 30, 2013

After 7 Days: Blah-ville.

The seven days are over and I feel kind of back on track. Sort of.
Like I said a couple entries ago, it's not so much about what I'm eating, it's about how I'm feeling about what I'm eating.

If I could sum it up in one word: Blah.

Maybe this is me not experiencing the highs and lows like I'm used to with food, and I'm leveling out. It's boring.

I'm beginning to realize what a thrill I get out of eating just the right amount to lose a little weight. That feeling when I get on the scale and I've lost a pound. But we live in a world of polarities, and the flip side of that is when I overeat, gain weight, and most importantly, feel like crap.

Perhaps the problem is that I've tasted the high, the sheer satisfaction and joy of losing weight and feeling thin, that I'm addicted to the ups and downs. I feel bored right here in the middle.

Is this what being a "normal" eater feels like? Is this what people who "eat to live" rather than "live to eat" experience? Food as food, rather than food as mood lifter, mood soother, procrastination tactic, or any of the other gazillion reasons we trick ourselves into thinking we need to eat? I wonder.

So here I am on this rainy day. I came home from work early and am snuggling up on my couch with a blanket and a bowl of ice cream. The ice cream tasted good (and we know that's hit or miss for me), and I've eaten more calories than I planned on. I think it's ok because I don't feel a binge coming on. I might go to yoga later. I might not. I'm starting to get that these little decisions don't matter as much as I'd thought they did; it's not the end of the world if I eat ice cream or if I skip yoga to nap instead. In general, I'm healthy. Maybe the practice now is to just be grateful for that.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Day 3: This is WAY Harder Than I Thought It Would Be

Days 1 & 2 of my little 7 Day project did not go at all as I'd expected!!! Not even close.

In fact, it did not even occur to me last night at dinner that I'm trying to practice stopping eating once I'm full. I blew way past full into uncomfortably full. Oops.

There was a moment, yesterday, though, where thought this: I just need to surrender. I just need to let go and trust that I will get back on track. Even though I feel so totally far away from the track. Even though I can't see it I know it's there, because I've gotten myself back on it a thousand times.

It helped me to say it out loud; last night after eating I told my boyfriend that I am struggling and want to get back to a place that feels good. He replied by saying, "You will!! You're gonna get back on track tomorrow!! You are!!"

Someone else believing in me allows me to believe in myself more easily. Sometimes that's all it takes.

This morning my body doesn't feel so great, but I feel calm because I'm practicing letting go and bowing down to this mind-thing I have with food that sometimes feels torturous.

Deep breaths.... and these helpful tips my friend Nina posted on facebook this morning ;)

I especially like number 6.

And the journey continues...

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

A New Change: Day 1


I'm really excited about blogging lately and I have a new abstinence-related project for myself.
I did a lot of brainstorming and writing last night and this morning, and I realized that this time around I don't necessarily need to abstain from certain foods. What I need is to abstain from certain food-related behaviors.

There are still certain trigger foods for me and I'm going to see how I do eating less or none of those for a while, but I'm really more interested to see what happens if I can change how I eat. Right now choosing to abstain from these behaviors for 100 Days seems like waaaaaaayyyyyy too long, so I'm starting with 7 Days. One week. I'll try to blog everyday over the next week.

Here's the actual list I came up with this morning of what kind of eating makes me feel crappy:

eating more than 1850 calories in a day
eating when i'm full
eating because "this day's already ruined"
eating because everyone else is eating
eating because if i don't eat i'll be hurting someone's feelings - WHAT?!

And here's what makes me feel good:

eating between 1500-1850 calories per day & doing yoga a few times a week
eating at least one meal a day without distractions/technology
treating myself to a piece of dark chocolate everyday

It occurred to me how often I get myself into trouble (and by trouble, I mean feeling ashamed/gross/too full/guilty) because I eat out of social kindness. I eat because everyone else is eating and I think I have to or I'm weird. Or I eat because someone made something and if I don't eat it, then I'll be hurting their feelings. I'm starting to realize that no one else really cares what I eat, so I might as well do what feels right for me in the first place.

I'm also beginning to understand that abstaining from certain foods and food behaviors is not about my weight. My weight's been really stable for the past 5 months, yet I've had so many emotional ups and downs. This is not about changing my body. It's about changing how I feel. When I eat past fullness or because I think I'm "supposed to," I am unable to be present with whatever is right in front of me. I can no longer enjoy and respond to the very moment I'm in, because I'm too busy freaking out and over-analyzing about food. It's so not worth it. I want to be fully engaged with my life and feel free and calm, not stressed and agitated. 

So this letting go of certain food behaviors is a kind of meditation for me. It's a way to be right here, right now, rather than off in food-drama-world. 

Here's to Day 1! 


Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Two Ninas

Sometimes I feel like there are two different versions of me. Not all the time; sometimes I feel more integrated and balanced and I'm not as aware of these parts because they seem whole. But over the past couple of weeks it's felt like there are Two Ninas.

The Nina that I really love is super disciplined, controlled, on top of her shit, healthy, and doesn't procrastinate. She finds the motivation to do yoga on her own in her living room and eats really healthy food. She stays on top of all of her work and goes to bed when she's tired and checks items off of her mental to-do list. She sounds boring as hell but all of these little things make her feel calm inside.

The Nina that I struggle to love, that I want to get rid of most of the time, is totally un-ordered, over-indulgent, out-of-control (not really, but that's how she feels compared to Disciplined Nina), and lazy. She overeats and feels guilty, she chooses the wrong foods that make her feel sluggish and gross, and she feels so far away from the part of me that I can love more easily.

I'm beginning to notice a pattern of being this first Nina for a few days, and then all of a sudden the other, sloppier, part of me takes over for a day. And I hate it. When I overeat until I'm so full that it's all I can think about, I feel like the yoga practice I did earlier in the day doesn't even count. It feels like the things that I did that make sense aren't there anymore because all that's there is this awful feeling that I can't stand to be inside. I get really strict again, like I did for 100 Days last winter? That worked really well for me and helped me find a more balanced place once it was over. Or do I just try to love this part of me that I hate? Both?

I don't know. But I feel like something has to change because this cycle is draining me. I know that sometimes you have to get really sick and tired of being sick and tired before making a change. I feel like I'm about to make a shift, like I'm standing at the edge and ready to jump into the next thing that's going to help me heal my food wound. It's not a wound that I ever think will heal completely, but I know it can feel better than this.

Onward...I'll let you lovely readers know what that shift turns out to be. :)

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Surfing the Urge

It occurred to me yesterday that now that I'm not blogging regularly or doing the 100 Days, I only write when I'm struggling and need to dump my feelings. Well, no more! This entry is my attempt to be a more regular writer and bring more light to the full spectrum of food experiences, not only the darker ones.

After I wrote my last entry, one of my amazing friends sent me a youTube video of a lecture by Kelly McGonical, and I can't stop thinking about it. In the video she looks at some of the research on willpower, and discusses the findings and strategies on how we can make it easier for ourselves to accomplish a goal, or to break a habit we want to break.

The video is a bit on the longer side, but it is totally worth watching:

Here are my top 3 takeaways from this video:

- Research shows that if we are compassionate with ourselves after we slip up or have a relapse (food, smoking, any addiction we are trying to quit), we are much more likely to succeed. If we feel guilty or shameful, it's more difficult to get back on track.

- Visualizing our predicted failures rather than our success is actually more helpful in achieving a goal. If we can imagine what and how we'll fail, or what it is that will get in our way before we begin, we can more effectively create strategies to counter these predicted moments of failure. For example, if my goal is to lose 5 pounds, it would serve me better to imagine all the potential roadblocks and then brainstorm on how I will handle them, rather than just visualize standing on the scale and the number being 5 pounds lower.

- A mindfulness technique called 'surfing the urge' is a great tool for when you have a craving, or know you are about to resort back to the behavior you're trying to change. There are lots of resources online that talk about this technique, but the video gives four easy steps:
           1. Notice the thought, craving, or feeling.
           2. Accept and attend to the inner experience.
           3. Breathe and give your brain and body a chance to pause and plan.
           4. Broaden your attention, and look for the action that will help you achieve your goal.

Pretty neat stuff, right? The part of my brain that understands science and research is probably the size of a grain of sand, but this I get. It is totally in line with everything I've read and understand about Buddhism, yoga philosophy, and mindfulness training. We have to let ourselves feel our feelings; if we run from them, they will eventually catch up to us. We have to be compassionate and loving towards ourselves, even in (especially in) the moments where it's most difficult. And, we have to commit to knowing ourselves on the deepest level. Healing, no matter what the ailment is, is a practice in self-awareness.

I'm off to 'surf the urge'.... I'll let you know how it goes!

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Holiday Party MindFuck

Hey, peeps!

All has been quiet on the blog front because all has been easy & smooth (for once)!
I usually don't feel the need to write/spew/purge my feelings when life is humming along gracefully, but I've had an especially funky food week, so here I am.

I did something really (really) stupid this week, and I did it twice. I guess I'm a slower learner. I went to two holiday parties with this thought in my head: "I am not going to eat at this party. There will be tons of food and delicious snacks and everyone else will be enjoying them, but I will not eat one bit. I'm just gonna mindcontrol the hell outta this situation and overcome. I can do it."


Now that I write it here, I see how truly asinine these thoughts are. But at the time, I really believed I could do it. Turns out willpower is finite, my friends, and I could not. Fine, so I'll eat at a holiday party like everyone else does in the winter months. BUT herein lies the problem: Once I say that kind of thing to myself, I am setting myself up for a binge. I am creating huge, ridiculous, absolutely ludicrous expectations for myself that I cannot possibly meet. And once I realize that there's no way I'm going to be surrounded by delicious food and a party atmosphere and not eat, I realize that I suck and I'm not perfect like I was expecting I'd be. Let the bingeing begin.

Eating until I'm full, and then eating some more. Because hey, I already fucked this day up so I might as well really go for it and just feel as shitty as possible. I can go back to "normal" tomorrow.

It is amazing how even after this long, even after all of my soul-searching, my yoga practice, my 100 days, my self-awareness practice.....even after all of that, I become my 15 year old self again who is totally lost and caught up in a diet-binge-diet whirlwind cycle. UGH.

The good news is that I know what's up. I've been here before and I'll probably be back. No surprises in this story.

The bad news is that it really doesn't feel good, even though I know I have it in me to get back on track and keep on learning to love myself.

It's a strange thing, this tendency toward self-destructiveness and setting myself up to fail. But it's my teacher. It's how I learn and grow. It's how I keep moving forward. I'm not perfect and I need to remember that, over and over again.

Thank you, blog friends, for letting me share. It is more helpful than you know.


Monday, November 5, 2012

Another Lesson on Self-Love Brought to Me by Ice Cream

Do you ever feel like you are over something, donezo, moved on, grown past it, and then...BOOM! all of a sudden there you are doing something you thought you were done with?!

That just happened to me.

I've had a really easy time with food for the past few weeks, and it's been refreshingly awesome. So awesome that I caught myself thinking, a couple of times, "maybe this is the new ME! maybe i'm healed FOREVER!"

hahaha little yogi...nothing is permanent :)

The rest of the time, by the way, my thoughts went like this: "This is amazing and I'm so so so grateful and I know this is just one part of the flow wave, but it's really beautiful, and I know it won't last but maybe I could ride this for a while, but I'll be ok when it ends, I can go with the flow..."

This afternoon I bought a bunch of my favorite protein bars on my way to work. In my car, I opened one and bit in and it was totally stale and disgusting and kind of smelled like play-doh. I finished my first bite, and then took another one to see if maybe I was....mistaken? I don't know.

I then decided I should not eat something that smells like children's modeling clay, so I opened another bar hoping it would be fresher. It was not. But I ate some of it because I kept hoping the taste would grow on me. And then I had this thought, "My entire food day is ruined. Even though I know logically that shit happens and sometimes you buy food that is stale, I know this is going to fuck up the rest of my day because I suck at dealing with shit when it doesn't go my way. Crap."

Self-fulfilling prophecy, much?!

So the rest of the day was ok....not much of a change in how I normally eat. But then when I got home, I went straight for the ice cream. (Why is it always ice cream with me?) I felt justified, like, I've been really great the past few weeks, so I can just do this thing that makes me feel like crap, because everyone has to feel like crap once in a while right?! I mean...I don't deserve for things to be going this well, so I might as well just get this crap-moment over with and then go back to feeling good tomorrow.

OH HEY, past behaviors of binge-diet-binge. Nice to see you again.

The good news is that I had one bowl of ice cream and I didn't stuff myself. The bad news is that I feel guilty about eating one bowl of ice cream. But this is the work, loving myself right here in this very moment of imperfection, and I'm doing my best at it. I'm thankful for this reminder that I might always have this food-wound, but it doesn't control my life the way that it used to. And I know that tomorrow really will feel good.