1HAPPYWOMAN   24,914
20,000-24,999 SparkPoints
1HAPPYWOMAN's Recent Blog Entries

Wicked and weird

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

An absolutely rotten start to my day. Had to skip breakfast because I was getting blood tests -- no food or drink for ten hours prior to the test. That was difficult because I always eat within a half hour of rising. I felt dismal and was in a filthy temper as well.

Even though I arrived at when the lab opened at 7:30, I still had to wait an hour, under blindingly bright fluorescent lights, next to a woman who talked loudly on her cell phone while sitting directly below a sign that prohibited the use of cell phones.

But the worst was that my sacrum was out of place, so I was walking like a 100-year-old. I think it went out yesterday when I was lying in strange positions on an X-ray table. I've had this issue with my foot for a few months, and the doctor thinks it could be a stress fracture.

Let me tell you, foot pain is no fun. There are so many nerves in those tootsies!

Luckily, my physiotherapist's office is in the same building as the lab, so I went downstairs to ask him if he could fit me in. I've been seeing him for the past 5 years, and I think this is the first time I've used the elevator…but my 100-year-old pelvis couldn't manage one flight of stairs. The physiotherapist was kind enough to fit me in.

I've also been having an attack of the weepies. I think it's PMS. My friend bailed on me yesterday, and I try to forgive and be understanding but I'm pissed about it.

So, angry at friend, aching in pelvis, hungry for breakfast -- not a good start to the day.

GET TO THE HAPPY PART…. I'm supposed to be 1happywoman, right? Today, I was one unhappy woman, for sure.

The happy part is that I grabbed breakfast at a little cafe, also in the medical building, and I picked the healthiest choice, an egg on an english muffin. Then I asked her to hold the cheese and the mayo, and add some tomato, and onion if she had it. "Cooked or raw?" she asked. I saw a pan of sauteed onions on her stove, and said they looked good. She said those were for the soup she was making, and they were highly spiced with curry. Sounds good, I said. And it was! I'm looking forward to making something similar for breakfast soon.

But the big part, in case you missed it, is that I asked her to hold the cheese and mayo!!!! This is a whole new me! Dining out feels like a special occasion, so I've often used it as an excuse to eat all kinds of nonsense. But somewhere on Spark I read about a really great question: ask yourself whether the restaurant meal you are about to consume really is a special occasion.

This morning most assuredly was not. This morning was just me being caught out with low blood sugar and a surprise appointment with the physio.

I asked her to hold the mayo and the cheese!!! Pardon me while I gloat about how much I've changed!

The physio did his best, but I was still sore. I went to work. The day didn't get a lot sunnier. I was crying…at work! No, no, no! Don't want to do that. Everything hurt, and everything sucked.

My co-worker was so nice, and he encouraged me to go home. We work in a very time-sensitive, high pressure environment, and if anyone goes home sick, others have to pick up their work. So people stay even when they are disgustingly sick.

The hours went by, and I was still walking in a geriatric fashion. The physio had suggested that I come back in the afternoon if it didn't clear up, so I made an appointment, then made up a schedule for my co-workers portioning out my workload, and I left.

I didn't even talk to my boss. I was too weepy. I just sent an email and headed out.

The physio did some of his magic skeletal manipulation stuff, then hooked me up to a machine that electrically stimulated my muscles. I lay in the darkened room for a while with my back pulsing, thinking about all the things I could eat to make myself feel better.

That's what I've always done: medicate my pain with pizza and ice cream.

My goal for January and February is to see mostly gold stars on the SparkSummary Calendar -- meaning I ate within my calorie range. I just checked this month, and out of the 29 days I tracked, I have 5 days over my range and five days under. That's a little high, but next month I WILL do better. It's a moderate goal. It's not about being perfect. It's about hitting the mark most of the time, with the understanding that sometimes you shoot and you don't quite score.

The question that haunted me as I lay on the physiotherapist's table was: is it ever a good idea to soothe pain, physical or emotional, with food?
And I thought about how I would feel if I ate pizza, and how I would feel if I went home and had some veggie soup. When I thought about how I'd feel if I ate pizza, my body felt tense. When I thought about how I'd feel if I ate the soup, my body felt relaxed.

After the appointment, my back felt a lot better. I went to the grocery store, where cheesy poufs and chocolate sang their seductive songs from the shelves. I bought strawberries, fat-free yogurt, and my favourite tomato-basil rice cakes. Those are my treats now. I've been avoiding flavoured rice cakes lately, choosing to eat the plain unsalted ones. It's okay to have a treat now and then. So the salty rice cakes are my treat today.

I want those gold stars on my SparkSummary calendar because they symbolize persistence and commitment over time. Today was craptacular, but it had some good parts too. My physio and my co-worker were kind. So was the lab tech. I said, "Hold the mayo and the cheese." I chose soup over pizza. Another day of persistence: I got my gold star.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

UTMIZ_2000 7/9/2012 10:57AM

    Sorry you were in so much pain. Know what that feels like. Glad to read about your progress in the food area.

Looks like you haven't been on in a while. Hope all is well with you.

Report Inappropriate Comment
JEWELY_ROADS 2/13/2012 1:15AM

    Wow! Great Blog! You are doing fantastic! When you can make such wise decisions on one of your worst days, then you know you've changed for the better! Keep collecting those Gold Stars! emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

Comment edited on: 2/13/2012 1:16:16 AM

Report Inappropriate Comment
THINRONNA 2/6/2012 5:26AM

    emoticonI missed this earlier...what a day you had...full of highs and lows. I like how the hig points in our day were things that you chose. Things that you were concious of and things that were good for you and done by you. Sometimes we cannot control the lows but good for you for fighting back and giving your self some wonderful highs in an otherwise unfortunate day.

You are quite awesome you know. emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment
WOLFKITTY 2/6/2012 12:40AM


Truly, these are mighty victories!
And what you said about your past habits... A quote from an in-depth overeating study I read was, "It's hard to get enough of something that *almost* works." That's how they described soothing ourselves with eating - It seems like a good idea, tastes good (or not), but then.. it doesn't quite do the job, and so we have more and more, dancing along the edge of "almost".

Who wants that?

I'll take a helping of accomplishment,and a side of satisfaction, please! Just like you did. Congrats on your gold star!

Report Inappropriate Comment
TMCLEOD4 2/2/2012 2:19PM

    Somehow I missed this blog. It sounds like a rough day that you handled very well. Congrats to you on your excellent choices!

Report Inappropriate Comment
CELLISTA1 2/2/2012 2:02PM

    I loved this blog! (And thank-you so much for your comment on mine.) For those of us who always used food as a reward for ANYTHING, making this kind of change is totally awesome. No cheese? No mayo? No cheesy poufs? This monumental mind shift happens when we remember that yucky food actually makes us feel worse and healthy food actually makes us feel better. I applaud your bravery in the face of all that pain and discomfort and PMS.

Report Inappropriate Comment
CATS_MEOW_0911 2/2/2012 12:59PM

    Aww...even 1HAPPYWOMAN is entitled to her moments of discontent...what makes her happy is that she does not dwell in those moments. And she ALWAYS makes me happy with her insight, wisdom, and compassion.

Hooray for your good choices, and I hope the pain is alleviated soon.

Report Inappropriate Comment
BILLTMAN 2/2/2012 9:27AM

    Go for the gold girl.

Report Inappropriate Comment
CANNIE50 2/1/2012 1:26PM

    Oh, Tara, I so hope you are feeling some true relief. I, too, love your final paragraph. An hour wait, in pain, under nasty lights, next to someone doing the "cell yell", while your blood sugar sinks ever lower.......aaaaagggghhhhh. You really did dig deep to deal, and aren't you so glad you did? Your co-worker sounds lovely. Isn't it amazing how comforting a little kindness can be during an awful day? emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment
LIBELULITA 2/1/2012 7:42AM

    Love your final paragraph. I hope your foot and pelvis heal soon. You made some really amazing choices today that show how far you've come and how comitted you are to your new lifestyle. I'm so proud of you hun and you deserve lots of gold stars for staying strong where otthers would've caved in and fallen. emoticon emoticon emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment
DR1939 2/1/2012 7:30AM

    emoticon You made it through a very difficult day by choosing the best options available to you. Be proud!

Report Inappropriate Comment
VALERIEMAHA 2/1/2012 12:29AM

    WHA'DA FINALE!!!!!!

"I want those gold stars on my SparkSummary calendar because they symbolize persistence and commitment over time. Today was craptacular, but it had some good parts too. My physio and my co-worker were kind. So was the lab tech. I said, "Hold the mayo and the cheese." I chose soup over pizza. Another day of persistence: I got my gold star."
emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment

    emoticonEven though you had a pretty crappy day, you made some truly Awesome choices! It is so great when we realize that the foods we used to eat for comfort no longer appeal to us...we have healthier comfort foods now! emoticon
I gave you 2 gold stars for making awesome choices when things were tough.

You ROCK Tara!


Report Inappropriate Comment

Watch that monkey mind fly!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Dear Sparktacular friends,

I just wanted to catch you up, tell you all how things have been going.

I went off the rails a bit in December. It wasn't too horrific, but I stopped tracking. I did however, stay fairly moderate in my eating over my Christmas visit with family, and I got in lots of cross-country skiing -- something I can't do here on the coast.

I think I gained a couple of pounds over December. I've been using the scale at the gym, and it doesn't seem very accurate lately. I can change my weight by 5 pounds just by moving my feet to different spots on the scale!

But the scale at the doctor's office said I'm down 4 pounds, so that would be the two I gained, plus another two. That seems about right in terms of how my clothes are fitting and the food/exercise I've been tracking.

I am both happy and sad to report that the one bra I own that still fit does not fit any longer. It's a good thing I've cut back on dining out, because I will soon need the money I'm saving for a major wardrobe update -- particularly in the undergarment area.

BIG NEWS: I am addicted to working out!!!! How did this happen? Maybe you've seen my statuses about how good working out feels, breaking a sweat, etc.

Sometimes I get grumpy. I've always been a highly emotional person, though it's definitely lessened as the years passed. Working out fixes grumpiness! I also have a chronic arthritic condition that flares up sometimes, and the pain makes me sad or surly or (horrors!) both.

Working out doesn't completely fix the inflammation, but when my mood is lifted, it just hurts so much less. I love how strong I feel, how much faster I go on my bike, how stairs aren't even traumatic any more! So I'm addicted, and very pleased about it. It's not even about losing weight, because at this point, I'd keep doing it regardless of weight loss. I just love it.

Working out is also 'me' time. I'm fortunate enough to have access to a gym provided by my employer, and since I work unusual hours, I am often there when it's empty. I get on a cardio machine and let my mind drift. It's a time to watch my monkey mind swing wantonly on tangled vines of thought.

But because I am working my muscles, my body cries out for attention. So I attend to my physical self, noting that one shoulder has been tense all morning. Why didn't I notice that as I pounded away on the computer at work? Too busy, busy, busy, but once I notice, I can change the way I work in the afternoon. My attention wanders throughout my body -- how strong my legs feel, how curved my shoulders are, how rumbly my tummy.

Soon enough, the monkey mind is back on its adventure, leaping from thought to thought. I'm still working out, watching the numbers on the display screen, breathing hard, but at the same time watching myself do this marvellous, repetitive thought behaviour. I think so many thoughts over and over again without really noticing them. Those thoughts are a scaffold upon which I build my life. Those thoughts lead to actions that, when repeated, become behaviours and then habits.

When I work out, I'm examining the old thoughts, choosing new ones. Sometimes I have to tear down the old scaffolds. It all starts with thinking. Change your thoughts and you change your life.

I have been so busy living that I didn't fully give myself the time that a radical cognitive reshaping requires. Working out gives me that time. It's when I stay present in my body and mind and attend to my deepest self -- what Yeats called 'the deep heart's core.'

MORE BIG NEWS: I am now an apprentice with the local taiko troupe! The audition was fun. They are a nice group of folks. I've taken so many sets of classes now that I know them all, and we had some laughs. I was a bit concerned because I am very sensitive to group dynamics, and if there were any underlying tensions in the troupe, I would feel that hyperactive hamster doing cartwheels inside my stomach. Then I would eat too much in a futile attempt to soothe the savage rodent making claw marks inside my jittery tum. But so far anyway, the taiko troupe seems like a laid-back crew.

(This is a picture of Uzume Taiko, a Vancouver group I saw recently. They were jaw-droppingly good. That's not hyperbole. My jaw actually hung open during some of the songs!)


Near the end of that YouTube clip above, some of the women have these huge smiles on their faces. When I saw them play, one woman had that smile the entire time! And sometimes I look up from a practice drill and realize I have a massive grin on my face. That's how I knew taiko was for me.

I'll be playing twice a week, and am expected to attend all the classes too, so some Sundays will be many hours of playing! It feels so incredible to just hit something as hard as you can! (Hmmm, maybe I should look into boxing…?)

Taiko is also very challenging for the brain, as the rhythms can be complex and it requires a lot of body-mind integration. There is so much power and grace and cooperation in playing with a group. There's nothing quite like the feeling of being totally in sync with others, playing a beautiful song together. As an apprentice, I'll be expected to learn some of the troupe's performance pieces. Part of the way they fund themselves is through honorariums for performing at local events. That's a bit scary, but I love to play, so I'll just treat it as an adventure!

I have so much more to tell you! January has been a big month, with lots of ups and downs. But I have to go, so I promise to blog again soon.

Much love,


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

BLUEBIRDSFLY 1/31/2012 6:49PM

    Wonderful that you have fallen in love with exercise. I also bike in silence and watch my thoughts run randomly. Gives me a sense where I am at and what I have to clear.
I am so happy for you that you are with a musical group--your spirit must soar
with percussion. It must take tremendous focus as it seems you are always playing around, suspending and stretching the beat. Absolutely wonderful. Also noticed the powerful arms that everyone has.
And the smiles. Nothing like creating music. Makes your soul dance. Enjoy every moment.

Report Inappropriate Comment
CROOKEDLETTER 1/31/2012 8:27AM

    Yay for getting to pound some drums! I also find that exercise helps be do cognitive reshaping. I can essentially medicate when I exercise, which helps smooth out the moods.

Report Inappropriate Comment
THINRONNA 1/31/2012 5:54AM

    I just love the enthusiasm and evergy of your blog. You are one very interesting lady! Isn't it great how exercise is such a wonderful thing?...so energizing and enlivening! I love the monkey mind analogy! We had monkeys kind of like the one in the picture on Nevis. Monkeys are pretty special creatures.

Thank you for the wonderful update and have a wonderful time with your taiko troupe! Please let us know how it goes...

Report Inappropriate Comment
BISCO_ 1/30/2012 4:07PM


Report Inappropriate Comment

    That looks like fun!

Report Inappropriate Comment
LIBELULITA 1/28/2012 2:59PM

    I so glad that exercise is a joy for you rather than a chore...that make's life at lot easier emoticon and well done for getting back on track so quickly after Christmas.

The drumming sounds really exciting and hopefully we'll be watching a video of YOU playing with the troupe soon on here emoticon emoticon emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment

    Wow, you have had an amazing month! I'm glad you are so in love with exercising. I need to fall in love with it too.
Have fun with the drumming!


Report Inappropriate Comment
CANNIE50 1/28/2012 2:36PM

    Great blog, as usual. "cognitive reshaping" - that phrase really intrigues me and will be on my mind as I run this afternoon. I do my best thinking while exercising, particularly while running, and on long distance drives. THis is one of the reasons I do not run with music - I need to let my thoughts sort out, and give my emotions a rest. Congrats on your taiko apprenticeship - I know this is something you truly enjoy - good for you! Joy awaits......

Report Inappropriate Comment

Keep knitting

Thursday, January 12, 2012

For Christmas I knit some socks for my sister and a scarf for my mom. I learned to knit as a kid, but hadn't ever done any complicated projects because I wasn't comfortable following a pattern.

But I gave it a go. The scarf is a beautiful and complex pattern -- so complex that I had to write each row out on a sticky note so I could follow along without getting lost. I also knit about four inches of it just to learn the pattern, then ripped out the awkward mess and started again. It was BOTH difficult and fun. It was a challenge, and the fun part was in figuring out how to overcome obstacles (like losing my place in the pattern) and in celebrating my success (as the scarf grew and I appreciated its beauty).

My friend taught me how to make the socks. She is such an accomplished knitter that she doesn't need a pattern. They were made with the most beautiful wool I've ever seen. I used 2 mm needles - the smallest needles there are. Those socks were a crazy project, and near the end of December I stopped sparking because all I did, night after night, was knit frantically in order to complete them by Christmas.

I was so happy to give homemade presents to the two people I love most in the world. I was so proud of what I made, too!

I wanted my mom and sister to be warm and cozy, and to think of how much I love them each time they put on their gifts.

As I was knitting on the tiny needles, I would look at the socks and be amazed. Stitch after stitch, they grew. They started from nothing but wool, and they became a tube that became a sock, and then there were two. Stitch by stitch. Each stitch on its own was nothing, but over time, they become something precious.

I thought about how the process of knitting is similar to the process of becoming fitter. One step, two steps -- they're not much on their own. Keep putting one foot ahead of the other, and the steps add up. Keep plugging away, and the walks get longer; maybe they even they even turn into a jog. Over time, the body gets stronger. Muscles, lungs, heart get fitter. Just keep at it, and you can make something precious.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

THINRONNA 1/31/2012 5:57AM

    How wonderful! I learned how to knit just this Christmas...since I could not read I wanted to do something to do with my daughter and we learned how to knit together. How wonderful that you were able to challenge yourself and make such complex things! I know that your mother and sister will feel very loved every time they wear your gifts!

Report Inappropriate Comment
JEWELY_ROADS 1/24/2012 9:49PM

    Right On! emoticon emoticon I'd like to take up knitting too.

Comment edited on: 1/24/2012 9:52:08 PM

Report Inappropriate Comment
CATS_MEOW_0911 1/23/2012 1:19AM

    Amazing dedication to the craft, just as you are dedicated to yourself. The gifts will be well-loved!

Report Inappropriate Comment
CROOKEDLETTER 1/17/2012 8:38AM

    It makes me happy to know that you were knitting furiously to finish presents. And I like how you knitted together hand crafts and fitness. For the past couple of years I've been thinking of that a well shaped practice of art making (all sorts of art- high, low, visual, theater, dance, crafts, etc) is much like exercise- built from small daily or regular actions.

Keep on knitting. Keep on fitting.

Report Inappropriate Comment

    I love this analogy.
I'm sure your sister and mom loved the gifts made for them with love.
I can only knit a looong scarf because I don't know how to end it..lol

Report Inappropriate Comment
IONA72 1/12/2012 5:33PM

    Good to "meet" another knitter! I have been knitting for over 40 years but have never made socks! Perhaps I will make this the year....

Report Inappropriate Comment
LIBELULITA 1/12/2012 4:42PM

    What a wonderful philosophy...and so true!! We're all knitting ourselves new bodies stitch by stitch emoticon emoticon emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment
CANNIE50 1/12/2012 3:13PM

    lovely, just lovely

Report Inappropriate Comment
DETERMINED_SOUL 1/12/2012 10:06AM


Report Inappropriate Comment
KALIGIRL 1/12/2012 9:06AM

    "One step, two steps" - What a emoticon analogy!

Report Inappropriate Comment
TWINNYGRAN 1/12/2012 2:34AM

    I love knitting too! It amazes me that people seem to have forgotten about this rewarding art - yes, it IS an art! I knit for my grandchildren and the more complicated the pattern the better as far as I'm concerned! I love a challenge. My friend knits socks and she gave me a lovely pair of leaf lace pattern ones for Christmas. Love them! Knitting also occupies your hands so you can't eat while you're doing it. Keep knitting! emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment

Spark it up

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

I'm so happy to be back at home! It takes leaving for a while to show me how much I love it here.

My holidays were spent in the mountains, where my sister is raising her son, and where my mom relocated after she retired. The air is very thin there, and the low oxygen makes me tired for the first few days of each visit.

But my mom and I stayed very active, with a lot of cross-country skiing and some aquafit classes! I overindulged a bit, which is just fine.

I'm very surprised and pleased by how good it feels to get back on track. I feel SO MOTIVATED, and my healthy eating routine is so welcome, because I know how good I feel when I eat really well, and how fantastic it feels to achieve my goals!

I'm especially heartened by how confident I feel about the next few months. That confidence comes from knowing exactly what I need to do to lose weight. It will take as long as it takes, but I know what I have to do to make it happen. It used to feel too overwhelming and like it was out of my control, but not anymore!!!!

Also, fitness has a very different place in my life now. I crave movement and exertion, because it feels so danged wonderful!

I don't remember if I mentioned that the local taiko troupe has invited me to audition for an apprenticeship! I'm so freakin' excited! Hope I get in, because that would mean twice-a-week taiko drumming -- it's incredibly good for my body and also stirs my soul.

Last year was one of the best years of my life in terms of my personal development, and also in terms of my career. Spark People played a big role in helping me to make these long-sought changes, and I'm so very, very, very excited to see what this year will bring!

Let's keep sparkling! Light that flame of hope and desire deep inside! It's worth it. It pays off in increased confidence, vitality and optimism.

Spark hard! Spark well! Spark often!

Happy New Year, my darling Sparklers.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

THINRONNA 1/31/2012 5:59AM

    As you can see I am catching up now that I am able to use the computer. Your Christmas sounds like it was wonderful!

Report Inappropriate Comment
CROOKEDLETTER 1/9/2012 12:33PM

    Glad you had a lovely trip and glad you are sliding back into the groove ready to enjoy the next few months of self work. And especially happy to hear that you got asked to audition for the taiko troupe. I'll keep my fingers crossed so you can keep yours in the right position for playing.

Report Inappropriate Comment

    It sounds like you had a blast over the holidays! It is always exciting to know you can enjoy your time while getting some good activity in!

Report Inappropriate Comment
BESTMEICANBE51 1/6/2012 8:31AM

    This is going to be an AWESOME year !

Report Inappropriate Comment
KALIGIRL 1/5/2012 5:12PM

    Sounds like the start of an emoticon new year!

Report Inappropriate Comment
HEATHER1969 1/4/2012 10:00AM

    Happy New Year Girl! Here's to an even more fantastic 2012

Report Inappropriate Comment
MPLONDKE 1/4/2012 8:35AM

  Congrats on your achievements so far! Can't wait to see what 2012 has in store for us.

Report Inappropriate Comment
BISCO_ 1/4/2012 6:06AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment
LIBELULITA 1/4/2012 3:17AM

    I can feel the positive vibes radiating from my screen and it's wonderful. I'm so excited for you about the taiko drumming...what an amazing experience that'll be. Lovely to have you back and doing so well. I wish you every success in whatever you set your heart to in 2012 emoticon emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment

    Welcome back Tara! I missed you!
Sounds like you had a wonderful time in the mountains with your family. I bet it is beautiful there. I have a friend who lives in Pemberton and I really want to visit her one day.
I'm glad 2011 was so good for you. I know you will Rock 2012.
Keeping my fingers crossed for you getting into the taiko troupe. I had friends that were taiko drummers and they practiced across the street from my house...I loved it!
Have a Sparkalicious week!

Report Inappropriate Comment
CANNIE50 1/4/2012 1:23AM

    What a wonderful blog. I am so happy for you, Tara. Sparkle on.....you are a great representative of SP.

Report Inappropriate Comment
CATS_MEOW_0911 1/4/2012 1:10AM

    Missed you, Tara, so glad to see you! I'm glad that you enjoyed your time with family and are feeling recharged. CONGRATS on the taiko group--very cool!

emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment

The spiral of change

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Picture a spiral, then picture yourself moving along it. Imagine the point at which you start is the beginning of your work on a particular issue.

For me, the issue I'm working on is how I use unhealthy actions like overeating to try to cope with stressful emotions. It's been a long journey, and many, many times I've backslid.

When I overeat to soothe my emotions, that's a single point on the spiral. I work on it, think about it, talk about it, try new techniques, and then something tumultuous happens in my life and I often go back to using food to try to cope. Sometimes when I emotionally overeat I feel like I'm trapped in the same deep, dark hole that I've been hiding in for years.

But it's not true. In between the tumult, I have moved along the spiral of my life. It may feel like nothing's changed. It may feel hopeless, but it's not. I have visited this same point on the spiral over and over, but in between, I am moving and growing and changing. I'm not stuck, and things have changed; I have changed.

I used to overeat every night, in secret -- rich, sugary foods and crunchy, salty, greasy foods. I used to eat until I felt sick. I used to eat and then I would be ashamed -- so ashamed I hated myself. I didn't know how to stop. I didn't know precisely why I did it; I just knew that I was unhappy and I ate. Even though I knew it didn't bring happiness, in the moment I always felt like it would ease things. I felt so trapped in my behaviour, so lonely and isolated.

So I reached out and asked for help. I got counselling and joined a support group and learned some cognitive techniques and some mindfulness techniques, and slowly, bit by bit, year after year, I turned to food less frequently.

I still eat for comfort sometimes, but not in the same way I did before. When I eat for comfort, I often become aware of new trigger thoughts. In this last bout, I watched myself eat in anger, and my trigger thought was 'nobody understands me.' I laughed and laughed when I realized that was the thought that preceded several bouts of emotional eating. After all, I'm on Spark, where PEOPLE REALLY DO UNDERSTAND!

Now when I eat emotionally, I don't eat as much as I used to. I don't eat until it hurts. I don't eat rich foods like I used to. Rich foods can leave me feeling quite sick, and I don't do that kind of self-harming anymore either.

I could despair and moan and wonder whether I'll ever be truly healed. But I got this far in part by learning to accept my imperfections and see my life as it really is. Emotional overeating is something that I do. It's not even rare; lots of people do it.

The upside is that when I make strides in my progress, I feel so proud. I have a goal and am moving towards it. When I feel like I'm not moving, I remind myself of where I began, long ago, on the spiral of change.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

THINRONNA 1/31/2012 6:04AM

    I am so glad that you reached out for help. Now I think that you are helping others with your blogs...they are so well written. No, our patterns may not go away all together but now we are more aware of them and they are less damaging...recovery time is faster and for me...I don't even keep the damaging foods in the house anymore so I have less chance of sabatoging myself even when I want to!

Great blog!

Report Inappropriate Comment
VALERIEMAHA 1/18/2012 7:11PM

    There is so much useful content here. I read it back when you first posted it, while in San Francisco, and was struck by your insights. I'll be back to review it AGAIN!

Report Inappropriate Comment
BESTMEICANBE51 1/6/2012 8:27AM

    You write such awesome blogs. Thanks for sharing you journey with us.

Report Inappropriate Comment
CATS_MEOW_0911 12/22/2011 12:30PM

    Beautifully stated, Tara...so insightful, thank you for sharing.

Report Inappropriate Comment
LIBELULITA 12/21/2011 6:43AM

    Thankyou for sharing with such sincerity and clarity. I think the majority of us on here can relate to this and it's reassuring to see that changes can be made for the long run even if there are slip-ups now and again.We must forgive ourselves and get back on track. I have been 3 and a half months without a binge and I live in fear of the next one.... emoticon emoticon emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment
PUDLECRAZY 12/21/2011 5:31AM

    You are doing a fantastic job with your goals and your progress. Lovely blog!

Report Inappropriate Comment
CELLISTA1 12/21/2011 1:16AM

    This really resonates for me too. The old issues aren't completely gone -- but we just don't fall down the hole anymore. When rich food makes you feel pretty awful, you know you have changed your physiology. Congratulations on your progress!

Report Inappropriate Comment
CROOKEDLETTER 12/20/2011 11:05PM

    Ah, the good old spiral path. More complex than the two steps forward, one step back. Congratulations for seeing that while the behavior sometimes still pops up, it has changed in quality, quantity, duration and frequency. I think with any ingrained habit the trick is to not let a "flare up" or backslide blind us to the ways we really and truly have changed our ways.

Sending all sorts of good wishes your way.

Report Inappropriate Comment
CANNIE50 12/20/2011 10:46PM

    Tara - this is beautifully stated and I truly relate. Thank you.

Report Inappropriate Comment
TMCLEOD4 12/20/2011 10:38PM

    Thanks for the blog! Any improvement is good. Remember it's a work in progress and baby steps get you where you need to be. Thanks for sharing and making me think about my eating issues.

Report Inappropriate Comment
BLUE42DOWN 12/20/2011 10:25PM

    Wow, this is a blog I think could really speak to those who deal with emotional eating.


Report Inappropriate Comment
SUNFLOWERSAVAGE 12/20/2011 10:02PM

    Great blog Tara! I really wish I was as eloquent as you.
I glad you are working all this out. You deserve to be healthy and happy!

Report Inappropriate Comment

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Last Page