Thursday, August 12, 2010
Yah... I know that isn't really the word, but it really may as well be for a lot of us. I can honestly tell you that I hate that BMI scale. I really shouldn't ever look at it because even when I am loosing weight and feeling great, it STILL refuses to acknowledge my progress and STILL says that I'm obeast. In fact, according the the BMI charts, I will still be obeast for another 15 pounds. What's up with that? I find it exceedingly difficult to believe that with the simple input of my weight and height, an accurate assessment of my overall health can be made. What about my body type? What about my fitness level? My heart rate? My bone structure? My waist to hip ratio? Huh? I have two words for you BMI...
Tuesday, August 10, 2010
1. On page 22, author Geneen Roth writes that she turned to Hostess Sno Balls the same year she gave up on God. Do you turn to food for comfort, sweetness and the feeling that you matter?
I love the decadent flavors of nachos, chili fries and anything else that you can heap cheese on top of. I love the way it tastes and feels in my mouth. I am so busy that I really donít get to do a lot of things just for me, or for the sake of pleasure, so when I eat and I eat foods that I love, I feel in a small way that it is a treat for me to be able to enjoy that delicious meal. I get up at 6am, I am at work at 7, I leave work at 6, get home at 6:30, get back on the laptop at 7 and I am working again until 9 or 10 when I go to bed. Sometimes, the only thing I get to truly enjoy all day long is a plate of nachos. Sometimes, I have to enjoy that plate of nachos at my desk at work or with my laptop working at home. So, in a way, I guess I am using food as a treat, or a retreat. I do feel a sense of peace and reward when I eat the nachos and I definitely rationalize it to myself by saying things like ĎI work so hard, I deserve these nachos.í
2. What does going on a diet mean to you? Does it give you a feeling of taking control and doing something for yourself? If you have been on many diets, do you honestly believe this one is different, or do you diet because you are discouraged and don't know what else to do?
The more I think about it, the more dirty and disgusting the word Ďdietí is to me. What a diet means to me is control, punishment, shame, atonement and fear. It represents everything that I donít want to be associated with, but by the same token, it gives me a focus for my obsessive tendencies and a means to an end that I desire desperately. In a way, I sometimes do feel like being on a diet is doing something for myself because I believe that it will help me achieve something greater than I already am. I have been on many diets, some successfully, but all out of desperation and because I just plain didnít know that there was any other option.
3. On page 23, Geneen describes dieting like praying and that "making the decision to stop dieting was like committing heresy, like breaking a vow that was never supposed to be broken." Are you ready to stop dieting? What feelings does thinking about this bring up for you?
I can definitely see the parallel between dieting and praying in that you are pleading for the delivery of something, some tangible result. People place an incredible amount of faith in the process of dieting. They believe it will save their lives, just as they believe that praying will save their souls. I donít know that I am ready to stop dieting. What does that mean specifically? Am I ready to stop counting calories? No. Am I ready to stop tracking my exercise? No. Am I ready to pay more attention to my appetite, desires, cravings and needs? Yes. Am I willing to put in the work that needs to be done to make a change? Yes. When I consider the prospect of not tracking my food, I feel fear. At this point, I do not believe that I am physically able to stop tracking. It is a compulsive behavior for me. Admitting this makes me feel out of control and addicted to the process of dieting. It is not unusual to find me entering my lunch while I am eating my breakfast and adding up my food in the daily tracker at the restaurant after I have ordered while my family watches on. I donít know what it would feel like to give that up and that scares me.
4. From page 25: Geneen writes: "I don't believe in the God that most people call God, but I do know that the only definition of God that makes sense is one that uses this human life and its sufferingóthe very things we believe we need to hide or fixóas a path to the heart of love itself. Which is why the relationship with food is so important." What do you believe about God, love and your life?
I also do not believe in God in the most commonly accepted sense. I do believe in a universal energy that bonds every living thing together. I donít really have a name for it, although I have heard it referred to as The Source and I guess that fits it pretty well. I believe in love in all of its forms and I believe that life is precious.
5. Do you believe you deserve kindness and beauty? If other people deserve itóif your children deserve itówhy not you? Why is it so hard to treat yourself lovingly?
I do believe that I deserve kindness and beauty, I just donít always have the time to make it happen. I tend to feel sorry for myself at times as a result of my impacted schedule and so I rationalize Ďtreatingí myself with food as a kindness. There have been times when I believed that letting myself eat 2000 calories worth of nachos was treating myself lovingly. I didnít understand that it was just creating another problem. Or rather, I did understand and I didnít care at the time because I had done such an excellent job of convincing myself that I deserved it and that my deserving it mattered more. I suppose that if I really loved myself, I would have made time for a pedicure or treated myself to a new book.
6. In Women, Food and God, Geneen says your relationship to food is a doorway to your true nature, your deepest self. Do you believe you have a true nature and a higher self? Are you willing to use your relationship with food as the doorway to that?
I do believe that I have a higher self; a self that is not convoluted with false beliefs and full of memes and a self that can be at peace with her relationship with food. I am willing to examine my relationship with food as a means to that end.
Monday, August 09, 2010
*This is incredibly long and contains some very personal information. I am posting it here because I feel that it is important for me to be honest about my journey and because I think it might help others to think critically about their own habits. Due to the length of the posting, please feel free to skip this one!*
1. The prologue begins with "80 hungry women" sitting in a circle together, waiting to eat and pay attention to how they use food. If you were one of those women being asked to be silent and pay attention to themselves, their hunger and their many feelings about food, how do you think you would feel?
I think that this might have been a better approach for me than what I have been trying to do, which is to pay attention to the signs of hunger all day long every day. I have found this to be completely overwhelming. Perhaps by paying attention at imposed meal times, I may be better able to focus in on the immediate feelings instead of desperately searching to see if the feelings are there, wondering where they are and what they feel like and what is the right way to respond to them all of the time. Being in a circle with so many other women would also have an influence on my feelings. Knowing myself, I would feel one extreme, or another; I may feel self conscious and pay too much attention to what I think is the right thing to think or feel based on the group setting, or I may feel relaxed and at one with so many people around me who are facing the same struggle. Sometimes, in a group setting, I have trouble differentiating myself from the group.
2. From page 2: "Our relationship to food is an exact microcosm of our relationship to life itself. You are a walking and talking expressions of your deepest convictions; everything you believe about love, fear, transformation and God is revealed in how, when and what you eat."
What are your deepest convictions, and how do you think they show up on your plate every day?
I have to say that Iím not really sure how to answer this one. I believe strongly in living in the now and that love is very powerful. There are many different kinds of love and the more love you give away, the more love you will receive in return. Of all forms of love, true self love is the most challenging for me to achieve, but Iím getting there. Fear is a product of our thoughts and not a reality. I guess you could say that I donít really believe that fear exists, or that fear only exists in the minds of men/women. I suppose the same could be said of love when all is said and done. I fully believe that transformation is possible, but only through the freeing of the mind from restrictive thought. What I mean by this is that I believe that every person has the power to be whatever it is that they seek and that they, themselves, hold themselves back with their fears, doubts and thoughts. For example, a person might say ĎI want to be a runner.í They might say this for months or years, however they will only be a runner by being a runner, and all it takes for that to happen is to Ďbeí that which they desire, which anyone can do at any time. As far as God is concerned, I do not believe in ĎGodí in the traditional sense, but I do believe in a universal energy, or source, which runs through all things and beings.
I really donít know how this translates to my plate, but I will say that when it comes to eating, I take a very Ďall or nothingí approach. I am either on plan, or Iím not and there is no in between area. If I have a cheat meal, it either has to fit into my plan for the day, or the entire day will become a cheat day. I count my calories and track my food to the point of obsession. I think about food constantly. I try to plan my food for the entire day and it is not uncommon for me to be mapping out lunch as I am eating breakfast. I do well on a strict and regimented plan. I like things in order and I need to have control. This is true in most areas of my life. I honestly donít see the connection between my convictions and my plate at the moment, but I will keep an open mind about such things.
3. On page 5, Laurie says that things are hard, but at least she has food. Do you relate to her? Do you use food when things get hard? If so, does using food make things easier?
When I am not Ďon plan,í I eat without restraint. I eat most often because I enjoy the taste of food and I pay no attention to how full I am as I am shoving the entire breakfast burrito into my mouth, bite after delicious extra cheesy bite. I tend not to be hungry when things are Ďhard.í I often lose my appetite when I am overwhelmed, but I also eat out more, which usually means unintentionally bigger portions. I do eat when I am bored and tired. I somehow connect eating food with passing time, so I eat food to try to speed up the day when the day is really dragging. I also falsely believe that eating food will miraculously give me a boost of energy when I am tired, when it usually makes me feel more tired and also defeated for overeating. All of this being said, no, food does not make things easier. (That last line was hard to type.)
4. On page 13, author Geneen Roth writes about her many diets and her weight history. Take a moment to consider your own food and weight history. What has it been like? Did the ups and downs of it correspond with particular events in your life? As you begin to read Women, Food and God, notice the feelings you have about what has and hasn't happened in your relationship with food. As you enter a brand new process and start a new journey, do you feel discouraged? Hopeless? Excited? Does a part of you believe that nothing will work? It's good to name those feelings so that you don't sabotage yourself with them.
History: At the tender age of 12 I was blessed with boobs and hips and didnít look like the other Ďlittleí girls at my school anymore. I was wearing a size 7-9 in the 8th grade and that was when I began to be conscious of my body and felt big. I can picture myself at my locker in the 8th grade, loathing my thighs and hips. I remained in this same size range through high school and into college. I remember buying jeans at the Gap when I was a freshman in college and being so humiliated to pick through the jeans on the wall to find a size 8. I hated being in the biggest size at 5.7.9 (does anyone else remember that store?). I paid attention to the size of the girls around me. Mostly to the smaller ones. I envied them. I didnít really start to gain weight until about 1996. I was in a pretty destructive relationship with a guy who had a terminal illness. A symptom of his disease was that he could eat, and had to eat, 24/7 in order to just keep weight on. I ate with him. I didnít need to eat 24/7. I went up to a size 12, and put myself on a diet. This was my first diet. I ate whatever I wanted for breakfast, usually a large quantity, a small healthy lunch and had a can of beans or a can of vegetables (usually peas) for dinner. It worked. I got back into a 10 pretty quickly. I was happy there for a while, but he got sicker, more abusive and eventually the relationship ended. I was teetering back into a 12 at that time (1998) and I met my husband. We donít have a long romantic history. In fact, the first five years of our relationship were not pretty at all. We were mean to each other and on two separate occasions he brought up my weight in his efforts to hurt me before I hurt him. We broke up and got back together more times than I can count. And I ate and drank a lot in the interim. I did a lot of destructive things in those in between times; out eating and drinking 4, 5, 6 or 7 nights a week. I was young. I didnít pay attention to what I was doing to my body. A gradual increase to a solid size 12 didnít seem so bad and I didnít even own a scale at that point. In 2001, J and I decided that we would either get together and stay together, or call it quits for good. We stayed together. I got a good job at a local government agency and they had a scale there. I weighed myself for the first time in a very long time and weighed in at 183 (I had now crept into a size 14). I was mortified. There are no other words to describe it. I had become the fat girl. I couldnít stand myself. I immediately started counting my calories on FitDay.com, walking three times a day at work and joined a gym. By May of 1993, I had lost 43 pounds was down to 140 pounds and back in a size 10. I was so delighted with myself! We got married. We bought a house. Things were tight financially and so, I quit the gym. I gained a little bit of weight back in 2004-2005, but got back into a size 10 in 2005. I was hovering around 150 at this time. This was when I started the C25K for the first time. I had my first 5k scheduled and I felt great. I was in week 9 of the program when I had a little pain in my side that turned into a big pain in my side. I had a very large cyst on my left ovary and needed emergency surgery. What that really meant to me was that I couldnít run my 5k and wouldnít be able to complete the program. I went anyway, against the doctorís orders and against the very strong opinions of my husband, and I walked it. I was devastated, but also happy that I might lose weight after having surgery. How sick is that? I had the surgery, I lost a little bit of weight, but I quickly found it again after 6 weeks of recovery time at home on the couch. I felt like all of my hard work had been undone and I gave up. I treated myself like a garbage disposal and I just stopped exercising altogether once I had recovered. Over the next few years I would complete my masterís degree, get new jobs, start my own business, volunteer 15-20 hours a week for dog rescue, care for my family and my own pets and completely forget that ĎIí even existed. I crept back into a size 14 and said Ďenough was enough.í It wasnít. I dragged myself back into the fat store (you know the one) for 16ís not too long after and promised myself that 16 was the end of the road. It very nearly wasnít. Back in April of this year, those 16ís were snug. The years between 2007 and 2010 have been a blur of diets; low carbs, no carbs, shakes, vegan eating, calorie counting and numerous other failed attempts at something so miserable I canít even name it. I look back and I am stunned and sad about the days when I was disgusted at myself in a size 8.
Present: I donít really know what my relationship with food is, or if it should Ďbeí anything at all. I do see patterns of behaviors coordinating with events in my life. More than anything, I see a pattern of caring for others with a cost of neglecting myself and a complete and total disregard for honoring my body. I feel excited, nervous and a little confused about my new journey. I am worried that after ignoring and neglecting my body for so long that I wonít really know how to listen to it and I wonít understand how to know what it wants and when it wants it. A part of me thinks that the theory of eating when Iím hungry and stopping when Iím not is just too easy and I am afraid that my reliance of calorie counting and restrictive eating is too strong to abandon.
5. From page 16: "Not sure what you really believe? Pay attention to the way you actóand to what you do when things don't go the way you think they should. Just for today, pay attention to what you value. Reflect on how you spend your time and your money. Pay attention to what you eat." What do you do when things don't go the way you want them to go? What do you really believe about your place here on earth? Do you think your life has meaning? Do you believe you are doomed to fail or that you are worthy no matter what you weigh?
I donít really believe that there is a specific way that things are supposed to go, so I tend to react well when things take an unexpected direction. I embrace change, even when it comes wrapped in a negative package, and I donít usually turn to food as a coping mechanism for change. I try to spend my time doing things that truly bring me joy; reading, watching documentaries, doing yoga, learning and spending time having tea and with my dogs. I believe that my purpose here on earth is simply to be. My life has meaning, as all life has meaning and I do not believe in predestination in either regard (doom or success). All of that being said, I donít believe that I am as valuable at this moment in a size 14 as I would be if I were a size 8. I am not sure if that is my actual assessment of value, or a general assessment of how I feel society assess my value. I understand that the last statement is completely incongruous with all of the prior comments and I canít explain why.
6. How has food served as a source of punishment and/or shame in your life? What do you think it would take for you to really change your relationship with food?
I feel ashamed of my plate when I eat out and I have a lot of food in front of me. I feel like others are looking at my serving and watching me eat and thinking that I should be eating something else, something healthier, or eating less. I am ashamed to admit that I think these thoughts myself when I see very large people eating a double cheeseburger, an order of zucchini and an order of onion rings with a large diet soda. I am basically projecting my assumptions about how I am judged onto others. While my first inclination was to respond that I havenít used food as a punishment, I canít honestly say that is true. Just last week, I had a rough afternoon where I was bored, frustrated and tired and I ate a Snickers bar and a bag of Cornnuts. I added these items to my calorie counts and at 2pm, I had consumed my daily allotment and so I did not eat dinner, even though I felt hungry. I also exercised, even though the day was a planned rest day, because I felt that I had to atone for my actions.
I did, however, enjoy every single bite of the Snickers bar. Not so much the Cornnuts.
I think that in order to truly change my relationship with food, I need to further understand my history with food and how my current relationship with food got to be in the state that it is now. I think that unraveling this relationship is going to take more insight and thought on my part as well as an understanding into what caused me to transition from never dieting or thinking about what I ate and maintaining a healthy weight (1992-1996), even though my body image was skewed, to being unhealthy and obsessed with weight, calories and dieting (off and on 1997-2007 and completely so 2007-present). I donít underestimate the amount of work this may take.
Monday, August 09, 2010
What an amazing and insane weekend! It went by so quickly! I canít believe that I am already back at work today! Here is a quick (or not so quick) recap:
On Friday I went on a kayak adventure! I did a 2 hour tour of the La Jolla sea caves. It was one of the coolest things I have ever done. We were literally just a few feet away from these gorgeous sea lions. They were swimming all around us and so were the leopard sharks. I was so nervous and afraid that I wouldn't be able to do it, but guess what? I totally did it and I wasn't even really sore the next day! I sincerely amazed myself. I never ever in my life thought I could kayak, let alone for two hours. I always thought that was something that healthy and fit people did. Maybe I need to put some more thought into sticking myself in the 'unhealthy and unfit' category. Looks like I need to do a little more thinking about how I categorize myself and why.
Speaking of thinking about my self-imageÖ I finished Women Food and God. I will be starting the workshop series today. I had such mixed emotional responses to this book. I can honestly say that no other book before has made me feel such a wide range of responses. I cried many times, felt relief, anger, frustration, realization and joy. I think I may have to re-read the book so that I can be more prepared. I donít knowÖ
Week 3 Day 3 of the C25K is done! Although... one of the most horrible things ever happened on my run last night so I missed one of the 90 second jogs... I was walking along and I took Batman with me (a dog I was sitting) and he was on one of those retractable leashes. Well, Batman is a racist dog and a person of color darted out of a driveway in front of us and across the street. Batman went nuts and he darted after the lady and he yanked the handle of the leash out of my sweaty hand and went flying across a SUPER major busy road. I dove into the road after him, ready to throw my body in front of any oncoming cars. Thankfully, there weren't any approaching at that time and he stopped in the median, where the lady was, to bark. No one was harmed, but it scared the living daylights out of me. Lessons learned: Don't take a dog running with the retractable leash - you can't wrap it around your wrist like you can with a regular leash and when your hand gets sweaty, it's easy to drop that handle. Can you imagine having to explain to someone that their dog was hit by a car while they were in your care. OMG. I would rather be hit myself.
So, this is my weekend in a nutshell. OhÖ and I also lost another pound! Woohoo!
Thursday, August 05, 2010
...is to be kind and patient with myself.
If you follow my blogs, you know that this is something I have been working on lately that is also quite a challenge for me. I completely lost it yesterday and scarfed down a Snickers and a bag of Cornnuts. I cried. I was so angry with myself and so frustrated that I actually cried about food I had put in my mouth. I felt that I had to atone, so I made my family go play tennis with me last night and I skipped dinner. Did I handle this correctly? I don't know. Is there a correct way to handle something like this? Is this even something that needs to be handled?
Here is the advise that I would have given someone else in my position last night:
So what? You ate a Snickers and some Cornnuts. Big deal. Did you enjoy it? I hope so, because it would be a damn shame if you didn't. So, what was that, like 400 calories? Really? You're crying over 400 calories? Let's put some perspective on this, shall we? You've lost 22 pounds. You're making a connection with parts of yourself that you had forgotten existed. You're in better shape than you have been in many years. You can feel a muscle in your arm and you're crying about 400 calories? Chin up... dry your eyes and dust yourself off. Take a deep breath. Stretch. Meditate for a few minutes and now say to yourself three times, 'You are what you choose today and not what you've chosen before.' Know that whatever it is you want to be, you are in this moment. You are strong, beautiful and a being of light and love.
I guess hindsight really is 20/20, isn't it?
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