Monday, September 05, 2011
Another Sparkpeople member posted a blog with a long quote from a writer named Marston, who attacked the idea that our perceived need for anything was enough reason to be able to get it. No matter how much we think we need something, nothing will happen if we declare our intentions and follow through. With all due respect, although Marston points out one element of change, he leaves out a lot-- all the knowledge and steps between "I am committed," or "I walk 5x a week," and doing it consistently. He's right that 1) it isn't enough to need a change, though it does actually increase the chances for it, and 2) forming clear intentions CAN, too, but the dangerous part is that it can greatly undermine a person's faith AND will, if she finds she is not following through on her intentions. She may decide it is a supreme lack of character, when it may be a lot more that she hasn't been taught a lot of the other hidden things that the successful do-- that they often don't even realize they are doing. And the fact that most humans fail many, many times at important changes before they get it right. He doesn't acknowledge this and implies people are just being immature. Sometimes, we are! but a lot of it is just not seeing how big the issue is, choosing remedies that are just too complicated to sustain, and giving up rather than accepting temporary failures and going back to the plan. Most of us need more help with remembering all of that.
Saturday, September 03, 2011
I'm having some real fun with new guy Gene. He is into silly/sexy banter texts, and that's fine with me. He's also been attentive and definitely open to other realms when we're together. Last week, he agreed to go to a raw food potluck, which can draw some fringe element, as i like to call them (and me, sometimes). When the dinner bell rang, we were at the end of the line and were right by a hammock. He pulled it steady and invited me to hop in, given that we'd have to wait anyway. So cute! Then another guest proceeded to stand by and talk to us for the all the time we had to wait. I know we both would have liked to have been alone and gabbed on our own a bit, but he was sweet about it.
I'm turned on by the situation but feel torn about actually having sex. I guess I've been hoping for years that the next person I have sex with would be someone I already felt in sync with spiritually, mentally, emotionally, yada yada yada. yet now I can imagine just jumpin' on in there. I can't see myself playing all the imaginative stuff I fantasize about, but I'm pretty sure we'd both have orgasms. I hope that's enough for him. As I've said, he seems skittish about the deeper stuff, but he's not obligated to go there after a few dates spread out over a few weeks, though I do very much believe in real love possibly happening very soon. I know that gets a bad rap but it's because the superficial stuff can feel exactly the same in the beginning. I'm also willing to think we could find out we're on the same wavelength enough that something beautiful could happen for us as time goes on. I do believe time is what does tell the difference, but most (always exceptions) LONG_TERM happy couples say they felt that things were important between them pretty early on. Doesn't mean they didn't weather some storms as they got to know each other over months and years, but nothing that felt worth overriding the sense of connection they felt early on. Anyway, I think people get fooled by the good feelings from sex too often. However, this time, I think I'm seeing things more clearly and am realizing I don't have to suspect that we are a match made in heaven in order to give it a whirl. It's certainly not a morality thing with me but more about not wanting to be drawn into something that will end up wasting my time. If I allow myself to think that way, my relationship with Thomas seems like that. In fact, the other day, while I was thinking about it, the line "Don't think twice; it's all right." from the Dylan song kept wafting through my brain, so i looked up all the lyrics. Yes, it's about a guy who feels a woman wasted his time. How about that. I really didn't even know what the full lyrics were. And yet I realize the futility of trying to get Thomas to admit that he's been a bit of a cad or an oaf by not copping to how little romantic potential there is for us. Oh, good God, am I listening to myself? No one is forcing me to talk to the man! Why does he have to see it my way in order for me to let go? I think it was because I felt distracted from finding out if we're right for each other. I kept making excuses for him, as if someday he was going to get over his bad self and start loving me. He even intimated that was possible. I suspected that he'd been more loving with previous girlfriends and I knew I deserved it as much if not more than they did. He said he didn't know why he wasn't feeling like being more loving -except that he didn't think it was because he did not have important feelings for me underneath-- or would make excuses that I couldn't believe he wouldn't see sounded lame. Yet, he believed them and felt that I was misreading the situation to insist that he just didn't feel any excitement for me under it all. And that I consider harmful even if he isn't purposely trying to fool me, It's the harm of stubborn blindness to his own stupidity. I really don't usually seriously frame things to pin the blame in romance. I usually chalk it up to there not being enough real rapport, or poor relationship skills, but this was more insidious than that. Anyway, I'm close to being done with him, except on a level that completely works for me. I'm going to keep cutting our phone conversations short and cutting to the chase to get him to say when we might get together. I actually do like spending time with him, but not on the telephone. I've never talked with a person who could go on and on with almost no input from me. He puts most women to shame, believe me. And though he actually has some interesting things to day, he just seems so self-absorbed to me. He is living on unemployment and basically does nothing for anybody right now. If he had been married and raised kids, I could understand it, but he has never taken care of anybody in his life. I'm sure he was an excellent electrician and gave people real value for their dollar, but now he just seems like a big teenager to me.
I won't go into all the details now but yesterday I had an experience that smacked me in the face with the discrepancy between my Zen ideals and my mildly volatile reality, most of it brought on by me. I can't believe how fast my hackles rise in different situations. I was so disgusted by what a colleague said yesterday morning that after three years I was vowing never go into the staff lounge before school again for coffee just so that I wouldn't have to see him. Yet, afterwards, I thought, can't we have a difference of opinion? Does he have to agree with me? (Even though in my opinion, what he lauds is bringing terrible suffering to many people who don't deserve it...) I got in another tiff with my seniors, too. Why can't I accept that most teens, even pretty smart ones, won't see things my [correct-haha] way? Or that most people won't? My Zen teachers certainly support that. It's just your mind pulling you into the whirlwind, they'd say. And out of the present. One line in a Zen tract says, Just cease cherishing opinions. OMGosh! I've cultivated cherishing opinions most of my life! And I encourage it in my students! Where do I draw the line?
Oh, my, this is so much easier than going out and getting some yard work done. Esp. since the forecasted scorching weather isn't happeniing so there's no good excuse not to get out there. Except that I would sure like a little nap.
Monday, August 22, 2011
Ah, me, I have reinforced the power of the scale again. I wasn't going to weigh myself in August. Then I got taken to the emergency room with sudden vertigo two weeks ago Friday and it's taken until just the last few days to feel mostly normal. My eating routine has been off and I wasn't trying much to regulate it. Some days were ordered as usual and some weren;t but not all the disorder was crazy. Some days were pretty heavy on the sweets. I went to a Pilates class today and wore a pair of capri sweatpants I hadn't had on in awhile. I thought they felt tight. I resisted the urge to weigh myself most of the day, but finally gave in. And I weigh a few pounds less than I thought I would. Since I've had sweets this weekend, I think I'm retaining water. So the upshot is that I think I have maintained my weight through this, which is good, in my opinion. I'm not at goal weight, but I'm glad to know my body isn't having a hard time staying at this weight. I think things can only get better with a return to my sane weekdays and the addition of some moderate exercise, as I was just getting into again when my world went topsy turvy. And I'll just have to wait until Sept. 1 to find out if I'm right.
Monday, June 06, 2011
If there is any good diet to go on, it's a diet of celeb and fitness images and the diet mindset. Do not mix that up with the resolve to eat and move moderately and consistently. That is the basis of sanity. For awhile it will be hard when you realize how much time and attention is devoted to getting the perfect body, even with your friends and family, most likely. Try not to get mad about it and get on a soapbox, but strive to keep gently changing the subject if it comes up, and keep your discussions of food and body stuff here, in a journal, or with a few trusted confidantes who will not push the diet mindset.
Also, give yourself time to look into yourself and find what else in life is meaningful beyond food. I remember years ago reading Geneen Roth and I think one chapter was called, Is There Life Beyond Chocolate? I laughed and thought I understood at the time, but I didn't. It is actually an essential question of our life. What will we do with our time? Some of life is just the mundane everyday routines. When we accept that they are worthy of our attention and care, they can become precious, too.
Beyond them, we live in a society in which we CAN do so much more. This can be freeing, but it can also be a burden. How will we spend our time? Our culture pushes many activities that in the end are not fulfilling. It does not encourage self-knowledge, including our own irrational thinking that causes us so much pain, and it does not encourage our looking within ourselves to see what our true interests and talents are to pursue and develop. It does not actually encourage real quality time with friends and family, but pushes passive entertainment and food and other items outside ourselves. It pushes buying, buying, buying, but not financial wisdom and the peace of doing with only what we really need for sustenance and true pleasure. It can even push the trappings of religion, guilt and shame, but not the means to be in touch with universal love.
This is what I mean when I often say we are so much more than our bodies. Try to imagine how people found meaning in life 200 years ago with no photography, no bombardment of advertising and products, and pretty much hard work all day long. Were they miserable? They were not. Some may have been, but most accepted to work hard, play sometimes, and love others. That's pretty much what it all boils down to. And if your work can be play for you, as it sometimes can be in our modern, diversified society, so much the better. But it's not necessary for peace.
I don't say what I'm going to say to make you feel guilty, but just to get perspective. Most of us in the Western World are living a life that literally millions of people in the world dream to live. DREAM! I know some here are struggling with real financial issues, but most of us cannot imagine truly living day to day scrabbling for food and shelter, resigned to the fact that no one is going to reach out and help us. It doesn't mean you don't deserve to pursue health and even beauty, or that you suddenly have to spend all your time trying to save the world, but it can mean that it is worth a few minutes a day to be grateful for what we do have. Being a bit of a curmudgeon myself, that is a practice of positive thinking that I can get behind! And it has been scientifically associated with happiness in a way that having a beautiful body never has.
Thursday, June 02, 2011
Though it seems like something like sugar "addiction" shouldn't be a matter of democracy or just subject to our judgement, I do want to put forth the idea of whether it is USEFUL or not to think of it as an addiction. Does being addicted to something mean we are unable to oppose it? Obviously not, as 99% of people who have stopped any "addictive" behavior have done so in the face of the desire. I am very much into brain chemistry and I do believe that some things can be VERY hard to oppose because of brain chemistry, but very little is impossible to oppose when it comes to something as simple as walking or picking up or chewing, and much is worth opposing.
I stopped believing it is useful to say I am addicted to sugar. It gave me too much of an out and a reason to be sorry for myself. Poor me! I want to be thin so much but I can't be becauae I'm addicted to sugar! Even if it is true, it has nothing to do with the fact that I can, if I am honest with myself, eat it or not eat it. It was never that I couldn't stop myself, it was that I didn't. As Laurel Mellin used to say, I was not willing to bear the essential pain of going without. And it is a hell of a lot easier to say that AFTER a person has gotten to a point where she sees that in action.
(Now if this is too painful, just decide right now that I am a kook, and stop reading. Because you may not use this as a reason to get more down on yourself since you rarely say no to sugar.)
Now THAT knowledge- the knowledge that you really are doing something you hate yourself for to yourself and you could stop-- is not for the faint of heart, and basically, I was faint of heart for a long, long time. I could not accept myself for that particular choice--choosing to overeat even though it brought so many consequences I said I hated. Even though so much of waht I was exposed to told me I should accept myself no matter what. And sometimes I thought I did. Hoo, boy.
So now can I accept myself for not accepting myself? Yikes! Back to sugar.
So, yes, there are chemical reasons sugar is easy to WAY overeat, and there are at least two things that make it worse: continuting to overeat it, and greatly restriciting it and then overeating it. The problem is that there are for most people NO PAINLESS WAYS of learning to limit sugar. I know I went on being very upset with my bingeing for years, but underneath, part of the delay was that I kept thinking something was going to make it easy.
Nothing made it easy, but some things made it easier. First was that I was absolutely desperate and fearful that I was going to go to my grave a full-on binger. And I tell you the only way you know you are really desperate is if you change your behavior when it isn't easy. If the only time you can rant and declare that you are going to get control is right after you've lost control, then it is pretty much doomed. I know because I did it for years. It's too easy then. (Also not a reason to hate yourself, though!)
Second was that I told myself that I was absolutely willing to be uncomfortable in order to do this. I was also going to tell myself the truth about how uncomfortable I was. I was not going to tell myself that something was horrible or unbearable when it was actually much better than being burned, punched, or pinched, when it was really only rather irritating and might be something I could divert myself from. I have to say that surviving my career and learning to sit in meditation for hours helped that a lot. Now, mind you, I am not a person who had been on tons of diets like everybody else says they have. I coulnd't get through a day of most of them. But I manned up! And I'm glad I did. For someone who has tortured themselves starving many times, maybe wanting to get tough wouldn't help. I just realized that I had actually had it relatively easy in life and it was time to get tough. No one was giving me shock treatments, or drowning me, or whatever. I just had to go a few hours with some weird extremely annoying anxious feelings or with real hunger, but never more than a few hours. And I knew I could do that. Whether sugar was addictive or not.
So I say if it helps you to stop eating too much sugar or any food to say it is addictive, then call it addictive. If you really believe that it is this terrible, addictive substance that is so bad for you and will cause horrible results, then you should avoid it like the plague. Would you drink anti-freeze because it's sweet? No, because you know it will really make you sick. If you really believed sugar was really dangerous, worse than not having the pleasure of it, you wouldn't eat it. But you know it's not as bad as all that for most people. Now if you really do have a health problem that will be made worse with sugar, and you are still eating it, I'd say get some help in learning to overcome the beliefs that it's too hard to give it up, that you shouldn't have to, that you can't stop yourself, etc.
But if calling it addictive doesn't help you, and in fact makes it worse because you really believe you can't control your intake, consider that it might be time to let the word go. Find the way to think about overeating anything that will help you make the changes you know you really want to make. Sugar is an attractive substance, it has chemical reactions that can cause strong uges and powerful thoughts that tell you to eat it, but when you really really want to, you are bigger than those white crystals, those chocolate pieces. You are bigger than the salt, fat, and sugar of processed foods. They are inanimate! They can never choose to walk to you or away from you! But you can choose to walk either way.
Do I still eat too much sugar sometimes? Absolutely. Am I addicted? I don't think so. Now I recognize that when I do overeat it, it is because basically I want to more than I don't want to. Because at some point, I do stop. At that moment, I want to stop more than I want to keep eating. It may be because I feel sick, or I just see how much of the bar or bag is gone, or I just want to show myself that it really is that simple. Or it may be because I've had an amount that I deem moderate and reasonable. Sometimes my body agrees, sometimes it doesn't. I also admit that I don't eat sugar every day. I think for me at this point, that would be harder than limiting it to weekends. And I really like not hassling about it. It is off the table on those days, and not just so to speak.
But I know one thing for sure; I am not going to plan NOT to eat sugar forever, or even indefinitely, and I don't want to binge on it forever, so, in the face of those two, the ONLY thing to do is be willing to bear the pain of eating it in moderate amounts sometimes! And I have found that most of the time, even that is not very painful. I don't know what is right for everyone. I just know that though I can still feel disappointed sometimes with my eating, I am basically joyous about eating a lot of the time. And that has been worth every tolerated feeling and thought without eating.
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