New post up at Recovering Grace: recoveringgraceblog.blog
Before I re-post the content, I want to remind everyone that I am not recommending that everyone give up whatever it is that they're doing, diet, lifestyle change, whatever. If what you are doing works for you, makes you happy, keep on keeping on and much love! I'm just here to tell my own story about recovering from binge eating - dieting doesn't work for me, and it never will. I have to develop a healthy relationship with myself and with food before I can do anything else. Intuitive eating and therapy are what is working for me, and that's what I'm sharing. So, ummm, there's that... lol...
And here's today's re-post:
This week I want to talk about giving this recovery stuff a chance. I know it seems so hard to believe that letting go is the way to find the path through. I know I didn't believe it myself, at first, and I suspect that doing it yourself is the only way to make yourself believe it. So, while these things I talk about may not have the kind of influence I meant when I began here, I can hope that it will help someone like me make a choice to try, at least.
When I started recovery, I read the books that you're supposed to read, I had tearful conversations with both my therapist and my nutritionist, and all of these sources assured me that someday I would be able to handle a meal without being tormented. Frankly, I thought that they were all full of crap, but I was out of energy, out of options, and just plain too tired to argue with anyone. I wrote in the journals for my feelings and my food, I talked - and talked, and talked, and talked. I read some more. I ate. I ate a lot, and I felt guilty and ashamed, and I wrote about it and I talked about it some more.
Time passed, I got heavier - yes, I'm going to admit that, I don't mind now, and those sources of mine, well, they did tell me that would happen. When that started to happen I wanted to quit. I didn't want to be fatter and despite all of the positive self-affirmations and loving myself work that I was doing... well, I might have learned to accept the body I have but I didn't especially LIKE it. In fact, I still kind of hated the idea that I wouldn't ever be that thin version of myself that I had always wanted.
Letting go of that idea was hard. I grieved for it for a while.
And I wrote about that too, of course. But it was getting to be a habit, all this thinking about feelings and writing about feelings and talking, talking, talking about feelings. And one day, at some point, I found myself thinking about those feelings BEFORE I ate the food. You know, instead of after. Not "Why did I just eat a half a bag of chips?" but "Why do I want to eat this bag of chips?"
That surprised me, and so I wrote about it in my food journal. I decided that I didn't actually want to eat a bag of chips. I just wanted to feel something different, even if it was just sick fullness - I don't know what, exactly, I wanted to feel or not feel any longer, because when you don't let yourself feel emotions it becomes hard to recognize them. (I'm getting better at that, I think.)
And I decided that if any feeling was better, that I could make a positive choice about what I wanted to feel next instead of letting the chips decide for me. So that first time I headed for the TV and queued up an episode of The Muppet Show. That's about the time I started working in all those other hobbies, like puzzles, and music, and reading. Did I need to feel something? Pick a mood and find an activity. I've already confessed to drawing in coloring books, so now I guess I'll 'fess up to dancing like a dork to disco and searching for naughty fan fiction on the internet.
It takes time, I'm not going to kid you about that. That Muppet Show episode was a long time ago, and here I still am, thinking and writing about things. But lately.... oh lately things have gotten interesting. Yes, I can deflect a binge (most of the time). Yes, I can stop when I'm full (most of the time). Yes, I can pass on dessert when I don't feel like it, and yes, sometimes I actually don't feel like it. But now it's almost like I'm discovering myself all over again, almost every day. What I need, what I like and even don't like. Lately I find myself having ordered this wonderful thing that I always used to love and crave, because now I'm allowed to have it any old time... and I don't really like it so much. I'm beginning to notice when things are too greasy, too heavy, too sweet. Just a couple of days ago I was about to call the local pizza place for a calzone, I love those so much! But then I thought better of it - they're so heavy and make me feel icky and sleepy. And I also found out that I love artichokes! Once upon a time I wouldn't have tried an artichoke if you paid me. It's like a whole new world.
So basically, no matter how many blog posts I do, no matter what I say, I doubt I can convince anyone that intuitive eating works. You pretty much have to experience it for yourself. All I can do is keep sharing what's happening to me and hope that it helps. I was in that place 15 or so months ago, where I'd tried everything, every diet, every gimmick, when I had nothing left... I gave it a chance, tried a little love instead of hate. I could have blown another year trying the same old thing, the thing that had not worked in 30 years, but - even though it was out of sheer exhaustion - I decided to give something new a chance. I think it's working; I like who I am again, I like my world again, and I'm still alive. I think that's better than another failed diet, for me...