Food planned and tracked - Done
SparkPeople: 12-Minute Seated Core Workout - Done
SparkPeople 11-Minute Seated Cardio Workout Video - Done
Soup of the day: Chickpea Barley Vegetable Soup. Here's a link to the recipe.
I'm reading 'The Beck Diet Solution' with a group in my 55+ Female team. Here's a link to the thread.
We're on Day 33 of 42 and the topic today is 'Eliminate Emotional Eating'. Here is a copy of my response to today's reading assignment.
I have mixed feelings about the topic of emotional eating because I think my basic problem is food addiction. When I was a heavy smoker, people didn't tell me I should stop emotional smoking even though I smoked when I was upset. We don't tell alcoholics to avoid emotional drinking even though they often drink when they are stressed out. We understand that these are chemical dependencies.
You might argue that the difference between food and cigarettes is that we need food to live and we don't need cigarettes/alcohol/cocaine/met
hamphetamines to live. I'll grant you that, but I still think that constant references to "emotional eating" makes it sound like overeating is a character flaw or weakness. I think if men were more effected by the problem of obesity then women it would not have become so common to consider it an emotional issue.
Having said all that, if we can learn to sit with our emotions and not try to escape them with food, cigarettes, alcohol, gambling, shopping, or some other self destructive behavior we will be better off. I think when I get done with reading the Beck book I'm going to listen again to Pema Chodron's audio books on the topic of Shenpa. Here is her explanation of the term.
"The Tibetan word for this is shenpa. It is usually translated "attachment", but a more descriptive translation might be "hooked." When shenpa hooks us, we're likely to get stuck. We could call shenpa "that sticky feeling." It's an everyday experience. Even a spot on your new sweater can take you there. At the subtlest level, we feel a tightening, a tensing, a sense of closing down. Then we feel a sense of withdrawing, not wanting to be where we are. That's the hooked quality. That tight feeling has the power to hook us into self-denigration, blame, anger, jealousy and other emotions which lead to words and actions that end up poisoning us.
Remember the fairy tale in which toads hop out of the princess's mouth whenever she starts to say mean words? That's how being hooked can feel. Yet we don't stop - we can't stop - because we're in the habit of associating whatever we're doing with relief from our own discomfort. This is the shenpa syndrome. The word "attachment" doesn't quite translate what's happening. It's a quality of experience that's not easy to describe but which everyone knows well. Shenpa is usually involuntary and it gets right to the root of why we suffer.
Someone looks at us in a certain way, or we hear a certain song, we smell a certain smell, we walk into a certain room and boom. The feeling has nothing to do with the present, and nevertheless, there it is. When we were practicing recognizing shenpa at Gampo Abbey, we discovered that some of us could feel it even when a particular person simply sat down next to us at the dining table.
Shenpa thrives on the underlying insecurity of living in a world that is always changing. We experience this insecurity as a background of slight unease or restlessness. We all want some kind of relief from that unease, so we turn to what we enjoy - food, alcohol, drugs, sex, work or shopping. In moderation what we enjoy might be very delightful. We can appreciate its taste and its presence in our life. But when we empower it with the idea that it will bring us comfort, that it will remove our unease, we get hooked.
So we could also call shenpa "the urge" - the urge to smoke that cigarette, to overeat, to have another drink, to indulge our addiction whatever it is. Sometimes shenpa is so strong that we're willing to die getting this short-term symptomatic relief. The momentum behind the urge is so strong that we never pull out of the habitual pattern of turning to poison for comfort. It doesn't necessarily have to involve a substance; it can be saying mean things, or approaching everything with a critical mind. That's a major hook. Something triggers an old pattern we'd rather not feel, and we tighten up and hook into criticizing or complaining. It gives us a puffed-up satisfaction and a feeling of control that provides short-term relief from uneasiness.
Those of us with strong addictions know that working with habitual patterns begins with the willingness to fully acknowledge our urge, and then the willingness not to act on it. This business of not acting out is called refraining. Traditionally it's called renunciation. What we renounce or refrain from isn't food, sex, work or relationships per se. We renounce and refrain from the shenpa. When we talk about refraining from the shenpa, we're not talking about trying to cast it out; we're talking about trying to see the shenpa clearly and experiencing it. If we can see shenpa just as we're starting to close down, when we feel the tightening, there's the possibility of catching the urge to do the habitual thing, and not doing it."
Well, that's enough for today. I'll leave you with another photo taken by my sweetie. I'll be back tomorrow.