A Book Review
Friday, December 27, 2013
I haven't been away from SP and the site at all. I've interacted with some of you as usual, and I have felt the need to write for a while, but haven't found (or made) the time!
I mentioned a book by Jean Fain. "The Self-Compassion Diet". I'm hoping someone has joined me in reading this book since I mentioned it. I promised I'd tell you how I like the book and what it is helping me with in my journey.
There is so much to share, yet I have found the principles and practice of the things I'm learning to be very simple, though take dedication. But I don't find anything stressful or challenging, not challenging in the sense that it isn't changing me, but it is calling me higher.
It is just about stopping the dieting, or food controlling attitude. It is about finding an ease with the practice of a normal yet healthy relationship with your body and food. I am loving my body and have become more compassionate with myself and others. Just as being in this community of others going through lifestyle changes helps us, in the same way this book encourages methods to help learn compassion and unity with the world of others who struggle with having a normal relationship with food.
There are exercises; practices, if you will, that guide you into having new thought patterns. Getting your thinking about your "safety, health and happiness and living with ease" in a mantra form, meditating on these things when experiencing the negative thoughts we have toward our body and exercise or healthy eating, including anger and sadness and frustrations. I'm finding this is very freeing.
Even the thought about the word "self-compassion", really stopping and thinking the word and it's meaning will give you a calmed down feeling and freedom in your mind. That's what happened to me while reading the word in the beginning of this author's explanation about how this helps people.
This book also involves the option (as the book is set up to give you different options on how to help your mind) of self-hypnosis. I never realized that this was something that I personally would be helped by. But it is working!
I have begun to lose weight. (I'm still tracking. In fact at first she recommends the kind of food journal where you write your feelings, what the situation you were in when eating, whether you were hungry, etc. Something many of us have done, though I never did. I didn't do it long, only a week, but may do it again.)
I also have felt much more like exercising. The pressure is off to lose weight. So I'm not keeping tabs in my mind all day of how many calories in/ out. I am recording. But I'm not thinking in numbers, which is what I was doing, which felt like imprisonment.
I have times I make mistakes. I don't always handle my stress perfectly without food. I even have had a binge. But for the most part, I can eat something having a bit of extra calories, but don't freak out, but have compassion. Making mistakes is really a normal part of life. I've handled stress and anger, even boredom, by going to food. Other people do it. The pressure of my perfectionism is no longer there. ( sure it creeps in, I'm not perfectly being non-perfectionist, but that's the beauty of it. I now have compassion on myself.) When I eat extra food, I am not driven to continue to eat once I stop and let myself think about these things. Somehow the practices are taking root in my mind and helping me stop a binge, which is usually mine and others' complaint…that once i start, there is no way to stop until I feel like crap.
This is different that working on self-esteem, which often calls you turn your negative thinking into a different more positive thought, one which you find hard to convince yourself is true. And being compassionate doesn't mean you take an attitude of "Well, I can do or eat anything I want and who cares? I don't have to care!" Wrong! You are compassionate toward yourself also by treating your body with respect (which you would do while being compassionate toward another person.)
The tactic that has REALLY helped me is to journal, using the voice of a person you feel that in your life has offered you much understanding and encouragement. Some one who loves you and would be compassionate. It can be a teacher, mentor, your Higher Power, or as in my case I write a letter every day, beginning with, "Dear Lori…" Ending with "I love you, (signed by)
Jesus." He doesn't berate me for my slip ups. He tells me he understands and gives me his vote of confidence that he knows I am trying to remember the ways I can be compassionate with myself. If I come to write while I am in turmoil, I write that he is telling me he is holding me and to sit with the emotion and not react with food. Etc.
Sitting with your emotions and saying the mantra of "May I be safe, May I be happy, May I be healthy, and may I live with ease" over and over, and also saying it with the same wishes toward others, helps.
Maybe I attempted too much and told you too much about the book, but there is more. It is not complicated. She gives a thorough picture of why this works.
I need to write another blog about all the excitement in my family and include a picture of my new grandson born on Christmas Eve!
Read the book, It is well worth the time. I am re-reading it. Bought it on amazon after using the library book.