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Making my bed as an anti-binge / maintenance strategy

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Whenever houseguests have stayed in the past I've whipped myself into a frenzy to try and make my home hygienic, if not presentable. Litter box and cat bathroom spotless, cat hair tumbleweeds swept out of the corners of the stairs, my bed made, everything vacuumed, dishes done and put away, kitchen clean, laundry folded and put away.

And I've otherwise pretty much neglected the house and yard the way I used to neglect my exercise and nutrition. I'm starting to see that this pervasive self-neglect leads to feeling badly about myself and my life, and that taking care of myself helps me feel loved.

I've recently been through the guest cleaning cycle and over the subsequent weeks especially needed to practice self-kindness due to hitting a very rough emotional patch. So when things went south and I found myself spiraling down into sadness, I took a different strategy. I continued the behaviors for keeping things the way I like them.

It makes me happy to see my bed made and the rugs vacuumed. It makes me feel like someone loves me. And you know what? Those are very good reasons to do it. These are not chores to be avoided, they are self-nurturing behaviors which bolster my feelings of self-worth.

Now of course these concepts are obvious, in hindsight. But given how I'm wired, it took an extremely painful situation for me to finally make the connection:

Feeling nurtured and loved removes one of the most powerful inducements to my binges, namely the idea that self-neglect is OK and appropriate because no one loves me or cares about me, least of all me, and they never will. I've carried this negative thought pattern with me for many many years and it's even more powerful than my desire to continue to fit in my kayaks.

Now that I've made that connection, and since my fitness and health are indirectly at stake, in a twisted way I can finally appreciate the value of this concept. Making my bed will make me happy, and if I'm happy, even just from the little things, I'm less likely to spiral into that sort of negative thinking. And therefore less likely to binge, and therefore more likely to continue maintaining my fitness and health.

So, yeah. Add vacuuming, cleaning the litter box, and yes, making my bed to my list of anti-binge strategies.

Because you know what? This isn't about the guests. *I* am worth it.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Stopping back to "visit" and read a few more old blogs.

    I love this one!! I have a large house and three teenage girls and I do a LOT of cleaning and laundry as a stay at home Mom. I have learned to pay a cleaning service to come out twice a month. I call it my "therapy" bill.

    To have the WHOLE house cleaned, top to bottom makes me feel like a million bucks!! And I then have some extra "me" time to sit back and go for a walk, go to the gym or try a new healthy recipe.

    Great strategy!!

    Have a great day and keep ...

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    ((¸¸.•´ ..•´ Spreading the Spark!-:¦:-
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    2365 days ago
    I LOVE it! I guess in a way cleaning the house keeps me from being bored and binging, I am go-go-go with 2 big dogs needing to be walked 5x's a day as we have no yard...and a 4yr old on top of that cleaning, I am busy pretty much all day! I never use to clean house this much, and now that I think about it.....I think I started cleaning more, ALLOT more since losing the weight..maybe they do go hand in hand!?!?
    2413 days ago
    I love the blog. I recently borrowed the book "Better than Chocolate" from the public library. Within 5 minutes of opening it, I knew I wanted to own it. I downloaded it for my tablet (bonus that the book has colour illustrations - not many do) and have been reading it daily and writing notes on it. The book is about how to achieve happiness and it talks about exactly the kind of behaviour you describe in your blog. You are right, a clean house makes us happy, so we really should do it - all the time! Not just for guests!

    And even though I haven't been able to find the motivation to lose the 15lbs that I gained back from an over 50lb loss, somehow reading in this book has helped that too. I read in it that being in control of my behaviour creates positivte feelings and leads to happiness. Knowing that has had an effect on my bingeing. Of course HAPPINESS is important to me - being thin, maybe not so much - maybe being thin is too a vain goal or something, but being happy - now that's a worthy goal! That's important for my whole family. Soooo, maybe I can lose the weight by focusing on creating happiness, instead of focusing on getting thin.

    Good luck to you. And thanks for sharing.
    2496 days ago
    I love this blog. You are right on about feeling cared for and nurtured as being important. There is a self respect that comes from making your bed and keeping your house clean for yourself. I also have cats and totally sympathize with you about the cat hairs and litter boxes..work for the little cuties.

    It is true that when I lost control of my weight, I also let other things slide and stopped caring. You are right..make that bed for yourself and be happy! I like your picture. It made me smile!

    Excellent blog.
    2523 days ago
    emoticon emoticon
    2524 days ago
    This was very eye opening to me, as well. Thank you for sharing it.
    2524 days ago
    Very very insightful....and very very true.

    I find that when I don't make the bed, get dressed nicely and do my makeup, there is a completely different attitude swirling around in my head. Heck, makeup alone changes my whole attitude toward how I view myself! I never leave home without it!

    Keep it up!!!! emoticon
    2524 days ago
  • 62NVON
    Love this! I totally identify. I've been working towards the same goals. WTG!
    2524 days ago
    Great blog with such an insightful message for all of us! We are all worth taking care of ourselves and doing things for us. As they say, self-love is the only weight loss tool that works in the long run. And it works for each and every one of us.
    2524 days ago
  • FLGIRL1234
    Love this blog!
    2524 days ago
    What a emoticon revelation to have. And, truly, knowing that you like having the bed made tells me this: it doesn't just make you ~feel~ loved. It's a very physical proof that you are loved - by yourself. Which is a beautiful thing.
    2525 days ago
  • MKELLY72
    This is the kind of spiral you want! One healthy behavior inspires another. I have noticed this connection before too...my finances, for example are much more organized than there were before I started practicing self-care strategies. I still have areas that need work, and I always will- so I will work on them:)
    2525 days ago
    I understand the connection. I'm a "neat freak" and I find focusing my attention on making my house look perfect can also distract me from thinking about food.
    2525 days ago
    YOU ARE WORTH IT!!! There is a synergy to life and to our health lifestyles. When things are going well, it all ties together and seems to generate more positive energy.
    You have tremendous energy and put things together so well! And then write about it so profoundly!
    2525 days ago
    Good habits in one area build good habits in other areas- all positive thinking is to be applauded. emoticon emoticon
    2525 days ago
    Great insights, and definitely something for us all to remember. :)
    Thank you!
    2526 days ago
    Great points about self-care and keeping our homes looking good. I always feel better when the house is tidy and clean, too. People tease me sometimes about being too clean, but really, I just like my surroundings to make me feel good instead of bad.
    2526 days ago
  • MS0669
    I just watched your story on NBC - you are an amazing woman ! It's so easy to fall into the binge pattern and not care about the important things in life. I am glad you have been able to figure out great ways to distract yourself ! Thanks for sharing your story.
    2526 days ago
    You are SO worth it! I've trying to keep the house a bit cleaner for me, but sometimes the only way I can rope the family into helping clean is by planning a party.. voila, clean house full of good friends.... two good things. :)
    2526 days ago
    Good habits in one area can have a positive effect in others as well. Great blog!
    2526 days ago
    "Self-neglect is OK and appropriate because no one loves me or cares about me, least of all me"

    What a courageous acknowledgement. I am so sorry that you are going through a painful period.

    So glad that you are taking care of you. And caring about you.

    Because your Spark friends and fans know very well: yes, you are absolutely worth it.
    2526 days ago
    God, that's insightful! Over the years on SparkPeople, I've started adding different non-fitness goals to my "Other Goals" list, such as making a to-do list every morning (including stuff as simple as Make Bed and Clean Glass). I couldn't have stated the reasons for doing so nearly as insightfully as you just did, but the reasons are simply that these things make me feel better about myself--much like maintaining by weight makes me feel better about myself.
    2526 days ago
    Great insight, thanks! And Tinajane's comment about the haircut hit home a bit, as it's been awhile since I've had one, and been really thinking about it a lot latley....maybe that's what I need to do to take care of myself.
    2526 days ago
  • DALID414
    That's weird! Years ago my bf said that he felt so loved when I would fold his laundry! No one had ever folded his laundry before me, no even him!
    2526 days ago
    Yes, you ARE worth it! I think this is something that many of us who've struggled with managing our weight can relate to. Whether it's not taking care of our bodies, not feeling like we're worth doing nice things for ourselves or neglecting our surroundings, I think these are all powerful reflections of our sense of self worth.

    I remember reading a blog by another person here on SparkPeople about a year ago who had not been for a haircut for eons. She just didn't feel like it was worth taking pride in her appearance when she still had so much weight to lose. One day she had the revelation that it didn't matter if she was at goal or 100 pounds away from it--she was worth a freaking haircut!

    I think learning to love ourselves is a huge part of this process because it can go a long way in helping to prevent lots of self-destructive habits and, even better, can just make us happier.

    You're such an inspiration to so many people here and I know you can work through this. Thanks for sharing your thoughts so honestly!
    2526 days ago
    Whatever works for you is good. I have a tendency to hold onto "stuff", so I have to do a clean out a couple of times a year so my apartment doesn't get too cluttered. But the day to day cleaning gets away from me sometimes. You ARE worth it. And so am I. Thanks for the insight.
    2526 days ago
    Wow! This is me exactly! I am at the beginning of my weight loss journey and I'm starting to uncover some of the reasons why I binged. And since I can't binge, I'm being forced to deal with these things. It's a difficult process. But making myself feel loved and taking care of my home and myself are huge for me!
    2526 days ago
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