Has It Been So Long?

June 8, 2008 at 1:00 am (conscious eating, mckenna, weightloss) (, )

Has It really been so long since I’ve blogged?

I’ve just been going along, having my days, doing McKenna as best as I can. I still struggle with how fast I eat. I try to slow down, but find myself eating faster than I intend. I am, however, eating more slowly than I used to.

The past few days have been good McKenna days. I’ve been eating just when I was hungry, stopping when I was full. Oh, if every day could be like these have been! Oh, if it could always be this easy! For some reason, some days are very easy and some are very difficult. I don’t have much problem with emotional eating these days — except for boredom eating, once-in-awhile — but I do have a problem sometimes stopping when I’m full. I don’t always know when I’m full. Some days I just don’t feel it and some days it comes to me quite naturally. It’s kind of confusing to me.

For about two weeks, I’d been falling asleep to McKenna CDs that had been transferred to my iPod. I couldn’t tell that it did much good as far as my eating was concerned, but oddly enough, I seemed to be standing taller. Noticeably taller. For a few days, I forgot — yep, just forgot! — to turn on my iPod as I went to sleep, and it’s been hard to get back in the habit. The CDs ask that I count down, with my conscious mind, from 300 to 0. But McKenna also asks me to imagine things. It’s hard to imagine myself slimmer while I’m counting backwards!

Actually, I just have a hard time imagining myself slimmer. I can imagine my face; I remember a picture of myself from a slimmer time. But I have a hard time imagining a body. By the time I get a body pictured in my mind, I’ve lost the face. It’s been so long since I’ve been thin (somewhere between 30 years and never!) that I don’t have a mental picture of myself. It’s hard to find a picture in a magazine that I can use as a role model, because so many of them are near-anorexic. I don’t want a body with bones showing. I want a round, curvy, healthy body. I just don’t see many images of bodies that I can use as examples for myself.

But it’s not just that I can’t find a picture of a role model. It’s more that I have trouble imagining. I have trouble developing and keeping pictures in my mind. Does anyone else have trouble with that? Any ideas how to improve that skill? I assume by practicing, so I’m going to make that a priority.

One more note … my favorite jeans seem to be a little more comfortable. I haven’t been to the doctor’s office for quite some time, so I haven’t been weighed. I’m not sure if I’ve actually lost weight or imagined it.

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Still On Vacation

May 8, 2008 at 2:23 pm (conscious eating, vacation) ()

Well, my vacation is almost over. I go home on Wednesday, May 14. I’m over at a friend’s house, waiting for her to get dressed, so the fun can begin. Jane — that’s my friend — she’s cooking dinner for me tonight.  Cornish Hens. Yummy. She makes the best Cornish Hens, even though she professes to not be the world’s greatest cook. When it comes to Cornish Hens she is!

I got my McKenna treasures today, although I haven’t had a chance to look at them yet. The DVD set that was recently on sale for $99? I ordered it on the last day of the sale and received it today. I can’t wait to immerse myself in McKenna and really get back on track. I’ve not been as conscientiousabout following McKenna’s guidelines while I’ve been on vacation as I might have been. Even when Jane and I are eating together — she’s been following the guidelines, too — we haven’t been following them very well. I’m not sure why I stopped, other than that I’ve been on vacation. At first the traveling made it difficult to eat what I truly wanted, to eat when I wanted and to eat completely consciously — but traveling was only two days, and it was nearly a month ago. 

At any rate, regardless of why I haven’t been following the guidelines strictly, I’m eager to get back to following them again. I felt better about myself and I felt better physically. I had more energy than I have now, both physical energy and emotional energy. I just felt better.

So, on May 15, I return to my everyday life. Vacation has been nice, but I’m ready to get back to the structure and day-to-day-ness that is my life. I’ll be updating more regularly then.

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On Vacation!

April 23, 2008 at 5:54 pm (conscious eating, vacation)

i haven’t forgotten about my blog!

I’m on vacation at my mother’s house, some 1,300 miles away from my own home. I’m having a wonderful time, visitng with Mom. We aren’t doing anything particularly festive; we are talking, cooking and eating. I’m getting to visit with Jane quite a bit, too, so that’s a rare treat.

My conscious eating is going better on some days than it is on other days. I have noticed that I’m pretty good about putting my fork or spoon down at most meals; it’s not even something I have to think about anymore. But my eating behavior is by no means “perfect”; I just keep telling myself that this is about process, not about perfection.  Anxious about a conversation I wanted/needed to have with my mother — and then anxious about the results of that conversation — I overate for a few days. But, even so, i ate consciously. I fully tasted everything that I ate and was fully aware that I was eating emotionally. It never occured to me to try tapping. I wish it had. Not so much so that I wouldn’t have eaten, but because I would have liked to have tried tapping away the anxiety.

One piece of great news: Last week when the McKenna site had the DVD set on sale, I ordered it. We’d just done our taxes, and we are getting a few dollars back. My husband and I talked about it and agreed that I could use the extra support. Besides, he bought a used Xbox!

I’ll be gone on vacation until the middle of May. I’ll try to check in again between now and then for a few more short posts.

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Cravings

April 7, 2008 at 11:45 pm (conscious eating) ()

I’ve had the strangest cravings lately. Not for sweets or chocolate or anything like that, but for things like cucumbers, avocados and lemons. Yes, lemons. And not lemon meringue pie or lemon in my iced tea, but just salted lemons. I’ve eaten one huge salted lemon in the past 24 hours and I’ll probably eat another before the next is over. Luckily, I’m not one of those people who retain water when I eat too much salt! Of course, I’m eating according to the system — I’m eating when I’m hungry, I’m eating consciously, and I’m stopping when I think I’m full.

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Friday Report

March 29, 2008 at 12:01 am (conscious eating, personal growth) (, , )

Today has been a good day. I’ve eaten consciously most of the day and enjoyed my food. I ate one time when I wasn’t altogether hungry, but it was because I had the opportunity to eat lunch with my husband. I haven’t actually taken a meal with him in several days, because I’ve been eating according to my own needs. Because I wasn’t altogether hungry, I only ate half my portion (lasagna and bread) — enough to satisfy me physically and emotionally. My meager hunger was satisfied, but so was my need for the dining experience.  He’s going away for several days on work-related travel next week, so I’ll have plenty time to each alone, whenever my need dictates.

I’m still working with the Geneen Roth book Why Weight?. Currently I’m supposed to be writing down my food intake for one week; I began on March 26, so I’ll be doing it through April 02. Because I’m doing the conscious eating exercises along with the workbook, I think I’m missing the point of the exercise. The stated point is to look for patterns in my eating. In the column labeled “feelings before eating”, I almost always put “hunger” and in the column labeled “feelings after eating”, I almost always put “satisfied” or “full”. 75% of the time where I eat is the dining room table. In the workbook, eating guidelines have been introduced, but not worked with, so I think I’ve kind of “jumped the gun” by working with Paul McKenna’s guidelines. But, I was moved to do something about my eating before I started the workbook.

The Geneen workbook is starting to get issue oriented and hard. I breezed through the first several exercises as they mimicked discussions that a friend and I were having or things that I’d already journaled about. Don’t get me wrong — they were still valuable. It was reinforcing to hear myself say it again. But the exercises now are asking me to dig deeper and to make commitments to specific actions that I’ll take in the upcoming days, and that’s scary. Even making the commitment to dance around the house or call about yoga classes is kind of scary, but these commitments go further than that. 

I told my friend (should we give her a name? Jane, perhaps?) a few days ago there comes a point when we have to take the step from thinking about things to doing about things. In fact, what I said to Jane was, “I think writing about and talking about why we overeat is a good first step. And maybe second step and third step, too. But ultimately, one day, we have to make a different choice. And that’s the scary part. One day, we have to say, “Instead of eating my feelings [for example], I’m going to reach out to someone.” or “I’m going to put myself out there and be visible.” I know from all my time in therapy that insight and understanding isn’t enough. Ultimately, it takes action. And, like I said, that’s the scary part. That’s where change happens, and that’s where the hurt is possible. There’s a certain amount of vulnerability in just talking about stuff, true. But the real vulnerability comes from doing things differently. And that’s where I always trip up.”

That’s why these current exercises in the Geneen Roth workbook are so hard and anxiety producing. Because the ask me to commit to action, to change. And that’s where I always trip up.

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Conscious Eating

March 24, 2008 at 11:58 pm (conscious eating) (, )

Today, I tried Paul McKenna’s guidelines to conscious eating as much as I could while eating my meals. It was both enlightening and frustrating! It was frustrating because I had to wait forever to get hungry today. I got out of bed at 10:09 this morning, but didn’t eat until after 3PM and I wasn’t so hungry that I overate, either. I most of a Panera half-sandwich (Bacon Turkey Bravo), about half a bag of Doritos, and a cookie. I also drank some Diet Pepsi.

I started off with a serving sized bag of Cool Ranch Doritos, closing my eyes and taking a bite of the first one. I was struck by the utter lack of “cool ranch” flavor, even though it still tasted pleasant enough. Every time I caught myself chewing quickly, I slowed back down. After four or five chips, I moved to the sandwich.

My first bite of the sandwich was mostly crust, but there was definitely something sweet there, that I’ve never tasted before. Dressing? As I continued to eat my sandwich consciously, I never ran across that taste again. I put the sandwich down in between bites, as McKenna recommends, and tried to really savor the flavors. Again, when I caught myself eating too quickly, I slowed myself down. After a few bites (chewing about 20 times each bite), I began alternating chips and sandwich. I didn’t have any real taste experience with the sandwich, other than the POP of the sweet dressing (I’m assuming) and to discover that the crust is really difficult for me to bite through, so I don’t think I’ll be eating it in the future. The sandwich itself tasted really good to me and the texture was pleasing.

I finished with a frosted sugar cookie. I ate most of it with my eyes closed, rolling each bite around on my tongue, really tasting it. It borders on being too sweet for me! I have one left; I’ll have to pay extra close attention to it.

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Dinner was a zoo! There were cats to contend with; I was a little too hungry; DH is home from work and was chattering to me. But still, I ate my dinner as consciously as possible. I had Moo-Shu Chicken, Gourmet Vegetables, and a slice of Kentucky Fried Chicken’s Double Chocolate Chip Cake for dessert. As much as I could, I closed my eyes with each bite, chewed slowly, and savored the food. I really enjoyed what I was eating. It was good. The Moo-Shu was sweet & salty and really had flavor. There were a variety of textures in each bite. The veggies were tender, crisp, and tasted fresh. The veggies weren’t salty enough, so I added a little table salt and it really brought out their flavor. The cake was not too sweet. It has the occasional chocolate chip for texture. The top of the cake, where the glaze has soaked through, is a little sweeter and a bit moister. I’d not noticed that before. I thought, as I started dinner, that I’d have an Easter goody, too, but simply had no room — or desire — for it.

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There is no doubt in my mind that eating consciously will allow a person to eat less. By slowing down the eating process, by chewing more slowly and more often, a person will eat less when her stomach sends the “I’m full” signal to the brain. By savoring her food and really being present with it, she becomes more satisfied emotionally, too, with less food. Will a person lose weight following these guidelines? I don’t know. But these guidelines will help make eating a conscious, directed, mindful activity, rather than one that a person does without thought to purpose. And that’s going to help with my relationship to food, and hence, my relationship with myself.

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