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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McKenna’s Book

May 26, 2008 at 1:07 am (mckenna) (, )

I just started reading I Can Make You Thin by Paul McKenna. As you might expect, it’s mostly a rehash of the information he shared in his television show. It’s only 167 pages long with rather large type; in fact, he makes the point in the book that you can read it in less than a day. But what a life changing day that could be, if you were new to the information. 

I’m glad I’m reading it. I’ve fallen off the McKenna wagon, with traveling and being busy and then getting sick. For the past few days, I’ve eaten whatever I’ve wanted, whenever I’ve wanted it, with no regards for hunger or fullness, physical hunger or emotional hunger. I’ve just eaten. (You’d think being sick, I’d have a diminished appetite, but that’s rarely the case for me!) McKenna talks about this in his book. He warns us that at some point we will not follow his guidelines. He says, “You can beat yourself up (like you’ve done in the past) and give up, telling yourself that you’re a worthless piece of shit and that you’re never going to change.” That’s what I’ve done after every slip of every diet I’ve ever been on. Or, he says, “You can RELAX, smile … and return to eating what you want when you are hungry, consciously enjoying each mouthful and stopping when you think you are full. No matter what happens, always go back to following my instructions.” So the past few days don’t have to be anything more than just a slip up. In fact, McKenna warns they will happen, so they are almost part of the plan. That’s comforting and reassuring. 

In thumbing through the rest of the book, I ran across something else that McKenna said that was really a wake-up call for me: “Life will always intervene, and there will always be things clamouring for your attention. But if you really want to lose weight, increase your confidence and feel great inside, you have to remember that you are in charge of you. Regardless of what is going on in your life right now, you are the only one opening your mouth and shoving food into it when you’re not really hungry, and you are the one letting your mind pay attention to everything but the delightful sensations and flavours of your breakfast, lunch and dinner. The system never stops working — you stop following it.”

I was — am — guilty of saying I can’t follow the guidelines because I’m too busy. Okay, maybe I was too busy to watch my new DVDs or read the book right away, but I already had all the information I need to follow the program; I got that off the television program. And how busy is too busy to eat consciously, anyway? After all, I have to eat. Yes, it takes more of my attention and emotional energy to follow the guidelines, but does it really take anymore of my time, or do I just perceive that it does? Well, I do know that meals take a little longer, eating consciously, but so much longer that I don’t have time to do it? I don’t think so! I think that was just an excuse.

I remember when I first joined the McKenna Community, there was a popular thread about not being ready to lose weight. I skimmed over the thread, nodding my head at a lot of the posts. Jane and I have talked about this through email. I’m not completely sure that I’m ready to lose weight. I want to on one level, but am I ready to? That, as they say, is the question. I’ve been heavy for all of my adult life and most of my teen life. I’m big boned (I know, everyone says that, but I really am! LOL!), so even when I wasn’t really fat, I was big. Being big — being fat — is all I know. I don’t have any mental image of myself as a non-fat person. Certainly not as a “thin” person. My fat has protected me and, well, been my identity for most of 40 years. I just don’t know if I’m ready to give that part of my personality up. So, I have to wonder if this latest bit of eating in the face of Paul’s promised success was some self-sabotage.

I’ve mentioned before that I once followed a program similar to Paul McKenna’s, written about by Geneen Roth. That program worked excellently for me, until I turned it into a diet — basically, until I stopped working the program. That very positive experience with Roth’s program gives me every reason in the world to believe that the McKenna program will work for me, too, if I just won’t turn it into a “diet”. So why am I making up excuses to  keep from applying myself whole heartedly? Self-sabotage is the only thing I can think of. Am I really that afraid of being my natural weight, that I would keep myself from pursuing this?

I know it probably sounds wacky to you — especially if you only have 15 or 30 pounds to lose, weight that you gained when you had the last baby. But if you are significantly overweight, and have been all/most of your life, I’d love to hear your thoughts on this. On the one hand, the idea of being my natural weight is totally liberating. To not obsess about food all the time, to be able to shop for clothes in any store, to be confident about seeing old friends, to feel attractive to my husband — all of those things sound wonderful to me. But on the other hand, I’ve been fat most of my life, as I’ve already said. It’s such a part of who I am. And it’s no accident that I’m fat, either. I don’t just mean that I’m fat because I’m fat because I take in more calories than I expend, but being fat keeps me invisible. It keeps me off people’s radar and out of their line of sight. Being fat allows me to be shy more easily. People just don’t pay as much attention to the “fat girl” as they do to the other people in the room. It keeps me safe and out of focus, especially in sexual situations. Being fat also helps me know that people like me for who I am, rather than for what I look like (at least,  that’s the theory. Don’t get me started on the reality of this one!). 

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McKenna Spotting

April 1, 2008 at 3:23 pm (mckenna)

Just seen on Do’s Space, a link to an article about Paul McKenna and his appearance on TLC.

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For Better or Worse

April 1, 2008 at 2:29 am (mckenna) (, )

I’ve been following Paul McKenna’s Four Golden Rules for a week now, and for the first time in a long time, I feel hopeful. Not so much hopeful that I’ll lose weight (although I have that hope, too), but hopeful that for the first time in my life, I’ll develop a normal relationship with food. After a week of eating consciously and eating what I want — but only when I’m hungry! — I’m not obsessed with food the way I was two weeks ago. I’m not thinking all the time about what I’m going to eat next. Instead, I’m thinking about what I’m actually eating right now, or I’m thinking about making art, or posting on one of my blogs, or exchanging email with a friend, or something like that. I mentioned to Jane a couple of days ago that as I’ve gotten bigger over the last ten years, my world has gotten smaller. Well, it feels as though my world is enlarging itself. Not a lot yet, but it does feel as though there is some movement there.

It will probably surprise you to hear that I started following McKenna’s guidelines with a friend, but without having seen his show. We don’t have cable television (gasp!), so I had to get my in-laws to tape it for me. Well, last night I finally saw the first three episodes, back-to-back. What a treat that was! Jane had been telling me, each week, about the episodes and I’d been reading the message board and I’d explored the website, but it was so encouraging to get the full on I Can Make You Thin experience. I am so motivated to continue following the Four Golden Rules, and to introduce the new techniques into my life. I tapped along with Episode Two, and my anxiety about today’s upcoming therapy session just drifted away. I tried the Craving Busting Technique as I watched Episode Three. I was able to do the revulsion aspect with no problem. But when it came to the positive association aspect, I had trouble. I wasn’t able to really “get into” a moment when I was happy. I could think of one, and very cognitively go through the moment. I could think about the colors and sensations of the moment and I could remember specifics about it. But I couldn’t actually feel the feelings that went along with my memory of a happy time. It’s as though I have no emotional memory, just a cognitive one. Maybe this is something to talk about in therapy today.

I made that last remark half joking, but maybe it is something to bring up in therapy. This is a serious issue for me. Because memories are often tied to our emotions, and I have little emotional memory, I have few memories of my own past. It’s not as though I’m an amnesiac; I remember my name and current circumstances well enough. But when it comes to things in my past, I just don’t have a lot of memory about them. I don’t really remember my feelings around losing my virginity, for example — a fairly major event in a girl’s life! I had a younger sister make her transition when I was in high school, but I remember very little of that event, either, because I don’t have much emotional memory. I’ve been aware of this phenomena for a long time, but had managed to put it out of my mind. The Craving Busting Technique of Episode Three brought it to the forefront of my mind again. Maybe it really is something I should bring up in therapy again. I have a different therapist than I had the last time I tried to deal with this.

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