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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Conscious Overeating

April 8, 2008 at 11:04 pm (overeating)

My mother-in-law and I went out for lunch today. We went to one of my favorite restaurants, but one that I only go to with her. I had my usual: tofu curry, and hot and sour soup. Because I was eating consciously, I didn’t eat the little baby ears of corn in my soup. I’ve discovered that I don’t really like them. And I didn’t eat the onions in my curry, as I don’t really care for onions. But about 3/4 of the way through the curry, I knew that I was going to eat every bite of it, even if I got full. Luckily, I only ate a couple of bites over full, but I did finish my plate, and I enjoyed every single bite of my lunch. I didn’t just enjoy it, I really savored most bites. It’s really hard to chew tofu 20 times, so I just slowly chewed it to oblivion.

So why did I do that? Why did I consciously chose to overeat, albeit only a few bites? The only thing I can think of is that it was tasting so good, I didn’t want to let the taste go. I do, however, think if I’d have had a significant amount of food left, I would have been able to leave some of it then. I have enjoyed not feeling stuffed. It’s been weeks since I’ve been uncomfortable because of food, and I’m really appreciating that I don’t do that to my body anymore.

Today is Day 19 of mindful eating and I’m jazzed about the changes that have come into my life because of this new way of eating. My relationship with food is so much more healthy, and I’m so much more sane around food. Most days, food doesn’t have control over me anymore. Most days, most meals, I have control over food. Even days like today, when I chose to overeat, it’s a conscious choice now, not a compulsion.

I didn’t eat again until I was hungry, and then I was hungry for lemons. I had one left, so I sat down with it and puckered up. I really enjoyed it. Even though one lemon doesn’t do much to fill a person up, it’s amazingly satisfying, because there is so much taste and texture to it.

Now, I’m just waiting for my husband to get home from work so we can go to Denny’s for a bite. I’m about to go on a month long vacation, and there will be no Denny’s where I am, so I need to get my Denny’s fix in before I go!

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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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I Weighed

April 6, 2008 at 12:23 am (Uncategorized)

Thursday I stopped by my doctor’s office to be weighed before I started a busy day. I have to admit to being a little disappointed. My weight was up from my February 11 weighing, from 313.3 to 315.7. I had hoped, of course, that it would be down, but for all I know it is! I started eating mindfully, according to the Geneen Roth approach 16 days ago (that was before I saw the Paul McKenna show I Can Make You Thin). Up until the very day I started eating consciously, I was gaining weight, and I have no idea how much weight I gained. I don’t really have a starting weight. I guess 315.7 will have to be my starting weight.

Not only was I disappointed to have discovered that I had gained weight, but I was disappointed in myself for being disappointed. I keep telling my friend, Jane, that this isn’t about weight loss for me at this point, but that it’s about my relationship with food. I want to continue down this road of peace, calm and sanity. I want to continue to watch my world expand as I have time for more in my life than food and weight issues, and I have more energy.  When I discovered that I was disappointed I had to really think about it; I finally decided that the disappointment was that I gained, not so much that I hadn’t lost. At any rate, I haven’t overeaten as a result of the number of the scale — a new reaction for me!

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April 5, 2008 at 11:44 pm (Uncategorized)

I’ve found a few other blogs written by people following the McKenna system and would like to add them to my blogroll, but can’t figure out how to do that. If anyone knows how to do that in WordPress, please leave me a comment and let me know. I’d appreciate it.

EDITED TO ADD: Never mind! I kept poking around and I found what I was looking for. Be sure to check out the blogs that I’ve linked to for more personal stories about the McKenna system.

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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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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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Therapy Day

March 26, 2008 at 11:07 pm (personal growth, therapy) (, , , )

This is a rehash of yesterday, to some extent, because in therapy today we talked about how do I know that this time is any different. And you know something — it is different! It’s different, because I’m different. My motivation is internal, rather than external. My motivation is about my relationship to food, rather than losing weight. I’m convinced that losing weight will be a by-product of the process, perhaps even a slow one. But even so, even if I don’t lose a pound, I will be so much happier, and so much more at peace, when I get my relationship to food straight.

Next will come my relationship to my body. I want to feel comfortable in my own skin again. That doesn’t mean that I have to love that I weight this much, but it means that I can accept that I am where I am, and be grateful to my body for all that it does for me — because it does a lot.

Not only does my heart pump blood through my body, not only do my legs carry me from place to place (both more difficult to do because of my weight), but my body offers me a certain protection, too. It allows me to feel safe when I’m in a crowd. It actually allows me to feel invisible sometimes. As odd as that sounds, I’ve found it to be true. People often times just don’t see me, although you’d think it would be hard to miss someone of my size!

There are other ways that my weight/body protects me. I recently realized that it is protecting me from my fear of sex. I thought I avoided physical intimacy because I felt so unattractive and had trouble accepting that my husband truly and honestly desired me — and to some extent, that’s probably accurate. But I’ve recently come to realize that it’s deeper than that. Because of my sexual history, I’m afraid of that kind of connection with my husband. My body, by making me feel so unattractive, protects me from having to actually deal with that right now. Well, it worked that way until I realized what was going on, anyway! LOL! Now, I’m afraid I’m going to have to tackle this eventually. Probably sooner, rather than later.

Some heavy people (for some reason, I’m hesitant to just say “fat people”), believing that their weight serves them in some way is a very difficult thing to do — there was time when it was difficult for me to believe, too — but if they’ll be honest with themselves, they’ll discover at least one benefit, I’m sure. And until they can resolve that benefit or find another way to meet that need, they can’t lose weight and keep it off. I’m convinced of that.

Isn’t personal growth fun?

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Why This Time Is Different

March 25, 2008 at 10:52 pm (inutitive eating, Uncategorized) (, , )

So today wasn’t my best day! I followed McKenna’s conscious eating guidelines as much as I could — it was really hard today for some reason — but I wanted to just say “Fuck it!” and eat some Easter goodies. I wasn’t aware of anything triggering my emotions, as I woke up with this attitude. I could have had them for breakfast, but I didn’t wake up particularly hungry for them. I was hungry for Cheerios. I just wanted the candy. It was a strange dynamic going on in my psyche this morning.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not on a diet. The guidelines say I can eat whatever I want am hungry for. This is the same basic approach championed by Geneen Roth, and the authors of Intuitive Eating. In fact, I am reading the Intuitive Eating book right now, and working through Why Weight? by Geneen Roth, a workbook aimed at helping you overcome compulsive eating. I’m enjoying the working book, even though I’m stuck on one of the exercises that says to set aside an hour to complete. When am I going to find an hour to do one exercise? I guess I’m going to have to make an hour.

A friend and I were talking today about why this time feels different. I haven’t dieted in quite some time, but the usual pattern was this: Get motivated to “be healthier” (i.e., lose weight) because I felt poorly after a recent weight gain, do something about it (go on a diet, make healthier choices, etc.,), lose enough weight to feel better, lose motivation, gain weight. Sound familiar to anyone?

This time feels different though. This time, it feels like a keeper. For one thing, I’m working on my head for the first time. I’m really working on why I eat, what I’m getting out of the food I eat, out of being fat (Yes, Virginia, there’s an upside to being fat for me. It was just so hard to admit). I have a therapist who really “gets it”. I told him I wanted to talk about my weight and we spent the next half hour talking about being invisible and how that works, being my size (I’ll talk about that sometime). For another thing, I’m working on my relationship with food, not my weight. I’m working on how I deal with food and my emotions. I’m working on recognizing my emotions and dealing with them outright, rather than eating to stuff them down or to distract myself from my emotions. I feel as though by taking this approach, I can get my head straight, and my weight will stabilize naturally.

The question was, do I think I’ll lose the impetus to work on this once I lose enough weight to feel better? My answer: I don’t think so. Not this time. That’s not to say that I won’t experience little — or even big — blips along the way. I may even temporarily lose sight of my goal. But I really think that I’ll get back on track because, as I gain control over my eating and my head, I’ll be happier and more whole. And once I experience that peace, I’ll want it back. Hopefully, I’ll fight to get it back.

Another thing that makes it different is my public declaration to experience this healing: this blog. I haven’t told many of my friends or family what I’m doing. I’ve talked a little bit to my husband and a great deal to my best friend. But by creating this blog, I’ve made a public statement, even if it’s an anonymous one. This blog will be my inspiration on days when I can’t find it in myself. I’ll have an outlet for my thoughts and feelings, but I also have a responsibility to whomever may be reading this. I have to assume that at least one person is reading this, and gaining something from it. That will help keep me honest and inspired.

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