Monday, June 28, 2010

And, it begins.

Whit said I should start a blog.

The idea of blogging is appealing. I like to talk, and I type quickly. This works for me. Also, the nature of what I am trying to do (more on that shortly) requires me to reflect through writing- or, requires me to reflect, and writing is an effective tool for me.

So. Here is the story. I am a compulsive, or emotional overeater. While my weight merely falls in the "overweight" category (I am not obese), I meet all of the DSM-IV criteria for binge eating disorder. And I've met those for at least the past 15 years. Most of my life has been spent as a relatively thin person, thanks to genetics- although I have been overweight before. I have spent portions of my life following very restrictive diets (research "orthorexia" and you will see what I mean) and had a couple of bulimic episodes, but always revert back to bingeing.

6 months ago (of course, because it was January. You get it, right?) I decided to start dieting again. It started out well, and then I started restricting a bit. At that same time, a dear friend of mine told me she was anorexic. It was because of her disorder, and being forced to look at restrictive eating as an unreasonable and potentially dangerous thing (especially for me), that I started looking for other answers.

I found a few ideas in Geneen Roth's writings. More on her later. I have also found other websites and authors who share the "no dieting" philosophy with me.

I'm going to copy something directly from my writings on another site, because it will serve as a good introduction to this project. Also, I am lazy and don't want to re-type things:

On February 27th, I promised myself that I would not go on another diet. No more dieting. Dieting sets me up for unnecessary restrictions (self-imposed, almost all the time), which sets me up for bingeing. Basically, they're no good.

I enjoy food. I LOVE food. I love good food, and I love being able to taste the complexity of ingredients. For instance, I made a pizza for lunch. Homemade crust- there really isn't much better than that. I love hitting the little spots where I tucked away rosemary or garlic, or being able to taste olive oil. Good stuff.

Geneen Roth's whole philosophy can be summed up in one sentence...Eat what you want when you're hungry, and feel what you're feeling when you're not. I'm a master of eating what I want when I'm hungry (although there have been times where I've sucked at it...I've reasoned with myself and found another option because I didn't think I deserved whatever it was that I really wanted). Not so good, am I, at the feeling part.

And I'm downright awful at being able to tell when I've had "enough". I can find "more than enough"- that's pain, and bloating, and indigestion. Enough is like hearing a whisper in a crowd. Enough is elusive and mystifying to me.

So, I'm on the quest to find "enough" again. I ate- and tasted- my pizza at lunch. I can't tell if I had "enough". I do know this...if I didn't, I'll feel hungry again. And I know this is a learning process, and that you can't really screw up a process.

This was followed with:

It's such a weird concept. Sort of like the point where you're supposed to turn off your headlights when you've been driving since midnight and you'll reach your destination at 8 am- the point between "dawn" and "day" is probably very similar to the point between "not enough" and "too much".

I need to begin thinking of that point as more of a grey area than a point on a line graph.

One of my favorite things about not dieting is that I can stand to be much more patient and compassionate with myself when I do binge. And, my binges tend to be less frequent and violent. I believe that my binges are a way for me to try to tell myself something.

If I start seeing these patterns, it will be easier for me to figure out what is going on when I start to eat...and in time, I might be able to stop a binge after it has started (or to address the problem when the craving starts).

I'm learning. And I'm feeling okay about myself.

I'm choosing to look at this as a process. I'm at the point where I am aware of why I am eating, and am still choosing to eat. It doesn't feel out of control.

That is progress. Not in weight or in calorie consumption, but definitely in self-awareness and self-acceptance.

Now, the goal is to keep journaling. I use the UltraMate mobile diary to track my food (there is no calorie counter attached- but I like to be able to see when I'm eating and what I'm eating) and I use the CBT referee application for Android to track what I'm feeling, whether it's related to food or not.

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