Monday, March 28, 2011

What's up?

I am suggesting to myself right now that something might be wrong.

I have been feeling physically bad lately. I have been feeling emotionally bad as well.

Food stuff- I've almost been disassociating. Which is weird. It's like food is not only NOT a solace (which isn't my goal, but would normally be my response to stress), but it's not...anything.

I can hardly remember eating over the past couple of days, except for a couple of special event things. This is abnormal for me.

I wish I could say that I'm having some sort of epiphany. I'm not. I have no idea what is going on, how all of this is really connected, what the "big deal" is, or how I'm going to fix things. However, I am at least acknowledging that something isn't right. And that's a start.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Another day of worksheets.

I must be in a way crummier mood than I had thought.

I have spent the past couple of days feeling awfully useless and pitiful and, as always, this has quickly translated into a period of self-loathing. So, it's interesting to see how I answered my worksheet questions today.

1. On page 22, author Geneen Roth writes that she turned to Hostess Sno Balls the same year she gave up on God. Do you turn to food for comfort, sweetness and the feeling that you matter?

I always say that I do. I'm working on making sure that I really look at the reasons behind my eating now, though. I think that, sometimes, I eat because it's something I can DO, rather than doing nothing and feeling powerless. There is comfort to be had in food, but it's also a wonderful tool of distraction. I HATE feeling like I can't control a situation. I hate feeling like other people are able to do things that ultimately change the course of my life. I really, really hate that feeling.

2. What does going on a diet mean to you? Does it give you a feeling of taking control and doing something for yourself? If you have been on many diets, do you honestly believe this one is different, or do you diet because you are discouraged and don't know what else to do?

Going on a diet currently means to me that I have given up on trying to accept myself. Dieting is an act that specifically says that I am NOT good enough the way that I am.

I suppose that, in a roundabout way, exercise can be the same thing. Except that exercise often empowers me, and dieting always, without fail, either leaves me feeling really righteous and virtuous, or leaves me feeling crippled and sort of insane. And hungry.

3. On page 23, Geneen describes dieting like praying and that "making the decision to stop dieting was like committing heresy, like breaking a vow that was never supposed to be broken." Are you ready to stop dieting? What feelings does thinking about this bring up for you?

What she says pretty much mirrors what I said for question 2. NOT dieting is an act that tells me that I can accept and trust myself.

I wish I could diet and be happy. I wish that there was some sort of magical cure. Or that I knew how to really be at peace with having extra fat on my body. But, if I'm going to be unhappy with myself, I'd rather do something that has a chance at teaching me how to become happy, rather than doing something that history has shown me will make me miserable.

4. From page 25: Geneen writes: "I don't believe in the God that most people call God, but I do know that the only definition of God that makes sense is one that uses this human life and its suffering—the very things we believe we need to hide or fix—as a path to the heart of love itself. Which is why the relationship with food is so important." What do you believe about God, love and your life?

About God: hell, I don't know. I just don't know anymore.

About love: I think it's a good idea. It's complicated, though.

About my life: Huh. I guess I'm in the same place on all three. Tonight, I am feeling very jaded and tired. I'm tired of trying to sort through things. I'm tired of things feeling unfair, and feeling like my best efforts are not enough. And I know all of this is connected.

5. Do you believe you deserve kindness and beauty? If other people deserve it—if your children deserve it—why not you? Why is it so hard to treat yourself lovingly?

I don't.

I don't deserve those things, because I've screwed up too much. And I'm still doing penance. And no, I do not want to talk about it anymore. I've done that for decades, through scores of self- and professional-help experiences, and I still don't feel better. I still feel like I deserve to be punished for things that I would instantly forgive from strangers.

6. In Women, Food and God, Geneen says your relationship to food is a doorway to your true nature, your deepest self. Do you believe you have a true nature and a higher self? Are you willing to use your relationship with food as the doorway to that?

I know this can work. And I have experienced this "higher self" concept. I would like to have that back in my life.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Working through "Women, Food, and God": Week 1

Yeah, yeah, I'm actually using the worksheets from Oprah's website. Shut up. I'm going back through the book with a group located elsewhere on the interwebs, and this is copied and pasted from that discussion. As always with journaling, I take very little time to ponder my responses. This approach usually leads to more honesty. And I was surprised by some of my answers, especially the idea that I have anorexic tendencies. That frightens me.

1. The prologue begins with "80 hungry women" sitting in a circle together, waiting to eat and pay attention to how they use food. If you were one of those women being asked to be silent and pay attention to themselves, their hunger and their many feelings about food, how do you think you would feel?

At this point, I'd mostly be okay with this. I think that I have a tendency to think too much and get sort of "overly spiritual" with exercises like this, maybe because I'm trying to prove to myself how much I "get it".

I have noticed that feeling hunger has a tendency to make me feel virtuous, as long as I am hungry. I'm starting to think that I have anorexic tendencies, which is odd, because I'm an overeater. But, feeling hunger makes me feel like I'm doing things "right".

2. From page 2: "Our relationship to food is an exact microcosm of our relationship to life itself. You are a walking and talking expressions of your deepest convictions; everything you believe about love, fear, transformation and God is revealed in how, when and what you eat."

What are your deepest convictions, and how do you think they show up on your plate every day?

This is easy for me! When it comes down to it, I feel like there is NEVER going to be enough of ANYTHING. I have to take it all, right now, or someone is going to take it away from me. And at the very core of that, I believe that everything is going to be taken away from me because I don't deserve anything. If I don't take care of my needs, no one else is going to look out for them. No one else is going to pay attention to my needs enough to make sure that I am okay. But, having those thoughts also means that I am extremely selfish, because you're not supposed to really look out for Number One. Sacrifice is virtuous. Hoarding is not.

3. On page 5, Laurie says that things are hard, but at least she has food. Do you relate to her? Do you use food when things get hard? If so, does using food make things easier?

I definitely relate to this. Especially now. I've been feeling a LOT of "I know I'm not really hungry, but fuck it, everything sucks and this is something that I can do for me" lately. To a frightening degree. And I'm aware that I am using food as a diversion.

It is not helping. The suckiness is not going away. I don't magically have job stability or a peaceful marriage. I don't suddenly feel good about my fat midsection. But, I do feel like I am doing something. I'm distracting myself. And it's not helping a single thing.

4. On page 13, author Geneen Roth writes about her many diets and her weight history. Take a moment to consider your own food and weight history. What has it been like? Did the ups and downs of it correspond with particular events in your life? As you begin to read Women, Food and God, notice the feelings you have about what has and hasn't happened in your relationship with food. As you enter a brand new process and start a new journey, do you feel discouraged? Hopeless? Excited? Does a part of you believe that nothing will work? It's good to name those feelings so that you don't sabotage yourself with them.

I just tonight told my husband that I hate how my weight correlates with my job stress. And this has been a very bad year. I also notice that I lose weight when I'm feeling less stable in my marriage OR when I feel like my job is to the point where I have nothing left to lose.

I've been reading Geneen's books for a decade, almost to the month. And I've had Intuitive Eating on my Kindle for several months. I know how to do this. And I feel totally cynical at this point. I feel like I can't follow this long-term, because I haven't ever been able to do it. I always give myself too much permission to "slip" back into mindless eating. So, I want that to go away. I don't want to feel like I don't have the ability to be mindful and to care for myself.

5. From page 16: "Not sure what you really believe? Pay attention to the way you act—and to what you do when things don't go the way you think they should. Just for today, pay attention to what you value. Reflect on how you spend your time and your money. Pay attention to what you eat." What do you do when things don't go the way you want them to go? What do you really believe about your place here on earth? Do you think your life has meaning? Do you believe you are doomed to fail or that you are worthy no matter what you weigh?

Back to the second question: I definitely feel like the world is a mean, ignorant place and that I have to make sure that I get everything I need. And I need to stockpile, because there is no way to know for sure when the whole system is going to come crashing down. And that people cannot be trusted.

I use my intellect to justify stalling on the spiritual stuff. Rather than attack and conquer problems, I waste time figuring out the source and exploring everything about the problems. If I would ever decide that enough was enough and take action, things would be great. But, I use second-guessing as a way to back out when things start going well. Because I am uncomfortable with life unless things are going wrong and chaotic. That's what I know, and it's what feels safe.

6. How has food served as a source of punishment and/or shame in your life? What do you think it would take for you to really change your relationship with food?

EVERYTHING in my life is a source of punishment and/or shame. Is this abnormal? it's all connected, and any bit of it can be used to degrade or to uplift. Get real, people.

That last part of question 5 is crucial. My husband once told me that I am so used to being miserable that I create conflicts when things are going well. I think he was really talking about his mother...but I also think he is right. If there is no crisis, I feel uncomfortable. Because the other shoe always drops. If I can get to the point where I don't feel that way, things can change.

Monday, March 14, 2011


Have I mentioned that I have a ridiculous fear of bridges? More specifically, of driving over them?

I start to worry that my car will, somehow, fall over the side of the bridge. And then my body will be crushed or I will drown. Or the bridge will crack in half and my body will be crushed or I will drown. No matter how many times someone points out that this just isn't going to happen, I still worry.

The other day, I started to have one of my "Oh no, my body will be crushed!" fears, and then I started thinking about how fragile the human body is. If I walk into a chair (which happens frequently), I get a bruise. If I fell down the stairs, I'd probably break a bone. My son ran into a pole this fall and had to get stitches (to add to his head trauma collection that he started a few years ago). Bodies are easy to break.

I don't know if the mind is as easy to break. Normal, day-to-day things are probably unlikely to break someone's mind (read: make them crazy, trigger a disorder, etc).

And, just as I try to avoid walking into chairs because I don't want to be covered in bruises, I should probably continue to stay away from the scale and from diets, because I don't want to risk triggering my disorder.

However...and this was the "aha!" that came out of the whole bridge freak-out...I'm starting to think that I am TOO careful with myself sometimes. I avoid thinking about eating healthy food because I'm trying to eat only what I want. And sometimes, I really think that my mind turns into a spoiled child and wants ONLY the "fun foods". Not only do I need to dig a little deeper when I get hungry, but I think I can afford to take off the kid gloves when dealing with my emotions. I don't want to be an emotional child. I want to be a healthy adult. And I suspect that there is a way to make that happen.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Fitness Update

Well, it's been a while, hasn't it?

I found a dietitian in my area who specializes in intuitive eating. Unfortunately, her rates are a little high. Maybe I'll be able to pay for it once I start adjuncting...I really think that having a third-party who is dedicated to helping me manage my eating habits would help a lot!

My eating is, for the most part, really good. Or, it's really "afterthought-ish", which is way better than binging. That said, I'm still not craving "nutritious" foods, and I hope that will happen soon. I suspect that I am still trying to substitute warm, starchy foods for stability, if that makes sense.

One awesome update: I've been following the Couch to 5k program, and just finished the 6th week. 25 straight minutes of running. And I LOVE it. I'm looking forward to exercise. I feel better when I'm done with a run. This is what exercise is supposed to feel like.

I got a great Groupon deal for a month's gym membership. And I'm working with a trainer. I had to be really assertive in making the focus on passing my fitness test and gaining strength, NOT on getting slim. It's very interesting to me how hard it was for him to understand this. I wonder why that is?