30/30, Self-doubt, Gaslighting

Never say never, but I think this will be my last Whole30 for quite some time.  The first time around I got so much out of it.  I really became aware of how certain foods affect me, and that makes it so much easier to make good food choices.  I think it’s hard to refuse the burger and fries just because they are unhealthy.  Not so hard to refuse when it is going to wreck you digestively for 24 hours.  Y’all know I’ve hemmed and hawed over this 2nd round.  I’m proud that I’ve finished, but I’m glad to be finished.

Suspect I’ve lost some more weight, and I wrote about the bit of anxiety it was causing.  Yesterday in therapy I made an amazing discovery that really this just comes down to not trusting my own body.  As long as I am responding to my hunger and fullness, making the best choices for my body and keeping a conscious eye on my emotional eating, my body is going to find it’s right place.  Maybe it’s less weight, maybe it’s more.  Today I’m open to whatever comes.

Many of us are so used to relying on external cues to tell us we are okay.  Corporations trying to sell us shit have told us what our bodies are supposed to look like.  We become fixated on numbers on the scale, dress sizes, body fat percentages, etc. as an indicator of whether we are good and normal.  I’m suddenly aware that it is impossible to love your own body if you’re looking at someone else’s as the ideal.  A wise friend of mine offers the reminder, “Eyes on your own paper.”

One thing I’ve learned over the past year is that just like my alcoholism is a symptom of a spiritual disease, trying to change my body from the outside in is a symptom of not trusting myself.

I came across this article the other day.  I can’t tell you how much I love it.  From an early age I was told that I was dramatic, sensitive and prone to overreacting.  Looking back, I was just expressing normal emotions and the people around me were so emotionally repressed that they didn’t know how to deal with it.  When I suffered a trauma in my teens, I was told to, “Pull it together,” because my behavior was embarrassing.  I don’t fault my mom for that; she didn’t have the whole story.

When everyone around you is telling you that your emotions aren’t right, eventually you start to believe it.  Eventually you stop trusting yourself.  Eventually you become so out of touch with your feelings, that you’re hard-pressed to label them when asked.  I used to get upset and have no idea why.  Many times I’d find myself in an argument with my husband and just be making a best logical guess at why I was agitated.  I felt totally separate from my feelings.

I want to make some kind of poignant wrap-up, but must to return to the land of diapers and dishes.  You get the gist, right?  If I can’t trust my emotional feelings and myself, how on earth can I expect to trust my physical feelings and my body.  Have you ever been gaslighted?

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Is This Real Life?

Great post on Mark’s Daily Apple today.

He offers up some steps to help deal with emotional eating.  Good stuff that most people trying to lose weight gloss over, but I believe is vital.

photo (12)I’ve been thinking about this quote obsessively since yesterday.  How amazingly true and counterintuitive.  It is the foundation of Step 1, and I see how that has worked to get and keep me sober.  I accept that I am an alcoholic and I also accept that in order to stay sober, I must work the steps and implement them into my daily life.

I think for a long time I was in denial about the fact that I was going to be permanently overweight because of my choices and lifestyle.  I had this idea that things would somehow magically get better and that I was not that bad.  That the slow crawl I was doing towards obesity was just a temporary thing and one day I was going to wake up, be in shape and eat less ice cream and more kale.  Maybe the first time I really saw myself was in that CrossFit class.

At some point I began thinking, “Yes.  This is where I really am.  All my past thinking and behavior has gotten me here.”  And then some time later I also accepted that it was going to take a lot of work to get out of the hole I was in.  Not just a diet or exercise plan, but a complete overhaul of the way I looked at food, fitness, weight and my body.  That’s a lot of work.  Physical, mental, emotional and spiritual work.  And I don’t know if you are aware, but I have two little kids and not that much time to myself.  However, because I’d already gotten sober (that definitely involved some work), I knew it could be done.  I knew that this kind of work looks WAY scarier from the outside looking in.  It’s sometimes difficult, but always worth it.  You start by accepting where you are, take an honest look at how you got there and just put one foot in front of the other.

And for God’s sake don’t try and do it alone!

Whole30 Day22 and why losing weight is scary.

Feels like I’m in the final stretch of this Whole30 nonsense.  A week ago today I decided I was going to quit.  I announced to my food group that I was going to announce to my Whole30 group that I was turning in the towel halfway through.  It makes me laugh now.  A few posts back I talked about feeling a sense of responsibility to the people who were doing it for the first time.  Well that delusion persisted and suffocated me until I got to that place of “fuck it.”  I’m grateful to have a very wise, sober friend who gently suggested, “You know, you don’t have to tell anyone what you are doing.”  And just like that the situation deflated.  Listen folks, I’m just not that important.  I’m not saying this in the spirit of putting myself down, but to acknowledge that I had ventured beyond right-sized and into grandiose.  The only person I’m responsible for is myself.  Ahhhhhh, what a relief!

Over the past week I’ve noticed my pants fitting loser once again.  I touched on this in my last post, but a strange something is going on in that I am not necessarily thrilled by the weight loss.  I don’t weigh, so I only go by how I feel.  When I look in the mirror I feel mostly happy with my body and sometimes I love it.  I feel really feminine and strong.  So when I put on a relatively new pair of jeans and found that the butt was sagging, I noticed that I felt a bit of panic rising in me.  Part of it was that I don’t want to fork out money for new clothes, but behind that was the thought, “But I like where I am.”  And delving deep down to the bottom was the belief that skinny = dangerous.

I didn’t totally acknowledge that thought at the time, but I could feel this little niggling discomfort at the idea of losing more weight.  I couldn’t put my finger on it until I read this post from In My Skinny Jeans.  When I met ED I was 15 and bottomed out after a real mind-fuck of a relationship.  Self-worth was nil and I stopped eating much of anything.  The thinner I got, the more attention I got and I found myself in some situations that feel very dark and sad.  Then we moved out of state.  I got a fresh start, came back to a normal weight and began blaming that normal weight as the reason why boys at this new school didn’t like me.  Never mind that my aura screamed “DO NOT DISTURB!”  When I finally was able to cobble together a relationship in college, I started eating with enthusiasm and couldn’t seem to stop.  When that relationship began to display some serious foundational cracks, I decided to learn how to purge.  It goes on and on like that.

It seems almost insane that I would never put it together until now.  Yes, Miss Skinny Jeans!!!  Sexuality.  Yes.  **deep sigh**  So I’m even more grateful to be on the path of discovering my erotic creature through feminine movement.  It sounds kind of silly when I type it out, but WHATEVER!  That is totally what I am doing and I think it’s fantastic and interesting!  From here on out I plan to post a link to the song I choose for my dance each week.  I’m two weeks behind so…

She absolutely loved this one:

She absolutely hated this one which was a surprise because I love this song!

Whole30 Day14 and My Body

“Why the hell am I doing this?”  Has been my prevailing thought regarding the Whole30 the last few days.  Yesterday I almost threw in the towel.  I was super busy, a wrench got thrown in the day and I ended up without any food for an extended period of time.  I was starving, and all I had were the kids’s beef jerky and Pirate’s Booty.  I hemmed and hawed about whether it would be better to just eat the jerky (which had sugar and soy) or stay hungry.  Ultimately I decided to just deal with the hunger, but I was doing a lot of mental cussing about how stupid this was.  Hungry = eat and I’m not interested in altering that equation.

Total honesty, I have snacked the past two nights after dinner.  Apple with almond butter.  Compliant, but snacking.  The first night I was not hungry, but I was home alone.  My husband is out of town, but my mom was here.  She came into town for a friend’s 60th birthday party that night.  A party I was invited to but declined because I didn’t want to deal with the seeing a bunch of people I hadn’t seen in a billion years without drinking.  I also didn’t want to deal with other people’s drinking.  But as she got dressed up and ready to go, I felt a little pang of missing out.  I kind of wanted to go, even if I wouldn’t be drinking.  Also got in a loop of thinking people will judge me for not coming.  Whatever.  So I was home alone and there was nothing on TV and I was too tired to read.  So I ate a little.

Last night I was actually kind of hungry.  Probably because of the food fuck up from earlier in the day and also dance.  I guess I could have just had an extra meal, but went for the sweet thing.  I don’t feel so bad.

Had my first class yesterday afternoon.  I think it can be difficult to notice changes in your own body because they happen over time.  I bend down to pick up something every day, every day it gets a little easier until one day it’s effortless without you even noticing.  Last night I was doing movements I hadn’t done in a year, so to come back to them in a different body was… strange.  I’ve lost some weight.  Enough to make some things feel foreign.  And the thing that was most shocking to me about that was that my reaction wasn’t, “Hooray, fabulous!”  I had a little dissociation.  Who’s body is this!?  Very weird.

I Don’t Just Say No

I’ve spent the majority of my adult life failing at diets.  I can’t say for sure, but I don’t think I ever lasted more than 2 weeks on a diet.  The counting and measuring was too laborious and the restriction was suffocating.  Plus, I couldn’t stop drinking.  When I entered therapy for my eating last year I already knew that diets didn’t work, so I was relieved to swear them off forever.

Today I confuse myself because I follow a paleo diet probably 95% of the time.  When I first decided to go paleo, I was really conflicted because of my pledge.  Later I did a Whole30 and further baffled and questioned myself.  Was I dieting?  Was I restricting?  Was it going to lead to a backlash binge?  So far (it’s been about 6 months) I haven’t had any retaliation eating.  Sometimes an urge might come up, but I’m usually able to identify an emotional cause and work through it.  I want to roll my own eyes at myself when I justify my nutrition plan with, “It’s not a diet, it’s a lifestyle,” but I think that is the truth.

Although I choose to not eat grains, legumes, soy, refined sugars and I limit dairy, the reality is that I give myself permission to have whatever I want at any given time.  The caveat is that I have to be aware of the consequences of what I put in my body.   “This will make you fat,” is not a consequence.   It’s shaming, mean and puts me into an immediate state of longing.  Today I was driving home from the gym, knew I needed some protein but didn’t want to cook.  I passed by Zankou Chicken, thought about stopping in and thought, “That will give you garlic breath.”  Now there is a concrete consequence.  I have shit to do tomorrow, I can’t be blowing dragon breath on people.  Because of Whole30 I know that gluten gives me tiny, itchy bumps on my cheeks, peanuts give me heartburn, soy cause huge zits, vegetable oil upsets my stomach, etc.  Suddenly these foods have very real consequences.  So when I crave something, I have to weigh whether the taste pleasure is worth the suffering that will come later.  When I pause, I’m usually able to make the kind choice for myself.

Then there is sugar.  I think that beast deserves its own post.

If you’re not from LA and, therefore, haven’t ever gotten down with some Zankou Chicken, it even gets a mention in one of my favorite songs of all time.

I Confess!

I want to make a public confession that I have weighed a few times over the last two months.  The first entry I posted here is all about scales being evil.  I actually wrote that several months ago.  I still believe it, but I want to be honest about where I am in this process.

It started when I decided to do a Whole30 back in August.  The plan suggests that you weigh in at the beginning and at the end as well as take pictures and measurements.  I didn’t do the measurements or pics, but I capitulated on the weighing.  I’m not really sure why.  I think a lot of it had to do with some group mentality.  I was doing it with my husband, a couple friends of mine and also a community of people on the web who were starting on August 1st.  I pictured getting to the end and there being lots celebrating and virtual high-fives going around.   I didn’t want to miss out on anything.  Alcoholic, much?

I weighed in on August 1st and immediately regretted it.  I had lost weight since the last time I remembered weighing, and I think it triggered a reward feedback loop.  I wanted to weigh the next day and the next.  I resisted.  I think I said that I wasn’t going to weigh in at the end, but I did.  Again I lost weight, and again that made me want to weigh more.  It bums me out because despite everything I have learned and put into practice recently, the neural pathway of weight loss = good girl still exists.  I weighed once last week and once this week, and just need to stop.  The scale isn’t moving, and I actually don’t think I really care.  What am I hoping to get by stepping on?  I PR’d all over the place at Crossfit last week, so I know I’m getting fitter.

My husband refuses to get rid of the scale.  I know if I tucked it away, he’d go hunting for it immediately.  And really, his relationship with the scale is none of my business.  I must remember that no weight on that scale will ever make me feel as good as not needing the scale to assign a number value to my worth.

My Inner Kanye

I think something that happens with food cravings for me is this feeling that I have only a short window to get the food I want.  I often crave sweets at night.  There have been nights where I could barely drag myself into bed, but managed to stuff in some chocolate on the way.  That part of myself that desperately wants a treat sees the opportunity to strike when my normal defenses are down.   “I’m not going to have the chance to indulge tomorrow when she’s back in charge, so make a mad grab and take everything you can!”

But what if I had permission to have that “treat” food whenever I wanted as long as I  answer one simple question first?  My therapist made the suggestion that when a craving comes up, I pause and say to myself, “Okay, I will get you what you want, but first tell me how you’re feeling.”  Usually if I’m having an intense craving, I’m in full flight from my feelings.  No jewel thief wants to encounter the guard as they’re sneaking out the back door.  But in this situation the guard is giving me permission to walk out the front door with all the jewels I can carry, provided I just take a moment and think about what I’m doing.

Having now practiced this process, I can tell you that it works.  For one, it deflates the urgency of the situation.  There’s always some kind of panicked feeling that accompanies that kind of eating for me. Now I’m allowed to have whatever I want, whenever I want, so what is the rush?  The other thing that this does is make the whole thing a lot less fun.  It takes away the deviant/defiant aspect of the behavior.  I’m no longer getting something I shouldn’t have, so there is no opportunity to revel in my victory.

But most of all this interrupts the habit of eating over my feelings.  To me the most awesome interruption ever was when Kanye West interrupted Taylor Swift’s acceptance speech on the VMA’s.  Hence, the Inner Kanye.  “Yo, I know you want those cookies and Imma let you finish the whole bag…