Intuitive Eating

All posts tagged Intuitive Eating

The Fall Out of a Weight Loss Holiday

Published July 16, 2015 by Crystal

Four pounds heavier, full of food and drink that do not nourish.

It was a blow out.  But I think I am beyond the post diet binge.  It isn’t even about them any more.  I’m rebelling, I’m self sabotaging, I’m doing everything that leaves me feeling crap and guilty, but I am finding it hard to analyse why.  The thing is, I now know the benefits of eating more veg, drinking less alcohol, drinking more water.  I know that less bread for me means less bloating.  I feel the physical and mental benefits when I do these things.  But then something snaps, and I want all those foods that make me feel below par.

Is it some sort of punishment for myself?  Do I somehow feel I don’t deserve to have good health and happiness?  And feel that I need to make it harder for myself to achieve those goals?  Or do I self sabotage because I feel I never succeed, and if I don’t let myself succeed, then failure is the inevitable, and I’m used to that, and I won’t be disappointed?  Mad, backwards thinking, but somehow it feels like that is the issue at the moment.

I feel on the edge of depression again, not quite falling in, but dangerously close to that edge, and I am desperate to turn it around before it’s too late.  So today I am making better food choices for me, increasing the water, and avoiding the caffeine.  Tonight is outdoor fitness, and I will treat myself more kindly.

Having food issues is all consuming, and exhausting.  And it’s why I get so mad at the Fattist and Sizest tweeters who are dead set on fat shaming.  I don’t like myself too much right now, and it isn’t encouraging me to lose weight.  It’s led to a week of overeating simply because.  And it’s exhausting for not only me, but my husband. Not because I am hideous and too fat to have sex with, but because I am emotional and needy and lacking in the self confidence.

Time for some kindness once more.

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Do people lose compassion when they lose weight?

Published May 31, 2015 by Crystal

I’ve spent a year in a state of flux.  Wanting to lose more weight, losing nothing.  And now it feels like the scales are falling from my eyes once more as I see, that for me, dieting does not provide the answers I hoped for.

But more than that.  I am tired of the hate filled criticism and body shaming that comes from “reformed fatties”.  You know the ones, the people who found a method that worked for them, and for whom strict regimes of diet and exercise have proved that all you need to do is “Eat Less and Move More!”  Or the experts who will tell you “I used to eat junk and now I don’t and all you need is a positive mind to get a positive body!”

The messages filter in.  They are easy to believe.  This time I will do it.  This time I will stick to a plan because here are examples of other people who have done it.  Clearly I just need will power and dedication.

But what these people miss is that weight is a symptom of something else.  It is not the cause of everything that is dark and evil.  So when someone like Steve Miller is telling folks to tell their fat friends and family they are fat, he is wanting to address a symptom without looking at the real issues behind it.  And if those issues aren’t addressed, then what chance is there of permanent change?

It’s why I lean towards people such as Geneen Roth and Beyond Chocolate once more.  And Geneen is great at describing me without knowing me.  She talks about how we keep going back to the past, and act as if we are still the people we were.  If we learnt to use food as a way of protecting us from the fear of feelings, chances are, that is what we are continuing to do.  To actually bring ourselves into the moment, and to be aware of where we are now, how we feel physically, can break the habit of reaching for food to numb the fear or pain. It is hard.  It is exposing.  And it is something that we can only come to when we are ready. But it can bring about real positive long lasting change.  Because we are addressing those root causes.

If someone is genuinely concerned about a fat friend or family member, surely the important thing to do is just be there?  “How are you?”  “How are things?” “What is going on in your life?” “What can I do to support you?”  surely these are questions that will bring about a more positive situation than “You’re fat”.

The success stories of former fatties can bring about a belief that we can change if only we do x, y and z, and that can be great and helpful.  But the stories where former fatties forget their past, and forget their humanity are tragic.  Fat shaming does not bring about positive, long lasting change.  It might bring about quick change.  It might motivate for a few weeks, but until one is motivated to address the limiting habits of their past, nothing is going to last.

Steve Miller continues to bang on about the cost of obesity on the NHS.  So what is his real motivation for fat shaming?  Sure sounds like it’s financial rather than personal care.  He makes money from writing about fat shaming.  He makes money from fat shaming folk into becoming clients, and he complains about fat people costing him via his taxes.

He also calls people who disagree with him “rodents”.

Is this someone who really has your interest at heart?

The great weight debate, and my inner critic and @womenfoodgod

Published May 26, 2015 by Crystal

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I was content to keep weighing myself.  Despite the fact that the scales have not moved much in a year.  I was content to believe that I needed that external monitoring, because I can’t be trusted to rely on myself.  I mean, look at me, overweight, unsuccessful dieter.  Letting go of that external monitor to tell me that at least I’m not gaining weight, it would be a mad idea for this untrustworthy woman.

But then Geneen Roth, in her kindness and her wisdom, called me into my body, and pointed out who I was listening to when I believed that I can’t be trusted.  She calls it The Voice.  That authoritarian voice that points out all the flaws it perceives, that reminds me of all the things that are wrong with me, that reminds me moment after moment how I am incapable of change and progress and success.

And she showed me how The Voice is not me.  It is a lying critic, born out of childhood memories of chastisement and hurt.

Calling me into my body, with the belly meditation was a first step to calling me home.  I think, in general, we are used to going through our day on auto pilot.  To become aware of internal sensations in silence and for a dedicated time is a powerful thing.  Or it was for me.  To feel my breath, my lungs expand, my tummy rise and fall.  To notice my fingers tingle as I breathed deeply.  To inhabited my body with awareness, after being separated for what feels like the longest time, is an altering thing.  And I admit, I was sceptical.  While I love it, I still scoff with embarrassment at naval gazing activities.  And a belly meditation was no different.  But already, in two days, it feels a valuable tool in coming back and finding myself and finding my calm.

Back to The Voice.  It’s an interesting thing to become aware of.  Because it does sound like me.  And I thought it was me.  And maybe it is easier to distinguish as something else, now that my depression seems to be blurring away.  I can hear that inner critic and know, that like depression, it is a liar.  Today, on going to weigh myself, and discovering that, oh, I’ve gained after a weekend of food and drink, that Voice said loudly to me “You need to keep weighing, because look, you gain so quickly.  You can’t honestly trust yourself to lose weight without it.  And you’ve attempted to lose weight without diets so many times before, why should this time be any different?  Keep weighing.  You know, just in case.”

And I could believe ever word.  Because it all sounds so reasonable.  But then I realised.  It is criticising me, and robbing me of my own strength.  Stealing any self belief.  “You can’t honestly trust yourself…”

I have decided to call bullshit.  And I have decided I am going to trust myself!  I am going to keep coming back to my body.  I am going to keep practising mindfulness, and I am going to keep going to those feelings, and sit with them, and let them happen.

It might not work.  I might be unsuccessful yet again.  But while I continue to listen to The Voice, I’ve lost before I’ve started.  And a year of weighing has made virtually no difference to my weight.  So The Voice is already wrong!

hot fudge sundae

“It’s not about the weight but it’s not not about the weight” @womenfoodgod

Published May 25, 2015 by Crystal

A few years ago, I received a letter from someone who’d included a Weight Watchers ribbon on which was embossed I LOST TEN POUNDS. Underneath the gold writing, the letter writer added, “And I Still Feel Like Crap.”

We think we’re miserable because of what we weigh.  And to the extent that our joints hurt and our knees ache and we can’t walk three blocks without losing our breath, we probably are physically miserable because of extra weight.  But if we’ve spent the last five, twenty, fifty years obsessing about the same ten or twenty pounds, something else is going on.  Something that has nothing to do with weight.

Geneen Roth, Women Food and God

I am in my mid thirties now.  I have been dieting or thinking about dieting, or looking for another way to lose weight for 30 years.  It’s a long time for something still not to have solved my problems.  So when I read this passage in Geneen Roth’s book, it felt like the sky had lit around me.  It’s NOT about the weight, But it’s NOT NOT about the weight.  For me, it is an issue, but it is an issue resulting out of another issue.

It’s easy to blame weight.  It’s physically there, visible for all to see.  It is perceived as a marker as to how successful/in control/owning of willpower you are.  And folk like Katie Hopkins are adamant and vocal in the belief that weight loss is a simple problem to be solved, by eating less and moving more, and perpetuate that belief freely and with little resistance.

But if the weight isn’t falling away simply, in spite of years of attempting to lose pounds and stones,  it is surely logical that something else is going on?  Some resistance to the idea of less food, to a smaller size?

8 years on from my first discovery of intuitive eating, I’m lighter, but not all the way there.  I figure I am an onion, with layers and layers to peel away.  At the moment, reading Geneen Roth is bringing hope and confidence that I am not a problem that needs to be fixed, but rather a human in need of self care and understanding.  Food does not provide the care that I have believed, and mindfulness and awareness are more important than the first grab of a handful of crisps when things are uncomfortable.

Going to keep reading.  It’s a good book.

But for someone like me, it isn’t that simple.  It is a challenge I have been facing for 30 years

Weight loss. Who is helping you? What are they promising and What are their credentials?

Published March 23, 2015 by Crystal

Weight loss is a multi million pound industry.  You don’t need me to tell you that.  That multi million pound industry is full of all sorts.  And it’s full of all sorts of opinions and experiences.

Because weight loss works in different ways for different people.  Forget the whole “calories in calories out” arguments, and the “quality of a calorie”, and “eat less move more” arguments.  The problem is, that for every person affected by their weight, there are a multitude of reasons.

For me, weight loss and gain is powerfully linked to my mental health, to how I am feeling.  And so helping to change my mental well being, to improve my feeling of self worth, and to approve of myself in the here and now is hugely important.

Love them or hate them, the big weight loss groups like Weight Watchers and Slimming World have been around for years.  And they were started by women who were uncomfortable with themselves, and made changes to their lifestyle to change the things they didn’t like.  In the initial stages they were two women, running groups and basing their plan on the experiences and, in the case of Weight Watchers, advice given by her local hospital dietician.  They were honest with their promises.  They showed what worked for them.  Over the years, Weight Watchers and Slimming World have become huge companies.  Their plans adapt and change with the current trends outside of their companies, but in fairness to them, whether you have “succeeded” or not on their plans, their companies employ a whole host of experts to adapt and change and put forward a healthy plan for people to follow.  They undertake studies and support to show how best they work, and to find out what will keep people coming back. See Weight Watchers Scientific Catalogue for a bit of light reading (if somewhat biased)!  What I am saying is there is more than one person, more than one experience.  Don’t get me wrong.  They are out to sell.  They are out to make money.  But consultants come from a place of personal experience and those personal experiences are vast.  If you don’t like one class, close enough will be another class with a consultant you may resonate with more.

Because you need to feel supported.

And this is the thing. If you come to weight loss from a place of ridicule and loathing, by yourself and other people, you are on a back foot before you have started! Very few people can effectively hate themselves slim and maintain that loss. When you come from a place of using food for comfort when feeling low, and if you take away that coping mechanism and don’t replace it worth something else, how long are you going to last with your weight loss that started from a place of feeling horrid?

When I hit my limit with diets that didn’t help me long term, and I stayed to look for the alternative, I was lucky to discover a plethora of books written by doctors and psychologists who have spent chunks of their work life devoted to studying diets and the pros and cons. These experts have discussed ways of weight loss that don’t involve self loathing. (See Intuitive Eating, and Beyond Chocolate mentioned in previous blogs) And they provide step by step ways of changing a relationship with food. Because the mind is a powerful thing. And it responds to positive encouragement, positive motivation, positive rewards.

Me, I’m a couple of inches down the last week or so. And not through criticism by myself or anyone else.

Anyway, I got a run to go on. Better get to it!

I am a mess, and sometimes healing feels like a slow slow business.

Published November 22, 2014 by Crystal

2 blog posts ago I raved about the idea of not weighing.  I embraced the idea of healing being an all encompassing thing, and that hopping on the scales was getting in the way of my healing from disordered eating.

Oh to be free from the judgemental slab of metal.

So, how have I got on?  How am I embracing a life away from the scales?  How am I enjoying healing on a whole new level?

I’m not.  Between then and now the Black Dogs that never really go away were biting at my heals, not satisfied with just walking alongside.  I ended up at my doctor’s door, asking for help, because this time around I couldn’t do it alone, no matter how much effort I had put in.

I know there is no shame in needing medication, but I felt I had let myself down in not being able to exercise myself out of this episode of depression.  I felt disappointed that good eating and regular exercise hadn’t had the full desired effect.  You can only go on struggling for so long, before something has to give.

I was anxious, tearful, sad, dissatisfied, out of sorts, out of place, and generally uncomfortable all the time.

So I was given a prescription, and I’m in the process of weaning onto them.

But then the worry of being on anti depressants kicked in.  They have a reputation for weight gain, and I will be completely honest in saying the thought of this started to completely stress me out.  I have worked hard to lose 3 stone.  And it was a long slow process.  The thought of gaining pounds that I fought to lose was and is something that added to the anxiety I was already feeling.  And of course it takes a while for the tablets to have an effect.  So anxiety magnified, depression increased, I had to seriously think about how I wanted to approach this new situation.

Not weighing myself became a cause for fear.  To not be able to monitor how these tablets might affect my weight was something I could not bear the idea of.  And suddenly a need for control, and possible damage limitation was a priority.

For the first few days my appetite completely vanished.  It made exercise difficult, and didn’t help with my moods.  But I was also aware that symptoms can be short lived, and a diminished appetite was very likely a temporary effect.  I was right, my appetite returned, and the panic of eating too much returned with it.

I have stepped onto the scales several times over the last week, normally once a day.  And for now it helps bring some calm in a situation that is making me anxious.  I do feel I need medication at the moment, and so the healing from disordered eating is something that will continue to be  a very slow occurrence.  I also decided to return to a diet club to help me monitor my foods, to take the stress and anxiety away a little while the pills do their thing.

It’s not an ideal situation, but then on the other hand I’ve chosen a diet club that is seeming to be more mindful in its advice and literature these days.  There is support in the form of a good friend who goes regularly, as well as the friendly class and leader.  For now, it will help.

 

On the plus side, my running is progressing.  This 36 year old managed to run for a whole 20 minutes!  It’s a small goal in comparison to the masses who are already marathon fit, but for me it is a big fat miracle!  And the feeling of achievement after that training run was immense!  Onwards and upwards, longer, stronger, fitter.  I am running for SANE in 2015 London Marathon, and if you would like to sponsor me, there is a button to the right of my blog page.

 

So there’s a wee update.  2 steps forward, a few steps back.  But then that’s the way life goes.

“You want to weigh yourself, you know you do”

Published November 8, 2014 by Crystal

I woke this morning after a horrid day yesterday with a lot of pain and nausea.  It might have been a tummy bug, but on reflection I think it was an ibs attack.

This sent me internal dialogue into a spiral of criticism and anxiety.  If I am tuning in and listening to my body, how have I ended up with an IBS attack?  Clearly omitting gluten and dairy and meat isn’t helping.  I am not tuning in enough.  I am missing something.  And if I can’t tune in enough to eat the right foods, then I probably have eaten so much I have gained half a stone.  Oh, and Thursday was a rest day, yesterday I was poorly, so I have done no exercise in 48 hours and that is incredibly lazy!

But I observed these thoughts and this little discussion between the voices in my head, and rather than being defensive, or justifying my actions or decisions, I have been saying “Isn’t that interesting?”

Rather than interacting with the thoughts that are whizzing through my head, I am watching, listening, and pausing before responding.

It isn’t easy.  When I normally actively participate in addressing and responding to the thoughts in my head, it is quite hard to let them pass for a little longer.  And it is bizarre to realise the thoughts come through whether I want them to or not, whether I think they are acceptable or not.

The biggest boldest thought that came through was that I should weigh myself.  And it is the one that I did go into depth thinking about.  It was one that in the past I would obey.  Because there is still that worry over weight gain, and anxiety over not tuning in.  But for now I know it is not going to aid in my healing from disordered eating, and for now I have committed to that for myself.

It really looks like such an innocent thought.  Go on, weigh yourself, just so you know you’re heading in the right direction.  Just so you know you haven’t completely slipped up….

Slipped up where?  Slipped up how?  What do I want here?  What is it I am measuring?  How much food I’ve eaten in the last 2 days?  How bloated I am after an IBS attack?  What exactly do I NEED to measure?  Am I not looking at my overall health and well being at the moment?  What would the scales tell me?  And how would I interpret that information today?

So I stood up against that voice telling me to weigh.  Telling me to measure myself by a plate of metal on the floor.  And I looked inward to how I am feeling now.  A little bit sensitive physically, like I’ve been punched in the gut a few times.  A little bit disappointed that I had an IBS attack, while I am focussing on tuning in, and giving thought and care to the food I eat.  Wondering if it is stress related, what it is I am feeling stressed over, what I am not addressing at the moment, but internalising and tensing up over.

As I type I am not entirely sure, but as I continue to tune in, and be kind to myself, I am sure the answers will come.  There are several thoughts and concerns that come to me, and so it is time to observe how I react physically to those thoughts and feelings, and see what they tell me.

But it is nothing that a number on the scales would have helped with.  Not at all.