Walking the Talk

walk_the_talk_main_logoFor more than nine weeks now, I’ve been talking the talk and walking the talk when it comes to my ugliest disordered eating habit: chewing and spitting.

Since I haven’t chewed or spit, I’ve felt pretty darn awesome and proud, in case you can’t tell. 😉

But in spite of this awesome progress, I’m not walking the talk 100 percent just yet.

How so? Well, I still struggle with impulse buys and impulse eats, often the very same things in my pre-chewing-and-spitting days I shunned … and then later chewed and spit. Stuff like chocolate, or Chex mix, or Luna bars.

Like a friend said, I was fooling myself all that time … thinking it was doing no harm when in fact it most certainly was. Maybe I wasn’t gaining lots of weight by actually digesting everything I put in my mouth, but I was “beating the system” and that is not healthy.

I don’t like to talk in “shoulds” or finite things because often it’s counter-productive, but this isn’t a gray issue: it’s a black and white issue. Plain and simple, chewing and spitting is not healthy — it’s disgusting, it’s guilt-inducing, it’s hurtful to myself … and I finally realize all of this.

Plus, it was fueling my disordered behavior even more; allowing myself to think I could “get away with it.”

But in reality, I didn’t get away with it. I did see it on the scale and more importantly, in how I felt about myself: GUILTY.

And though I feel I’ve nipped that ugly habit for now (and hopefully forever), I still need to work on impulse buys.

Though sometimes I can buy a trigger food and eat a portion and move on, I still sometimes buy Luna bars and eat the chocolate bottoms (the part I like best). Or take a bite of a chocolate bar (or eat the outside) and toss the rest. Or eat the chips from a chocolate chip cookie (my fave part!) and chuck the cookie.

I’m not spitting it, no … and I’m still journaling it … but the thing is, I’m wasting food and wasting money on things I don’t need … or if I do want them, I ought to be eating in their complete entity, as they were made to be enjoyed.

The truth is, I’m still mutilating food … just not in as grotesque a manner as chewing and spitting (though I’m sure if anyone saw me do it, they’d be grossed out).

And now that I have put the nasty c/s behavior behind me (hopefully forever!), my friend said it was kind of natural that now I’d struggle with the buying, which fueled the problem in the first place … to go with my analogy from last week, the act of buying is the head of the weed … not the root.

I still don’t always know what the root is: anxiety? hormones? stress? discomfort? boredom? feeling happy/ carefree/not wanting to be always watching it? Whatever it may be … it seems to change daily.

All I do know is that impulse buys don’t help my wallet or my waistline.

That said, I know rationally if I were to sit down and eat a real meal, most likely I wouldn’t mindlessly snack or give in to impulses.

Like on days where I eat lunch and then run errands at work, I don’t tend to buy anything I didn’t need (versus mindless snacking on things I bought at Target or Walgreen’s and then having to reconfigure the lunch I brought or balance it with a lighter dinner).

So to combat this temptation, I am working on eating first, or not going into trigger stores at all if I have the urge for XYZ.

Dinner-time in particular is hard for me lately. With my husband in business school, he and I really only get to have dinner together on the weekends and maybe one night during the week … so I usually end up packing my nights he’s in class with plans/activities, to keep me out of the house (so I won’t turn to food for comfort).

But then I’m not really having a proper dinner on nights I’m flying solo, which sets a bad precedence. I mean, I eat, but it’s usually grazing in between my workout or running errands–it’s never savored, and it’s never made with love … like if I were preparing a dish for us to share.

(But I deserve to have love put into my meals, no? Don’t we all?!)

And when I do sit down and have a proper dinner, I feel significantly better. Case in point: Sunday night we cooked a beautiful dinner in our new stove: baked BBQ chicken, sweet potato “fries,” roasted asparagus. It was delicious, and we both loved how the new stove cooked. I had some pudding afterwards for dessert, and felt totally satisfied, no urge to snack afterwards.

In Why French Women Don’t Get Fat, the author stresses the importance of sitting down to a meal … even if it’s something quick like cereal or eggs.

And so I am going to make a conscious effort this week to not eat standing up. Sounds so obvious, but I totally do it all the time! Sitting down really makes a difference in how I treat the meal, and how I treat myself.

If I’m going to talk the talk about wanting to truly have a healthy relationship with food, then I need to treat my food — even if it’s just muesli and a banana — like it’s worthy of being eaten at a table and on a placemat. Like I’m worthy of a table and placemat.

I tried it last night when hubby was at class: sat down at the table with my dinner. It was quiet and a little weird, but better than sitting in front of the TV or standing at the kitchen counter.

I feel like I have made lots of progress the past two months with respect to my disordered eating (and since therapy ended, ironically enough), and I’m super-proud of it.

But I’m not out of the woods; many thoughts are still there and though I’ve been able to brush them off, it’s hard to just change who I am. That said, I’ve been put in various situations that might have made me uncomfortable in the past … and handled them like a champ.

I’m learning to roll with the punches more, which is not easy for me to do. It’s not how I’m hard-wired to be, but I don’t want to be ‘that girl’ any more, who is uptight about food and annoying to be around, annoying to go out to eat with.

I just want to be me, Melissa, who can have fun on a moment’s notice, and isn’t preoccupied with thoughts of food. I think she’s in there, somewhere, clawing her way out.

So for now, in baby steps, the best I can do is take care of me … even if I’m alone at dinner-time.

I think this behavior modification (saying I will not eat standing up) will eliminate my mindless munching and will force me to make proper meals, versus raiding the fridge or cabinet when I get home famished after the gym or work.

Wish me luck; one day, I hope to be walking the talk day in and day out. But sitting down, of course.

How about you? Do you struggle with eating while standing up? How did you train yourself to sit down? Is there one meal that you find more difficult to balance than others in your day to day routine?

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14 thoughts on “Walking the Talk

  1. Hi, I don’t have any problems with disordered eating, but when I am alone I tend to skip meals. The way I keep from doing this is to have meals either planned and prepped (veggies chopped, meat marinating, etc) or already put together adn ready to go into the oven and simply bake off. This gives me a nice meal for myself, a meal for when my husband comes home and usually a set of lunches for the two of us the next day. When I skip meals I eat junk, like cookies and ice cream!

    I also mutilate food, but have never seen it as a problem. This has gotten less as I get older though.

  2. Hi Annie, yes I totally agree, prep-cooking or just having the right choices on hand most certainly helps!! 🙂

  3. I do sit down usually when I eat (except not all my binges are sitting). But I sit in front of the TV with my meal in my lap — I don’t even have a table in my apartment since it’s just me. And I grew up eating with the TV on. I obviously have trouble with the late night hours of feeling the urge to binge. But for dinners, I love to spend time cooking and making myself a nice meal — homemade soup, a casserole, etc…

  4. I don’t struggle with sitting down and having a real meal. I used to struggle with grazing/snacking but haven’t in quite a while because it finally dawned on me how much more satisfying it was to sit down and have a real meal. Not to mention much more conducive to weight loss. If I snack/graze instead of having a real meal I will wind up eating much more calories that day because I don’t feel like I have really eaten. Same goes for if I eat refined/carbs or sweets instead of a healthy meal. No matter how many calories I ate, if it was not a healthy meal I will find myself hungry and munchy.

    I used to run errands before I ate lunch at work and that often resulted in impulse buys of food that would often be “mutilated”. Eating first defnitely helps prevent the impulse buys.Amazing how our judgement can be clouded when hungry.

  5. This just happened no more than thirty minutes: I was refilling my cup with water in the breakroom when my coworker was eating a drumstick standing up, slightly hovering against the sink, and I thought to myself, “I wonder if he considers the food he eats while standing up as part of his meal or more like a snack…” I thought this because I’ve noticed that I dislike standing while eating. I used to munch on snacks a lot while driving home after work when I used to have a retail job in which I’d be getting back home around midnight on many nights, so the snacks would keep me occupied, but I ate them without really thinking of how mindlessly I was consuming so much empty food. No surprise that I had a bit of a pooch to my lower belly that just was not a part of my body ever before then and now is non-existent again because I don’t mindless munch anymore in the car. Anyway, I concur that taking the time to appreciate your food, whatever it may be, and considering it your meal is important. It’s kind of ritualistic, akin to the time and process of tea-making. Overall, I’m one of those folks who enjoys making a meal for one (moi) and sitting at the dinner table to eat my food. I think the fact you’re doing this more shows that you have a true appreciation and respect for food and how it nurtures us, body and soul and mind. It’s multifaceted. Lovely post as always. And I’d like to add that I hope there aren’t any hard feelings in regards to my response last time about how I felt people were “hating” on (naturally) thin people. But I figure you’re an open-minded person who’s willing to hear out her blog’s patrons, which is why I gave my unpopular but honest-from-me two cents, and I was correct because you are very open-minded and tolerant and compassionate. Thanks again, Lissa. As always, your blog is super.

  6. That’s great, Sheena, that you are sitting down when you eat. It helps make it mindful.

    Good for you, Lara — no more grazing! I still struggle with that. Glad to know I’m not the only one who needs to time errands accordingly 🙂

    Hi Stella, and I wonder too if he would have counted that. I certainly would have counted it as something!! sounds like you learned your culprit — snacking while driving — and have worked to change it– kudos! Thanks, glad you like my post. My pleasure 🙂

  7. It is great to hear how much better you are doing these days, Liss! And I love that you are constantly working to improve.

    I had to get used to the same 1-person dinners with my hubby gone Mon-Thurs, and while at first I tended to buy ready-made (but still relatively healthy) food on the way home, I now prepare for the week by purchasing veggies and a meat or fish for those days, which I can very easily make in just a few minutes when I get home. A good dinner would be brown rice topped with a veggie and chicken breast stir fry, and some fruit for dessert.

    That said, if I *do* sit down in front of the TV before dinner, I often find myself getting up and finding some less-healthy snacks to mindlessly snack on. So what works best for me is to immediately start cooking when I get home (usually late enough that I need to anyway!) and then move out of the kitchen after I am done eating so food is not *quite* so accessible.

  8. Thanks, Yas 🙂 Miss you, girl!!

    Prep cooking rocks 🙂 I aree, it’s better to start cooking right away, or I do a Shred DVD now if I’m home alone and it’s not dinner-time but I am home. The only TV I really watch is Larry King and Anderson Cooper, I’m such a dork!! I can’t even stay up for Jon Stewart lately!

  9. I totally used to eat food in strange ways…I would eat the icing off of donuts and eat the chocolate chunks from a muffin, tossing the rest away. It seems to have calmed down with time and now I can actually eat a full donut!

  10. OMGOMG PLEASE HELP ME!!!
    i do the same thing
    im a freshman in highschool and i have been c&s-ing since 2 years ago when i saw it on sex & the city
    well actually i stopped for july, august, sept, october, november and december
    but it came back after i was hospitalized for anorexia nervosa
    HELP ME PLEASE!!!!! i cried all day today because of it
    btw i spit out luna bars too :[[[[[[[

  11. DR123, I am so sorry to hear this. Was it in a SATC episode? I think the guy with the steak, right? Awful. Anyway, it sounds like you need to seek professional care; please visit my HELP tab for some resources … best wishes,
    Melissa

  12. What a great idea….it seems so simple….sit down to eat. I’ve got to try it. You have totally inspired me. I have been c/s since August of 2008. I’ve tried to stop so many times. My best streak has been 9 days……but I’m trying again. I’m on day 4 right now….and struggling, but surviving. I’ve pulled out all the stops this time – my husband has taken off a week of work and I asked him not to let me out of his sight ever this week to make sure I stik to it.
    I find that if I actually eat food I don’t have as big of a desire to c/s….problem is I feel so guilty when I actually eat food. I also mutilate food and graze on it, and then feel miserable about it. If I would just sit down and enjoy food, at a table, instead of mangling it by the pantry, maybe eating wouldn’t be so painful for me. I’m gonna try it and many more of your ideas here. Thanks for inspiring me. I soooo hope to come back and comment that I’ve been sober as long as you one day 🙂 c/s is awful. It is an addiction for sure, and it DOES have consequences – I’ve gained 12 lbs. from it – granted I was underweight…..but it is never fun to gain the weight. ..and the GUILT…..ugghh….so refreshing to hear someone else who is talking about it. Thanks Lissa!

  13. Good luck to you!! I am sure you can do it–one day at a time!! Food is NECESSARY–it is! You can do it.

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