Breaking Free

breakingfreeOne of the positive sides of blogging is we get lots of input from others who have been there/done that. Sometimes it’s in the form of tough love; other times it’s gentler nudges.

All the same, something that became abundantly clear to me as I read the comments the past two days is that I do need to break free from numbers … at least for a little bit.

The irony is that journaling/weighing/measuring is what helped me lose in the first place … but all signs seem to point to me needing to take a step back and finally trust myself a little more.  Perhaps re-reading Intuitive Eating wouldn’t be such a bad thing …

(Here’s my review of IE from last August, actually … was refreshing to read it today.)

You do realize this notion of not journaling scares the bejeesus out of me, don’t you? But it’s time. It’s been a long time coming, in fact.

Mara said it best when she said she was using the whole “toddler” thing to her advantage:
“My toddler voice has been loud and strong lately. “I don’t wanna” count points. I “don’t wanna” work out. And you know? I’ve been going with it. If I can think like a toddler, I can eat like a toddler. Eat what I want, when I want, and the key? Just as much as I need. Toddlers eat til they’re satisfied and not a bite more. They don’t stuff themselves; if they want a bite of something, they have a bite of something. They stop when they’re done. So, I’m going to be a toddler… for now.”

That was just awesome, Mara — thank you. I never would have thought of it that way, that thinking like a toddler could actually be a positive.

It’s not going to be easy, especially because I like journaling (personal and food) but I’m going to make a commitment to go at least food journal-free for a few days. I might go blog-free, too — we’ll see.

Starting today, I won’t write or journal anything. I’ll do this experiment through the weekend, and then reassess how I feel on Monday.

If I don’t feel up to exercising, I won’t force myself to go to the gym or work out. Maybe working out less will help me reset my hunger queues.

I’ve been giving P90X a rest this week — and am not sure I’ll pick it up again for the last three weeks of the program; been feeling ambivalent about it and it feels like a time-drain lately. (For strength training, I’d rather Shred with Jillian ;-))

Ultimately, I need to figure out what works for ME, Melissa. I know the ropes and ins and outs of what to do and how to do it, and it’s time I trust myself … just a couple days can’t hurt.

I think on some subconscious level I’ve been using journaling and my spreadsheets as a crutch, as “proof” –a way to say “Look, here’s the evidence, I should be losing! Look!”

But maybe like my husband says (not in relation to this, but other things) maybe I just need to have faith … faith in myself … Because the hard evidence isn’t really showing me what I want to see, anyway.

I think it’ll be a good challenge timing-wise, too. My monthly visitor should be arriving (I usually have less of an appetite during TOM).

And on the fun, social side–we’re hosting my hubby’s 31st birthday bash at our house Saturday (love parties!), and then Sunday we’ll probably go out to celebrate his actual birthday.

Knowing him as well as I do, and what he wants for me, what he’s always wanted for me (to be happy, to love myself as I am, as he sees me), the best birthday gift I could give to him would be a weekend where he doesn’t sense me preoccupied with food, where he sees me order what I really want versus what I feel I “should” have, where I easily sip a glass of wine and enjoy dessert — where I’m just “me” without the tacit (but obvious) label of disordered eater.

I want to give him that, but above all, I want to give myself that. I think it’s about time, and maybe this whining session was exactly what I needed.

So thank you … I appreciate the constructive criticism; it helps jolt me. And reading Christie’s post on Intutive Eating Misconceptions was helpful. (You can read it here).

More than anything, I would like to be at peace, for these voices inside my head to be quiet.

I really believe recovery — like life — is a work in progress. And I’ll keep trying … or maybe in this case, “trying” a little less and living a little more. Maybe that will help quiet the noise.

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15 thoughts on “Breaking Free

  1. Lissa, I think that is awesome! One of the things I have learned on my intuitive eating journey is that we have to take it one step at a time. For me, the first step was to focus on figuring out why I was such an emotional eater and why I was binging. I spent two years in therapy and then started seeing an RD that specializes in ED and intuitive eating. Now that I have addressed all of the issues and hung them out to dry, I can focus on the other steps like eating only when I am hungry and stopping when I am satisfied. It can be overwhelming to read the IE book and think about all 10 steps. Just take them one at a time and only you will know which step is the right one to work on first.

    Recovery is possible. It is not always pretty but it is possible.

  2. Thanks, Christie. We’ll see how it goes. I felt true, real hunger (it’s not a terrible scary feeling) before lunch and sat with it for a bit, then had some carrots and a Laughing Cow wedge while running errands, and came back to the office for my (pre-planned, healthy leftovers) lunch.

    I’m a little nervous about it — I have dinner plans out tonight – but it’s a good time to practice it. I don’t feel anxious right now about anything, so we’ll see … I don’t know where the root of my food anxiety comes from, probably from thinkig the only way I’d lose is through restricting — but it’s time to eat and live … not live to eat.

  3. You are taking a big step. I think I have been on almost every diet possible. When I was little my parents put me on one called Red Light Green Light. It was a diet book for children. Gross. Some foods were red lights like ice cream, some were yellow like pizza, and some were green lights like celery. It told you how many you could eat and how much. It is so weird to think about. I have done Atkins and all I wan’t was a big heap of veggies after a week of that, not sugar but veggies. My body needed veggies. I agree with Christie’s post totally. Another thing I noticed was my dog also quits eating when she is full. She eats what I eat in smaller portions but no matter how much she likes it when she is full she walks away. When I get the urge to munch when I am not hungry, I look at her. I think about what I want to munch on and say “the next time I eat I will include what I want in the meal”. Another thing that I have found is if I don’t want something I don’t eat it to be polite. Even though I don’t count calories I know they are out there and don’t waste them on food I don’t want.

  4. Mine was an actual book called the Red light Green light diet. My parents went to a bookstore that was closing down and had this deal to fill a bag with whatever for 10.00. They came home with all these cool kids books for my little brother. They said” and we got THIS for you aren’t you excited?”. My parents were both so thin and didn’t even have to try. I was very active and 9 years old. I just was a little overweight for my age. I look back and think it was probably a growth spurt (gain weight then grow tall). I just got in my mind that everything but healthy foods were red light. My parents ate it in front of me but I didn’t get any because it was red light. My brother ate it in front of me. I had to run laps around the neighborhood to “earn” treats which made me resent exercise. Even after the fact I saw food as bad and exercise as punishment. It has been a long battle for me, I did have a phase with disordered eating or an eating disorder I am not sure which it was but it only lasted a few months. What I was originally going to say was if you try relying on yourself and you try IE, I completely believe you can lose weight with it. The reason why is because you are very educated about food and calories. If you can quit thinking and caring so much about what you eat and how much you can eat you will probably eat even less. I know it seems like a person would go out of control. I always did when I quit a diet. I had to consciously tell myself “You can have whatever you want whenever you want. If you want to eat junk food all the time and gain the weight back and be unhappy with your body you can or you can make healthy choices with ALL the information you have gathered over the years, enjoy what you want in moderation. All food is yellow light food.” Over time eating became normal for me again not shameful or wrong or points or colors. I truly believe you can thrive doing this.

  5. I think a break from the numbers is a great idea!

    As I re-read IE I really see how it is a journey. Those of us with more anxiety or pefectionist tendencies are in danger of trying it for a week and saying “it doesn’t work” and jump back on the diet wagon. I truly think we have to see it as a journey (just like recovery from DE/ED) with trial and error.

    One thing that really resonated with me from reading IE this go around was how you should pay attention to how certain foods make you feel, how they taste, etc To be very conscious of the whole eating experience. They even suggest jotting notes down after you eat. They say that people often realize that what their mouth/brain might want (cravings) to eat is not what makes their body feel good. I have found this to be so true. I feel so much better when I eat healthy, nutritous foods that I can easily pass up the “tempting” things (treats, heavier foods) or eat very small portions of them because if I eat too much of them I feel like crap and that is not a good feeling. And knowing that I can eat anything that I want really does make me not want those things as much. Such a simple concept but so powerful.

  6. Oh wow, Alis … that must have been so tough to deal with. It sounds like your parents were trying but going about it all the wrong way.

    And thank you … I think you’re right. I don’t think I’d ever really let go; this is the girl who journaled every vacation, even my wedding day and HM (not on the actual day — but kept a journal that trip, too). I don’t know how to really let go … so I don’t fear I’d go hog-wild. I know what foods make me feel good and what foods don’t … so I hope to just remember that, “all foods are yellow foods.” I hope it becomes normal for me. I really do.

  7. Thanks, Lara. I hope you’re right. You do realize this is the complete opposite of my post yesterday, where we were talking about counting more diligently etc …!! Oh well, sometimes we need to bend, right? 🙂

    I am going to give it a few days of not journaling just to see how I feel. I won’t give up on IE … but I would like to give it a genuine shot, which I’ve never done. I have read the book and could go back to passages I enjoyed.

    Tonight out to girls night dinner I will try to do that. We’re going for Indian/British fusion so lots of interesting flavors.

    1. yes,I was thinking about that actually– counting strictly and IE are opposite ends of the spectrum LOL and I certainly don’t think counting/tracking is bad per se. It has been a great tool for me recently, it really all depends on my frame of mind and how I view it. For me, the weight loss that accompanied the counting was the motivation I needed to stay focused on getting better (I was binge eating at the time) and helped me get in touch with what was the right amount of food for me. But I think if counting is not yielding the results you want then time to try something else.

      I have been doing a combo of counting and IE (I know, that is not “kosher”) but for me after coming out of a period of being so out of control with food the counting really helped me feel more in control and confident with my food choices and really helped me focus on hunger/satisfaction. I know it is not something I can or want to do the rest of my life, thus now reacquainting myself with the concepts of IE.

  8. Just an idea because you like to journal. Instead of writing about what calories or points you are eating you could write about how much you ate of the meal and how you felt after the meal. For example “I ate half of my plate of spaghetti and I was stuffed. I went farther then satisfying my hunger” Then you can get an idea of how fast or slow you need to eat and at what point the hunger ends.

  9. Good idea, Alis. I can write those feelings in my personal journal. I have to say, I feel optomistic about giving this a whirl.

  10. I love this. I’m very anxious to see what you think after you have a couple days “off” from journaling. I know it is outside of your comfort zone, but we are here to support you! And worse comes to worse, you can always go back to it if it just strikes the wrong cord for some reason. Baby steps, right?

    I will say, I’ve been trying to eat intuitively but never read the book. This really makes me want to!

  11. I agree that you don’t have to give up the tool of journaling if you don’t want to. I wrote the blog whatiateyesterday for a really long time while trying to eat intuitively and it was a wonderful tool. It is no longer a tool that I feel comfortable using but none the less, I say do what works for you. My RD encourages the use of a food mood journal where you right where you are on the hunger scale, your mood, what you ate, your hunger scale after eating and your mood. Keeping this type of journal was key to my recovery.

  12. Exactly, it might take me some time to really “get it” or figure out what works for me. Food mood — I like that 🙂

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