Saturday, August 30, 2014
I am reading the writing diet book and the first chapter about "morning pages" I read more carefully this time through.
What happens when you are writing each morning?
-the pages are a way to touch base with yourself and see how you are feeling
-as you spend time writing you learn to be more intimate, be honest, and figure out where your problem areas are, blocks, misconceptions...
-and then in that writing process you start to see solutions, possibilities and direction
I paused when it sunk in that writing to yourself is like learning to have a relationship with yourself. A healthy one. One that is critical but also supportive. I know that part of my problem with my food dragon is the lies it tells me.
I certainly have not had a good relationship with myself. There are "secrets" and memories that will fly up like mud under a tire and splat against my forhead to remind me that there is another side of me. And the dragon gives food way too much power.
But writing yesterday I started to get a gliimpse of the person who I also know is me. She is very intelligent and creative and powerful. Then I found myself exhausted and had to go for a nap. The book describes the process of tapping into "energy" and I could FEEL that. The potential of me. And at the same time I didn't feel ready to face that.
Today as I was writing I wrote about this "relationship" I realized I was tapping into and it scared me. I have some memories of manic episodes where I used to have to use food as a sedative. I really could be amazing.... but there was a cost. I had no balance. I was all over the map. These days I feel like I live a "boring and safe" life partly because I had to put my family first but partly because my body/mind betrayed me. I had a bad car accident with head injury and then arthritis and injuries and depression kind of "rewrote" who I was. I had to wonder about how food fits into that. Do I use food to try and keep myself boring and safe? If so, I am a slave to my food dragon when I accept a mediocre life? This may be too "artsy" thinking for some people... but it makes sense to me. Food is a block, a wall. So is the fat. But there have been moments, like when I have had an inspired conversation with someone or written a song on the harp or completed a physical challenge like a long hike or gone for a long kayak...when I have felt like food was only an energy source... and I was shining through. A lot has changed. Many many years ago I had an eating disorder (those never really go away but it was full blown and I had no control over it)and when I accepted that it kept me alive during a difficult time it was part of a process of healing. And then I also reached the point in my life when binging and purging were no longer the best way for me to keep surviving. A lot of my circumstances changes including a supportive husband and good carreer and wonderful family. And with all that, I have been changing continually... tweeking and growing and healing. So perhaps the reasons that I kept myself in a box are also changing. Maybe... it is time to go to the next stage of my life?
Interesting to me is that after writing this time and having to go for a nap I dreampt. I may drean but I am rarely aware of what the dreams are about. This one was about the view from the room that I was living in. It kept changing and sometimes felt "right" and sometimes I knew I was just visiting.
The books says as we become more intimate with our thoughts we will find ourselves more fascinating..... and fall in love with ourselves. Not the body, not the limits, but who we ARE and are meant to be. And... as we do that, food will lose importance. We will lose weight. I think that I had some doubts but there is some truth. When I am engrossed in something, when my mind is doing something else, when I am energized, I am not thinking about food or craving it. It is when I am stressed, unhappy, tired that I want food. I am not sure about the "Fat" me but I suspect it is about my "history" and making myself uninteresting, invisible. Even writing this week my response was not to feel stressed and want to stuff my face, the way going to a counselling session might have, it was to want to sleep. It strikes me that this may even be part of a healing process. Sleep. Hmm.
Anyways, I do think I am fascinating even if this is just a book, just a thing to try. There are worse things I suppose than falling in love with myself! My next book may have to be about dream interpretation!
Wednesday, August 27, 2014
The theme this week is "snack attacks". Not the snacks that you write into your food plan. Those are fine. And sometimes I need to add a snack in because I am Diabetic and realize I am not going to make it home in time... there are "acceptable" snacks that I have for those situations, even when I am out. It is best to plan them because if I am suddenly low blood sugar I don't always think clearly.
But that is not the type of snack attack I mean. I mean the evil ones. The ones that are off food plan. The ones that are not for nutritional reasons. It is in response to the food dragon!
Being too hungry...
Too lonely ...
In too much Pain...
The decision to forget my goals to eat clean, forget the nice meal waiting for me or that my belly is in fact full.
I know I have talked about this before and people have come up with examples of times when the excuses are greater than the reasons why not. Hubby and you are going on a romantic walk and will enjoy an icecream. Grandchild has spent the afternoon baking and you are having a tea party to celebrate. Or it is associated with a pleasurable social encounter or an "unwinding".
I'm not going to argue. That IS my problem. I often refuse to argue with myself when I am eating for emotional reasons. My food dragon takes over and slams the door so I don't even get a chance to consider my options. I am a reasonable person and I think that I am willing to consider options. My food dragon is not. It is very very afraid of confrontation and having it's fix taken away. It schemes.
My food dragon will also plan ahead. It will trick me while I am grocery shopping and I will arrive at the cash without even realizing a food has gotten into my cart. "Ah.... for the kids", or "I'll portion them out and they will last" I tell myself as the doubts try to surface. My food dragon can be very convincing. All good answers but the clue should have been they were not on the shopping list in the first place. When they get home will they be offered to the kids and I will walk away? Will I put them in little zip locks and write them into my food plan? Or will they come out when there is a stress. Will the package be opened and my hand make countless dips inside until the package is mysteriously empty?
I have also spoken of the consequences of this behaviour... the triggering of more sugar cravings and making the dragon song more powerful.
So what I really want to write about today is not realizing that snack attacks happen or why... but what to do about it.
I need a plan.
First, the most common "problem time", in the evenings, is when I want to unwind and I am often in pain and I'm tired. I want to crawl into my comfy chair and watch TV with hubby. I know that if I just make one choice that I will come up with an excuse why it is not possible... but I need to start by brainstorming:
-I can make it a rule that no food is allowed in that chair
-I can take pain meds and set a timer and see if the pain has resolved by the end of that time
-I can have tea (I will add that we have been having "London Fogs" which use vanilla creamer in them so I have picked up a sugar free version... probably I could dig out my other herbal teas as alternatives as perhaps the creamer is also a trigger??)
-I can do something else like go for a walk in the pool
-DD and I could plan a date to read, do massages, sit outside, play cards... something other than turning on the TV
-I could do some ST (I would say a walk but until my surgery that is out... for you it might work though)
-I could do something with my hands in my chair like crochet
-I could keep my journal in my room, on my lap
-I could set up a puzzle in the living room
-I could play harp while hubby putters at something else
-I can post "this too shall pass" where I can see it in my chair because it is true... the craving will pass if I don't act on it.
I like listening to the night sounds in summer. The sounds of crickets and owls. I like night breezes. I like candles and fires. The mosquitoes right now are reasonable. I have a book.
I could print this list out and post them beside my chair. I think that my chair and TV alone I used to associate with "the last straw" because I rarely used to watch TV at night. It is a reminder to me of the "poor me" before I drift into denial and escape my problems.
This morning I see this all as a battle plan. I know that change first comes from the decision so I one step forward. I know that each time I succeed in a battle the dragon gets weaker and I get stronger. Just one battle at a time. Will I win tonight?
Tuesday, August 26, 2014
I have been reading blogs where people are talking about what food plan they are on, foods they hope will help them lose weight, diet groups they belong to.
There was a time in my life when my struggle was all about which diet to be on. It was always temporary, always with the idea of a quick fix so I could eat what ever I want but as a "thin" person. Ha! It never happened. Thankfully two things occurred. I developed an eating disorder... and then diabetes. I don't know what Overeater's Anonymous suggests these days but decades ago there were a couple of them. One was "three meals a day and nothing in between". The other was "grey sheets" which were more restrictive with no sugar or white flours and some other guidelines. The Diabetic Diet in those days was eating carbs, meals plus snacks, and the food examples I got in the hospital and from my dietitian included white bread sandwiches, crackers and other non whole grain items. I was confused. I felt like I was getting nowhere.
I remember struggling trying to find an eating plan. The way I imagined it one day was trying to climb a mountain. I would start on one trail and then look over and notice someone jogging along their trail and think "that looks better than my trail" and go back down and try their trail only to soon see a group, ahead of me but on a different trail and think "I think I would rather be with them... " go down the hill and start that trail. By changing all the time or not sticking to one path I never got to the top but I was never satisfied with one way. Then I became Diabetic and was on insulin. I had no choice any longer and in some ways it was very good for me because I was told I had no choice... but honestly I felt ill most of the time and i hated eating that way especially as I never felt good.
The thing about the Diabetic eating plan (that many decades ago) was it was not quite right for me and I was not ready. I had to go through my own "growing pains" trying it and not being able to follow it because I was an emotional eater and had an eating disorder... and because the "diet" in those days was not perfect. The Canadian Diabetic Association has made a lot of changes in that plan over the years because it was not perfect and now it has a lot more whole food suggestion. The information about food is changing. Plus my body's needs have changed. My attitude has changed. The food available to me has changed. My knowledge about how to prepare that food has changed.
Finally I think I am still climbing that mountain but I am pretty much on one path all the time. I can be going along and come across a fallen tree and instead of panicking or changing trails, I take the time to clear it and push it aside in case I backtrack and come this way again. Because on this food plan I do backtrack. At the same time I don't march long head down and tunnel visioned because I can run into trouble then too losing my way or the trail getting so narrow I can't possibly stay on it... Instead see myself grooming the trail as I go so there are fewer brambles to catch on. I am not just walking the trail but am taking responsibility for it. In terms of food, I am listening to my body when I eat foods and tweaking things. When I find menus or meals that work for me I use them again. And I keep trying new menus because they include ingredients that my body likes. I no longer just believe what people tell me. Spark People helped with that.... just because a food has "X" number of carbs does not mean that MY body will react to it the same way as the person beside me. (There was a great discussion about potatoes on the Diabetic team when I first joined that was eye opening for me). I suddenly realized that there was not something wrong with ME because I had problems sticking to "diets"... sometimes it was just that I was trying to fit into a diet that was the wrong size.
It's like when you go into a store and try on a pair of jeans and even though they are your "size" they just will not fit. Is the answer to diet and exercise to try and change your body shape to fit those jeans? No! You have to shop around and find the designer who makes a style that fits your body type.
Today I am very thankful because I have found a food plan that seems to be working for me. I am still an emotional eater and will eat off plan... but having tools to help me, like the writing diet and blogging which help me get back on track quickly. The design is good. The trail is the right one. But it is not perfect.
I like that I can use this analogy... because it's not a race to get to the top any longer. I get to talk to people along the way and enjoy the journey and LEARN. When I am tempted to try something new... change paths... I am cautious. I realize that there is no "perfect" way to get to my goals even though other "paths" might be tempting or people may tell me another way is better. Is this making any sense? I am beginning to feel... confident in the way I eat. My blood sugars are good. My other blood tests are good. I feel good.
Sometimes I realize a food or way of eating has taken me off the path but I no longer have to start all over at the bottom of the hill and I know there is a binder of recipes and menus I have collected that will make it easier to get back to where I was. And am I moving forward? Slowly, yes. My eating disorder is pretty much OK now. I rarely binge and I am always mindful of trigger foods and situations.
There are a LOT of pathways to the top. Too many! I do have to stick to one. I'm using "how I feel" as the indicator for if I am on the right path rather than the scale as an indicator. I accept that not gaining weight is a good indicator. I accept that a plateau is a good indicator. And... sometimes I do lose. Slowly. I am tweaking my food plan as I go and... I guess I am leaving some clear blaze marks when I try a new recipe or food and decide whether to keep it or not... helping me mark the trail as I progress forward.
The way I eat... allows me to do more. I am more active. Happier. I am rarely ill. I feel GOOD!
I look GREAT!
So... is that it? Hmmm. The reason I wanted to write this was not just to say... "hey, guess what? I have a plan now and I'm happy." Those of you who know me know my war with my food dragon and even as I am writing it is whispering "The scale". As though the scale is the ultimate decider of if I am succeeding. Yes, I admit it. I would like to lose more weight and continue, even slowly towards my weight goal.
Today's blog is important for me.. because I need to be patient. Not listen to the food dragon. Amazing to me that even when I am doing very very well... it only takes that whisper to give me doubts. Well, no! Dragon be gone. I am not going to listen. I am not going to "blow it" by jumping to another trail. I am glad that I have the confidence to KNOW that and ignore the dragon trying to plant doubts. This trail IS getting me the right direction. It did take me time... experimenting and learning to be aware, and to know that. I feel for people still looking.
It is not easy. There are way too many choices for how to eat. But I know you can do it. You will figure it out. Listen to your body, not your food dragon!
Sunday, August 24, 2014
Oh dear! My spark activity tracker is getting low on batteries. I was just thinking it is time to increase my goal from 1,000 steps to 5,000 again. A couple of times this week I got over 10,000 steps! Amazing, right? I have a cane, my walker and my crutches available but at times I feel like I could dance the walking is so easy. Mostly when I am barefoot and in the house. Although it only takes doing one step and suddenly I can't bear weight at all and that can last for hours. Despite that I did my first day in months of real housecleaning. DH moved the vaccum between levels but I did some vacuuming, dusting, wiping floors, cleaning bathrooms. Three hours in all (big house). It felt so good. Then I hit the pool and did my aquafit/water walking. THEN I went to meet my B&B guests on the Rideau trail and walked in a bit to guide them out to the parking lot. LOVED it. I felt like a human being. Still no surgery date for my knee replacement but at least things are better!
Today I think I want to talk about stepping outside the box. I appreciate all the comments that I'm not normal... hehehe....on my last blog. No, I agree, there is no "normal". But why is it that we can get stuck thinking that we can't participate because we can't do something perfectly? I can't bike because there is construction... I can't go to the gym because there is not time... I can't do situps because I'm too fat so I can't do core exercises.... I was browsing a bunch of blogs where "I can't" seemed to be the theme for the day.
I remember the "I can'ts" and the pity party. I am sure that my food dragon loved that mind set because innevitably it sent me to food and thinking "why not?".
-out of shape..
-not enough time..
-not enough money...
They were wonderful excuses to turn to sugar, stimulate my desire to bake and find comfort in cooking "for others". It was the all or nothing attitude. I felt like I had to go to gym for an hour or it wasn't worth it. I had to do something that would make me sweat. I had to look good while doing it and didn't want to ask for help or look ridiculous in a class. Plus I had the experiences of doing it all, too hard and too fast and injuring myself. I did't really understand the idea of warmups and cool downs and stretching. No wonder exercise did not excite me. It was boring... I felt incompetent and it resulted in pain. Even when it was a positive experience I rarely did it consistently and would end up back in my "rut".
Something changed in me just before I joined Spark People. I have shared on my spark page and in my spark people success story how my friend helped me get started walking. I was so derpressed I was suicidal. All my thoughts were "I can't".
I think... I wish... I could bottle or share how an attitude change can change everything... but for me it has. Today, with a knee injury I still am struggling but I try and brainstorm and problem solve. In the depths of my dispair I am sure I would have HATED me. I was a wall of resistance and excuses. But it was me who was suffering.
How DID I do it?????
I chose an impossible but meaningful goal. I still do that. My goal then was to decide to live and have pain and do things rather than spend the rest of my days in an electric lift chair watching TV. I chose walking from Ottawa to Kingston on the Rideau trail. Why? Still can't pinpoint it. But you have no idea how complicated a goal it was. It's not as though the trail runs along a road. It frequenlty is in wilderness near.. nothing. A road that can drop you at one section may have to drive around lakes and along dirt trails an hour to pick you up on the other side, a mere hour of walking. I say a mere hour but for a person who could only walk 25 steps at the start, an hour committment of walking was... unthinkable, unimaginable, and very very scary. I was just talking with B&B guests who are walking the trail and they were sharing some of their experiences and wow, I remember!
It requires brainstorming.
It requires asking for help.
It requires starting very very slowly with small goals.
It requires ... baby steps, one step at a time.
When I hurt my knee I didn't go back to my lift chair. I had to figure out how to get in and out of the pool because I could not do steps. Forget grace. I had be able to get down onto the ground into a sitting position and then be able to get back up... so that was my first goal and at first I always had to have people around me to help me. But I figured out how to use chairs. I had to adapt my normal pool walking routine and keep that leg straight. When I do stretching (think Whinney the Pooh does yoga) I grab an exercise ball to drape myself over instead of doing child pose because I can't kneel. I use my exercise ball for doing pushups or do situps on my bed. I went through spark people exercises to find ones that I could do when I realized I could not do my "usual ones". No, I can't walk a distance still... but I have my walking poles, my crutches and walker. I use what I need to. My pride... oh my goodness in some ways my pride got thrown out the window long ago. I don't CARE what I look like any longer. I am determined to keep going forward. I remember seeing Indy~Girl's video where she showed lying in her bed when she was immobilized because of her excessive weight... but she started dancing in bed. She moved her arms and shoulders and wiggled. And look at her now!
We all have choices. In the pity mode we think we don't. But we DO! I think it is safe inside our "box". It is what we know even when we hate it. Whether it is pride or fear we are willing to endure and tell ourselves that we are not able to change. I know that I used food and anger and controlling behaviour to deny and hide. I had diabetes. I was obese. I had bone on bone arthritis with terrible pain, high blood pressure, depression, and an eating disorder. I didn't set out to get rid of all those things. What I did do was stop dieting. Instead i started making choices towards getting out of that chair.
Here is the reality. My last knee surgery I lost mobility. I can't bend that knee even to 90 degrees which is what you need to be able to get your legs under you to get up from a chair, or the toilet, or do stairs. I depend on this injured knee - but possibly with the knee replacment I will lose mobility in it too. Right now I have it straight to walk on it so all that getting up from chairs I need things to grab onto and pull myself up. I COULD say "I'm injured" so I'll just wait until things get better..... stay in my box, but I have no idea what is ahead. There is no guarentee that I will be able to do any more than what I can do now. So this afternoon I am going kayaking. Surprised? We had to find a launch site that I could access. I had to find a "sit-upon" style that I didn't have to bend my leg to get in and out of. I need help to get out or I will be sitting in that kayak or rolling out into the water and have to problem solve how to get out of the water stepping on uneven rocks... which my knee won't do..... I have to limit my time on the water and just in case my knee gives out I'll have to have my crutches available to get back to the car. Lots of problems solving and thinking ahead... but I would not be doing any of this by saying "I can't". Instead asking myself "how CAN I?"
I know I used to be resistant. I would roll my eyes. Argue. Change the subject. I can imagine if you are sitting with a problem you are probably resistant to to the well meaning people tring to problem solve for you, whether it is a family member or doctor or therapist or friend. It may be looking at ways to eat so that you won't die of a heat attack... of ways to cut down your living expenses so that you can afford to retire.... or how you can practice getting up and down from the floor so that you can stay living in your own home unafraid of falling.... or how you can attend an event or get a job or just be more comfortable in your clothes or being in public or playing with your grandkids... but I hope you think about, today what small choice you CAN make.
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