Monday, May 07, 2007

My IE Weekend

I really wanted to post yesterday, but I was just too freakin' tired from the weekend. While everything we did was fun, cramming that much into three days was just way too overwhelming and exhausting.

The IE went really well. On Friday we went to Kennywood Park and while I only rode a handful of rides, I took the opportunity to do a lot of reading. I re-read the "Normal Eating" book that I bought last summer, and this time I was so much more open to it than the last time I read it last summer. Back then I was still in the frame of mind that once I lost x amount of pounds that this would be a good way to do maintenance. I just wasn't ready. But now, I am definitely embracing it as something I can do now.

My emotional reaction to this, however, is interesting. Part of the time I'm excited. I feel so liberated by abandoning the diet mentality and feel like a huge burden has been taken off my shoulders. But then I'm gripped by anxiety. All I've known lately is the two ends of the eating spectrum -- obsessive restriction and compulsive overeating. I'm scared about entering new territory. I'm afraid to trust myself to eat "normally." I'm terrified of gaining tons of weight back without staying vigilant about calories and portions.

But over the weekend, in practice, the IE thing worked. I really paid attention and checked in throughout the day about how my body felt in regards to hunger. I looked at it as a learning experience to see how I felt in the different points in the hunger/satisfaction spectrum, and I saw each meal as an opportunity to figure out my satiety threshold -- the exact point where I'm not hungry, but I'm not stuffed. And even in that range there's the difference between satisfied and full; I figured out that I'm aiming for satisfied with snacks, while I want to go for the full feeling at meals.

I also found myself feeling anxiety when I reached "full" -- I guess you could compare it to driving your car up to the edge of a cliff and trying to get right to the precipice without falling off into oblivion. I kept worrying I was teetering and losing my balance, but I never reached the stuffed stage and crashed on the rocks below.

By the end of the weekend, however, the feelings that I wasn't stuffing down with food were definitely bubbling to the surface. I'm sure my exhaustion didn't help. But instead of giving myself a "break" and "treating" myself with food, I bobbed up and down on the emotional waves as they broke on the shore. In some cases I worked down to the core beliefs behind some of the feelings and figured out if they were rational or not. When it wasn't rational I tried to change my belief. And when I felt the feelings were genuine and not self-created, I rode them out.

By the end of the night I wound up crying a little, but it didn't last long, just a couple minutes. And I realized I felt so much better -- not happy, per se, but calmer. I'm realizing the anxiety that grips me is my body holding those feeling and emotional responses inside and not letting them out. And surprise -- the world doesn't end and I don't become an out of control psychopath if I let myself feel them.

Major progress.

I will post more later, because I've got lots more in my head that needs to get written out.


Beula said...

Golly Batman, this is important stuff. Will have to reread and think about all of it. What is name of "normal eating" book? You and Lynette seem to have seen the light at the end of the food tunnel. Very scary.

BigAssBelle said...

So happy to read of your weekend and your success in being real, feeling what you were feeling, crying as needed. I'll have to read this again in the morning to get a better view of what happened with you. I'm about cross-eyed right now. Happy it went well, tho.