Monday, May 14, 2007

Too Much

If you don't mind, I'm going to write out my IE work in my blog today. Here's the internal dialogue I had with myself this morning:

"I really screwed up this weekend. I blew it because I ate too much and didn't stop when I was satisfied. This IE thing is never going to work if I don't get my butt in gear. I haven't weighed myself and I just know I'm going to gain tons of weight. Because I ate so much this weekend I should really watch what I eat today and should really eat light."

Let's break this down, dissecting each irrational thought/belief and replace it with a more rational, reasonable one.

I really screwed up this weekend.
Being an intuitive eater is not about being perfect, so I can't have "screwed up."

I blew it because I ate too much and didn't stop when I was satisfied.
Each eating experience is a chance to learn about my body's responses and the mental processes going on around it.

This IE thing is never going to work if I don't get my butt in gear.
"Getting my butt in gear" is diet mentality rearing it's head. This IE thing will work if I have faith and patience in myself and my ability to access what my body needs. This is not going to happen overnight.

I haven't weighed myself and I just know I'm going to gain tons of weight.
More diet mentality. I am doing the right thing avoiding the scale. It does not define success or failure. I have to give IE a chance, and over time my body should naturally settle at a weight that's right for my body.

Because I ate so much this weekend I should really watch what I eat today and should really eat light.
Major diet mentality! I may have overeaten over the weekend, but if I keep on course with intuitive eating, my body will naturally compensate for this. Fiddling with this process by restricting and depriving myself will only backfire and lead to more rebound binge eating.

Now I just have to keep telling myself these things!

Yesterday was a great day with my Mom. We drove to Pittsburgh and hit a lot of cool places. Mom and I picked up vegetarian sandwiches at the Whole Foods deli and ate them in my car, people watching and chatting. Mom got the Mediterranean wrap with artichokes, green olives and feta cheese, while I got the grilled eggplant sandwich with spinach, mozzarella and sun dried tomatoes. I realized I could have been at the big resort buffet with my husband and his parents, where I would have been way too tempted to eat until I was stuffed and uncomfortable. While I did eat a lot throughout the day-- grazing on the cookies I bought at Whole Foods, trying samples at Sam's Club -- it wasn't a sit-down, secretive binge and was broken up by lots of walking around. At the end of the day I knew I had eaten more than I usually would have on a "normal" day, but I definitely ate less than I would have on one of my old binge days.

Later we went to Barnes & Noble and I checked out the IE books and found some new ones I never heard of, as well as some I've spotted online. I had one book tucked under my arm to buy and was skimming through another one when I stopped and realized I didn't need these books. I have a whole mini-library of disordered eating/IE books now; how much more can I possibly learn?

How many people out there have wound up eliminating one compulsion only to substitute it for another? The recovering alcoholic who starts gambling; the former smoker who becomes a sex addict; the abstinent compulsive overeater who becomes addicted to shopping. I have been wrapped up in the diet mentality, and now I'm becoming too absorbed in the IE literature.

I have definitely become very sensitive to this "too much" mentality, whether it's collecting too much clutter, watching too much TV, or eating too much food. It's so hard (at least for me and a lot of people I know) to find that right balance of moderation in our lives. I weigh myself too much; I'm too hard on myself; I depend too much on the validation and acceptance of others. How do you turn down the intensity of the "wants" in our lives?

I realize part of this recovery is not fixating on it too much! I need to get in touch not only with my body and it's range of hunger and fullness, but with my mind as well. If I didn't spend the majority of my free time thinking and reading about eating and food (whether it's binge eating, dieting or now intuitive eating), what would I really love to do?

The summer my grandfather died, my Grandma Kate taught me how to needlepoint, and a friend of hers taught me to cross stitch. Up until I adopted my daughter I produced a lot of lovely pieces, but since I became a mother that hobby has completely stopped. I have projects that I bought that are sitting in a Rubbermaid box waiting for me.

When I was a teenager I started writing a novel, which in time turned into a three-book trilogy. In college my senior project was writing a prequel to this epic that laid the groundwork for the story. Over the years I have rewritten and added portions to these books as I matured as both a writer and a person. But again, when I adopted Mabel, my fiction writing all but dried up except for a few short bursts here and there.

What if I took the energy that I've funneled into counting calories, calculating pounds lost and obsessing over food into one of these interests? Perhaps if I could get my mind back into something more creative and productive I could quit fretting over what I'm going to eat at my next meal and how I'm going to avoid the next binge.

Of course, again we come back to compulsions and "too much." I have to find a healthy balance here and not neglect the other priorities in my life. I can't cross stitch all afternoon and not get any housework done. I can't write all evening and neglect my family.

As for the IE work, while I don't want to fixate on it all day, I do have work I need to do in this area, and by spreading myself too thin I could run the risk of avoiding difficult issues that I need to resolve to achieve a healthy relationship with food and an acceptance of myself and my body.

Sounds pretty overwhelming, doesn't it? A little too much, perhaps? I think baby steps are in order, and in time it will all add up to a healthier, happier me.


Big Ass Belle said...

Andrea, I had the exact same experience this weekend right down to the thoughts. Mother's day brought Italian food in cream sauce and then sweets after and I all of those diety thoughts rose up and I smacked them down.

I've been noticing a big empty space in my life where all of that food-weight-diet obsession was. I'm not saying it's entirely gone, I have twinges, but it used to be a constant hum through my life. I think it's where all of the energy to sketch and write and paint and create went, to the diet obsession, such that I never managed to pursue those soul-nurturing activities I've always wanted to do but never found time.

I think we're on the right path, but it is very strange. I am grateful for your wisdom.

Beula said...

I think you are on the right path too. Normal eaters overeat on holidays. They don't obsess about it. They loosen their waistbands and take naps! Eat healthy today and don't get on the scale. Mark hasn't weighed himself in years. He thinks my weighing myself everyday is nuts. Is nuts. Great post.

Leah said...

Thank you for reminding me that when I overeat it is just a moment of my life rather than being being my life.

Tree Lover said...

I agree that you didn't need to buy those IE books. You obviously already understand IE very well. I'm very impressed by how you dissected your thoughts about your weekend.

And you're right that we have a tendency to replace one obsession with another. Working on my obsessive tendencies has been a big part of my IE journey. I found myself reading cookbooks for hours. I quit cold turkey once I realized that I was feeding my food obsession.

Jen said...

We didn't learn all of our bad eating habits overnight, and we won't learn how to eat in the fashion our bodies want us too overnight, either. Good job on going throught your irrational thoughts and countering them with rational ones. You're doing great--keep it up!

Jenny said...

You are a very wise lady and I am so glad I have found your blog via the Peaches and Cream forum...........thank you!