Tuesday, July 03, 2007
For What It's Worth
Going back over yesterday's post, I feel a bit of a whiner -- poor me, Daddy forgot my birthday -- while all this death, disease, destruction and deception goes on in our world. But let's face it, this is a personal blog, not a newspaper column; I'm allowed to be selfish and self-absorbed here, since I usually don't allow myself to do it anywhere else.
No compulsive overeating yesterday, thank goodness. Making myself aware of what was going on really did let the air out of what could have been a really destructive turn in my progress.
I didn't want to believe it, but the IE writers are right -- this is hard work. One of my Internet IE friends worded it well when she described it as a kind of bell curve, where it starts out fairly easy when you're all full of optimism and zeal. Then the incline starts getting steeper as the real issues behind the eating start rearing their heads and the more challenging work begins. In addition, it's common to have a little weight gain at the beginning (me included) and I can see where this would be the easiest time to give up and go back to dieting, the old familiar solution to our problems.
This is the beginning of my third month. While I'm not happy about the pounds I gained from vacation, it's much less than I probably would have gained in a two-month-long eating free-for-all after falling off the diet bandwagon yet again. And I'm repeating myself here, but I've read everywhere that it's typical to gain a few pounds in the beginning of this process.
I think what's so hard about IE in comparison to dieting is that they operate in opposite directions. When you start a diet, most of them are geared to make you lose a big chunk of weight right away to get you motivated. In IE, the big results don't happen until much farther down the road -- a year, maybe even two or three! That's a long time for this generation of instant-gratification, I- want-it-all-now people that I belong to (Yes, I am Veruca Salt, at left.) I'm impatient and greedy and want to quickly invade and conquer. It's how I shop, it's how I drive, it's how I surf TV channels and clean my house. Give me the main gist of what you need to tell me, then move along so I can get to the next thing on my list. It's a hectic way to live, and I see almost everyone around me doing the same thing.
Then there's IE. It's like a crossing guard walking into the middle of the street making us STOP. IE forces us to slow down, turn off the noises and distractions around us and actually listen. We have to listen to our bodies to tell us when they're truly hungry and when they're satisfied. We have to stop and figure out the real motives behind our compulsive and emotional eating. We have to sit there with our feelings, learn that we can survive feeling them and don't need food to distract or numb them away. We are forced to step back from the jam-packed lives we've created for ourselves and become conscious beings. The pop culture junkie that I am, it makes me think of the Buffalo Springfield song "For What It's Worth" -- "It's time we stop, hey, what's that sound. Everybody look what's going down."
This doesn't feel like the best ringing endorsement for following Intuitive Eating. Some of you out there may be thinking, "Geez, who would want to do all this work and not see results for months, maybe even years?"
But that's if the only results you care about are the numbers on the scale. Earlier in this post I said IE and dieting work in opposite directions. There's another way that works, at least for me. It took about three years, but after all that dieting it really started to make me irrational and disordered. Doesn't it make sense that it might take a long time to reverse that damage and make me sane when it comes to food and my body? That seems worth it to me.