Saturday, March 15, 2008

What has Intuitive Eating done for me lately?

When I'm all caught up in the midst of repressing my emotions, I forget how good it feels once I've expressed them. The angry post, from the other day, seems to have been the signal to release the floodgates. And boy what a flood it was. Not quite Biblical proportions, but still sizable for all that.

I've talked Alaskaboy's ear off for the last few days. Also, very importantly, I've written letters to the recipients of my anger. I don't intend to send those letters anywhere, in fact I'll probably burn or shred them. However, it helped to really get out exactly what I was angry about.

The letters were less venomous than I thought they'd be, which shocked me. I assumed they'd be chock full of acidic hatred. There wasn't even any swearing! I did use phrases like: "You have no idea how much those words have hurt me over the years", "those things make me feel less than nothing", "Encourage, without criticising", and the biggies, "Tell me you love me, without me telling you first!", "Stop telling me to lose weight!" and "It's my life!"

Some of the things I came out with were a surprise. I didn't even know I was angry or hurt on those particular issues, or that those words had stuck in my brain. And stuck in my brain they were. A lot of the words I use to abuse myself, silently, while looking in the mirror--well, at any time of the day, really--are the very words other people have drummed into my head over the years. Even people I no longer think about consciously are there in my brain, all contributing to the chorus of self loathing.

The lancing of this pus-filled emotional abscess has made a huge difference in how I feel. The very next morning after writing the angry post, I got up and all of a sudden I remembered how to eat intuitively again. I didn't need to push the words down behind a mountain of food. By admitting that I needed to shelter behind the food, and accepting that it was okay for me to do so, prevented me from the diet mentality kickback that usually comes from a binge.

There's been no wallowing in "I'm so bad", "I suck" etc or "I neeeed to lose weight." There's been nothing but self acceptance. My inner self didn't receive the expected chastisement and all of a sudden, she's standing up straight...even venturing to skip a little, rather than huddling in the corner and crying. It wasn't until this week that I truly understood what was being said in both Overcoming Overeating and Intuitive Eating. Now I get it.

Binging is acceptable. As long as you accept that it's a coping mechanism, and the best one you have at that point in time.

And whatever you do, don't berate yourself for the binge. Hands up those of you that have said terrible criticisms, even seemingly slight ones, to yourself during or after a binge. How many? I know I have, innumerable times. The other year when I was first getting into IE, I was very good about accepting my binges, at least on the surface. This is the first one I've actually truly, deep down inside where it counts, accepted that it was all right for me to binge. That my emotions were too big and scary to cope with, so I coped the way that I knew would help me get through, until I was ready to deal with it. And that freedom helped me to completely let go of that binge once it was done.

LSED. Her. She tried to slip back into old ways both yesterday and today. I've visibly put on weight since coming back from Australia. She wanted me to get on the scales yesterday to see how much farther I'd set myself back. (Who gives a fuck how much? It'll come off eventually.) When that didn't work, she tried another tack. Shorts that I wore in Aus were too uncomfortably tight around the waist the other week. This morning, it was actually hot enough to want to wear shorts for my walk. LSED, suggested wearing THOSE shorts.

I knew those shorts wouldn't fit, because I've put on weight since I last tried them on. I didn't even get the shorts out of the drawer. I went with a thin, comfy pair of three-quarter length pants. I've put weight on since three days ago when I wore the same pants but in a different colour. This morning, my lower belly was sticking out very far in the pants. I swear, there could have been a basketball in those pants! And then it hit me. I'm due for my period this weekend. No wonder I'm so much bigger. Bloated up the wazoo! Can you imagine how devastated I would have been putting on those shorts and having them not even zip up?

You see how sneaky LSED is? Nothing is too underhanded in order to get me back on that diet mentality and focused on my weight rather than the real issues at hand.

Her? She's sulking. Me, I feel fabulous. I've expunged some of the anger I have to deal with. I'm sure there'll be more to come, but for now the pressure has eased off a little. And my walk this morning? I enjoyed more than I've enjoyed the walks for a long time. I was completely comfortable, I walked at a pace I was happy with, rather than pushing to the max BECAUSE I MUST LOSE WEIGHT. I've completed the dishes two days in a row, as well as cooking meals. I've even emailed replies that have been due for weeks now because I've been too down to have the energy to respond.

This! This is what eating intuitively does for me. It allows me to accept myself and live my life the way I want. And most importantly, it makes me happy.

What has it done for you?

1 Nibbles:

kathrynoh said...

Interesting. When I went to the shrink a few years ago she said to me that comfort eating shouldn't be seen as bad. When you're a kid and you don't get comfort elsewhere then it's actually a smart thing to find some way of comforting yourself. At least you're able to recognise that you need the comfort and that's the first step towards finding healthier ways to deal with it.