Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Intuitive Eating update and hair surprise!

Hi everyone!
I hope that you're all having a fantastic Wednesday.  I had a bit of time so I wanted to write about my intuitive eating journey.  In short, it's going well.  Very well, actually. :)  I'm always hesitant to say anything in terms of my healing from disordered eating issues because I don't want to jinx it.  But, I think I owe it to myself and you guys to give you an update.

Basically, I've been doing exactly what I said I would be doing-- I'm eating what I want when I want... and it's making me feel great.  An important thing to note, however, is that I've had to try to sift through what my body wants and what my brain wants.

About seven years ago, at the height of my binge eating disorder, I visited a nutritionist who told me to eat intuitively, and to trust my body in telling me what and when it needs to be fed.  For the next few days I tried to practice what she had recommended and I ate three very big meals each day.  I figured, hey, it's breakfast/lunch/dinner time, I need to EAT.  The problem with that was that I wasn't actually listening to what my body wanted or my hunger cues-I was just eating at conventional meal times.  And I was eating big meals because I thought that it would help me break my abnormal relationship with food and control.  In the end, I gave up on 'intuitive eating' after only a few days (and a few added pounds) and went on to restrict and binge for years on end.

Looking back, I'm pretty sure I know what 'went wrong'.  After suffering from binge eating disorder for many years I had lost touch with my hunger cues and I had absolutely no trust in my body's signals.  So what I thought was Intuitive Eating was really not.

This time around intuitive eating has come to me much more naturally.  Very simply, I listen to my body's hunger cues and try to feed my body what it wants when it wants it.  The biggest difference is that now I actually trust my bodies signals.  I've gotten to the point at which I've lost interest in trying to force my body to be what it's not.  I'm not into restricting my eating so that I can be 3 pounds thinner (I don't know (and frankly don't care) what I weigh because I seized weighing!).  It's just not an option anymore.  Attempting to live in harmony with food is much nicer on my mind and my body, and a lot more fun!
Over the last few weeks I've found that if I eat a lot on one day, my body is naturally not as hungry the next day.  It's as simple as that.  My control issues with food intake have very much lessened because I have so much more trust in my body.  My body is a freaking machine; it knows what it's doing!  Who am I to let my crazy throw a monkey wrench into this well-oiled powerhouse?

This realization and trust is very slowly (but surely) transforming my relationship with my body and my food intake.  Now, I don't freak out as much If I eat tacos and dessert one night.  Because I know that it's not going to send me into a tailspin of eating crap food.  I trust that my body will want healthy good-for-me nutritious foods very soon and that my food intake will balance itself out to what my body needs (speaking caloric-ly and nutritious-ly).  What's more is that if I want to eat a couple of chocolates at 3 o'clock in the afternoon because my body wants it, I do!
One thing though, is that I sometimes really have to differentiate between what my body wants and what I think it wants.  Does my body really need to eat the entire bag of Milkyways?  Probably not!

The cherry on top, however, is that my relationship with my body is also on it's way to improving (which, again, I'm hesitant to report... since my body image is so up and down!).  Right now, I'm at a place in which I'm accepting my body for what it is.  Some days I feel fabulous, and other days I don't-- and that's O.K. because to accept my body for exactly what it is and how it looks (and aren't all bodies wondrous?!) is a huge step in the right direction.  Not to get all New Age-y on ya'll, but my body is my vessel, truly.  It carries me through life.  It's healthy.  It's strong.  And it's beautiful.

Btw... I got so tired of my hideous haircut that I got it cut short- TWICE!


Love u all!

So, tell me... 

Do you partake in intuitive eating?
Does it work well for you?
Got any questions for me?!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Guilt Gain

We should all take a note from this little kitten.

While trying-on/evaluating multiple pairs of jeans in my bathroom (a remnant of my ED behaviors that I haven’t yet kicked) and thinking to myself (The bathroom has always been somewhat of a sanctuary to me.  Just ask my Mother.  She’ll tell you about my childhood obsession of singing like Disney’s Arial in the bathroom for hours.  Hey, I thought I sounded amazing!), I concocted an interesting exercise:
The next time you see one of your friends, look at them carefully.  Can you tell what they ate for dinner last night?  Did they eat super-clean and healthy all day, or did they finish off a pizza and some cookies to boot?  Are their jeans more snug than the last time you saw them?  Does their face look fatter?
Okay.  So, did they look that different to you? Could you tell what they ate for dinner last night?  Probably not.  Unless you’re clairvoyant-- in which case, drop everything, go to the nearest gas station and buy yourself a lottery ticket ASAP.  You have now discovered your secret power of ESP!
The point of this exercise was to understand that the way we see ourselves, especially those of us with disordered eating thinking, is absolutely not the way that others view us.  Personally, I can always ‘see’ my weight gain if I have eaten pizza or a milkshake or something that is not exactly “healthy”.  What I mean is that the day after I eat junk food I can actually ‘feel’ and ‘see’ the fat that has grown on my body.  My jeans fit ‘differently’, my face has gotten ‘chubby’, my self-esteem takes a blow, and I start mentally yelling at myself for eating ‘bad’.
But, what if what I saw was a figment of my own imagination?  What if, really, my jeans all fit the same exact way as they did before and what I’m seeing as ‘weight gain’ is just a mental manifestation of my guilt about eating ‘unhealthy’? 
I believe that this is a very real phenomenon experienced by many people who suffer from disordered eating thoughts.  We are practically compelled to attach emotions to the consumption of food.  Eating ‘clean’= feeling ‘skinny/good’.  Eating ‘bad’= feeling ‘disgusting/unworthy’.
I suggest something radical: Next time you eat something that you deem unhealthy and begin to imagine the weight gain that is virtually materializing before your eyes, think of the exercise above.  Most likely, you were unable to figure out what other people had consumed and you probably could not see any weight difference either.  The same concept applies to you;  what you are seeing after eating ‘unhealthy’ is Guilt Gain, which is nothing at all, as it exists only in your mind.  Real weight gain takes more than a day or two.
I used this exercise today along with my mental exercises of complimenting my body for being ‘AWESOME and beautiful’ (This habit may or may not include dancing in front of the mirror-- but I don’t dance and tell!), and I can personally attest that it works.  I immediately felt better, at ease, and more in-tune with myself.
So, tell me....
Did you try the exercise?
What do you think?

Also... I often go back and edit my posts if I catch any mistakes.  When I do this, do my posts show up multiple times on your 'readers'?  


Friday, January 7, 2011


The past month or so I've been very inspired.  I want to do EVERYTHING.  All at once.  Amazingly, I keep  coming across and coming up with awesome opportunities.  However, the one thing that's hanging over my head and holding me back from taking everything else on is my thesis.

After many days and nights of contemplation and fruitful discussions with J, I decided to put everything else aside, and just focus on finishing my thesis.  I knew that if I did all of these things simultaneously, one of the multitude of things I was trying to accomplish would suffer, and I definitely did not want to 'half ass' anything.  This was a very difficult choice for me because I really do want to do it all.  I often aspire to be a "Yes Woman", and to have experiences in many different things.  We're only on this Earth once, right?  But, I know that once my thesis is out of the way, I can be free to take on anything else that I'm inspired to do.

Given that I decided to take on and FINISH such a big project meant that I had to get myself geared up.  Interestingly, I have a peculiar personality in which I jump into some things on a complete whim, but other things I have to practically coax myself into doing.  As a visual person, I decided to let my creative side emerge and help me put my goals and aspirations into a display that I could get motivation from every day.  Over a two day span I made this whimsical inspiration board:

Inspiring, right? ;)

I placed my inspiration board on the wall behind my work desk in "the cave" (my work/study area), and I can honestly say that it has indeed been very inspiring!

Last night, as I was browsing through one of my favorite blogs I came across a section on Filofax planners.  I am a big planner.  HUGE.  I love writing things down, making lists, updating calendars, etc.  In fact, one of my favorite things about the New Year as a child was getting a new wall calendar for my room (Although I guess I wasn't very much into variety, as the calendars always had one of three things: kittens, puppies, or tigers).  

Until this past year I always had my planner on me.  I would scribble little notes, put in stickers and sticky-notes, highlight important things, and doodle in the margins.  I was also able to check off things that I had completed.  I don't know if this is how the rest of the world is, but I get an actual jolt of joy that runs down my spine when I check something off a list.  It's fantastic.  
But, for Christmas last year, my Mom bought J and I iPhones, and I switched over most of my planning to my iCal.  I loved how I could sync my iCal on my phone with my Macbook iCal, and how I didn't have to carry around a bulgy planner.  However, gone were my doodles, my sticky notes, and my satisfaction for checking something off my To-Do List (I still try to do this by placing a typed 'X' by completed items on my iCal).
Back to the story... after reading the mentioned blogger's post about how wonderful real paper planners are, I gave into my temptations and scoured the internet for paper planners until 12:30 a.m.  I kept weighing the pros and cons of paper versus electronic planners and I finally decided that the only reason that I missed my paper planner was because I couldn't physically write or doodle anything in it.  What if I had some big inspiration, or if I wanted to stick a sticker somewhere?  No place to stick stickers and sticky notes?!  No place to highlight?!  BLASPHEMY!

So, before I went to bed I decided that I would keep my planning on my iCal and I would make a different notebook for inspirations and other things.  Voila!  Problem solved.

I found this journal in my library.  I have no idea who gave it to me, but I think I acquired it sometime during the wedding planning process.  For some reason I received multiple journals from various people who thought that it was the 'perfect' and most practical pre-wedding gift.  It is perfect, until you are gifted six journals within a year span! :)

I cut a lavender-colored sticky note into a few sections, decorated it with stickers, and made them into tabs.

The first tab is labeled "Aspirations".  This is where I write goals or challenges that I am taking on.

The second tab is labeled "Inspirations".  This tab will house anything from inspirational quotes, affirmations, pictures, and more.  This is also where I write what I am thankful for (ex: "I am so happy and grateful for having a healthy body that carries me through an exciting life.").

The third tab is labeled "Dreams".  This is where I record my dreams.  And if you knew of the crazy and vivid dreams that I have (even some that come TRUE), you would record them too! 

The fourth tab is labeled "Thoughts".  I'm not sure exactly what's going to go under this tab, but I'm always going to have thoughts, right? ;)

So, tell me...

Do you make inspiration boards or write in journals?

Are you as obsessed with planning as I am?  
Do you prefer to use a paper planner or an electronic one?

Finally, do you make New Year's resolutions?
I stopped making New Year's resolutions years ago.  Instead, I make resolutions year-round, and feel more genuine about them since they are on my own 'time' and not within the popular resolution-making period.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

I'm still alive!

Hi everyone!!  I apologize for the lack of posting lately.  I have gone into what I call "Grunge-Mode", as I am working fervently on my thesis.  The above is a very accurate depiction of what I look like about 80% of the time now.

Poor J!  Haha. =P


Monday, January 3, 2011

Time Shall Fix

I got a haircut this past wednesday.  I went home and immediately decided that I didn't like it and that it needed to be fixed--it needed more layers because it looked unbalanced.  I was pretty peeved.

Come Saturday I went in for a re-cut and told my stylist to cut some layers into my hair to balance it out.  The more she cut into it the worse it looked.  It got to a point that I just told her I liked it and to stop cutting.

Well.  My hair looks pretty shit.  As in, I have long hair, with this really choppy bob on top.  I have two hairstyles.  As if my hair couldn't decide if it wanted to be long or if it wanted to be short.

I was devastated.  But I had two options:

1.  Act rashly and cut all my hair off into a chin length bob.
2.  Act rationally and let the weird top layers grow out and have semi-normal hair in 3 months time.

After much contemplation I chose the latter.  I decided to either pull it back until it grows out or to style my hair curly--and when styled this way it's somewhat bearable.  I don't like it at all really, but what can I do?

This experience ties in nicely to my body image issues.  Sometimes I have bad days.  Days when I don't feel good about myself.  Days when all I see in the mirror is a girl who would be perfect if only she lost a few.  But obviously since she's sorta pudge, that lowers her worth.

But then I take a deep breath and remind myself that in time these negative feelings shall pass.  They always do.  My body has a happy weight and a positive mental state.  A place where I can eat and have FUN eating.  A place where food is a part of my life experience.  A place at which I have enough energy to work out and feel fantastic afterwards.  A place which my body obviously finds appealing, as if tries over and over again to get to that point.

So the days that I have negative thoughts and feelings of haste to resolve my current 'situation', I tell myself to just live it out.  Let it go.  Because chances are, a few days from now, I won't feel the same way.  And if I do, then I'll let a few more days go by and re-evaluate.

Time shall fix.