Friday, January 04, 2008

Connecting to my feelings about food

Yesterday in my appointment with my therapist she asked me what I envisioned when I thought of when I connected to the part of me that wanted to be healthy and fit. I told her that I get so frustrated because what I really want is to just be "normal." She sort of poo-pooed that away, saying ... "Forget that, no one is normal. All women have body image issues of some sort." I was angry at her for her flippancy. So I stopped for a minute and then said, "What I am telling you is that inside my head, I have the idea that there are people out there who don't have to constantly think about what they are going to eat, when they are going to eat it, they don't think about food all the time, they can shop in any store they want." For me, normal means I don't have to battle with food and exercise issues every day of my life. I can work out every day and love it -- I don't have to worry about what people think about me when I'm at the gym, or have a constant feeling of "I can't do this. I'm too out of shape." The truth is ... I am not "normal" ... I am a compulsive overeater, and I will always have struggles with using food as something other than nutrition. I doesn't mean that I have to let it run my life, but I have to give up that pipe dream that I'm going to be "normal." And honestly, she's probably right, there are few people out there who really can just say they have NO food issues.

One of the reasons I chose "kindness" as my secondary "focus" word for the year, was because I am trying to learn to be kind to myself, including to my body. While kindness to others (when I pay attention to them) comes pretty easy for me, kindness to myself is so much more difficult. I am really hard on myself and that is something I want to work on. But I am also continuing to realize -- peeling the proverbial onion -- how little I have seen my own responsibility for myself. For all of my life I have sort of seen things as "take what you get." Whether it was my health or my happiness, even though I worked hard, I always sort of just lived life without much discipline or thought, never recognizing that part of being "lucky" in life was doing some work to prevent disease and unhappiness.

A friend sent me this in one of our New Year's exchanges. It was something she read elsewhere: If you (1) want to change, (2) decide to change, (3) learn how to change, (4) take action to change, (5) persist in your attempt to change, and (6) start again when you backslide, there's a very good chance that you will change in the ways you want.


Down in Sunny San Diego said...

As a fellow compulsive overeater, I can identify with those feelings of wanting to be a "normal" eater. I have found that the more I practice recovery and take action to take care of myself, the less the obsession is around food. In fact, I can say that around my binge foods, the obsession has been lifted. It didn't happen overnight, but it did happen.

erinsav said...

This is my first time reading your blog and I just wanted to let you know that you are doing a great job.

Recently I have realized that while I'm no longer using drugs and alcohol to try and change the way I'm feeling...I think I'm using food that way.

Since entering into addiction recovery I have gained A LOT of weight. A lot of that had to do with the fact that I had lost a lot of weight towards the end of my addiction but I'm way over my normal weight and feeling crappy about it.

I could identify with your writing and wanted to let you know.

Thank you