Archives for Overeating
Many of us think we have to repay anyone who says something nice or complimentary to us, to anyone who takes us to dinner, to anyone who pays attention or is kind in some other way (whether the kindness is genuine or ill-intentioned). We think we owe something beyond a heartfelt thank-you.
When I used to struggle and go through tough times, I didn't really know how to handle it. I didn't know what to do. Because what do you do during a painful situation? Years ago, I'd try to eat it away. I'd berate myself for having certain feelings and get even more upset. I'd withdraw and spend a lot of time on the couch, flipping channels and feeling empty. I'd also feel hopeless and helpless and alone. I'd feel restless and lost and very uncomfortable in my own body.
When you don't finish everything on your to-do list and more tasks keep piling up, try to be patient with yourself. When you look tired and your skin feels like sandpaper and you hate the way you look in everything, try to be patient with yourself. When you get easily distracted or can't make up your mind, try to be patient with yourself.
Yesterday, in this post, I shared three life-changing lessons I've learned about building a positive body image and practicing compassionate self-care. (I'm also hosting a book giveaway in honor of Weightless turning the big six, so be sure to check out that post.) Today, I'm sharing three more lessons I've learned throughout the years.
Instead of getting frustrated with our bodies, our reactions or our feelings, we can get curious. Instead of berating ourselves, we can dig deeper. We can explore why we're having certain emotions and reactions. We can scour our mistakes for lessons. We can examine what triggers our emotional overeating and what we really need instead. I love the concept of curiosity because it's a powerful way to engage with ourselves and our environment. When we're curious, we're more present. We're more open to learning. We get to know our needs. We get to know ourselves. We can use the information we learn to truly nourish ourselves.
This weekend I took out my journal and wrote a kind of letter to myself. I started with these words: I forgive myself... I wrote down the things I am ready to forgive myself for (and a few things I am not). Maybe you, too, want to focus on forgiveness, and write about what you're ready to let go.
My whole life I've leaned toward all-or-nothing thinking. Black or white. Binge or restrict. Terrible day or terrific. In my mind I was either the energizer bunny or a sloth. I was either beautiful or blah. And how could I be beautiful if I was only pretty sometimes? If I ate too much, I'd think F that, my diet is ruined! and pile on the extra helpings. I didn't ask myself if I really wanted more, if I genuinely wanted to enjoy extra bites. No. Instead, I was focused on the fact that tomorrow I'd need to be perfect. Tomorrow would be the day. The day I'd follow that diet flawlessly. And then in a week, a few weeks, when I lost some weight, I could finally start taking better care of myself. I could show my face at the gym. I could finally appreciate my body. I could feel better about myself.
I think one reason we have an unhealthy relationship with food and ourselves -- eating 'til we're uncomfortably stuffed, restricting ourselves, hurling insults, not practicing compassionate self-care -- is because of judgment. Specifically, we judge ourselves for all sorts of things. We judge our appearance. We judge our mistakes. We cling to shoulds that fuel self-judgment and keep us stuck. I should weigh less. I should wear a size 4. I should eat less. I should never eat dessert or pizza or pasta. I should be able to do this with zero help.
In the book It's Never Too Late to Be What You Might Have Been author BJ Gallagher shares stories of individuals who've achieved their hopes and dreams later in life. For instance, she talks about one couple, Arnold and Raine, who started hiking in their 60s. They've hiked in Alaska and all over California, among other places, and they've hiked up 10,000 to 12,000 feet.
Lately, I've been thinking about the meaning and mission of Weightless. I know that some of you have been reading my blog for a few years, others are new readers, maybe some have even stayed with me since the very beginning, November, 2009. The name "Weightless" was suggested by my close friend Jenny. I wanted something that conveyed my belief that our weight doesn't dictate our self-worth, that we're whole and good and enough regardless of the number on the scale and the food we eat, that we don't need to internalize our society's ridiculous infatuation with thinness. And so "Weightless" was born.