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Thursday, December 6, 2012

paradigm shifts a comin'

I have a bunch of posts that are half done and I apologize for not posting for a week.  Lately when I sit down to write I feel stilted and somewhat irritable and find myself up within a half hour.  I don't know if I am simply on computer overload after this fall, but I feel similarly about Facebook.  I spent so much time there as the campaign drew to a close and now I find I have almost an aversion to it.

But truthfully, I have been wholly preoccupied with a massive shift I feel coming inside me.  It's the kind of awareness that has been knocking on my door for a while, but when I open the door to find it I sigh and close the door and it patiently waits outside until it dares knock again.

Accept now it isn't knocking politely.  It is pounding with the urgency of someone stuck out in the cold in bare feet.  This time when I opened the door, it came barreling in, sat me down on the couch and said, "We need to talk."

I'm talking, of course, about my relationship to my body and what I eat.  Despite my wishes for it to be otherwise, we are currently involved in a dysfunctional relationship. 

Here's what it boils down to:  I have a really healthy, vegetarian diet.  Except that I also eat junk, and way too much of it, from time to time.  Or everyday.  I know I've talked about this before, emotional eating, feeling guilty about what I eat, struggling with the inevitable weight gain.  Sometimes it's an issue and sometimes it isn't. 

For whatever reason - be it the amount of stress in my life with Sandi in school, my overactive thyroid which truly does whisper in my ear that it is appropriate to eat a few fistfuls of chocolate chips while I make supper or that a second helping of ice cream is a sound diet choice, or just some funk that I'm in at this point in my life- I am struggling right now. 

I've had a lot of luck on Weight Watchers in the past and when I've tried to do it this fall I just feel cranky and caged and end up stringing together 2 good days followed by 2 awful days.  I don't want anyone telling me what I can and can't eat.  Except that with me at the healm deciding, I am choosing in ways that hurt me. The real issue for me at this point is beyond worry about my weight, and true concern about the damage I'm causing to my soul.  The "screw it, I will eat what I damn well please" is quickly followed by guilt,  self-loathing and eventually desperation.

I simply cannot do this to myself anymore. 

I am reading and researching a bunch about eating and food.  I have decided my issues are three fold: 1) what I eat, 2) how I eat and 3) how I feel the rest of the time.  It is true that certain foods have too much pull once I start eating them, yet it is also true that if I'm taking care of what is in my heart and not turning to food to do more than nourish and sustain, than having just one cup of ice cream or 1 cookie seems reasonable. 

What I find, though, is that I will go along just fine for a day or two and be eating responsibly and kindly to my body and then before I know it I am heading down that road toward destruction.  I need an inordinate amount of presence to not be operating on auto-pilot and, honestly, I'm not always sure I have the stomach for it. 

Who doesn't want to escape the moment when supper is burning, the kids are fighting, dirty lunchboxes litter your counter and a mountain of to-be-folded laundry teeters higher than you?

The three books that I have read lately and have really spoken to me are Geneen Roth's "Women, Food and God" (I have been re-reading this book over the past few years), Michael Pollen's "Food Rules" and, most recently, "The Kind Diet" by Alicia Silverstone.  I've also watched a bunch of documentaries about food, nutrition and the food industry and there is one resounding theme.

I need a new way of eating.

I want to be a clean, whole foods eater, possibly even a vegan (there is a lot of research out there about animal products, specifically dairy, feeding cancer cells) who doesn't consume a bunch of food made from factories (sugar-free products anyone?).   I want to eat the right amount for my body so that I can maintain a healthy body weight and not keep gaining a losing the same 10 pounds.  I want to cultivate a mindfulness that allows me to truly enjoy the food I'm eating, instead of making food a slave to my own emotional needs. 

I am trying to move slowly and with great awareness.  I am nervous to banish certain foods entirely or declare myself as anything because I am nervous about the potential backlash from my self-willed inner boss who will only wish to sabotage me.

I am tired of failing, of having good eating days and bad eating days.  I no longer wish to walk the tightrope of eating. I am exhausted from having my internal landscape be determined my what I put in my mouth.  I'm tired of feeling like I don't get a say in the whole thing and that I am just a puppet. 

Someone once said: "Take care of your body or else where will you live?"

My body is a temple right?  Not a punching bag or the central city dump?

I have been fasting a lot- 13 of the last 21 days.  It is hard, especially the first two days of each stint.  But it gives me such clarity and focus on how I feel that I am reluctant to give it up.  My return to eating after each fast has shown me just how much work I have to do.  Yet, I am officially tired of fasting now and am aware that I must face this issue down and dance with the tiger. 

Each Christmas I do a ton of baking.  I truly love it. I love the process- deciding what to make, buying the supplies, making a mess of my kitchen.  I love organizing tins and plates and delivering them to my neighbors and friends.  I am scared silly to use flour and sugar and butter to make anything right now.  I don't want to taint something I love with my misuse and abuse of food.  I haven't decided exactly how to handle this.  Yet I figure if the main thing that I am striving for is moderation, self-acceptance, kindness, gentleness and presence than if I can keep those things at the front of my awareness perhaps I will be able to still do what has always brought me great joy.

I've often wondered if part of my issue is that I deprieve myself so much that I am like an overfed starving person searching constanly for the freedom to just be without rigid rules or guidelines.  Yet, when you are as black and white a thinker as I am, rigitity brings comfort and security that I am, frankly, nervous without. 

I guess what I'm saying is that I am going to go for it.  I am going to pave a new way for myself but listening to myself - my true self, not the sabatoging voice that gets me into trouble time and again.  Yes, I'm terrified of failing and hurting myself all over again.  But I feel that there is this very wise, grounded part of me that knows and can show me the way.

It is just a flicker right now but I hope to give it some oxygen and watch it burst into flame.


Lise said...

Suzanne, nice post! I totally understand where your coming from! As for the baking, we have switched to stevia for sweetener (haven't done too much research on it though) and as for flour, we have gone mostly gluten free. We use a lot of oat flour, coconut flour, and almond flour. THere are many to choose from and they are easier on the digestive system. Some of them are also lower in carbs.

I've recently started a blog myself. Not a whole lot posted as of yet as I'm still trying to work out the glitches (categories and such). But feel free to visit... or msg me on fb if you have specific questions.

Good luck in finding what works for your body :)
~Be well

Christine Nichols said...

I understand and think the last piece for me is reeling in the chow downs. A LOT of this is tied to running so much and getting SO hungry. Fall has sent me into overdrive and part of it is just my natural response to winter approaching but the food choices I make are just not great sometimes. And much is complicated (or maybe simplified) by periomenopause. Just can't eat much and if I eat crud I feel horrible. Sometimes SO hungry then other times not hungry at all. It's effing awesome.

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