On Struggling with Food and Intuitive Eating.

I’ve struggled with food for a long time.  I was a healthy-weight kid until about 4th grade. I ended up being put into a “gifted and talented” program  (G & T)(Note: I don’t think I’m gifted and talented over the average person. This is just what the program was called. Also of note: I hated every second of this program and will never place any of my children in one. I don’t blame my parents though. They did what they thought would be right for me.) at that time and it necessitated me moving from the elementary school within walking distance of my home to one across town.  With the stress of moving to a new school, spending extra time on a bus, being uprooted from many of my friends, and being thrust into the social dynamic of the G&T program along with the extra academic work involved, I became depressed and began to eat emotionally. Looking back, I can see that that is really where my issues with food and disordered eating began.

In reality, I wasn’t nearly as ginormous as my mind told me I was (and never have been since), but ever since that time I have considered myself “the fat one.” I’ve tried quite a few diets. Weightwatchers (multiple times), classic calorie counting, South Beach and, most recently – Paleo.

Now, I never really thought I was someone who had disordered eating. Eating disorders tend to be associated with anorexia and bulimia and I have neither of those. I always just figured I had a lack of willpower, and needed to force myself to eat what I “should” eat in the “proper” portions.  I’ve been in the vicious deprivation cycle for at least 15 years. Go on a diet, be “good” for a few weeks (or months), feel deprived – but noble, lose weight…and eventually it all falls apart. I end up binging on things I don’t even like in what they call “last supper” eating because I told myself I couldn’t have them, and I better get my fill of them now before I go back to being “good!” I would “closet eat” – sneaking snacks when noone could see me. Being embarassed to order at restaurants because of the ludicrous idea that people were judging me because overweight people don’t deserve to eat. Or overweight people should only eat salads because they need to lose weight.  I’m using past tense here – but really we’re talking about last week. Not 3 years ago.

I’ve always seen people who, at least outwardly, appear to be able to eat without stress and been incredibly jealous.  Why do they get to just eat while I have to obsess about food in order to “control myself”?  Why is it so easy for them and so hard for me? Because my eating is disordered. I’ve spent so many years on the deprivation cycle that I have no idea how to honor my hunger. I eat alloted amounts because I tracked that much darnit and I’m going to get as much into me as I’m allowed. Or I’m going to order something that’s at least percieved to be more healthy even though I don’t really want it because I “should” – and then end up eating even more than I otherwise would have because what I ate didn’t satisfy my cravings.

I’ve recently come across a concept called Intuitive Eating (IE). I learned about it by reading a couple of my favorite blogs on my blogroll – Fitting It All In and A Dash of Meg.  Both Clare and Meghan have recently taken part in  Jamie of StudioEats 21 Day Intuitive Eating challenge. They’ve inspired me, so I signed up and picked up a copy of a book on Intuitive Eating (the book isn’t necessarily associated with the StudioEats challenge. I just picked it up to help facilitate my journey.)

So this is where I’m at. I want to be able to be one of those people who eats with ease. I don’t want to feel hungry. I’m exhausted.  Utterly exhausted by worrying about what I “should” eat.  I’m tired of being embarrassed by the food I eat and my weight.

So today, I’m going to start working on healing my relationship with food. It’s not going to be easy and I’m not expecting instant success. I discovered this morning that eating without distractions is HARD, and I have completely lost touch of my real hunger signals.  I’ve started a journal  – not tracking my food intake, but tracking my thoughts. Assessing my hunger levels as I eat. Making sure I actually WANT what I’m eating.

The challenge officially starts on April 1, but I don’t want to wait. I’ll blog about it as I go.  Here’s hoping I can break the cycle.





Friday Favorites

1) I got  a GREAT run with Boo earlier this week. Only one – but hey. I’ll take what I can get. Any tips on getting over being freaked-out about running in the dark? There are no streetlights or sidewalks in my neighborhood, and our street is pretty busy – so I really worry about Boo or myself getting hit. I have a headlamp…and I’m tempted to make Boo a doggie vest out of reflective tape and give it a shot (He needs reflective gear as much as I do). Hmm. Anyone have a favorite piece of reflective gear (for me or Boo?)

2) We’ve been working on some serious goal setting as a family lately. We’re setting career, financial and health goals for both our family as a whole and each of us personally and will be posting them in our kitchen along with positive action items to work toward achieving them.  On that note – Lululemon (yes, the activewear company) has a serious goal-setting culture – who knew? I found their vision/goal worksheet and have been using it as a template.

3) Speaking of Lululemon. Their manifesto is fabulous. I have it hanging by my desk at work (I’m talking about Lulu alot aren’t I? Believe it or not, I don’t own any of their activewear. I haven’t managed to spring for anything that expensive – though I would love to one of these days.)

4)  The Slight Edge. It’s a book about how doing the little things that are easy to do – but also easy not to do can really put you on the path to success. It’s a great book about ways to realistically achieve your dreams, regardless of who/where you are and what you do. I have a Kindle copy that I can loan out to anyone who wants to read it. Let me know!

Short list this week, but big things!

Have a great weekend – Beware the Ides of March! 🙂



Fitness Plan 3/4-10

It’s a snow day for many people here in MN, but I braved the nastiness and hauled my butt (and my Medela, my laptop and my lunch- ugh) to the train station this morning for a 2-hour commute into the office. I’m hoping the snow is light today so my evening commute isn’t awful.  I probably should have telecommuted. Hmm. Lesson learned.

Here’s this week’s workout plan. There are alot of Beachbody workouts here, I know – TurboFire and P90x, because that’s what we have at home. I’m on a workout DVD kick – and I don’t have a gym membership right now, so the only thing not done at home is my community ed Bodypump class on Sundays (the Zumba class got cancelled because not enough people signed up).

Monday: Off – it wasn’t really intended to be off, but I couldn’t muster the energy after my commute yesterday to do anything but fall asleep on the couch after dinner.

Tuesday:  HIIT workout – most likely TurboFire HIIT 15.  My day won’t be any shorter today, but I think I can swing 15 minutes.

Wednesday:  Off

Thursday: Mudderling Circuit from the Tough Mudder website. This is the easiest circuit workout (but not actually “easy” by any stretch of the imagination)- including only 3 rounds.

Friday: Fire 30

Saturday: Fire 55 EZ or P90x Core Synergistics. Core synergistics is my favorite P90x workout, so I’ll probably do that one…if we can find the P90X DVDs! They seem to have gotten lost in the shuffle of our basement repairs.

Sunday: Bodypump

What’s your workout plan this week?