Thursday, July 8, 2010

What part of you are you feeding?

Today Jillian Michaels kicked my butt.  If you don't know who she is, I'll let you google her after you read this.  In brief, she is a (now famous) fitness trainer who made herself known through a popular reality t.v. show called "The Biggest Loser," in which contestants compete to get in the best shape and lose the most amount of weight (under constant supervision by a physician, pyschologist, and fitness trainers.)  I've watched a lot of the show, but as far as moving my body in a cardiovascular way or using weights, I'm afraid it is only watching that I've done for a long time.

Aside from my Yoga practice, I've been quite sedentary for about a year and half. I've spent a lot of time in quiet contemplation, cooking, playing around on the internet, and indulging in a big time waster (but guilty pleasure): t.v.  I also indulged in foods that were very unhealthy for me on all levels: mind, body, and spirit.  Let's just say that the whole lunch crew at Taco Bell knew me. By name. (Not joking.)

When I reflect on what part of myself I was "feeding" during that time, it becomes clear that I was satisfying a part of me that had felt starved or deprived for a very long time.  I was overeating junk food in excess to comfort my inner child. In fact, as a guilt-ridden parent often does, I let her run the show for most of the past 18 months.

I went to bed as late as I wanted to and slept in whenever I felt like it. (I should mention that I was a long-term unemployed individual - I wasn't blowing off any responsibilities, because I really did have very many.)  I ate whatever I felt like eating, whenever I felt like eating it. I had thrown responsible eating decision making into the wind and ate with reckless abandon.  If I felt like a brownie sundae at 11:00 pm on a weeknight, guess what I was off to fix for myself in that next moment.  I had no intention of working any of these indulgence off through physical exercise.

A little bit of my background may help to explain why I went to such extremes of indulgence.  I have had my share of the extreme opposite: deprivation. As a child, and even into my young adulthood, I experienced times where there was no or very little food available to me.  I had to scavenge to find something to eat and was often left feeling hungry, faint, and lethargic.  These early life experiences translated over the years into a dysfunctional relationship with food and with my body. 

There have been times when I've felt so stressed that I literally had to force myself to eat because I completely lacked an appetite and had no desire for food. Anxiety consumed me.  These times were very difficult, and it was only after 3 sessions with an AMAZING hypnotherapist by the name of Susan Gold (in San Mateo, CA), and a lot of soul searching that I eventually overcame this "eating disorder - not otherwise specified"- the actual diagnosis I was given through Kaiser Medical Foundation.

I declared during my third session: "I don't have an eating disorder. I am ordering my eating," meaning that I was making order of all of the clutter and puzzle pieces and was whole and healed.

It's been quite some time since that session, and only now am I beginning to make responsible and loving decisions around my body and food. I sometimes have to take a deep breath and stop myself when I notice thoughts (and words coming out of my mouth) of non-acceptance. I show myself love and compassion, as I would a dear friend. I try to understand why I am reaching for a certain food or craving something in particular.

I've limited fast food to one time per week, which is a major change.  I am eating fresh fruits and vegetables daily, and though I prefer to be completely vegetarian, for health reasons I have been cooking and enjoying lean meats and fish.  I am so blessed to work at a location that is also on a ranch where organic produce is grown, and I am often offered some to take home.  Having fresh food from the earth, from just down the road is something really special.

I won't tell you that I never eat sweets or that my diet is perfectly balanced, but it is getting healthier and healthier as time goes on, and most days, I do pretty well with making healthy decisions.

On top of that, I started the "30 Day Shred" DVD with Jillian Michaels. Day One was INCREDIBLY difficult for me, to say the least. The workout is only 20 minutes in length, but you are moving non-stop the entire time, and there are push-ups, crunches, jumping jacks, and more. I was literally so sore afterward that I had difficulty walking down the stairs.  But I know that this will get easier in time and that I am doing something great for my body.  This makes me feel good in my mind, and my spirit is also pleased.

If you've been putting something off for a while - especially something that is potentially very beneficial for you, instead of beating yourself up or thinking that you don't have the strength to change, please show yourself love, compassion, and understanding.

Investigate the source or motivation of your behavior, and ask yourself what you would need in order to motivate you into a healthier way of behaving.  Listen to your inner child (to an extent ☺) and your heart, and please reach out to others - friends, family, a therapist, a hypnotherapist, a minister - whoever you need in order to feel supported on your journey.

Know that you are already whole and well.

Debbie aka Sulilo

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