It’s all finally starting to click!! (6/8/11)

14 months ago I began a personal journey.  I read Intuitive Eating for the first time.  I was connected from page one!  I felt like this book was written using a window into my soul.  Everything made so much sense!  I was happy.  This was going to be my salvation… of course, for those of us who have spent years dieting; we have known many “salvations”.  But somehow, this one was going to be different.

At first, I was amazed how letting go of rules and judgments around food and eating gave me so much freedom.  Don’t misunderstand me; making peace with chocolate was terrifying!  And then there was the white bagel.  I mean really, a “white” bagel… who does that?  (Yes I know, very snobbish of me) … but I ate it, all of it, for 3 days, that was my afternoon snack, with a banana and peanut butter (sans salt of course… lighten up here people, I am poking fun of myself).  Anyway, this was something I would never “allow” myself to eat.  Well I did it, I enjoyed it, and I am now done with it.

This is how it started… I made some big realizations at the beginning, but things began to level off.  I felt as though I wasn’t progressing any further towards my goal of becoming an Intuitive Eater.  I was having periods of binging… not anywhere near what they used to be like, and if they happened, I did not beat myself up emotionally over it.  So it wasn’t all bad, but still I was frustrated.  I had read the book several times by now.  Conceptually, everything made sense… so why wasn’t I able to implement the principles?

I realized, although I understood what I needed to do, I wasn’t really allowing myself the experience.  I was still unsure and afraid, but until I lived the principles, these were just words on a page and had no real meaning for me.  I was afraid many things: of gaining weight, of accepting my ‘here and now’ body and I was afraid of being hungry.  I kept telling myself, this all makes sense, just take the leap of faith and go with it.  But it was hard.   Slowly, one at a time, I was able to overcome my fears.  And with each of these victories, I became more confident that I could overcome the rest.

I didn’t want to have anything to do with the scale.  I knew that mentally and physically I felt better, and for now that was enough.  Then came the day at the doctors; being the dutiful patient, I stepped on.  Before I could say don’t tell me, he uttered the number.  And do you know what?  At that moment, I realized the number didn’t matter!!  My doctor wasn’t concerned (it was 10lbs. heavier than a year ago).  He said he could tell by looking at me it was muscle.  I knew I had been training hard.  I felt good and the number didn’t matter!  Woo hoo!  Win #1

Then there was the first hot day of spring.  I knew that last year’s clothes would not be comfortable.  I needed to shop, but it was o.k.  This was the beginning of a new me.  I was tired of being uncomfortable and self-conscious in clothes that didn’t fit right.  I went to the store.  I ignored sizes and looked for things that I liked and made me feel good.  I found some great stuff and left the store feeling happy.  I know when I have an outfit that feels good I feel good.  I realized that day, like the scale, clothing sizes were just numbers.  They vary greatly from manufactures, styles and cuts.  I remembered a day I borrowed some clothing from a very “skinny” friend of mine.  The items she lent me were ‘larges’.  She told me as she handed them to me, these run small, I really don’t pay attention to sizes, I just but what fits and feels right.  I guess I should have paid more attention to her.  Win #2.

As a leftover from my dieting days, I was terrified of being hungry.   I began to realize, however, when I took the time to really figure out what I wanted to eat I was truly satisfied and ate less.  While I knew this to be true, I was also aware of my fear of becoming “too hungry”.   As a result, I would eat whatever was available when I became hungry.  One day, I really tried to figure out what I wanted to eat.  Nothing immediately came to mind… so I decided to wait a few minutes.  I thought, if I can get what I “really want”, I will be happier and more satisfied.  My deal with myself was 15 minutes.  If after that time, I still didn’t know what I wanted, I’d eat something.  Well sure enough, after about 10 minutes I knew what I wanted… pasta with stir-fried vegetables.  I knew it; I felt it and I cooked it.  It was awesome!!  I savored every bit of it and realized… I wasn’t going to overeat if I didn’t eat right away because I am more in tune to my body and I am more aware of my fullness cues.  I know I have unconditional permission to eat so I don’t have to be hungry and I don’t have to be afraid anymore.  Yeah win #3.

So bottom line… persevere, be patient and nurturing.  This is truly a journey that takes time.  Notice your discoveries along the way… for each of these are the building blocks of trust that you will need to take your next steps.  It can be done… you can do it.  Believe and you will.

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