The Story Behind the Peace Lily

When choosing an image to represent my face book page, I knew I wanted something that could visually express what Intuitive Eating means to me.  It realized pretty quickly that it was the Peace Lily.

This was my choice for several reasons.  First, perhaps obviously, it was because of the name.  Intuitive Eating has given me a sense of inner peace that I never thought could be possible.  The Peace Lily’s name embodies that for me.

Secondly, as a living thing, the lily requires proper nourishment and care.  If given those elements, it will continue to grow and flourish.  As practicing Intuitive Eaters, we will continue to grow and expand in our learning; if we are able meet our bodies’ basic needs and learn to be gentle and kind to ourselves.

Finally, I chose this image for a more personal reason.  Several years ago a car accident took the lives of two of my family members.  As a gift of condolence my husband and I received a rock garden from some friends.  Unfortunately, the plants in that pot have all since died… all except for one; the Peace Lily.  That plant is now nearly 3 feet tall and stands proudly in my living room.  To me, this symbolizes strength and perseverance.  In order to discover the Intuitive Eater inside of you … you will also need to be strong and to persevere.  Remember, this journey is not a road of perfection.  It will take many detours along the way.  Sometimes you may feel as though you are not moving in the right direction.  Stay steady.  Be strong and continue on.  If you do, you will find what you seek.  Believe in yourself and you will achieve.

As one final note, I would like to share something special.  At the conclusion of my last support group, I shared the story of the peace lily.  About two weeks later, my plant bloomed for the first time in nearly four years.  To all of my ladies with whom I have shared tears, stories of joy, frustration and accomplishment… this is for you.  This is your message and my wish for each of you as you continue on your journey; internal peace, happiness and freedom.

Yours always,

Janine

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.

A lesson on self-acceptance (2/17/11)

So here, I am, still mulling over the fact that my jeans (no, not the skinny jeans, the jeans I wore 2 weeks ago) were way too tight yesterday.  Why?  Why were they tight and why do I care?  I ask myself these questions time and time again.  Why does it bother me so much?  I’ll tell you why… it ticks me off!  There I said it out loud for all to hear!!! I feel that I work very hard to stay in shape.  So why can’t I just eat what I want and have the body that I want?  It’s not fair!!  O.k., I’m done yelling now.   It’s true, that’s one point of view… it’s not fair and it makes me mad.

So now I have 2 choices, I can stay mad, feel bad about myself, tell myself how I don’t work hard enough, or don’t eat right… or I can try to change my thinking… While I exercise hard and try to eat right, I don’t always do what is best.  Hummm…. negative thinking, implies that I am gaining weight because I have been overeating.  O.k. I know, sometimes I use food for the wrong reasons.  I want my goal around food to be… “If I eat this food, will I feel better afterwards, physically?  Is this what I really need right now?”… and I am actively working on that one.   I know it’s going to take time, so I need to be patient with myself.  Yelling at myself has got me nowhere as of yet, so I now choose to be gentle with my psyche and give myself a break!  When it is possible for me to turn to something other than food when stressed, I will.  Until the day that I no longer automatically reach for food for comfort, I need to allow myself room to grow.  I will nurture that spirit because I have faith that this day will come.

So let’s get back to being mad.  I am mad because seemingly I can’t have what I want, that coveted long lean body.  So now I think, “Why do I want that so badly?  What is it going to give me that I don’t already have?  Is my husband going to love me more?  Will I become a better mom/friend?  How is this going to change me?  What will I gain?”  I may have more self-confidence… shopping is more fun.  Ok, two things.  Yeah, not ready to jump on the body bashing bandwagon just yet…I won’t be so self-conscious.  Oh now there is a thought.  “What exactly do I have to be self-conscious about anyway?  Do I have a great big booger hanging out of my nose?  A big piece of spinach in-between my front teeth?”  I don’t think so … I checked 😉  Being self-conscious about my weight implies there is something “wrong” with me.  I can walk and run and teach… I can do lots of things I never thought I would be able to do (yes, push-ups are still tough).   I am strong and have endurance.  I am proud of my physical accomplishments.  So what was my problem again?… oh yes, my thighs/butt.

When I had my dilemma yesterday, I wondered how my afternoon would have been different if I had just picked up a different pair of pants.  I wasn’t seeking the ones I put on, they just happened to be on top.  If I had put on another pair of pants instead, I never would have felt badly and I probably wouldn’t be sitting here looking at a sink full of dirty dishes writing this… So the pants told me that I gained weight; maybe, maybe not.  I did eat pizza several times over the last couple of days; not that there is anything wrong with pizza, but it was salty.  I am due for my period.  So there are 2 things that could cause me to retain fluid.  I have been exercising more than usual and I don’t think I have been drinking enough water; another reason to retain fluid.  Now, am I just sitting here making excuses?  I don’t think so.  I don’t think I have seriously been overeating, not enough to gain that much weight.

I have been exercising a ton, but not because I have to, but because I want to.  I am learning something new (teaching cycling) and enjoying it.  So, do I have an answer?  Not really, but what I do realize is that I don’t want to exercise any more than I currently am (every single part of me hurt this morning…but in a good way).  And I don’t want to start thinking about restricting my food intake.  So where does that leave me?  I know I am now in a place where I am happy (for the most part) about my nutrition/fitness choices.  They have been making me feel empowered and strong.  I choose to do things because I want to, not because I have to.  I am taking responsibility for my actions… if I ate chocolate, you can bet I enjoyed and savored every bit of it.  If I passed on the cookie, it was because I was full, not because I shouldn’t eat it; I know I can have it later if I want it.  So when I sat down and thought about all these things, I realized, at least for me anyway, mentally (and physically) I am in a much better place; happy with me, the here and now me.  And who knows, maybe those jeans did stay in the dryer too long…lol.  peace.

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