Sunday, October 3, 2010

That's the Difference....

Yesterday Mike and I were going to hike to dog lake. I went to put on a pair of pants that fit me last month, and they were way too tight with a muffin top. I didn't physically hyperventilate, but I instantly felt the panic start to rise up my throat. But before it even made it's way to my mouth to let out a terrified scream something happened...

But before I tell you what...

I'd like to introduce you to the voices in my head, along with principle 4 in the Intuitive Eating book. All these quotes are directly from the book, and if you are at all interested in trying this I highly recommend you pick it up! *I'd like to interject here that truly this principle can apply to anyone no matter what eating path they have chosen. Please don't stop reading just because you are not interested in Intuitive Eating! While some of what I'm about to share may only apply to an Intuitive Eater, I encourage you to pull from it what you find helpful and apply it to what you are doing.

"We have become a nation riddled with guilt about how we eat. Even non dieters experience eating angst. In a random survey of 2,075 adults, 45 percent said they feel guilty after eating foods they like! And nearly all of our clients also feel that way - guilty, guilty, guilty!"
- Page 112 Intuitive Eating

I have lived my life in a guilty state for probably the last 15 years or more! Guilty over the foods I eat, who I am, what I've done, who I had become, what I haven't done, etc. I think that is what draws me so much to this book and way of living. Is because I am tired. I am tired of feeling guilty all the time. I am tired of not liking who I am. I am tired of judging others and feeling judged. I don't think that is how God intended for me to spend my life, and I don't want to anymore. Principle 4 is about learning to hear, distinguish, and challenge if need be the voices in your head. It's about gaining freedom from the guilt - and I for one am ready!

The Food Police - "The Food Police is a strong voice that's developed through dieting. It's your inner judge and jury that determines if you are doing "good' or "bad." The Food Police is the sum of all your dieting and food rules. "  I have said it before, and I'll say it again, I believe that we do have to show some righteous judgement in this life. Some things really are just bad. Stealing from a bank - bad. Killing some one - bad. Wearing socks with flip flops - bad. ;) So at first, I struggled a little with this voice. But the more I thought about it and have listened for this voice, what I have heard is not righteous judgement coming from it. I have heard hurtful, spiteful, meanness! I have heard hate and loathing. I have heard unfair judgements and criticisms - all about myself, food, and my choices on food. This to me is the Food Police. And it's true - some of where it is coming from is made up of all the different "rules" I have learned through the years from the myriad of diets I have tried. I think every person's Food Police is going to look, sound, and be different. It is up to each of us to decide what that voice is, and to challenge the things it's telling us! The main point - this is typically not a nice voice. If someone in real life were saying these things, you would not listen, and not be around that person. So why do we continue to let said voice live inside us?

The Nutrition Informant - "The Nutrition Informant provides nutrition evidence to keep you in line with dieting. The Nutrition Informant voice may tell you to fastidiously count fat grams, or eat only fat-free foods, often in the name of health.... This voice colludes with the Food Police. It operates under the guise of health, but promoting an unconscious diet."  The interesting thing about this voice, is that it can be turned into an ally - The Nutrition Ally when the Food Police has been exiled. "The newly emerged Nutrition Ally is interested in healthy eating with no hidden agenda... One distinguishing factor between the Nutrition Ally and the Nutrition Informant is how you feel when you respond".

The Diet Rebel - "The voice of the Diet Rebel often bellows loudly in your head. It sounds angry and determined. Some of the things it may yell at you: "I'll show you, you think I should lose five lbs, huh - I'll put on ten!" or "Let's see how many cookies I can stuff in before mom comes home"." This voice is in direct rebellion to the Food Police and the Nutrition Informant. But it's not a healthy rebellion, and keeps me on the roller coaster of binging and over eating by trying to be defiant. However, this voice can also turn into an ally and become the Diet Ally. The Diet Ally - "Use the Diet Ally to help you protect your boundaries against anyone who invades your eating space. Use your mouth for words, instead of food in a direct but polite manner." (as I started to comment on the Dieting Rebel, this whole next piece just kind of came rolling out - I guess I needed to express myself) Eating is a very personal and individual thing. I think that we need to let each person do what they need to do and encourage them in the path that they have chosen. I'm finding that to be the case with this shift from dieting to intuitive eating. I have been feeling a little judged, but to be truthful, I have been judging too. I think the main reason I feel judged is because I know that I am now doing something so drastically different than what most of my readers and friends are, that my inner voice (maybe something along the lines of the Food Police) is telling me that because I'm doing something different, now people won't like my blog. My insecurities kicked in and before you know it, I've told myself all kinds of crazy stories. The truth? There may be some that don't like it, and will stop reading. But I believe that most of the people that read my blog, read it because of me. Not because of my fantastic knowledge of dieting, or food, or intuitive eating. But just because I'm being me and because they love me for me. Just as I have been feeling judged, I have also been a little pushy about sharing my excitement. Because now I found something that makes my heart sing, I want to share it! If I have left any comments or posted anything that has hurt some one's feelings - I'm sorry! That is not my intention. I am just going to do my thing on my blog, and encourage others to do theirs when I leave comments. This doesn't have to be about judgement, it can be about accepting each other right where we are at. Some of my friends don't get it. It's different and it scares them. The idea of not thinking of weight loss first or of not dieting or not getting on a scale at least once a day is inconceivable. And I've received some well meaning comments on my blog and off that have actually really hurt. This is where my Diet Ally comes in, and helps me find the voice to say this is my right to choose how I want to eat and live. And I'm okay with the fact that you don't get it. In fact, I'm not asking you to get it. I'm just asking you to love me for who I am, and I'll love you for who you are. My talking about it in life, and on my blog, is my way of processing what I'm learning and journaling about it. I'm not trying to push this on anyone. I know that I've left some over zealous comments, but I am really trying to rein those in and to just offer encouragement. Each of the blogs I read, or friends I speak with are different. And what works for one, is not going to work for another. I guess I would just like to throw out the challenge that we all just love each other for who we are. Accept that we each may make different choices, but that that is what makes this world so interesting! (Sorry, I guess my Diet Ally had more to say than I thought.) 

The Nurturer - "The Nurture's voice is soft and gentle and has the soothing quality that might be associated with the voice of a loving grandparent or best friend. It has the ability to reassure you that you're okay and that everything will turn out fine. It never scolds or pressures. It's not critical or judgmental. Instead, it is (or can be) the vehicle for most of the positive self-talk in your head". I find that this voice is really hard to hear. But this is also my favorite voice! This voice is kind - it's the me that wants so badly to treat others and myself with love and respect and tries to always look on the bright side!

The Food Anthropologist - "The Food Anthropologist is simply the neutral observer. This is the voice that makes observations without making judgment. It's a neutral voice that takes note of your thoughts and actions with respect to your food world, without an indictment." I also find that this voice is very quiet and often goes unheard. I have to try really hard to hear it, but I'm getting there. I love that there is no emotion tied to this voice. It's just - here are the cold hard facts. Take them as you will.  

The Intuitive Eater - "The Intuitive Eater speaks your gut reaction... The Intuitive Eater is a compilation of the positive voices of the Food Anthropologist, who is able to observe your eating behavior neutrally, and the Nurturer, who holds you with supportive statement to get you through the tough times, as well as the Rebel Ally and the Nutrition Ally." This is like all the happy voices rolled into one. Not there yet. :)  

Okay, so here is my interpretation of what all this means. I think it's your typical good vs. evil. On one side, you have the yucky mean voices. On the other side, you have your super positive - almost too "the world is happy" voices. You have the anthropologist in the middle - I look at him (why it's a "him" I don't know, just is) as the reality check. And when you can finally use all of them for good, that is when you have the Intuitive Eater voice driving. I know - now I sound REALLY crazy! :)

So let's go back to the tight pants. I pick them up and before I've even put them on, the Food Police "I bet those aren't going to fit, you've been eating so much crap, you've gained too much weight!" and the Nutrition Informant pipes in with "Yeah, I told you not to eat at Del Taco, but did you listen to me? NO! And then you just ate too much (stupid) and now (the Food Police chimes in here) you are too fat to fit in those pants, which never looked good on you any way, (Nutrition Informant finished with), you should have a salad for dinner!". I put the pants on, zip them up, look in the mirror and see the muffin top and my Food Police and Nutrition Informant start doing the polka because they are SO excited that they were right!! "See!! All this garbage about listening to your body - see where that has got you?! Just go back! GO back while you can (stupid)!"...

In the past, I would have been cowed and said "ok" with my head down and had salad. OR, my Diet Rebel would have kicked in and said "Oh yeah - well screw you guys - I'm going all the way since I've ruined things already! Hey Mike - let's order Domino's!".

But here is the difference... that's not me anymore! So within the same breath of those two knuckle heads doing the polka - the Nurturer and Anthropologist stepped in. And here is the cool part  - I HEARD THEM! The anthropologist said "This Intuitive Eating thing, while it may look like I have just fallen off the bandwagon, as I have with every other diet I've ever done, I haven't. Although I am eating foods that I know will not help me lose weight, and amounts of food some days that I know will not help me lose weight, I am hyper aware of my surroundings. Of my feelings. Of everything that is passing through my lips and how I feel about it. Although I am eating a lot - it is not mindless. It may not be calculated, but it is not mindless." And then the Nurturer chimed in with "And sweetie, that is the difference! You are taking time out for you and that is okay! It's okay that you've gained a little weight, because it won't be staying! You are being so brave and I'm so proud of you. I'm proud of the courage you are showing and I know that this weight will come off soon. Just keep being brave! These pants are uncomfortable, let's put something on that feels good and that we are comfortable in". So, I decided to listen to the later voices. I calmly changed my pants and went on a beautiful hike with my husband! Which was a whole other story to tell - so stop by tomorrow! :)

I hope the introduction to my voices as been entertaining and also informative. I hope it will help you identify your own voices. So often I read other blogs or talk to friends, who also belittle themselves and are so down on themselves, their choices, etc. If this is you, and you are in that place - I beg you to stop. To LOVE yourself! You are a good person and you deserve good things. Happy things, and a happy life! And if you have a voice that is telling you otherwise - please challenge it!!!

Fall in Utah - one of my favorite times!!



karen said...

I think I need to pick this book up ... as soon as I have more than 2 pennies to scrape together, of course. I gained yet again today on thee ol' evil scale of mine (it seems determined to stay hovering as close to 185 as it can get in spite of everything "right" I try to do) and proceeded to spend the next several hours kicking myself in the head and researching various diet plans -- some that I've previously tried but apparently not "hard enough", some that I've never even heard of before. What could have been and SHOULD have been a perfectly lovely day turned into a big pile of steamy poo.
I'm sick of it.

Ellen said...

You are so right...people do read your blog because of you. And you have so much to offer! It doesn't matter if the one reading is doing intuitive eating or not. We don't criticize one person for doing Atkins and another for doing SugarBusters, do we? No. And you are offering simple strategies that anyone can incorporate into any diet. Support is where it's at; thank goodess there are people in our lives that offer it, too.

Happy Fun Pants said...

Ditto to what Ellen said.

I just bought this book - although I think I have an older version than you. I'm looking forward to reading more of it...especially after reading this post.

Dandelion Design said...

I am proud of you for going on this non-diet journey. I am proud of you for truly listening to yourself. I know you once tended to listen to others more than yourself, and I glad to see the change. I am encouraged to see you becoming a strong, happy, healthy woman. Keep up the good work! Lots of Love to You.

Dan and Nicole Saldivar said...

I agree that this applies to all of us! Very informative and I can already identify the "voices" in myself. Thanks for sharing!

julielopez3 said...

good post Sam! One for saying what you are really feeling. I read your blog cause of you! I agree with Ellen, It doesn't matter what plan, or program people are doing on the blogs I read. Every one has something important that will hopefully help me on my journey!
Good Luck Sam! :)

Anonymous said...

I read for you, Sam and your voices are my voices. Way too recognizable. I will get to IE one day in my life. I am trying to do a little of both now, but the scale is still on lockdown.

One of the most important things to get out of this blog is - "It's different and it scares them." I think this would scare anybody that was overweight by 50 lbs or more. Is it a pipe dream? No, I don't think so. It will take a lot of self-awareness, which is something that not everyone is blessed with. EG - the co-worker who thinks they do the most work in the office, but really does the least...and the

Sam, this is a fantastic post and I think I need to print it and read it over and over again.