from beneath the waves

jesusonwater1

Well, I honestly thought I was ready to move to another set of boundaries, apparently not. The “diet mentality” noise in my head reached deafening volumes about two weeks into the boundary shift. I know it had everything to do with eyes of my heart shifting from relying on the Lord to relying on the diet. I stepped out of the boat to walk on water with Jesus, but as we know, humans can’t walk on water in their own strength.

As soon as my inflated ego got in the way, I began to sink. Over analyzing every little thing I ate returned along with feeling the weight of taking back the responsibility of making my own transformation happen. It seemed all I thought about was food and exercise and weight.

Then, I broke the boundary… and broke it again… and again…. and the hours of fruitless research returned. I would find myself googling and reading about all kinds of diet plans, supplements, and exercise programs. Finally, I started through books in my own library that I’ve read over and over.

UGH!

The  noise of “diet mentality” running amuck is horrible and dare I say, torturous! And trying to control my weight and flesh desires is exhausting (and futile). I’m glad I kept up with the practice of renewing my mind but I was so bombarded I felt frozen in my old pattern of behavior.

When I awoke from falling asleep on the sofa after downing an entire bag of snack size Almond Joy, I knew I wasn’t ready for “walking on water” when it came to my food boundaries. Pride is still very much alive in my flesh. I really hate admitting defeat, but I needed to humble myself and cry out to the Lord for help.

Fortunately, on the timeline of my journey, this will be seen as a tiny blip, hardly significant in the realm of damages, but a very significant turning point for me.

One really positive result from this was a re-reading of Lisa Bevere’s You are Not What You Weigh and Sharon Hersh’s The Last Addiction (which I’m still in the middle of). Ironically, reading them again, I came away with an entirely different message which has dropped another layer of scales from my eyes and shifted my focus even more intently to the Lord. I hope to post more about this soon.

I did return to Weight Watcher points as my boundary line, and much of the diet noise dissipated almost immediately. I still have to renew my mind about keeping my boundaries, but it isn’t like having a screaming banshee in my ear all day long. Obviously, clear boundary lines that allow for “real life” are better for me right now.

If you find yourself slipping beneath the waves, cry out to Jesus and then grasp His waiting hand. Don’t let it go on simply because you feel powerless to change… admitting your powerlessness is pivotal to tapping into the unfathomable power of the Almighty.

Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. ~ 2 Corinthians 12:8-10 (NIV)

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why most will keep dieting

If intuitive eating is so great, why will most keep dieting? A comment on a forum I participate on prompted me to ask this question.

First of all, I’m not sure anyone has claimed that intuitive eating will magically make all your problems disappear. In fact, if you’re expecting that throwing diet mentality out will mean your life becomes problem-free, well, you may be delusional. Just read my last post. The irony is, many people believe that being a certain weight will “fix them”. They believe they will finally start living when the scale says what they want it to. I can attest that this is completely ridiculous. I actually think I was more miserable when I was at goal weight because I now had to maintain it… doing what I was doing before… dieting. If you diet to reach your goals, you have to continue dieting to hold onto them.

So, why isn’t everyone doing IE? I think that’s really simple. For one, many don’t believe it will work. I can’t even begin to list all the reasons someone might not believe it, but I know I was one of those people years ago when I first read about “dumping diets”. We’ve been so ingrained to mistrust our bodies (much like we’ve been indoctrinated to believe that “milk does the body good”). I thought that only lucky people ate intuitively and I certainly didn’t believe I could undo the damage I had done with years of dieting.

The second reason I think everyone isn’t doing IE is because it’s hard. It sounds really simple, but it’s not. It involves exercising your faith in something you can’t physically see. Diets parade “testimonials” as tangible evidence that they work. People who eat intuitively aren’t usually broadcasting it because, well… it’s just what they do. Their lives don’t revolve around food and weight so they aren’t walking about going “I’ve lost so much weight”. In fact, the people I’ve known in real life who lost a lot of weight doing IE, I thought they were just some of the lucky ones who were naturally thin… until one day I brought up dieting and they said they had stopped doing that to themselves.

Eating intuitively is also difficult because it requires the veteran dieter to throw out old belief systems (diet mentality). Throwing out beliefs isn’t like getting rid of garbage, it’s like performing surgery on yourself. It also requires behavioral changes. Because I spent years obsessing about food and weight, it takes a conscious effort to change my thought processes. Not only that, because I’ve ignored my body’s signals by trying to force change on myself from the outside in (diets are external forces), I have to focus really hard to hear what my body is saying from the inside out. We’ve heard the saying, “It’s what’s on the inside that counts.” Well, intuitive eating is dependent on what’s on the inside to work. Unfortunately, most of us are so focused on the external that we can’t hear the internal.

The third reason is the most difficult to swallow. Beginning IE doesn’t guarantee weightloss. Yikes. Since this is the goal of dieters (because remember they are focused on the external, and thin means happy), it is almost guaranteed that they will freak out if they gain weight in the beginning. This weight gain can really challenge the resolve to give up diet mentality, and generally, it is way too much for the dieter to take. So they quit. I quit twice in the past when I attempted to give up dieting. This time I’m not quitting. And guess what, I’ve made it past the gain phase. No, I’m not weighing, but my clothes are telling me that I have definitely stopped gaining weight (and I had chocolate cake last night). In fact, right now my pj pants may even be saying I’ve started losing weight. However, this isn’t the focus of IE and most dieters can’t let go of that.

And lastly, diets are addicting. I still remember my best weightloss week with visions of grandeur and pride. I “was so good” and I lost a whopping 13 pounds… in one week. Of course, I’ve regained that 13 pounds and more… many times. If you’ve dieted, you know the giddy feeling you get when you start a diet. There’s so much hope wrapped up in that “new beginning”…. “this time will be it, this time I’ll lose the weight for good.” You feel a sense of pride in “controlling” yourself. You feel pride in that massive workout burn. You crave the attention of people noticing you’ve lost weight. Your entire identity may be wrapped up in the weight loss scene. It’s who you are… it was who I was. I was a dieting diva.

So, if IE is so difficult, why do it? Freedom. I want to be free at last.

stay calm, StAy CaLm, STAY CALM!

I’m having an “I feel ginormous day”. Today I feel like humpty dumpty… waddle, waddle… and I’m doing everything I can not to “fall off the wall” and right back into a diet. I’m fighting diet thoughts BIG TIME. I even thought about stepping on the scale – which hasn’t crossed my mind lately. Part of me wants to see the number in the hopes that it’s not as bad as I fear it is. Either way though, if it’s not as bad as I fear… I’ll still be angry with the number. And if it is as bad as I think… oh Lord, have mercy.

((Panic))

I’m trying to tell myself to “stay calm!” I just want something positive about this process to pop into my head right now. I think, “well, isn’t it nice to eat what you want?” And then I yell, “NO!”

I had an allergic reaction last night to something I ate. I don’t know what I reacted to, and now I can’t eat anything I had last night until I figure out which item was the offender. Maybe the allergic reaction is what’s setting off this panic feeling. Maybe that’s what has me questioning everything.

My PJ pants are tighter and I want to have a mini temper tantrum in the middle of the floor.

Then I go to the coffee maker and the Husband has left a note beside it saying, “it’s not working again.” NOOOOOOOOOO! Seemingly small, but wouldn’t you know the thought, “well, you shouldn’t be drinking coffee anyway” pops into my head. Seriously, could the diet police just shut up for a moment. This is why we need to tell our kids, “Oh be careful little eyes what you read.” Every diet book, blog, article I’ve ever read is flooding my mind at the moment.

StAy CaLm!

But I can’t stay calm because negative thoughts are pelting me. I feel like I’m in the middle of a storm. I’m getting tossed about the boat like a rag doll. I picture Truman trying to escape the dome of his fake life. The show’s director says, “what actually disturbs you the most is that Truman actually prefers his cell.” Do I actually prefer being a slave to diet mentality? Do I want to live the rest of my life chasing something so fleeting as a number on the scale? NO!

STAY CALM!

And then I’m reminded of another storm. The passengers in the boat are frightened. They are at the mercy of the waves overtaking them. They are powerless. Their doom is imminent… unless…

The disciples went and woke him [Jesus], saying, “Master, Master, we’re going to drown!” He got up and rebuked the wind and the raging waters; the storm subsided, and all was calm. (Luke 8:24)

Oh Lord, rebuke the storm that rages in my mind. Draw back the waves of discontent, distrust, and disbelief. Calm my spirit. (Psalm 42)

 

The DIEt Monster

One thing women all over the world have in common is the desire to be beautiful. We long to have someone treasure us. We want to believe we’re attractive. We dream of being someone’s princess. We like that “forsake all others” notion and want to be worth making that sacrifice for.

Unfortunately, there is something hell-bent on distorting it all. The DIEt Monster knows what we long for and he uses it to get us to turn on our own bodies. We starve ourselves, chronically diet, excessively exercise, undergo surgery, pluck this, shave that, push-up, suck in, color, polish, make-up… It’s no longer about “accentuating our positives” but rather about chasing that elusive image we have in our heads of the perfect woman. The problem? She doesn’t exist. She’s an airbrushed figment of mankind’s imagination. Striving to be her is like striving to be a unicorn. It’s a myth.

The DIEt Monster tells us we can’t be satisfied with our size. It tells us we can’t be trusted around food. It’s that voice in our head echoing every “expert”we’ve seen on TV or read about in books and magazines. He bombards our minds with those voices and before we know it we’re left with carrots and celery sticks to choose from…. and they must be organic too. He cycles fear through our mind that letting go of the diet books, diet apps, calorie counters, scales, weight-loss forums, and exercise regimes, will find us stuck in our bedroom, unable to fit through the door. He makes us question our worthiness of love if we gain weight. He praises us for losing weight, then turns around and mocks us saying it isn’t enough… pressing us to lose more.

I’ve got news for you (and me). For the DIEt Monster, it will never be enough… never. Even if we get to our goal weight with diets… if we don’t let go of the diet mentality… if we don’t kick the DIEt Monster out of our life… we’ll still be miserable. You see, happiness isn’t in a number on the scale or on a clothing label. Never has been, and no matter what the diets promise, it never will be.

Why do I keep harping on the diet mentality stuff? Because I believe it’s one of the first steps in moving on (First is admitting there’s a problem). Most “naturally thin” people aren’t that way because of genetics. I believe they don’t have a weight issue because they don’t consciously diet. They eat when they are hungry, and stop when they are full. They rarely eat for emotion sake and they never beat themselves up for what, when, or how much they eat. They simply don’t diet. The hard part for professional dieters is the letting go. We’ve bought into the lies of the DIEt Monster and letting them go is mighty hard. It’s a daily battle for a while. It’s a battle I’m in even as I type.

I woke up this morning craving fruit. I questioned whether this was me trying to start another diet, or perhaps feeling guilty for what I ate last night. I haven’t craved fruit in months and yet all I could think of was strawberries, blueberries, oranges…. etc. I didn’t want them because some diet said I should have them, I wanted them because my body was telling me fruit sounded good. I could imagine the juiciness and how it would taste. The DIEt Monster would have me believe that allowing donuts and pancakes and ((gasp))… coffee… would doom me to perpetual binging. Well, obviously this is simply not true. This morning I ate fruit. Just fruit. I ate it till I didn’t want anymore.

Now, I could suddenly think “I’m cured! My obsession is over!” While that is a tempting leap to make, I know that if I box myself in like that… and then I eat a bag of Sun Chips for lunch, I’ll be more likely to feel like a failure and I know I’ll question whether this process is such a good idea. I would be setting myself up to let that diet mentality back in. Instead, I’m choosing to look at this morning’s breakfast for what it was… breakfast – nothing more. Does it show progress, sure, I can admit that. However, I’m not putting pressure on myself to eat fruit tomorrow morning or a salad for lunch today. I’m simply saying, “I’ll eat what I want the next time I’m hungry”.

What I’m learning is that the DIEt Monster is a liar. While in the beginning it appeared he was right… that I would be totally out of control for as long as I “let go”… that is going by the wayside the more I truly let go of the diet mentality and stop judging myself for what I eat. I’m learning I can trust my body’s signals in this area. More importantly, I can trust the Creator of this body. I think the DIEt Monster is a bit angry I’ve kicked him out, but that’s ok with me because I don’t want him around anyway.

The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, till it overflows). John 10:10 (AMP)

Phases and Stages

I spent a lot of years in the “Diet Cycle Phase”. This is where a lot of American women live (some don’t even realize they live there). They cycle in and out of “diets”, “nutrition plans”, “workout regimes”… it’s like the hamster wheel. You think you’re moving forward, but eventually you realize the scenery hasn’t changed despite the passage of time. My more recent “diet” ventures championed the “in the name of health” banner. That seems to be the more popular version of dieting today… “getting healthy”. In fact, I’ve discovered that I can apply “diet mentality” to almost any way of eating.

What is diet mentality? Well, for me, it’s the notion that I must weigh/measure something in order to lose weight. It’s the thought process that says, “I can’t eat that… or I MUST eat this.” It’s the idea that I need some outside source to police me (diet plan, eating guidelines, scale, tape measure…etc). It’s also a mindset that absorbs a lot of brain power.

Yeah, I’ve spent a lot of years there.

Hanging out in this new space is proving to be unfamiliar territory. Oh sure, the familiar beckons at every turn. You don’t need to go far to read, see, or hear something about this nation’s obsession with body image and food. To stay the course certainly feels like swimming against the flow. Still, there are some who have navigated these waters. I mentioned them in this post if you want to read some of their books. While I do not agree with Geneen Roth on everything, I do find her detailed view of the four stages of “breaking free” to be quite helpful.

I am quite familiar with stages of recovery. I remember learning about and experiencing them when I went through bereavement classes and support groups years ago. Knowing that the stages are normal helps a person accept where they are in the process because they know it’s just a stage. The same is true for the stages associated with breaking free from dieting. Where am I? I think I’m somewhere between stage 2 and stage 3. I’m not fully in either one but I’m definitely seeing some of the benefits from stage three.

There is no set time to move through these stages. Of course, I do think I’m moving faster because I am rejecting diet mentality wholeheartedly. I’m refusing to let it sneak back in. This is probably the most difficult part for me. I’ve spent a lot of years thinking about dieting. It’s freed up some bandwidth in my head, which sometimes leaves me feeling a bit unsure of what to do with that space. I’ve been letting it rest mostly.

When we were really in the throes of grieving the death of our son, I remember someone asking one of the support group moderators how we should respond when someone asks, “how are you doing?” If you’ve been through the grief process, you know what a loaded question this can be. She told us to simply say, “I’m right on schedule.” If they require an explanation of such an unconventional response (the usual being “fine”). We can say, “I’m exactly where I should be in the grief process.” Of course, you can get even more specific if you want.

I used to ask the scale how I was doing, now I ask myself. My response? “I’m right on schedule.”

I’m going to leave you with this powerful video about “WEIGHT”.