thin within: the diet rebel strikes

thinwithinI would love to say that I went through all 30 days without skipping one, but alas, that would not be real life. Today I didn’t do the lesson… I didn’t pay attention to my boundaries… Today I just didn’t care. I felt anxious off and on all day. I’m dealing with some emotions (my first born would be graduating in a few weeks if he were still with us)… and of course Mother’s Day is kind of a bittersweet time too. We’re down to one car right now because the old sedan just decided to quit on us… and the seventeen year old has his first shift at his new job tomorrow. The car shuffling is really inconvenient… not to mention the cost of fixing the broken one. I’m stressing a little over our end of semester co-op performances as well. And now I have to post that I just didn’t do the lesson. Totally trying not to feel like a failure at the moment.

I was planning to do the lesson. I even previewed it last night. Unfortunately, this morning I was also hit with the notion that some people might think I’m on another diet. I got some emails about dietary supplements too… seriously, could we just deal with one attack at a time? And, I seem to be still mulling over a conversation from the other day where a friend was doing a bit of diet talk. Rather than deal with this stuff the appropriate way (by applying truth), I let my “diet rebel” go on strike. I felt like I had to prove I wasn’t on a diet and my old behavior dictates I should throw all boundaries out the window. Of course, this doesn’t prove anything except that my mind is still going to a negative place.

I allowed anger over all the diet stuff. I ended up stamping my foot and declaring, “I am not on a diet. I am not focusing on weightloss”… at least I’m trying not to. Having boundaries doesn’t mean I’m on a diet. Diets are restrictive, harsh taskmasters. Godly boundaries are healthy, protective, and freeing. Of course, I should acknowledge that those who think Thin Within is “just another diet”, don’t get it. Let’s face it, if you’re a natural eater, you don’t understand the struggles of the unnatural eater, so any effort could be perceived as “diet mentality”. And, if you’re caught up in diet mentality, it is really difficult to relate to someone trying to break free from that cycle. Been there.

So, I allowed this to upset me and I ate for comfort on and off all day. I didn’t wait for hunger. I didn’t care when I stopped eating either. I just ignored it all.

Diets would tell me I need to “try harder”. The world would have me believe the answer is another diet (or to start over with an old one). The world’s diet mentality says I’m a failure. It says I’ll never lose the weight unless I “control” myself.

Well, the world is wrong people. Diets are not the answer… and waiting till you’re hungry to eat and stopping when you’ve had enough is NOT a diet. It is how natural intuitive eaters behave…. without trying! These people don’t restrict or count or care about the burn… they eat when they are hungry and stop when they are full. If they don’t like the taste of something, they don’t eat it. If they do like the taste of something, they enjoy it, but naturally stop when their body tells them to. There is a HUGE difference between this and dieting.

Will natural eating bring weightloss to someone who is carrying some extra weight… yes. Does losing weight mean I’m on a diet… No. Maybe, just maybe, it means my mind is healing. Maybe it means I am placing food in it’s proper place. Maybe it means I am learning new ways to cope.

Now, for someone who has abused their body with restriction (dieting/excessive exercise), this is something we have to relearn. We do have to be deliberate at first to tune in to what our bodies are telling us.

No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. ~ Hebrews 12:11 (NIV)

The difference is that we are listening to our internal cues and not external influences. We must lean on the Lord, not just for the strength to fight the mental battle… but to accept the grace that annihilates that voice of condemnation when we fall back into extreme behaviors (feast or famine). That grace allows us to stop the cycle. It allows us to recognize that being imperfect isn’t the end of the world.

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. ~ Galatians 6:9 (NIV)

God meets me right where I am, whether it’s on the mountaintop… or in the valley. He’s there to reassure me of His love. He’s there with the gift of grace. He’s there to encourage me to keep pressing on toward the goal… but in His strength, not mine.

No, this is not a diet. It’s so much better. It’s freedom.

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. ~ Galatians 5:1 (NIV)

So, I opened my “I deserve a donut” app. Ok, can I just say how much I love the title and that colorful donut image? 🙂 Anyway, I opened the app and chose “Failure Eating”. Why? because I want to make sure I don’t fall for “eating cause I messed up” tomorrow. I want to honor my boundaries of waiting for hunger and stopping at “enough”. Not because I am a diet-aholic, but because “I am an eagle, not a chicken!” Time to soar, ladies.

…but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. ~Isaiah 40:31 (NIV)




the noise is lessening

When I first started this journey, I didn’t have a set amount of time in my head, but after reading that some people expected to be “fixed” in a matter of a few weeks… or reading that some had been at it for years with little to no progress, I decided to come up with a time frame I would give the process to show progress.

I can’t remember if I’ve mentioned here that my plan became to give this process one month for every year that I spent as a diet-aholic… which comes out to 28 months. I vowed to give a true effort to change my perspective on diet mentality. I think, in the beginning at least, I thought this would be a fairly painless process. I mean, “Eat what you want” sounds fairly easy. However, it goes so much deeper than that. There are emotions and die-hard beliefs that need tackling… not to mention the negative self-talk that ran rampant over my days.

There have definitely been moments since I began this journey (again) in October/November, that I thought this was a huge mistake. I’ve posted about some of those struggles out here. This time, I’m really glad I decided to do things a little differently by giving myself a timeframe, continuing to learn about intuitive eating (mindful eating, hunger directed eating…etc), and participating in an online support group. Because, in those moments, when I was really being attacked by diet mentality… and I was really craving another diet, I could gently remind myself, “Jules, you made a commitment to 28 months of non-diet-related-healing – do you really want to go on another diet?” Every time, my answer is, “I choose to keep that commitment… and I do NOT want to go on another diet… I want freedom.” Then, I would go back to my “let it go” mantra… releasing those thoughts, emotions, and old behaviors… while replacing them with facts like:

“Diets don’t work”

“My body can be trusted”

“I am fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139)

Recently, I’ve begun to notice a really cool thing… the noise is lessening. It’s not gone, but it’s definitely quieter. What noise? Well, the berating noise, the food-rating noise, the guilt noise, the counting/tracking noise, the body-image noise, the food-list noise, the anxiety noise, the diet luring noise… I’ve even had a couple of days with… gasp… no noise. On those days, food was neutral and I didn’t think once about my size. Say what?!

Does this mean the journey is over – um, no. What it does mean is that I am healing. It means that only a few months in, progress is evident.

I’m excited to see what the next few months will bring.

“And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” ~ Romans 12:2

food related guilt

The forum I frequent has a lot of talk about “feeling guilty” over food. I know this is a topic I’ve addressed, but since it seems to come up so much with people new to intuitive eating (mindful eating, hunger directed eating… etc), I thought I would do another post on it.

I have some pretty strong feelings about the role guilt has played in my dieting career. It’s a process, but I’m trying to change my belief system in regard to food, one belief at a time. Guilt is a big one for women. It’s really quite sad that we spend so much mental/emotional energy beating ourselves up over what we put into our mouths. Feelings are so fickle and when we let them dictate whether we are “good” or “bad” when it comes to food, we will find ourselves on a rollercoaster ride with frightening repercussions.

I’m trying to remove any guilt associations from food or the act of eating food. Guilt serves in regard to morality. Unless you’re stealing food or killing for food, what, when, or how much you eat shouldn’t be a moral issue. I want guilt to prompt me that being rude to someone is wrong, and I should apologize. Yes, guilt does serve a moral purpose. But, in regard to eating more or less food, this should not be a guilt related issue. Associating guilt with food is a diet/health industry tactic, and it serves that industry very well (read: “makes them wealthy”).

Now, that doesn’t mean what, when, or how much you eat it isn’t a physical issue. We most certainly should acknowledge our physical beings in regard to food. So, rather than feeling “guilty” (moral or immoral), what I’m trying to do is associate the physical feelings with my actions. If I ask myself the right questions, and make a conscious choice to eat a particular item, or continue eating for whatever reason, then I am acknowledging my capability to make these decisions. Eating is as basic to human existence as breathing. Eating is necessary. Now distinguishing between guilt (which is unwarranted with food) and discomfort (which should be acknowledged) looks like this…

How Much I Ate:

Do I feel bad about the amount of food I ate because I think it was a perceptively large amount and it seems I should not eat that amount of food in one sitting no matter how hungry I am? OR Am I really feeling poorly because my stomach physically hurts (or is mildly uncomfortable) from eating past the point of satiety?

What I Ate:

Likewise, do I feel bad because I know that a particular food is laden with things that the health experts tell me aren’t good for me? Or perhaps because it’s on the “do not eat” side of the food list of any particular diet? – OR – Am I really feeling poorly because that particular food doesn’t sit well with me physically… it makes me feel physically ill… or it makes me feel physically sluggish?

When I Ate:

Do I feel bad that I waited too late to eat breakfast, or ate past a certain time in the evening because the gurus say I should eat breakfast by X time and stop eating by X time? – OR – Do I feel ravenous because I waited past the cues my body was giving me, or have trouble sleeping because my digestive system is working overtime while I’m laying in bed?

External Prodding vs. Internal Cues

If I’m placing an external “rule” on the amount I ate (or what I ate, or when I ate)… it’s unwarranted guilt. If I’m actually noticing how eating makes me feel physically, then I am acknowledging what nourishes/benefits me and what doesn’t. When natural intuitive eaters eat past the point of satiety, and they find themselves uncomfortable, but they don’t berate themselves over it. They make a mental note that their actions hurt them physically, and they move on (remember the “Let it go” theme?). Next time that situation arises, they remember the feeling and are more aware so they can make a conscientious choice to do whatever they want in regard to that food related instance.

Of course, ideally we should strive to eliminate guilt from the food equation; However, in the meantime, there are sooo many things we can learn from each eating encounter where guilt rears its head. First, maybe it roots out some of that diet mentality that’s lurking in the shadows. Second, it gives us the opportunity to reiterate to ourselves that food should never make us feel guilty. Third, it allows us the opportunity to explore why we were so hungry… how the food made us feel physically and maybe even emotionally… why we really want to keep eating even though we’re full (is it “last supper mentality?). If we dissect what all went down, we will discover all kinds of little nuggets that can serve to equip us to handle the next eating situation.

The more I pay attention to how a food makes me physically feel (immediately and even hours later), the more I realize what does nourish me and what doesn’t. BUT, if I attach guilt to it in anyway, it drowns out the natural intuitive eater within me and tacks up a list of “man-made” rules instead. If I do happen to eat past satiety (which does happen), I just say something like, “Ok, I feel this discomfort. I don’t really like how this feels, but I will recover. It is not the end of the world. It’s part of the healing process. What can I learn from it?” Then I move on as quickly as I can. Some days those condemning thoughts come back a few minutes later and I have to reassure myself all over again. But, the more I address the thoughts and feelings, the more able I am to head them off before they even get started.

Let’s keep guilt to moral issues and stop serving it up on our plates.

turned a corner: thyroid and adrenals

My last post on this was in fact titled, still feeling lousy most days. Well, I’ve definitely turned a corner. I am now having more good days than bad. The overwhelming fatigue is down to a manageable level. No, I’m not bounding with energy just yet, but the improvement is huge. I began taking care of my adrenals on January 13 (vitamins/rest), I started dessicated thyroid on January 20 and progesterone cream on February 9th. I’m only doing the cream during certain days of my cycle.

I’m currently in my third cycle since the discovery of these issues and I’m still temping. I saw an overall average temp increase of 0.47 degrees between cycle 1 and cycle 2. Cycle 3 has begun a bit odd, but that could be because I increased my thyroid dose. This morning I had my highest “pre-ovulation” temp since I began this journey. If it maintains this pattern it will be in the low end of “normal range” for pre-ovulation. Hooray!

Since I am also logging my sleep hours/times, I have noticed that if I get fewer than 7 hours of sleep, it is likely my temp will be affected negatively. If I do not have restful sleep (frequently waking, tossing), it probably won’t matter how many hours I get – my temp will reflect negatively. Also, being in bed by a certain hour seems to make it more likely that my temps will remain stable even if I am just under 7 hours. I set my alarm for the same time every morning whether I have to rise early or not. This way the temp is taken at the same time and I take my thyroid pills at the same time.

I was having frequent headaches, but those seem to have subsided for the most part since the addition of progesterone. I was concerned that they would come back during the days I’m off the cream, but other than a mild headache for two days during my period, I have had no other incident of headaches.

I haven’t exercised of late. I think I’ve felt rebellious about physical activity because it seems to trigger “diet mentality” for me still. I hope to try again this week since I’m feeling better. I need to associate physical activity with feeling good, and not with weight loss. Speaking of weight, I think my jeans may feel a little looser today. I’m choosing to believe that stopping my dieting ways is going to lead to healing in this area as well.

So, that’s the update so far. I’m going to wait to see what my post ovulation temps look like before I make any decisions about thyroid dose changes. For now, I’m feeling much more stable than before.

don’t it make my brown eyes blue

When I was a kid, I did not understand what Crystal Gayle meant when she sang, “don’t it make my brown eyes blue.” Of course, that’s the only part of the song I could remember, probably because I wanted blue eyes so bad. I would stare into the mirror and wish them to change. I know most girls have something they would love to change about themselves. I remember thinking, “What? What makes your brown eyes blue?” Yep, I wanted blue eyes… until I started thinking I was fat, and then I wanted to be skinny with blue eyes. I haven’t thought about wanting blue eyes for a while because I’m really ok with my brown ones. They are my favorite feature on my face in fact, but a recent meeting with a group of ladies brought that song back to mind. It wasn’t because I wanted blue eyes, it was because listening to them made my brown eyes blue.

I think I’ve reached a point where I simply cannot tolerate “diet talk”. During that meeting it was so overwhelming, I thought several times of excusing myself and not returning. I just sat and listened. What could I comment on? Nothing. I couldn’t join in with, “well, I’m doing diet such and such”. Why? Because I refuse to do a diet. Still, I was bombarded. There I sat, feeling quite fat and thinking, “gosh, I’m bigger than most of these ladies and they are dieting, maybe I should be to.” I couldn’t believe I was actually feeling guilty for not dieting. I also felt “left out” because I couldn’t do the diet talk routine. When a young lady said, “Of course I’m eating this cookie, I’m not worried about being good today,” my heart broke.

Being “good”. I used to say it too. I used to classify food as good and bad. If I was on my diet, I was “being good”. If I was off my diet, I was “being bad”. Thinking about it now it sounds absolutely ridiculous. Who made the diet industry the morality police anyway? Why on earth is it morally wrong to not follow some man-made version of “dietary 10 commandments”. Are we bowing at the altar of the diet god? I mean, we sang the praises of diets for years. We deemed ourselves “good” or “bad” based on how we followed their rules. We condemned ourselves when we “fell off the wagon” and ate a cookie (gasp). Our only redemption was to see the scale move down. That was our “little piece of heaven”. When we “failed” to be “good enough” and regained the weight, we flitted from one diet to another, looking for the one that would “save us” all over again. Yeah, dieting has become a religion in this country alright. I’m sorry to say I goose-stepped to their tune too.

I became so upset, that I have been in a funk for a few days now. I’ve grappled with the pull toward the diet life. The old voices that would berate me for not being thin enough, good enough, pretty enough, perfect enough… came back with a deafening roar. Just sitting in a room full of “restriction talk”, surrounded by celery sticks and carrots (because they didn’t want to “tempt” anyone), all I wanted to do was binge. I found myself “gasping for food” as Josie Spinardi calls it… even though I wasn’t actually the one restricting. So I did have a bit of a binge, but it was nothing like binges of the past. It was shorter, with far fewer bites, and I was able to identify what set it off and why… and stop it.

Progress? Yes, I think so.

emotional eating is “learned helplessness”

No one wants to feel “helpless”. We want to believe we are strong enough to handle any situation, and yet, we have a bad day and how do we cope? By stuffing our faces. One woman from a meeting I used to go to called it “getting fat at the problem”. We’re not confronting the person who hurt us. We’re not assessing the truth of the matter. And we’re certainly not solving anything. No, we’re self-destructing and wallowing in our little pit of helplessness.

I believe it was Josie Spinardi who said that people who use food to cope do so because they feel powerless to change their situation. So, instead of confronting, assessing, and solving the issue, they focus on “managing” their emotions. Most of the time this management involves an attempt to numb their feelings. Somewhere along their life, they learned that this is a fantastic way to avoid the unpleasantness of dealing with strong emotions. This is why it is called, “learned helplessness”. Now, if you fall into this category (like I did) this realization probably makes you want to cry into a bowl of Fruit Loops. But, my friend, that would be proving Josie’s point, now wouldn’t it?

The fact is, often times we are far from helpless to change our emotional state. We’ve just learned to stuff food in our mouths the moment we feel sad… or angry… or frustrated… or bored… or worried… or stressed… or hopeless… or rejected… or guilty… or betrayed… Yeah, that list could go on for a while. Now, if you’re hungry, by all means eat. But if you find that you’re eating for reasons other than hunger, odds are one of three things is happening:

  1. You’re still caught up in diet mentality and are bingeing as a result.
  2. You have some other unmet physical need (tired, thirsty, pain).
  3. You’ve learned to use food to cope with emotions.

Sounds simple doesn’t it? That’s because on paper it really is. Of course, once you start living the thing, it becomes a bit more complicated. We all know the feeling. Things are going along great. You’re eating when you’re hungry and stopping when you’ve had enough. You’re eating what you want and enjoying it. You can’t believe how free you feel. And then along comes Mr. Rain-on-your-parade. He could be anything from a strained relationship to the shock of filing taxes this year (yeah, still not over that one).

So, how do we combat this? Well, I’m glad you asked. So far, I’ve just been focused on neutralizing foods (giving myself permission to eat anything), ditching diet mentality, and of course dealing with the hypothyroid/adrenal fatigue stuff. Now I’m going to go after the emotional eating. I’m not going to tell myself that I’m not allowed to eat my emotions. Why? Because it’s all that “food rule” stuff that got me into this mess in the first place. No, I’m going to take a gentle approach of asking myself a series of questions… most of the time. If I don’t do it every time, that’s ok. I believe that if I can “learn” helplessness, then I can learn to react a different way with practice.

First, is to ask:

Are all my physical needs met?

If the answer is “no”, then I’ll ask what physical need do I have. Am I hungry? Am I tired? Am I in pain? Do I need affection? If the answer to any of these is “yes”, then I have something I can physically address. See, we’re already taking action instead of helplessly going to the pantry for that bag of potato chips.

If all my physical needs appear to be met, then first I need to confront by asking:

What is really bothering me?

Just face it head on. Sit for a minute and see what comes to mind. I am finding that I’m amazed by the pettiness of some of the things that bother me. I mean really, I’m wanting to eat because the dog won’t quit following me around the house? Of course, you also have to ask, is it really about the dog or that I’m feeling overwhelmed because I’ve overextended myself and now this dog is following me around as if to say, “me too, don’t forget to put me on your to-do list!” Whatever it is, acknowledge it. Confront it.

Next you’ll assess the situation by asking:

Is this something I can do something about now or in the future?

Let’s face it, sometimes the things that upset us are things that we cannot fix. Coming to grips with that should go a long way toward letting go of the things you cannot change or prevent… instead of helplessly stuffing your face over the fear that someday a tornado might tear down your house because you just saw on the news that it happened somewhere in the world. Yes, that’s ridiculous, but hopefully you get what I’m saying.

There are times, though, when you can do something about it. Either way, the next step is to try to solve the problem:

What can I do to make the situation better, or at least help me feel better about it?

Sometimes our problems can be solved tangibly. Like for instance, you can tell your friend that her joke hurt your feelings. She apologizes, you both cry (or laugh), and all is good. You can stop procrastinating and finish that report already. You can decide to buy fewer designer handbags so you can pay your electric bill next month. You can get out of bed on time so that you aren’t late to work… again. You can stop reading novels that scare you to death and keep you up half the night.

But what if the problem is simply… emotional? What if there isn’t a tangible action because it can’t be “solved” per say. Or maybe it’s going to take a bit to solve the issue. I’m really angry that Uncle Sam is taking such a huge chunk of my family’s hard earned money, but I can’t do anything about that in the short-term. So how do I deal with the anger?

One tactic is to make a list of things you enjoy doing, or things that will diffuse the emotion. Yeah, it’s a bit of a distraction. And sometimes it’s just another form of comforting yourself, but at least you aren’t “getting fat at it” right? You’re caring for yourself rather than self-destructing with a binge that will do far more harm than good. Here are some things I’m putting on my list:

  • Talk to God… and listen
  • Read my Bible
  • Read some of my IE books (these are helpful if I’m stressing over diet mentality)
  • Talk to the Husband
  • Call someone
  • Write a nice note to someone (email, snail mail)
  • Do something for someone else (it could be that we’ve gotten too busy navel gazing and need a new perspective)
  • Write how I’m feeling in my journal
  • Clean something (this really helps me when I’m feeling frustrated and anxious)
  • Pick something from the to-do list and finish it.
  • Work on my novel
  • Get creative (art, sewing…etc)
  • Go for a walk
  • Sweet talk the Husband into giving me a massage
  • Sleep (never underestimate the power of a nap – many times fatigue will make a problem seem worse than it really is)
  • Sit with the emotion. (this is where you just let yourself feel the emotion completely and then you let it go… like I did with chocolate cake – ha ha).

Now, you may have noticed that TV isn’t on this list. Well, there is a reason for that. I don’t want to replace emotional eating with distracted eating, and right now it is very difficult for me to watch TV without some kind of food type item. So, if I’m going to watch TV, I accept that food is probably going to come with it for now. That’s a different part of the process though, and a discussion for another day.

For today, I hope this has made you think a bit about the emotional side of why you eat when you aren’t hungry. I’ve been told that it helps to have these questions and the list of ideas nearby so we can address the emotions before we passively eat ourselves into a non-feeling stupor. I’ve written it in a journal I keep on my desk. I’ve even thought about drawing something on my hand for when I’m out – to remind me to check in with my emotions and make sure they aren’t driving me where I don’t want to go.

adrenals & thyroid: 14 days

I began treating my adrenals 14 days ago, and my thyroid 7 days ago. I’ve learned a couple of things in the last 14 days. My adrenals are affected negatively by ibuprofen and inadequate sleep. The morning after I had ibuprofen before bed, my basal body temperature plummeted. Now, this drop also coincided with what appears to be an ovulation shift in my chart, so it’s difficult to say how much of the drop was ibuprofen and how much was ovulation. I’ll keep an eye on this in the future. Secondly, the night I stayed up till about 4am the next morning (resulting in 3-4 hrs sleep), caused a dramatic drop in my basal body temperature that took two days to recover back into the previous range. Still, my temps are more stable than they were even with these interruptions. I’m currently reading Adrenal Fatigue: The 21st Century Stress Syndrome by James L. Wilson. I don’t expect this resource to alter my treatment, but so far it suggests I have had moderate to severe adrenal fatigue for quite some time (some symptoms since childhood).

Now, let’s talk about the current temperature range. Since I was charting my temps for a few days during this point in my previous cycle, I have something with which to compare the last 4 days. I only have 6 temps before our Disney vacation, and I didn’t temp while in Florida because I figured the lower altitude and change in climate would most certainly skew the numbers. Anyway, comparing an average of the last four days with this same point in my last cycle, I am showing a 1.25 degree average increase in my body temperature. This indicates an increase in my metabolic rate. Despite this increase, my body temperature is still too low overall. So, after six days at my initial thyroid glandular dose, I’m increasing from half a pill to a whole pill. I plan to maintain this dose for 7 days to evaluate it’s effectiveness.

Some symptoms that have improved in 14 days are:

  • The debilitating fatigue has become more manageable. While I still feel an overall “tired” feeling, I feel less like I’m fighting to stay awake most days. I had reached a point where any activity would zap everything. We’re talking worse than 1st trimester fatigue. The only reason I had any energy for Disney was probably due to the forced rest I had with a knee injury and then a nasty cold that hung on for over a week. Well, that and I had a lot of caffeine on that trip. I usually do de-caf everything. After our trip to Disney World, I was on the sofa for about 3 days straight… spent, exhausted, migraine. I would get some energy after dinner for a couple of hours, but then crash again.
  • Most days, I feel more up to accomplishing simple household tasks that require physical energy.
  • I felt like taking a walk yesterday… so I did. If I exercised before, I wouldn’t feel energized, I would feel like crashing afterward. I didn’t feel like crashing yesterday.
  • I feel less irritable, which is rather miraculous at this point in my cycle… well, I just snapped at two of my kids… so obviously I’m still somewhat irritable lol.
  • My cravings for certain foods have diminished even more. I believe this was already happening very slowly by eliminating diet mentality, but it seems to have sped up since starting treatment. The biggest difference has been not seeking out food for pain, fatigue, and boredom as much. I think sometimes I was eating to keep myself awake too. Generally this meant something that would give me a sugar spike. Overall, this has lessened significantly in the past few days.
  • More in control of my emotions.
  • I feel warmer. My hands, feet, and nose felt like ice most of the time. Mostly they are just “cool”, which is better than “icy”, but occasionally they’ve actually felt warm (without exercise).
  • I’ve had some really restful nights. Not every night has been, but more than usual. Last night wasn’t one of those nights, so I do feel tired right now. In fact, I could probably go back to sleep very easily.

That last bullet point just proves that this is a process… often a long process… toward healing. It can take anywhere from 6 months to 2 years to heal the adrenals. The fact that I’m having any marked improvement this early in the game is marvelous.

ghosts of diets past

January just wouldn’t be January without the diet frenzy. January must be to the diet industry what black Friday is to the retail industry. Well, we’re 19 days into January and no doubt some are probably still going strong. This post isn’t for the ones who think they are rocking their diet plan. This post is for those who, yet again, fell for the diet lure only to be chewed up and spit out already. This is to those who feel like a failure right now. Yes, I’m talking to you who has the chocolate smeared on your face this very moment. I’m talking to you who is online googling “diets don’t work” or “I hate dieting” or “what the heck is wrong with me”. I’m talking to the woman who wishes she could just eat like a normal person. I’m talking to the girl who fears being fat… the girl who hates being fat… the girl who thinks she’s fat… and the girl who wishes her mind would just “shut up” about her appearance already. I want each of you to hear me:

Dieting doesn’t work.

Today I started writing my “ghosts of diets past” story. This story is very private and I do not plan to share it out here. But I wanted to encourage you to take some time to write your own. Think back to the first time you even thought about dieting. Maybe start with an outline listing every diet you’ve ever tried, then go back and write in the story surrounding those decisions. What was going on in your life at the time? Where did you get the beliefs you have about food and dieting? Basically, take inventory of your diet history. Has it benefited you? Here are some of the diets I’ve tried over the years (in order of appearance):

  • eat as little as you can till you binge on chocolate
  • exercise as much as you can so you can binge on chocolate
  • Calorie counting (this one should be peppered between many of these as I tried it sooo many times)
  • Low fat, high carb
  • diabetic diet
  • Slim-Fast
  • Reduced calorie diabetic exchange program
  • Hydroxycut
  • Protein Power (high fat, low carb)
  • Body for Life (low fat, moderate carb)
  • a mix of Protein Power and Body for Life (high fat, moderate carb, with a binge day each week – did this one for 18 months)
  • The Schwarzbein Principle
  • 12,000 steps a day diet
  • South Beach
  • Weight Watchers (for like two weeks)
  • First Place (diabetic exchange again)
  • Protein Power (again)
  • First Place (tried it at home this time)
  • Weight Watchers (for almost 2 years this time)
  • Body Bugg (calories in/calories out)
  • Atkins (extremely high fat/low carb)
  • Weight Watchers (tried to go back)
  • 80/10/10 – Low fat, raw vegan
  • Weight Watchers (cooked vegan)
  • Raw vegan (again)
  • Calorie counting vegan
  • Macro/micro nutrient counting
  • Eat to Live
  • Vegan Weight Watchers (one last time)

These are the ones that I tried for a minimum of two weeks. There are others that didn’t last as long… Like the “S” diet. Never heard of that one? Well, it’s where you eat “clean” every day except days that start with the letter “S” (Saturday, Sunday, and Special). This doesn’t even account for the many exercise plans, gym memberships, diet books I read but didn’t try, and diet related supplements. This list covers a span of about 28 years. TWENTY EIGHT!! Um, yeah, I think I was addicted to dieting. I wasn’t even over weight through parts of that time frame either… but I always thought I could lose more. And if I was at what was considered “goal weight”, I didn’t know what to do with myself after being so diet focused for so long. The weight would return, and the cycle would continue.

Take a journey through your ghosts of diets past… If you aren’t convinced that diets aren’t the answer… then this post isn’t for you either 🙂 For those who are convinced, let’s break the cycle.

Disney on a diet… NOT!

I cannot even tell you how long I’ve wanted to take my kids to Disney World. Well, on Christmas morning we surprised them with news of this long awaited trip. They were floored. They truly thought we would never go… I mean, Disney ain’t cheap.  Anyway, we worked it out so we could do a Disney vacation, and it was so worth the wait!

One of the things we were interested in was trying different restaurants in the parks. I did all kinds of research on where were the best places to eat as a vegan. They do have a lot of options. The cast members were very accommodating too. Well, I started this whole “no more diets” thing after I’d done the initial research and booking of dinner reservations. We were going to make the kids stick to only vegan fare (as well as ourselves), but we decided that was the very “legalistic stuff” we kept saying we wouldn’t do in regard to our choice to avoid consuming animals. So, we told the kids they could choose whatever they wanted. We were on vacation. We ate what sounded good. Most of the time that was without meat, dairy, or butter… but sometimes… mmmmm, the “grey stuff” is delicious (got to have lunch at the Be Our Guest restaurant one day).

I could not believe the portion sizes at these places. HUGE. I think everyone ended up leaving food on their plate at least once. As the trip progressed, it became easier and easier not to “clean my plate”. Leaving food behind isn’t something I normally do, but I think learning how to is essential in the intuitive eating process.

Going on vacation… without a diet… without guilt over being off the diet… it’s something I never thought I would experience. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve been on vacation and was either resentfully restricting or out of control bingeing. This was simply… hungry… eat… reservation time… eat… ooo, those Olaf cake pops at Goofy’s Candy Store look tasty… eat… hot cocoa sounds good after sitting by the pool in the cold… drink. No guilt. No diet. Just enjoying the vacation and everything that came with it.

I definitely don’t miss vacation dieting (or binging). Oh, and a darling little girl visiting Hollywood Studios sang “Let it go” in the streets. So, precious, and a timely reminder that life is too short not to have cake on vacation.

support groups

One of the biggest difference makers this time in sticking with intuitive eating has been avoiding diet talk. However, the biggest difference maker has been connecting with people who genuinely want to break free from diets and eat according to the body’s cues. I found a forum started by the authors of the book, Intuitive Eating.

If you’re struggling with letting go of diet mentality, find someone or a group of someones going down that same path. I would love to start a local group, but the time isn’t right. So, I’m hanging out at the Intuitive Eating Community.