Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Moving from Darkness into the Light

This is something most people don't know about me.  There have been pretty dark moments in my life, and I chose to deal with them poorly.  My choices affected me for far too long, and I am choosing to break free.  I wish the same for you, so I share my story:

While I felt out of control with so many things in life, I took control of one thing I could:  my food.  I could control how much to eat.  When.  What.  It became a problem, and I was unhealthy in my habits.  I would push down the feelings of hunger all day long, and when it was finally dinner time, I would pick at my food, acting like I'd eaten all day, so I just wasn't hungry.  And the worst part was, I was great at hiding it, and my body responded by letting me lose muscle mass and holding onto the fat stores I had.

As a result of my eating disorder habits, and my ability to hide it, and my body's odd response, nobody ever really knew.  So there was nobody to stop me from my destructive tendencies.  And it ruined things for me.  I lost my ability to tell when I was hungry.  When I was full.  So I could restrict all day long and when I finally ate, I would eat and eat, not stopping until I was overly full.  It didn't take a lot to fill me up, mind you, but that is no way to fuel a body.  You wouldn't let your car run on fumes and only fill it up a tiny bit, would you?  Of course not.

I found, though, in order to let go of my destructive habits, and move on, I had to address the reasons I was holding on to them.  I had to get to the root of the problem.  Realize I was ruining my body, and for what?  For control over something?  I have control over every aspect of my life.  I realize that now.  That concept was foreign back when these habits began.

So, for me, I had to acknowledge the reasons behind my habits, let go of them, and choose to move forward.  That means, for me, with the eating disorder stuff, and being scale-obsessive, I cannot:  own a scale, count calories (even to be sure I am having "enough"), take diet pills, restrict my eating habits in any kind of strict diet where I have excuses not to eat (how my vegetarianism started).  I need to listen to my body.  But in my body's current state, that was almost impossible.

I had to teach myself what "hungry" felt like again.  I didn't have that sensor for so long, I thought I would never get it back.  So I would eat when I knew I should eat, wouldn't let myself fill up on water or coffee, and would eat small amounts over the course of the day.  And I had to learn to stop eating before I hit that "stuffed!!" feeling.  Another reason for the small meals through the day.

One of the best things that helped with that was something I read in a Yoga Journal, about food.  At the end of a proper meal, one's stomach should be 50% full of food, 25% full of water, with 25% room left.  With a stomach the size of a fist, that is really not a lot of food in one sitting.  But as it turns out, if it's healthy food, it sticks with you for a few hours, and it is an appropriate amount.  I have healthy snacks between meals if I need them, but this has been a very helpful guideline, and since following it, I am happy to report my sensors are back on.

And so, I step back into the light.  A person who can follow her body's cues again.  Eat when hungry.  Stop when I've eaten enough.  And I leave those poor habits behind.  Including the reasons I started restricting in the first place.  Those things have no place in my life.  Any.  More.  So, I hereby release them into the ether.  They've haunted me long enough.

Your journey may be different, but the same principles apply.  Find the reasons why you do what you do.  Work on those.  The rest will follow.  I promise.

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