This article was contributed by Kisha; a member of the A Weigh Out Membership Circle…
Each year, along with much of the world, I have always formed my New Year’s resolutions. I have to admit that in the past most of them were about losing weight. Either I wanted to fit in a dress. Or maybe I said I would cut out all carbs. I’d use the exercise bike each day. Or, I’d stop eating after 7pm. I keep thinking about all those plans, and how I failed all of them. They always start out well. I resist sweets for a time. I do my best to get moving. Occasionally, I’ve even succeeded by getting into the dress and then wham, two weeks later and I’ve got the weight back. Then, the dress no longer fits. So, I’ve thought about it and I realize how silly those new year’s resolutions were.
Why are they silly?
Because they were no different than how I’d spent my year. I didn’t change my relationship with food. I didn’t change my relationship with my body. I didn’t change my relationship with movement. So, I didn’t change at all.
It was like having a bucket with holes and a swimming pool to fill up. And, all I did was say…well this time I’ll try harder to get to the swimming pool and pour the water in before it runs out.
Since I’ve been here — going on week 12 now — I’ve started to see recovery differently, even though the empowerment tool really didn’t sink in right away. Ellen talks about creating new pathways in the brain. Recovery wasn’t really ever a concept before. Before, I thought I was either out of control with my eating and my life or I would be perfect. Extremes, I know. It wasn’t that I thought I was perfect, but I certainly felt I should be, and the only reason things weren’t perfect was really because of my weight.
Very slowly over the past two weeks, I’ve felt like I’m starting to get glimpses of sunshine through the fog. I’ve noticed that practicing mindfulness and the other tools I’m learning here — even practicing and then ultimately binging or eating emotionally — is changing how I see myself and recovery.
Some of those ways…
In the past two weeks, I’ve not binged at all. I have eaten emotionally, but I didn’t feel out of control. I was able to pull away before I ate half of the small lemon cake. I was able to stop after five gingerbread cookies and one glass of soda — as opposed to the whole batch and the full 2 liter.
During less emotionally charged times, it’s weird but I’m beginning to taste my food more. Appreciate it and be satisfied(I didn’t even thing that was possible) — not even want more, even as I watch my relatives reach for extra helpings.
I’ve discovered that when I’m hungry, I crave foods differently than when I’m just eating out of emotions. With my emotions, I crave heavy fats and proteins and simple carbs. Anything that is powerful and flavorful enough to put me in a happy place. But, when I’m hungry….I’ve found myself craving other things…things I’d never binge on…like fish, salad, and even fruit. That doesn’t mean that I don’t like the heavier things or ever want them, but I’ve found that when I’m hungry, if I eat them, I’ll feel satisfied after a little bit. I’ve only twice in two weeks felt like a bottomless pit, and not really been able to figure out what I truly needed.
I’ve also moved my body more, but this is more difficult for me because I associate movement with dieting. But I have started yoga. In the fall they also have yoga classes at my campus and I’m hoping to sign up.
I’ve noticed that I’m taking better care of my body. I’m sleeping more normally.
I’ve felt more desire to do things that I used to do that I loved but got away from. And, I’m growing an orchid.
In the past, it seemed that all my hobbies — no, my life — blurred around food. Or distraction. Now I seem to be finding it again.
I’m in no way ‘there’ yet, and I don’t expect that there’s a destination. But I feel more alive than I have in a long time.
This year, I have no new year’s resolutions. I have daily resolutions. My life is new each day. Each day I will continue to work to be present for it.
Ellen Shuman is a Life Coach who specializes in empowering people who are working on emotional and binge eating recovery. She is the founder of A Weigh Out & Acoria Eating Disorder Treatment, Vice President of the Binge Eating Disorder Association (BEDA), and Co-Chair of the Academy for Eating Disorders Special Interest Group on “Health at Every Size”, firstname.lastname@example.org