Asking…

So, I read my journal notes and affirmations a few times this week, and took time to listen and follow my own suggestions ūüôā For instance, I focused on “love driven”, and I thought, if I’m feeling self-conscious, perhaps I can focus instead on giving caring attention to whoever I’m with, rather than worrying what they think of me. It helped me relax.

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I have allowed myself to enjoy my food, and eat more, which I’m glad for. It seems that when I do this, it feels good at first because my body needs the food, and I’m glad to be letting myself relax and take it in. As soon as I start to feel I’m gaining a bit, however, the ¬†patterns kick in, and I feel very uncomfortable, physically and emotionally. I even have dreams at night that I am blowing up ~ gaining weight quickly and feeling awful about myself.

In my mind and heart I know that I am worth loving at any size, and that it’s what is within that matters! I am frustrated to still be dealing with these stuck patterns at my age ~ ready and wanting to let go of this!

So, I thought of asking for support from people who are understanding and close to me. I’m going to send an email to my husband plus several women (friends and family – fortunate to have them!) and request support.

I want to enjoy and have a little fun with it, using some humor and asking for things that would be specifically helpful to me. For instance ~ “Please send me a message or email any time, telling me I am worthy and beautiful inside and out! Please tell me I’m doing well, to keep it up, and I can do it! Also, please offer me food, or ask me if I’d like dessert?? Did I get enough to eat? I may not accept but I like to be asked. Also, please check in with me now and then just to see how I’m doing.”

I want to let them know what my weight goals are, and why it feels important to me to recover fully. I want to be healthy, strong, relaxed and present for myself and for them. I love them and I want to care for myself also. I’m putting it out there so I can shine some light on the situation and openly ask for their loving support.

I’m often trying to be perfect in order to be accepted and perhaps gain the appreciation and caring I seek. I am usually working hard and doing things for others. I am excited to try this and see how it feels to ask for what I need.

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Increase the Dose

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Ah, so! I realized last week, that I was slowly losing again, and actively in my pattern. It seems I don’t realize it until I become uncomfortable (anxious, low energy) because up until then, it all feels pretty good!

So, I¬†reacted, as I often do, with my critical response (those with anorexia are usually hard on themselves!) and in a critical and serious way began telling myself “I need to eat more!” I kind of forced myself, which ends up backfiring with me, as my digestion gets wacky and my state of being becomes less than balanced.

And then I remembered that my topic to write on this week was planned to be: How to be Love-Driven (rather than Food-Driven). The above quote came to me…and I melted into the question, How can I increase the dose?

I began envisioning myself surrounded with love, and considering what kinds of things I could do to offer myself support. I put a few of my favorite plans on my calendar, such as: go to a yoga class, meet with a good friend, rest and daydream, and so on. I tried being gentle with myself, and affirming that it’s been a stressful year and I am doing pretty well.

I also reminded myself of a breakthrough I experienced in another area of life recently when I prayed and surrendered it all to my higher source. Why not try it with my eating/body issues? I have before, but I’m looking for a¬†deeper level. This trickster is TOUGH and I can’t do it on my own!

I decided to turn it ALL OVER, to surrender and give it completely to that higher source of life, inspiration, and endless guidance and care. What that looked like for me was to tune in more fully, listen to that “still, small voice” inside that knows exactly what I need.

So – I focus on love, and put my mind to what is in front of me to do in my life. If I find I’m focusing too much on food, or anxious thoughts, I try to shift my awareness to loving thoughts, and things that bring me joy ~ like planning a bike ride or picnic with loved ones.

When it is time to eat, I tune in and sense what I want and need. It seems to be a blend of what is healthy for me, what is fitting in the situation (eating with others, etc.) the right amount at the right time for my true health and wellness. If I try to¬†think¬†about all these elements and figure it out (too much? not enough?) it doesn’t work! But if I sense, listen, and follow, it feels right. I also listen while I’m eating as to when it’s the right time to stop. This morning when I reflected on how it was going the past few days, I realized it just looked like being myself ūüôā All the elements I want and need are within and around me.

So far, I feel this approach is helping me let go of worry ~ I know the higher source will take care of me, and that I will get what I need. I am feeling peaceful to start where I am, and go forward little by little. Vamos a ver!

country lane ~

 

Adventures in Wholeness

I am in recovery from an eating disorder, specifically anorexia, with shades of orthorexia (obsession with healthy foods).  I want to share my adventure. Dealing with an eating disorder can be a tricky road, with plenty of slippery slopes. It has helped me so much when caring people have listened or offered counsel. I wish to do the same for others. If my words resonate with someone, I will be grateful.

Why “adventure”? It is a wild journey! Rough terrain, challenges, insights, discoveries, new vistas, and deep meaning along the way. Why “wholeness”? I need to pay some attention to the “dysfunctional patterns”, yet I want to live from my wholeness. I am NOT the disorder!

It is important to notice what is happening (rather than deny!) and feel my pain and discomfort. Yet, at my core, I am whole. My intuition, my heart and soul know what I need if I gently tune in and listen.

So, here is what it feels like when I’m stuck in the disordered pattern: The truth is, it feels good (for a while) because when I eat less (slightly under-eat), I feel lighter, and somehow safer. Yet, as I continue that for a while and lose weight, then I can feel it’s not good for me. ¬†I get overly tired, experience heart palpitations and other symptoms, including anxiety. And I don’t like being too skinny anymore. I am in my early 50’s, and I have some thinning of the bones and other health issues, and I want to be stronger! I want to have some roundness and softness to my body and to be comfortable with that.

So, this disorder is elusive, and at times I can deceive myself and not realize I’m in the pattern. For one thing, my disorder is not severe (I have never been hospitalized) and being thin is very reinforced in our society. So most people would not think I have a problem.

It takes becoming uncomfortable with health issues to wake up (and sometimes caring others telling me I am TOO thin and they are worried!) Then, I come to my senses and decide to put on weight. But when it comes to this point, it’s really difficult to try to gain. Since I’ve been in the pattern for so long, if I eat more than I’m used to, I feel anxious and self-conscious. My digestion gets thrown way out of balance, and it all ends up backfiring, as I don’t feel like eating much at all.

I know how hard it is to recover, and yet also that it is POSSIBLE. Fortunately, I know I need support Рanorexia is a tough nut to crack and it is nearly impossible to recover without assistance.  I  was wise and willing enough to see a therapist and a nutritionist, and I found supportive friends to talk with. This has all helped tremendously. The next step for me now is to share my journey.

To begin ~ I want to tell about some practices that have worked for me:

*Listening¬†to my body, and following my intuition. Waiting until I’m hungry, (but not starving!) tuning in to what my body wants, sitting down, and enjoying a lovely meal. It is best to stop when I’m satisfied, and turn my focus to something else until next time to eat. (Read: try not to obsess about food continuously! ūüôā Focusing on other activities helps.)

*B.E.S.T. Each time before eating, I tune in to these words:

Breathe¬†(I envision my mom, who had a sense of being comfortable in her own body. I let the breath fill my stomach and affirm that it’s all fine.)

Embody¬†(I tend to have an automatic sense of discomfort and dislike for certain areas of my body such as my stomach and thighs. A dear friend and meditation teacher suggested that I focus my attention on the sensation in¬†other areas of my body, such as feeling the back of my legs on the chair. This helps me settle into being comfortably “in my body”).

Soften (Allow my whole body to soften and relax).

Thankful (I am thankful for life and for this food).

Tuning in to these thoughts helps me be present and more able to let go of the patterns and enjoy and appreciate my food as well as the people I may be sharing with.

My intention is to publish thoughts weekly on this site. I would love to hear your responses.

Take good care ~