Much Bowl Musing Today

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As I continue to test out the new copper bowl, I muse on the comparisons to the pewter porringer and the bowls I have used in the past.  There was a time when a bowl would have been a bowl and nothing more.  Now I see the vast differences in bowls and how they affect my connections to eating.  I never realised the relationship before I started eating exclusively from one. 

I have always been a visual person, so the beauty of an object is has been more important than the utility of it.  At first, I sought heavy pottery bowls, rough with dripping glaze.  I loved the look of them, the feel of permanence by their weight and thickness.  I have found bowls that had an element of amusement, one having cat ears on the rim.  I loved the feel of heavy restaurant ware, thick with a smooth white glaze.  I then started moving towards the idea of permanence.  I imagined that if the bowl were to become so exclusive that I would only eat from my own personal bowl, I would need to carry it with me.  The idea of metal bowls became appealing.

Pewter is a soft metal, so it tarnished and scratches easily.  It has a simple charm I really like, and antique pieces bring in a new dimension of having a history.  Metal bowls are not as easy to hold in the hand with very hot or cold foods, often I have had to use a hot pad or keep the bowl on the table.  While in Hawaii, I found a stainless steel double walled rice bowl that I loved, it fit in the hand and was so easy to eat from.  It was very thin steel though and eventually a tiny crack allowed water to enter the compartment and it became a problem.  I am sure this new double walled bowl will not have the same issue, it is so much heavier and the edge is well sealed.

There is a different feel to the new bowl and the old mug.  It is always a nicer to sip with a curved rim on a cup, creating a natural seal with one’s lip and the curved edge.  The mug has a nice flair to the edge and I found myself enjoying that smooth curve against my lips.  The white china cup I have been using does not have that, making coffee drip down the side of the cup as I drink.  The curve to the edge of the copper bowl allows my thumb to have a resting place while supporting the bowl in my hand.  I realized that if I had soup in the copper bowl or some pan juices, I could easily sip from the bowl.  Funny to notice these things, even stranger to write them down. 

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I know it looks to be a mess, lunch yesterday was some leftover spinach, salami, smoked gouda and a few cocktail size sausages.  I wanted to use the leftovers before opening any new foods.  Seeing the bowl was only half full, I was wondered if it would be enough food to eat, but it was plenty.  I am still trying to get back to three bowls a day, but lately I am succumbing to snacking at evening coffee.  It’s become a habit since the holidays, one I need to break instantly.  Husband brought home more chocolates, which when presented to me, I usually have 3.  We stayed up until midnight again, so I had some unsalted raw peanuts for the hunger.  I am not a big peanut fan, so a handful (in the shell) are enough.  Dinner was chicken and parsnips.

I don’t feel as though I am eating too much but lately I feel huge and heavy.  By evening my legs and ankles are massive.  I am not happy about it at all and think I need to take a ketogenic dive and fast.  FINALLY husband will be working a full work week and I hope to take a deep plunge into as low carb as I can get, to see if I can shed this massive fluid retention.

I have had a reader ask me how to eat various foods in a bowl, so I thought I would write about that today.  I generally eat food that has been cut up previously, in an Asian style, I suppose, a mixture of meat and veggies for the most part.  Cutting up the food makes it easier to eat with a fork, spoon or chopsticks.  Sometimes I prefer to layer the food, so that I might have meat on the bottom, add some veggies on top and then some salad on top of that.  This way the salad is eaten first and stays fairly cold as there isn’t a lot of it.  This layering works when I want a sauce on the meat, but not particularly on the veggies (keeping the meat and sauce on the bottom layer).  Since I don’t eat breads (unless on a binge) I don’t deal with it bowl-wise, but I would imagine that a bagel or donut or a round roll would fit fine in most bowls.  Other odd shaped foods could be cut up, for instance, I suppose a slice of pizza could be cut in two and placed in the bowl. Part of the process is to discover how you feel and react to the confines of the bowl. 

The bowl is merely a representation of the stomach and what it can hold comfortably.  It is a marvellous teacher of the concept of enough.  It creates a process that is connected, such as choosing the bowl, finding the bowl pleasing, washing the bowl by hand, returning to the bowl for nourishment time and time again.  There is a natural mindfulness that is present when eating exclusively from the bowl that cannot be found on a plate or out of a bag or package.  The bowl is a challenge to ED who cannot stand the idea that maybe what can fit in the bowl to eat is actually enough.  ED is a glutton, wants no limitations, no restrictions, just hedonistic gorging.  The bowl can be filled more that once, but that re-fill is something we cannot help but notice and that is part of mindful eating.  Awareness.  The bowl causes natural awareness to the challenges of eating from it.

Trying to figure out what to put in the bowl and how to make it fit is the first challenge.  The decisions about how often to eat from it is another.  The work of maintaining a relationship with the bowl and the food inside it soon becomes apparent.  It’s all in what you put into it and what you get out of it that matters, and it will be a different experience for anyone who tries it.

Some people have commented that it is a great portion control method to eat from a bowl.  And I will say that it is true.  But there is so much more to it than just that.  I have tried portion control plates, divided sectioned plates and smaller plates, but none of them created a nurturing effect that a bowl does.  I think it has to do with the intimate shape, the way it fits into a hand and feels more a part of the eating experience.  I have never been able to feel the plate sitting on a table is a part of eating, it just looks like a way to keep the food from making a mess on the table.  It is separate from me, it is not held.  The same as eating with a knife and fork, it may be socially acceptable and all, but cutting up food with utensils on a plate is distant, remote, unconnected. 

I need the connection.  The long years of dieting and bingeing have caused a disconnect between me and food and the act of eating.  To hide my shame in bingeing, I became a secretive eater, hiding food, eating alone, pretending that I did not eat that much.  I caused myself horrid social situations because I was on a strict diet.  Food became an enemy and I was so miserable.  The bowl brought back a chance at a positive experience with eating, a nurturing gift of love towards myself.  Since the bowl, my stomach has gotten use to less and I think that has helped severely reduce the mass consumption binges to overeating episodes.  Eventually, I am hoping to drop bingeing altogether as I continue to find peace from eating from a simple bowl.

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Martini Please

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Yesterday certainly was a mixed bag of emotions.  Nothing too extreme, but enough to cause me a bit of anxiety.  The curtains for the bedroom came and I busied myself with that, a trial run at hanging them yesterday to check the length.  I will have to hem and iron them today, but I am very pleased with them, they will block the cold coming from the windows this winter.  Still, the aftertaste of the store clerk incident, the pressure of being in the shops and preventing a binge, the irritation that this is still a huge deal and not subsiding all left me exhausted and wishing to have a couple of martini’s (or 4).

Yesterday’s meals:
Porringer 1- 2 eggs, 2 rashers
Porringer 2- duck pate, cucumber, cheddar cheese, bleu cheese
Porringer 3- plain yogurt
Porringer 4- minced beef, cauliflower, butter

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Porringer 3 was my lunch.  I don’t always fill the porringer to the top.

Yesterday’s drinks:
3 pots of tea
1 glass of wine
4 cups of coffee with 2 tsp. double cream in each

I struggled yesterday about the yogurt serving.  It had nothing to do with hunger, even though my stomach complaining.  Anxiety in my stomach feels like a big gapping exposed pit that yearns to be filled.  Not only filled, but needing an overfill and might as well pack it tightly to prevent it from being ever exposed again!  I stood there, in the kitchen, feeling the urge grow and the sensations in the stomach and personified it as a yearning pit.  I was amazed that the stomach was experiencing an emotion!  I felt I had to eat the yogurt or I was going to run screaming to the shops for teacakes.  The yogurt did help soothe it, perhaps the coating action or something of the sort.  But the ED (eating disordered) voice was ever present, and I caught myself looking at the clock throughout the afternoon, wondering if I had enough time to gorge on something (anything) before dinner and not feel sick.  I did not act on it, but ED was there, alive and striving to find a weak spot in my determination.

This is my 10th day away from the last binge.  ED is trying to find the weak spots in my vulnerability by attempting to convince me that there is never an end to this recovery period, that he will prevail in the end and that it is only a matter of time before I accept being obese as my fate and bingeing as my way of eating.  ED has the smug luxury of waiting, as I struggle to keep a distance from him and panic over my continuous weight gain. 

ED knows I feel vulnerable and uncomfortably exposed.  ED knows how to push me into the teacake aisle at the shops, or whisper sweet names of delicacies in my ear when I least expect it.  ED is stronger than I am and resides permanently inside me.  I cannot slay this dragon, but I can keep him asleep.  It takes a long time to get ED asleep, but I continue to hush the loud noises about binges, I continue to monitor how I feel and react and right now, I know the most important tool I have is the porringer.  The porringer confounds ED.  It doesn’t have any experience with it and that amuses me.

 
Lately my desire to have ED asleep is just keeping him wide awake.  I am going about this with the wrong mind-set.  Today, I will relax, stay with what I want to do and stop thinking about him.  Thinking about him keep me anxious.

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I have been mostly posting photo’s of my lunches because that is when I am alone and think of doing it.  This is breakfast I make every morning before husband goes to work.  His plate is in the back, warming from the pan in front of it.  In the large cast iron skillet I have already cooked 4 rashers and 1 lorne, when it’s done, I place the lorne with 2 rashers on top of the sliced potatoes I made for husband.  I cut the other two rashers up and place them in my porringer behind the large skillet to keep warm.  I then cook 2 eggs each, we like them soft cooked.  I suppose most people balk at the thought of a hot breakfast every morning, claiming they don’t have time, but this takes all of 15 minutes to prepare and 15 minutes to sit down and enjoy, so worth it to us.  Now that I think of it, this meal doesn’t fill the porringer either.  The only one really full is the dinner one and that is mostly because foods like cauliflower take up so much room.

At least I feel better on eggs and rashers than how I use to feel when eating…..

Cover Up

I am now 6 days since the last carb binge and my appetite is definitely decreasing.  I have been able to eat three bowls for the last two days without any hunger grabbing me by the throat.  This is my normal pattern and timing when returning to low carb foods as my staple food.  Within the next few days I should be feeling a sense of wellbeing.

 

My digestion issues continue and I am really hoping it clears up today.  I did buy the plain, full fat yogurt and will have that at lunch for 3 more days hoping for a change in intestinal flora.  I went to the shops yesterday but could not find anything that would help.  The pharmacies were closed so today I will try once again.  I am tempted to do some sort of cleanse, but this is dangerous territory.  I think it is wiser to let the body do it’s own cleansing.  I am trying to learn to let my body do what it is designed to do and stop interfering because my mind wants quick and dramatic results.  It feels though it needs a nudge. 

 

Which is what I am also trying to do with the porringer.  I need to let it do what it does for me; guide my eating.  I noticed last night that the meal I made was pleasantly spicy and savoury.  I had an impulse to eat more but was not at all hungry.  In fact, with the digestion problem, I feel continually stuffed and uncomfortable.  The impulse was completely independent from my body’s need.   I thought about the impulse, what made it occur when there was no need for it?  What would I get out of eating more?  The risk of making my digestion even more off was quite real.  What was the need that was gathering strength to pressure me?

 

I looked at my porringer and thought of how complete it really is.  That bowl holds enough food for me to be satisfied physically.  The food tasted good so I should have been satisfied emotionally too.  I am about to say something that sounds utterly ridiculous, but it is true.  Being obese does not mean I am a food lover.  I don’t binge because I can’t get enough of food.  I never had that much interest in food to care much about it.  I enjoy the taste of some foods, but that is not what compels me to eat more.  Binge eating is like taking a sleeping pill.  You’re not trying to get high, you just want to relax enough to sleep.  It is the same with drinking, I am not interested in getting drunk or high, I just want to relax.  I know that I use food as a drug. 

 

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I eat (and drink) to cover up how I feel and to feel less anxious and to hide.

 

I read an autobiography about Oscar Levant years ago and was struck by his desire to be in a drug induced haze, it was likened to the bliss of a coma.  He was addicted to pain medications and talked about loving the feeling of nothingness.  The one and only time I had morphine while in labour, I remember thinking that had I access to the drug, I would have loved taking it.  I loved the twilight state under the influence of morphine.  Alcohol can create that state, but quickly launches into drunkenness.  It is very hard to control the level of alcohol, as the inhibition dissolves, so does the reasoning about when to stop.  Food is not as quick.  That relaxed state takes a lot of food to achieve numbness.  Carbs and sugar induce it the fastest and the hardest.  A dozen donuts can make me feel like I need to lay down and nap.  Still, food is not illegal, easier to obtain and the easiest to ingest because initially it is not as dangerous as drugs or alcohol. (Later, it can cause obesity and a host of other medical issues along with disordered thinking and addiction).

 

While I did not eat another bowl of the dinner last night, I did take several bites directly from the skillet of the minced beef mixture.  It was a compulsive move, a rebellion of sorts.  I recognised it and stopped.  I did not really want to stop, I wanted to throw logs onto the fire of that desire….but in the reality of it, it was not the food I really wanted.  Had there been a bottle of cognac in the pantry, I would have chosen that over the food.  If there had been morphine in the drawer, I would have chosen that over the cognac.  I there had been______ in my hand, I would have chosen that over the morphine.  I just don’t know what that ultimate ______ is.  In the meantime, I seem stuck in the desire with stuff to deaden the desire for whatever it is.

Recovery is Awful

Not a good day.  Mood has plummeted down, my breathing is difficult and the headache is building momentum.  Irregularity is making it’s contribution and when that happens, nausea sets in too.

 

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I have some new connections that have occurred to me lately.  It’s so easy to blame the binge as the culprit in how poorly I feel afterwards, but it is Saturday and the last binge was on Tuesday and I am feeling the sickest today of all the intervening days.  Why?  Shouldn’t each day be an improvement?  Not with my digestive tract!  I have been purposely increasing the fats in order to knock down cravings and return to a very low carb diet.  I think this may be also irritating my gall bladder and causing this nausea and ill feeling.  Just a thought.  The breathing problem is left over from the cold.

The point for me is to connect just how bad this can get when I leave the working method and the low carb foods I eat for even one meal and the resulting disaster even one small binge can create.  The illness doesn’t last just one day but haunts me far longer than it did when I was younger.  Right now, it is easy to swear off ever doing it again, but addiction has it’s own voice and cares nothing for the end results.  It’s up to me to remember how this feels the next time I am tempted to leave the safety of the porringer.

 

Yesterday, I ate too much food.  Or, my illness is making me feel as though I did.  This is why I often take photos and write it down, I have a hard time with comprehending how much is too much in the moment before eating.

Porringer 1- 2 eggs, 2 rashers, 2 cups coffee with double cream
Porringer 2- kebab meat, cheddar cheese with butter and bleu cheese, pot of tea
Porringer 3- 150g liver pate with butter mashed in, pot of tea
Porringer 4- plain full fat yogurt (less than half the bowl)

( the above all eaten before noon)
Porringer 5- cabbage and 3 cumberlands, 1 glass of wine
after dinner coffee, 2 coffees with 4 chocolates

 

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Cheddar with butter, bleu cheese

 

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I added kebab meat on top of the above image.

 

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Liver pate with butter before mixing it in better.

 

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The chocolates.  I really like these, especially the ones with cognac. 

Very rich in taste and do not cause me to want more.

 

I am not sure why I ate so much, there was an anxiety or sorts, but I wasn’t feeling well and eating didn’t help.  Number 1, 3 and 5 would have been the normal selection the rest was excess, low carb or not.  The chocolates were a treat and I do enjoy them, but felt 2 would have been enough, but husband encouraged more and I did not say no as I should have.  He’s been on an eating kick lately and I am not sure what his anxiety is.  Work is going fine from what he tells me.  It could stem a bit from feeling resentment of having to work when I am home, especially coming right from having a 9 day break.  Honestly, he doesn’t have enough to do when not working, no hobbies, no interests that get him involved.  He sits at the computer reading politics and watches quick videos and takes an afternoon nap.  He managed only one full film while home and didn’t get any book reading done, as he so wanted to.  He ate more treats during his stay home and it extended into the return to work week too.  I think it may just be the party mode, the lets have fun desire that eating can provide. 

 

He had a craving for a soda late last night and as it sounded wonderful to me too, he went to the shops to get some, but they were closed and he stopped instead at the fish and chips shop and came home with the soda and chips.  He hasn’t done that since the trucking days, to eat another hot meal so late at night.  I was surprised and it made me think about my own addiction and how there is no difference between us when it comes to the food crazies, the only two are:  that he does not gain weight as fast as I do, and his are at night, while my impulses are in the morning.

 

Watching him, watching the documentaries on compulsive eating and disordered eating make me really turn these connections of my own behaviours over in my mind.  Sometimes I think I should be seeking help and support, but then I remember something that struck me many years ago.  I knew about AA and those disease and spiritual based recovery programs, but when I first learned of the secular methods, I read something that always stayed with me.  It was a fabulous book I found in a thrift shop and I cannot say it often enough, I do not remember the title and I no longer have the book and wished I did.  The author wrote that millions of alcoholics quit on their own and do so for the rest of their life with no fan fare, no sobriety pins, nothing but the inner determination to stop the drinking.  On their own, they figured out what worked and what didn’t.  They made their own guidelines to navigate the pitfalls.   They don’t attend meetings, they don’t seek help.  We do not hear much about all the ones that just stop and carry on because they are not in and out of rehab, they are not talking about it or writing about it.  They just do it.  We are sometimes made to believe we are powerless over our addictions but
I don’t want to believe that.  I want to believe that practicing a gentle way of eating by using the porringer will eventually take me further away from bingeing and disordered eating.  It’s a tool, I realise that, but one that gives me a sense of nurturing and not one of restriction.

 

So as much as I am watching the videos on addiction and rehab, I am also noticing a trend that the shows seem to think there must be a dramatic epiphany for the person to change their eating habits.  Shock is the most popular method, either by having the obese person see how much they eat by putting a weeks worth in front of them, or making the anorexic draw their imagined body shape on a piece of paper and then outlining them.  The UK shows love to make people wear nothing more than their underwear to fully expose their body shapes on the telly.  I am all for tools and methods to work through, but the one thing I keep wondering is, that the very nature of an eating disorder is avoidance, so shock only has a minimal impact.  That initial shock is what addicts quickly repress and avoid.  It’s not an epiphany that bolsters change unless one is willing to work it through all the upcoming difficulties that life brings.  It’s really about how to manage every day that is the true tool needed, not the OMG I eat that much shock wave.

 

Husband will have to work through his own deal, I continue to make the healthiest meals I can with our limited budget.  Today it was so nice to find a bag at the local green grocer filled with a large onion, 2 mega large carrots, a half a swede, 2 leeks and a bunch of parsley for £1.50.  Enough to make a lovely lentil soup for husband and enough leftover for another meal.  Today, I plan on knocking my meals down to three and see if I can get my nausea to leave.

The Sleeping Dragon Woke Up

After a massive journaling session, I sat back and smiled.  I wrote with a fury of insight only to realise that I have had the same light bulb go off many times.  Again, I failed to recognise the voice of ED, this is always the tail end of the binge process.  It is part of the confession and redemption process that will guide me back to moderate eating until I once again binge.

 

I had written about the invasive and soul controlling evil of grains and sugar and promised to banish every trace from my meals.  The redemption would be a clean and sober existence, free of the addictive inducing substance.  Solve the immediate problem, right?  If I put a ban on the stuff I binge on, I cannot binge, right?  There is truth in the idea, but there is also a predictable set-up to fail situation going on.  Declarations, dedications and restrictions set up the scene for the drama to play out that I know will end up in tragedy.  My ED sets the scene by agreeing with me.  ED knows how to soothe and woo and lead me right up to the gates of the slaughter house.  I have been starring in this passion play for over 30 years.  I know every line by heart.  Still, as an actor does, I still get caught up in the moment of it.  While in it, I live and breathe it and cannot discern the playacting going on.

 

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Meet ED, the sleeping dragon.  I had him personified.  He was masterfully created

by Buddha in Hawaii.

 

I am actually amused by it.  I wink back at ED and it has to acknowledge I know of it’s existence!  I may be personifying ED as an entity, but that is the easiest way to express the insidious thinking process that goes on inside a person’s head when the voice of addiction feels like an alien living within our minds and bodies.  I actually see my ED as a dragon.  Keep it sleeping and all is well.  Awake it with a binge and all hell breaks loose.  One thing to never lose sight of, is that it continues to exist, sleeping or not. 

 

After the heat of the drama is played out, the only sensible thing to do is go home.  I smile at that too, because all along it is where I long to be.  Out of the spotlight, out of the emotional rollercoaster and into my comfortable chair by the warm fire.  That comfortable chair is my three meals a day in the porringer.  It is a simple, everyday sort of comfort.  I was feeling so good by it and then I let a thing known as a birthday take it away and make me feel anguish for days afterwards.  The dragon known as ED is now awake and must be soothed asleep again.  I take a deep breath, I stop all the promises to reform, I stop the ideas of restrictions, the crazy dedications to change and the intense urges to diet.  Those are ED’s way of staying awake and active by haunting my thoughts with trying to convince me I need to do something drastic.  I know that I have the truth at hand, that is to be moderate and consistent in my eating.  Nothing more or less.  ED’s way never worked and only caused me to wallow in obesity or starve in punishment.

The Scale Prompt

Why am I eating 3 bowls of food a day?

 

There is nothing magical about 3 bowls.  I don’t expect anything to happen, no cause and effect to obsess over.  I asked myself that question this morning when I stepped on the scale and asked myself if what I am doing is working?  This past summer I was still counting the weeks from the diet which I lost 88 pounds and was now on constant ups and downs of bingeing and dieting for the past year.  I weigh more than this today.

 

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It struck me that I was once again looking for the object I was standing on to tell me if what I was doing was working.

I read this morning a woman becoming unglued because she had not eaten anything the day before and still weighed the same the next morning.  It caused so much distress, she binged.  Her weight that did not change? 130 pounds.  I have never weighed 130 during my adult life.  To me, what she weighs is an impossible dream, to her it was being fat.

Another blog I read was frustrated at the amount of effort and dedication it took to stay on their stringent diet for so little weight loss.  Oh, how I have moaned about that myself!  Obviously, it matters not what a person actually weighs, it seems that there is no satisfaction in it, or it becomes such an issue that everything else surrounding healthy changes pales in comparison.

 

Those blog thoughts and echo’s of my own experiences slapped me upside the head this morning.  I was standing on the scale because I needed to know if eating three bowls of food was working for me.   It’s okay to laugh, because it is true, that makes no sense.  Am I expecting weight loss?  Am I expecting a reward for eating in a prescribed manner?  Is the number on the scale the only reward (or punishment) of eating this way can bring?

 

Why am I eating three bowls of food?  If my body size never changed, if I remained obese the rest of my life, would I continue to eat this way?  That is a crucial question, because for most disordered eating dogmas, if the reward of weight loss is not swift enough, bingeing is the immediate and even swifter reward/punishment which is far more dramatic than waiting for the scale to show a drop.  It is as if I have always needed something intense to happen.  I have never given neutrality the accolades it deserves. 

 

I have been feeling calm and a sense of ease for the last week.  I haven’t had any negative thoughts that come with restrictive eating.  I haven’t had any overwhelming urges to binge.  The day is on more neutral ground.  I only realised this while watching my husband struggle with the impulses to treat himself with candy and teacakes while home on vacation.  I saw in him what I was doing just the week before.  I watched the balance swing from not enough to too much.  Three bowls of food keep me in-between those extremes.  My mood is not swinging in the extremes either.  A stable mood is far more pleasant than being in the depths of despair over bingeing or the false highs of making it through a starvation day.

 

I can answer my question now.  I am eating three bowls of food because I like how I feel, both emotionally and physically.  It is pleasant.  I am nourished; I am not starving, nor am I stuffed and uncomfortable.  My thoughts are less food and weight obsessive.  I know I can take my lovely pewter bowl and put food in it and sit down and eat it.  I feel secure that the amount is never too much or too little.  I know the types of food that work well to keep me satisfied until the next meal.  I know which foods stir up the crazies.  I feel as though I am taking care of myself, gifting myself with food.  The bowl is ever constant, it does not shape shift from bowl to plate to takeaway containers.  It hold just so much food and I have a lid to help keep the stacking tendency within boundaries.

 

I chose “three” as a standard because it fits with my usual eating pattern of three meals a day, it actually feels comfortable to me like wearing old slippers, it fits.  When I chose 4 bowls, I thought about food more often.  I had to make one more decision regarding food for the day.  It brought me into the realm of snacking which always led me to bingeing.  I found it more trying to fit in the 4th bowl.   It felt like I was eating too much which was not true but messed with my thinking enough to make me not enjoy it.  So here I am, noting how the old habit of getting on a scale makes me think that the only good result of changing my eating is weight loss.  What a lie that is!  It’s all about feeling nourished and well.

 

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If you are interested in my method, I highly recommend a book called One Bowl by Don Gerrard. This fabulous book introduced me to reconnecting to eating in a positive way.  It is a small book filled with little experiments in how we perceive our eating experience by using a bowl.  I have done the experiments over the years and always returned to it when my dieting and bingeing dragged me into a really dark place.

Chose a bowl that really pleases you, one that only you will eat from.  This bowl becomes the symbolic gift of nurturing and caring for yourself.  There are thousands of artist bowls, from the finest bone china to the heaviest drip glazed pottery.  There are wooden bowls, antique bowls, modern….every imaginable kind.  Choose one that real makes you smile.  Eating from a bowl forces you to confront all kinds of eating ideas we cling so hard to.  How do you fit a slice of pizza in a bowl?  How do you eat a meal that has side dishes like a salad or a roll?  How do you eat foods that you are so used to cutting with a knife and a fork on a plate?

Eating from a particular bowl means you have to wash it before the next meal.  Washing the bowl becomes a part of the process of eating.  It may end up signalling the end of a meal as if does for me.  Eating from the bowl means I don’t eat from packages or out in public walking down the street.  It forces me to think about why I eat what I do and how much more I eat if I don’t have to wash any dishes and only have to throw away a wrapper or package.

In the beginning, eat as many bowlfuls as you want or need.  Do not restrict what foods go in the bowl, part of reconnecting to eating is allowing the bowl to guide you into connecting with the process of eating.  Let it take on it’s own life and watch your thoughts try to work themselves around the new challenges.  Enjoy!

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Wellbeing and Birthday Plans

I am absolutely in a wonderful blissful place right now.  I noticed both last night and this morning at how well I felt.  The cold is completely gone, the bloat and heaviness is gone and the lovely lull of the three porringers a day is keeping me feeling steady on and normal in my eating.

 

My meals are naturally decreasing in amount and the fat content is rising just as naturally.  For instance, earlier in the week, when I was recouping from the last carby binge, in order to make sure I did not feel deprived, I had 4 cumberland sausages for dinner with my cabbage.  Last night, I was fine with two.  I see it as the body regulating itself naturally when it has the right foods to digest to begin with.  I also notice my desire for more fat increasing, I poured the sausage pan drippings on my cabbage, even though I had generously braised it in beef lard and broth.  I have to say that dinner tasted marvellous!

 

I had to buy the usual weekly groceries yesterday.  I made sure I had satisfying foods for my lunches.  I bought high fat salami, liver pate, extra eggs and fish to make a mayonnaise based salad with.

 

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The salami was really good, tender and not chewy with all the fat.  I know it looks a mess!

I had a boiled egg with herring roe, raw carrot slices with crab pate, a bit of leftover cooked cauliflower with mayonnaise added (mini salad style). 

 

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Here is the lunch yesterday shown above as I serve it every day, on a tray with a pot of tea.  We eat at the table for breakfast and dinner, but usually have lunch at our dual desks.

 

 

I was careful to buy enough food to keep me out of the shops until Tuesday.  Husband returns to work on Monday which will be a touchy day for me, it is the usual binge day.   Tuesday is my birthday and it is already planned to have a fish and chips dinner as I have mentioned in the last post.  I mulled over what to do about lunch that day and after being so pleased with how I feel today, I don’t want to go back to feeling terrible with a carby binge (as bingeing was definitely on my mind as an option).  After thinking about it, I decided that I really wanted a lovely massive minced beef patty with cheddar cheese melted inside.   In America they called them juicy lucy’s and I adored them.   I will make one that will fit in the bowl.  On Tuesday I will go to the shop for 2 bottles of stout beer for our dinner and a package of merengue’s that I will dollop clotted cream on, and stop at the bakery and get Husband the ginger cake slices he really likes.   I think with the grain that will be in the fish batter, I do not want to keep adding more to it through dessert or a lunch binge.  Instead, I am opting for more sugar than grain through the merengue’s, stout and port.  

 

I feel much better about the choices.   Although I talk about keeping the carbs low, it is only because it has proven to me time and time again how well I feel choosing these types of food.  I am trying not to think of them as an alternative diet or weight loss method.  It’s not always easy for me with all my disordered eating thinking and patterns, but I am truly finding this porringer experiment to be a way of bringing me peace and it does have a calming effect on me.  Having the fish and chips was a difficult decision, because it was a high carb food choice.  With my single rule of eating exclusively from the porringer and no restrictions on what goes in the bowl, there are no carbohydrate numbers to mess up my thinking.  Yet, I know from long experience that I will feel much better the less grains and sugar I take in.  For me, normalising and balancing my eating is more important than being locked in numbers and food ideals.  I am working on finding that balance between planning what to eat (which takes on obsessive and wasted time thoughts) and just putting food in the bowl and calling it a complete meal as is.

 

Just this morning, as I was putting my hair up, I was standing in front of the mirror and noticing that how well I felt inside did not match up with the visual image of my body.  It didn’t help that because it is so cold in our bedroom, I had on multiple layers of clothing!  I had on thick socks, cotton knit lounge pants, a long old fashioned cotton night gown, a sweater and over all, my cooking apron.  I looked awful, massively huge and downright ugly.  The thoughts started to churn about how fat I have gotten once again and how I have let myself go, which started the restrictive eating thoughts.  I was ready to cancel the birthday dinner and punish myself with a lettuce leaf and water.  I felt in that murky thought pattern that I was unworthy of eating fish and chips, a beloved meal from my childhood.  It took time to work through the black thoughts, look at everything with the goal of something far more reasonable and that is why I am pleased with the choices, making a compromise of balanced choices, letting go of binge thoughts and a pleasant promise to myself not to get restrictive and over react to visual cues.  I will let the bowl take care of my meal size, I will let the clotted cream create the delight of a rich and fancy dessert.  And I will sip on my bottle of port and watch film noir all day! 

 

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