Life in the Theatre

popcorn

Trigger Pops.

A trigger is like a pan full of popcorn kernels.  Once the pan is hot enough, the first kernel pops, then another and another until there is an explosion of popcorn.  One trigger begets another trigger.  It can get overwhelming.  I need to recognise it is part of the addiction, it is the first thing one gets before the play starts.

First pop: husband’s comments about wishing he didn’t have to go to work, he just wants to be retired. (I feel guilty not working, but my residency is not granted yet).

Second pop: I get on the scale wanting to see a loss. (I feel I am owed a drop in weight for being 13 days faithful to my porringer plan).

Pop 3-100:  Anything and everything that annoys, irritates, depresses me.  They come fast now, pop, pop, pop.

Yesterday I felt the popping of emotions that precedes a binge.  I was fine one moment, the next (the moment I stepped on the scale) I was plunged into the predictable darkness that a no-loss creates.  I was 17 stone 10 pounds when I arrived in Scotland, I am now 19 stone.  Panic sets, in and  ED perked right up, took his directors chair and started what he does best….direct the the play called THE BINGE.

DIRECTOR

Come on in, ED, take a seat and tell me how unworthy I am, how I should binge to enforce being obese as my statement against the world’s cruel requirement to be thin and beautiful.  Soothe me with visions of cream puffs and whisky.  Remind me of the heavenly tastes, the feelings of pure ecstasy that I will feel by eating or drinking.  Tell me that my need is easily fixed with self indulgence, that a little bit won’t hurt, that I can always offset the damage with a new even stricter diet the next day, maybe even a fast!  Yes, there is always something to wipe it all away, but for now…..just for now….cream puffs and whisky will make the world go away for a little while.  TELL ME WHAT TO DO…take over, I’ll take your lead.

Yesterday’s meals:
Porringer 1- 2 eggs, 2 rashers
Porringer 2- duck pate, cheddar cheese with butter
Porringer 3- 5 jack maloney sausages
Porringer 4- 3 cumberland sausages, cabbage, carrot
Yesterday’s drinks:
3 pots of tea
1 glass of wine
4 cups of coffee with 2 tsp. double cream in each

All that ED voice garbage all because I let a few triggers pop and then it became overwhelming.  Old issues were revisited, painful regrets tried back on, haunting images of an ugly pig was seen in the mirror, and I stayed once again in the flat because I knew if I went outside, it would be a shop filled with teacakes that I would mysteriously find myself trapped in.

over-acting

Drama.  That is all it is.  ED has become the director of my life and I am playing a cheesy unconvincing part on a stage.  I know all the lines by heart, I have acted this out so many times.  Still, it is a bad play and no one cares to see it.  ED continues to coach me like an understudy, but I don’t even need him anymore, he’s just been around so long, I am use to his company.  All it takes is the popcorn to start popping, the lights go down, the curtain rises, and I go and do what I do, over act.

Only, I am not doing it.  Day 14, and I have watched the triggers pop, I have heard ED go over the lines, I watched the lights dim, but I did not take centre stage.  It took a porringer filled with sausages to stop myself from bingeing, but my blood sugar stayed in the normal range and my weight has not changed since the last time I weighed earlier in the month.   Maybe it is time to give up the drama.  I wonder what would happen if I threw the script at ED and walked off stage?

I DID IT!!!!

Yesterday I made it, three porringers of food completed my eating day.  When we sat down last night to the last meal, I noted that I was about to have the third bowl of food for the day and I was not at all hungry!  I think I finally hit ketosis.  It always feels like a switch is flipped.  I go from wanting to eat everything in sight to loathing food in a blink of an eye.  This is exactly where I prefer being….no appetite.  I actually feel a sense of wellbeing this morning, so I am determined to take a walk today, as soon as it gets light out.  I hate walking in the dark and right now, the sun isn’t coming up until half past 8 or so.  It is only 5 right now.  Sigh.  I am craving to walk, I have been cooped up in the flat too long with the cold and illness.

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So, with one day on plan, ED decided to try and talk me into getting on the scale this morning. One single day eating correctly and he wants to ruin it with a scale number that more likely than not will not show how one day made a change in my body.  He knows that, he wants to prove to me that the valiant effort to stay on plan did not achieve a scale victory and with his logic, means I am a failure.  A million times before, I listened to ED and got on the scale hoping for a drop to register.  A million times it did not.  A million times I got frustrated about it and binged in loathing self pity.  Knowing this pattern so intimately still did not stop ED from trying to lure me once again.  That scale, I reminded myself, cannot possible tell me about true success.  I ate according to the plan yesterday and that alone is the wondrous victory to be celebrated and built upon. 

I did well yesterday, lets see if I can do that again today! 

The scale has no part in this triumph, it is a completely separate thing from eating.  I did not weigh myself today, in fact, as I walked by it, I pushed it further under the armoire with my toe to drown out it’s pleading to be stepped on.  I even smiled at the thought….geez, does the scale have a sick need to be abused?  Pleading to be stepped on? I think my humour is coming back too! 

Wellbeing=good humour and smiles.

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Porringer number 2

Yesterday’s meals:
Porringer 1- 2 eggs, 2 rashers
Porringer 2- 1 cumberland, 2 rashers, 1 scrambled egg, shredded cheddar cheese, carrot, cauliflower, parsley
Porringer 3- 1/2 chicken breast, broccoli, cabbage,  2 cumberland,  2 T brown gravy

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

Wrinkles

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When I iron, as my chore today reminds me, I like how wrinkled fabric becomes smooth.  It’s a lot of work to iron a basket full of clothing and linens and not at all difficult to procrastinate on starting.  But when I see the results, when I feel how lovely the fabric becomes, I realize how the effort was worth it.  There is nothing like freshly ironed fabric.

 

I mention this because I am using it as an analogy of smoothing that which is wrinkled.  After I posted my last journal entry, I watched a video of a woman who is losing weight and it triggered me into checking my weight.  Her excitement in losing another four pounds was egging me on.  I wanted a reward for not going on a carb binge yesterday.  I got on the scale to see I have gained more weight!  I took a photos, checking the accuracy by moving the scale a couple of times and even trying the digital scale too.  Of course, immediate panic set in, I MUST DO SOMETHING ABOUT THIS IMMEDIATELY.  Instant thoughts about stopping what I am doing and going back to calorie counting and getting my diet very strict to stop this manic gaining.  I started to tick off in my head what I could eliminate from my diet, like the cream in my coffee or drop an egg at breakfast.  I had to take an extra deep breath and stop the roll I was on. 

 

All throughout my dieting life, the moment I thought something wasn’t working the way I wanted it to, I changed it.  I felt I was being proactive in taking care of the problem as soon as it was conceived of.  I spent so much time and effort in changing fat/carb/protein ratio’s or eliminating suspected intolerance foods or reducing calories or trying intermittent fasting or going high fat, or whatever suggestion someone else was trying and it seemed to work for them.  I assumed the role of scientist, nutritionist and master of logic to make changes to my diet.  I was going to control my weight no matter what it took and with fierce determination.  I did it too, except bingeing kept getting in the way.  I never really could figure out exactly what it took to lose weight except one very difficult way to exist….starvation.  That always worked.  If one doesn’t mind all the side effects and potential premature death, starvation does take off weight.  I took 120 pounds off that way.  I took off 88 pounds that way.  The bingeing brought it back on.  The extremes of living this way is exhausting.

 

I was constantly trying to smooth the (diet) wrinkles without understanding that a single tool like an iron works better than my hands which will soon become chafed the way I was going at it.  To smooth the way to better eating management is to develop a simple workable plan of action and stay with that action as a constant home base.  As I try to remind myself, my plan of action is not a weight loss method.  It is meant to manage my eating everyday, not as a diet with a determined weight loss result requirement.  I am determined to eat three meals from a porringer each day to gently and consistently guide my eating, not specifically to lose weight.  So why did I weigh myself?  What difference does it make what I weigh if I am not on a diet?  It was like tumbling into the snake pit!

 

I push my thinking further.  If I cannot stay within the realm of 3 meals a day, what makes me think what I am doing is working….and what does working really mean for me?  Is weight loss the sole indicator of success? If I force myself to think rationally about this, the truth is that not bingeing is the true indication of success.  To eat moderately and consistently is success.  To not swing between consumption extremes is success.  To have a sense of wellbeing and healthy vitality is a success.

 

To continue to smooth the (ED voice) wrinkles, I need to see that smoothness comes with keeping on top of the chore of it.  A basket full of clothing needing ironing will not get done unless I pick up the first piece and do the work required.  That unnecessary weigh in was a major wrinkle.  I am still recovering from my last binge.  I ate too much food yesterday.  I had no valid reason to weigh myself, it merely set me up for a potential fall.  Today, I see how important it is for me to stay on my plan.  I cannot tell if my plan is working unless I stay on it.  Some rocket scientist I am.

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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