Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Listening to the monster within

Since December 29, 2009, when I vowed to get myself in shape, I have been "caught" several times. The first was in front of the Girls Scout cookie table just beyond the sliding doors of the local grocery store. I was undressing two boxes of Samoas, with my eyes, when a female acquaintance said, "Oh Christina, you really don't need that!" I looked up, shrugged, gave an awkward squint-smile, and said, "Yeah, you're right." I took the walk of sheepish-shame to my car feeling very silly and a little humiliated. And as is usually the case, I came up with some incredible come-backs about five minutes after the encounter. "From what I can see, you don't need them either, yet here you are, standing right next to me in front of the cookies!" Or, "Oh, it's nice to see you too, jerk!" And "Hey, you're not the boss of me!!" I drove home daydreaming of this playground confrontation and how it should have panned out. Then I parked the car and said to myself, "Hey, wait a minute, don't be mad at her for saying that--you ASKED for it--literally." Just a week after starting this blog I emailed many people asking for their "Support" in my weight-loss goals. I also publicize the blog heavily on Facebook. The woman, in her own way, was trying to offer support.

I was also "caught" three weeks ago at Chick-Fil-A with a hefty (fried) chicken sandwich and an EXTRA-LARGE carton of fries. This person was lovely and polite and asked how I was doing and didn't say a thing about what I was eating. But for some reason I felt that I had to "Confess" before I was comfortable moving on with the conversation, "Oh, (cheesy grin) It's French Fry day--I let myself have fries once every two-weeks or else I'd just go crazy!!" She looked at me reassuringly as if to say, "It's ok, really, I don't care." And we moved on with our conversation. So here is my problem with this: Somehow I have felt accountable to others for my exercise and eating--I've made my problem their problem. I mean, I know my friends and acquaintances don't sit home thinking about how much I currently weigh or how I "Cheated" today, but somehow my insecure self convinces me this is true.

I am officially declaring myself OFF A DIET. "Gasp!" "NO, It can't be!!" Well, it is, and I am still losing weight. I'm not a big fan of diets anyway, but now, I am completely letting go of the feelings of restriction, burden, and shame. From reading "Women, Food, and God," I have learned that my body actually tells me when I should stop eating--guess what, it was made to do that--I just haven't been listening to it for a while. The author, Geneen Roth, says to do an experiment: eat whatever it is you want to eat and listen to your belly. "To my belly??" "You mean I must listen to that awful, stretched-out monster...THING that has ruined my life? The floppy mess of lipids that REFUSES to scrunch into a suitable pair of jeans--the belly that makes young children ask (and adults wonder) if I am 'With child?'" Yes, yes, and yes, I must listen to my belly.

I have put the experiment to the test--I've eaten pizza, cake, and of course, Chick-Fil-A. Part of the experiment is to listen to my body's response to each bite and describe my hunger on a scale from one-to-ten. Here is one example of how this has actually worked, two nights ago: I eat one slice of pepperoni pizza--my belly isn't growling anymore, but I am still a little hungry, maybe a 4 or 5 on a 10 scale. Another slice: bite one, two, three...and my stomach feels HEAVY, and I stop after 1 and 1/2 slices, with something to drink, and that completes dinner. Can you believe it--only 1 and 1/2 slices of PIZZA!? I can hardly believe it myself. Of course a diet of pizza, fried chicken, and cake is not healthy even if I only have small amounts. I still need the nutrients from good, whole, foods. The purpose of this method is not to necessarily "Eat whatever I want," but to eat whatever my BODY wants. And today, guess what? It wanted a glass of water instead of a diet coke, and yesterday, some apple slices. Over time I compare how my belly feels after eating certain foods and really LISTEN. The feelings after an apple compared to a large order of fries are very different--and paying attention to this difference is the key. My body "wants" to eat healthy foods, I've just been giving it whatever my HEAD thought it needed. So if you see me in Barnes and Noble with a huge frothy cup of hot cocoa topped with a mountain of whipped-cream, don't worry, because I am listening. Now I just need to figure out which body part tells me to stop placing bids on eBay...


  1. oh girl! i would have slapped that girl upside the head! the girl scout cookie girl!!! what a punk! ew. that post just made me mad. all because of stupid people like her. okay, i'm done ranting.

    good for you for learning to listen to your body. it really does give signals that say, "i've had enough." "i'm about done." the more you listen, the more in tune you will become. so happy for you!

  2. I love the lemon pie at chick-fil-a. Just sayin'.

    Love your writing!

  3. So true! Lately I've been trying really hard to listen to my belly, but I'm finding that my taste buds are just screaming to be heard.

  4. I can't believe someone actually said that to you! I don't call that support

    Anyways - I do like chick fil a so i'm glad you treated yourself.

    But it is true your body will crave whole foods that it needs so listen to your body and you may wake up telling scott to fetch you a jar of Kimchee at 7am

  5. Bina-
    First of all, people are so annoying. Someone at church told me recently, "remember a couple of years ago when you got really skinny?" UGHH!
    All my body craves is diet coke, chocolate, in-and-out burger, pizza, chic-filA, I could go on and on....
    It may not necessarily be my body though. I think it's my head. What I do wrong all the time is skip a meal, then I get crazy hungry and find myself in a drive thru. So, the last time I went to Costco I stocked up on healthier, about 100 calorie snacks with at least some protein, lots of fruits and veggies. My body really likes eating these wholer foods, but the problem is, I don't.
    I admit it, I DON'T LIKE HEALTHY FOOD ONE BIT... but I need to learn to like them, before my eating turns into some sort of disease where I can't eat sugar, or salt.
    The other thing I've been working on is trying to teach myself that a treat is just that, a treat. I don't deserve oreos, chocolate, candy, etc. on an every meal basis. I need to put some sort of limit on that intake - wait for a reason to celebrate, maybe a birthday, a party, maybe once a week for family night - that's it. I don't get a treat just for making it through a few hours of the day. Sorry, this is long - i just type fast.

  6. Bina, that cookie girl??? AAAAAHHHHHHHH!!!!! You are right, she didn't need them either, why was she there???

    I read the other day that if like 80% or 90% of what you eat is good throughout the day than the other 20% or 10% or whatever doesn't matter. So, you break your meals into that rule, 80% or 90% good healthy stuff and 20% or 10% naughty that you just love but isn't necessarily good for ya. I think I like that idea! That way, you can eat a big yummy salad or lean sandwich that's super healthy but still eat a silly cookie or 2 and not feel guilty at all. Sounds good to me!

    I just love your blog. I'm sad and lonely when you don't write so I'm super glad you are back on here! AND, I'm super happy I get to see you again today. YAHOO FOR SUNDAYS!!! Love ya

  7. All I know is that it is hard enough with our OWN angel and devil on our shoulders telling us what to do without someone else butting in on the conversation

    JUNE 13, 2010 10:15 AM A

  8. Hey bina .. watch out this is a LONG comment. The new diet philosophy reminded me of a diet show they had on TLC with Paul McKenna in 2008. I googled it and below is the basics of the diet. You are doing great!

    The Paul McKenna I Can Make You Thin Golden Rules:

    Rule 1. Eat when you feel hungry!

    Rule 2. Eat whatever you want!

    Rule 3. Eat consciously!

    Rule 4. Once you feel full stop eating!

    With each of the rules the Paul McKenna I Can Make You Thin program includes techniques and methods to help you incorporate them into your life.

    Another key point of the system is the 15 minutes of extra exercise you must take daily. This is not like the customary exercise regimes imposed by other health & fitness programs. Instead of heavy exercise the Paul McKenna I Can Make You Thin system suggests the exercise you take should not be a heavy, compacted, 15 minute, gruelling chore but should be spread over the entire day. By splitting your daily 15 minutes into 5 minute periods you hardly notice you are actually exercising - just three 5 minute walks is enough!