Sep 8, 2012

Intuitive Eating

So my last post was about being real.  So, here I am starting.  My body has been something I have been very scared about opening up about.  I have struggled for many years.  My situation is different than others, but maybe as I start documenting openly about it I will find that I am not as alone as I think.

Like many of you, esp. us girls we struggle with the way we look.  Media along with our personal beliefs drive us to have thoughts and views of what we "should" be.  We feel uncomfortable in our skin and that drive to be what we "should" be drives us to be crazy.  We become irrational and unable to be balanced in our eating and thoughts because we are ping-ponged from one way of eating to the next.

In high school I was a typical high school girl who was uncomfortable in her skin.  Boy friends, probably unintentionally told me that I was too big.  Looking back I am sure they were jealous of my ability to build muscle.  My body, when in shape is a Dawson.  We build muscle quickly and we are strong.  But, as a youth you don't want to be told how "big" your calf's are or what not.  I interpreted this as I needed to loose weight.

I would limit eating and work out a ton.  For a couple of years I would diagnose myself as having exercise induced bulimia.  Meaning instead of purging, I would exercise out the calories.  This inside of me ate me up in many ways.  I was angry a lot.  I wanted to hide these feelings and I put on a face that I wasn't bothered at all my these feelings I had inside.  I am sure I was the only one being fooled.

When I moved away from home and went to college I didn't know how to keep up my life style of working out.  I hadn't developed good eating habits, so I gained weight.  I came home fifteen pounds heaver and that was devastating to me.  I was afraid to run in to old friends and I felt disgusting.  I had worked so hard in high school to maintain a specific weight, that I was upset and angry with myself.

At that time is when my family starting dieting.  I don't remember our family really ever discussing diets.  My mom thought up of a diet for us to go on.  Instead of helping me I felt validated that I did need to loose weight.  I felt upset and rebelled.  I don't think I lost weight.

Since, I have yo-yo's from diet to diet.  Whether rules made up by myself or someone else made up.  Each diet I would be so excited and this facade would be so real in my mind.  I would think my life would be greener on the other side of the new way of eating to the new weight I would be.  This high would quickly crash as I discovered the quick fix and inability to keep up this way of living.  Although, something new would come around and for some reason it would be "different" than the last time.

Why I said at the beginning why my situation was different than others is because I began to get headaches.  Headaches everyday for years and years and years.  Since high school I have struggled with headaches almost daily.  There have been periods of my life that they have backed off a bit, but they always seem to come back.

Because of my headaches it prevented me from working out.  It seemed the harder I worked out, the more of a headache I would get.

This has blown me out of the water.  I have felt lost.  I've always been very athletic and it has been an avenue for me to relieve stress and fulfill my passions.  Without being able to workout I have felt completely lost, unhappy, and depressed.

But, if someone gets a headache that brings on hopelessness, it seems like one would only stay clear of those things that brought headaches, right?  So it has been my case.  Soccer, running, swimming, the gym, being active with the kids- everything I have been afraid of doing.

Someone introduced Intuitive Eating to me and it has been eye opening and life changing.  It is a book that promotes making peace with food and with your body.  It teaches you how to listen to your body, respect it, and become intuitive about understanding the you inside.

So, here I begin to start my life of respecting my body.  Listening to it and giving it what it needs.

The book has 10 principles:
1. Reject the diet mentality
2. Honor your hunger
3. Make peace with food
4. Challenge the food police
5. Feel your fullness
6. Discover the satisfaction factor
7. Cope with your emotions without using food
8. Respect your body
9. Exercise- feel the difference
10. Honor your health

And then there is a last section on 'The Ultimate Path Toward Healing from Eating Disorders".

By working on these tools this book teaches I hope to attain living in a way where food does not occupy my mind, I can get to the healthy weight for my body, and I can enjoy exercising again.

I hope to share my journey.

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