The journey begins with one bowlful of blessings….

I usually have about two to three binges a week.  I have noticed that the binges continue to get smaller, lately I have felt a reluctance to call them binges, there just isn’t the same amount of food or the same gluttonous intentions anymore.  I sense two things happening at the same time.  One is that I am less willing to feel the bloat and discomfort of the excess food in my stomach and the other is that I am not as enticed by the thrill of it, nor as interested in going through with it.  I am losing interest!  For the first time in my 40 year battle with eating, I want peace and calm more than I want the food or drink.  Well, blow me down!  as Popeye would say.

That is a shift in my thinking that actually surprises me.  I have tried to force myself to rethink how, what and how much I eat as a new standard to follow, but never has it come all on it’s own and been as persuasive as it have been since I began to practice the teaching’s of Buddha.  The middle way, no extremes, gentle kindness, willingness to observe, and so much more.

The one teaching that has shifted my eating is the concept of being an observer of myself without trying to intervene.  If I am in a shop and the desire to buy binge foods is present, I step back (inside myself) and watch what I think and what I do without any judgement or attempt to control or change it.  It is an amazing experience!  I have always grabbed binge foods and hidden them amongst normal foods in my basket, as though I could hide the intent.  I would have mental conversations with the cashier, why yes, I may have junk food in my basket, but I also have healthy food.  Surely a balanced diet!

Being my own observer was like knowing there was a hidden store camera recording every move and thought I had.  I would pick up a packet of biscuits and found myself thinking a bit further ahead, like in how I would feel after eating the biscuits.  I thought of the pain and discomfort, the disgust and regrets.  Those are the very real end results that I always experience.  I did not need to brow beat myself about ruining my current diet or worry about weight gains because that was only a possibility and too elusive to use as an effect prevention tool.  No, I only let the real and immediate result be a part of the process of watching a binge formulate.  The more often I did this, the less often I followed through with the binge and strangely, I actually started buying less.  Instead, I developed new habits, like putting the binge foods that found a nest in my basket back on the shelf before going to the cashier.  I also noticed that my thoughts seemed to have less edgy excitement as a catalyst.  It’s stopped feeling naughty and secretive….it was after all, observed…by me.

Seeing oneself in unflattering situations is really uncomfortable.  So I continued to be non-judgmental and as kind to myself as I could.  No tears, anger, regrets, or repressing allowed.  I would comment to my husband about my silly shop battles which ended up not being as shameful as I imagined because he had them too.  I would take deep breaths and stop the flood gates of self hate swing open.  So I when I did eat too much, I paid attention to it.  Was this how I liked to feel?  Is being stuffed and uncomfortable (even nauseated) really where I wanted to be?  Not at all.  When I ate foods that made my body and mind sing, I paid attention to that too.  They were two different states I could experience, it was up to me which one was nicer.

I actually like feeling good.  Imagine that!  Instead of using guilt or motivational talks or scientific research to fuel eating changes, I let how I felt in my body and mind be the guide.  I don’t think I was connected enough to my body when younger because I was fighting it so much.  I let the weight scale and the diet dictate what I should eat and how much, now I let my bowl give me a boundary and the effects of the food be my guide to eating in a way that sings rather than hinders.

It doesn’t happen by decision making, it doesn’t click on like a light bulb, it’s not a rule to follow or a diet club to join.  It’s shifting ideas until they feel balanced.  It’s listening for the body to sing it’s song of nourishment.

boybowl2

Reviewing 2012?

I have been writing loads of rubbish and just not posting it.  I have run around the diet wagon, wondering if I should jump back on.  I have revisited Buddha’s teachings about suffering and observing.  I have reviewed the past year and felt overwhelmed by it.  As many times as I sit down to write, the words carry me off into a distracted mess of nonsense.  I keep trying to stay focused and grasping at a goal for 2013 but nothing comes of it.  Do I need a goal?  What is it about January that makes people think the slate is wiped clean?  Humans invented the calendar and gave it power.  Ever notice how we command the calendar to make things happen in our lives?  Think of all the times you predicted that by such and such a date, you would weigh…..XYZ.  How many times have you demanded that your body conform to your weekly expectations and felt betrayed when it followed it’s own sense of time?

As I tried to look back on the successes and failures of 2012 so I can define myself, I really have little to compare it to.  What’s the going standard?  Is it my weight?  Is it my health and wellbeing?  Is it the number of times I binged compared to 2011?  Since I tend to focus on eating and weight as standards for success and failure, I often ignore the other components in my life.  Do they not count? 

Binge wise, I have no clue as to the success or failure of the bad habit.  If I compare it to other years, where bingeing was predominate, I would say that in 2012 bingeing has significantly and dramatically decreased in frequency and volume (success?).  But they still occur (failure?).  I owe the subduing of the binges to my interest in Buddha’s teachings, as I have learned to observe my behaviour, to practice staying present and not repressing so much.  I owe the volume reduction to eating from a bowl.  It has taught my stomach to feel full on a much smaller amount of food.  Yet that’s all pretty nuance-y, isn’t it?  The proof is in the pudding, and I ate the damn thing.  Who’s to know that I am doing better?  I am fatter.

Weight wise, I am on the fence as to the truth of the matter.  I weighed 317+ pounds in 2009 (my highest weight). I weighed 229 in early 2011.  I fluctuated between 235 and 250 throughout 2011-2012, but did manage a greater part of the year staying at 235.  I weighed 251 this time last year, I weigh 262 this year.  I have gained 11 pounds for 2012, does that mean anything?  Can I blame the gain on all the stress of moving from Hawaii to Scotland?  Can I blame the temptations of the new foods or the advent of menopause, or the gloomy dark weather?  Shall I judge myself a failure?  Might as well call myself a fat pig.  Or I could put on a different hat and congratulate myself on not weighing 325 pounds.  At 57 years of age, it’s hard to care about how much I weigh as much as I did when 30.  Nothing messes with my self of self worth than my weight.  I can tolerate seeing myself large, but if I have it confirmed with a number, I am devastated.

Reviewing the past year really doesn’t bring me any new or enlightening information on my weight or my eating.  I am intelligent enough to connect the dots that I use food binges to cope with stress, that I no longer have the active young body to offset the massive calorie intake.  I know the truth that had I continued to practice the bowl method along with a ketogenic diet, I would be at a better body weight and definitely have a better sense of wellbeing today.  I know the diet wagon is an insane and painfully bumpy ride, I know my relationship with the weight scale is dysfunctional, I know what foods make me ill and which ones make me feel good.  There really isn’t any stone that has not been overturned and analysed to death.  Yet I am not smart enough to let go of what I know doesn’t work. 

Eating from a bowl is elusive and concise at the same time.  It’s not a diet.  It’s definitely portion control.  It’s easy, it’s difficult  I holds all I need to eat to nourish my body, but mentally, it’s a challenge when I want to eat massively.  I think the elusiveness of it keeps me from labelling it as one of the most successful things I accomplished in 2012.  I returned to the bowl, time and time again knowing without a doubt it was the one consistently comforting aspect of my eating.  There is a sense of peace eating from a bowl that just doesn’t happen when eating off a plate or out of a package.  It gives my chaotic eating a sense of stability.  I may have gained 11 pounds in 2012, but I gained 22 the year before.  I may have binged too often in 2012, but in 2011 they were far more intense and more massive in quantity.  So something good must be taking form.  I believe that form is bowl shaped.

001

Cheese and butter.

So far, for 2013, I have been gently easing myself back to where I know I thrive.  That is on a fat and protein based diet, a ketogenic level of carbohydrate intake.  But that is as far as I will take the diet talk.  I refuse to count nutrients and I refuse to call what I eat a diet complete with rules and club membership.  I eat whatever my body and mind agree on.  I don’t eat what some well meaning diet book author has come up with as the cure for obesity. 

002

Salami, smoked gouda, brussel sprouts with mayonnaise.

As I move closer to the place I want to be with eating, I notice the usual side effects which for the most part are unpleasant.  I always feel the weight of depression on my shoulders.  My mood swings to the negative point of view, my body moans in grief from the lack of bread and teacakes, my ego tries to outwit me with visions of fabulous feasts.  Yet each time I sit down with my next bowl of food, I sense peace.  That peacefulness starts to grow as my body releases the retained fluids of the recent carb intake, and when the fuel source kicks over to fat, I will know I am back in the saddle.  Today, I sense it’s happening. 

010

Cheese with butter, egg with crab pate, herring.

013

Mini cumberland sausages.

016

Egg, cheese with butter.

I am getting there, one bowl at a time.  Each time I put the best foods for me in the bowl, the more I am at peace and feel a sense of wellbeing.  I guess it really is useless to define what success and failure is because it us usually pre-defined by someone else.  For me, as a chronic dieter, the scale was the measure.  I think it was a false premise all along. 

No one saves us but ourselves. No one can and no one may. We ourselves must walk the path. 

Peace comes from within. Do not seek it without.

Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment.

In the sky, there is no distinction of east and west; people create distinctions out of their own minds and then believe them to be true.

It is better to travel well than to arrive.

Buddha

Handi Bowl

http://www.vendio.com/stores/shalinindia/item/inside-the-home-serving-bowls/dinnerware-copper-serving-bowl/lid=6310929

indian copper serving bowl - Bing Images - Opera_2013-01-06_13-14-40

I found information on my recent charity find, the copper bowl.  It is the most common serving bowl in Indian households, usually holding lentils, curries, puddings or liquid based foods.  How exciting, I suspected it was a curry bowl.  Wish I had the lid.  I paid £4 for the bowl, happiness on that.

I am once again switching gears on my usual diet/binge/whine and complain blogs.  I want to move away from the negativity of it, it may be cathartic to purge emotions on a blog, but I am finding that it creates a cave for me to dwell in.  Leaving me stuck in the dank, dark, cold and lonely alcove.  I chose a rainbow coloured theme and will keep this as a nurturing place for me to be.

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trusting my body

be grateful. live mindfully. love fiercely.

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There's no need to hurry through this pueblo.

Shira Taylor Gura

Exploring Mindfulness and Reality Beyond

Global Toss-up

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Mindful Male

My personal journey on the path to Mindfulness

New Wellness for Me

Health & wellness, fitness, and attuned eating

Illinois Body Reclamation Project

Reclaiming My Body from Illinois

My Road To Acceptance

journal of a girl who's just trying to survive

Healthy on a budget

1st year uni student trying to get fit