Weighty Matters

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Self-Care Training

on December 30, 2014

I wish I naturally, automatically practiced good self-care.  Oh, sure, I do it sometimes and probably more often than I did before, but I don’t automatically treat myself well often enough.  Very often, I have to remind myself.  It’s strange because gentle support and encouragement are second nature to me when I’m offering them to a friend or family member.

Thinking it over, I do better with bigger gestures to myself, sort of like self-care rewards, but the day to day little positive reinforcements come harder.  For some many years I abused myself with my overeating and then compounded the horrible self-treatment with the negative, rotten things I thought about myself and that I said to myself.

I need to retrain myself in this area.  I keep going back to the Anne Lamott post on the anti-diet.  In it she talks about paying attention to what makes us feel good, one meal at a time.  I’ve really been focusing on that the last couple of days.  I strive to stay present in the moment as I prepare my food and then while I eat the meals.  I remind myself over and over again that it is important for me to do what is good for me and to do what makes me happy.

Paying attention, I find, is key.  There are so many distractions in our lives.  External distractions are challenging enough, but the negative tapes that sometimes still play in my head are even worse.  It’s the negative thoughts that take me away from my mindfulness so that I can inhale a few cookies before I realize what I’m doing.  So, I’ve ramped up the self-attention when I’m around the food.  Attention leads to mindfulness and so on.

In addition, I also tell myself, often, that I’m treating myself well and I’m worth it.  I’m choosing to eat healthy and not go off of my plan into compulsive eating because I’m taking care of myself.  And I’m worth it.  I looked at the beautiful, fresh, crisp salad that I put together for dinner (fresh, chopped kale, shredded broccoli, carrots, red cabbage, diced sweet onion, a little feta, some walnuts) and acknowledged that making it was a way to treat myself well.  So was the way that I ate it with some roast chicken — slowly, savoring the tastes, appreciating everything about the experience.

A corporate coach tells us that it takes 21 days to adopt a new behavior.  I hope that I can continue building on this self-training for the next three weeks, do it consistently, and continue to really develop a daily naturalness in self-care.

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