Weighty Matters

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Scaleaphobia

I’ve been afraid to get on the scale and weigh myself for the last few weeks.  This ties in with the whole feeling like a failure episode that I experienced.  It also is part and parcel of my ongoing conflicts and how much power I give to that three digit number.

Because I went through the rough period, I magnified in my mind all of the possible negative results.  They ballooned in my head until I was absolutely positive that I must have gained 10 or 20 pounds.  I didn’t want to face the evidence of my own fall from grace.  This all caused extra stress and upset, of course.

Even when things turned around and I began to eat and behave more sanely and rationally, I still feared stepping up onto the scale for the physical reality check.  At that stage, I was afraid that seeing a big gain would send me off the wagon again into the muck of diseased thinking which would lead to me compulsively eating yet again.  This is such horrendous cycle.

Instead of just sucking it up and stepping up, I avoided.  I focused on my eating and exercise, my readings and emotional work.  I took heart in how I feel, how my clothes weren’t oppressively tight, that the shirt I put on fit better than it did the last time I wanted to wear it.

This was all pretty positive, sane behavior, so why wasn’t it enough?  Well, there’s the whole “denial” thing to address.  Sometimes it is a very strong asset to recovery to not be so locked into measuring my success and recovery based on my actual weight.  It really is a good thing to build recovery based on my behavior, my healthy choices, not compulsing or binging, and so on.  Unfortunately, sometimes not weighing can also be a form of denial, as in denying that there’s a problem unfolding.

It’s so difficult to balance these things sometimes.  I finally decided that I needed to face facts and hope for the best.  So, I finally stepped up on the scale.  That’s when I discovered that I was still the same weight as I was a couple of months ago.  In that moment of discovery, I had a choice to make.  I could dive right into the negative and berate myself for not losing, or I could take a deep breath and be happy that, despite the food issues, I had maintained and not gained.  I could also, as I shared yesterday, recognize that while the number might be the same, my body has changed and a number of those pounds have switched from fat to muscle.  A plus!

Today I am glad that I faced the fear and weighed myself.  Today I am also seeking a good and healthy balance.  I don’t want to be obsessed with the scale number.  I want to keep my focus on choosing to eat healthy food in a healthy, recovery-oriented manner.

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Conversation Comparison

This is what a conversation in my head sounds like when I’m in disease and obsessed with food:

(While driving home from work.)  “What do I have to eat for dinner? Do I have anything in the house to eat?  What am I hungry for?  I could stop for take out from that new Mediterranean place.  Gyro.  Spanikopita.  Baklava! Oh, wait.  I have leftover spaghetti squash with tomato meat sauce and fresh ricotta.  I should eat that.  Healthy.  But it’s Italian.  I should have bread.  I haven’t had any.  Did I eat other carbs today?  I need bread.  I don’t have any bread in the house.  I’ll top and get some.  Crusty chewy Italian bread.  (Begin imagining myself tearing off a thick hunk from the loaf and slathering it with soft butter.)  Dessert.  Do I have dessert?  Lots of fresh fruit.  But I want chocolate.  I can practically taste chocolate.  I must have some chocolate.  Cookies?  No, maybe ice cream.  Ohh, that gelato!”

This is not a work of fiction.  I had this conversation earlier today in between work and the acupuncturist’s office. Exhausting, not to mention damaging.  From one thought to the next, I can totally veer off of my healthy food plan and fall into compulsion.   Plus, that’s just one conversation.  In the course of a day, when I’m in full compulsive eating disorder mode, I have those internal chats frequently throughout the day.  They build on themselves like a snowball rolling down hill gathers more snow and more snow, getting bigger and bigger and bigger.  The more momentum the compulsion gets, the less resistance I have and the more likely I am to go from trigger point to the actual act of eating or overeating.

As I said in the previous post, I saw some real easing of compulsive thought in the past week, but I won’t pretend for a nanosecond that a single acupuncture session can fix me.  Nothing will ever fix me.  It can hopefully be an effective weapon in my anti-disease arsenal, however.  So, I pulled into the acupuncturist’s office, which distracted me from the obsessive food chatter in my head.  We talked for a few minutes.  I recapped everything that I’d felt/experienced in the last week post-the initial session.  Then I stretched out on the table while she inserted the needles to help continue the heel and tendon healing, reduce knee pain, and work with my cravings and compulsions.  I relaxed into the treatment, breathing and being mindful and present in my body and mind.

She’d told me to be aware if I felt anything in my body during treatment like twinges, aches, pains or anything.  Those could signify blocks releasing and opening up to let the internal energy flow.  About mid-way through, my knees began to warm and my flesh felt a little like it was experiencing a low modulating vibration.  It was comfortable and lovely, actually, so I continued to relax and enjoy.  A short time later, the needles in my right ear which are for the food cravings and weight issues started to hurt a little.  It was not the same pleasant sensation, but I remembered not to constrict and fight it.  I breathed deeply and expanded into the feeling.  Before long, the discomfort faded away.  I also felt a little pricking feeling in my left foot, right in the area where the doctor inserted the needle at last week’s plasma injection in order to treat the tendon.  It felt like it had a needle in it, but I didn’t remember the acupuncturist inserting one at that spot.  More breathing, expanding, noting.

When the practitioner returned, I told her about all that I’d felt.  No, she hadn’t put a needle in my left foot at that spot.  It was a sign that the healing energy was getting to the necessary spot.  All of the signs were promising.

When my session was done, I walked next door to my manicure appointment.  I was decidedly more mellow and relaxed.  My nail tech friend and I had a nice chat while she did my nails.  A co-worker dropped in to say hello after finishing her acupuncture session.  It was fun.

I got in my car and had this conversation with myself on my way down the highway:

“Oh right.  I still need to fix dinner when I get home.  I was going to stop for that Italian bread.”  (Pause.)

(Pause)  “I like this song that’s playing.”

(Pause.)

“I don’t really want that bread.  I’ll just go home and have that spaghetti squash.  Don’t need that chocolate either.  I have all that fruit.”

Definitely less obsessed with food and a whole lot less compulsive.  This is what it’s like for me when I’m in a good place, when I have time between the inciting/trigger thought and the actual action of eating.

I can’t quite bring myself to 100% believe that the acupuncture treatment has this capability, but I am definitely optimistic about it.

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