cravings

I know that I have mentioned this maybe even several times in the past, but I just can’t get over how powerful it is when the same information comes at me from several unrelated sources.  This always confirms for me that I am on the right track.  Lately this phenomena is happening everywhere I look and so gives me confidence that although I sometimes feel like I am dangling from a hook, struggling to find solid ground as life zooms past me, everything is happening as it should and it helps me to trust myself and allow myself to be present to the changes happening in my life.

Funny, that word changes.  In the forum they teach us to differentiate between changes and transformations.  Change is something gradual that you must apply will power and constant attention to to make it happen.  Transformation is instant, more like an immediate shift that sends you in a new direction.  These are the more powerful mechanisms for making significant differences in our lives and I have seen this in several areas of my life and now finally with my health.

I first saw this in action when I quit smoking.  We had heard of this book (The Easy Way to Stop Smoking) that supposedly could help you quit smoking with little effort or withdrawals. Now, I had been a smoker for over 15 years and had quit and started countless times. My problem was that I liked smoking, no I loved smoking.   But, I hated being a smoker.   There is a very distinct difference there that I think most smokers can relate to.

So, we had heard stories of several people who had read this book and then simply stopped smoking forever. At this point what did I have to lose, so I gave it a try. Basically the book tells it like it is, separating you from your addiction and helping you to see how it is standing in the way and certainly not serving in any way at all. But the funny thing is that it is really more about the act of reading the book than even what the book says.   At the end they have this list of questions and if you can answer yes to any of them you need to start the book over.   It took reading the book twice to get through the list, but then I put down the cigarettes and haven’t had another since and it wasn’t even hard, like at all.    My best friend even looked at me the other night and said she can no longer even imagine me as a smoker.  Amazing.

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The point is that it was my first introduction to the instant transformation I am talking about. It wasn’t hard to quit like it had been the many other times I had tried. It was like something shifted and I just didn’t need it any more. Quite the transformation.

Back when I was depressed and having regular debilitating panic attacks my therapist would tell me to differentiate and identify the depression and anxiety as separate from myself. “That’s the depression talking”.   It was amazing how quickly I started to feel better once I started doing this. I kept telling myself that it was just anxiety and depression and that what it was saying was not true and that I could keep going even though I thought my heart would explode out of my chest and it eventually just disappeared.  In the moment that I realized that I wasn’t the awful person my depression told me I was, it just dissipated and I started feeling better and soon I was better.

At The Forum I learned to separate my stories from my actual experiences and found forgiveness and peace with my past.

Do you see a pattern here?

Well now it has reached my battle with my weight. I was noticing last week that my whole outlook was starting to change. But this didn’t happen slowly over time with a lot of will power.   Yes, I have been thinking a lot about it and have made some changes to my diet and have obviously been working on the emotional aspects, but I was feeling really frustrated that it didn’t seem how much I worked at it, I still wanted to the sweets and junk food and couldn’t keep myself from eating it.  And I still had no desire to work out at all.

I hit my peak of frustration as I scarfed down a brownie on the way to therapy last Monday.   Two bites and I was feeling nauseous, yet I still ate the whole damn thing.  What is going on?

So I was talking to my therapist about it and she taught me how to differentiate this as well.  There is was again.  She recommended stopping when I felt these cravings and looking at them from another angle, identifying the intensity of the craving by giving it a number 1-10.   Then if you decide the number is high enough and eat the craved food, then identify how much satisfaction you got from eating it by giving it a number 1-10.

During this therapy session, something just clicked and since then I have been following her advice,  which has unfortunately taken the joy out of several sweat treats I was really looking forward to, and yet again transformation has happened.  Not perfection or magical weight loss, but a totally different outlook that seemed like it came out of nowhere.

I have been almost jonesing for exercise and food has lost its power over me. I am even down to just one Diet Coke a day, a miracle in and of itself.

It is just a craving and separate from myself.   That craving has nothing to do with my body’s need for sustenance or nutrition or even something yummy to eat — it is emotional and completely separate.

I think this is part of the message the Jon Gabriel is trying to convey to us.   Just give your body what it needs and realize that you are emotionally separate from your need to eat and your body will start asking for what it needs and giving back what you want from it.

The real test will be how this plays out over the next couple of months.  Please let the weight loss finally come.   I create this possibility for myself and for all of you too.

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I picked up my Gabriel Method book this morning to reread some of the nutritional stuff as I have been concentrating on my mental health and identifying and eradicating my emotional blockage.   I was looking through the monthly plans and nutritional information and realized that I am already doing everything in month 3, just naturally without thinking about it.   How cool is that?

Unfortunately, I am still giving into the still too frequent junk food cravings and not being as active as I should.  I find that when I am busy and overwhelmed, instead of turning to exercise as a stress release and break from it all, I look at it like the worst possible thing ever.  Rather silly, really.    But, I am not beating myself up over it.  This just gives me tangible goals for this next month.

This month I will begin using the craving killing visualization.  Couple of interesting things about this…

I have been searching through the book for weeks looking for the section on the craving killing visualization and could not find it for the life of me.  I swear I flipped through every page.  Then this morning I opened the book directly to that page.  There is was, right in front of me.  I love that kind of thing.  I guess I am ready to take this step now.

I also think that it is interesting that this is the same visualization that Paul McKenna uses in his “I Can Make You Thin” book for killing cravings.    Must work pretty well.  Really, there is quite a bit of overlap between the two systems and I think they are very complimentary to each other.

Another thing to concentrate on this month are adding in activity several times a week.  I have many opportunities for this, it isn’t a matter or not having enough time, I just need to do it.  I will start adding being physically active to my evening visualizations and using the idea of making the better choice.  When the choice arises simply say yes to a stress relieving, personal time, break from the family, feeling great activity and no to sitting around wishing I was doing something else.

And lastely, this month I need to start adding a morning smart session.  I think this will be really calming and helpful for me, starting my day with a more positive and centered attitude and a focus on what I want to accomplish during the day.

If things keep going the way they are with my business, I am definitely going to need this increased focus and productivity, never mind someone to help clean my house and possibly even watch my kids a couple mornings a week.   All I have to say is be careful what you manifest for yourself, you just quite possibly might get it.  A little overwhelming, yet really really exciting.

Karli gets up 15 to 20 minutes earlier than me with the kids so this gives me plenty of time to lay in bed and wake up a little and then do 10 minutes of SMART mode visualizations.  I know,  isn’t he great?

On the emotional front, I have taken a big step that I am really excited about.  I have signed up for the Landmark Forum seminar.  This is a three and a half day very intensive look at yourself.   A good friend of ours just did it and he said that it was really life changing for him.  Karli also signed up to take it the month after I do.

I really think this is one of those right things at the right moments for us.   We have been through so much over the last year.  We as individuals and our relationship could really use a serious retuning.   I have been talking for months about needing to get away for a few days and just be with myself, but haven’t gotten around to it.  This is the perfect compromise, three and half full days (a total of 40 hours) with myself, if not by myself.  And I get to sleep in my own bed and kiss my kids each morning.

Can you tell I am excited about this?

Overall, a good month despite the fact that I still don’t think I have lost more than a few pounds (no weighing until October).  No worries,  all in the right time.

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I’m not hungry.  I use to always have some level of hunger, that “I could eat” feeling, pretty much all the time.  Now I don’t even think about food until I’m actually hungry and sometimes even then I have to force myself to eat something because real hunger isn’t something that I am used to, it feels different – not so urgent.

Sometimes I will even find myself in the fridge looking for something to eat just because it is habit and then realize that nothing sounds good because I’m not hungry.  And now, instead of shoving something in my mouth just to feel better, I close the door and walk away.  Usually it is just boredom or thirst, so I have a glass of water and engage in something.

The one exception is the afternoon, when I inevitably still get my daily sweet craving.  I have been better about the fruit and nut snack in the afternoon, but I still find I am getting urges to stop for a chocolate milkshake or an apple fritter.  Most days I don’t, but I still do sometimes.

The other day I was reading some older posts on the Gabriel Method Forum that I frequent and a woman was talking about how she had switched to flax oil for her omega and her cravings and hunger had returned, so she switched back to fish oil and it all went away again.  I haven’t used flax oil (I prefer to grind them fresh), but I did notice that when I forget to take my omega pills, everything goes a little wonky.

Taking omega fish oil pills really curbs my cravings and keeps me on track.  When I remember to take my supplements that afternoon craving is usually mild and the fruit does the trick, but If I forget to take them with lunch then watch out.  I guess concentrating on remembering to take my supplements needs to be a higher priority.

Why is it so hard for me to form a habit and be consistent about it?  Not beating myself up, just wondering.  It can be pretty damn frustrating sometimes.  This is one of the major things I concentrate on during my visualizations.   It will come.

It’s a funny thing about fear.  Sometimes when you say it out loud and face it directly it recedes and sometimes even disappears all together.  

I would like to thank everyone for the unexpected and very much appreciated outpouring of support.    Your words of  encouragement made a really bad day a whole lot better and gave me the confidence to push past it.  Thank-you.

I wish I could say my fear is gone, but alas that simply isn’t how it is in this case.  But, by owning my weaknesses I have come to understand them a little better and can now move forward with my eyes open.

I wish I could snap my fingers and make the self doubt and mistrust go away, but life doesn’t work that way no matter how much we wish it could be.  The only thing to do now is take one day at a time and enjoy the good ones and let the bad ones go.  I just need to keep moving and find a way to have some success.

I have several ways of going about this.  My freelance business is doing well and I am having success with my therapy.  The next step is giving over to my ability to be thin again.  

It is time to buckle down and really commit to some way of getting healthy.  I talk about this a lot, but each new thing lasts a couple of weeks and then dwindles slowly until it just stops all together.

So, I am committing to the Gabriel Method, which I believe addresses my personal health issues.  I have come up with a plan and although i am not starting completely over like I thought I would have to, I am starting fresh and considering this day 1.

I made myself a sort of sign that I taped to the kitchen cabinets.  On this piece of paper is my meals planned out for the week.  This is not ‘eat this at this time’ but really just a list of good healthy meals that I have planned out in advance and have available to me so when I go to think about what I want for lunch, I can look at the list and see several things to choose from, any of which would be just fine, but steering me away from the dangers of standing in front of the fridge or pantry, hungry and vulnerable.

I also have included a daily schedule of stuff that I need to do, like taking supplements, drinking water, eating a snack, doing visualization, eating the sun and taking a power nap as well as a list of things to remember.  

I will make a new one of these each week to help me remain focused.  

In order for these habits to truly take, I need to do the same set of things every day, not just when I feel like it.  I think that because this is not a diet with a regimented food and exercise plan that it is easy to take the eat what you want when you want for granted.  This doesn’t work if you aren’t listening to what it is your body wants.  

For example, the afternoon rolls around and I always crave sweets then, so even if it isn’t what my body wants I still eat it without really even thinking about it.  Where as if I had just listened and tried a couple of techniques to give my body what it really does want, I might have been able to avoid eating that.  And if after all that I still really craved that sweet treat, then I could have eaten it and enjoyed without guilt, knowing that those cravings will go away on there own with time.

It is really a change in the way I think about it.  This is what happened when I finally quit smoking and I am positive that a fundamental shift in my thinking will be necessary with this as well.  

Much like when I quit smoking for the last time, I must give over to it and accept that this is the way things are going to be from now on, that I have made this decision and there is not turning back from it.

A word of caution.  I have been generally cranky for the last week, so please don’t take my crotchetiness as a sign that this isn’t working.  In fact, I think that it is working quite well.  I have been working with my therapist with some things that have welled up some residual anger I am working through, but I also think my body might be going through some sort of detox process as well and this I know makes me cranky.

I really really want to weigh myself.  I can’t help it, the scale just calls to me.  I have put it away, but just because it is put away doesn’t mean I can’t go and dig it out.  It is only the thought that I may get on the scale and that same number will still be there that is keeping me from it.

I do know that all my pants are too big.  I am going to go shopping for new jeans on Friday.  We’ll see how it goes.  Unfortunately, I think I am now in between sizes, which totally sucks.   I hate shopping for pants almost as much as I hate shopping for swimsuits which I only hate half as much as shopping for dresses.  Did I say that I am not built like anything they use as a model for making clothes?  

I feel like my body has been battling itself this week.  Some of this is due to my own personal weaknesses and others is a sign that this program is working.

I have learned that I am not very good outside of my routine.  We had house guests this last week and I did pretty good through the first part of the day, but then as the day progresses, I would forget to drink water or take my supplements.  But, Monday morning came and I got right back on schedule and I guess that is really the important part.

The change in the kinds of foods that I am craving is really the most shocking thing to me.  We went out to dinner on Saturday night for a friend’s birthday and instead of ordering heavy carb-laden food, I ordered a small filet and a salad.  I did eat a little bit of an appetizer and several glasses of wine, but compared to how I would have indulged, this was  a big step.  The most surprising part was that this is what I wanted.  The thought of mashed potatoes or french fries was really not appealing at the time.

I am finding that in the afternoon my body is getting really confused.  This has always been the time of day that is most challenging for me.  I get really hungry, usually for sweets and then overindulge in random things around the house because I can’t find the perfect thing to satisfy this particular craving.  

This last week though, I have still been getting the feeling of hunger, but I can’t nail down what it is I’m hungry for.

 I go through my head…

sweet? no.  

Salty? no.  

Hmmm.  

Maybe I’m not hungry?  

But, I feel hungry.

I drink a glass of water and feel better for a few minutes.

Then, it creeps back in.

So, I must be hungry, but nothing sounds good.

It’s pretty frustrating.  Like right now, I am writing this and can’t stop thinking about what I can eat.  What I should do is have a good healthy snack, but that just sounds gross.  

I am hoping that this is part of the evolution and the hunger and ambiguity will dissipate soon.  

I also found out that I am having problems with my visualization cd.  Last night I actually stayed awake for a while into the cd and at some point before it was over, it just stopped.  I don’t know how long this is been happening or if it ever worked correctly, so that is discouraging.  I need to determine if this is a battery issue or an issue with the cd I burned before I go to bed tonight.  I did notice that my battery charger light wasn’t on when I went to get new batteries last night (yup, stopped half way through with new batteries).   

I have been very faithful about my body and next day visualizations before bed and right when I get up and find that the next day visualizations are really helping my productivity.  Balancing freelance work at home with care for the fam with all that that entails and trying to find time for myself in there as weel can be pretty challenging, but I seem to be handling it better and better each day.

During my visualization I focus on the large items that need to get done the next day, making sure to note that things will come easily and obstacles will be easily and effortlessly overcome.  I also make sure to include that I will remain calm and patient with the kids and enjoy all the little moments with them and that I will have adequate time to accomplish all that needs to be done as well as time to relax and take care of myself and have quality time with my kids and husband.  A lot to ask out of a day, but it is working.  Don’t underestimate what is possible.

I find the body visualizations a little more challenging.  I have my picture torn out of a yoga magazine of my perfect bod and I can see all the qualities in her that I want to have, but when I close my eyes I still see her.  I am finding it very difficult to visualize myself looking like that.  It’s a worth thing I’m sure, so I just paste my face on her body and keep trying.  It will come.  I am worth it and worthy of living the life I dream of in the body I create (Whew, I can say it out loud).

Overall, things are going pretty well, although not as great as I was hoping.  I am very impatient with this type of thing.  I constantly need to remind myself that this is a life change and it will take time and that each day I am learning and growing and taking steps in the right direction and that is what this is really all about.

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After just more than one week on the month one plan plus adding the recommended foods where appropriate, I am already seeing my cravings change.  Less Diet Coke, more water and the other day we took the kids to ice cream in the afternoon and I didn’t even feel like having something sweet.  I more wanted some cheese and bread, maybe some olives.  Now, I did have the ice cream and it’s not like cheese and bread is so great for you, but that change in craving is a big one for me.  I have always wanted something sweet.

Now, a few days later, I don’t really want to eat the breads at all.  Last night we had garlic shrimp and pasta and I couldn’t even bring myself to eat the very small amount of pasta I put on my plate and today I took the kids to lunch and nothing really sounded good and I ended up tearing most of the bread off my meal and eating out just the center.

Something is definitely going on here.  I am finding that I still crave the sweets and carbs, but that they aren’t very satisfying when I eat them.  I am still eating them though, because depriving the cravings is definitely not the point here.  I do end up leaving food on the table though because it just isn’t really doing much for me.

Jon Gabriel claims that as we add more nutrients and help our bodies digest better, that our cravings will change and that eventually we will stop craving the food that isn’t good for us.   Although it is early in this process (this is not a short term fix, but a new healthier lifestyle), my cravings are definitely changing.  I feel differently about food and am seeing the results.

Now, I have no idea whether I have gained or lost any weight.  Jon recommends not weighing yourself for the first six months for several reasons.  First of all, as you stop depriving your body of the food it is craving, it is quite possible you will gain a little weight early on.  Second, it is imperative that you come to love yourself in your current body and weighing yourself all the time just undermines that.  And lastly, weight tends to come off in spurts and so why worry yourself with plateaus.  This part is really hard for me, I am obsessive about weighing myself.

The approach is broken down into a four month plan.  New habits take 21 days to form so each set of new habits is added for 1 month before adding more.

In month one, I am starting the evening and morning visualizations, listening to the CD before I go to sleep, taking a probiotic with two glasses of water first thing before eating anything and changing the way I eat breakfast.  I am increasing the amount of and quality of food I eat for breakfast, adding in as many of the recommended foods as possible.

In addition to this, I take an  Acai supplement and a multivitamin in the afternoon.  I also need to add a multimineral to the afternoon supplements and will purchase these this weekend along with digestive enzymes and omega 3 supplements.

This is a lot more supplements than even I am used to taking and I was already taking several of these and have been known to add a few more in from time to time.  But, I am ok with taking pills.  It doesn’t bother me and I find it a really easy and consistent way to chug enough water throughout the day, which is something I am normally terrible at.

It’s all about adding in more nutritious food that our bodies can easily convert into what it needs to run smoothly and cutting out the reasons our body might want to be fat.  I am not denying myself anything at all, not even that doughnut if I want it.

For all the details, you really need to read the book, but a couple of the major adds for me have been flax seed, whey powder, sprouted wheat bread, raw nuts and more fruits and vegetables.  Although I never would have thought I would, I am really enjoying it all.  I am loving the sprouted grain bread.  My Trader Joe’s carries several varieties and it is oh so good.  I can’t say I am a big fan of protein powder, so I have been trying to use as many other sources of good protein as I can so I can minimize using it until I figure out how to use it properly.

For me, the biggest thing has been reducing the negative thinking.  I am a ruminater.  I just hash shit over in my head like nobody’s business.  This is something we have been working extensively on in therapy and something he said in his book clicked with me and I have made major ground with this in a very short period of time.

There are more than a few things I am still confused about, but I continue to learn and change and will continue to post as I figure things out.

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