Something is amiss, but I also accept that finding out what that is may be nearly impossible and that my only option is to buckle down and do what it takes, but that all seems so overwhelming. So, I am currently taking a break from trying to solve the weight loss problem and am just concentrating on one thing at a time. See, I have a tendency to look too far into the future or see the picture as too big. Then I get overwhelmed and end up saying “fuck it” and giving up on the whole thing.
So, for now I am concentrating on the triathlon that I am running on September 25th. One step at a time. I started with the swimming by taking swim lessons two nights a week. When I was pretty sure that I could swim the half mile I needed to and had built some swimming confidence I added the running piece and last night I ran a full 5k without stopping. I’m not setting any records but I didn’t stop or feel that I needed to.
Now, onto the bike. This weekend I will be purchasing my first bike and adding that into the mix. One small step at a time.
I am trying to take this approach with more things in my life as this state of ineffectiveness infects almost everything I do.
Set small attainable goals and accomplish the task.
Today I am writing this blog post. I am not transferring this into expectations that I will write a post every day or any time in the future. Right now I am writing this and that is good enough for now.
Never in my life did I think that I would become so paralyzed in my own skin, but I am working on it (and working on it and working on it). I was expressing my frustration at my continuing struggles at therapy the other day. I have licked the depression and anxiety, poof… gone. I have battled old demons, healed old wounds and gained unforeseen perspective. I have finally grown up and faced the real world. So why is everything still so hard?
She had a couple of words of wisdom. First, I need to acknowledge how far I have come and accept that change is hard and doesn’t take place over night. She also explained that not being depressed is different from being happy and not being anxious is different than being calm and centered. These things take work too and small steps is the only way to get there. There is always more work to do.
So, I take small steps and am thankful each day for those that love me and allow me to love them back.
Now if only I could get Ian to stop shitting his pants. ;)
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.
Do you need to quit? Get the Book!
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.
I just went back and read the emotional obesity chapters of the book and all of it applied to me. He asks several questions to help you identify whether this issue is holding you back and if it is insists that it be addressed before you ever even discuss eating habits, cravings exercise and past successes and failures. After the emotional issues have been addressed and resolved then a plan can be put into place to address the rest of it.
The questions go something like this…
- Does being thin feel safe to you?
- Can you imagine yourself thin?
- If someone gives you a compliment on your appearance, does it make you feel happy and confident or threatened and uneasy?
The last two definitely apply to me and the first one just confuses me so I’m guessing that means I can count that one too. Since I started this whole thing the body visualization has always been the hardest for me. I just can’t see myself as that thin person. The thing that weirds me out about that is that I used to be thin, at times very thin. So you wouldn’t think that imagining myself like that again would be so difficult. The brain is a bazaar entity.
I have been noticing over the last couple of weeks (and I think where that desperate sad post from last week came from) that even though I am mentally really dedicated to this and have logically set up my environment for success, I find every way and excuse I can to sabotage the process.
- I “forget” to take my supplements
- I sneak food. I will scarf down a burger or milkshake, candy or doughnut and then hide the evidence.
- I will make up any excuse I can to avoid exercising, even going to yoga, which I love, or a hike with the dog, which is empowering, relaxing and really rewarding. If there is some reason I can come up with I will take it.
- I tell myself that just going to sleep (without the CD) will feel good and make me more motivated the next day.
I even avoided reading the emotional section of the book with any focus or meaning. I just skimmed through it. Today I read every word.
When I have talked to my therapist about my weight, she always says don’t worry about it now, you have enough on your plate. Do the emotional work and then deal with the weight.
Another advisor of mine reminded me that I simply need to find out why it is that I don’t feel worthy and correct that and then everything will fall into place as it should. It is only me that is holding me back.
With the Life Path Integration therapy we are doing it is even possible that we will be able to target whatever the emotional trigger might be and fix it. It always amazes me how the universe will provide you with all the tools you need if you just listen closely enough. Many things have been coming to me from many different directions lately and thankfully I am aware enough to be grabbing them.
Karli has also encouraged me to give the emotional stuff more time and stop worrying so much about the physical stuff. Now that I am feeling better and motivated and productive for the first time in a long time, I am finding it very hard not to want to tackle everything all at once, to take on more than I can handle. I feel like I am fighting in every direction and that I may simply just need to give into the process. Pretty hard to do for a total control freak.
I am so grateful that my husband is supportive of me through all this. He has had his moments of frustration and worry and even a few in anger and hurtfulness, as is only natural when you spouse is going through something like this. He tries his best to encourage me and prod me to work a little harder.
Every logical part of me thinks it’s fantastic that I have a husband who loves me the way I am and truly cares about my well being. But emotionally I think I kinda resent him for it and rebel against it. This is hard to say, a sort of it’s not you it’s me scenario, but I think I might have to tell him to stop with the encouragement, because just like when we were trying to quit smoking, the gentle nudges and reminders, the words of encouragement in my head remind me that I am failing rather than reminding me that I can succeed. This is something I need to work on, but in the meantime, I think we just need to drop the whole thing for a while, let me heal what’s broken without any added pressure.
Jon says in his book that while he was gaining the weight, his wife never said a word about it and that when he was ready, he felt he was better prepared to lose the weight because of that.
So, I concentrate on the emotional part and keep preparing my body from a biochemical standpoint so that I will be that much more ahead of the game once I can really target my eating and exercise habits. I just feel like I need to stop putting so much pressure on myself.
To all of you looking to the Gabriel Method as a magic pill, I am sorry. I don’t have instant results to report, or really any weight loss at all. I can tell you that it is helping me to change my life, to learn about myself and face my fears and tackle the emotional crap that has had me by the throat for most of my life. It is also helping me learn what it feels like to be a healthy person, teaching my body that it feels good to be nourished and that eating foods that mess with your chemistry makes you tired and cranky and feel generally icky.
This is my first step and the thought that on the other side of this journey I could be not only thinner and more fit, but also a more whole and emotional healthy person is very exciting to me.
I am going to keep taking the supplements and integrating healthy foods into my diet, but I am throwing out the schedule and week 1 week 2 month 1 stuff for a while until I can answer the questions above with confidence and positivity. Fixing myself needs to be my priority right now. I have made huge progress, I just need to finish it before I start worrying about pounds and waist measurements and scheduled regimented programs.
I’m ok if I stay this weight forever, as long as I don’t gain any more. (those of you who have read the book will understand the meaning and gravity of this statement)
So here is the new plan (because I wouldn’t really be me if I didn’t have one)…
- Keep working hard at therapy and stop distracting us with day to day bullshit. I have demons to fight so let’s get on with it.
- Listen to the CD every night, no excuses, no exceptions
- Start reading about past life regression
- Read the book No Boundary by Ken Wilber (Jon mentions it in a section of the book that really resonates with me)
- Actively radiate love, forgiveness and appreciation
- Accept the negative and accept myself and my body just as they are. This includes no scales.
A couple of weeks ago, a minor incident caused a huge upset in my life. My disappointment and hurt feelings transformed into misdirected and overinflated anger and caused me to stop for a minute and consider what was really going on.
What I said in the post about not letting things build up because years of frustration and pain are really hard to deal with all at once is so true as I feel that much of the intensity of what is happening with me right now comes directly from hiding from myself and my issues for so long. But, there is more than that at work.
Over the last couple of weeks I have done some serious soul searching and have determined a couple of things.
1. It is time for me to find a good therapist. I spent a couple of years when I was younger in therapy to deal with my issues surrounding my parents divorce and also to try and eliminate some pretty self destructive behavior. Although this was crucial to my current success in life, what I learned to do was to set the bad feelings aside and concentrate on the good feelings.
This is sort of the foundation of cognitive-behavioral therapy, which is one of the most common forms and although I can not be certain, I assume the type of therapy I received so many years ago. They take the negative behaviors and circumstances and change the way the you look at them and think about them in a more positive way.
“The objectives of CBT typically are to identify irrational or maladaptive thoughts, assumptions and beliefs that are related to debilitating negative emotions and to identify how they are dysfunctional, inaccurate, or simply not helpful. This is done in an effort to reject the distorted cognitions and to replace them with more realistic and self-helping alternatives.” – Wikipedia
This is extremely effective in increasing a person’s ability to function in the real world and lead a productive and positive life and may definitely be enough for many, if not most, people. And, as I said, I owe a lot to this type of therapy, which enabled me to put aside the anger and hurt and move on with my life.
But what I am feeling now is like I put all those feelings and consequently most of the negative feelings I have had throughout the subsequent years into a drawer and closing it, seeking to avoid slipping into those hurt feelings and negative emotions, no matter what they involve. The drawer squeaks open now and then and I shove a couple more things in and then close the drawer again.
Well, now the drawer is so full that it won’t close any more. It is now time for me to figure out how to empty out the drawer and deal with, live with, or get rid of whatever is in there.
I have been working on finding a therapist since the day, but this is definitely easier said than done. Finding someone who resonates with your belief system (no christian counseling please – geez, is everyone pushing their christianity these days – oops angry words), fits in with your schedule and within your network and actually has time to see you is really difficult. Be patient and active, that’s the mantra.
2. I am very much trying to own my emotions and to truly feel them, even if they are not entirely rational. Feelings are real, in any state and they shouldn’t be pushed aside. I am very overwhelmed by the emotional state I am in right now, but am crying when I need to cry and expressing my feelings either out loud or with words so that I can embrace all that is me.
Remaining in control and not starting down a destructive path is very important, but so is feeling all of this in a safe supportive environment. I want to feel whole and happy and motivated and inspired.
3. It is time for me to embrace who I am. I am a little quirky, a little introverted, and a lot of other really great things too. I am who I am and although life is a journey of change and hopefully improvement, I am proud of the person that I am. It takes great strength to come from where I was to where I am and I need to stop trying to be what everyone else expects of me and just be me.
In that vain, I am going to stop pussy footing around on this blog and just say what I have to say. That’s what this was supposed to be about after all, yet I have found myself tempering myself as to appear in a certain manner and by doing that, not really representing myself.
4. It is time to get my shit together and my life somewhat organized and working more smoothly. I am never going to find the time or energy to do whatever great things my future holds for me if I can’t even handle what I have now. Now, I know that more time will naturally come and that I can’t underestimate the demands of two kids 4 and 1, but there are self defeating patterns that I have propagated throughout my daily existence and it is time for those things to change. A little determination is in order and I am tired of feeling hopeless. Get moving.
When it comes right down to it, it is about feeling comfortable in my own skin. That is what I am working toward.
I am not sure I have ever been so angry.
My body is one big knot. Each day, I wake with a new knotted up muscles. Today it is in my right shoulder. Yesterday it was on the left side of my neck.
Yoga last night helped temperarly. My yoga bliss was a much needed reprieve, even if it only lasted a couple of hours. Today, the anger is back in full force.
I can feel it when I breathe, a hallow dullness in my chest, a slight dizziness, my head light, my thoughts muddied.
The tears come at the most inopportune times, when I most need them to stay stuffed down. I teeter on the edge of control, trying to put on a happy face and keep moving for the sake of my family and many times not too successful. My poor husband, I’m sorry.
This is a lesson in fear and weakness. Do not let things build up without saying anything. Years worth of frustration and bitterness are very hard to deal with all at once.