11.18.2013

A Panda Sweater & Food

Sweater, Rue21. Peter Pan collar top, Forever 21. Jeans, American Eagle. Boots, Target. 

I recently read a book that helped me a lot. It's called Women, Food & God by Geneen Roth and it's not as fluffy as it sounds, I swear. I recently started attending counseling again -- partly to deal with my lingering anxiety problems and partly to deal with my obviously awful body image problems -- and the woman I see suggested this book. I read it in a day and immediately felt how it could apply to my life. I ordered two other books by Geneen Roth -- Why Weight, a workbook for compulsive eating, and Break Free from Emotional Eating. Both are really good and I've been able to apply a lot of Geneen Roth's ideas to my life. I've had the best week, emotionally, since reading those books. 

The main point of Geneen Roth is this: when you eat when you're not hungry (compulsively, because you want to, whatever) you're running from something that you're really feeling. People compulsively eat because they need to feel broken (so someone will love them/try to fix them), because they're in denial about real pain, because they don't think they're strong enough to feel all the emotions they are running from. Her point is that, whenever you want to eat something and you're not physically hungry, take a few minutes to really think about how you feel: write it down, think about it, explore it. And you'll find yourself not wanting to eat whatever it is you wanted before. 

A secondary point of the books is that, by forbidding ourselves to have certain foods, we keep ourselves from ever being fully satisfied. Geneen was a compulsive eater for years and she even developed anorexia at one point, but one day she decided she was just going to eat whatever she wanted, she just had to be actually, physically hungry to eat it. She ate chocolate chip cookies for two weeks because she'd never really allowed herself to eat chocolate chip cookies without guilt. Once she realized that if the "forbidden" label was taken off foods and she allowed herself to eat them without guilt, she didn't binge, she ended up losing quite a bit of weight. It's kind of a crazy concept. Eat exactly what you want, when you are hungry, there are no off-limits foods. 


I've really been struggling for the last year with my body and with compulsive eating, partly driven by stress and immense life changes, as well as grief and depression. I'm not great at sticking to rules. I'm too impulsive. But if I make myself really think about whether or not I'm hungry at work, when I want to eat a piece of chocolate or my snack, I almost always realize I'm feeling anxious or stressed out or overwhelmed. 

I've also started eating whatever I want when I'm hungry -- no counting calories, no stressing out, no bad foods. None of that. Food isn't an enemy and my body isn't either, and I can trust my body to know when too much is enough and I can trust myself to know what's good for me. The thing is, diets are not objective; they don't take into account emotional or compulsive eating; they don't take into account that there are people behind numbers; and they don't take into account that sometimes your body isn't hungry. Diets are also formulated on the notion that if you or I allowed ourselves to eat whatever we want, we would literally eat the entire world. I don't think that's true and you shouldn't either. Diets hold the idea that there are "bad" foods and "good" foods and you should never, ever eat the bad foods. And again, I don't think that's true. 

Saturday, I was hungry and wanted pizza, so I bought a pizza and ate until I was full. That morning, I had worked out and was incredibly hungry; I made pancakes because they sounded delicious. I ended up only eating one pancake because I was full after one. It's kind of amazing how much better I feel after I allow myself to eat what feels good. I also find I don't want to eat the things I used to binge on -- like cookies or tortilla chips -- because I allow myself to eat them now and they're not nearly as exciting when they aren't forbidden


Anyway, that's what's been going on in my mind for the past week or so! A few notes on this outfit: I bought this panda sweater in early October while Danny's parents were visiting. I absolutely love it, because pandas, and it pairs so well with so many things I already own. These jeans are new from American Eagle -- they're actually jeggings and they're quite tight, but I'm hoping they loosen up after a few wears.

Hope you all had a good weekend. Happy Monday! 


3 comments:

  1. So sorry to hear you have been struggling hun, I'm sure everything will be OK! I'm with you, all of us should eat exactly what we want when we want it! And the secret is to eat until you are no longer hungry, it's important to know when to stop! I hope everything will work out for the best hun! ♥

    You are looking BEAUTIFUL! Love the sweater and the pants, so pretty! Perfect outfit my dear!

    Liana x
    Dress Code Chic

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  2. I just stumbled upon your blog from another and I have to say a few things:
    1. I'm 5'2'' as well (and a size 14) so this definition of petite that just means small in general makes no sense to me. Unless you just want to label me as vertically challenged...
    2. I went to law school in Eugene but moved back to california after and I really miss oregon falls (it just doesn't feel like november when it's 90 degrees). However I do not miss the rain.
    3. Sweet Cheeks Riesling is also my favorite and one of the things I miss most!
    4. Those pants are seriously adorable and you have such a fantastic shape. If i'm being honest (and probably sounding a little creepy), you're size is pretty much the size I would be ideally.

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  3. Good on you for leaving this space behind. I've been reading along (silently) for years, and it's become blindingly clear that you don't feel comfortable pigeonholed into a "fashion" blog anymore.

    Body image issues...ugh. We all have them. Thanks for being so honest about yours. Please, PLEASE stop beating yourself up. You are more than your body.

    ReplyDelete

Thank you for reading my blog! :]
xo Michelle

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