Peace is better than chocolate

Archive for the month “September, 2013”

Let sleepless kids lie (awake) and other thoughts on surrender

There is something I believe. A tenet. A belief that I use to shape my life. A belief that I try to keep in mind when I think, speak, and act.

I believe that Life is always right.

Sometimes I believe it in a “religious” way. (I put it in quotes because I am not religious, nor am I affiliated with any religion.) But I believe that God is working His plan, and whatever happens is a stretch of the larger road leading to a better life for me. And yes, I do actually believe that. Because my experience has been that even when crazy, scary, upsetting things have happened that have been devastating setbacks, they have always also been merely a leg of a journey to something much, much better.

And sometimes, I just believe it in a practical, basically Zen, kind of way. In other words, it is what it is. (Whatever that is.) If there were any other way for it to be, it would be that way. There is no should have, could have, or would have. That once something is in the past, it is unchangeable. You must accept it, and move on.

I do not mean to imply that I don’t believe in changing things that can be changed. I do not believe in giving up, staying stuck, or becoming resigned. Nor do I wish to imply that I don’t believe in plans, or preparation. God knows that I am awful at flying by the seat of my pants. But “even the best-laid plans of mice and men oft go astray.” And the question becomes how do I react when things don’t go the way I want, or expect them to.

I want to be the person who trusts. I want to trust that God is preparing something even better for me. And I want to trust that Life is always giving me exactly what I need.

And I want to remember that when I trust that Life is giving me the right things, I shift my consciousness so that I am creating an opportunity. In other words, I make it true by believing it. I can make anything into a gift, or a lesson by thinking of it as one.

So why am I writing this? Because I need a reminder. I am unhappy in my situation right now. I had a lot of plans. And I have had a lot of frustrating setbacks. And I’m feeling resentful. Toward God. And Life.

Here I am, doing my best. My best to be good person. To keep my eating under control. To take care of myself by planning and working to create order and comfort for myself. And I’m still not getting what I want! I am not comfortable. I am not happy. I am not in control of my circumstances.

There is something I learned as a babysitter. The Jedi Mind Trick to get a sleep-hating kid to fall asleep, is to not care if the kid sleeps or not. It is to stop resisting their “awakeness.” It is to find peace with whatever happens. And I tell you, that kid will fall asleep every time. (And if they don’t, it doesn’t matter, because you have peace anyway.)

This is true of life too. If I stop resisting, things shift. And if they don’t, who cares. I have peace.

I wish that writing this brought me instant peace. It didn’t. But I’m giving up the right to be resentful. And I’m being gentle with myself. There is no use in beating myself up for not being peaceful.

All in good time. All in God’s time. Life on Life’s terms. Because if I’m being practical, there isn’t any other time, and there aren’t any other terms.


And they all lived a pretty darn good life with some ups and downs ever after

Oy. Kinda didn’t want to post today. I’m a little sad. Or maybe the word is bummed. Whatever. I’m not feeling so great.

One of the best things about getting my food under control, is that I have all of this clarity. It’s also one of the worst things. I have to feel my feelings. I really have to. There is no way around it. And that is difficult for me.

But it’s also difficult for other people.

And there is a “good girl” who lives inside me and wants everybody to like her. And wants everybody to be impressed by her. And wants to make everybody happy and comfortable. Even if it is at her own expense.

I have talked about this before. The “good girl” is that willingness to sacrifice myself for everybody else. It was a replacement for self-esteem. It’s something like it, but it is not, in fact, self-esteem. It never felt good to get my value from the level of neglect I could inflict on myself for the comfort of others. But it was the most valuable I thought I could be at the time, so I was a “good girl”.

And I was filled with resentment. I hated people. How dare they treat me like a doormat just because I laid down in front of them! And I dealt with that resentment with food. Sugar. Enough sugar to get me high enough to forget that I hated people and myself and my life.

But after years of that, it started taking a lot more sugar. A 300lb body worth of sugar.

So now I have to feel my feelings. I have to feel all of them. I cry when I need to cry. I have to. I don’t have any other options.

Of course, that is not entirely true. I could eat. I could eat a chocolate cake. But the problem is that I know that chocolate cake doesn’t last. Except in my fat cells.

But it wouldn’t make me feel better for long. And it wouldn’t make me feel good about myself. And I wouldn’t be able to stop.

Like I said, though. This level of clarity is one of the best parts of getting control of my eating. I know not to stifle my feelings. Even if they make other people uncomfortable. I know feelings will pass if I let them out. I know that being unhappy is part of life. And I know that I am actually living a happy life with some normal, natural bouts of unhappiness.

I am ok. I’m fine. I’m actually even better than that. I’m whole and complete. I’m in touch with my head, my heart, my soul and my body.

I don’t like writing about being emotional. Somewhere my “good girl” is cringing and asking how I expect to be an inspiration, or even just helpful, if I talk about being unhappy even though I have my eating under control.

But life is life. And I believe that honesty is inspirational. And helpful. And getting control of my food is still the greatest thing I have ever done for myself. Even if it doesn’t lead to “happily ever after”. Which I believed in for a long time, even though I was sure I knew that it was just a fairy tale. It turns out I just believed it was for other people, and not me.

Now I can see that I have spent the last 7+ years moving ever closer to as near to “happily ever after” as it is possible to be. Honesty, honor, integrity, and love. With myself and others.

No, I don’t want your diet food…I’m not on a diet.

My boyfriend called me the other day and asked me if I wanted to go out to a restaurant for a sit-down lunch. It was spur-of-the-moment, but I went on line and looked up the lunch menu of the place he wanted to go. It looked like it was going to be no problem.

He picked me up and we went. I asked the waitress some basic questions about how things were prepared, and ordered. Yes, I asked for things to be modified. She told me it would be no problem.

Several minutes later, she came back and told me that she could not, in fact, get the brussels sprouts just sautéed. That they were already prepared with cheese and bacon on them. (I don’t mix my protein and vegetables. Portion control is a huge part of my boundaries.) So I changed my order and asked for sauteed broccoli. I was a little disappointed because I freaking love brussels sprouts, but I like sautéed broccoli just fine. Had some today, as a matter of fact…

When my food finally came, it was a giant plate of steamed vegetables.

I hate steamed vegetables. I don’t make myself steamed vegetables. I sauté . I roast. I bake. I do not steam.

But I was hungry. So I was just going to eat it. But when I went to eat it, I realized that the salad I ordered without cheese, had cheese shredded all over it.

It was an iceberg lettuce salad, too. Which I never eat except in restaurants where that’s the only kind of salad they have.

That was just one disappointment too many. I decided that instead of sending it back, I would wait and eat at home. I ended up taking my meal to go. And adding those steamed vegetables to a decadent salad with arugula, radishes, mushrooms, red onion, artichoke hearts and cucumbers with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

See, it’s not that I can’t eat out. But it can be very difficult to find good, fresh, food that I both can eat, and want to eat. I find that food is either breaded, drenched in wine sauce, cooked with honey, sugar or maple syrup, or just plain steamed. Either you get it full of things I happen to be addicted to, or you get “diet food”, because you must be on a diet. I mean, seriously, iceberg lettuce and steamed broccoli? Can I get that with a side of cardboard? It might add some flavor.

I want to eat well. I want to enjoy my food. Always. How am I going to have the will power to not eat chocolate cake if I’m eating iceberg lettuce and steamed broccoli? Maybe somebody can, but they are a better person than I am.

Eating yummy food within my boundaries is how I defend myself from crossing my boundaries.

Don’t get me wrong. I would have sent the cheese salad back and asked for what I needed if I didn’t have the option of going home and making something actually yummy. The most important thing is eating within my boundaries. Which steamed vegetables are.

But if I can eat well, I’m not going to punish myself. Eating within my boundaries makes me feel good. And keeps me free from food obsession. It is a gift. Not a punishment.

If I wanted to be tested this often, I’d go back to school

I am in mourning this week. I had been in a relationship for nearly 8 years. And I had to let it go a few days ago.

It was a relationship with a particular brand of alcohol-free vanilla flavoring.

When I gave up sugar and carbohydrates over 7 1/2 years ago, I had to make a lot of little changes. A lot of things that probably wouldn’t occur to most people. One was giving up alcohol. Because alcohol is sugar. And things with alcohol in them. Like vanilla extract.

But I love my food. So I found an alternative to vanilla extract. A kind of vanilla flavoring that was alcohol-free. And it was expensive. But I loved it in ricotta cheese or yogurt, and even mixed it in with my butter. It made me so happy. It felt so decadent and yet I could eat it without guilt or shame. It was totally within my eating boundaries. I used it every day for years and years.

And then this week I noticed that the label had changed. Instead of saying alcohol-free, it now said non-alcoholic. And on the back in very small print, it says “contains 0.5% alcohol by volume”.

Now, I’m going to tell you, I wanted this to be a negligible amount of alcohol. I wanted to pretend that it didn’t matter. I wanted to keep using it. Dammit I wanted it to be not a big deal.

Maybe you’re thinking “Jeez, Kate! It’s not a big deal.”

But it is. To me, food is a big deal. And my relationship to food is a very big deal. And keeping my boundaries around my eating with honesty and integrity is the very biggest deal of all. And knowing that my vanilla flavor was no longer alcohol-free, but wanting to pretend that that was no big deal, and that I could just keep using it, and it still said non-alcoholic so it shouldn’t count, gave me a sick feeling. It made me uneasy. And uncomfortable. And a little nauseous. In other words, it felt like a lie.

So I called a friend who helps me make decisions about my food, and I told her about the change in the label. And if I’m going to be honest, I will say that I tried to present it in such a way where she could say, “Meh, half a percent of alcohol by volume. Pssh. You just feel free to keep using it.” But in spite of my presentation, I was still fully and perfectly honest. And she said, “Well, now it has alcohol. So you’re going to have to find another brand.” And she even told me of one she knew of.

So I agreed. And I got off the phone. And I cried. Sobbed hysterically, actually.

I know that I will find another vanilla. It’s not that I don’t know that. But I am going to have to mourn this. I had become attached to it specifically. I am not ashamed of that. It was part of my fantastic life of guilt-free eating. When I put boundaries around my eating, I gave up the foods that were killing me, not my love of eating. I don’t eat to live. Food is not just fuel for my body. I want it greasy, gooey, big and juicy. I want to be transported. I love my food. And there is one less thing that I can have now. And I don’t like giving things up. I do it if I have to in order to maintain my integrity, but I’m sad. And I’m going to be sad. I’m going to miss the vanilla that was my vanilla.

And, hey, God…if there could be fewer tests to my willingness and honor around my food, well yeah…that would be great. Thanks…

This is only a test. If this were an actual emergency, I would do something about it.

I am being tested today. And it sucks.

I passed the test. And if I continue to be tested, I will pass again. And again. Because it is not a test of learning or understanding. It is a test of honor and commitment. And my commitment is strong and steady. But I’m feeling a little resentful toward life that I’m being tested.

First, weigh day. The scale this morning said I gained 3.6 lbs. It doesn’t seem right to me. It seems like a lot to gain in a month. I’m not eating that much differently this month. Not enough to gain almost 4 lbs in a month.

But hell, what do I know!? Maybe I did gain this weight. Maybe it’s not water, or hormones, or a problem with my scale. Maybe I gained a bunch of weight this month. The truth is, I don’t want to do anything about it. I don’t want to stop eating the way I eat. I don’t want to eat “lighter” options. I don’t want lean, or skim, or fat-free.

And I don’t hate my body. I don’t feel fat or ugly or yucky. And I am clear-headed enough to know this.

But I am miserable. And when I ask myself why, the answer is that I feel like I must have done something wrong.

Gaining weight=bad girl.

I have been crying since I weighed myself this morning. Ashamed. But I haven’t done anything to be ashamed of. I keep my boundaries around my food. No matter what. It’s a promise between me and God. And I honor it above everything else in my life. It is the one and only thing I have to do to when it comes to my body. I don’t have to be a certain weight, or size. I don’t have to exercise. All I have to do is eat within my boundaries.

But then being so upset about gaining weight, I didn’t want to eat lunch today. I felt like a failure. Depressed. And the thought of lunch felt heavy and thick. Kind of sickening, to be honest.

But I eat. That is part of my boundaries. I eat all of my meals. Even if I don’t want to. So I made a call and left a message for a friend that I didn’t want to eat, and that I had been putting it off, but that I was going to eat lunch anyway, because my feelings don’t have anything to do with food.

And then while I was making lunch, things kept going wrong. And I had to remake part of my meal 4 times. Four times, to make sure that it was within my boundaries.

But I did it until it was right. And my food was exactly as it is supposed to be between me and God. I didn’t say f*** it. Because I don’t ever say f*** it. I do what it takes, whatever it takes, to make sure my eating is under control. It’s the basis of my integrity. That is not an exaggeration.

I suppose it’s good to know that when the chips are down and I don’t want to keep my food boundaries, I do it anyway. Perhaps tomorrow, when I feel better, I will be grateful. Not only that I have the willingness, but also that I had this little reminder of how far I’m willing to go to honor those boundaries. I mean, I didn’t even want to eat the meal, and I had to remake it repeatedly to eat it anyway…

And it’s good to distinguish that I do not have to hate my body or feel fat to have a severe emotional reaction to gaining weight. And it’s good to put words to this upset. To understand that I associate gaining weight with being a bad girl.

And it’s good to have enough peace and clarity to know that I don’t have to do anything about any of this today. I have my feelings. And they don’t have anything to do with my actions. That I can cry, but I still have to eat lunch. And I don’t have to stop eating foods I love if I don’t want to.

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