Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Heightened Awareness

Surfacing, after decades of panicked flailing under the black waters of delusion, finally gasping and gulping mighty lungfuls of freedom and clarity, I find myself not only redefined, but understanding the problem and the remaining consequences of those years spent anesthetizing myself with food. The consequences, for me, are many many pounds of fat, clinging to my frame.

Though my abused 'inner self' battled my dazed 'outer self' - and won, for a time - the inner is healthier now, it's sane. One particularly ugly dominating beast has been removed from my mind and heart.

I'm overjoyed to be above the surface again. I'm delighted to find that the only ramification has been this, a situation which I can reverse. Thank God I didn't turn to drugs, sex, or crime, or permanently harm myself or others. Humble appreciation to God, too, that I now recognize my present self-created physical condition for what it is, simply the result of overeating, not some divine punishment for a life of weakness.

Facts are facts. I put the pounds here, I need to get them off, for my health, so I can be around to see more of this life, God willing, and the lives of those I love and will love. I look at it as a sort of cleansing ritual, a barnacle scrubbing, the removal of unwanted weight which drags and strains. It'll take time and tedious effort, but the relief will be magnificent.

Lately I've noticed my emotionally-trained responses, the ones to which I'd become addicted. Currently, I find myself naturally changing gears when I think about eating something, even meals. "Am I really hungry? What have I eaten today, do I need more? Maybe I'm just thirsty." For the first time there is a mindful process going on, one that is asking questions, that is thinking about the effect my over-consumption has had on my body, both inside and out. It has become reasonable to make choices based on my knowledge of a healthful human diet, rather than on what can be tastily stuffed into that now vanished void, that never satisfied emptiness which caused clenching, confusing anguish, the void that never filled. Only the space under my skin filled, stretching it out and out and out. The void wasn't real. The food was. And the consequential fat remains.

"Heightening our awareness is the most effective tool we can use in dealing with any addiction to injurious habits. For example, if we are interested in giving up overeating, we can heighten our awareness of exactly what it is that we are doing to ourselves at all levels, from social to cellular." ~~ Tom Crum

Somehow I managed to do just that, become aware. It just sorta happened. Grace of God over time.

For the first time ever, I don't feel panic, or crazed determination to lose weight. I feel like I do when I have any job in front of me: prepared, and ready to go to work. I don't hate my body anymore. It has served me well. Four kids, 51 years of pain-free mobility, flexibility, and freedom. It's withstood the abuse rather well, all things considered.

Now that my mind and heart have healed, it's my body's turn.

And what better season than summer to begin a noble task?


tshsmom said...

I believe in you!!
I'm an emotional eater too. My biggest problem is having to feed 2 bottomless pits that never gain an guys!
Z will probably outgrow this, but L has ALWAYS been able to eat like a horse and not gain weight!

Cherie said...

Well, that is an enormous boost, Tish!

I have two bottomless pits, too, AND sometimes a third AND two little girls - one picky picky and one an emotional eater like me.

When I lived alone, the fat melted away effortlessly. No stress, no strain, no bottomless pits.

BUT I don't want to be alone again, so deal with the emotions I do, and did, and hope I've made a window for myself to 'git her done' before some new beast finds a way to worm into my life......AHHH.

Thanks so much! Perfect thing to say, you believe in me.

Wandering Coyote said...

Wow - another brilliantly worded, poignant post. I struggle with this too, and have come to the conclusion that dieting is not going to help me (always failed in the past) but rather conscious eating and decent exercise is what's going to do the trick. Of course, the fact that I have an insatiable sweet tooth and a talent for baking do not help, not to mention insanely strong PMS cravings that leave me positively salivating for an entire week out of the month for salt and sugar... It's a real struggle. But we have to love what we have and appreciate it, or else we'll just wind up being frustrated covetors of something we may never be.

Cherie said...

Yet another thing we have in common, WC. You describe my struggle when you describe yours. And our conclusion is the same - conscious eating, decent exercise. (Your recent surprise discovery of your 10 pound loss from regular exercise was a good reminder to me that this is true.)

And this, "But we have to love what we have and appreciate it, or else we'll just wind up being frustrated covetors of something we may never be," comes from a place of quiet, empirical wisdom.

Thank you so much for sharing with me. Inspiration breeds motivation, breeds the energy to DO.

Pam said...

As usual, we are on the same path at the same time. Major changes are going on around here... We will have to compare notes eventually.

Another well-worded post that leaves me saying, "Yeah. What SHE said!"

Cherie said...

Hey you! As usual is right.....funny how that works with us, always under the surface (and sometimes on top), we are the same. Love it!

Yes, we shall have to compare notes. I promise!

Thanks for the comment!

(Deep sigh.......)

Anonymous said...

Keep thinking healthy Cherie, I think that's the right road. Skinny is not in and having a little extra pounds on the bones is. If you care enough to be healthy in all ways, your body will find a weight that's right for you.

Your are precious.

tshsmom said...

You're so right. If I lived alone, I would have time to exercise(other than the 8 hrs/day that I spend on my feet). I would have the larder stocked with foods that are good for ME, and I would eat at the proper time of day. My house would also be a lot cleaner!
But WHO needs THAT?! My family is much more important than my own personal agenda. ;)
We can find a happy medium somewhere, can't we?

Cherie said...

Thanks, Sandy. Good reminder and good advice! There is no danger of me ever being skinny - not my body type, or my desire. Just healthy, as you suggest. Isn't it great that skinny is OUT? I feel so sad for those twigs who can't enjoy fueling up on good food, and the feeling of being comfortably full. What a thing to have to maintain! Starvation! Thanks for the encouragement! You are good to me.

Tshs: Yes, a happy medium! PERFECT! All the mess and all the extra foods and all the baking and cooking mean that I am not alone, that there are others here, and they happen to be completely loved by me. You are sooo right: family is much more important than our own personal agendas.

Again, here's to striking just the right balance! Thanks so much. You are good to me, too!

liz crumlish said...

I just managed to lose 28lbs over around 9 months simply by eating well - having regular meals instead of constant, hurried snacking and walking 30 mins every day. Wonderful boost to self esteem. And the kids loved the healthy eating most of the time - we didn't mention the diet word.
Since you're feeling good inside, the outside will be no problem. You'll handle this like everything else - carefully, with measure and compassion. Well done you.

Wandering Coyote said...

Anonymous has struck again. Check out my post "Happy Solstice." UGH!

Cherie said...

I went, I saw, I commented.......what is WITH this person, WC?

Happy Day After Soltice!

Cherie said...

Liz, when I think of all the wonderful photos you take on your walks, and the spiritual applications you derive from them, I think it's fitting that in all your ramblings you have found recovered physical health, too. Twenty-eight pounds! Yay. And thanks for the encouragement on the 'kid front," too. Your support and encouragement make a huge impact on me. Thank you so much!

And to all of you kind souls who've taken a moment of your time to encourage me here, from the bottom of my heart, thank you thank you again! Yesterday I could almost feel your compassion as I went through the day, like gentle breezes, reminding me that this is a new place, a new day, and a new path on which to go forward. Words make a difference - thanks for sharing yours.

Marianne Elixir said...

Thank you for sharing. You sent me pondering the difference between punishment for sin verses consequences for action. I am wondering if there is really punishment during this life, or if that is all saved for the life to come, and if what we experience here is really just consequences. I'm still chewing it all over, but thanks for starting the process.
Also, we should exchange email addresses so that I can email you all my sugar-free goodie recipies...I think you would enjoy the cookbook "Nourishing Traditions" by Sally Fallon.
Yours fondly, Marianne

Cherie said...

Marianne, I hope you'll let me know when the chewing has become swallowing and you have come to a conclusion on the punishment vs consequences for action question. You're welcome for the beginnings of the process. I love a good chew-fest!

If you have Deanna's email, you can email her and maybe she will be good enough to send your e-address to me. I don't want to post mine here just yet. Selfishly private at the time. I would love your recipes, though.

I am fond of you, too!

3inone said...

me too with the emotional eating.
here's wishing you all the best in your effort at better living.

Cherie said...

Thanks for visiting here 3inone. It's especially nice to hear from someone who understands. Emotional eating is rough. My efforts have been good so far. Once the mind is wrapped around the trouble, the body seems to follow suit pretty well. We shall see...........Again, thanks for the comment!