What’s on your mind..? If you’d like to share your story, do a bit of soul searching with the help of the posse or if you have something you want to get off your chest about this journey we’re all on and fancy writing a guest blog post about it, we’d love to hear from you. You can send your words via the ‘Contact‘ page.
So, I had an email this week from someone in the posse who’d rather stay in the shadows but she and I have exchanged a few notes back and forth which gave me a lot of food for thought…with her permission I’ve published her words in an open letter, because this is all about us all helping each other, and some of the things she had to say helped me to hold the mirror up to myself. Do feel free to chip in with your own thoughts below, although she won’t be able to respond!
I’ve commented on your blog a handful of times but I’m not always super comfortable commenting publicly when this whole topic is so personal to each of us. It only just occurred to me to email you!
I read various fitness and healthy living blogs but for some reason you’ve really touched me and I find myself thinking about you a lot. I really want you to succeed so much — but I think you have a lot of emotional work to do before you get there. I hope that doesn’t sound judgemental at all! I say so because I’ve been there, and I recognise a lot of the feelings that were unhelpful to me when I was struggling with bingeing.
First, I want to recommend a book that was incredibly helpful to me. It’s written by a recovered anorexic who developed binge eating as part of her anorexia and struggled with it for many years once she was weight-restored. It’s called Brain Over Binge. (For a link to the website click HERE) The basic idea is that bingeing is a habit that needs to be broken, and that thinking of yourself as powerless in the face of binge urges is disempowering and sets you up to fail. This has definitely been true of me in the past — if I’m going to binge anyway why bother resisting?
It seems like you’re in a similar place with your relationship with the Asshole voice. The author mentions that she managed to break the cycle by deciding just to acknowledge
her urge to binge and reassure herself that it doesn’t mean she has to give in, that she gets to choose what and when and how much to eat. I think this is the revelation you had towards the beginning of your journey when you first named the Asshole voice but it feels like you have recently lost sight of that.
I’ve been thinking about this since I read one of your recent posts, because I recognised the frustration with not being “able” to eat reduced (in price) venison pies and so on as something that used to be a big part of my life (“I want pizza but I can’t have it because then I’ll get fat,” precipitating me eating two large pizzas for dinner, days, weeks or even months later) and yet are now totally alien to my current life.
I think what I really want to say to you is: instead of being angry that you left the supermarket with chicken and vegetables when you could have had cheap junk food, be proud of yourself for making the healthier choice which will take you closer to your goals; acknowledge that the choice you made is the loving one for your body and not a
punishment for being fat (since most thin people who take care of themselves wouldn’t binge on discounted pies!).
Reframe the experience. You wouldn’t have wanted the venison pies if you hadn’t seen them, so it’s not a desire that’s coming from you but from the self-sabotaging voice that doesn’t believe you can succeed and wants you to fail. Besides, they’ll be there next year. There will always be venison pies and Quality Street and cheese balls and pizza. You should celebrate your good choices, because success breeds success and if you don’t acknowledge that you did something successful that chain reaction doesn’t get a chance to take place. Honestly, after your success in Cuba passing over venison pies should be a walk in the park!
(You know what I struggled with before Christmas was not buying a load of mini Christmas puddings that they were selling in the Co-Op just because they were covered in golden glitter and looked really cute, besides each was only 50 calories. Except I’m not even that big a fan of Christmas pudding so why would I waste my money and food budget on mini Christmas puds! Isn’t it crazy what obsessions get into our heads just because we’re at the supermarket and it’s right there?)
Eventually you’ll make choice after choice in this way and it just becomes the default. I’ve maintained a loss of about 50lbs for almost eight years and contrary to what seems like a lot of people’s experiences it hasn’t been a struggle for me, but I am a very different person now from who I was then. The default way I go through my life now is to go to the gym regularly, and to eat mostly whole foods, and I don’t feel angry or deprived.
When I look back at the way I used to live, which was just to sleep in all day and skip lectures and then go to the shop and eat one big binge-meal of crap, I feel sad for myself. My life is much better now. The only thing I really know about this is that you can’t do it if you’re white knuckling the whole way, or if you look at things in a deprivation mindset or get angry about the choices you’re making to step towards your goals.
Anyway, this has been a really long email but the take-away is that a lot of people are in your corner and rooting for your success. I hope some of my experiences are helpful for you.
Best of luck in 2017, I hope the God of Pain is forgiving!