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Sunday, December 11, 2011

Becoming the Owner, No Longer the Tenant

 The other day I made a list of some things I didn’t know how to do, the lack of which was impeding my life. After writing 10 items like, “How to be consistent,” “How to be in life without hedging”and “How to keep promises I make to myself,” I wrote:
I don’t know how to stop being afraid, how to stop being ashamed, how to stop living life like a seven-year-old left at home, alone and waiting.
And that, really, is the nitty-gritty of all of this, I believe. Each of those states—fear, shame, abandonment—is about The Other: The Harming Other, The Shaming Other, the Abandoning/Rescuing Other. They are not about me, but I have reserved most of my existence for them, occupying just the foyer of my life.
In contrast, to be successful with this food work (at core about self-care and self-kindness), I must both end the waiting, and give myself permission to take action for myself.
In the past, I’ve generally muscled, shamed, guilt-tripped, disciplined and punished myself around food and eating for others—how they would better accept and love me, or to impress or show them up. And that would work, for a while; until doing the difficult bits no longer delivering the payback I wanted (or was deemed insufficient). And then I couldn’t maintain it, or felt unworthy or unsafe in the body I’d created.
I’m pleased to say that my current successes with my food/eating transformation shows I am taking better care of (and even enjoying) myself, even though I am now challenged with eating in ways that don’t serve me.
For example, these last couple of months I’ve eaten lots of carbs—much fruit, also corn, rice, lots of agave-sweetened tea, and some spelt and oat flour. I’ve regained weight, a sluggish feeling, and puffiness. I also stopped logging my food (when I ate, what I ate, and the nutritional profile of each food).
That’s one side of the ledger. Successes include:
  •  I’ve been walking regularly again; yesterday and today, I walked about 30 blocks. 
  •  I made a list of 50 activities that gave me pleasure, and volleyball was one (I haven’t played in decades, but really used to enjoy it). Today I practiced volleyball with others at a local community center.
  • Eating 2-3 tbsps of sauerkraut 3X/daily (as I’ve done for the past month) boosts my digestion noticeably.
So, now what? Back to inquiry and self-assessment. (In the words of poet Denise Levertov, Know the ship you sail on.)
If I want to feel at ease, sexual, strong, and quick in my body, what do I need to do? What has worked for me in the past? I:
1.       Severely limited my carbs intake (to around 50 grams/daily).
2.       Ate meat, fish, and vegetables for at least 90% of my food intake.
3.       Lifted weights at least 3X a week with a workout partner.
4.       Walked and went out dancing a lot.
5.       Observed how my body responded to different foods and eating patterns; avidly researched others’ food ideas and successes. (As cha cha champion, martial artist, teacher, and actor Bruce Lee said, Research, absorb what is useful, reject what is useless, and add what is specifically your own.)
6.       Created a vision board to reinforce my desired goal of what I wanted to look like.
7.       Came from a sense of pleasure and satisfaction.
Quote from B.Bush to son George as he ran a marathon.
Apart from my ace boon companions in the Women & Food group, I’ve been quite solitary about my recent food change process, and see (from #3 and #4b) that my previous time of comfort/pleasure in my body involved collaborating with others, not going it alone.
I’m wondering, too, if setting a weight goal is a good idea now. I did that (unsuccessfully and frequently) many years ago. Like so many women, I made weight loss (not self-care and self-love), my desired outcome. Could I do that differently today?
My immediate intentions for self-care around my body and food:
1.       Limit my carbs to 50 grams daily, and log only the carbs. (Begin now)
2.       Find a workout partner and lift 3X weekly. (Begin in January)
3.       Walk daily. (Begin now)
4.       Make at least 90% of my food intake meat, fish, and vegetables. (Begin now)
5.       Create a vision board of bodies I admire. (By January 31st)
6.       Go dancing or play volleyball once a week. (Begin in January)
7.       Read about/research the Paleo food plan.
8.       Decide by January 15th if I want to set a weight goal and, if so, what it is.

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