I’ve been reading this book by Dr. Anita Johnston and I really love the stories and metaphors. I’m trying to truly learn and feel what I know in my head: when I’ve got head hunger, it’s not about the food. That’s just the way I’ve handled my feelings, emotions, fears, stresses, celebrations and boredom for my whole life. Even now, post weight loss surgery, I can fall into that same trap. So much of my life has been focused on eating. But it’s not about the food, it’s about the hunger, the opening that I’m trying to fill with all that food.
The meditation, the breathing, the yoga, the writing – that has all been about finding some outlet for all that besides food. If I don’t truly learn that, then I’ll never be able to keep the weight off permanently. But unlike alcoholism or drug addiction, Johnston doesn’t think that wrongful eating is something that has to plague us all our lives. It is something we can overcome and still embrace a love and enjoyment of food.
I like that, because I like food and don’t like the idea of limiting myself to protein drinks for the rest of my life. So many people do that so they don’t get a taste of something that is going to lead them into temptation. I want to have that fabulous bite of homemade peach cobbler (which my friend Latrece was describing yesterday as addictive as crack.) I could see behind her words – she moved to a new city, didn’t know a lot of people, sitting at home, eating cobbler for comfort and quickly gaining weight. Now she’s focusing on what she’s eating and how she can make her life more social and interesting. I think she’s going to do fine.
So what’s behind my words? I’m sitting at work on conference calls all day, grazing and snacking. I need more action, interaction, connection with people. I need something more challenging to do or I need to find a way to embrace what I’m doing and be more involved. But most of the time, the teams I’m working with are across the country, or even in other countries. That’s not going to change. So what am I going to change?
Well, I took home all the snacks I had at work and just left almonds and dark chocolate and protein powder, tea and coffee. Now I know that I have to take only one serving of almonds and one dove chocolate, because I’m eating two servings of almonds and 2 dove chocolates. Okay, not crazy out of control, but way more than I need to not be hungry.
And that’s the point. I need to eat food when I’m hungry. I need to call a friend when I’m lonely – and their name is not Ben or Jerry. I need to do a puzzle if I’m bored, not figure out how to find money for the vending machine. I need to dance if I’m happy, not celebrate with food and drink. I need to find a hand to hold when I’m scared and work on finding solutions to the things that stress me, instead of eating to numb my body and my brain.
Physiologically speaking, according to Dr. Johnston, if your stomach is too full, it is hard to take a deep breath. She says if you can’t take a deep breath, you can’t feel your feelings, your pain, your emotions. You have paralyzed that part of your body and by extension your brain is numbed for a while. So as a gastric bypass, if I graze all day, I’m doing the same thing I did when I used to binge, it just takes less food to accomplish the same thing. For now. That amount increases every day and with it, any chance I have of keeping off the weight I’ve lost.
So no grazing. Only planned snacks. Planned meals. Because I’m planning to succeed.
Click the photo for a link to the book.
JUST noticed I had the title wrong. Interesting. Eating IN the light of the moon throws light on the problem. Eating by the light of the moon is a secret sort of thing. Hmm… thought provoking!