Overcoming Overeating – Body Acceptance

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After my one experience with dieting when I was 29 years old, I eventually found Overcoming Overeating: Conquer Your Obsession with Food Forever by Jane R. Hirschmann and Carol H. Hunter, also the authors of When Women Stop Hating Their Bodies: Freeing Yourself from Food and Weight Obsession.

I learned a lot from these ladies, and from all the other body acceptance books that I've read in the past decade.

I can thank Jane and Carol for helping me to make peace with food. Over the years I legalized many foods. I didn't actually have the funds to stock up like they suggest, but I did eat anything I wanted, as much as I wanted until eventually I realized that many of those foods I thought I wanted, I didn't even like that much. Or more importantly, I noticed how poorly I felt after eating them, or how I felt the next day.

I have friends who tell me they can't have ice cream in the house, or they will eat the entire half gallon at one sitting. Ice cream has never held that strong a hold over me, but I do find that if it's in the freezer, I will want some each night. Just a little dish or two. At least I'm not afraid I'll eat the entire thing in one sitting. So it's easier to just not buy ice cream.

Carol and Jane helped me learn the difference between mouth hunger and stomach hunger. Am I really hungry? Or has something happened to upset me, and now I want to eat to make me feel better?

Carol and Jane helped me really understand that body hatred – bad body thoughts – are seldom about our body. In a nutshell, it”s just a convenient way to keep our minds occupied and distracted from the real issues in our lives. The premise of the book When Women Stop Hating Their Bodies is to think about how much women could accomplish if we stopped obsessing about our bodies, and our weight! Just think about how much time the average woman spends worrying about her body and her weight. Too much!

Carol and Jane helped to persuade me to get rid of my scale. I didn't have one in the house for years. I chose to do as they suggest, and monitor my body by the way my clothes it. We do have one in the house now, Youngest Son bought it as he was curious about his own weight. It has been helpful because I feel I need to monitor Eldest Son's weight. But it is not just sitting there on the bathroom floor, goading everyone to step on it, and get their fortune read for the day.

Did you gain weight? Oh dear, you are disgusting. What a fat pig you are. You have GOT to do something. Anything! This has got to stop! Now march into the kitchen and find something to eat to help stuff these feelings of horror at your size.

Or, did you lose a pound or two? Oh, you're good. You're doing something right. Wow, let's go see what we can eat to celebrate!

I know many people who worry when they gain ONE pound. I can't understand how they think that means anything. When I was younger, before I had children, my weight fluctuated between 120 and 125. And I was perfectly happy with that. I was never concerned to see it go up or down. I accepted that as being normal. I am after all a human being, I am going to have some fluctuation in my weight depending on how what kind of food I eat, how much salt I ingest, where I'm at on my cycle, and on and on.

I have tried desperately over the years to accept my body at this size. I have done mirror work and I guess for the most part I've accepted my body for its flaws. After all, it did carry my two children and has been with me all these 46 years. I just hate seeing photos of me and how big I am. Am I really THAT big?!

I can thank Carol and Jane for helping me learn how to feed myself. That was a hard one. I remember being SO impatient. Hungry again! Why you just ate! What's wrong with you!?

Now I know. Many of the things I was learning were very good, but when you put food into your body that doesn't nourish, and is feeding bad bacteria, it is hard to feel satisfied.

I learned about Nourishing Traditions probably around 2003. I was scared to death to even get the book and look at it, because I was scared to death to restrict myself from any foods. I wasn't ready to stop eating anything, and everything. Even though I was observing how some of these foods made me feel.

I've always been good at avoiding some foods, like artificial sweeteners, and foods blatantly laden with MSG. I did find myself trying to avoid certain foods, for I knew how awful I would feel the next day. Like pasta. I love it so much. But I would feel drugged and worn out the next day. So I stopped eating it. I stopped buying it and bringing it into the house. My husband would bring home Doritos and potato chips, and I'd have some, and then keep eating and eating and eating. But if they weren't sitting right there, open, I wouldn't stop at the store and buy them.

That's why I find this all so weird, being able to abstain from all these  foods.

Am I lying to myself?

Will I look back on this period of time in a few years, and say, “I was really feeling deprived. I was totally wanting those off limits foods. It was all a lie.”

Youngest Son just came home with a Frito Pie from Sonic. It smells good. 14 days ago I would have asked for a bite. I know it doesn't taste that good.

I know one very vital thing that is happening is the food I am eating is nutrient dense and nourishing. It's not fake food. It's not fat free, or low fat.

And I also think it's important to realize that we need to eat when our body says it is hungry. It helps to know about “mouth hunger” and “stomach hunger”. I do really believe there is distinct difference between the two, at least for myself. It is very important to keep our body fed when it comes to healing or preventing adrenal fatigue. From the article by James Wilson (this is a very enlightening article, btw):

Hypoglycemia, without proper snack and meal placement, also encourages overeating when food is available. The overeating causes rapid weight gain because the increased insulin is circulating in your blood, ready to usher that excess energy (glucose) from the extra food into your fat cells where it can be stored as fat. Even though you may not like its effects, this is an elegant compensatory mechanism that has helped us survive…If you do not want to gain weight you should avoid those low blood sugar dips that not only make you so hungry you overeat, but, also create a tendency in your body to store energy as fat. This means regular exercise and eating the kinds of meals and foods that control hypoglycemia. It also means not eating those sugary foods and caffeine that send your blood glucose levels on a roller coaster ride and worsen your adrenal fatigue and hypoglycemia.

I have belonged to a list that discusses the theory OO. It is kind of difficult as I want to shout to the members, the reason why you aren't feeling satisfied is because you are putting junk into your body! You've got to eat REAL food!

I guess that's all for now.

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