I haven’t been blogging here lately because of the privacy issue I talked about in a previous post. A lot of my writing has been very “brain dump” oriented and sort of repetitive in nature, and for that I have been relying on 750 Words to give me a private, unfiltered place to store my thoughts. I like 750 Words because it isn’t going to be read by anyone else, so I don’t have to worry as much about grammar and syntax (although my Type A self does have trouble veering too far off the grammarian grid), and I also can say the same things every day for five days without having to worry that I am boring an audience. I don’t like it because there is NO opportunity for feedback, but perhaps that is what I need right now. Maybe I don’t need to be “performing” for my (albeit small) audience. Maybe I need to be writing just for me.
However, there is still this blog, and there is still some worth in sometimes getting some feedback from the general public. And there are still topics that I do feel comfortable throwing out there for the world to see. I am currently in deep introspective post-therapy mode, so I have a lot of thoughts rattling around my head, mostly regarding food, so I thought I would share.
I had my regular bi-weekly therapy session today, and I went in there agenda-less. I used to arrive in my therapist’s office with a rough idea of some things we could talk about, which probably was not the best plan ever. After all, part of the worth of spending time with a professional is letting her help you guide the conversation in a way that will be beneficial to you. When I showed up with my journals and my collages and my books that I was reading, I was kind of artificially dictating where our conversation would go. In hindsight, I recognize this. At the time, I was so OH-MY-GOD-WHAT-ARE-WE-GOING-TO-TALK-ABOUT? that I didn’t really see what was going on. She mentioned to me about a month ago that she thought some of this was going on, so last time, I went in with nothing with me, and we had one of the best, most honest conversations that we had yet had. Today, I went with the same plan, and it was another good (exhausting) time.
Today, we talked about my behavior patterns with my disordered eating. And I have touched on this here, but I was given an opportunity today to really sit with my thoughts and talk them through and share them, and it was interesting what came out. Let’s talk about the anatomy of a binge. When I sit down to eat, I choose food initially based on what I think will taste good. However, in veering toward mindlessness in my eating (whether I am starting to eat when I am STARVING or eating while reading or in front of the TV or in the car or any other place that means that I am thinking about something other than the food I am eating), the first several bites taste good, and then I head into mindlessness. As I continue eating, I often tell myself that I “deserve” to eat this food. After all, I work hard, I had a stressful day, I worked out, it’s a holiday, it’s my birthday, someone was mean to me, I am tired, and the food is going to make me feel better. As I continue to eat, I hit the place where I tell myself I don’t deserve to stop eating. All I am worth is this opportunity to feel bad about myself. I deserve only to punish myself with food.
There are some things I can do to try to prevent this behavior even from starting. One thing that my therapist suggested was not letting myself get to the point that I am ravenous. Part of calorie-counting for me has always been eating big meals but less frequently. I was more interested in using a lot of calories at one time so I could still feel like I was treating myself. But she does have a point when she says that not allowing myself to get to the point of being starved will allow me to enter each eating experience from a more controlled place. I am not sure how this will work in the NICU, as there isn’t a ton of opportunity to take frequent breaks, but I could certainly have some go-to foods that were super portable that could be there for me to eat every couple of hours. Maybe more frequent, lower volume meals can keep me in a more mindful place. Another thing I can do, which I have been dipping into over the past week, is making sure that I am not otherwise occupied while eating. Living alone, it is SO tempting to sit in front of the TV and zone out while eating my dinner. But I do have a dining room table. I could sit down at it and focus on my food while eating it. I tried that a couple of times over the past week, and it was useful because I paid attention to what I was eating, how it tasted, and how it made me feel. I still inhaled my food like there was a time limit, and I still was a card-carrying member of the clean plate club, but it did feel less mindless than dinner with the gang on Seinfeld usually feels.
As she said (in a very tongue-in-cheek way), my therapist has not ever led me wrong. She has been with me through some really difficult days, and she has consistently supported me while giving me solid advice. AND she laughs at my jokes, which is important to me! So this is the next step in my journey. I never saw the small, frequent meals plan as a necessity for me. However, the large, infrequent meals plan hasn’t worked for me so far, so maybe it’s time for a new approach. Small, infrequent meals while not distracted or engaged in mindless behavior. I can add that to my “I will try anything” approach to kick ED to the curb.