Category Archives: Me and Food

Fat Tuesday Update! On Wednesday!


Top ten things I am practicing right now in regard to food.

  1. I remember that a combination of walking and jogging (jwalking, I like to call it) was very successful for me in the past. I have begun jwalking again.
  2. When I jwalked in the past, I had a route I really enjoyed which took me through a nearby neighborhood. I have reinstituted this route as I have positive muscle memory associated with it.
  3. I used to count my steps — 100 steps walking and then 100 steps jogging. I enjoyed doing that, but I experimented this morning with noticing (noticing!!) where I was at each transition. I learned that I probably don’t have to count my steps, as I can just walk to this fire hydrant and then jog to this Bengal mailbox, etc.
  4. Because I listen to music when I jwalk, it will be nice not to have to have my brain all occupied with counting steps. Listening to my music on shuffle is such a joyful experience for me. I can focus more on the music and less on the steps now.
  5. Having a green smoothie in the morning works really well for me. I feel good as I make it; I love seeing all the ingredients turn into the beautiful green mixture. I enjoy using the tall soda glass I bought for this exact purpose. I enjoy choosing which straw to use. Little things that add up to a really positive experience.
  6. This morning when I got back to my driveway, I wanted to go on, but about 20 feet on down the street, Toast sat down to let me know we had gone past the driveway. (Such a good dog.) James Clear talks about the value of setting an upper limit to what we are planning to do in terms of exercise or implementing a new habit. I tend to get kind of excited about things and can sometimes overdo it. Toastie must have known that.
  7. Reminding myself that “One Small Step Can Change Your Life” which is the title of a book by Robert Maurer and discusses the wisdom of taking really tiny steps when implementing new habits. I can do that!
  8. Mindfulness. With my Alexander Technique lessons, the meditations by Deepak Chopra that come up as I shuffle through my music, the Active Rest sessions I do on a daily basis, and lots of reading about being present in this moment, I am finding that I am more available to what is happening right in front of and inside me.
  9. Eschewing (seems like an appropriate word in regard to food) setting up big barriers and huge lists of rules.
  10. Thinking about being fast and light as I go through my day; as I make choices of what to eat and drink.

Top ten things I want to implement or maintain in regard to food.

  1. I want a better plan for food for later in the day.
  2. Inserting space and stillness between activities. I pretty much run a 400 yard relay all day long, handing off the baton from one activity to the next, always moving. I can see how having a little space between things will keep me more in harmony with a natural rhythm and pace.
  3. Read the book I bought in Alaska “Eating the Moment: 141 Mindful Practices to Overcome Overeating One Meal at a Time.”
  4. Go to bed early enough that I feel rested in the morning, and find out what the optimal sleeping times are for me.
  5. Allow the process of buying, making, eating, cleaning up after, planning, and creating food to be infused with joy, with a bubbly joy that comes from inside me. It’s definitely there, but I have to be intentional about fostering that internal state.
  6. Eat less often. James Altucher doesn’t eat after 530 pm; my Alexander Technique teacher doesn’t eat after 3pm as she believes that going to bed a little bit hungry is a good thing; my chiropractor eats only between the hours of noon and 6pm. I haven’t figured out what works for me, but I definitely believe that intermittent fasting is a hugely healthy thing to practice.
  7. Seriously consider going to another workshop in Alaska to address my experience of food and emotions and eating.
  8. Be more relaxed about the process overall.
  9. Organize my kitchen and have many sources of visual, olfactory and organizational pleasure in there. I have a small kitchen so I don’t have ledges and shelves and extra counter space where I can put collections of pitchers. I also don’t have a collection of pitchers, so that’s cool. I love my kitchen; it was one of the last remodeling projects my dad did, so it’s a lovely place to be.
  10. Continue to let go of anything I do not need, or that does not serve me or my family.

As Usual, It’s All About Me

Last night, I took my lovely daughters with me to visit Eli for the Tuesday evening visit. Tuesdays include a 30-minute family education session, which is required to get to the visiting hour.

Although the young speaker overused the phrase, “Does that make sense?” by adding it in at the end of most every sentence, he shared some information that is very helpful.

The four stages of recovery. Why have I not heard this before??

First stage is withdrawal which lasts a couple weeks tops as the addict stops using and experiences intense cravings and some depression.

The second stage is the honeymoon stage where the addict experiences increased energy, enthusiasm, optimism. Eli’s post on Sunday was definitely written from a honeymoon stage point of view. Yet, that phase is not the end of the process.

The third stage is known as The Wall. This is when the realities of recovery become known in the initial harsh glare of sobriety. Emotional realizations of what it might be like to deal with an urge to use without the drug available to satisfy the desire. Realizations that pain which was dealt with through drug or alcohol use is now going to be felt rather than avoided. Robert Frost said, “The best way out is always through,” but the through way is often very hard to stick with.

Finally, the fourth stage is readjustment when the individual begins to adjust to on ongoing state of abstinence.

Most of the men in the treatment program are released while they are in the third stage, The Wall. I questioned that, and even as I spoke the question, it occurred to me that I am underestimating the capabilities of Eli and all the other men in the program. Wanting things to be easy for my son has definitely not served him in his life, and I think this is another example of trying to make sure he’s all topped off and feeling strong and capable before he has to come back out to the cold, cruel world. It’s as though I think that if he can get through the wall stage while in treatment, he’ll be good to go. Ah, but that’s not necessarily the case, is it? Each person has his own journey, and that includes discovering his own strengths and strategies for dealing with urges, triggers, patterns, and habits.

I asked about resources for families and the speaker mentioned al-anon, among others. He also suggested family counseling. I’ve thought all along that Eli’s recovery chariot has to be driven by him, and not by us. But rather than being passengers in his chariot, I see us as walking or running alongside, tightening up the bolts that hold on the wheels, being available for questions about something that is coming up in the road ahead, watering the horses to keep them fresh, and cheering him on at what a fantastic job he is doing driving the chariot.

I’m not sure that’s our role, though. I simplified the concepts of enabling and supporting enough to think I understood them, but they just really aren’t black and white. Maybe our role is to ride alongside in our own chariots, and let him know we are there to support him. Maybe he’d like to tighten his own bolts. Maybe he’d like to care for the horses himself. Maybe he has other resources to draw on to ask about what’s in the road ahead. Maybe our only role is to let him know we believe in him, that we trust him, that we care about him, that we will be here for him.

How to do those things while still being wise about being observant and requiring proof for statements that are made is something I do not know yet how to do. Addicts tell so many lies that trust must be rebuilt from the very basic foundation. Addicts are manipulative and good at it. Loved ones must learn how not to be manipulated. I know this is particularly an issue for me as I often would rather keep the peace than take a stand.

As is all of life, this is a journey. Each step seems to make itself known as I take one step at a time.

Oh yeah, it’s all about me. That’s a little bit tongue in cheek, but I continue to discover aspects of Eli’s recovery that are instructive for me. When I have changed my eating habits before, I’ve gone through the withdrawal of not having sugar, which obviously ends. Since it’s often accompanied by an eating plan that makes me feel much better, I get into the honeymoon phase but I stay there for a long time. Somehow I missed the lesson about The Wall. Looks like that is at least part of my next step as I would have to say I have relapsed when it comes to food.

Thanks for reading and for the feedback that you give me privately and on the blog. Blogging this year has been a tremendous experience and I’m glad you’re along for the journey.

Yesterday Me, Today Me, Tomorrow Me

I read an article this morning by Jason Smith on Medium is sort of a social media site where people post long-form articles about a variety of topics. Jason has a book coming out in July about his experiences as a drug addict. His writing is compelling. It is, of course, a topic I am interested in.

This morning, Jason posted an article about “Yesterday Me.” The article illustrates the contrast between Yesterday Me, Today Me, and Tomorrow Me. Oh, I could relate.

“Every morning I’d wake up with the same thought:

Fuck you, yesterday me.”

My Yesterday Me always has a “great” idea of how to deal with whatever it is I am faced with, maybe a fresh batch of chocolate chip cookies in the house, maybe a desire to get pizza, a good sale on my favorite chips while I’m at the grocery, perhaps just something talking me easily out of exercising … again. At least, when Yesterday Me was Today Me, it was a great idea. Because Yesterday Me believed that Tomorrow Me would possess all the self-control, genuinely great ideas, and willpower needed that Yesterday Me (which was Today Me at the time) didn’t have.

Yesterday Me is not a popular person in my brain. She gets some significant grief every single day, pretty much first thing.

For instance, this morning, my first thought was, “Yesterday Me, you should be thoroughly ashamed of yourself for that poor excuse for a blog post last night.” Jason’s article was about the addict’s mind. Does that mean I am addicted to something? Or are these conditions present in everyone to one degree or another? (NB: I seem to be unable to link to Jason’s Medium post. I will investigate and see if I can remedy that.)

I wonder what would happen if I were to focus only on Today Me. Blah blah blah. It’s a good idea. I just wonder who would want to read this drivel? Me wallowing around in my weakness. Ugh. Alright, well, let’s say no one wants to read it. I want to write it, and it’s my blog, so.

I realize that Yesterday Me, Today Me, and Tomorrow Me are all the same people, and yet we aren’t.

YM thinks I can figure things out tomorrow when everything slows down. (ha) TodM always thinks that TomM will be able to take care of this issue better than TodM can. Funny thing is, TodM always turns into the reviled YM, and TomM sees YM when looking back. What mind games these are!

I sure do like for my blog posts to have a happy little lesson at the end, or some evidence that I have learned something and now All Is Well.

What if there is no Tomorrow Me? What if the only Me who can do anything about anything is the Today Me? So, what if I try this? Tomorrow Me is Today Me. If I believe in Tomorrow Me to be able to make a good decision, how about if I just try trusting Today Me to make the same good decision. When I notice Tomorrow Me coming into my mind, I will ask what she would do in this situation and then Today Me will do it! And then Tomorrow Me will like Yesterday Me. Ok, it’s a plan.

Fat Tuesday, Part 5 — In which The Queen’s Code Comes into Play

I have done a periodic series on Tuesdays about my love/hate/love of my hate/hate of my love relationship with food. As I listened to Alison Armstrong teach last week about emasculation, I was completely focused on my relationships with the men in my life, but we women also emasculate ourselves. At the end of Alison’s third talk, she left us with the question of what this talk brings up for us. Now that I have had five days to live in this new reality with Greg in particular, I had an intuitive sense to look into how this information relates to me and food.

I’ve done a lot of thinking over the years about why I eat what I eat when I eat it; about my childhood and eating patterns and how they are related; and about my relationship to the conflicting information we receive these days about every single food and drink out there. Even water — what quantity should we drink? Tap or filtered? Reverse osmosis or distilled? With ice or without?

Since I discovered that pretty much everything I thought about men was based on a skewed point of view, I wondered if that might be the case for food. If I start with the point of view that I should want to, need to, be willing to, and always act on eat(ing) like the perfect, ideal woman, then the values and standards I add to THAT point of view will yield conclusions founded on the skewed point of view. When I add in my goals and dreams and attitude and actions to those conclusions, I end up with results and either a sense of satisfaction or lack thereof (more likely this option).

And without understanding that my point of view is the piece that is off, I will attempt different actions, changing attitudes, releasing legitimate dreams and goals, question my values and standards, and still not end up with the results that I want or the sense of satisfaction that I desire.

I discovered in this process that one of my conclusions is I’m not perfect enough to deserve to be loved and cared for by eating in a way that actually produces the results and sense of satisfaction I long for. I’ve discovered that my point of view leads to me thinking that I am in fact dysfunctional when it comes to food, defective, and constantly misbehaving. I figured out how I poke holes in the tires of my “vehicle” and I withhold fuel from myself. A few ways: compare myself to others and to previous versions of me (especially 2002 me that lost pounds while lifting weights and ended up a very desirable (in my eyes) size 4); I complain about being too much of something and not enough of something else; I complain about the food industry, its executives, its practices; I complain about all the junk I have to walk by in the grocery store; I criticize myself for thinking and feeling most of what I think and feel about food.

I withhold many other forms of support and I end up distrusting and disrespecting myself. I end up causing the long-term opposite of what I want.

Food is only rocket science if I am trying to eat like the perfect woman. God, she is a pain in the butt. She makes all of her own stuff, shops at the farmers market, grows her own extremely luscious and healthful food, cooks a hot meal every morning and night for her family, certainly gets her little Kepler to eat better than he does, never ever eats or even wants a caramel frappuccino, eats no pasta, bread or rice ever, always chooses the very best option in a restaurant, asks for the substitutions that will make her food even more healthful. She’s not really somebody who’s fun to be with. She’s uptight, tense, and unforgiving.

I’m going to make this vow here and now. I give up the right to emasculate myself. I give up the right to criticize, complain and withhold support from myself. I give up the right to allow the perfect woman to be any part of the conversation about food.

And I can’t wait to see what happens.