Remember to Breathe

Deeeeeeep breaths.  In for the count of 3, hold for the count of 3, out for the count of 3.  Repeat.  Again.  Again.  Again.

I’m exhausted.  Not physically so much as mentally.  Things are crazy-busy around here, not just at work, but at home, too.  I’m taking my neighbors and their kids to Disneyland this weekend because I can get them in for free.  (Now you know what company I work for, TA.  LOL)  Next weekend my mom is coming to visit because we’re part of a Creative group where we work on our cookbook and the pitch for our cooking show.  The weekend after that I’m catering a friend’s (small) wedding.  The weekend after THAT is a big film convention in Orlando, Florida, so I’ll be gone all week.  The weekend after THAT . . .

I got nothin.’  My next free weekend will begin on Saturday, October 18.  I will have JUST gotten home from Florida the night before.  The funny thing is, I booked myself out without really realizing I’d done it.  I don’t usually book myself this much; I don’t do well without some serious down time every week.  So this is becoming an interesting exercise in Not Getting Overwhelmed. 

Did I mention that I’m taking a class on Tuesday nights starting the last week in September?  Yeah.  That, too.  You know what, though?  It’s a class in prayer and meditation, so I figure I’ll be able to practice a LOT, LOL. 

Ironically, I sometimes do best at taking care of myself when I’ve gotten this stressed out, though.  When I finally hit the wall, I become ferocious about guarding my personal time.  This week, I’ve blocked out Thursday night (tomorrow!  so close!) as MINE.  I will sit on the couch with a book and maybe a glass of wine.  I might watch Spy Barbie (also known as Alias) on DVD because I LOVE that show.  I will not check my emails, I will not return phone calls, I will not clean my house.  I will rest. Even God rested on the seventh day.  Sometimes I have to hit this level of busy-ness in order to REALLY take care of myself.  Suddenly staying up a little too late matters, so I go to bed on time.  Suddenly I desperately need a stress release, so I get more exercise.  Suddenly I can’t cope with a stomachache, so I don’t eat crap food.  Suddenly I have no time to myself so I MAKE TIME, DAMMIT.  In these moments, that rebellious inner 8-year-old is a Godsend.  (I also need to start writing again, because this blog is like journaling – it’s WAY therapeutic.)

In other news (read: because I’m too tired to stay on topic for very long, lol).  I’ve been thinking a lot about Intuitive Eating and what it means to me since I wrote that last post about food and the skinny jeans and which behaviors are disordered and which are not.  See, I function like a pendulum.  I adhere TOTALLY AND COMPLETELY to one side until I get tired/angry/frustrated with it, and then I go TOTALLY AND COMPLETELY the opposite way.  After a while I get tired/angry/frustrated with THAT, and I go TOTALLY but not quite as completely back the other way.  Then back the second way.  Then the first way.  The second way.  The first. The second.  Until I land somewhere in the middle.

That’s why, when I first started writing about food and weight and how I felt in my body, I did NOT ask to be added to the Fatosphere.  Even though my pendulum was way over that way at that time, I knew from experience that I was likely to swing back and forth a few times.  Right about now my pendulum swings are getting narrower, and I’ve learned some things about what IE means to ME.  Bear in mind that I haven’t read anything about it other than what’s easily accessible on the internet.  Partly that’s because I never let the facts interfere with my opinions (kidding, I’m kidding), but mainly it’s because I find it more helpful to figure out my own mind with a minimum of help.  THEN I go read what other people think and try to decide what I really think is good, and what I think is bullshit.  It helps keep me from just believing everything I read at face value.

What?  Oh, this is the part where I tell you what IE means to me, right.  (Actually, I think I was supposed to do it at LEAST 2 paragraphs ago, but I have a tired brain right now, so . . . tangents.)  ANYWAY.  Here’s the thing.  Obviously, I think “dieting,” especially super-restricted dieting is bad.  Bad physically, bad mentally, bad on many, many, many levels.  But . . . I’m not sure (FOR ME) that not putting any restrictions on what I eat is good, either.  Not in a dieting sense, per se, but in a health sense.  For instance, I feel better if I don’t eat cheese (as you all know).  Unfortunately, my body does not always realize ahead of time that that lovely soft blue cheese will make me sick.  REALLY sick.  The kind of sick that gives me stabby stomach pain and makes me go to bed with a heating pad.  My body forgets that.  And so I stand there and I think, “I really want that cheese.”  “Really?  Are you sure, body?  You don’t always feel good afterward.”  “Yes, yes!  Cheese!”  “How about soy cheese?”  “HEATHEN!!!!  MUST EAT YUMMY CHEESE NOW!!!!”  So I eat it.  And I get sick. 

Or what about vegetarians?  They’re restricting an entire food category.  Is that automatically bad?  Does that mean they can’t eat inuitively?  My mother freely admits she misses bacon.  She LOVED bacon.  But she doesn’t eat meat, for a number of reasons.  So, no bacon.  It’s not that she doesn’t want it; she just doesn’t eat it.  Is she automatically excluded from IE? 

And this is where I think I settle in the middle.  If I eat what I know intellectually will make me feel good, even if it’s not what I might WANT right that minute?  I don’t think that’s against IE.  Sometimes I come home and my eye lands on the Doritos and I WANT THEM.  But really?  I’m just hungry and I don’t want to wait.  So do I eat them?  No, I do not (most of the time).  I tell myself, “Oh, for God’s sake, you’re just hungry.  Have a glass of milk while you heat up some dinner.”  (Goat milk, ’cause you know . . . cow-dairy is BAD FOR MY TUMMY.  Yeah, I said “tummy.”  Deal with it.)  And I’m FINE.  I don’t spend the rest of the evening thinking about Doritos.  I don’t think it goes against IE when I don’t eat the whole loaf of sourdough bread (toasted, with butter), even if I want it.  I KNOW I WILL FEEL LIKE CRAP LATER, SO I MAKE A DIFFERENT CHOICE. 

I’m reminded of MizFit’s comment about how sometimes you just have to tell yourself, “I AM A GROWN-ASS WOMAN.”  But I DO think you have to be careful to delineate between what you’re doing for HEALTH reasons and what you’re doing for COSMETIC reasons.  Starving myself to drop 10 pounds isn’t healthy.  But neither is eating cheese just because I feel like it.  And I can see where if you’ve restricted for SO LONG, that maybe the pendulum SHOULD swing all the way the other way, and you should eat Doritos and cookie dough for a while so that you can “deprogram.”  But eventually, you have to find YOUR happy medium.  YOURS.  Not the one the diet folks say you should find, not the one the eat-whatever-you-want-folks say you should find.  YOURS.

It seems simple, doesn’t it?  But the operative word there (for me) is SEEMS.

Now I’m REALLY tired.  That’s all I got tonight.  🙂

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6 responses to “Remember to Breathe

  1. Oh my, yes, I do the best with my eating when I kind of make it up as I go along…where I entirely fall off the wagon is when I slowly start dropping a few lbs and then I start wondering “what would happen if I became a bit more restrictive, I’d lose even faster!?!?” so that lasts about a day before I binge myself back and it takes months to get back to a normal place again.

    You know what to do to make yourself feel good, good means healthy and yet not deprived or overly indulged, there is no “fit for all” eating plan I don’t think.

    Ah, and yes, remembering to breathe? Kinda important.

  2. Wow, I’m dying to hear about all your prep for the show pitch, that must be SO exciting! I used to work in programme development and maaaaan I used to love writing me a proposal (sick, I know, I just love to write) Although it’s all clearly under wraps. And catering? Lady, you got some talents. And Disney, obv, say no more. I went to Disneyworld once and my head nearly popped it was so exciting.

    I also THINK maybe partly your busytimes are the times you look after yourself because THAT is when you feel you are a “grown ass woman” all adult and time managing and you have to cope?

    And I’ve always wondered about veggies and how healthy it is to cut out a food group. My parents and friends were really worried when I started going out with a vegan because I was going to be around somebody who restricts a HUUUGE section of what they eat, just when I was trying to get normal round food again. I’m still not convinced it’s healthy for him or me, but hmmm. He’s not going to change.

    Did I talk enough yet? Wow, it seems so. :0)

    TA x

  3. I really liked this post and, in a way, dont wanna comment too specifically as I fear I share my thoughts way tooooo much (yes? no?)

    my .02 is that people (readers? who can say :)) oft tell me that I should eat better. that I shouldnt eat certain things which are actually mainstays of my ‘diet’
    Im with you.

    eat what makes me feel good and what FITS into my lifestyle .

    I oft forget the former (cookies. downfall. feel like CRAP next day) but the latter is REALLY IMPORTANT to me in making this a life long thing.

    for me the moment I missed something (like the bacon) Id add it back….in moderation.

    so excited for you and the cooking stuff, M.

  4. Mmmm… sourdough toasted with butter…. one of my FAVs. That and made into grilled cheese with extra sharp cheddar….
    BUT, back to the topic. Umm, basically, Just wanted to say that I agree. I hate it when people tell me what I’m doing is wrong. And I don’t listen to them. I have to experiement with what works best for me and find out on my own. Right now I am to the point where I pretty much know what works best for my body and makes me feel good. I just don’t always follow it because some nights I just want red wine and brie for dinner, and so that’s what I’m gonna have damnit. But really? I think that’s okay too. As long as it isn’t every night.
    I just really need to try and balance “eating right” with “obsessing about counting calories” because they often go hand in hand and then I get mad at myself because I am eating 1800 calories a day instead of 1600 and I missed my step class, and oh my god tommorrow I can only eat 1200 or I will go to hell. Or whatever. It becomes a mental prison. And it is hard to not slip into it.
    *end*

  5. ARrrgggh blue cheese. Cant believe you mentioned that. i just got food poisening from eating it last night and still cant find the motivation to eat ANYTHING.
    Well I see your point. I totally agree with you and in fact just wrote a post about how you can crave things but your not actually hungry for them.

  6. Cara, I know exactly what you mean. Especially about, “Well what if I just cut out [x] more calories? It’s not that many!!” *SIGH*

    TA, I might have to pick your brain for the show pitch – I’ve never done it before, and I don’t know where to start! LOL As for the veggie thing, I really think everyone’s body is SO different. My mom felt so much better when she stopped eating meat. SO much better, seriously. But I didn’t. I was tired all the time. On the other hand, I don’t eat a lot of fruit. Not for any dietary reasons; I just don’t really care for it. (Except figs. Once a year when they are in season I GORGE on figs, LOL.)

    Miz, you NEVER share your thoughts too much – I am a fan of long comments, so it’s all good! LOL I think Mom’s bacon thing was more an ethical choice than a nutritional one. She’s not obnoxious, though, which I appreciate. She doesn’t care if *I* eat meat; she just doesn’t want to eat it. Which means, hey – more for me! Ha!

    AHAhahahahaha, Sassy! Yeah, I fall down that same slippery slope: a little less, a little less, OMG I am a BAD person. I hear you. (But seriously? I could live the rest of my LIFE on sourdogh toast. With that fancy Irish butter, thanks. MMmmmm, toast.)

    Dan, I will head over and read that post. I’d be interested to hear your take on it. 🙂

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