Next Chapter & Beyond

There is one week that lies between my past and my future. Next week’s Sunday, I’ll be driving with my mom, my boxes, and my two dogs to Northern California to live with my big sister, my nephew, and my brother in law. The journey is the flip of the last page of this Chapter.

Next Chapter is a new adventure.

Currently, I am (and have been for the past 7 hours) laying in Chester’s bed inside my room that’s riddled with my stuff all over the floor. My bed is gone, so is my computer desk. I have been in my head the entire day. Crying, thinking, watching relate-able videos, planning, and being hopeless and hopeful.

I am happy to have come to a point in life where I am actually welcoming therapy. In fact, I think it’s an integral part of my binge eating recovery as well as my pursuit in building self esteem. I have been driving in a self sustaining vehicle for the past 15 or so years by internalizing my struggles, binging for release, and then researching ways to find personal growth. I’ve reached as far as I can go alone. I am at a a new point, where I need guidance and support outside of myself to, hopefully, open up the Chapter that follows the one I am about to crack open.

And that is what California is about.

In California, I aim to:

  • Pursue personal growth and freedom through therapy
  • Focus on improving my guitar and singing skills
  • Planning for the next chapter

What the next chapter looks like (I know I’m reading way ahead) is hopefully travel. I want to reach a point in my life where I am living in the world. I want to travel with Chester to destinations currently unknown for perhaps 6 months to a year. Working remotely, witnessing the world, and writing music as I go.

After that travel, I aim to come home to Kansas City, purchase a place in downtown Kansas City, create a life here, and continue to live in the world.

This brings hope to my heart, as I lay naked, overly full from my two days of binging, in a messy room on Chester’s bed. The future is bright. The present is alright. And I am going to be okay.

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Control

I binged again last night. 

I’m releasing control today and beyond. 

Control….

Control…..

Control: the actions that one takes as a means to a desired end. 

I sincerely believe that everything that happens has values. That’s a statement that mimicks ‘everything happens for a reason’, but doesn’t rely on fate or destiney. 

In telling Erin about my BED, she reminded me of control being a factor in the disorder. Which leads to this mornings ponderings. Everything has a value – even BED. 

So… control. What are things I try to control in my life currently?

  • My appearance
  • External judgements of me
  • Food choices and intake (cravings) 
  • Perfection (not knowing when to let go) 

If there was one thing jiu jitsu taught me, it’s that you don’t win by willing control. You win by being present, going with what’s given, and reacting properly. Also, in parenting, you don’t succeed by trying to control your children. Control never works – it won’t work to cure binge eating, it won’t work to maintain a healthy lifestyle. 

That’s what free eating did. I didn’t control cravings, but I was present and recognized my fullness. I reached by stopping. Binge eating is opposite. I controlled cravings, loss control of managing others judgements, and losing control of body shape. 

What I’m going to work on: 

  • Spread of the ‘non control’ I have at night to the rest of the day in a good balance 
  • Put my goals first, and let go of self judgements and mind reading judgements 
  • Continue to be natural. I’m my best without makeup or ‘sexy’ clothes
  • Meditation & Mindfulness 

Challenge: 

It’ll be a challenge to let go of the importance of others judgements. I relied on that so much in the past because I wasn’t confident enough in myself to judge myself. I’m growing to be confident though. Perhaps that’ll help me release that need for controlling others judgements. 

Be prepared for: 

  • Push and pull of the pursuit of releasing judgement 
  • Rushes of fear of weight gain from free eating 
  • A much happier life : ) 

Fighting! ✊🏻

Quick Updates

Some points of this post:

  • Back to Free Eating
  • The Secret is Out – Erin Knows
  • The Need to be Perfect
  • Binging as Unwinding
  • Smile Direct Club
  • My Default is Dirty
  • Team Growth = Personal Growth
  • PHP Learning

Back to Free Eating:

Last night I binged. Today, I realized I trailed off a bit from Free Eating. I went back to restrictive a little bit. So I bought a sandwich and ate a bit extra. It’s important to eat enough throughout the day.

The Secret is Out – Erin Knows

In a way, telling Erin was my way of letting go of the shame. Binge eating is not something to be ashamed of. Neither is it completely the sufferers fault.

The Need to be Perfect

Finally getting around to truly letting this go. I’m starting to really believe in myself and in my capabilities. I’m not perfect, because perfection does not exist. I get in ‘trouble’ for something? So be it. It’ll pass. Things happen for a reason.

Binging as Unwinding

I binge to unwind just like someone else drinks a couple beers. This is a good realization as I can address it when the urge hits tonight.

Smile Direct Club

This came in last night. It feels so uncomfortable… invisiline really is a test of will… I can easily take it off and toss it and end this discomfort. Or I can ride it out. How symbolic of it of binge eating, right?

My Default is Dirty

Kind of a nod to being perfect. I use to want to be perfect, clean, womanly, whatever. My default is messy. I eat messily, my room, my clothes, my hair, my skin, sometimes, I’m just a walking mess. And, I’m ok with that.

Team Growth = Personal Growth

No more will I hold on to knowledge, I will spread what I know. If my team looks good, I’ll look good. Success is not attributed to one thing or person. It’s all connected. So don’t flatter one self because success, but also, don’t fault one self because of failures either.

PHP Learning

I was obsessed with tweaking a wordpress template that required PHP. I started a tutorial on CodeAcademy. Let’s see how it goes..

Negativity + Awareness + Humility = Growth 

Some days I love myself. I am confident, I feel beautiful inside and out, I feel like a good person overall. Some days, like today, I feel really down about myself. Like dominoes, one occurrence perceived as negative leads to another, until I am bashing my character and my intent at the end of the day. I know that I am not alone in this paradox.

One thing that I love about myself is my endless pursuit of shedding layers of characteristics and beliefs that hold me back. 

Nothing terrible happened today. In fact, if you were to look at what I did you would think my day was great. The reason I don’t think so, is provided by the beliefs I have about myself based on my perceptions and judgement of how I acted, and what I thought.

I’ve been practicing meditation and mindfulness to discourage this act of judging myself and believing too much my negative perceptions. This practice and long with nutritional eating really helped clear my mind up. 

What is tripping me up recently may be the decrease in my meditation and the increase of processed foods due to my free eating method (a part of my binge eating recovery journey). 

I feel free because I am eating freely, but this eating freely cycles back to making me feel not so great mentally and physically. In a way, if this theory is correct, it may help me make better choices food wise based on how it makes me feel rather than based on the fear of weight gain. 

Here are things I feel good about:

  • Website development success 
  • No longer think any foods are bad 
  • Noticing affects of different types of food on my mood
  • Noticing difference of decrease meditation 
  • Feel productive and valuable at work 
  • I didn’t binge from the stress today 

Here are things I don’t feel good about: 

  • Website success adding to my ego, my humility isn’t where I want it to be 
  • Complained about manager to friend (gossip or letting off steam) 
  • Messy at home, roommates might be annoyed 
  • Felt ugly today, had video calls all day while looking very rough 
  • Countered my manager on a call with a bigger boss (not intensely but I feel anxiety from it)

See? These aren’t things that grant a bad day at all. It’s just my brain working over time. Which makes sense. Sometimes when I meditate, the most random thoughts come up. So now that there are actual occurrences in my day, my brain has something more fruitful to fixate on. No good, brain. But do as you please because what you resist persists. The game changer, though, is not believing in them. 

So the judgements of myself that is pulling me down? I don’t have to believe them. No matter how convincing they might be. There are certain things I can do, though, to make me feel better. 

Good mood enhancers: 

  • Get back on two meditation periods a day 
  • Get back on picking more nutritional food, while knowing that no food is bad 
  • Wake early enough to freshen up for work 
  • Openly talk with creative team about wanting to teach and encourage share of projects instead of hoarding 
  • Look into resources about enhancing humility 

I must continue to be patient with myself. The reason I didn’t eat more than the donut when I felt stressed today, was because I no longer seek instant gratification. The more instant it is, the less satisfying it will be in the long run. Mindfulness is a muscle that needs time to exercise. Also, I am understanding the concept of being ok with not feeling ok. There may be no fix for it right now, but you can do your best to at least not feel worse. 

I look forward to seeing if the actions above will help me arrive at a new playing field for my next personal growth pursuits. 

Lessons Learned from Yesterday’s Splurge

What went well yesterday:

  • I was really productive at work and am doing a good job at managing my workload/time
  • I ate when I was hungry and stopped when I was full
  • I walked because I wanted to move and had nothing else I wanted to do
  • I walked with pups in the morning
  • I met my co-workers for lunch (I work remotely)
  • I started a new song

Concerns of yesterday:

  • I ate too little at dinner which led to overeating after my hour walk
  • I may be stretching myself too thin across different tasks at work
  • I felt a bit of weight fear during dinner

What I’ll work on today:

  • More mindfulness throughout the day during work and eating
  • Be more aware of eating enough
  • Eat what I want, while thinking no food is bad, stopping when my instincts tell me it’s enough
  • Be patient as I work and be honest with my boss when I’m concerned about my workload this week
  • Continue to imagine the size of my stomach and what it could hold. This helps me eat what I want, and stop when that stomach gets filled adequately.

Mantras

  • Walk in the morning
  • No food is bad
  • Eat what’s there
  • Talk isn’t scary
  • I’m enough
  • Allow guilt to come, without judgement, and allow it to leave

Closing observations of yesterday:

I ate more dessert last night than I needed. This might have been from my body’s scream for endorphin due to the cortisol increases from underlying work stress. Although I wasn’t super stressed, I think my body is sensitive to it and is warning me about it. This tells me I might be losing control at work and my expectations. I am seeking control through refocusing on my weight (not eating enough during dinner).

I could view last night as a failure, or I could view it as a success. As in, I could view it as a step backwards or half a step forward. I choose the ladder. Recovery isn’t a straight line, nor is it black and white.

Not Doing Anything

Sitting silently situated on a couch
I am defiantly doing nothing now
I use to ache for action and excitement
But now I yearn for peace & enlightenment
I hear your purpose is slow to come
Purpose is purposely different for everyone
The world would be bland if we were all the same
Yet ironically the same is what makes us appear sane
My dog is whining crying for a run
But I am defiantly letting things go undone
Sometimes I fear I am wasting time
But in truth what we fear is falling behind
It isn’t the riches, glory, or material things
That brings you happiness you think it brings
It’s being able to sit still situated in silence
Not chasing a thing, just welcoming enlightenment

I’m laying on my couch with Chester nestled on me. Today would be a day I would have binged. The ingredients were there: new uncertain projects at work, work drama and stress from yesterday, residual negative thoughts coming up today.

The poem above speaks to meditation. I use to be uncomfortable with doing nothing and had to fill my time up. I also feared I would binge if I sat in silence for too long. But in this moment, I don’t feel like doing anything nor am I reaching for food as a filler. That’s because I want to be able to sit still and be mindful. To do what appears to be nothing, but is the most important something I’ve realized I wasn’t able to do before.

The main question or thought from the day is the idea that I’m falling behind because I’m choosing to just sit here instead of working towards something. It’s interesting that typically, I would distract myself with tv or my phone, but really, that’s not me working towards something either. It’s more fruitful to sit without distractions, though, because then I can practice mindfulness. This is the practice of observing the random and uncontrollable thoughts that come up, without judgement, then letting them go. This action is that important something I mentioned above.

Anyways… admittedly, I’ve been writing this post up so I haven’t really just sat in silence doing nothing. So… here I go.

How to Stop Binge Eating Through Free Eating

This is a work in progress post. I’ve only written up to stage 2 which is the stage I am in. One day, I hope to complete the stages guided by my own up to date experiences. The final stage being complete recovery!

Free eating is a style of eating that is my own version of a group of methods I’ve picked up from various resources and activities. This style was formed in an effort to recover from binge eating disorder. The ultimate goal of this pursuit is to eat what you love & love what you eat which in turn, will make you a much more happier person 🙂

The main engine of ‘free eating’ runs on the theory that what you resist will persist, and what you embrace will disappear. Try this – set a timer for 1 minute, then do your best to not think of 2 yellow lab puppies playing in the yard. Go!

If you’re like me, it will be very difficult for you to not think of the 2 puppies. This example shows how difficult it can be for the human mind to let go of something that it is told to resist. Now replace the 2 puppies with images of the foods you have told yourself is bad for as long as you’ve suffered from disorderly eating.

When you resist your cravings for these foods, you are feeding to the persistence of the cravings. It will grow stronger and stronger until it finds a weak spot in your resolve. Before you know it, you are hectically shoving everything you labeled as bad, down your throat before anyone could witness.

In my own experience, I have told myself that I couldn’t have the donuts, ice cream, slim jims, chips, etc. that my heart truly loved for over 10 years. I was told they would make me fat and so I labeled them as bad. Because of this resistance, my cravings for them persisted and I’ve suffered from disorderly eating and yo yo dieting.

I cannot tell you how happy it made me when I started this journey. I told myself that it was okay to love these ‘bad foods’, and that they aren’t really ‘bad’ at all! Try this – think of all the foods you have labeled as off limits or bad, and mentally flip the switch from ‘those are bad’ to ‘they are delicious and you can love them!’. How does that make you feel? Anxious? Nervous? Happy? Reflect on that feeling.

Many of the recovery resources you find out there will tell you to eat intuitively and not to resist urges. But I didn’t understand why it was telling me not to resist. If I don’t resist, then I will binge and gain weight! As I began to really contemplate on the idea of ‘what you resist persists’, I began to really understand these resources. The more I allow myself to eat what I crave when I craved it, the less I will obsess over it & the less I will want to binge on it.

Stages of Free Eating. If you choose to use this style, please be aware of some things. This method will only work if you are mindful of your pursuit. Also, it may or may not work for you, it may even be another resource you choose to only adopt pieces of like I did with other resources. There are so many different diets & resources out there simply because there are so many unique experiences out there. Every recovery journey is different, so it’ll take different methods. I hope you can gain some progress through this.

Stage 1: 

The purpose of this stage is to introduce a welcoming atmosphere to foods you use to restrict yourself from. You will continue to mentally repeat that no food is bad until it is apart of your belief system.

Eating: Eat what you want when you crave it.

Thinking: No food is bad, this food sounds good so I’ll eat it. I’ll try to stop when I’ve had my fill. When I’m done, I won’t think I ‘messed up’. I can also have more if that’s what I am craving. I am not ‘controlling’ my willpower over these cravings. The next day, I will not try to ‘undo’ what I ate. I did nothing bad, I simply ate what sounded good.

Challenge: Feelings of guilt and worry will arise.

Action: Let feelings of guilt and worry come. Do not resist or ignore them. Instead, observe what you’re thinking and how you’re feeling, then let those feelings pass like clouds in the sky.

Expect: You will gain a bit of weight as you start to eat what you use to resist. But know that that is natural and comes with stage 1 as you explore your cravings. Accept this fact, don’t resist it, and carry on with your day.

Once you begin to notice your binge urges subside, you are on your way to stage 2. You will know you are on your way to stage 2 when you feel less and less guilty about eating what you use to label as ‘bad’. And once you notice your urges decrease significantly.

Stage 2:

Once you have noticed the urges have decreased you are in stage two. You will still continue to train your muscle to believe that no food is bad. This is my current stage. I will continue it once I live through it : )