Willpower is Bullshit

You know when you overdo something, and then swear off of it for like, 30 daysorLife…and then fall off the oath and “succumb to weakness”?  Well, fuck, maybe it’s not a weakness.  Maybe it’s just inevitability in your humanity.

Example: eat 3 TBSP of flaxseeds because I was still hungry but feeling afraid of “overdoing” legit food like my snack of nuts that I nightly have, so I eat tablespoon after tablespoon of flaxseeds.  Knowing very well that this will not be pretty tomorrow….especially since my gut has been off since antibiotics.

Or for me, it’s eating raw veg and vinegars like salads because they are “safe foods” and satisfy my feeling of needing to be a little ungrounded.  These foods are not what make me feel good in the colder weather.  My soul knows this well, but it’s easy to fool myself into thinking this is healthy because, like, it’s a fucking salad, bro.  But I am suffering with my gut so hard, and I know that the cup of coffee won’t be good on my tummy, but the other parts of me loudly speak their needs for sensation.  How good and like, superhuman do you feel after drinking a cup of coffee? It’s like I can do anything.  It totally masks any fatigue I may have felt, and poor sleep, it just makes me not feel the things that I believe will stand in my way of doing the things. Do you know what I mean though?

What else:

  • drinking too much coffee
  • eating too much __________________________
  • buying too much______________
  • doing too much_________
  • sleeping too much?
  • literally, anything in excess.

And then, the swearing off happens:

I WILL ABSTAIN FOREVER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

And that feels SO PRODUCTIVE, right?!  Like, a bandaid, it gives peace of mind…until we break the fast, we eat the thing, we drink the thing, we buy the things.  And come in shame and guilt.

But the thing is, this “caving” is not a weakness.  It is not a lack of strength.  I ate too much flax again, and now feel terrible because it’s just that right time for gastric emptying from yesterday to be making its bowel-journey so that I’ve pooped like 6 times already and now feel so “unfinished”….you know?!  That feeling SUCKS.

So, I am learning to say that this wasn’t a lack of willpower.  This wasn’t weakness.  Because I was scared, right?  I acted out of a space of fear, of really trying to not wake up hungry in the middle of the night, so I ate what I felt safe eating.  I used my resources, and from a space of needing nourishment, I evaluated my means, and chose the safest one.  That’s actually pretty beautiful.  I actually was trying to sleep better.  Maybe I didn’t make the best decision for all parts of myself, gut-specifically, but I wanted to be rested.

Awwww!

THAT is a good reaction to this.  Actually, add:

Awww, sweetheart.

And isn’t that something you’d tell a little kid?  Because we actually chose the best thing to do, given our state of health.  Maybe the chocolate was a vice from emotional suppression all week.  Maybe the wine was because we are so fucking tired, used up so many resources, that the feelings are too much to handle and we uncork the whole damn bottle to dissipate the emotions.  The soul wanted to feel.  The soul was telling, yelling at us to be heard.

If I don’t examine where my feeling of being unsafe was coming from, I will continue to use my best and most readily available “safe” vices, at the detriment of other parts of myself.

I feel unsafe when I have disconnected from myself, and I fear of being “out of control”, so I latch on to safety with clawed fingers.  To the point of choke-holding my own neck.  But, that feeling of safety was satisfied.

Humans are incredible at adapting.  We use our ITB and knees when our asses are weak and don’t muscularly fire properly so that we can move, run, walk, ride.

We find venues to expel excess feels when we really need to meet that work deadline, so we eat the whole cake.

We have weak abs, and so our backs hyper-engage so we can remain upright.

We feel out of control in our lives, so we clean our houses like mad because it makes us feel the illusion of order.

Over-compensation.  It’s a thing.  And it works in the short term, but longer term, our bodies can’t handle it too long.  When we are in the over-compensation cycle for a prolonged time, we are sustaining self-disconnect and the soul doesn’t like this.  It can be silenced temporarily, but not long-term.

So, the “willpower” to not do the things, is not the answer, and it is not a weakness when we “run out of willpower”.  It is inevitability.

So the question is, where did we over-compensate?  Where did we satisfy a need with some other soothing thing that helped us feel safe, heard, in-control, or just FEEL?

That’s the ticket.

I didn’t feel nourished in my life, in feeling of purpose yesterday.  I instead wanted the safety and control over satiety, so I could wake up and be able to hop on my bike fasted, because when I’m bloated with flaxseeds, I don’t feel hunger as much.  And what does that bike ride give me?  A feeling of satisfaction guaranteed: I know that I’ll feel subdued, more peaceful, high.  I know that this will be my stimulus-addiction satisfied.  Until my next high.

I’m too confused and haven’t “figured” this all out yet, but I trust this much.

I’m stopping here.

Namaste.

“I Couldn’t help it”

Have you ever said this to yourself, after maybe eating too much, picking at your skin, biting your nails, sleeping with your ex, sleeping in, compulsively waking up at 5am again to jump on your bike (I know this isn’t just me), drinking that extra glass of wine, smoking that doobie?

Maybe it’s not your fault. Maybe it’s not my fucking fault.

I think that through running away and distracting our(my)selves, we lose our connection with our own needs.  We run around, work late, “forget to eat”, get neck spasms from being glued to the screen.  We lose ourselves.

Then, when our body comes back to yell at us, we’re fucking famished, we’re thawing from numbness and itchy.  Itchy and unconscious.

Itchy and unconscious.

Itchy and unconscious. I’ll say it again.  When we feel depleted, unknowing as to why or what we need, we cope.  We need to fill again that void, a seemingly sourceless void that is hungry.  Hungry for nourishment.

  • Love
  • Connection
  • Some mother fucking nutrients
  • Support
  • Creative expression
  • Outlet for release
  • TO FEEL

(Wo)man, doesn’t it feel somewhat comforting and safe to be numb?

Parts of me feel like it’s a warm blanket.
♬ I wrap my fear around me like a blanket
I sailed my ship of safety ’til I sank it ♬

Hey Amelia Boone if you ever read this #jahbless firstly, secondly: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HUgwM1Ky228

These lyrics are so damn good and bang:

We go to the doctor, we go to the mountains
We look to the children, we drink from the fountain
Yeah, we go to the Bible, we go through the work out
We read up on revival, we stand up for the lookout
There’s more than one answer to these questions
Pointing me in a crooked line
And the less I seek my source for some definitive
The closer I am to fine

So, back to when it hits us, the body no longer will be silenced.  So, we eat too much, we cope with whatever drug we choose: a cig, a J, a beer or 5, a run or 5, etcetcetc.  And for me, when I get to this state, the yuck scary space of overwhelm with feelings, they rush in unsilenceable, like when you cut yourself shaving and the bleeding just doesn’t stop.  Fuck, you are on a ride of pain and it doesn’t end till it does.  You gotta ride it out, one giant wave of overwhelm.

The jump from numb to being overflowing is huge, and it’s terrifying.

This is when the excess asks for dissipation through whatever accessible means we can grab.  ANYTHING.

Ok, so now what?  Left bloated, drunk, high, bloody, now what?

Enter guilt and shame.  The worst.  These two are also scary emotions.  So, the innate thing to do for us to feel safe again is to disconnect further, to numb because these are scary and unpleasant feels.

I don’t know about you, but when I skin pick, or eat brussels sprouts (and aioli) till I’m 16 weeks preggers, I am definitely not interested to sit with myself, gently, compassionately.  Ho wanna run, (wo)man!

img_8244And this has been my cycle for a hell of a long time.  And it’s exhausting.  And the thing is, behind the pain and noise, is my soul’s voice, quietly and ever-presently there telling me to come back to myself.

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The cycle breaks eventually.
That’s it that’s all.
“To sit with the shit”, as say the yogis and #Bae Pema Chodron, that’s eventually what we learn, when numbing no longer works.  When our bodies say “No”.

And, sweetheart, also: it’s not your fault.

Namaste.

Can a “fake brownie” replace a real one?

I don’t know, what do you “feel”?

I’m at a place where I don’t crave sweets anymore.  I lived in a sugar addicted state for a couple of years, and it was tormenting.  I’d binge, and wait for the next high while sitting in utter shame and guilt leading to self-loathing.  The cortisol and insulin spike from the sugar made me feel alive.  It’s wicked that I don’t have these urges anymore….but in blocking out the cravings, I also blocked out my intuitive needs.

I’ve been chronically injured for years, I can track back to 2014 when I first mucked up my rib after riding the IM Whistler bike course, and not recovering enough – overtraining led me to the ER for a rib tweak.

I’ve honestly been injured since then, unable to race, train consistently, and have since endured multiple rib fractures, a stress fracture, evidently bone fragility, and a prevalent case of Hypothalamic Amenorrhea.

So, it’s not to say that I don’t eat good food- I do, and I eat a lot.  I’m currently sitting with a rib fracture, that’s healing, not as fast as I’d like, but it’s better everyday.  I am toying with the idea of tossing out “rules” and foodisms from “the guides” and then what my body asks for.

Like, I know what I eat is healthy, but I feel like the routinized safety lying in the foods I choose to eat, although nutrients dense (like nuts, eggs, fish, meat, leafy greens, lentils, beans, (not a lot), berries, coconut, kefir, squash), aren’t intuitively what my body wants.

Like, I actually feel that my routine meals are so habitual that they leave no room for what my body wants.  I numbed that voice for so long.  I’ve been sitting more with my feels (ummm partially bc I’m forced to…walking is still slow and my body can’t move a lot yet) and letting them come and go (like clouds, right Thich Nhat Hanh?).

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I remember when I was in the sugar addicted cycle and I’d attempt to suffice a craving for cake with some mish-mash of things: a “mug cake”, or a “protein brownie”.  It didn’t work…

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I honestly feel though that nothing would work in that state.  I feel that I had to endure the binge, feel that yuck of a bloated tummy after eating heaps of cake.  I think it stemmed from an inner need to realize the causes of the pain.

The only way out is through.

I think this is why those of us who’ve experienced binge-eating aren’t able to “just follow a mealplan” to rid ourselves of the condition.  It doesn’t work that way.  The way is to go through it, in awareness, and dig deep: look at the why, compassionately, gently.  I think that as we learn to be kind to ourselves, unconditionally, then the resistance is gone and we’re free to do things guiltlessly.  When that “forbidden” barrier is out, then we don’t crave what is maybe not the best for us as much.

Resistance is futile.

#amiright?

Take away the resistance and we can be.  Non-judgementally.  In forgiveness and gentle kindness towards ourselves.

So as I learn this, my body won’t be in a state of resistance anymore, the struggle will end.  No more pain. After all, our bodies and our hearts both want the same thing.

How I Overcame my Eating Disorder: Forest Greenwell

Forest is a dear friend of mine who I met when I first moved home to Toronto from New Zealand.   She was behind the counter at a cafe I walked into, in a state of low, really ungrounded and upset.  She immediately took me to the back kitchen, leaving the front counter, and sat me down for an hour without blinking an eye, wordlessly signalling to the staff to cover for her.

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She is one hell of a woman, and has founded the wellness initiative Her Habitat, a safe space for anyone to share their struggles that accompany our belonging to this collective human condition called Life.  She connects people and helps the world feel supported; her purpose is brilliantly described in the powerful statement;

You are not alone.

Bless her soul.

She is a warrior of a myriad of Life’s journeys, and battles on while dancing, singing, and doing really cool shit.

Here is her story:

My Eating Disorder Journey:

For a significant part of my life, foods purpose wasn’t to nourish me. I used it to mask, unplug, hide from my feelings. I fluctuated constantly between states of starvations and near illness from binging. I hated my body because I was always tired and never felt good, I hated my mind because I felt weak for giving in to either side of such an intense spectrum, and consequently I hated my friends who had healthy relationships with food. I hated my clothes that never consistently fit me properly, I hated the emotions I was hiding from instead of dealing, and more than anything I hated anything that challenged my way to cope.

I am not proud to say that I actively chose to stop eating. I willingly chose Anorexia over health. I did this with the knowledge that it would get the attention of those around me, and that this would be an easier task than asking for help or doing the very hard work of implementing what I had learned in my years of therapy. I often found myself bingeing and soon my middle ground became Orthorexia instead of Anorexia. I was obsessive about eating healthy. It completely consumed me. And I was still bingeing – now I was just extending my stomach with fruits, veggies, and whatever else I had deemed healthy enough to be able to enter my body.

My breaking point mentally was in Wal-Mart. I was staying with my grandparents for a summer in British Columbia after I had finished high school, and they watched me suffer through hours of running, strict meal plans and timing, and forcing myself into yoga positions that didn’t heal me because I didn’t understand. I was grocery shopping and my grandmother asked me if I wanted any cookies.

Do you know what it’s like to be 18 and having a tantrum in Wal-Mart because your Grandmother asked if you wanted cookies?

I’ve never felt so ashamed in my entire life.

Not just of the reaction, or that situation, but also at my cart full of unsatisfying foods that were not healthy for my mind, not healthy for my soul, and ultimately not even balanced or nutritious enough to give me proper nourishment. I was withering away, moody, disrespecting those that loved me, and fighting against a body and a mind that were desperately needing to heal.

I spent hours meditating in the woods trying to find answers to this longing I had. This void I needed to fill, while simultaneously being terrified of what would happen if I was full. If I did feel joy. If I allowed myself to be human.

The answer was simple, and because of this, so much harder to face:

I was looking for attention.

That’s all it came down to for me. Even though I tried to make myself and my habits invisible I felt offended and unimportant that no one had intervened. I was upset that no one could see that I wasn’t healthy, I was hurting myself. But then I realized I could see it. I could see what I was putting myself through and it was only my job and responsibility to deal with that.

It still took me years to get out of the habit of purging and bingeing. I still fall back on it sometimes. It’s an easy way to remind myself of the “power” I have. It’s also a slap in the face when I feel like shit and realize that there is no one to blame but myself. Not my stress, not my work load, not my roommate or partner or friends. The way that I choose to deal with things, and also the things I choose not to face are not exempt from my hand just because I don’t feel up to dealing with it.

I think the biggest and most important part of my recovery was being accountable.

Yes, all of the tools I learned to avoid bingeing and purging are invaluable to me, and my own intuition and understanding of my body’s signals and messages are paramount. But just how I can take pride in what I am doing right and how far I’ve come, this also comes with the acknowledgement that sometimes I don’t do right by me. Sometimes I do give in to that cyclical pattern. But now I understand what it is, am learning more and more why. I’m finding that the more I’m aware of my triggers and emotions that sway me, the more inclined I am to be conscientious of my eating choices without being paranoid or obsessive about them either.

I can eat a slice of cake without worry about eating the whole cake, or about needing to starve myself before indulgence.

Please don’t hesitate to reach out to her on any of her links for connection:

https://www.facebook.com/herhabitatblog/
https://www.instagram.com/herhabitatblog/
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCkrAlmDZwwsv_iyGr-4Vdxg/
https://twitter.com/herhabitat/

You.
Are.
Not.
Alone.

Jah bless xo

 

How to sit with a Binge

(starting this post with shameless self-promotion for my emotional eating workshop where Deanne and I will be sharing our insights and human honesty with our binge and emotional eating journeys)

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Was that a binge?

I’m letting myself eat.  I’m listening to my needs.  I’m realizing that even when there’s some kind of feeling telling me to nourish, even when I’m not in a state of being famished, I follow it.

Ever have what my friend once explained as “itchy teeth”?  She called it the feeling where you feel like munching on something but aren’t necessarily hungry.

It’s times like these where I have to tune into my gut, ask myself what I need.

What am I hungry for?

  • Connection?
  • Love?
  • Self-care?
  • Rest?
  • Creative expression?
  • Meaningful work?

Today, I finished lunch very aware of my craving for connection.

BUT: there are times, especially during this re-feeding, where I am actually physically needing nourishment, and in spite of my mind saying “You’ve had enough!”, body’s actually asking for nourishment.

My dear friend expressed herself after feeling like she’d overeaten, I asked her what part of her felt full, or like she’d binged.  She said her tummy wasn’t bloated, it felt comfortable and sated.  Her mind, on the other hand, didn’t want to believe that her body required that much food.

That’s the shit though, eh?  I’m hearing both voices, the mind and the soul when I eat.  I often feel like I can have an extra spoonful of peanut baetter, hummus, extra handful of nuts.  

And then, I’m full.

It’s a new feeling.

Sometimes I’m in shock at how much I am eating, and it fucking terrifies me.

My mind wants to flee, to distract, to numb.  I want to busy myself and get back to that feeling of being “in control” of how much I’ve eaten, or of how much I’ve decided my body needs.

How silly is that though!?  As IF my mind has enough say over how much nourishment my wise-ass body needs.

And so, fuck man, if I overdo it a bit, or if I’ve err’d on the side of a little too much, so what?  I’m not perfect!

The fear is in old ways of void-filling with overeating; bingeing and purging.  But my soul has found its own wisdom there to overcome that.  I’m tuning into all parts of myself; mind, body, soul.  I won’t dishonour my needs anymore.  Nor should you!

If you eat a piece of cake, or three, OK: it’s always OK–the key is to be so damn present and aware of the fact that you’re coping, that in your presence, you can be with yourself.  The whole way.  Man, that’s fucking powerful!

In the evenings, generally this is when my body speaks about if I’ve undernourished or not in the daytime.  This is when rules go out the window.  This is the scary time!  

You can’t trick your body into fake nourishment!

AMiRIGHT?!

There’s a reason for the fridge light…and nighttime #humancondition in form of binges.  This is when the body is like:  bitch please

“I’m still LE HUNGRY!”

This is when the body tries to play “catch up” with the under-nourishment, lack of nutrients, fasting.

So, it’s not willpower we lack.  It’s the idea that we can fool ourselves into in-authenticity, into being something we’re not.

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And the first things we try to do after feeling like we’ve overeaten, or if we have overeaten, or goddamn under-eaten for that matter – is run, is escape, is distract, numb: sex, self-pleasing, cigs, alcohol, work-addiction, drugs, even distracting with mindless media scrolling, which is fucked because of all the images of sculpted abs and the impossible flat tummy post-meal…we don’t want to face what our body is speaking to us.

BUT

This IS the pivotal moment to connect and to stop the binge cycle in the future!

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From Michelle Yandle Health

I’m sitting with it when I do it, I’m breathing, in lotus pose bc itsbetterfortheburps….I’m journalling.  I’m asking myself:

  • “was that too much?”
  • “Did I under-eat during the day? or even yesterday?”
  • “Did I turn away from another part of myself I needed?”
  • “Was I trying to fill a void?”

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And, after this reflection, know this:

This too shall pass.

It always does.  May we be wiser for next time.  Tune into our needs periodically so we don’t get hit with the headinthefridgesyndrome.

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