Tuesday, April 29, 2008


I was driving my 12-year-old daughter to an after school activity today and we arrived about 15 minutes early. Since the lesson she was going to was in a private home, I told her that we should wait a few more minutes before going in. She was fine with that because she was busy texting her friends. I picked up a book that I was reading and started where I had left off. She looked over and asked what I was reading. I told her it's a book called, "Breaking Free from Emotional Eating". She looked at me with that sweet smile, said "you're crazy" and then went back to her phone play.

I closed my book and thought about what she said. Am I crazy? The author, Geneen Roth, doesn't sound crazy to me. She says that the fear of hunger is like the fear of loneliness and both are connected to feelings of emptiness, echoes, endless wanting. Hmm. That feels familiar. Along the way she talks about [learning to] using food to fill these feelings. Hmm. That sounds familiar too. What she also says in this book is that you can learn to distinguish between emotional hunger and real hunger. Hmm. She shares some of her experiences and although they are hers, they feel and sound familiar too.

Let me share one of my experiences with you. I was in graduate school and I remember waiting for my boyfriend [who is now my husband] to pick me up for a date. He said he would be over to pick me up at [lets say] 7:00 pm. I waited and waited and he finally showed up [probably 15-20 minutes late]. I laid into him with both barrels about how disrespectful it was to keep me waiting and that if he knew he was leaving his house late he should have called to tell me he was running late, and blah, blah, blah. I remember him looking at me like I was this crazy person he just let in his car. And when we got to the restaurant all I could think about was stuffing my face. When I look back on that incident, I wonder if being left waiting was really me feeling abandoned and not important?

I've done enough self analysis to know [well almost know] that this goes back to high school when my boyfriend went off to college and I still thought we were "boyfriend and girlfriend." I never heard from him again. It was around this time that I remember eating a ding dong [that's a chocolate cake with white cream inside] and actually feeling the texture in my mouth, sort of relishing the taste and the sensations, feeling really "loved". Weird, huh. However, from there I started experimenting with other foods, like mallomars, drakes coffee cakes and oreos. Now, all these foods had been in my family's pantry and in my repertoire for years, but now I enjoyed these in the privacy of my own bathroom [I was too young to drive or I'm sure it would have been in the car]. Why did I start to eat in the closet - so to speak? I still don't know because I haven't finished Ms. Roth's book, but I believe what she says. She says that, "if you only eat when you are hungry, you are removing your protection from those feelings".

Anyway, this babble could go on and on, but it won't. The reason I share this with you is that for many years I felt alone [in my bathroom] and didn't understand what I was feeling and why I was doing what I was doing to myself. I share this so that no one should feel alone or embarrassed by the measures they take to care for the "little girl" inside them. We are mature and intelligent enough to know that what we did or are still doing isn't physically or emotionally healthy for us. As long as we are aware of this and are [willing to be] open to discovery and recovery, then we are ahead of the game. I say when you are ready, ask the hard questions. It may take a while to find the answers, but they are there. Be kind to yourself. I truly believe time heals all.

Monday, April 28, 2008


I've recently taken on the job of class of 1980 correspondent for my high school. Our class president said that he had had enough [he's been doing the job since 1980] and with 4 kids and a busy job, he just didn't have the time anymore. I willingly stepped in since I've been "jobless" for about 30 months now and I don't see anything on the horizon. Anyway, with all this emailing to update addresses and forward school information, I've been communicating with people who I haven't spoken to since the last reunion or since high school.

All these old memories are popping up like crazy. Some good ones like when I received an email from my first boyfriend that just said, "hi bobbie', and others that, well... aren't so good. Remember how we were in such a hurry to grow up and experience the world? We drove, talked, ate, played and lived with no fear, well at least without the fear of knowing the consequences. I think "naive" would be the best word. We thought we knew it all... and we did know a lot to a certain extent, but mostly we were probably clueless.

One of my memories is wearing a tiny yellow bikini with abandon. I was more worried about it showing too much than worried about how I looked in it. What a notion!! Another memory I have is me drag racing my car Bertha against my friend's red corvette. I knew that driving that fast was dangerous and if caught, I would get a ticket, but at 18 you feel you are indestructible. Wouldn't it be great to have that freedom back? We just did things, we didn't always weigh [and I use that word for good reason] the right and wrong, the good and bad, the fair or unfair. We just did it. I know we are now mature women with children, husbands, animals and households to care for, but wouldn't it be nice to just go shopping with a friend and stop to get ice cream because you just want it? No "babble" in your head of: what did I already eat today, what am I having for dinner, was I good yesterday, did I drink enough water today, is it too close to lunch or dinner, what's tomorrow look like, how are my pants fitting, etc? Wouldn't that be nice? And this doesn't have to be about food. What about curling up and reading for a couple of hours without worrying about your "chores"? That's what you would have done back then. There was no rush....

I think we need to ALLOW ourselves a little bit of high school to come back into our lives. Not those bad memories of boyfriends long gone [good riddance] or braces or pimples, but those high school moments that let us just be us. I know that there were many self conscious hours spent during high school, but try to remember those times that you felt totally free of pressure or doubt or whatever. Enjoy that memory and try to bring a little bit back with you. Bring that smile and light hearted feeling back and try to find moments like that in your life now. Be present enough to feel that feeling with clueless abandon..... even if it's just for a minute or two.


Well, the Passover Seders are over and although I banked my calories both days knowing that the dinners would be high calorie and salty ones... I still overate. And in doing so, I chose not to get on the scale for the last three days. I can't truly answer why I didn't weigh myself, but I can tell you that sentences like, 'scared what I might see' would be a good reason. Can one really hide from the truth? Remember that saying I shared in group? The one that goes, "what you eat in private shows in public". Why do we think that hiding our eating literally and/or figuratively or hiding ourselves from the scale will negate the calories ingested and the consequences of those calories? And curiously, I'll never know if the 5 mile power walk on Friday or the 5 mile run/walk I did on Sat. or the 5 mile power walk I did on Sunday or the 5 mile power walk I did today or all the water I drank helped me lose weight or kept my weight stable over this holiday weekend.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that we have to own up to our choices, that the consequences be they good or bad aren't really going to change what we are striving for in the long run. However, just because we don't acknowledge what we do, doesn't mean that we can get away with it. That eating healthy, feeling good, being in control of our food choices and losing weight are ultimately what we want. A weekend of eating is a short term set back. It's o.k. to "hide" as long as we continue to strive towards our ultimate goal. If your eating is "bad", keep drinking your water, keep exercising, use the scale as you see fit and grasp control at the earliest possible moment!!!


I was watching a program last night. One of the woman subjects was a very attractive person who was probably about 50-60 pounds overweight. Although she is an attorney and has all the confidence she needs in the courtroom, she is extremely insecure and has absolutely no self confidence when it comes to her body and to herself. She would look in the mirror and tell herself that she was fat and ugly, that her ass was gigantic and that nobody would want her because of these things. The psychiatrist told her to think of a movie star that she thought was beautiful. Then she looked in the mirror as that movie star and he asked her what she saw. She said confidence, beauty, self worth, etc. He then had her put her body in that movie star's and said that she needed to see those things in herself every morning when she looked in the mirror. She needed to wash her face, brush her teeth and then step in front of the mirror in all her glory and see what she saw when she was the movie star. I believe they followed her for about 12 weeks and then had her on the show. She told the audience that she felt much, much better about herself and that doing this exercise has helped her immensely. She's more self confident outside the courtroom and when shopping for clothing she didn't cringe when she was trying on outfits. She said that she does the mirror exercise every morning and that as a by product of this new found "person" she has lost 12 pounds and feels happier than she has in many years.

So, this morning I washed my face, brushed my teeth and then weighed myself. Not too good. I had a very busy weekend with parties and lots of food and drink. Seeing my weight was a little distressing and disappointing to say the least, but I put on a happy face and thought is could have been A LOT worse.

I turned away from the scale and tried to picture a person that I thought was very attractive both inside and out. Someone who I thought showed confidence and happiness in herself and her life. Then, in all my glory I looked in the full length mirror and did the exercise as above. I told myself that I had a wonderful body and that I should love it and take care of it and to not sabotage what I was given. I told myself that other women would love my round bottom and thick legs [I've heard those with really skinny ankles complain], that my breasts weren't yet sagging enough to upset me and that my shoulders, deltoids and biceps were in good shape. I then finished getting dressed and went for a power walk. Now you know I am queen of what I call "objective and honest self criticism". I know my strengths and weaknesses, my assets and flaws. Interestingly, I have felt great all day. Honestly. Even knowing the number on the scale, I felt great. And, not only have I felt great all day, but I felt like I looked great too. I liked the way my hair blew out this morning, my skin was cooperating, my eyes weren't red and itchy [I'm having spring problems], and the one pair of jeans that I fit into right now felt good.

So, I say give this a chance. You may be thinking that I'm more susceptible than others, but I really doubt that. I have tried on three separate occasions to be hypnotized and never once did it work. All I can say is try this. It doesn't cost anything. You don't have to buy anything. You don't have to go anywhere. Give it a shot.


Just had an invigorating 45 minute power walk in the twilight. The weather was beautiful, the speed was quite fast and my breath, arms and legs were pumping hard. I am so glad that I am compelled to exercise at least once and sometimes twice a day. I love it! I love walking when I'm alone and love it when I have company. I love going to yoga classes. I love working out with weights. I love playing tennis. I love doing all these things, but more than loving doing them, I love the way I feel afterwards. Perhaps it's the endorphin high or the knowledge that I just burned calories or that I strengthened my heart and other muscles. Whatever IT is, it keeps me doing something invigorating every day. And, when I don't exercise, I feel a little sad and frustrated, but never guilty. And, sometimes I don't feel like doing it [for whatever reason, the weather, hormones, being tired], but 99% of the time I can overcome those feelings and do some type of exercise.

So, if exercise feels so good and the post exercise feels great, why can't I translate that to the after feelings of losing weight. I love feeling thin and feeling healthy. I even love eating healthy and the way I feel after a good meal. What is it that makes me dedicated to daily exercise, but not to daily healthy eating [what I mean is daily healthy eating for more than a day in a row]? And let me admit, when I don't eat healthy, I don't feel sad or frustrated, but I definitely feel guilty and usually a bit nauseous.

Now I know that most overeating is emotional. It's a crutch, it medicates, it's a best friend, etc. Well, let's just think about those words for a minute. A crutch is supposed to help support you, medication is supposed to heal you and a best friend is supposed to help heal your hurts and support your needs. Wouldn't it make more sense to exercise to feel good than to eat to feel good? Eating unhealthy, eating too much, eating to fill time, eating to "swallow" anger, eating to procrastinate do not make you feel good. And yet, we do it all the time knowing that the "good feeling" is short lived follwed by "bad feelings that can be 'long lived'. If exercise is good and makes one feel good and eating healthy is good and makes one feel good, shouldn't there be a way to somehow trick the mind to want those post exercise post healthy eating feelings?

This is going to be my "job" for the next few days. I am going to try to really be present before, during and after I exercise. I'm going to pay attention to what I'm feeling - in my head as well as my body. Then, when I'm eating poorly, I'm going to do the same thing... try to really be present, pay attention to what I'm feeling - in my head as well as my body. After I understand the feelings for these two different events, I'm going to see if I can "download" those pre, during and post exercise feelings to help me stop/put off choosing to eat unhealthy. I'm going to try to replace those feelings that make me go for food with the memory of those feelings I have after I exercise. If anyone else is going to attempt this, please let me know if you have success. I'd love to hear how you got there and how it feels to be there.

Quote of the day: "If you attempt to get thin by reigning yourself in, judging yourself, not believing in yourself, you will end up a deprived, self-condemning, and frightened human being. And maybe thin for a while, but just a while." Geneen Roth from Breaking Free from Emotional Eating.


I'm on my walk today and I ask the person I'm walking with how her sister in law is doing [about 2 months ago she had a heart attack (at 47) and during her recuperation and perhaps because of her age, health status and family she had an epiphany]. My friend said that she's healing well and that she needs to call her because it's been about 10 days since she spoke to her and she wants to see if she's still in epiphany mode.

That got me thinking......Why do we get inspired or epiphanized or get on a roll and then forget or fall off the proverbial wagon? What happened between the OMG and a day later? week later? month later? What can we do to hold onto that feeling so that we don't lose it or fall off the wagon? So I came up with some ideas and maybe we can help each other out.

First, you need to share your ah ha with someone[s]. Second, you need to remind yourself of that "ah ha" by leaving yourself notes, phone messages, unwritten signs [like a red ribbon on your pantry door], meaningful books, etc. Third, if your epiphany is about weight, leave your favorite jeans or bathing suit out in the closet and make a schedule of trying them on [like every monday and friday]. And last, make a pact with someone to ask how you are doing every other day.

This way if the feeling is there, but beginning to wane, a chit chat with someone who can remind you about your ah ha and how good you felt and what the conversation around your ah ha was about, may re-inspire you. Pick someone you feel comfortable talking to. Someone who doesn't mind making and/or receiving the calls. It doesn't have to be someone in the group. Whomever you shared your feelings with is the person or are the people that will hopefully get you back on track. An email asking how you're doing may bring out a response that you didn't know was in you.