I know it’s been a very long time since I started reading The Weight Escape and journalling about it. I will admit, some of that has to do with my own avoidance of how I’ve been feeling in my body and my assumptions about the efforts it will take to bring myself to a state of health with which I am comfy. I have been avoiding.
I tend to avoid, when something isn’t pleasant. I prefer to run and hope something blows over or spontaneously fixes (which never happens), rather than look at it straight on and deal with it. But, the further I go in my life, the more I practice being honest with myself and others, the harder it is to avoid things.
Interestingly enough, the next step in The Weight Escape is to interact just with this part of myself. So, from pages 44-45:
1. I distract myself through watching tv, tooling around the internet, talking to friends on the phone, eating, and shopping (sometimes in person and sometimes online). I surely use eating and cooking as distractions, sometimes.
2. I surely “opt out” (what I call “avoid”) of spending time with friends, doing things I enjoy, and doing things that I know are healthy for me, because they are stressful or because I am stressed (and I some how “need” or “want” to stay stressed–really, it’s that I’m not ready to deal with the stress, yet). I don’t think I use dieting or anything like that to opt out. Instead, I just hide…. I go off the grid, stop answering phone calls and the like, sleep a lot, and stay in the house.
3. I surely attempt to “think” my way out of feeling terrible. I will formulate strategies, plan my life as a means of trying to undo the things that are stressing me. I also try to rationalize the way that I am feeling–searching for the root causes of my anxieties, sadnesses, or other discomforts as a means of ferreting out and exposing the causes to, thereby, also remedy the feelings. This doesn’t always work, but sometimes by thinking, writing, and talking (when I stop hiding) about what I am feeling and where it comes from, I am also motivated to change the habits that I rely upon to keep fast those feelings.
4. There are a number of ways that I self-medicate. Sometimes, if my body hurts, I do use OTC medicines. I have recently weened myself off of an herbal supplement for depression, but turned to herbs when I felt like I couldn’t control my reaction to the pressures of grad school (did this while talking to a therapist). And, I absolutely use food to punish myself. I overeat to the point of discomfort and despite what my own body tells me about what I am eating. I will sometimes push my consumption to the point of feeling nauseous (that “couldn’t have another bite” moment)–which I can feel a bit, now, as I write this. If I am in a cycle of doing this to myself, and it is interrupted by some healthy eating (often the result of my own routine being interrupted and eating being a matter of social engagement, and therefore my behavior curbed because people can see what I am doing–like a weekend with friends), I will realize that I feel much better with less food in my body. However, I often revert to my punishing behavior. I often do this when I am sad, lonely, and/or anxious.
5. My social strategy is twofold: 1) I inhabit the sarcasm-as-funny role; 2) I play it super big, with a loud voice, lots of passion, and often my own version of “truth telling.” I often perform these as a means of participating but also distancing myself from my own senses of vulnerability. Also, I just get my feelings hurt very easily, and communicate that through anger–usually.
I like that the book situates the above conversation as a set of strategies that I use (we use) as a means of control, instead of the ways that I would frame them (as weaknesses, bad habits, punishments, etc.). Well, here I go back to reading. I hope to be more consistent with this reading, and get it done this weekend.
Along with this reading, I am purging my house of things, in preparation for moving. Change is hard, it is no wonder that I am returning to my control strategies as I prepare to leave Nashville and head to Chicago, this summer (really, in a couple of months). I’m hoping that this book helps me return to being kind to myself, during this time (and as a new habit/strategy). Stick with me, and we’ll see.
Finally, and just to note: it is really hard for me to publish this. It feels like putting a very vulnerable part of myself out there for others to see. Still, I will do it. Right now.