"Challenges to Eating Well" Chapter 7 Excerpt
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“The only devils in this world are those running around inside our own hearts, and that is where all our battles should be fought.”
…..I invite you to suspend your beliefs about your eating and your negative self-definition. You do this the same way you suspend your beliefs about reality when you watch a film or read a novel. Let yourself suspend your belief in your current time and surroundings. Accept, on a temporary basis, the possibility of being in a different time and place. You are in London in the year 1853, and you’re walking the streets with Sherlock Holmes and Watson on the trail of Moriarty. Or maybe you are in the far future on the starship Enterprise, hurtling through space at a speed faster than light to save planet Earth from invaders. You have the ability to suspend your belief. Do this with your own definition of you.
In this open-minded place, look at the way you eat and how you might gradually make adjustments in your psychological and emotional attachments to food.
When you feel the inevitable tightening and reluctance to do this exploration, do this “Be Present for Another Minute” exercise – I call it PAM for short. Watch your breath as you shake your shoulders, do three neck rolls, shake your legs, and flex your feet. You will discover that when you want to shut this book or run away doing a three- to five-minute PAM will help you stay present and bear your feelings.
Pay attention to how you feel right now. Having read the first few paragraphs of this chapter, are you excited, scared, hopeful, looking for fast answers, or looking for another diet regime with familiar grim determination? Whatever you are feeling, you still have this book open. Great. Give yourself credit for this, and stay with your experience.
If you feel too anxious or angry or excited to continue this chapter, pause and breathe. Do a PAM. Be aware of your body and your physical presence. Your whole person is made up of your mind, feelings, body and spirit. Be still and become aware of your whole self. Read the following two sentences three times a day along with your breathing, shoulder shake, and neck roll exercise.
1. My body needs fuel and nourishment to survive and function.
2. I eat adequate and appropriate amounts of food daily that contain necessary nourishment for my body.
Watch your body. Pay attention to how your body feels.
Keep reading, and whenever your feelings get strong, rather than pressing forward despite your feelings or stopping to avoid your feelings, pause and do PAM. Then come back to the words you know you need to hear.
Excerpt from Healing Your Hungry Heart: recovering from your eating disorder, by Joanna Poppink, MFT, Conari Press, 2011. Copyright protected August, 2011. Joanna is a Los Angeles psychotherapist specializing in eating disorder recovery for adults and counseling for their loved ones. For an appointment call: (310) 474-4165.