Where have I been? I've been busy. Busy being miserable and happy at the same time, fit AND flabby at the same time, binging and eating intuitively. Ah, 'tis a roller coaster that never makes any stops! I've also been doing a lot of reading. I'm almost finished with Jane Hirschmann's Overcoming Overeating, which I purchased used from this site for less than three bucks. The next book I read will NOT be related to anything food, body image, binging, or exercise. I am, once again, making myself crazy.

I've learned a whole lot about myself in the last month. Not like this is a major news flash, but I am an anxiety eater. I don't know how to deal with my feelings, and all my life I have comforted myself with food, which has been the ONLY way I have ever known to comfort myself until very recently. I always chalked my binging up to lack of willpower and failure. Overcoming Overeating really had some good points and made me shift my thinking a bit. Skwigg reviewed some similar books on her blog. I really think that at the start these types of books can seem so touchy-feely, or lame, or pitiful, but in the end I think it's worth the read if you suffer or have suffered from any type of food or body-related disorder. Help thyself! Oh, but it's totally ok to remove the cover while reading these books in public, or in the case of my most recent read, which was a paperback, to fold the book in half so that the pages cover the title of the book. Do that and cross your fingers that nobody comes up and asks you what you're reading to make small talk. I don't think I'd like to casually tell some stranger or co-worker that I'm reading Breaking Free From Compulsive Eating or Overcoming Overeating while shoveling a Quizno's sub into my gaping maw. Sexy.

Anyway, when you've been doing something on a regular basis (overeating, binging) for twenty years, it's mighty hard to just read a couple of books, snap your fingers and expect to be "cured". Putting an end to binging/overexercising/self-medicating in any unhealthy way takes some real effort, and it's hard work. I've felt amazing, discouraged, scared, disgusting, beautiful, healthy, unhealthy, crazy, sane, hungry, full, successful, carefree and trapped ALL AT THE SAME TIME.

It took me nearly three months to conclude the following:

I'm a 5 or 6 small meals a day girl, bottom line. I gave the "eat when you're hungry" thing a fair shot and ended up tired, ravenous, and overfull much of the time. I function much better on a steady, balanced flow of nutrients throughout the day. This has nothing to do with losing weight. This time it is merely an observation based on how I feel. The fact that eating this way can also aid in weight loss is a bonus.

I like to exercise, but I hate to kill myself with cardio and was actually sacrificing form during weight lifting on many exercises because I was trying to be fucking SuperWoman. I toned down the cardio and started doing only what I really enjoy doing, and I lowered the weight on certain exercises and have started honing in on proper form. I also traded one cardio session per week for power yoga (which I LOVE!). I am one creaky, tight chick. At least one day of yoga per week is here to stay. Not only to keep myself bendable, but also for stress and anxiety relief. SO NECESSARY. Why'd I overlook it before?

I liked most of the foods I was eating before. I'm back to eating some of my old standbys from the dieting days because they really are delicious! Pumpkin oat bars, big salads with lean protein, protein bars, fruit and yogurt, tuna sandwiches, omelets... only this time I'm not crazy with measurements and calories. I NEED carbs but I also NEED protein. Eating a carb-only meal really screws me up mentally. Again, purposely balancing my meals has little to do with weight... it's all about how it makes me feel. It's a really nice shift in thinking. Imagine saying no to that candy bar because you know you'll either be passed out on the couch an hour later or reaching for another candy bar when the sugar surge dies down! How refreshing.

Despite what many of the books I read encourage, it's almost impossible for me to not pack food for the day during the work week. Some books suggest that you try not to pre-determine what you'll eat before you're hungry, to instead drop what you're doing when you get hungry and go get or prepare what it is you are hungry for. NOT AT ALL PRACTICAL for me, at least not 95% of the time. Packing snacks and meals is best. And if it turns out that I don't want what I packed, I don't have to eat it. Simple as that.

Once again, as fucking ALWAYS, it all comes down to finding a balance. I encourage everyone to experiment with their hunger and their preferences and maybe do some reading. Cut yourself a break. Be good to yourself. Oh, and guess what? No one else gives a shit about your weight. For the most part people are oblivious to your pant size. I think it's true that the people who judge you based on your weight are the people who have issues with their own weight. I gained probably 10 or 12 pounds since non-dieting, and the worst anyone has said to me was "Sara? Are... are your boobs growing?" That, and D grabs my ass a lot more now. Probably because there's more of it to grab. And that's not necessarily a bad thing. :)


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