New routines & celebrations

So the last 10 weeks or so have been interesting!

You’ll know from previous posts that I spent some time on the central NSW coast in July for a self-care immersion. And you’ll also know that I came home and immediately began a 6 month food coaching program to support me in figuring out this final step of my transformation.

The first 7 or 8 weeks came up and hit me in the face with repetitive hard slaps. The process of keeping a food diary in and of itself brought up all kinds of emotions. I’m certainly not new to that process. I’ve been on all kinds of diets through my life and many of them required food diaries. Which I kept for about 3 days before giving it up. Every. Time. And yet here it is, week 10 (I think) and the food diary thing now feels like a normal part of the routine.

The emotions that have been brought up have certainly challenged me! I’ve had an inner 5 year old girl who has been throwing all kinds of tantrums. I’ve always used food to protect myself and sooth my fears. Fears of being inadequate and not good enough. Fears of rejection. Fears of all kinds of things. Let me tell you that little girl has given me many moments of concern. I honestly thought that she would always need comfort and support.

Today I’m not so sure that she will. She has kind of grown up in the last couple of weeks.

She is learning that she will be ok without the comfort and security of unhealthy foods. She is learning that her adult self is in charge and is making these changes in her best interests. She is learning to trust. She is learning that she is worthy. Without conditions.

And she loves that. She loves that she can be free. She loves that she can be herself. She loves that she doesn’t have to justify herself to anyone. And she loves herself.

Back to my adult self …

The last 2 weeks have been different. I’ve been working on the routine of meal planning and preparation over the last 3 weeks (ish). The first week was a lot dodgy, the next a little dodgy, and this most recent one seems very different. I felt so much better about doing the food prep. I spent some time on Sunday making curried sausages and smoked salmon, spinach & cream cheese filos. And then today I made a couple of different kinds of quiche type thingies and a pizza. The week before I made sweet potato & pumpkin soup, and curried sausages.

curried sausages

Curried sausages

smoked salmon filos

smoked salmon, spinach & cream cheese filos

quiche muffins

quiche thingies with vegies & chicken

quiche smoked salmon

quiche thingies with smoked salmon, spinach & cream cheese

curried sausages prev week

more curried sausages

pumpkin sweet potato soup prev week

pumpkin & sweet potato soup

It’s not even the actual food that is the notable change. It’s the way I felt about cooking those things. Somewhat enthusiastic. Accomplished. Proud. And nowhere near as tired and fatigued as I have on previous food prep days.

And given the very long history of feeling resentful and angry around food preparation (wow, I didn’t know that was there till it came out of my fingers!), I’m going to take those feelings, savour them and enjoy them while they last.

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Having a tantrum

Tuesday is my day this semester to attend classes at university. Which means getting up and ready, then getting in the care, driving for 2 hours, sitting in class for 4 hours, then doing the return drive.

This is the fourth semester that I’ve been doing this routine. The entire time I’ve been doing the drive I’ve had to navigate between 5 & 7 major lots of roadworks as they upgrade the highway after major floods a few years ago.

Today is the first time I’ve done the trip in 2 months due to the break between semesters. There have been changes in the configuration of the works and I am reminded of how painful and stressful it’s been to make this journey in each of the 3 completed semesters so far.

I have mentioned in recent posts that I’ve undertaken a 6 month food coaching program that I’m about 2-3 weeks into. This has created some pretty turbulent emotions even as recently as 2 days ago, so my emotional state has been somewhat fragile.

I’ve been rather negligent with my water intake recently and one of the things to focus on is to increase it so I can clear out some of the toxins in my body.

Can you see where this is going?

Almost 1 litre of water before 10:30am, followed immediately by a 2 hour drive (which turned into almost 3 hours) simply do not mix! I had to stop 3 times in the first hour!

By the time I actually pulled into the car park at uni I was ready to curl up into the fetal position and cry! Especially since 2 of the stops were very close calls! I actually almost pulled over onto the side of the road at one point to cry. Either that or turning around and going home! Or raging.

When I actually arrived I had 10 minutes to navigate my way to the lecture room all the way across campus, which for me means a 40+ minute walk. Up hills and stairs, carrying a heavy bag. And then I’d have had to walk the reverse trip to change rooms for the tutorial, which means leaving the lecture early or being late for the tute (still not sure how to deal with that each week for the rest of the semester).

Given my emotional state I decided to forego stressing myself even more and decided to locate myself outside the tutorial room and blog instead. Take some time to re-centre myself and breathe.

On the way home I stopped at the service station to use the facilities (for the 100th time that day!!) and I looked at all the food in the store. I felt resentful that I couldn’t have any of it. Then I spotted what was probably the only healthy thing in the place and chose to have sushi. But I still felt resentful that I even had to make that choice in the first place.

So, I spent most of yesterday feeling frustrated and resentful that I am in the situation I’m in. Pretty much tantrum material! Feeling disempowered and acting out because I didn’t have “freedom” to choose.

Twenty-four hours later and I’ve had a couple of lightbulbs go off in my head about what happened yesterday. Today I am very grateful for friends who care enough to call me out on my shit and don’t let me get away with it. I’m also grateful for coaches who can see through that same shit, not play into the victim role I was trying to go into and after the bulbs get lit, compliments me on my tenacity and determination to go through this process!

I am very blessed.

It’s time to release

breathe and let go

After a lifetime of eating to numb almost every feeling I have ever felt, I have so much suppressed emotion lying inside me. My own as well as those belonging to other people I’ve met through my life. Anger, hate, distrust, hurt, pain, anguish, grief.

I’ve not only suppressed my own stuff, I have taken on stuff belonging to other people. I’ve always been a peacemaker. I’ve listened to others talking about the things hurting them. I helped them to make peace with things in their lives. I’ve helped them to make sense of the hurts and attacks from other people. It’s rather ironic that I am carving out a career doing exactly the same thing, really.

I’ve also been attacked by others. It’s true what they say about “hurt people hurt”. I’ve had siblings take out their shit on me. I was bullied at school so much that I went home crying every afternoon. I’ve been excluded, I’ve been made fun of, ridiculed and laughed at. And I’ve felt hurt and left out and worthless and useless and unlovable. I buried it all under layers of sugar and fat.

And I’ve had enough. I deserve to be loved. I deserve to love myself.

So I’ve decided to release all the suppressed shit. I’ve decided that I will change my relationship with food.

When I was asked today to finish this sentence, “food is my …“, my response included words like solace, comfort, safety, security, crutch, home, solstice, end, beginning, reward, payment, centre.

I want my response to be nourishment, energy, support and vitality.

So, as I am asked questions like this and I’m hit with a multitude of emotions my first instinct is to run for the fridge and to go back to those old methods that have got me through for so long. And I also know that they no longer serve me. I no longer need protection. I no longer need to hide. I no longer need to pretend I’m ok when I’m not. And I no longer need food to help me cope.

I have everything I need to be able to live the life I deserve. I have alternative coping strategies. I have the knowledge about how worthy I am. I have a spirit that knows exactly what to do. I just need to allow her to lead. To quiet my mind and listen to her.

She has led me to strengthen my mind, to learn about how my brain works. To learn about how much my body is truly capable of. To learn about how much determination, persistence and tenacity I have, how much strength I have, how much I deserve to love myself, how much worth I have.

She has led me to this point. She has taught me enough to know that I have exactly what it takes to get me through this final stage of releasing all those hidden emotions and the wrapping that has held them secure for most of my life.

It’s time to release. It’s time for freedom.