My journey Part 2

Posted by Jenn @ livewellfit on February 12th, 2010
Filed under Motivation, My Journey to health | 7 Comments »

Well hello again. Twice in one day, what are we to do with this!

I hope some of you enjoyed my smoothie and shopping pictorial. I have had some awesome meals today with my fresh strawberries. :)

Without further delay, let's jump back in to my emotional eating journey.

How to fit all of this in to a well written and concise post…not sure if I am capable of concise friends but I shall try!

Need to catch up? My Journey Part 1

Facing emotional eating


After losing all of the 50 or so pounds I had put on, life in Boston felt better on the outside but much worse on the inside. I struggled everyday with food and so badly wanted to just be "normal!"

I met my fiance a few months after losing the bulk of my weight and I started to try to live and enjoy my life, my body and FOOD. I felt the taste of living well and feeling well. I felt energized for my workouts. I started to run and I felt incredible. I completed a half marathon in the spring and felt on top of the world! But in the fall of 2005 I hurt my back. I was training for my first marathon. In our last training run of 20 miles, my back began to hurt out of nowhere. It was a deep, intense ache and enough to stop me dead in my tracks. I stretched, took a break and then set of for the last 15 miles. Every step hurt that day when I ran. It took everything to complete the run and within a week I knew that I would not be running the race. Devastation to say the least.

My back started to hurt all day, everyday. I was constantly in pain. So what crept back into my life you might ask? And stronger than ever? Hello excessive eating! I ate away the pain, frustration, anger..all of it was taken out on food. I could barely exercise let alone lean over to make the bed without my back hurting. By the time I found my miracle chiropractor and was given an appropriate diagnosis, I had put back on all of the 50 pounds I lose plus 10 more! Right back to where I was before: spiraling out of control, unable to process or deal with my emotions. But did anyone know how I felt? Nope, not even the fiance. At least I thought I kept it from him.

So I started to think about my plan: how to eat, what to eat, how to exercise, how to lose this weight. What was going to be the ringing answer this time Jenn? I started to try old faithful dieting, working out as best as I could, jumping from diet to diet, always ending up at square one: frustrated and out of control. Some days would be half eating wisely followed by excessive eating because tomorrow…well, tomorrow was going to be the new diet and we would have to cut out ALL of this food again! Again. Again. Again.

A full year later I hit my lowest point. I hadn't lost any weight. I had existed in a world of what foods I could or couldn't have for 13 years. I  was totally, utterly miserable.  And the worst part was I didn't know how to change. Somehow I came across a book online called Intuitive Eating. I remember sitting back in my chair while reading about the 10 Principles online and thinking…oh my gosh, this is who I want to be! So I walked to B&N, got the book and proceeded to leave it on the counter for weeks. Yep. A brief inspiration followed by an immediate- I can't do this! I still need to lose weight!

Fast forward a few weeks to June 1 2008. I was curled up on the couch watching Serendipity. Love the helpless romantic ones! I can't even describe what it was or why but I sat up and something clicked. "I am not living my life fully. I am missing out on all of these incredible moments and chances to soak up happiness. And I am ready to change." I marched into my room, grabbed the Intuitive Eating book and read it entirely that night. The words in this book spoke to me a in way that I was so drawn to. I was ready to leave everything behind. No matter how long it took, how long I saw the same weight on the scale, no matter what…I was ready.

Putting it all together


Honestly, all of my work came from that book. It answered all of my questions, fears and doubts. With the lessons from the book, I started to change that voice in my head. I began to love everything about myself and my body. I accepted me as I was right then. No better, no worse, no different. This very small but powerful step was critical for my movement forward. Everyday had been about the ways I wasn't good enough. It was this exact thinking that would lead to my thoughts spiraling out of control and diet after diet after diet.

I changed how I viewed food, how I felt about food, how I dealt with my day, my emotions and how I made my decisions. But the key here is I did this alongside a new and very simple mindset: I started with small choices. No more big plans, vibrant ideas and organized systems. I started with making a small choice here, a small choice there. And this is when things truly started to change.

Here are a few of the principles from the book that truly empowered me:

1. Make Peace with Food– this was the very first step I took. I gave myself unconditional permission to eat. Regardless of what that looked like. Unconditional permission. This was huge! This step allowed me to start to remove the forbidden label and the power that I had put on food. I started to appreciate food again. And somedays, that meant I was appreciating a poptart! Other days, that meant I was appreciating a fruit salad with any kind of fruit I desired.

2. Challenge Food Police– everyday I would reframe how I viewed all foods. I removed good and bad labels, I removed high calorie labels, lower carb, higher protein or fattening labels. I slowly began to relearn that food was simply food. Every single day I would tell myself these things and then finally I could walk in to the grocery store with no idea what I wanted to buy. I simply roamed the aisles and put in my basket what my body truly wanted. This was not easy at first. My mind still wanted to buy only "healthy" items or only items that I knew would keep my carb count down.

This was a complete mind reprograming! :)

3. Respect Your Fullness– this was a challenging one for me (and still is at times). I had lost the connection between my mind and my body. I didn't know what my body cues were nor did I know how to recognize them. But I started to teach myself how to listen again. At every meal I would ask myself before I ate: are you hungry? What signals is your body giving you that say I am hungry? If I wasn't hungry, I didn't eat. During my meal- are you satisfied? Are you enjoying the food you are eating. If I wasn't, I stopped eating. After meals- are you comfortably full? Or are you too full? I began to allow my body to talk with my mind again. The first 4-5 months I often would overeat at meals. Sometimes not by much but enough to where I could recognize it. I'm glad I went through that initially because now I know exactly what being full or too full feels like.

4. Respect Your Body– this took almost a full year to truly do. One of the strongest thoughts I had after reading this book was that I wanted to respect my body, rather learn to respect my body, for everything that it is. Right now, right here. Not when I'm this, or that or more or less. But right now. I started to take moments throughout my day and look at how strong my legs were when I walked, how perfectly curved my shoulders were, how much I could move with no pain. I started to pay attention to the little things that my body could do. I started to realize how incredible it was!

There are 10 principles that the Intuitive Eating book discusses. Each has such value in how we view ourselves, our body and our relationship with food. After I began to work on this process, I also started to learn about my emotions. I began to learn about how I experienced emotions. What did anger, frustration or stress feel like? How to process, experience and then release all of those emotions. Including positive emotion! With my eating pattern, a lot of my happiness, joy and relief came through the experience of eating! I had to find new ways to express those emotions.

I think I'll take a break about now and start tomorrow with the final cap of this journey!

Jump ahead to My Journey Part 3

Have a great Friday night!

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7 Responses to “My journey Part 2”

  1. That book sounds interesting. I may have to check it out. I'm really enjoying reading about your story. I can't wait for the next installment! :)

  2. I would highly recommend getting the book Jessica, especially if you ever feel that you turn to emotional eating. Or even if you aren't! It's such an incredible way to view food and your body.

    Regardless of the place that I came from and what I had to learn, I still benefit from the approach of intuitive eating. It is something I am conscious of every day!

  3. such an amazing story! it's so weird, that's the exact book my dietitian had me read when i was seeing her last year! i thought it was going to be awful but the key principles in there are keepers for sure!

  4. Well thank you!!! It took a lot of convincing for me to put it all out there. :)

    I just love that book and think every nutrition and wellness program should have it as a part of their required reading!

  5. […] Intuitive Eating book at store – CHECK! This book was recommended by Jenn @ LiveWellFit. I am very excited to read […]

  6. jenna says:

    i just came across your blog and i can't wait to keep reading!
    i would love it if you could check out mine and follow :)

  7. Hey Jenna! Thanks for stopping by. :) Already looked at your blog today…looks awesome. Loved your yogurt in peanut butter jar. That and oatmeal in a jar are my FAVORITE breakfast or snacks.

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