Wednesday, April 6, 2016

The beginning of awareness...

So if you read my novel about my yoga journey and how it changed my life, you can see the path that lead me to awareness.  But today's post I'm going to focus on how that awareness started shifting my feelings toward food and how I began to notice the strong mental connection to weight loss.  The moment I truly realized how much your brain plays into weight loss and all of the games it plays, it kinda blew my mind.

I'd say the first glimmers of awareness began when I first started noticing the effects that food truly played on my emotions.  I've always been prone to binging (not purging), a habit I'm STILL working very hard towards breaking.  Just those moments where your brain takes over and you can think of NOTHING else then what's screaming to you from the kitchen...and once you have it, something NEW begins to yell and then you repeat that cycle about 47 times until you feel nothing but, gross, disgusting and despair.  Well, in addition to your brain taking over in these moments, I began to notice how much these binges were effecting my emotions.  If I had, what I knew was beyond my limits of (particularly) fats & sugars, it would be a GUARANTEE I would become depressed.  If I binged on chips & chocolate at noon, it was a given that I'd be on the couch crying for absolutely no reason at 4pm.  If I was having a problem that I thought I could solve with ice cream?  That mole hill of a problem would expand now into Mount Evert and cause my panic & anxiety to grow exponentially.  And where does depression & anxiety lead, if you're prone to emotional eating??  I'll give you one guess.

I take these emotions as my body's way of SCREAMING at me to knock off the overeating nonsense by making me feel so lousy.  But did I listen?  Of course least not for the first 6 zillion times.  But on the 6 zillionth and one time of this happening, I figured maybe I should start shifting my focus a bitJ  (and I'm still very aware this is a work in progress).  Once I started to pay attention to this brain reaction, it made me realize how much the mind is involved in all of these problems.  I mean, how can FOOD change your brain enough to make you cry??  How can food affect you on such a BRAIN chemical level?  It seemed so crazy to me, but the reaction was very real every time it happened and I've noticed it more times than I can count.  And ignored it even MORE times than I'd like to admit.  And once you feel lousy?  It's so hard to break out of that cloud and see anything but darkness, sending your brain in repeated loops of the same behavior.  Desperate need for food = depression = rinse and repeat.  It can be an endless, dark cycle until you peek your head out of the clouds, but feel like you're starting over ALL over again.  You guys ever feel that way??

As my awareness expanded, my body started sending out signals in a MAJOR way that I particularly noticed at the start of this year.  Any time I overindulged on ANYTHING (not even particularly binging, but once you get to that "UGH" point) my body responded by truly feeling awful, both in body & soul (Cue the dramatics...but it's really the truth.)  I can't say that I ALWAYS felt that awful or it's just the awareness that is making it so pronounce.  Maybe because I'm starting to REALLY become aware of those 'warning bells' telling you you've had enough, every time I tried to drown out that bell with one more bite or one more slice of pizza, my whole self just felt so BLAH and my brain feels even more scattered.  And after testing this theory of ignoring it AT MINIMUM 9 zillion triesJ, the results pronounce a resounding zero of changing the fact that I ALWAYS feel lousy once I pass "that point."  

I've now started to REALLY listen to that voice more and follow its lead.  The result?  I've lost weight, feel so much more CALM and clear about my food choice vs the old habit of FRENZIED, panicked and shoving the closest thing in mouth, usually without even tasting it.  It has been an ONGOING process, but seeing and FEELING the results have made me more encouraged to just STAY IN THE CALM.  It's not even about calories, but rather keeping those negative emotions that set-up binges at bay.  And in doing this, I really try to pay attention to what I want most.  A bagel for breakfast during the week might send me into a bit of a blah state that could trigger emotions.  But HALF a bagel??  It's still what I want without that NEED to overindulge when I know a whole is just more than I need on a normal day. (and if I DO need more food, I try to stick to fruit or something healthier to fill in those gaps vs. that other bagel half.)  Just some food for thought.  

Pun intended.

OH!  And on a lighter note...guess what my body has been sending up MAJOR "NO" signals over lately??   CUPCAKES.  I KNOW!  Major SAD FACE.  But the last few times I've had them?  INSTANT tension headache.  Even a couple bites of one caused the same headache recently.  Maybe my brain is just sending up a 'cool it on the cupcakes for awhile', since I refuse to believe this is a permanent thingJ  ONE more bite outside of the tablespoon suggested serving size of Nutella or Cookie Butter??  Near INSTANT tears.  I kid you not.  Just another example of how you need to pay attention to your body's cues and how food is making you FEEL to really crack into that sense of awareness.  I even have to pay attention to talking too much about food on THIS BLOG, as to not keep up any obsessive loops of 'food brain chatter' that I've noticed in the past.  (I'm crazy, I know.  I'm ok with itJ)

So that was just to give you guys idea of how I started on this path to mental awareness towards weight loss.  (And here's hoping I'm getting paid $1 for every time I 've used the word "awareness" in this postJ  hahahahahaha)  I'll be sharing more posts as we go forward on different ways I've used this awareness (there it is againJ) towards different meals, particularly ones where I've been prone to overindulge (aka-eating out/takeout).  It's all still a work in progress, but just in the trying has kept me motivated enough to keep it movin forward.  

Let me know what keeps you guys motivated!

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