Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Mindful eating, serious movement, putting on socks

This week, I've been trying to do some mindful eating.  An interesting experiment!  Hold, for example, a grape in your hand and look at it, think about it - does it hold any meaning for you?  Does it look delicious? Boring? Etc.?  Are there any feelings associated with your thoughts about the grape?   Then put it in your mouth, but don't bite or swallow, and feel it.  What does it feel like?  Then bite down on it and consider the sensations of the food.  What does the skin feel like, and the flesh of the fruit, etc.?  When did you notice your salivary glands start up?  Before you put the grape in your mouth?  After you bit into it?  And then chew and swallow, and notice how far it gets before you lose track of it.  We were supposed to do this with a "green light" food (something good for us, that doesn't make us crave a non-stop supply) - for me, it was green beans; a "yellow light" food - I chose mashed potatoes; and a "red light" food -- ice cream for me.

In group last week, we did this with a raisin, a potato chip, and a Hershey's kiss.  It was really interesting to take one bite from a potato chip and let it rest in my mouth while it became a mealy pulpy unpleasant mess.  And then the other half of the potato chip sat there, and I kept desiring it and desiring it, and then lost interest.  Very strange!  When you concentrate on the bite, and you're not trancing out and just stuffing chips in your mouth, it is such a different experience.

The focus of this group is not the number of pounds lost ... but I find myself really wanting to see pounds lost!  And, really, it's a matter of serious health concern that I do.  Also, I would like to be able again to:

  • walk for more than a half-block
  • sit comfortably, including going to the theater, buying only one seat on a plane, sit at an outdoor cafe, get into a booth in a restaurant, etc.
  • lie down and get back up again easily
  • breathe
  • kneel without agonizing pain, and get back up again
  • sleep without the bipap machine/mask
  • put on socks without a struggle, tie shoes, wear panty hose or something other than trousers
  • buy non-hideous clothes
  • etc. etc. etc.

It's difficult to list these things outside of my journal, for others to read.  It's often difficult to admit them to myself.  As far as I've come with my self-doubt and self-loathing, this is an area that is not only very painful but tremendously stigmatized.  In general, I'm pretty carefree about certain kinds of stigmatized behaviors or ways of being, and I've tried to be with this topic, but it doesn't come easily.  I have a lot I'd like to do in my life, and this can be very discouraging.  No one would choose this; it's not a matter of will power.  It's not a moral failing, as so many people seem to think.  This is a real, serious, complex disease.  Recovery isn't easy.  Quick fixes don't work.  Full-body physical rehab is involved, not to mention the mental health aspect of it, which is so deeply hidden that it's a major life-altering thing to get into it.  I'm glad I'm ready to take it on, after years of dealing with the big, obvious stuff, like major depressive disorder.  Oh my.  Life is an endless adventure.

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