Friday, March 14, 2014

The Rules of Normal Eating - what I'm getting out of it

"For disordered eaters, food and feeling have a special, unique relationship. You use eating - or not eating - and weight worries as a way to manage uncomfortable feelings that you may not even realize exist."

"As a restrictive eater, your excessive and obsessive control over what you can and can't eat and what you should weight - counting calories, limiting portion sizes, labeling foods good and bad, worrying about what you ate or might eat - is a misguided attempt to manage your emotional landscape."

"Uncomfortable feelings are not there to plague you, drive you crazy, make you depressed or sick, or cause you stress. Feelings, like food, have no hidden motives. All feelings are meant to do is provide the information you vitally need to make your life better and keep you from emotional and physical harm."

Using food/weight/etc quiets these feelings, but "if you keep the volume of your emotions turned down low, how will you make out what they are saying?"

- The Rules of "Normal" Eating by Karen Koenig

I'm liking MOST of this book. It's helping me to get real and see what I am doing that is irrational or rational, helpful or harmful.

The problem with this situation is that so many of my behaviors AT FACE VALUE are extremely healthy. But the emotions behind them are not.

And, other than obsessive calorie counting, I want to keep all of my behaviors. I eat healthy, clean, whole foods. I eat normal portions. I keep track of my physical health. I am physically fit.

I just want to change why I do these things.

I only want to do them because they are healthy and helpful!

Therapy's been really good. We don't talk about eating, really. We talk about those bigger things that I always try to drown out, those feelings and situations that make me really uncomfortable.

I DID make some progress on this before this year. For example:

When I was 10, and my mom died, I turned to food like crazy, just ate and ate and ate and never really thought about the fact that my mom was gone. This happened till I was obese and so wrapped up in the crazy situation I had created for myself (isolation, mostly) that I didn't even associate my obesity with that early trauma.

When I was in my early 20s, I forced myself to change. I substituted obsessive "healthy" eating for overeating. I still thought about food ALL. THE. TIME.

However, with time comes some wisdom. My dad died when I was 30. I knew the connection between my mom's death and my weight. I refused to drown myself in food after his death, though the pain and the grief was almost unbearable. But I sat in it. I felt it all. I felt every awful, raw emotion. It took many months. But I stayed at a stable weight and actually went THROUGH instead of around the process of grief.


So I can do it. I can feel these things. I can acknowledge them. They make me uncomfortable for a reason! It's a clue that I don't like what's going on and I should work to change it. That's all.

Feelings will pass. Anxiety will ebb.

My biggest problem with eating right now is eating because of social anxiety! I am technically an extrovert, I love being around people and in groups... but I oddly get very anxious in those situations, too, and will eat to quiet them in the moment so I can enjoy the group.

Awareness is a big part of the battle.

I am glad for this book and for therapy - I am looking closer at my beliefs and the causes of my actions. I don't think I will change much outwardly (I will still eat paleo and mentally moderate my portions, etc.. I will still work out several times a week... still care about my fitness and my appearance), but I think it is important for me to change inwardly. To become a more well rounded person.

Alright, my friends, have a wonderful weekend!!

I am going to Book of Mormon tonight (the South Park creator's show on Broadway... except it is at our local theater!). Going to dress up cute and have a nice date with Chris :)

Namaste <3


  1. You did a very good job explaining this post.

    I have been saying - the food and the fat are just the parts we can see. Have to do major inner work. - for a very long time.

    This work you are doing now will serve you well.

    It is very hard to explain, deal with those who push the "no bad food" thing. Because with the way food is made now, there are indeed bad foods. There are foods which no one should be eating. There are foods that as a society should not even be made. Diabetes and obesity numbers support this. And honestly the successful people in weight loss blog land support this too, because pretty much all the people who have gotten it all off and kept it all off do NOT eat everything in moderation. They eat very healthy foods, as clean as they can.

  2. That book actually sounds like something I'd pick up and read! I so agree with you on SO many points- especially talking about emotions to drive eating.

    Book of Mormon looks REALLY funny! I thought about going to see it; it's opening here at our theater tonight. :)


  3. Ditto Vickie. So true.. some foods are not foods and should not be eaten. It took me so long to understand that. I resisted going to a mainstream dietician because I KNEW that that person would try to make me moderate wheat, cupcakes and other crap-o-la. Thank goodness there are more functional and nutrition based professionals out there. Glad to follow you along on your path.