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Man, this working from the inside out stuff is hard! Dealing with the emotional is so much harder than dealing with the physical, but I find it to be much more rewarding. While working through Karly’s course, one sentence jumped out at me: “Trying to change ingrained habits takes time, effort, awareness and kindness.” Always the sucker for a good acronym, I came up with TEAK as a way to remind myself to remember these 4 points.

TIME – I’m not so good with the being patient and all. I want it fixed yesterday. I’m learning though, that taking the time, and taking my time, to process the things that I am learning will help my head absorb them more fully. Going slow, being in the present moment, being mindful and accepting of where I am on the path makes it easier to savor all the lessons I’m learning. It’s not easy, but it’s worth it.

EFFORT – Also, not so good with the effort. I want this to come easily to me because for the most part, everything else in my life has. Good grades in school, finding a husband, having kids, getting a job – all of these things have come easily to me with little effort on my part. That’s not to say I coast through life injury-free, but I’ve posted before about how someone has always been there to take care of things for me. This is something that I have to take care of myself and it’s a hard thing to learn to do at the age of 39. This is also another reason why taking things slow is helping me – I’m learning to put forth effort a step at a time, and I can see the value of the effort. This one is instantly gratifying.

AWARENESS – Sometimes I think I’m aware, but then later I realize I rush through things and miss a lot. Slowing down helps me become aware, being aware helps me slow down. It’s a win-win for me! Being aware of what I’m feeling when I head to the kitchen, being aware of how something actually tastes (instead of how I want it to taste), being aware of the anxiety of turning down food because it won’t solve my problem du jour – it helps me realize that I have buried my head in the sand in the past and ate to cover up a lot of stuff. This awareness makes me want to deal with the real deal instead of avoiding it.

KINDNESS – I’m about 50% with this one. I’m much MUCH better at being kind to myself than I was 3 or 4 years ago, but instead of beating myself up outright, now the abuse is much more subtle. I no longer call myself names, but there is still a sarcastic, disapproving tone to the voice in my head. For example, instead of saying “you stupid cow – you just ate a thousand calories of crap!!” the same situation might elicit this response: “way to go Jill, that was a brilliant move. Now you’ve ruined your appetite for dinner.” See the difference? Neither response is kind or compassionate. I’m working on taking to myself in the plural – “We ate too much. That’s okay though, because we can just skip our afternoon snack and then we’ll be hungry for dinner” – it’s a joint effort. And I just realized how completely crazy it sounds!! But it’s working, and anyway, I never claimed to NOT be crazy, so there!

TEAK. Putting them together this way also helps me remember that they all go together. It takes ALL of these things, not just a couple (for me, anyway) in order to heal my overeating, so I have to keep them all in mind while I go through this.

What do you all think of TEAK? Do you have a favorite acronym that you use to get you to your goals?