Therapy Thursday: It has to come from me.

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I’ve never thought of myself as someone who is particularly stubborn or tenacious. I’ve always sort of pictured myself as someone who rolls with the punches and just sort of goes with the flow of things, but  in my sessions with Emily, I’m learning that maybe I’m not as laid back as I thought when it comes to certain things.

I don’t like being told what to do. Unless I specifically ask you to tell me how to do something, chances are your directives are going to be met with a hard stare and a chill in the air. If you ASK me to do something for YOU, I am 100% willing to help you out, but if you tell me I have to do xyz…well pardner, we’re gonna have a problem.

I never liked diet books that had perfectly laid out menus that said you had to eat a specific food at a specific time. What if I don’t feel like eating tuna for lunch on Tuesday? What if I hate cucumbers and don’t want to eat them for my snack on Saturday afternoon? You don’t know me! You don’t know my life!!!

And if you tell me that I have to go to an exercise class twice a week? Guess who’s not going to show up to said exercise class at all? I’ll show you! I’ll just sit on my couch and get fatter and fatter just to prove to you that I do what I want!

Yeah…I never said it made sense.

What I am figuring out is that it all has to come from me. Eating well, working out, self-care – it all has to be my idea on my terms or it’s a no go.

Emily made an interesting statement in one of our session not long ago. She said when you spend too much time in your head, you don’t spend enough time in your body. A lightbulb appeared over my head and I said “I think I spend A LOT of time in my head!” When you are too much in your head, you aren’t paying attention to what your body wants/needs. For example, if I am so caught up in my Diet Brain and all I’m thinking about is WHAT to eat and HOW MUCH to eat and WHEN to eat, I’m not noticing if I really even WANT to eat at all!  I rarely stop to consider how my body is feeling – am I too full? Do I have enough energy? Am I able to move around easily? Am I hungry or am I just bored? Do I even like this food that everyone says is super healthy? Does it make my body feel good or does it give me heartburn? Seriously, I hardly ever ask myself these questions (well, I do NOW but before we had this particular session, I didn’t). When you don’t notice how your body really feels, things can get out of hand while you’re not noticing (Big Butt – I’m looking at you).

I’m working on becoming more mindful of what’s going on below the neck these days. I woke up Sunday morning and asked myself “what do I want today? What would feel good?” and the answer was: “a walk in the park would feel really awesome today.” That’s when I took the pics in yesterday’s post. Just last night, as I was finishing up my dinner, I started to automatically go for another round when I paused to check in with my body. I noticed that I was plenty full and didn’t really want anymore. So I stopped there and wasn’t tempted for more during the rest of the evening. And I was perfectly happy with that decision. Amazing!

I have ignored myself for so long that actually paying attention to myself and giving myself what I need at that particular moment feels revelatory!  One revelation I’ve had is that…and I feel like I have to say this in a whisper because it’s just so crazy…I don’t think I really even like sweets as much as I thought I did.

I KNOW!! CRAZY, RIGHT?!?!

When I really check in with what I want, I want FOOD. You know that feeling when you’ve been to a party and you nibbled on cheap appetizers and desserts for 3 hours and when you leave you just want some real FOOD? That’s how I’m feeling lately. I’ve been at this party for way too long and now I just want to be nourished and cared for and comforted and sometimes that means having some brie with raspberries and crackers, or a bowl of homemade vegetable-beef stew for dinner, or even a big breakfast of eggs, avocado, and toast. Lately, the sweet stuff just isn’t doing it for me and I’m perfectly okay with that even if does feel like I’m wearing my pants backwards because for 44 and half years I have been all about the sweets. But that’s okay – change is good, right? When it’s time to leave the party, it’s time to leave! Nobody likes a lingerer. 🙂

This goes way beyond food and exercise too. Some Saturday mornings, I sleep in and spend the morning sitting on my patio with a cup of coffee and watch the squirrels chase each other around. Some Saturday mornings I want to hit the ground running and be as productive as possible because working full time means I only get 2 days to play to catch up on household chores. But I don’t try to make myself be super productive when I’m feeling tired and run down – now I just do what I can and let the rest go and go rest, because that’s what I need at that time.

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The feeling I get when I pay attention to myself and actively strive to meet my needs and wants is amazing. Every time I decided to go for a walk because it would feel good and not because someone told me to work out 4 days a week, feels like a win. Every time I choose something nourishing because it sounds good and not because the diet plan told me to, feels like a win. Every healthy choice that comes from ME and not from an external source, feels like a WIN.

Because as Emily said in our session: The choices that you make, that come from YOU, are the things that stick with you. Those are the changes that last.

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9 thoughts on “Therapy Thursday: It has to come from me.

  1. Trish

    I really enjoy you sharing all your thoughts from therapy. I, too, have been in therapy for a year after the loss of my infant daughter but it has transitioned into working on other things and a lot of what you say resonates with me!

    • Trish I am so sorry for your loss. You must be so heartbroken and my heart aches for you. I am honored that my words resonate with you – thank you for reading!!

  2. I’m still caught up with the idea that eating right and exercise are my lifestyle, not my “to do” list. I love working out and I continue to learn how to eat right. Sometimes I want to eat whatever I want to eat and it’s not always healthy. That said, it means learning balance. It’s ok to eat fish and chips, as long as it’s not the only thing I eat day in and day out. It’s good that I want to eat a protein smoothie because it makes me feel energized. This is a work in progress. We continue to listen to our bodies and fight with our minds.

  3. Hi Jill, You have really written a pretty nice blog here, and it is a reality that we think so much in our head , but apply not even half of it. Most of the time our mind just does not want us to work at all and our eating habits are also pretty unhealthy to us. You have really put your mind to a right place.

  4. Jen

    Jill – I just found your blog tonight and I love it. I had to leave a comment on this particular post because I was laughing out loud when you wrote about getting fatter and fatter on the couch to prove you do what you want! That is so me! I have found myself really resonating with your blog. Thank you for your humor and honesty.

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