Cleaning, painting, sanding, and eating jelly beans

Having my house all discombobulated and all the chaos--I just can’t take it. There’s something about it that threatens my sense of well-being. I know it’s not logical, but I feel like we’re going to become homeless when things are even slightly off kilter. I find it very unnerving.

We’re redoing my daughter’s room right now. It started as, “Will you tear the carpet out and repaint?” and of course has snowballed into refinishing the floors and getting new furniture. None of it is really that big of a deal (except the contents of her room are in my living room right now *gentle sobbing*).

I am completely thrown off my game. I feel insecure and stressed and unhappy. I feel like everything is totally out of control [not true] and that I have to do everything myself [SOOO not true]. So I spent a lot of time yesterday just trying to identify my feelings and question my catastrophic thinking.  Like when I thought, “The house is completely ruined and we can’t live here anymore,” I challenged it with some logic: “Actually, everything is fine and the worst thing that will happen is that my daughter will need to sleep on the sofa all week.”

I ate emotionally. I walked around with a handful of jellybeans pretty much all day. I concluded that the white ones are my favorite and whoever decided to put black ones in the bag with the rest of the fruity flavors can rot in hell.

It may seem like it was kind of a fail to turn to food in a time of [perceived] crisis. But actually, it was a huge win. I knew I was using food to help me cope, and I stayed aware while I was doing it. Not in a, “Ugh, why can’t I control myself” kind of way but in a “Oh, ok, this is what’s happening right now” kind of way. I reminded myself that it was a pretty benign coping mechanism, and that it’s ok to get comfort when you need it. I paid attention to what I was eating and made a note of how I felt at the end of the day [really awful].

Today when I woke up, I thought, “OK, I made it through yesterday and did what I needed to do, but it made me feel really bad. So today, I’m going to try a different strategy that might help me feel a little better and be more productive.” It was a TOTAL learning experience, and I had NO guilt.

That is the freedom of Intuitive Eating. You learn about yourself and show yourself compassion when times are tough, rather than beating yourself up and heaping on guilt. You can observe your behavior without judgment and make different choices that may serve you better in the future. You’re your own cheerleader and you understand why you’re doing what you’re doing. The peace and clarity are the best parts.

At its very essence, I feel that intuitive eating is about cutting yourself some slack. You don’t have to be perfect and you don’t have to eat a certain way and you’re still a good person if you feel weak sometimes and use food for comfort. It’s all about knowing what’s going on and showing yourself compassion and learning from each experience.

The reward is total self-awareness, self-respect, and peace of mind. That’s true freedom.

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Teddey HicksComment