Ya'll reacted in a HUGE way to my open-letter to all of you about my journey with my weight and weight-related issues.
So, I'm here to update you (per Kim's suggestion) with where I am today, what's worked, and how sandtray (and brain science) is helping me with this process.
First, I'm still on the getting-healthier track. But it's hard. It's difficult regardless but knowing that this is who I HAVE to be from here on out is a type of mourning process for me tbh.
I'm mourning the part of me who could eat whatever and enjoy all the food all the time. As mentioned in the 35th edition, food/weight has been my companion my whole life.
So, now, to be my best self and live the life I want to live, I have to change my relationship with food. But why the mourning part? Because I'm giving up my go-to friend. The one thing that makes me feel better no matter what. I suppose it's similar to how an addict feels when they have to give up their drug of choice - their whole world - internal and external -changes.
Being honest with myself about my emotions is one part of this journey. When I'm mad, I just have to own it and then dig down to see what's REALLY going on under the anger rather than eat something good (bad) and ignore it. No longer do I have the luxury of coping by shoveling food in my mouth.
Feeling feelings is a challenge, even for a seasoned sandtray therapist like myself 🙁
But, as mentioned, I'm still on the journey and even dare I say it out-loud....doing well*gasp*
So, what exactly has helped in the past 6 weeks??
As mentioned before, social baseline theory that we can do more of the hard things if we have those we care about with us. For me, I knew I needed support not just from my husband but also from those walking the journey with me.
My co-worker and friend Ashley is also working out and trying to eat healthy with me, which is super helpful to have someone who gets it on a day-to-day level.
Sean (my husband) is also a major support in that he cooks and buys healthy foods for both of us. I've learned over the years that he can't be my accountability person (my O.D.D. rears it's ugly head when that happens,) but it does help tremendously to have someone who shares life with you to be on the same page.
You. The unexpected (but appreciated) out-pouring of emails and messages from all of you since the 35th edition has meant so much. Knowing that so many of you are out there struggling with similar issues and rooting for my success is invaluable.
2. ASKING FOR WHAT I NEED
Because I know my history with black or white thinking and behavior in regards to food, I knew I needed some major guidance to help me stay in the middle lane. For this, I'm using Weight Watchers digital. It's been SUPER helpful and is easy to use, even for someone who is extra busy with all the things.
Rather than feeling sorry for myself or just resorting back to disordered eating behaviors, I sought out and asked for help from a well-known program. I don't know all the things yet, but I'm learning how to eat to fuel my body rather than using it as a dumping ground.
In addition to the asking for help with the food part, I also hired a personal trainer. Yes, it's a bit pricey but so are diseases related to unhealthy behaviors.
I NEED someone who expects me at a certain time for a definite length. If I just leave it up to myself, I often end up not going. Also, I know that if I have someone who knows me and is rooting for me to be my best self, I do so much better (kinda like a therapist huh?!)
3. MINDSET SHIFTS
As mentioned before, my journey this time is different because my health is on the line. It's not vanity, it's not looking good for hot girl summer, it's being able to live my best life.
So, when I get tempted to eat something not great for me, I think something along the lines of "is this worth not being able to travel like I want?" or "is this worth having life-long medication that I could have avoided?
So far, the answer is a resounding NO.
In addition to the CBT-type methods, I'm also getting in touch with my internal family system through doing my own sandtray. For me, sandtray helps give a voice to all the parts of my system who are reacting with sadness, anger, or even exhaustion.
Through the sandtray, the young part of me (think of a little girl eating a hot dog in her two-piece with her belly hanging out) who loves food and associates it with all things fun can now be listened to, acknowledged, and parented by the healthier, more adult part of my system.
Check out the most recent sandtray I did in an effort to connect with all parts of my internal world and show compassion for even the 'dysfunctional' parts or exiles.
I won't discuss it here but you can take a look and see what feelings come up for you as you look at my tray below.