Eating Peace: Two physical sensations worth questioning, for your eating freedom

Have you ever noticed the deep self-criticism (or self-pride) you might feel because you’re full, or you’re hungry?

Fullness and hunger are two states of physical sensation when it comes to eating and the body.

Some of us who have pushed the boundaries super far on these conditions have felt the pain….of both extremely stuffed with food, or extremely hungry for food.

We all know we’d like to avoid either extreme. It’s natural to want to be somewhere more in the middle, and more relaxed. If it was easy to simply remain in the middle, without swinging to extremes, we would.

Something about this isn’t easy, when it gets thrown off balance.

One way you can find some insights on your own beliefs about these states of sensation, is to judge them relentlessly. See what you really believe about yourself when you’re super hungry, or super full (or about anyone else when they are).

What does fullness mean about you, as a person? (It’s often really horrible, but sometimes good, I know).

What does hunger mean about you, as a person? (Also horrible, but sometimes good, for other reasons).

When you identify your most painful thoughts about either one of these conditions, you might find some surprising beliefs come forward into awareness.

The good news, is you can then question these thoughts using The Work of Byron Katie.

Is it true, for example, that you’re “good” when you’re hungry, and “bad” when you’re full?

Really consider it. I used to “know” it wasn’t true, but I’d act completely like it was, and something believed it at a very deep level.

Who would you be without your story, your judgment, your assessment, your belief?

There’s great freedom in wondering who you’d be without your story of hunger and fullness. You might get to experience these sensations like you’re feeling them for the very first time. Like they are sacred, interesting messages, worthy of paying attention to….over the mind’s thoughts to ignore them.

Much love,

Grace

Eating Peace: which comes first…hating yourself, or eating?

Many years ago, my eating wars grew so heavy and awful, I dropped out of college.

I actually shifted gears entirely, and began to do what was critical for my own well-being. Researching, attempting to understand, learning how to be honest and intimate with other people and with myself (it took awhile of practice), and questioning my beliefs

One of the most powerful beliefs I had?

I’m a terrible person, worthy of hatred.

I know that sounds strong, but it was that intense. I was horribly self-critical. I could do nothing right, especially when it came to food, eating, exercising and having a worthy body.

Later, I realized, the whole cycle of self-hatred and eating were intimately woven together.

I ate, so I would hate myself, so I would eat to soothe or have a small crumb of relief or pleasure, which would turn into more and more, so I would hate myself and starve and punish myself for the binge.

Nothing ever seemed peaceful or balanced when it came to eating.

Being in a hotel room reminded me of a night with myself long ago, in a hotel room, the night I dropped out of college.

Here’s what it was like for me, along with my biggest suggestion (stop hating yourself and start wondering what’s going on in a more kind, loving way):

M

Eating Peace: You need a plan…but are you sure you need THAT kind of plan?

It can feel like such a relief to know what to expect.

Perhaps you’re about to visit a new country, and you’ve read tons of books and talked to many people about how to navigate and have the best time when you’re there.

Planning can be fun.

But are you planning, organizing, analyzing, gathering data, or mapping things out so you can Not Be Scared?

I used to notice that going on a diet (the plan to do it, at least) would provide some relief for sure. I’ll get this thing under control. I’ll handle, or manage, this situation and no longer be whacko when it comes to food.

This can happen with far more than only food and eating issues.

I’ll get this particular thing together and squared away, and I’ll be OK. I don’t care if I suffer, or if it hurts. I’ll start x and stop y.

But what if you could relax with not knowing what’s next, or what will happen tomorrow, or how this whole thing unfolds? What if you could come back to right now, today, and see if what you’re looking for….or even relief, peace, quiet, gentleness, and love are all here in this moment.

Without having to know anything about what’s going on tomorrow.

Here I share what it’s like to inquire into the stressful thought “I need to know….”

Eating Peace: Will your eating cause disease or early death? Are you sure?

Lack of eating peace comes along with more places than trying to be thin, have you noticed?

Sometimes, people experience great stress with eating that has nothing to do with thinness….but instead contains anxiety about perfect health, or longevity, or cancer prevention.

It’s no way to live, with such stress about certain foods, and the dictate to eat broccoli constantly, so you’re safe, and healthy!

(Although I do love broccoli, but let’s not get carried away).

Today, I offer you an interesting exercise that you might think is taking things a little too far: looking at the worst that could happen.

What is it (in your opinion)?

What are you most afraid of?

What pictures come to mind when you believe you need to prevent that future dreadful image of The Worst?

Watch here, and let me know how it goes to see who you’d be without your stressful story of eating and health.

By the way, I mention a Judge Your Neighbor worksheet in this video. You can download one for yourself right HERE.

Much love, Grace

What if you dropped the thought you need to lose weight (GASP)!?

If you live far away or can’t attend this in-person workshop, I’ve had lots of requests for an online mini-retreat in Eating Peace. These are generally a modest fee, and 3 hours online (audio only). If you’ve never done something online for 3 hours….you’ll probably be amazed at how the time flies. You can set it up for yourself from your own home and create uninterrupted time for yourself.

I’m taking a poll for your favorite option. Head HERE if you’d like to vote.

One of the biggest, grandest, big-behemoth stressful thoughts that lead to stressful eating?

I NEED TO LOSE WEIGHT!!!!

This can be a constant thought, returning every time you gain weight or are at your “highest” weight or on the upside of the roller coaster ride, or when you see yourself in the mirror randomly and you normally don’t even think this thought.

It’s very stressful.

The thing is, we think we NEED this thought in order to be inspired or motivated to be thin. We think we have to be aggressive and intense with our minds.

How could we possibly give up this thought? How could we give up the thought we need to fix something, anything…whether weight or some kind of behavior around health and the body. I need to exercise, I need to eat healthy, I need to read every label, I need to do it right, I absolutely must appear “thin”.

It’s true! It’s true!

But what if you allowed that thought to settle down a moment and you didn’t have it?

What many people find, is a little more to look at.

Wow…what if I gave this up? Then what? I notice I still want to be more balanced, more peaceful with eating and food and this body.

What if it’s my thinking that needs to lose weight….especially about this whole weight loss thing?

If I had taken weight loss and thinness less seriously when I was 8 years old (the first time I was alarmed that I might be too fat) I might not have even moved in the direction I moved.

I may not have even developed an eating disorder or a yo-yo eating plan, or starvation vs stuffed. Although, I am now incredibly and deeply grateful for having that disorder because it was so extreme, it brought me to my knees which ultimately was an incredible give of letting go of control.

What a painful story it is to need to lose weight….but if you find yourself thinking it, you might begin to wonder why you have it so strongly?

What would you have, if you had this lower weight? What would it give you? What is your identity saying is required, for happiness?

If you were given the choice to have peaceful, simple, beautiful, loving eating for the rest of your life….with zero weight loss….would you take it?

If you say “no” then you might want to dig a little deeper into why you believe you need to keep this suffering. Just saying.

Much love, Grace

Eating Peace: Feel More, Eat Less. Stop being so mean to your feelings.

Everyone’s noticed how uncomfortable painful feelings can be.

Irritation, anger, rage, despair, sadness, embarrassment, worry, anxiety, terror.

The thing is, if you hate feeling any of these feelings, you may do anything….like I used to do….NOT to feel them.

Such as eat. When not hungry.

Or figure out whatever will alter your mood, change the channel, reboot.

We think of these compulsive activities as the quick, “easy” way. Using a behavior or substance to refocus the mind and get away from that other dreadful feeling.

But what if it’s actually the harder way, in the end?

Instead, I could sit with the feelings and not only express them, but find out what I was thinking that produced them in the first place, and look at it deeply, closely.

If this isn’t about destroying, crushing, suppressing, changing or fixing any feelings….

….but allowing them to be as they are….

….maybe we’d even feel appreciation for the full range of feelings in this life.

And not try to make any of them go away. The good, the bad, the ugly, the beautiful, the heart-breaking, the heart-mending.

Who would you be without your stressful thoughts about your feelings?

For me, I wouldn’t be eating.

 

Eating Peace: Shame Keeps You Stuck…..And Hungry

We all know shame doesn’t feel so good.

In fact, it feels so sickening sometimes, we’d rather die, or dissolve into the floor, or go live on another planet.

The thing is, when you focus on your shameful self, your dreadful act, the horrible way you eat….

….you miss some exceptionally important information about why, and how, this strange way you ate came to happen.

What was going on before you had the thought “I know, I think I’ll go eat something, that’s it!”

How did that process occur? Why do you think it occurred? (And no, the answer is not “because I’m an idiot” or “because I can’t do it right”).

Condemning yourself and beating yourself to a pulp is what leads people often to a violent approach to solving their eating problems. Training regiment, torturous exercise, alarm at 6 am to hit the gym, eating exact amounts of food, weighed and measured and documented and counted with many foods left off the menu, weighing yourself with a scale, measuring body parts with measuring tape.

I repeat often there’s nothing wrong with a food and diet and exercise plan. But they rarely work long-term. They rarely offer permanent peace and satisfaction. They fix the symptom without addressing the underlying cravings and hungers that have nothing to do with food.

At least that’s what happened for me. Thank goodness I couldn’t ever stay on a food plan or diet for longer than a few hours. Something inside of me was determined to get to the bottom of the issue, to see myself and know myself from the inside out, and to end the struggle.

Anyone, including you, can do this.

You don’t need to take vows and oaths and make promises never to eat that way again (or do any other troubling activity you get pulled towards to cope with your thoughts and feelings).

When you identify what you’re thinking and feeling, without shame and self-hatred, and inquire with kindness and self-compassion….

….eating off-balance is no longer necessary.

If you notice shame and meanness arise towards yourself because of the way you’ve eaten….stop. Ask what else is going on, besides failure to eat peacefully?

Get to know the wonder of YOU. It’s not as bad as you think!

Eating Peace: Who would you be without the story of fat?

Eating Peace Process has just begun. If you want to join, you still can. You’d watch the first presentation (one-hour) and begin the powerful written exercises. You’d start the practices that provide structure, like a diet and exercise program but for the MIND (not for the usual yada yada eat this, weigh that). The first practice is to sit in silence 5 minutes day. Then, those who can will jump on the first Thursday inquiry call which is tomorrow 1/19 at 8:30 am Pacific Time.

The cornerstone of the program is….self-inquiry. We do The Work of Byron Katie, questioning painful beliefs about eating, food, your body, all bodies….and following the breadcrumbs (literally) to OTHER stressful beliefs we have about life, thinking, feelings, satisfaction, fulfillment, power, and control.

Such an adventure. Read about it here and join soon, before we’re too far underway for you to catch up.

And even if you never, ever join a formal group program like Eating Peace Process….you can use you own imagination to do the following exercise, which is part of The Work.

It goes like this.

Imagine….who would you be, right in any situation where you’ve typically had trouble with food and eating, with friends, alone, at home, at work, at a restaurant…

….Who would you be without your beliefs about being fat? Without your negative or stressful beliefs about eating? Without your thoughts about what you can’t do in your life? Without your fearful thoughts about why you need to be careful?

Who would you be if you loved every feeling you had, and didn’t fight your thoughts, but allowed everything, including you, to be as it is?

The key is to only wonder who you’d be without ONE thought at a time, otherwise it’s too much to hold in the mind all together, at least I find.

What would you be like, in the presence of food, if you let yourself be honest, powerful, clear?

You can use your imagination and find it, feel it. See what happens.

Much love, Grace

You’re too “x” (fat, ugly, tall, etc)…what does it mean about you? About the world?

One of my favorite Byron Katie prompts or questions to help dig down into The Work is:

WHAT DO YOU THINK IT MEANS?

The “it” of course, is your stressful belief.

What does it mean, if it’s true? What do you think it means about you, or about other people (or that one other person you’re concerned about)?

What are all the meanings you give this thought?

This question comes in especially handy if you think something stressful is a solid fact, not open to interpretation.

Some examples:

I am going to die. My car tire went flat. I tore my hamstring. The carpet needs vacuuming. I weigh 500 pounds. It’s raining. I have $10.19. I got married. I moved to a cottage. My husband went to live in Timbuktu. She has cancer. 

If you notice something seems like an irrefutable fact, a simple fact, a thought you can’t argue with….

….and yet you notice you feel stress or pain when you think it or write it….

….it may be time to answer that question about what you think it means, if this is 100% true?

Last night I got to spend a beautiful evening at a local bookstore where I live called East West Books.

Inquirers both familiar and brand new to me came to gather and do their work about food, eating and body image.

Several of them shared their brilliantly honest worksheets about their weight, the food they feel pulled to eat, a body part they hate seeing in the mirror.

The work on the thoughts brought forward was quite incredible.

But I especially loved one woman’s thoughts about having too much weight on her body.

“I am too fat”. 

And what do you think it means about you, about other people, about your life?

Deep breath.

Ouch. Because here’s what she said, and it reminded me of my own mind attacking itself for what it thought was true.

It means I am guilty, I am wrong, my life isn’t good, I’m not happy, I can’t wear fun clothes, I can’t be seen on the beach (another inquirer quietly uttered the word “whale” about his own appearance in a bathing suit), I can’t stop worrying and thinking about food.

For some others, being heavy or assuming you’re fat means….

….no one will love you. People will criticize you. No one will be attracted to you or date you. People will think you’re lazy, or greedy.

One thing I suggest is finding a moment in time where you first learned this thought that you are indeed too heavy.

Who did you hear it from?

Because you didn’t have the belief when you were born, that’s for sure.

Where’s your proof that fatness or heaviness or something-wrong-with-this-body is actually the case here?

(If you have a vivid image, like someone else in the group last night did, of mom saying “you are too big to have stripes that circle your body, you need vertical stripes only!” at age 7, then you might have a perfectly clear moment for a situation to investigate with The Work).

When you write down what you’re thinking, the thoughts are caught on paper, not zipping out of the air around the corner.

You’re too ____. (In this case, fat).

Is it true?

No.

How do you react when you believe this thought?

Horrible. Heavy. Despairing. So I go eat to get some sweetness and feel better.

Who would you be without this story of “I am _____” (fat, thin, tall, short, old, young, smart, dumb, sick, stupid…..and on an on, you pick your most frequent flyer).

Who would you be without the story of “I am too fat”?

Going about my business. Playing more. Doing art. Spending time with friends. The woman voicing The Work for everyone present last night said “I’d probably know a lot more people”.

Turning the thought around: I am NOT too fat. My THINKING is too fat.

Yes. My thoughts are heavy, dense, thick like flies surrounding the body, buzzing and yelling at it all the time. My thoughts are big, extra, overloaded, especially when it comes to the body. They’re focused on the body, not life, not expanding in other areas besides the body!

With the thought? Pain and suffering.

Without the thought? Light, free, living life.

You’re either believing your thoughts, or questioning them….no other choice.” ~ Byron Katie

It may be quite disturbing at first to write down such a thought as “I am too fat”. It can be frustrating to even think about it all over again, and realize, as you write, how much you HATE this problem that’s been here since childhood.

But would you rather write down your thoughts and then take them one by one through the inquiry process known as The Work (it is work, after all) or keep on believing them?

Just saying.

If you’re twisted up about this topic in any way, if you’ve found yourself eating from one end of the refrigerator to the other, if you’re wondering more deeply about the connection between your weight or your eating and your thoughts….

….and accessing peace with eating, your body, food….

….the Eating Peace Process Online begins on Saturday.

Everyone enrolled receives their first writing exercise on Saturday and the first “lesson” for looking at the food, eating, body, mind. Our first calls are Tuesday 1/17 at 5:30 pm, and Thursday 1/19 8:30 am. If you’re in the program, you can come to one or both (everything’s recorded).

I can’t wait to share the practices and exercises that worked best for me in my own healing journey, so you can choose what to take into yours.

And the most important practice of all, the cornerstone of the Eating Peace Program…..The Work of Byron Katie.

Read in detail about it here. Join me if it’s time.

Much love,

Grace

Eating Peace: Powerful Questions That Can Change Everything (+ Masterclass)

The Eating Peace Masterclass on the Barriers in The Mind That Come Between Us And Eating Peace meets this evening at 5:30 pm PT OR Weds 1/11 at 8:30 am. Register here. (It’s free). You’ll receive the link to join in your Inbox. If for any reason you don’t see it delivered to you, please hit “reply” to this email and I’ll help.

You don’t have to have a heavy “eating” issue (although my focus and language will be around reaching for food) to join this class. If you get the link to join, you can unsubscribe from Eating Peace list any time by clicking on the little letters at the bottom of anything I send out (Unsubscribe/Update Your Profile).

So what do I actually mean by “barriers” to peace, or specifically barriers to eating peace?

Oh so intricate, slippery and complicated, it seems.

There are many reasons people have, often very personal, for eating off-balance or having battles with food and eating.

There are many personal reasons why people have all kinds of whacky or obsessive behavior, or do something unnatural or less-than-peaceful.

I once worked with a man who was very disturbed by his use of pornography. He paid lots of money for various sexual stimulation, all online and without any real contact with other human beings. He was incredibly lonely, even though he spent a ton of time engaged in his activity.

I’ve spoken with many people, from my years working at a cancer treatment clinic, who smoked tobacco and were so disappointed in themselves for getting addicted and continuing with their smoking for many years. They felt awful, guilty for causing their cancer, and yet really felt they couldn’t quit.

There are so many other human behaviors that involve confusion about the way we behave.

Usually, eating wars aren’t directly associated with the food itself.

I’ve mentioned “hidden” beliefs or assumptions running that make eating get out of whack. If you’re not so sure about the word “hidden” you might say they’re protective or adaptive mechanisms, to make sure you stay safe, don’t enter a threatening situation, remain comfortable, avoid the pain of suffering, avoid emptiness or despair.

The thing is, the deeper, maybe long-term reasons you eat the way you do (or whatever the behavior) is usually quite personal to your own life, even if it’s not unique as an activity or adaptation.

The barriers I’ll be sharing with everyone on the masterclass are the thoughts, generally, we think on the surface that keep us from looking under the hood at what’s fueling our compulsions.

These are attitudes like “I’m in a hurry!” or “There’s something wrong with me!”

The voices in the head that shout internally, and make sure you never “see” what you’re really nervous about in any moment where you feel….well, nervous.

I used to feel like I was SUDDENLY overcome with the urgent need to binge eat. I might have been only a little hungry, or I don’t even know what I felt (because I paid little attention to my stomach or physical sensations that meant it was time to start or stop eating).

It was super emotional: ANGER. FRUSTRATION. DESPAIR. NERVOUSNESS.

I know….I’ll get something to eat.

It was like everything locked down on eating, and I was aware of almost nothing else but the need to eat and the continued urge to eat. Then later, of course, stubborn self-hatred about what a dunce I was for eating like that.

I thought the only thing that could alleviate the pain, the cravings, the urge, the “wanting”…..was the act of eating itself, or succumbing to the cravings.

Whatever kind of crazy behavior, or unwanted behavior, you’ve engaged in….I say, there’s a very good reason for it. It doesn’t just come out of the thin blue air for absolutely no purpose.

Get below and past and through these barriers to “seeing” and you’ll be looking at an inner landscape of your reasons you personally consume.

I’ll share with you in the Eating Peace Masterclass some of the ways you can work with these common barriers, and get deeper into what’s eating you, and to stop eating.

(By the way, if you want to come on board to watch the masterclass and apply the teaching to a DIFFERENT compulsion altogether, go for it and you might find some insights into how to address your behavior).

But even if you can’t attend the masterclass at all, here’s a few wonderful questions I’ll leave with you today, if you’re curious about this conflicted inner world when it comes to some kind of activity you do that seems weird, confusing or bad for you:

  • Is there anything that frightens you about quitting your escape, comfort, pleasurable activity?
  • What’s the worst that could happen, if you no longer had this behavior to help you cope?
  • What’s dangerous about being at a normal or slender weight (if this applies to you)?
  • What’s upsetting in your mind (pictures, thoughts, scenes, memories, feelings) if you didn’t have your activity to help you forget about them?
  • Where have you felt powerless in your life, like you have no say, no control, no choice?
Each one of these questions is worth spending some time with.

The most important thing with deep investigations, with archaeological digs into the past….is to take them slowly, just like an archaeologist takes a delicate brush and tiny instruments to sweep away the dust and dirt of some precious gem buried for thousands of years.

Slowly. With compassion for yourself.

The best way to proceed with this exploration?

Write down your thoughts….notice what frightens you….

….and do The Work.

“When a child gets lost, he may feel sheer terror. It can be just as frightening when you’re lost inside the mind’s chaos. But when you enter The Work, it is possible to find order and to learn the way back home….That is how The Work functions. Once the mind is met with understanding, it can always find its way back home. There is no place where you can remain lost or confused.” ~ Byron Katie in Loving What Is

You don’t have to do it all by yourself.  (Hint, another one of the barriers is thinking you have to).

Start with only one situation you find particularly troubling, when it comes to your compulsive behavior. See what else was going on in that moment that might have sparked a reaction.

It may be very old, but you can uncover it.

Just like the Pyramids of Giza.

Much love,

Grace