Sunday, March 8, 2009

Binge Eating Vs Mindfulness -- SMACKDOWN

Awareness of the moment is when change can begin

My new weapon in the war against regaining the weight - Mindfulness. Interestingly enough, the concept of mindfulness is a huge part of the Cognitive Behaviour Therapy I'm learning in order to help deal with my psychiatric illness. In one of those rare moments of synchronicity, it turns out that my impulsive behaviour (binge eating) is connected to my illness (BPD), as well as being one of the causes of my weight problem. The good news there is that one weapon can do double duty and (hopefully) kick both these issues in the ass. Mindfulness is one of those simple concepts which could fix most of my problems... basically I just need to slow down and examine each moment, thought, feeling, urge, impulse, emotion. Rather than eat, emote or act as soon as the urge strikes me, I need to take time to decide on the truth and validity of the desires. Am I really hungry? Is this the "best" food choice for me? Dr Phil's Weight Loss Challenge states it similarly by putting thoughts through the Four Questions: Is my internal dialogue true? Does it serve my best interests? Does it advance and protect my health? Is it helping me achieve my weight management goals?

It seems simple and trite, but I know it works. It's just a matter of adding that extra step or two to my thought patterns, an extra step I think most people are born with or learn as children. I consider my Cognitive Behaviour Therapy to be training myself to audit or interpret things and installing a new filter/interpreter. After all these years of living in the moment (or even a step AHEAD of the moment, crazily enough) it's tricky to slow down and think about things analytically before acting/eating. With eating, so much of it is habit -- I always prefer eating in front of the TV or while reading, which is definitely NOT being mindful. Eating at the table with my family has just become an agony...which I try and get over as soon as possible, again NOT the way to be mindful of how and what I am eating. I'm going to eat in my room at my desk, or outside on the patio, in an effort to retrain myself. I just CANNOT learn to eat slowly and mindfully with the loons I call my family staring at me!!

I've found a couple of great Mindful Eating websites which will help me learn better habits. Understandably, my shrinks are more focused on other areas of CBT at the moment, but there's no reason I can't apply basic mindfulness techniques to my everyday eating. I am trying not to become extreme in my views about what I can/can't/shouldn't eat... for obvious reasons. I have also decided to not worry about my actual numerical weight for a while, as long as I stay under 125kg. There is a long road ahead, and being well and stable is a more important goal than being "X" kg. I'm going to the gym 3 or 4 times a week, and doing my best to avoid junk food. The rest of it will come later.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Yesterday, Today & Tomorrow

Trying to update the layout of my blog is proving to be exasperating. I was also asked today
whether I should have two separate blogs, one with the original purpose of tracking my weight loss surgery, and a new one with the details of my breakdown/rebuild during and after diagnosis and treatment for BPD. I think I probably need two blogs. Whether I have the mental or emotional stamina for two... well, that remains to be seen. Bear with me while I work it out...

NOTE -- Recent posting about non-weight loss surgery stuff has now been shifted to its own place Just so the weight loss folks don't get scared away!