Tuesday, March 16, 2010

WHY am I doing this?!

I'm losing my gusto. I've been 'cheating' a lot. Candy, bread, whatever. It doesn't taste good, I feel awful after I eat it, but as a grad student/mother/overworked project manager I just want convenience.

The good things:

I've made amazing granola that I carry with me everywhere to snack on
Fruit salad is ALWAYS good
Sprouts and smoothies are easy
My seedlings are doing really well in the sunroom, and I think I'll have a great garden this Summer

The BAD:

I have started to bruise REALLY badly and easily - I am going to the doctor tomorrow about this.
I don't have the time to make gourmet raw foods daily.
I want fresh, easy, satisfying food, but I don't want to spend an hour in the kitchen for every meal.

Salads, no matter how varied, get old. I want something different. Soup? Crackers that are light, instead of flax crackers?

I am definitely NOT going to consider this project a success in terms of strict raw dieting, but I do think I'm learning about myself. I think that when I FEEL deprived, I rebel on principle. When I allow myself to 'cheat' I see how unsatisfying it is right away, and I'm more motivated to eat foods that make me feel good for that reason alone.

I'm also thinking I may need to drink a lot more water. A lot more. I wonder if some of my hunger is actually thirst.

On a little bit of a deeper level, I think I'm holding on to the 10 lbs of weight I've gained for emotional reasons. I've been grappling with some emotional questions that are pretty deeply rooted, and when I feel overwhelmed by it all, I take refuge in self-destruction. When I was a teenager, I smoked cigarettes. After I quit, I went through a phase of depriving myself of pleasure entirely. Now, I'm trying to find balance and inner strength. Part of that is taking good care of myself, but even that feels contrived and forced sometimes. If I eat raw to feel good, that's ok. If I eat raw because I 'have to' for whatever reason (because it's healthy, because I said I would, etc) I'll pay a high price in my spirit.

The problem comes when I'm stressed, sad, confused or angry. In those times, I don't WANT to take good care of myself. It's almost as if eating a bucket of lard would feel good because it's a way of saying, "F. YOU! To life, and its frustrations." I know that was what smoking felt like. It was just an easy release. A time-out from responsibility & effort.

Quitting smoking was HARD. I had to quit so many times before I REALLY quit. Now, I rarely think about it. I do admit, though, that since the last year has been extremely difficult emotionally, I've thought of it more and more. It's been 13 years since I had a cigarette, and I have no plans of smoking them ever again, but I'm seeing a real parallel here.

What I think I really need is a healthy, effective release. I love yoga. I love gardening. I love singing and dancing. I love long walks by myself. I love sparkly rivers. I love sitting with my thoughts for uninterrupted intervals of 15 minutes or more. Just thinking about these things brings me calm. But, when I'm stressed in the middle of the day, I don't always have space and time to do yoga or take a walk, and even if I did, the thought of chowing on something fatty, salty, sweet, fast and COOKED is often just so EASY to indulge in, that I've found myself saying, "I don't care. I'm working too hard to deprive myself."

So, there you go. Confession, rant, introspection....whatever you want to call it. I see the reality before me. I could use some thoughts and stories from anyone who understands.


  1. I just wanted you to know that you're not alone. You articulated perfectly exactly what I'm experiencing at this present moment. I'm struggling with making healthier choices too. February was easy; March, not so much. Sometimes I remember that this is why I chose to make healthier choices in the first place - to peel off the layers to see what's underneath. However, now that I'm there, I want something to comfort me, and there's nothing in my bag of tricks that works anymore.

    I'm railing against going unconscious again, and I'm feeling envious of people who do make choices that so many in our society deem "acceptable". I don't have any answers for you, but I am following your blog with interest.

  2. Thanks, Annie,

    It think the key to this journey for me is in the deeper layers. I can imagine friends and well-meaning people with boundless energy saying, "Just do more yoga!" or, "Run a marathon! It worked for me!"

    In reality, what I need is an emotional quick-fix for the times I'm rushed and stressed or sad. I need something that doesn't require me to set aside an hour and shower afterwards! I need something that I can do in the middle of my workday when something crappy comes my way, and I feel like screaming or crying, and instead I just grab a cup of coffee or a cinnamon roll.

    Last night, I listened to some quick meditation podcasts. They were nice. A few were 3-4 minutes long, and I can imagine bringing them along with me on my iPod to work, and stealing 5 minutes here or there to remember how good it feels to be centered. I'll be trying that.

  3. What about bringing your attention back to your breath? Just place your attention on your breath, while choosing to let the thoughts go for that moment. You can come back to them later.

    I know what you mean - I'm a mother, and was a nurse (trauma, organ transplant) for years. I think the key for me has been remembering, even for a moment, that I am NOT the situation in front of me, or the feelings. I don't think I'm articulating this well.....