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I have worshipped at many altars over the last 20 years, at least…..food, bulimia, disordered eating, excessive exercise, starvation, strict paleo, strict vegan, atkins, juicing, organic, fat-free….I’ve done it all. Funny thing is, none of these altars “saved” me from my struggle with myself. I thought if I ate the right foods, that I would be skinny, happy, have more money, be more popular, get a better job, etc. Not surprisingly, none of these things happened. Sure, I got “skinny” and maybe felt a little happier, if only temporarily, with my accomplishment, but it wasn’t real happiness. The thing that I really wanted, acceptance, can’t be solved with the latest diet, with being thinner, or eating the correct combination of foods. Depression, at least at this level, cannot be alleviated with the right vitamins or foods…it can’t. I hear it all too often. Take this or that to help with this or that. I’ve done it all. It’s not the answer, at least in my experience with myself and patients. And, ultimately, it just further depresses those with depression or those that are looking for the answers in these altars of chaos. Because, when the right combination of foods and vitamins don’t work to make us happy, we feel even more unfixable. Broken. Worthless.

The third lesson in “A Course in Weight Loss” asks us to build a new altar. Suggestions were made to build an altar in your home. A place for meditation. A place that reminds you of love, of beauty, of peace, of surrender. We are asked to build a physical space, but I am tired of physical alters, and I can’t easily take this new altar with books, candles, flowers, music with me everywhere I go. So, after much thought, I decided on something that was more than physical and more mobile….myself. Yes, I am part physical, but I am also a being with feelings and emotions that is beyond the physical. My altar is within me…whether you call it love, self, God, or the hundred other names. It is with me even if I don’t call upon it, it is there. Even in chaos, sadness, joy, disappointment, or peace, it is still there, I am still there.

So, now that my altar is built, I need to use it. I have decided to take a moment, as little as 30 seconds, before eating to focus on centering, peace, and calm. To focus on acceptance of who I am and how I am feeling for the moment, recognize frustration or disappointment, and let it go. To ensure that I am choosing foods because that is what sounds appetizing, and not because I am feeding an emotion. To realize that I am not what I eat, it does not define me, whether its an avocado or a cupcake, it does not make me good or bad. I am more than the food I eat. I come to my altar so that I may eat with mindfulness, savoring each bite and flavor, stopping when I am satisfied, and knowing that I can eat again when I am hungry. My altar goes with me. It is beautiful. It is light. It is love. It is me.

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It’s taken me over 2 weeks to write about the 2nd lesson, Thin you meet non-Thin you, in “A Course in Weight Loss”. We are asked to write a letter to our non-thin self. It was really difficult for me to do this. I don’t necessarily think I have a “thin-self” and a “not-thin self.” For me, thin or not-thin describe something physical. What I was doing with food had nothing to do with my physical appearance; it was my perception of my physical appearance that led to a poor relationship with food.

Here is an excerpt from the book:

“There are parts of you the way there are parts of the color blue. There is pastel blue, which is blue mixed with white. There is dark blue, which is blue mixed with black. There is purplish blue, which is blue mixed with red. All of them are blue, yet they are different hues of one color. The one thing they have in common is blue itself.”

There are many different parts of me just like there are many shades of blue. There is the confident me, the joyous me, the depressed me, the binging me, the purging me, the dieting me, the over-indulgent me, the me the eats wisely, and the me that eats dysfunctionally. But, they all make up me….the many faces of Eve. “The Three Faces of Eve” is a film adaption involving a case study of a woman with multiple personality disorder. While I do not have multiple personality disorder, I want to address this letter to the me that eats dysfunctionally.

 

Dear Eve that eats dysfunctionally,

You have been with me for a very long time and you used to be such a bigger part of my life. You basically took over many years of my life with all your exercising, obsessing about food, weighing yourself multiple times daily, more exercise, more starving, more binging, more purging. I have to hand it to you, though; you sure know how to put up a fight. I thought it would be easy to shut you out, but I was wrong. I thought I could just will you to stop with this destructive behavior. I wished for you to just eat normally. And, you would appease me for a day or two until your controlling behavior emerged again. But, as I look back at even those remote “normal eating days”, it was still you that was in control. It was just another way for you to control things surrounding eating. You were just so powerful.

After all those years of struggle, it was time to surrender. Even you grew tired of your behavior, you were worn out, exhausted, defeated. I realize that it was the willingness to accept you, to accept me, to accept us that allowed healing to flourish.

I want to take a moment to apologize to you. You were not equipped to handle all the emotions that I dumped on you. These controlling behaviors involving food and weight were the only way you knew how to cope. I told you many things that might drive you to this. I told you if only I was skinner, people would like me more. I would be happy if I could lose 10 pounds. People would accept me if I wasn’t fat. I told you that my boyfriend broke up with me because I gained weight. I can be perfect if I could just fit into a size zero. I told you all these things and then some. You were only doing what you thought would help. It didn’t. Looking back, I know those things aren’t true, but perceptions can easily become reality.

I hated you for so long, but I have learned a lot from you. I want you to know that you do not need to resort to such behaviors ever again. You are loved, accepted, and deserving of others’ love. I know you will always be with me. You are a reminder of sad times in my life. You remind me that it doesn’t matter what I weigh, it isn’t worth all that. You remind me that I am not defined by my weight or my jean size. You remind me that people like me no matter my size. You remind me that there is more to life than dieting, over-exercising, weight, binging, purging, etc. There is family, friends, kitties, smiles, hugs, running because I love to not because I want to lose weight, derby, massages, kisses, and much more. We’ll get through this, let’s keep on keep’n on.

Love,

the Eve that eats wisely

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As I watched the Biggest Losers weigh in tonight, it was obvious to me that they need so much more than a reality tv show and a famous trainer.  These people are broken, they are depressed, they are consoling themselves with food.   I had been there once, but I was able to break free.  It’s their inner turmoil that is creating this outer shell of fat.   

So, as New Year’s diet resolutions fly around the office and the internet, I have a resolution for my blog and my practice this year, not only for my patients and those that might read this, but for myself.  I will no longer echo the same message that is continually enforced….eat more fruits and vegetables, less processed foods, etc.  People know this!  After all these years, I,  for one, should know that knowledge is not the answer. 

“Intellegence will be used in the service of the neurosis.”   Sigmund Freud

I read this phrase the other day, and it really spoke to me.  That is exactly what I did.  Food and controlling food and weight was my neurosis, I sought out knowledge of nutrition and exercise, and even managed to get a degree in it.  But, did all that knowledge solve all my misery and my poor relationship with food?  No.  It really only made it worse.  Now I had the knowledge, and with that knowledge came the guilt that I was doing it wrong and the feeling of failure because even with that knowledge I couldn’t be as skinny as I wanted to be.  And, so began my downward sprial into an eating disorder, although it began long ago.

Recently, I saw my “Course in Miracles” book sitting on a shelf, and thought, hmmm, maybe I should dust that off.  I haven’t.   Now, I’ve had this book for about 10 years and have maybe gotten through 7 lessons…its pretty heavy, both physically and spiritually.   Then, my husband and I were at Borders, and I saw “The Course in Weight Loss” by Marianne Williamson.  Coincidence or divine intervention?  Whatever the reason that brought that book and I together, I bought it. 

So, my blog for this year is working through these 21 spiritual lessons that constitute the Course in Weight Loss. It is my journey to ultimately be free of the painstaking messages that I am never enough or I should look like Angelina Jolie.  I want to no longer allow certain foods to hold the power to give me comfort or to make me feel guilty.

I am ready to begin my year of self-reflection no matter how uncomfortable it might be.  My goal would be to do a lesson a week, but I must also consider that some lessons may take a little more time.  I invite anyone to do these lessons with me and we can discuss the shit that comes up right here on my blog.  I want everyone to be free from the clutches of food and diet obsession….which comes in many forms.  For some, its the weight watchers and fad diets, for others, its feeling that they should be eating organic, or no meat, or whatever!  I’m jumping, are you with me?

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I can’t believe it, it’s been a year since I tried-out and became a Naptown Roller Girl!  What an unbelievable experience.  And, for those of you wondering, a roller derby year is the same as a regular calendar year, but with more bruises. 

In July of 2009, I entered roller derby workshops.  I was 33 years old and hadn’t been on quad skates since the Roller Dome parties in grade school….you do the math.  I owned no skates.  I purchased used skates from craigslist….I think they cost me $25.  Needless to say, I was pretty awful the first day….and for many days after, for that matter.  I hadn’t skated in years and had the slowest wheels known to man, even slower than Sugars.  I remember being so tired from working so hard.  I would like to add that I was training for a marathon then, so I was in pretty good shape.  My friend, who eventually became known as Freddie Cougar, and I rented skates; they were about mid-calf and the old school roller rink kind…still very slow.  Thankfully, Ana Slays Ya let me borrow her old pair for the next month.

Try-outs were August 2, and by some miracle, I made it despite my fall at the jammer line before I started a drill.  I think they took me because I pushed myself, never gave up, got up quickly after a fall, and they were somehow able to see some potential in this skate-challenged girl.  I was so happy when I got the email from Sin Lizzie telling me I had made it…WOW….I was ecstatic to be referred to as “fresh meat.” 

And, then off to practice with the vets….very intimidating, to say the least, especially when you are a complete train wreck of a skater like my past Eve.  But, they got used to us newbs and our cuteness grew on them.   

Above is a picture of me, in red, in my very first bout in December 2009 (photo by Marc Lebryk), I didn’t skate very much, but it was awesome nonetheless.  Now, I was finally Eve Elle, The Original Bad Girl. 

I have learned a lot in this first year.  Sure, I learned tons about skating, falling, hitting, blocking, etc, but, more importantly, I learned some things about myself, roller derby, and other valuable life lessons:

  • Old dogs really can learn new tricks….and keep learning!
  • Practice and perseverance can overcome any obstacles.
  • Roller derby is more about smarts, and heart, than muscle.
  • Being fierce has nothing to do with size.
  • Talent without effort is a waste.
  • Perfection is not attainable, but improvement is limitless.  
  • What happens on the track; stays on the track.

These things that I have learned are priceless, but the most amazing thing about this past year of roller derby is the people that I have met and the friends that I will have for a lifetime.  You all have helped me grow, not only as a skater, but as a person.  I appreciate each and every one of you.  Roll on!

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Just Beet It

No, this is not a tribute to Michael Jackson or a roller derby mantra….more like a tribute to a favorite vegetable of mine, the beet.  I haven’t always been into beets.  I hated beets growing up and am pretty certain that this past disdain for beets stems from the fact that I was only ever exposed to canned beets as a child.  Have you ever had canned beets?  They make a weird sound when oozing out of the can, similar to plunging a toilet or picking your foot up out of mud….no one wants to eat something that sounds like that.  Looking back, I can’t really say that I ever tried them, the sound ruined it all for me.

As an adult, I will try almost anything, weird sounds or not.  I think I first tried a non-canned beet last year when they arrived in our CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) bushel.  I would not be intimidated.  So, I did some recipe research and decided upon roasted beets.  I was so pleasantly surprised that I think I ate beets for a week straight.  I couldn’t believe I had been missing out for so long.

Beets are not only delicious, but also have a great deal of vitamins and minerals, and come in many different varieties.  Look for them in your farmers markets later this summer and fall.

Here is a recipe that I just tried with roasted beets, which are just as delicious by themselves, but the cucumber & dill mixture is a nice combination with beets.

Ingredients

  • 1 lbs Beets, golden or red, peeled and cut into 1-2 inch pieces (your hands will become pink if using red beets, but don’t worry, it will wash out)
  • 1/2  english cucumber,  sliced length-wise and then into thin moon-shaped pieces  (regular cucumber will work, just may want to scrape out the seeds)
  • 2 Tbsp greek yogurt  (regular plain yogurt or sour cream will work just fine)
  • 2 Tbsp dill, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Place beets on baking sheet, toss with olive oil, salt and pepper.
  3. Roast beets in oven about 30 minutes, or until tender, toss a couple of times during cooking. Allow to cool.
  4. Meanwhile, mix cucumbers with greek yogurt, dill, salt and pepper.  Set aside.
  5. When ready to serve, place beets on serving platter, top with cucumber mixture.  Enjoy.

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