August 23, 2011

New Post from Katie Jay of NAWLS - She's feeling What I'm Feeling -- Loss


Please read this really great post by Katie Jay of NAWLS.  So many of us experience this type of loss and use food to comfort us since it our old standby.  Katie has a great point of view, and some good tips!

If I'm Being Honest...
by Katie Jay, MSW, Certified Wellness Coach
Director, National Association for Weight Loss Surgery
www.nawls.com
 
Every few years, something happens in my life that makes it very hard to do my job. In 2007, it was a
lower body lift, followed, 11 days later, by bowel obstruction surgery.
 
This year, it's my only child's high school graduation and transition to college, followed
by my husband and I moving from Wilmington, NC, to Northern Virginia. Oh yeah, and menopause.
 
If I'm being honest, I want to go buy a bag of little powdered donuts, lay down on my futon mattress (we haven't bought a bed yet), and eat until I pass out. I know, it's not a good idea. In fact, it's a really horrible idea. And while I won't act out on this desire today, I'm not surprised it bubbled up. Food still has the power to numb me out, dang it!
 
And I'm hurting.
 
So how can a person like me, a life-long foodie who is sensitive to carbs and prone to depression, feel
okay in the world when it feels like my world is a shifting landscape -- unsafe and unpredictable.
 
How can a person like me survive this life chapter (because part of me knows 'this too shall pass'),
which feels like so much sadness and loss, without using food as a drug?
 
Because every time I do, the scale goes up. My blood  sugar goes up. My pants size goes up. And my mind starts down the path of doom and hopelessness.
 
Right or wrong, here's what I am doing. No judgment, please, I am gloriously imperfect.
 
1. I am minimizing the damage. If I feel I must eat something off my food plan, I use foods (notice I
said "use," like an addict) that will do the least harm.
 
2. I am not bringing home packages of anything. If   I know I'm going to do it, I order one thing at a
restaurant, or buy one serving at the store.
 
3. I am choosing healthy comfort foods that I love, and eating them whenever I want to eat -- even if they are a few more calories. Things like homemade sweet potato salad (roasted sweet potatoes with the skin on, olive oil, crushed rosemary, sea salt); and full-fat Greek yogurt with stevia and walnuts mixed in; and meatloaf with gluten-free bread crumbs and agave-sweetened, organic ketchup; and fresh berries with a drizzle of heavy cream and a few drops of  stevia liquid.
 
And while I'm doing this, I am also doing the following:
 
1. Attending extra support groups and reaching out to friends who are safe.
 
2. Getting extra support (did I say that already?).
 
3. Using an amount of support that matches the amount of stress in my life. (Enough support is critical!)
 
4. Not telling myself no one cares or understands -- some people certainly do care and understand. And besides, *I* care and understand. It is *my* job to find others who will honor who I am, comfort me, and not judge me.
 
5. Not telling myself to keep my sad mood a secret -- some people will accept me as I am, sad and hurting, and love me anyway.  Naturally, lots of the people I have told about my sadness have promptly tried to fix me:
 
"Don't worry. It's great that your son is mature enough to be on his own."
"Don't be sad. You can Skype him!" 
"Don't worry so much you start to hover. He'll like you more if you don't pester him all the time with
phone calls and texts to check up on him."
 
"It's a part of life. Get over it."
 
Yes, people have actually said these things.But, I persist in speaking my truth. I want to be honest. I am going to share my feelings, because I don't want to eat them. And I'm going to be human. Making a
mistake or two or five along the way.  Here's what I want you and all my beloved friends and
relatives to say to me, or to ask me:
 
1. Say, 'I can see you're hurting and I love you.'
 
2. Say, 'I hear that you're feeling loss and sadness, how can I support you?'
 
3. Ask me, 'What do you need, in this moment, to be fully present in your life?'
 
4. Ask me, 'Would it help if I ...' Cook for you? Come over and go for a walk with you? Help you unpack while you cry? Tell you how it felt when my child left home for college? Give you a hug?
 
5. Write to me and say, 'Be with yourself. Be with yourself. Be with yourself. Deep down you know how to move through this. You are loved and I support you.'
 
If I'm being honest, what I really want today is your words of encouragement. Is that too much to ask?  Would it be too much if you asked for that from the people in *your* life?
 
Join with me and take your self care to the next level. Be with yourself.  Deep down you know how to move through this. You are loved and I support you.
 
Katie
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