It’s time to have a(nother) talk about resistance. Sometimes it feels like all I do is revisit variations on the same crap. But I’ve learned that these things must be revisited from time to time because they must be healed again and again. And so each time I revisit resistance, I see it from a slightly different perspective and I heal some more.
In my response to Evolution Of My Journey, Helen commented: “Wanting to lose weight is not a bad thing – even for intuitive eaters.”
Before I continue on with what I wrote in response, I have to stop here and include a link to a post written by Intuitive Life Coach Christie Inge: “You’re Gonna Either Love Me or Think I’ve Lost My Mind And Never Come Back After This” It created quite a buzz amongst weight loss/fitness/health/intuitive eating bloggers and if you haven’t read it, please do!
Okay, back to what I was saying…
My response to Helen: “You’re absolutely right, wanting to lose weight is not a bad thing. But for me, it used to be. Wanting to lose weight used to mean something very bad…and the whole self-acceptance thing is what has helped turn that around for me. Allowing myself to just ‘be’ without focusing on ‘weight loss’ was a huge gift.”
So in addition to tracking calories, upping my protein intake, eating more slowly, and avoiding “empty” carbs, I am taking Christie’s “Feel Your Feelings” course. It reminds me a lot of the Living Lighter class I took back in 2009. Having someone ask the tough questions (or asking them myself) and answering them is powerful and healing. It’s why I started this blog in the first place!
One of the tools Christie has us using is the “Curious Observer Food Journal” where we can take note of thoughts, feelings, and sensations before, during, and after eating (and yes, I was somewhat resistant to using it). Using the food journal for the first time (on Tuesday) just happened to coincide with tracking my calories for the first time (in a very long time).
As Tuesday afternoon wore on I had an interesting experience. I started to get hungry and along with the hunger came some emotions I haven’t experienced in a while (at least not in relation to food): frustration, guilt and anger.
I wrote: “I’m hungry and don’t want to wait for dinner. I hate this.”
And then this thought came to me: “When I am hungry, all bets are off.”
I decided to have a snack (of the salty, crunchy empty carb variety) and even more feelings came up: first relief and then something unexpected. I felt…powerful?!
Later I wrote about it some more: “When I am hungry, all bets are off. No one better tell me ‘no’. I want what I want when I want it. I need to feel that I have power.”
For so long I felt powerless. As a child, I felt powerless and impotent to affect change in my life, whether it be to stop my parents from divorcing, to stop the violence between my mother and stepfather, or even to stop being forced to eat food I didn’t like. My experience as a child is that I had no power and I that I just had to accept it.
Now, I know this isn’t true any more. In fact, it hasn’t been true for many, MANY years! I am NOT powerless. But sometimes I act/react as if I have no power or control (resisting, blaming, rebelling…). And what’s interesting to me is that my resistance often shows up in relation to things that are good for me…because at first they are not my idea, they’re someone else’s.
My resistance has been a source of frustration, shame, guilt, and yes weight gain. The good news is that even though these emotions still show up for me, they are much more fleeting now than they used to be. And the fact that I haven’t regained all the weight I lost five years ago, or even half the weight, is a testament to the self-awareness work I continue to do.
I think it’s nearly impossible to take this particular journey without taking breaks from it. As unsettling as it is to not be actively losing weight, or even to have gained a little, there is something exquisite about the learning that takes place in those (sometimes very long) moments. And then there’s the rush of actively getting back on the path (and I say “actively” because we’re still on the journey even when it doesn’t feel like it).
I feel a sense of compassion for Resistant Karen that I haven’t felt before and as a result, she has relaxed a little and let down her guard. It feels good.
Have you examined the role resistance plays in your life?
Note: In Part 2, I will look at how resistance serves me in healthy, positive ways.