Friday, February 24, 2012

My Revelation

I'm on vacation, not much time to post tonight, but I wanted to share my revelation, especially after last week's negativity.   First a little background:  1) This year's project is learning meditation, and 2) I have low self-esteem.  Item #2 is the cause of my problem that has revealed itself, and item #1 helped me find it.  So I've been practicing meditation following this curriculum, going to a weekly class, and a workshop last weekend.  The goal is pretty simple, to learn to be aware of your thoughts.   That's it.  So last night while doing my food prep, I paid attention to my thoughts.  This is what I heard coming from my mind:  "I'm so weird for making these salads in my hotel room.  I'm an extremist.  I have taken this too far. I probably have an eating disorder.  If anyone saw me doing this, they would think I'm crazy."   Holy cow, I thought, do we have any positive thoughts to share?  silence.   Then today I monitored some more and heard more self-critical thoughts related to healthy eating.  I then explored old favorites.  Here are a bunch I came up with:

  • I am no better than anyone else
    • (therefore) I don't deserve to feel good about myself for eating healthy [what???]
  • people must think I'm weird (work lunches, business travel in bars and restaurants)
  • I wish I could join in in the fun (beer, popcorn, ice cream at terrace, popcorn at movies, etc)
  • (when delicious SAD treats are available that I used to love):  I want some but I can't have any.  I'm in nutritarian prison.
  • my foodie friends may not want to be friends with me anymore
  • I wish I could eat that
  • I'm a weirdo and extremist for preparing salads in my hotel room.  

Now to reframe these negative thoughts:

  • considering all the negative messages I've given myself, I've done incredibly well at sticking to my guns
  • I'm passionate
  • I'm a trailblazer
  • I have discovered the secret to health and long life
  • I'm smart for figuring this out
  • not only to do I know what to do, I am doing it
  • I am successful at eating healthy in an unhealthy world
  • I deserve credit for my success, I deserve to compliment myself occasionally
  • I am proud of what I'm doing
  • I have nothing to apologize for
  • I enjoy preparing salads in my hotel room, and I enjoy even more eating the food I prepare
  • (while traveling, parties, restaurants:)  I'm proud of how I eat; I have no reason to apologize, my food tastes better and is better for me.  It's a free country!  
  • (when delicious SAD treats are available that I used to love): I want some but I can't have any.  well, I don't really want it because I'll feel like crap if I eat it.  it's a pretty minor thing to give up for feeling good every day.   what else do I want to do?  mountain bike and kayak. permission granted! 
  • If I had to eat SAD food every day, THEN I would be in SAD prison
  • what are people's most common new year's resolutions?  eat better and lose weight.  so why am I weird for doing that?
  • my foodie friends appear to still enjoy my company
  • thank goodness I don't have to eat that
  • (regarding food prep in the hotel room):  I'm the world's greatest nutritarian road warrior!
I'll probably edit this to make it more readable, just wanted to get it down.  You might ask why do I have such low self-esteem around this?  Well, I'm prone to it in all areas of my life, but in other areas I have external messages and rewards that make it more difficult to convince myself that I'm worthless.  For example, I'm pretty successful at work.  That doesn't stop me from thinking I'm all washed up and it's downhill from here and I'm a fraud.  But, there is ample evidence that I have been successful in the past and I can't argue with it.  With the healthy eating, I have evidence that my health is vastly improved and I'm at my ideal weight.  You'd think that would be enough to give me some confidence, huh?   Holy cow.  I just let the negative internal voice get out of hand.  I'm going to have to practice the appropriate responses to my negative voice.  

And in case you are wondering, I know why I have low self-esteem.  I won't go into it but the solution is to be aware of it and catch it in the act and recognize how irrational it is.

If you are like me at all, pay attention to your thoughts!    

Okay, time to plan tomorrow's fun!


Shanna said...

You are a nutritarian hero for making salad in your room! I wish I would take such a step. Eating this way makes me feel super healthy, energetic and clear headed but I still have hard time.

SAD prison, it would be awful wouldn't it? It would be nice if there were nutritarian potlucks held once a month just to get together and chat about it. Someday I hope to get to Colorado to the nutritarian restaurant there-wouldn't that be great.

I think this is my first comment, I love your blog.

kneecap said...

thanks for commenting Shanna! Some day I think I'd like to become a healthy eating coach. I'm hoping my struggles will make me a better coach, so I understand better what others go through. I've been doing this healthy eating for over 6 years now so have had lots of practice. It's a progression. It's not easy for everyone. If you are improving I think that is success.

Ginger said...

I once read a book, Happy People Rarely Get Cancer. It made me realize that although I was eating better and exercising and all that, my health could not be at its optimum level until I learned to be happy. A vibrant, joyful life doesn't come during a pity party. I'm not saying you are having a pity party but that negative self talk is destructive on many levels.

I've been reading your posts for some time now and feel you don't give yourself credit for the amazing person you are. Like I said before, you are a rocket scientist. That one thing tells me you are intelligent, have a talent for perseverance, know how to pay attention to detail, and are goal oriented. These are great attributes. Your ability to stick to ETL is another testament of that fact. Give that little girl inside some nurturing instead of a scolding.

One last thought, have you considered a b12 deficiency? Vegans often have this problem. I use a Methylcobalamin b12 patch by healthy habits that has made a world of difference in my health in general and my attitude specifically.

Cindy Marsch said...

Barb, just for the record, I would like to say that I find you a very well-adjusted person, one who has very definite ideas about the health of her food and what she wants to do about it, but without some of the superstition or eating-disorder components that play in for some on a nutritarian (or other) regimen. In fact, your hotel-room plans have helped me to make some good changes for travel, too -- for an anniversary trip with hubby last year I managed several great in-room meals that kept me feeling great.

(I'm reading blogs even though I've been absent from for the last couple of months -- I had a sudden increase in work load that necessitated it. I hope to be back by summer, if not before.)

So you're doing great, and you inspire me with the thought that even though I DO have eating disorder complications, not all my doubts and troubles with healthy eating come from that. :-)

Christy said...

Wow, I was shocked to see that you have such negative comments about yourself, because I am so inspired by you and think it is awesome that you make salads in your hotel room! Your blog is one of the few that I have picked to be on my iGoogle home page, so I don't miss a post. Great work being solution oriented and changing the negative thoughts to positive ones!

kneecap said...

thanks everyone for your comments. I don't have much time to respond tonight, but I am touched that you care enough to write detailed comments. I will consider all of them carefully. I will definitely work on my positive talk instead of negative. Today I had very little negative talk. I enjoyed saying to myself "thank goodness I don't have to eat that." and I really meant it and felt good about it. I still have trouble with thinking I deserve to be happy--because so many people suffer. I know it's terrible. We ALL deserve to be happy! So I promise I will work on that!

kneecap said...

HI Ginger, I'm planning to get some blood tests to make sure my levels of various things are okay. You are right about the destructive effects of negative thoughts. I'll work on it!

Cindy, good to hear from you! It might be healthy to take a break from the forums every once in a while. I've been on a break too. Looking forward to seeing us both back in the future.

Thanks Christy, I hope I didn't disappoint you with my shocking revelations. :)

it was a revelation to observe my thoughts. The last few days I have had very few negative thoughts and my mood was much better.

thanks again all,