Eating Just Until You’re Through

May 31, 2012
Here is a very special imagery script for people who want to “get lighter” and also to lose weight.

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A ”Fond Farewell” Article

When I changed Support4Change to a new format, I needed to delete some articles that didn’t fit in the new site but were too good to completely throw away. So I have moved many of them here to the blog, where they will still be available and people can find them by using tags.

This is the fifth of seven articles on the topic of weight loss that appear on Thursdays. See the Getting Lighter Weight Loss Program, on May 3,  to get you started.

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EATING JUST UNTIL YOU’RE FULL – Imagery Script
By Jill Place, MA, RD

If you’re overweight, you most likely overeat. Most of us who overeat eat quickly, don’t pay attention to our hunger and — as a result — wonder where all that food on our plates went. You can begin to change that behavior by picturing yourself eating slowly and feeling fullness radiating throughout your whole body. Now here is a script for those of us who overeat.

[ NOTE: To help you get the most out of this guided imagery exercise, you may want to read some articles in the Imagery and Symbols section of Support4Change. ]

In your special inner place as you take in what is all around you with each and every one of your senses . . . you notice just out of the corner of your eye a TV screen.

And so . . . breathing normally in and out . . . I invite you to walk over to the screen and turn on the TV. On the TV you see yourself eating. See the place where you are eating and who is with you in this place. Notice how you feel about watching yourself eating.

Now picture yourself taking a step toward the screen to get a better look at the way you are eating. Notice that you may be eating in a different way than you normally do. Watch yourself on the screen looking down at the plate of food in your eating-place on the stage. Notice that you take awhile to see each food on the plate. And instead of eating them right away notice that you look at them for a very long time. You see yourself noticing the color, the aroma, the texture, the color of the foods on the plate. You see yourself really wanting the food. You see yourself not being able to wait another minute before you taste it. And when you do taste it, you notice you’re now eating the food in slooow motion. You see yourself slllloooowwwwly raising one of the foods on the plate to your lips. You see yourself sllllooowwwly tasting a small bite of the food, sllllooowwwly rolling it around in your mouth, slllooowwwly chewing it . . . You see yourself loving the taste, texture, and temperature of the food. The experience on the screen may become so real that you almost feel the taste, texture, and temperature of the food yourself.

You see yourself repeating this experience with the next bite of food (pause) and the next (pause) until you suddenly notice that you are very full. You are satisfied. And suddenly you just don’t want to eat anymore. You feel full and satisfied with the food you’ve eaten. The experience on the screen may become so real that you may feel a little bulge in your stomach and that fullness feeling slowly radiating throughout your whole body. You are full from your head to your toes. And . . . even though you love it . . . you no longer want the food anymore.

Now picture yourself pushing the plate away. And picture yourself getting up from and leaving your eating-place. And see that you’re very happy to leave the food behind and go onto something else in your day that will be as rewarding as eating. See yourself walking happily out of the picture. Forgetting the plate of food and moving on to some other rewarding activity in your day. And all that is left behind on the screen is the eating-place and the still-full plate of food.

And sooo . . . now picture yourself going over to the TV and turning it off. And happily going about your day with that fullness still radiating from your head to your toes. And going onto something else in your day that will be as rewarding as eating.

And so . . . I’m going to count from five to one and when I get to one you’ll be back in the room. Five . . . move your fingers and toes. Four . . . begin to move the rest of your body and strreeetch. Three . . . while you’re still stretching your body begin to open your eyes. Two . . . open your eyes. And one . . . you’re back in the room.

© Copyright 2002, Jill Place, MA, RD

 

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No App Required!

May 28, 2012
Are you going to be driving a long distance this summer? Try this no-apps game you can play as driver or passenger.

Periodically I write for Your Tango, a website that focuses on finding and keeping a mate.  Since I’ve kept mine for 52 years, I figure I might have something to say on the subject.

Recently I wrote an article as part of their articles on summer vacations.

Since it was written exclusively for them, I can’t print it here as well. But I can send you there and see what you think of this game-that-doesn’t-require-an-App. It is something our family has played for decades.

Arlene's article at Your Tango

No App Required!

If you don’t get too ensnared in other articles there, come back here and let me know what you think.

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The Tale of Three Who Got “Lighter”

May 24, 2012
Discover how a conflict between two parts of our personalities, the part that wants to lose weight and the part that doesn’t, prevent us from achieving weight loss.

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A ”Fond Farewell” Article

When I changed Support4Change to a new format, I needed to delete some articles that didn’t fit in the new site but were too good to completely throw away. So I have moved many of them here to the blog, where they will still be available and people can find them by using tags.

This is the fourth of seven articles on the topic of weight loss that appear on Thursdays. See the Getting Lighter Weight Loss Program, on May 3,  to get you started.

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THE TALE OF THREE WHO GOT LIGHTER
By Jill Place, MA, RD

Call Me Crazy

I always think that my clients will call me crazy when I tell them that we have at least two parts to our personalities, one that wants to lose weight and one that doesn’t. I always think they’ll call me crazy. But they don’t. Instead they smile and say, “I know EXACTLY what you mean!”

PastriesI’ve dieted all my life. But when I decided to quit dieting and Get Lighter instead, I realized that I had a little voice inside of me. A voice that was growing louder by the moment. A voice that was SCREAMING at me to binge on whole cakes and boxes of red licorice. It was then that I realized that there was someone inside of me that was more scared than I was to give up dieting.

I found out that the little voice screaming inside of me was called a sub-personality. I’m not a therapist, but I worked with one at that time that believed that recognizing sub-personalities was an important part of healing your psyche. As a matter of fact, there’s a whole model of psychotherapy called the Psychosynthesis model. Its goal is to heal the relationship between these splintered sub-personalities that compel you to do things you might not want to do and your Healthy Self or Higher Self-the part of you that does everything for your greatest good.

Recognizing that you have different sub-personalities doesn’t mean that you’re hearing voices, have multiple personalities, or that you’re crazy. But it may mean that at some time in your life you had some kind of emotional upset or subtle ongoing stresses from family dynamics. Families also pass on a way of behaving that may have to do with the time they grew up, their temperament And began to use food or other behaviors to soothe that upset. And in time those collection of behaviors may have created within you a whole sub-personality that perceived and reacted to the world very differently than your Healthy Self.

The Overeating Self

I call the overeating sub-personality the Overeating Self. When I had my eating disorder, my Overeating Self and Healthy Self were always at war over what and how much they should eat. And the Overeating Self often won. When I seriously started to Get Lighter, I began to make friends with the Overeating Self-the part that was so scared-the part that was screaming.

My mother had stuffed me with food almost from birth because I was a very sickly child. Then they took out my tonsils and I got better. My mother stopped stuffing me. But I started stuffing myself. My first closet eating began about age four right after my tonsils were removed and I started feeling better. I eventually developed an eating disorder. The Overeating Self sub-personality became stronger and stronger and eventually ruled a large part of my life.

The journey out of my eating disorder was mostly about making friends with my Overeating Self. And understanding why she used food as a coping mechanism. And honoring how she developed that coping mechanism as a way to deal with the world around her. She’s now my closest friend. And she’s also stopped stuffing.

So when I started counseling overeating clients, I made it a point to explain about the Overeating Self. And no one called me crazy. As a matter of fact, I met people who had more than one self-more than one sub-personality-who was controlling their eating. Here’s the compelling stories of just a few of them.

Linda

I first had an inkling that some people may have more than one sub-personality that contributed to their overeating when I met Linda. Linda was a patient at the last HMO that I worked at, and tracked me down after I left to start my private practice. Linda had tried this diet, that diet, Overeater’s Anonymous, and hypnosis to stop her ballooning weight. And was more out of control with her eating than ever. She told me that my way of approaching overeating was the only thing that made sense to her after years of trying other things. We worked with her Overeating Self for six months but couldn’t seem to get anywhere with her weight or boosting her sagging self esteem.

Then Linda came in one day with a character analysis of three separate parts of her that might be contributing to her problem neatly typed on a piece of paper. I still have that paper in my files. Doing that process was a huge breakthrough for Linda. And a breakthrough for me in my work with sub-personalities.

The sub-personality that she called Little Linda, who was about four, was very different from my four-year-old closet eater. She was carefree, happy, knew who she was, and didn’t overeat. But something must have happened to Linda about age six or seven, because her demeanor totally changed. Middle Linda was sullen, withdrawn, and often went to the store down the block for a candy binge. But Older Linda, tottering on puberty at age 11, was very much like Little Linda-happy, carefree, enjoying her early puberty, her woman’s body, and her sudden popularly with the boys.

All this time we were talking to the wrong Linda! We found that, if we talked directly to Middle Linda, we were able to find out some of the reasons why Linda overate and hated herself so much for it. And, the more we found out, the more Linda could eat moderately and stop a binge before it started.

But we were also able to tap into the wonderful energies of Little Linda and Older Linda and work on the poor self-esteem that was also feeding Linda’s eating. Linda, once a performer, was then a full-time housewife. Although she loved her husband, children, and home, she had no creative outlet. I encouraged her to get involved in little theatre groups or express herself in other ways.

Today, Linda is still overweight. But she says she’s accepted herself the way she is. In other words, she’s made peace with Middle Linda. She’s lost about twenty-five pounds overall, kept it off, and doesn’t obsess much about food. She’s also the star of her little theatre group and recently got an agent and is pursuing an acting career. She also discovered she has a talent for art and is pursuing that too. Linda now has it all, self-acceptance, self-esteem, and the love of her family and community.

Steve

Steve is one of my best friends. He’s ebullient, eminently creative, and larger than life. As a matter of fact, he weighed over 400 pounds at one time. Obviously, Steve has struggled with his weight since he was a small child. Through our work on the Overeating Self, Steve discovered that he had two distinct overeating personalities which he calls Big Steve and Little Steve.

It was important to identify these two personalities because both constantly prodded Steve to overeat in different ways. We found that Little Steve liked sweets, while Big Steve liked starches. So, like Linda, Steve had to negotiate with the right sub-personality to get his overeating under control. He constantly talked with both of them and was able to talk them out of overeating more and more.

At my urging, and with the permission of his “Two Steves”, Steve also went on a low-carbohydrate diet. Because he was so overweight, Steve most likely had what is called insulin resistance, or Metabolic Syndrome. Metabolic Syndrome makes it more difficult for very overweight people to lose weight. Because he is so creative and loves to cook, Steve was able to find and prepare low-carbohydrate alternatives to the “Two Steves'” favorite foods.

As a result of his diet change and asking permission from the “Two Steves” to change his eating behaviors, Steve lost 100 pounds. He’s still on the journey, but has been able to get a handle on his weight and overeating for the first time in almost fifty years.

Paul

Paul has two overeating sub-personalities that define the overeating process for me. He calls one of them “The Animal.” According to Paul, The Animal is that mindless force inside us that he has to feed at all costs. To me, The Animal is the archetypal nurturing of the body, mind, and spirit. This archetype can be fed in many ways. But Paul feeds his Animal primarily with food.

The other sub-personality Paul calls “The Evil Genius.” It’s the job of the Evil Genius to plot and plan and get the Animal whatever he needs to eat. I think all of us that overeat have an Evil Genius inside that’s plotting our next meal. The Animal must be fed and the Evil Genius will move heaven and earth to feed him.

Paul’s still on the path with coming to terms with the Animal and the Evil Genius. And I applaud him for identifying and talking to these intense primal parts of himself. I think they terrify him sometimes. He still feels that he has to feed the Animal at all costs. But now he’s aware of them. And with awareness comes a possible strategy for dealing with these overeating personalities in a positive way.

Paul’s exercising almost every day, which he never did before. He cooks and eats low-fat meals. And he’s beginning to want to make better food choices when he eats out, which he thinks is a problem area for him. He’s on the path to coming to terms with these sub-personalities in his life.

How to Get a Handle on Your Overeating Self

You can see by my stories that you may be able to get a handle on your overeating by meeting the parts of you that compel you to overeat. There are actually many ways to do this, such as:

  • Meeting with a qualified professional, such as a Nutrition Therapist, who can role-play and/or use guided imagery to help you connect with your Overeating Selves
  • Becoming aware of what the Overeating Self is saying to you by meditating or just listening
  • Drawing a picture of your Overeating Self and coloring it in with markers, watercolors, or any other type of art media. The more specific the image becomes, the better you will be able to address it.
  • Writing or journaling a dialogue of the Overeating Self talking to the Healthy Self
  • Using guided imagery. Guided imagery is a terrific tool for connecting with your Overeating Self. For more information about guided imagery, please read Getting Lighter with Guided Imagery in this section. There are also many guided imagery scripts in this section and on this website that may start you on the journey.

© Copyright 2002 Jill Place, MA, RD

 

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Are Neighbors Jealous of Your Garage?

May 21, 2012
This is how you can rearrange your garage without doing any work.

Today I want to share an evergreen idea my sister sent me. Now that I know how these are done, I may have seen what I thought was the inside of garage when it was only wallpaper.

You can also show your neighbors the inside of your garage where you keep a fire engine, jet fighter, speedboat, gold bricks, bulldozer, airplane, wine cellar, train, and so forth. You can even make a statement about your views on heaven and hell if you want.

Visit Garage Door Art.

Man papering over garage door

Look for other humorous posts in my stack of evergreen ideas.

 

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A Journey Toward Getting Lighter

May 17, 2012
A food expert shows a better way to lose weight than grief, guilt, and obsession, demonstrating that losing weight can be more than weight loss.

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A ”Fond Farewell” Article

When I changed Support4Change to a new format, I needed to delete some articles that didn’t fit in the new site but were too good to completely throw away. So I have moved many of them here to the blog, where they will still be available and people can find them by using tags.

This is the third of seven articles on the topic of weight loss that appear on Thursdays. See the Getting Lighter Weight Loss Program, on May 3,  to get you started.

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MY JOURNEY TOWARD GETTING LIGHTER
By Jill Place, MA, RD

So you’re probably wondering what to do now that you’ve let go of your belief that diets help you lose weight. And you’ve tossed away the latest diet book or the paper with those neat, cute little boxes on it.

Feet on scaleEven if you’re just considering tossing your dieting beliefs in the trash, I applaud you for being brave. And trusting that there’s got to be a better way to lose weight than grief, guilt, obesity, and obsession. Now I invite you to look at weight loss in a whole new way. Even if it’s scary. As a matter of fact, let’s rename this whole process. The words “weight loss” are just too limiting. And consider what these words are saying to you. When you “weight” for something it never happens. And when you “lose” something you’re always trying to find it. So how are you going to reshape yourself when you’re waiting forever for it to change or always trying to regain it?

So why don’t you “Get Lighter” instead? The process of Getting Lighter involves a lot more than weight loss. When you Get Lighter, you not only lighten up your body but your mind and spirit as well.

My Getting Lighter Story

I’ve been moving toward Getting Lighter since I was born. I’ve been overeating all my life. I can’t remember when I didn’t diet. I did high-protein, low protein, predigested protein, Fit for Life, Unfit for Life, and Fat for Life. With each diet, my obsession with food grew until I found myself roaming the supermarket aisles late at night because I couldn’t sleep and scarfing up a whole cake and a box of red licorice on the way home.

My weight yo-yoed as long as I can remember. I was almost anorexic when I was acting. Every other actress was thinner and more beautiful than me. I was too afraid to eat. When I didn’t have a reason to be thin, I ate and ballooned. I’ve been all the way from 112 to 180. Size 6 to popping out of a size 16.

I was so obsessed with food that I became a Registered Dietitian. And as a Registered Dietitian, I ate myself into an awful state as the spokesperson for Health Valley Foods in 1993. I was eating endless samples of fat-free goodies nonstop for eight hours a day for a baking cookbook we were writing. When I found that I had gained TWENTY-FIVE POUNDS and was popping out of my size-ten suits, I freaked! Here I was going around telling people “Just eat fat-free and lose weight” and I was gaining instead! I made a conscious decision to Get Lighter instead of dieting. I lost the twenty-five pounds and have kept it off for almost ten years.

Before I was ready to Get Lighter, I did a lot of therapy. I healed some emotional wounds that I was stuffing down with food since I was a small child. Then I explored why I overate. So when I was finally ready, I used the principles of non-dieting and learned how to eat like thin people eat. I even had a boy friend around that time who totally ate like a thin person. It was difficult to plan meals around him because he only ate when he was hungry. I learned a lot.

The Getting Lighter Plan

I also learned that there are many books about non-diet weight control. But most of them talk only about the process of relearning to eat like a thin person. Few of them talk about the underlying reasons why people overeat. And if they do, they don’t talk about it in a sequential way so that you can work and rework all the steps to Getting Lighter. I wanted to create a real foundation to replace those diet books and neat, cute little menu boxes.

So I enlisted the aid of my friend and colleague, Arlene Harder, MA, MFT. I’m a personal veteran of Getting Lighter and have counseled eating disordered and overweight clients for years, but I felt I needed a therapist’s perspective. Together we came up with a step-by-step approach so you can find out how you feel about the world, how you feel about your life, how you feel about your body, how you feel about others, and how all that information relates to the way you use food. The first part of Getting Lighter is about you. The second part is about how you deal with food. When you Get Lighter, you not only lighten up your body but your mind and spirit as well.

Getting Lighter in Many Ways

Getting Lighter also shows you how to connect to your relationship to food in several ways. Most self-help books encourage you to process your feelings by writing. I don’t know about you, but I don’t process things in that way. Even though I write for a living, I’m also an actor and acting teacher who was has studied and taught Method acting and improvisation for many years. Because of my acting experiences, I’ve worked out a lot of the answers to my life questions and my relationship to food by moving my body, improvising, and imaging. Acting training is so healing that one of my acting students continually writes “therapy”, “ongoing therapy”, and “continuing therapy” on his checks. When I finally decided to Get Lighter, I connected with my inner process by using guided imagery to meet my ideal self and using movement to join with that ideal self.

That’s why there are four ways to help you to Get Lighter. Four ways to build a physical, mental, or creative bridge between the inner world and the outer world.

When you’re doing The Writing Way you’re answering the step-by-step Get Lighter questions by recording and journaling your answers, thoughts, and feelings.

In The Art Way you can answer the same Get Lighter questions by drawing, coloring, collaging, or any other artistic endeavor.

The Image Way uses guided imagery scripts to help you Get Lighter. Guided imagery is a powerful tool to help you change your mind by taking a fantasy trip to meet, for example, your ideal self or the part of you that overeats. When you do guided imagery you can get out of the thinking mode and into the feeling mode where change might take place faster and easier.

In The Moving Way, you can have a similar experience to guided imagery by doing the same exercise physically instead of mentally. For example, instead of picturing your ideal self in your mind, you can move like your ideal self or dance with your ideal self.

You can also use more than one way to look at a question or exercise. Whatever works for you. That’s the beauty of Getting Lighter. If one thing doesn’t work, try another.

The goal of Getting Lighter is to explore your belief systems one by one to find out what serves you or doesn’t serve you on your Getting Lighter journey. Once you can see your unique journey clearly with all its obstacles, traps, and potholes, you may have acquired enough knowledge to change your body once and for all instead of rollercoastering, yo-yoing, and those other things you do when you’re dieting. So I invite you to Get Lighter!

© Copyright 2002 Jill Place, MA, RD

 

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