Saturday, July 4, 2009

Letters From Women

Beginning Raw Vegan Weight: 425

Beginning Blog Weight: 277

Weight Week Four: 250 lbs

Weight Week Five: 250 lbs

Week's Loss: 0 lbs

Total Blog Loss: 27 lbs in 5 weeks!

NEW GOAL EXPLAINED: My goal over the next few weeks is to make steady progress in eliminating binge eating, by working on eating more "moderately" by incorporating "gourmet" raw food into a predominantly 80-10-10 plan. My biggest 'binge' problems occur at work, so i'm going to be eating more heavy meals there in an attempt to ultimately eat 'less' because i won't be binge eating. My goal for the next few weeks is to stay the same weight. If I go up a few lbs from eating heavier nuts, breads and salt at work, i plan to even out during my off days by returning to my 80-10-10 based diet of mostly fruit, greens, low fat, low salt. I wish to focus on weight loss again when my eating at work 'regulates.' This way, i'll make more 'permanent progress,' as i won't be undoing all of my hard work by out of control behavior at the first gourmet thing i ingest. Hopefully, as the binge eating at work regulates, my choices will become lighter and lighter overall.


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Good morning, Ladies :-)))

Today is the day we get to hear from you! I have been blessed to hear from so many of you and I want to highlight several of the notes and comments that i have recently received. My heart goes out to those of you that suffer with binge eating.

about my day yesterday first and the overall concept...and then we'll hear from you!
I don't know if what i'm attempting to do over the next few weeks is wise. Something tells me i'm doing the right thing, especially since yesterdays eating at work was so calm, so 'normal', so in control. I think that is a much better place to be, in control, than out of control. At least now i can be free to make better choices for myself, instead of feeling compelled to eat even more and not even enjoy it.

permission is freeing
There is something to say for giving ourselves permission to eat something even if we feel 'intellectually' it's not good for us. Emotionally/spiritually, we must need it. What i mean is, something is not right within us if we allow ourselves to fly out of control. Something is not right. There is an inner disconnect.

Binge eating to me has always been this out of control force/tornado/compulsion that just starts and won't stop.

But, i saw yesterday that it CAN be reigned in and calmed and settled and well, almost eliminated, just by STOPPING HIDING, STOPPING SNEAK eating, sitting down, being hungry, tasting the food and enjoying it.

It seems so curiously simple, the antidote to stopping it. Allow yourself to eat. Sit down. Write it down. Enjoy it. Listen to yourself.

nuts for nuts
The fact that i chose all nuts and dehydrated foods is worrysome, but is probably just a reaction to what i've been doing in my diet for so many weeks and months now, just eating fruit, and it's my way of saying that i need some pleasure in my life, too. Even though it may not be the healthiest thing for me, it's a lot healthier, physically and psychologically than binge eating.

progress, not perfection
80-10-10 is the perfect diet.

As a binge eater, i'm obviously not ready for the perfect diet.

I need to work my way there. And this is my attempt.

My hope is that as the 'binge eating' at work regulates, i will be more and more in touch and in tune and i'll make lighter and lighter choices, because, yes, lighter food does feel better in a sense and does make my body less bloated and less gassy and weigh less. Those are nice things.

in touch with me
Being in touch with my 'hunger' and my 'inner intuition' is new. I think as binge eaters we are out of touch with this 'voice.'

I know for a long time, i've been listening to Carlene Jones of for diet guidance on how to lose weight faster with raw:

Mostly fruit, 1 banana, no dates/agave, no salt, greens, veggies, nothing dehydrated, 10percent fat in the form of nuts, avocado, olive oil
and to Doug Graham:

Unlimited bananas, fruit, greens, little fat in the form of nuts, avocado
and to Arnold. God bless him, i LOVE Arnold, and when i hadn't lost weight and in fact began to gain after i'd worked at Arnolds Way for a year, he helped guide me daily to eat more fruit and less fat and indeed, i saw the pounds begin to melt off:

Arnold is all about the 80-10-10 diet

But, the one person i haven't been listening ME.

Arnold and Doug and Carlene all give fantastically healthy advice, but if the minute i ingest something 'off' program results in immediate out of control binge eating on gourmet, something is not right.

When i listened to myself yesterday and just 'made' it okay with myself to eat anything, i ate less. Listening to me helped me eliminate binge eating yesterday. So far, i've not gotten from Doug or Carlene a way to stop binge eating permanently.

What i'm doing now is unorthodox for a fruitarian diet, but i've never read any binge eating literature from fruitarian sources.

Instead, what i hear is a lot of women suffering the same thing as i have been. Some women it's almost exact. "i do so well on fruit. now i can't stop eating."

I assumed I was a food addict and that nuts and salt and dehydrated foods were just my drugs and i had better stay on 80-10-10 forever. Well, that's one solution that may work for many people, it may even work for me some day. But, i still like the pleasure of going to a gourmet raw restaurant every once in a while and feeling guilt ridden and unable to stop eating for days or weeks afterwards is not my idea of healthy, mentally or physically.

The binge eating literature that i have read has led me to believe that including pleasure foods in the diet (for raw vegan for me that would be: fatty, nutty, dehydrated, salty) reduces binge eating. If yesterday says anything, it says that plain and clearly. My diet may have been a little too heavy yesterday, but i have confidence that can be refined. The overall goal was to eat less, eat more calmly, in control, not binge, and i was able to do that.

Angela Stokes-Monarch's diet speaks volumes to me in terms of her ability to eat moderately from the vegetable world, the fruit world and the fatty/salty/dehydrated worlds. She is maintaining a 140 lb weight loss, is absolutely stunningly gorgeous, a natural beauty who doesn't look like she was ever fat, and i'd like to be where she is, and her diet includes foods from all of the raw worlds. I keep up with her diet in her blog and it includes lots and lots of green juices, some fruit, supplements, and also includes regular treats (raw bread, nutspread, icecream). She's found a balance that works for her.

Angela's new book 'Raw Emotions' is going to come in handy on this journey, i feel. From what i've read in it, alot of the work to be more like to become more in touch and in tune with ones self.

tune in
How in tune and in touch are we when binge eating???

Yesterday, it was a struggle to feel hunger and question it and not believe it. What a difficult job we have of self-parenting. All new parents struggle, so it's to be expected, it will be hard at first, but i never realized i was so out of touch with me and my desires.

self parenting
A binge to me is one part of me saying that i WANT something i've long denied myself. And the other part of me saying that i CANNOT have it. And that first part of me STOMPING my foot that i want it, and that i will have it, and that second part of me shaming me for eating it.

I assumed a binge was a chemical reaction to the salt or the fat. Like it is with an alcoholic and alcohol. But after yesterday, my viewpoint is changing slightly.

It's kind of like a parent who denies their kid sunshine, so he runs away to be in the sun all day and gets a full body sun burn. What about allowing the kid a few hours a day? Sometimes children who are so restricted, rebel.

Is that what the binge is all about? Restriction leading to rebellion? That is what the binge eating literature supports.

And I found that if i ALLOW myself, at least at work, to eat what i want, i ate LESS. This is self parenting of a more liberal nature. Not so all-or-nothing perfectionistic, causing intense rebellion.
i'm still nuts for nuts
Nuts, salt, dehydrated foods are not inherently bad, i don't think. I, in fact, love them, i just don't think they are the best for weight loss for me from my experience. But, in small quantities, they are fine and good in a more moderate raw diet.

Wouldn't that be nice? To stop bingeing, to include pleasure foods in the diet in moderation, and to still lose weight? THIS IS MY DREAM!!!

Let's hear from you, ladies, and what your experience has been:

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From Shawna
Your pure honesty is such a touching inspiration! You and I have never met. I have read about you in Arnold's e-mail updates. What do I want to say? Hmmm. . .so many thoughts. . .words. You see, I too suffer from food addiction. I have had bulimia since I was eleven, probably longer, I have always believed I was born a food addict. Today, I am a 35 year old woman sinking in emotional eating. Since this past November, have been transitioning to a raw food lifestyle. On raw days I can go binge-purge free, however non raw days always end up down the tolit! I too, notice even on raw days, certain raw foods set off my triggers. . .I should say deactivate my body's natural ability to know what is full and satisfied. I thought if I was raw I would no longer struggle with binging, and in my case purging. I have been feeling like a raw failure and giving into cooked food. I need to stop feeing sorry for myself! I need to be honest with my hearts song. . .and give up cooked foods once and for all! I need to identify my emtional triggers and take control of the life I am misssing. You have awakened the fight inside of my soul! I am not a raw failure. I am an emotional eater, a food junky. . .but a kicking one! I feel alot less alone today. Your blog is a gift to me. Your honesty. Your ability to be vulnerable. Your beautiful, Michelle Joy! Emotional eating is something others battle every day. You have shown me even a raw foody can battle this sometimes embarressing, guilt ridden, shameful cycle. . .yet you have demonstrated such courage and strength facing emotional eating head on! I cannot say thank you enough! Forgive me for rambling. . .so many thoughts. . .so many words. . .you give me hope with your grace. . .thank you! I look forward to following and supporting you on your journey to "PURE RAW JOY"

Another follow up note from Shawna
Hello Michelle!

This will be short, as I have to zoom to work. OMG! I just read yesterdays blog page. Let me say I loved reading the letters from other followers of your blog! We are not as alone as I so often feel. . .thank you for continuing to share! I wanted to also thank you for including one of my letters. I wish this didn't have to be so short but I am a bit behind today. . .I just had to say THANKS before I busted!

Quickly, I had two beautifully clear binge free raw days! I was so happy. I crashed and burned yesterday after work. I was being very willful and didn't look for support. Today is a new day!

I think it is great you are in the grey! Hopefully this new shade of grey will create a new kind of rainbow in your life. . .with a pot of gold and weight loss at the end!

Be Happy and Well!

From Jess
I am a customer at Arnold's and have met you before (your hummus is amazing). In a about a year I have lost 130 pounds going from 275 to 145. I did not do a raw diet, but I also have very similar binging problems. I found then when I just told myself that of course I'm allowed to have anything I want, and that it will always be there, my urges to binge stopped. As soon as I tell myself that I "can't" have something, the cravings return. Try thinking about it this way: Gourmet raw meals will always be available, and you are absolutely "allowed" to have them, you just have to decide what will make you feel physically and mentally good. It takes a while, but being able to walk away from a binge is a powerful thing. Good luck.

From Jess Again
Hey again, It's hard getting used to the whole "moderation" thing, but trust me it does get easier. Keep going!

From Connie
I love the honesty of your blog. I have many of the same issues you have. I would love to have you join us at Naked Food Cafe community forum. It is a low fat raw vegan online community. Low key, no drama, super supportive bunch of fruit eaters. I am glad I found your blog this morning as I am reading blogs and facebook because I cannot sleep becuase i went on a binge myself this week. :( We will find a way to break these habits. We will. :) Love & Sunshine!

From Rebecca
I think moderation can exist. You may not know which "voice" you're listening to yet, but it's important to feel satisfied by your food--nourished. If you are constantly denying yourself... that seems unhealthy to me. But I realize there are goals you set and want to follow them. For me, I think I started being more unhealthy (in my mind) trying to keep on 100% raw than I am (in my body) when I eat half a fish burrito when I feel like it. You will find your groove.

From Suzanne
thank you for writing about this. It takes courage and perseverance to look this in the face, analyze it, and even name it. Calling it "the grey zone" is so helpful-thank you. ultimately this is where we have to live--and the tricky part of food addiction. Your website and this post in particular are helpful and generous to those of us trying to follow a similar path. Your weight loss does not belong to anyone else- you cannot let anyone down, but thank you for being willing to share your story.

From Violet
eat more fruit babe xx

From Cassendre
i printed out all the pages from your blog's current URL and read them yesterday. it's so helpful to read about other people's journeys. i identified with some of the things you're going through - the resistance to pleasure/joy, eating compulsively/abusively, and the connection between emotions and balanced eating.

writing is very therapeutic for me. when i wrote "Expanding Your Capacity for Joy: A Raw Vegan Comfort Book, Sourcebook, and Journal", and released it at Essene...., a total stranger bought a copy from me in person and renewed my belief in myself. i also got a great gift from a friend who said, "it sounds like you met your goals just in writing the book, so it's already a success". that's true, because i wrote the book for myself....i do carry it with me every day all the time, and by osmosis it is helping me on my raw journey.

for example, when i was preparing to write it, i was spiritually called to visit Arnold's Way. i went there, found and bought the last copy of Angela's book "RawReform" about losing weight on raw for compulsive eaters. this book was the first one that told me that i should really address my food addiction. i never made the connection before that this would be sabotaging my raw efforts. i carry it arround me all the time now, too.

the day after i got that book, i looked up Overeaters' Anonymous meeting in philly, and over the next couple of weeks, mustered up the gumption to go...

my point is that i'm on my path and healing and dealing with my food issues and my raw journey in my own way.

i'm glad to hear your blog will be a book. i'm sure it will help lots of people. i'll buy it!

yes, i believe people like you and i are here to share our stories and add to the canon that is becoming the raw vegan literature world. just as there was nothing before and then a few books and now an entire recovery "movement" so also this must and will there be for the raw world, beginning, i think, with Victoria Boutenko's book on ending your addiction to cooked foods.

re: OA. i didn't ever go to many meeting or stay for long over time because i couldn't relate to or want to do certain things: weighing my food, etc. i also agree that it creates a mindset of "oh i'm always going to be a prisoner of this condition" and so forth. but i am using it so far to get some support and yes, i agree that for me cooked food is the culprit and that completely giving that up has been the issue.

i mean, i still overeat when i'm all raw, but it never hurts me that much.

From Holly
I just do no understand why I now find it so difficult to eat all raw. I ate gluten last night and thought I would have to go to the hospital. I had a VERY severe reaction. I knew I was sensative but I did not know to what degree. The main reason I started eating cooked foods was because I was concerned about getting diabetes. I was concerned my pancrease was working overtime. I still have not had real sugars. Do you ever have honey, stevia, or xylitol?

I MUCH prefer eating all raw. I just had started to feel strange as of late because of eating too much [fruit] sugar. I am now starting to gain weight. This is alarming for me. True, everyone would say I need to gain weight because I am very skinny. However, I feel unwell when I even gain a few pounds. I love the feeling of hgaving an empty stomach. I am tired of having a stuffed stomach and being tired. Again, the reason I started eating less fruit was because I was concerned about how my body was reacting. I was getting high from the fruit sugar. Do you find it better if you just stick to one type pf fruit per meal? Also, are you concerned about protein? What do you take for vitamins?

I just feel out of control. This is rather silly because I was all raw for so long. My problem was that I was eating the exact same thing every day. I was eating fruit and then a salad at night with some avocado. It got really boring. Maybe you can enlighten me with recipies. So you are not at all concerned when you eat hundreds and hundreds of grams of sugar each day? I have had a craving for spices and salt. That has really thrown me for a loop. I cannot tolerate them. In fact, I had stomach issues if I eat them.

It seems as if my willpower is gone. I was so much happier eating all raw. Preparing meals was as easy as throwing fruit in my bag. I was NEVER tempted to eat anything that was not raw. I pray that I will be able to return to all raw. I still need to chew my food well. I also worry about cavities. I should get Dr. Graham's book but it is so expensive. When I was eating lots of fruit and totally raw I felt like I could take on the world. I had this innate confidence. Just recently all of the fruit sugar started to make me feel strange. Please let me know your thoughts.

I desperately want that self-control and confidence back. It is terrrible worrying about bingeing and eating cooked foods. It downright sucks. I have not gained weight in ages. Tomorrow, I vow to go all raw again because of your inspiration. I definitely need to eat my avocados again and be done eating by 7 pm. Thank you for the inspiration. I guess I just need to know that eating that much sweet fruit and sugar is not bad for me. do you have any idea what is causing the strange feelings and compulsions to eat more fruit sugars? Thank you, Michelle, for being in my life. Thank you so much for always being there and listening! You are the best! Maybe we can meet each other some day! That would be awesome. Love you!

From Carlene Jones,
Losing the weight is the easy part! It is maintaining it for life that becomes hard. The new program is geared toward a reality based diet where you can get the benefits of a healthy clean diet and not worry about how you will maintain it in the future. The diet you create is the diet you will use for the rest of your life without worry or fear because it is based on who you are. Raw is great Michelle, but most obese women cannot do it for life. What good is it to lose the weight only to gain it back?

Over the past three or so years I have helped women lose thousands of pounds. Few have kept it off. Why? because we are great at diets, we just suck at maintenance. We know how to diet and we know how to gain weight.

Now I work to get women to learn moderation, come to terms with their food addictions, and find a balanced diet they can live on without that sense of deprivation or food prison, as many women at camp called low fat raw. I am teaching all obese men and women how to live happily and healthfully on a diet that suits them as individuals.

Although most have come to the program with the desire to be 100% raw, not one of the new women are doing it because they found balance in a part raw program that they can do without too much effort, and surprisingly to even me, they are dropping the weight just as fast.

The first two weeks are the hardest as long term dieters are forced to eat foods they have been afraid of for most of their life. You know, real food, not diet food.

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pain and hope
So much pain out there. Yet there is so much hope.

Look, we can all figure this out. Cooked or raw or a combination, 80-10-10 or gourmet or a combination, we all need to find what works for us.

If I can do it, you can. I was the worst binge eater at 425 lbs. To a great extent giving up cooked food alleviated most of the binge eating for me, but not all of it. As Carlene says, we have to find out own perfect diets.

Much love to you all.

keep in touch
I need and crave hearing from you. Sorry i have not been able to comment on the comments you have left on the blog. I seriously don't know how. I think it's easy, but there doesn't seem to be a way to leave individual comments for each comment, i don't get it. Help.

xoxo michelle joy

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