If you'd like to see some videos of Susan, go to youtube and do the search SUSAN ARNOLD'S WAY.
Susan is a former model for Ford and Elite and her beauty is only one of the things i love about her. Actually, she is the embodiment of inner and outer beauty for me.
And feminine power. Susan used to be so sick and disabled by so many diseases. She once relayed this story to me that literally carrying 3 bags of groceries from the car to the house would exhaust her so and send her to bed for 3 days. Since becoming a living foodist, she's overcome Fibromyalgia, a tumor on her back, lost 50 lbs, released pains up and down her legs, toes and hips, allergies, migraines, depression, the list goes on. Susan is now so fully functioning, she can't even stop! She has private clients she counsels, she gives talks all over the area, she has a 20+ hour wellness course she teaches in various locations. Her life has simply metamorphasized. Whereas she used to feel powerless...and actually BE physically, emotionally powerless....she is now powerful beyond measure. Assisting people to improve their helath and wellbeing energizes her. She has found her calling, her destiny.
I can't tell you how happy i am to not only be Susan's catering partner, but to now have her assisting me in meeting my personal goals of health and wellness. We joked with us being friends, then catering partners, and now counseling together, the only thing left was for us to become lovers. But, Cliff would be jealous, and so would her husband, Mark. :-))) I simply ADORE Susan, not in a romantic way, in a way of admiring who she is and what she has achieved and how she lives her life...and I want that. She's like the Earth Mother I needed.
Susan also eats some cooked foods and actually, she is the person i ate cooked beans with when i broke raw. When i view this experience now i can see it two ways - as my downfall or my liberation. I'm choosing to see it as the latter.
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So, I said to myself, after beans turned into spelt pasta turned into pizza and donuts and fried onion rings......how do i dig myself out of the hole I'm in? I weigh nearly 300 again, I'm obsessed with cooked (vegetarian) food and I can't seem to dig myself out of it. Some days i have conrol, others i'm completely out of control.
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Susan and I met for catering planning yesterday and it turned into a 1.5 hour private counseling session for me, discussing my needs and issues. I came to her house depressed, discouraged...and i left feeling empowered, excited and hopeful again. I liked how it felt, I've been seeking a coach, and we determined we could DO this together.
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We talked a great deal about how the stresses in my life have been burdening me - taking care and living with my mom, my brother's depression, Cliff's declining eating habits, the opera, the two catering jobs, the high school reunion coming up in October.
THE HIGH SCHOOL REUNION. I realized that the reunion had really been working on me emotionally. High School was not a pleasant time for me. I was the fat kid and i was made fun of constantly.
The past few days, I've been crying alot, releasing alot of PAIN, alot of deep feelings of unworthiness. The upcoming reunion bringing up so much fear and pain...was actually cathartic. I feel ready to move on now. If i go or if i don't go is not even the issue now. The issue is getting to a place in my life where i feel good about ME again.
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Susan and I came up with an outline of what we are going to do in our work together.
Number one is to create an eating plan. A mostly raw eating plan, incorporating 2 meals a day and snacks of exclusively raw foods, with dinners that consist of a green smoothie, a large salad, and then a binge food in a reasonable amount. (a slice of pizza from the really good pizza shop i like, or a hunk of fabulous bread and organic butter or 1/2 portion of chinese singapore noodles, or..., or..., or...)
I'm going to be making a list of all of my binge foods. Many of them are gourmet raw foods. Incorporating them into my plan will help me not to have to binge anymore because I'll know i'm always going to be 'allowed' to enjoy these foods.
Our hope....is that my need, or dependance on these foods will diminish naturally of it's own accord.
Getting lots of good greens in smoothies and salads and lots of fruit will be the main focus on my day. We're going to take it week by week and adjust accordingly.
Learning to eat binge foods in a new way will develop SELF TRUST.
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We're going to stop focusing on weight loss, but focus on being good to me, making myself feel good (getting out in the sun, hydrating, exercise, etc...). We'll work on improving my lifestyle, the way i cope with stress, how i think (apply "the secret"), how i process my emotions, etc... A full on support program, one-on-one. Like Carlene, but Carlene was crazy. And Susan is marvelous.
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We also outlined an entire list of other ways i can get pleasure in my life: walking, cleaning, decorating, shopping, working, baths with candles, baths where cliff scrubs me everywhere (!!!), massages with cliff, blogging, journaling, antiquing, sewing, meeting with friends, attending raw potlucks, swimming, etc., etc., etc.. I will be expanding this list ad infinitum.
We also talked about how I can attain more pleasure out of the food i do eat, such as eating very slowly, savoring, delaying gratification, buying/determining what i really like best. Why put Wawa mac 'n cheese in me if I don't even really like it...and it doesn't make me feel good? I'm not a garbage disposal. I'm a sensual, vibrant food lover, who needs to learn to be GOOD and LOVING to herself. Good quality raw butter, good raw cheese, spelt pasta. I can make mac'n cheese that will be much better for me...and satisfy those obvious needs i have.
This inclusion of 'binge foods' might surprise you, but it doesn't me. It seems like the answer now. It's obvious i like cooked food. If i'm going to constantly fall off and binge, perhaps i just need to learn to LIVE WITH these foods FIRST before i can say goodbye to them.....
I never really DID that. I've never allowed myself to just ENJOY FOOD...so how could i really expect myself to give up something completely I never really allowed myself to enjoy??? That's like skipping a step. Somehow allowing yourself to enjoy something, removing the guilt, helps you want it....less. You'd think it would be 'more,' but you need it LESS the more you enjoy it. You're honoring youself.
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We'll be using Dr. Christopher Fairburn's book, "Overcoming Binge Eating," to help guide us along. I was once binge free for an entire year using his approach.
One of the aspects of Fairburn's plan suggests eating frequently - a mix of healthy and pleasure foods, eaten in 6 meals throughout the day. (breakfast / snack / lunch / snack / dinner / snack), never leaving yourself hungry/vulnerable to a binge.
And if you do binge, here's the kicker - you MUST eat your next snack or meal and proceed on as usual, even if you're not hungry for it!!
For example, say you establish a routine of breakfast at 8, snack at 10:30, lunch at 1:30, snack at 3, dinner at 6, snack at 8. And you binge at 12pm? After the binge, you still eat your lunch at 1:30pm. This establishes you back on the routine, helps you psychologically get over the binge, and is curiouly effective.
You come to realize and recognize that meals/snacks eaten when you're hungry taste much much better and you begin to WANT to be hungry for each meal or snack, thus, lessing the liklihood of a binge. A little hard to explain, but it works. Eating that lunch after a binge is NOT a pleasant experience. Very hard to explain, but it makes you look forward to meals / snacks...and WANT to be hungry for them. And you come to see food as something not to be afraid of...that it is abundant and you can have anything....as long as you eat it in a meal or a snack. And you start to eat LESS because you want to be hungry for your next meal or snack. And you're including favorite binge foods daily. So, Binge eating completely fades away.
I want this back. I experienced it for a year.
Fairburn's entire approach rests on the belief that ALL BINGE EATING is a result of STRICT DIETING. I would have to say that that is very true in a lot of ways. I'm either dieting or binge eating and there has never been much of an in-between.
If there CAN exist this in-between....really entirely rests upon what i want. And at this point, this is really what i want. I want to stop binge eating. And i want to enjoy food. And i want to eat pizza. That's that. And i want to lose weight. People on Weight Watchers eat pizza and lose weight. Why can't i?
Susan will repeat my food plans monthly, meaning, i will never feel like I need to eat an entire pizza right NOW because i'll never get pizza again. No, i'll be getting it again next week or next month. So, i get to look forward to it, and i can say NO to it today because i know i'll get it tomorrow.
This is being talked about practically....but it's all very psychological. I'll be learning to trust myself...trust food...trust the universe. I'm going to heal emotionally and spiritually and physically and mentally.
Plus, one peice of pizza a month (or whatever) is 1) not going to kill me 2) a means of ending my binge eating.
In other words, what's been killing me, is going to end up saving me. What i've been running away from...is going to cure me.
It's not the pizza.....it's HOW i eat the pizza. This is all about INTERNAL WORK. This is going to be powerful work....in ME recognizing my POWER over food. I can eat one peice of pizza. Yes, i can.
If or when i give up pizza will be the next step. I have to know my own personal power....first.
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I'm going to look at this journey with Susan as the work I have needed to do my entire life. Yes, i can diet. Yes, I can binge. But, can i just live with food, know that the universe provides abundantly, learn to trust myself with food, and enjoy food, and lose weight, too?
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Susan and I will meet one-on-one weekly to discuss/plan. i'll email her my food and day's overview daily. I'll get back to walking daily. I'll write down my food everyday and that will be that.
A new start.
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I already feel different and better. I was lonely last night home alone before Cliff got home. I recognized it. I didn't binge. Although i could have. I was vulnerable. I have my opera today. I'm nervous. But i wanted to be GOOD to me. How could i have forgotten to add SINGING to my list of pleasures????!!!! Singing well is probably my BIGGEST pleasure outside of food...and when i eat well, i sing well (i have reflux laryngitis so when i eat poorly, acid swells my larynx). I wanted to eat well, so i would sing well today.
So, I acknowledged my feelings. I read a magazine. Ate 1/2 a baby watermelon because i was hungry and knew that something light would be GOOD for me, I took a bath, put my comfy slippers on. Everything I did was with an eye to making myself FEEL good in a positive way. Sensual things like fuzzy slippers and baths make me feel comforted.
So i didn't HAVE to eat a huge plate of 5 eggs with parmesan and 4 peices of bread, a typical start to a binge, to make myself FEEL BETTER. Yes, that comforts me, but would have been counter productive, causing swelling, and reflux. Fuzzy slippers and baths have no downsides.
But, maybe this egg and cheese and bread thing can be a meal, in a much smaller way, now, for me to simply....enjoy, one evening, eaten slowly, savored, after a green smoothy and salad????
Do you know i can't stop watching the food network because i get to watch people enjoying food.
You know what?
I'll be enjoying food.
And - I'll be flooding myself with good stuff, but allowing myself to feel GOOD about the "bad" stuff. Again, it's all very psychological. I don't think 'normal' people with 'normal' skills and abilities around food understand. If someone is NOT a binge eater, it will be hard for them to understand.
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Discipline with food.....or complete and utter Freedom. I want BOTH. I can be mostly raw.
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Attaining 'pure raw joy' is a journey. And it takes a different form for everyone. At different times.
Because i'm a binge eater, and an obese one, this is the route i'm going to try for now. Just eating raw didn't take my binge eating away.
In this new way, I think there is hope for it. It will bridge the gap between 80-10-10ing....and full out binge eating on onion rings.
I obviously can't live in either extreme....and maintain that.
Bless me on my new journey and I'll keep you informed!
xoxo michelle joy