Wednesday, September 22, 2010


Hey there,

Thanks for your comments on yesterday's post. I appreciate your honesty and feedback and really see your points of view.

That said, I'm working hard on trusting myself now. Maybe i'll fall flat on my face, but i'm seeing some evidence of success.

As an FYI, I have been to so much therapy - 4 Hospital Inpatient Eating Disorder Programs, many eating disorder nutritionists and therapists. Just as my singing teacher arrived when i was "ready," I'm going to trust God that the right therapist/teacher will arrive when I am ready.

Right now, i'm going to stay on my own for a little while. I understand it can be intolerable to read. I'm sorry.

I think alot about Geneen Roth and the process her students go on, learning how to stop binge eating and I'm sure they go through pounds of butter as well, until they figure it out. My health is a concern, certainly, but honestly, i can't see going on another diet or "811" if I'm just going to gain it all back, which i just did. It seems pointless.

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I wrote the following last night. It was really helpful to me in recognizing that the focus of my out of control eating has been askew for a long, long time.

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So, my mother and father had a hard time controlling my eating as a child.

My brother and I are both adopted, so we're not genetically connected to my parents, or each other. My brother was always naturally slim. I was always naturally plump. My mother is a naturally thin person, as well. My father can have a tendency to be heavy, but was slender as a young man and adult, but when he got older and became less and less active, he put on weight.

My brother, being naturally thin, liked the good stuff - canned Chef Boyardee Ravioli's, Kraft Macaroni and Cheese, Tastykakes, icecream. My thin mother bought these items freely for my thin brother.

I, on the other hand, have been on a diet since I'm 10 years old. My mother bought me celery sticks and lo-fat dressings. I was forbidden from eating "Ricky's food."

When i came home from school, it was a big binge time for me. I remember being alone, as at that time, my mom was working, I was supposed to be vacuming, but there I was raiding the cabinets for my brother's food. I made many a can of his private Ravioli's, enjoyed many a box of his stolen Mac'n cheese.

It would be discovered that something of his was missing from the cabinets and I can just hear my father's voice, yelling for me, "Michelle?!!!!!" "Yes, Dad," my heart pounding. "Did you eat Ricky's Macaroni and Cheese?" Guilty, i nodded yes. "God dammit, you're gonna become the side of a barn!"

Maybe i did it to get attention? As a kid, you want any kind of attention you can get, even negative attention.

Soon my mom began hiding Ricky's special reserved foods all over the house. There would be canned Raviolis in the dining room cabinets and the mac 'n cheese would be hiding behind her china, as well. In mom's upstairs closet, I discovered many assortments of cookies, chocolates, M&M's. It became like a fun game! I'd search and dig and wow, find them all, and eat up everything! Success!

I was constantly getting punished for eating Ricky's food.

The punishing really didn't work. I still couldn't control myself. I still stole his food. My mother kept hiding it, thinking this time I wouldn't find it. My eating has been out of control for quite a long time.

Dinner time was never a pleasant experience. My father was never happy. He was harsh and overly critical, unkind, insensitive. I don't think i ever felt loved. I felt used and abused. I recall I was always full from my after school binges and that dinnertime was tense and hurtful. When cleaning up after dinner, i'd steal the food i wasn't allowed at dinner.

Stealing food is a very, very old pattern. Today i steal Cliff's food.

I know now of the pain i was stuffing. Pain from school, name calling and difficulties with school work. Pain from sexual abuse, mental and emotional abuse and hitting, too. Pain from constant shaming, name calling, belittling from people who supposedly loved me. I know I was acting out alot and that no one noticed that anything was "bothering" me... They only noticed the missing food and me getting fatter.

I recognize i'm TOTALLY guilty of that as well. I have pains today I rarely talk about, things in my many close relationships i'm not happy with, things that bother me, worry me. I don't talk about those enough. My dissatisfaction with my house, my way of life, my lack of a career... No, I talk about food and being fat. I'm guilty of doing just what my parents did.

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Somehow whenever I connect and really think about the parent in me taking charge, i'm able to break free of binge eating. I'm talking about the good and loving parent in me. (There is also the overly critical parental voice that lives in me as well.)

The child, the one who binges, for fun, for pleasure, in boredom, putting off what needs to be done, procrastinating, being fearful, anxious, for really any reason, can so easily overtake my internal psyche. She takes charge so easily, i really don't even notice.

I have to consciously connect with that good parent.

It dawned on me that the good parent is really probably the same as the "higher man" concept in Christianity. And the out of control child is probably akin to the "sin self" in Christianity as well. It's all the same thing, but you can call it different names.

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When I think of my cousin and how she is with her three grown daughters, i often become very angry at her, not at her children. Her chidren are miserable, nasty, rude and mean to their mother. But, my cousin trained her children to treat her like they do. She does everything for them, bends over backwards for them, and they treat her like crap, are not considerate of her, nor loving, or caring. She has little control over them. Or rather, she has ALLOWED them to take control.

She gave away her control. She's desperate to get their love, but she doesn't have their respect.

When we allow children to take charge, things don't work out too good. Children don't have the wisdom to make the right choices and decisions.

When I wake up and don't get in contact with my "higher man" or the good parent in me, the child or my sin self can take over so easily.

This appears to be a spiritual problem, binge eating.

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I remember when I did my student teaching in German how awful it was. I have a PA Instructional I Certificate to teach German, yet I do not teach German. For fear of the children. I let them walk all over me. I had very little control over them.

The child in me, the timid child, was in charge and did a very poor job of it. I'm sure i did my fair share of eating then, too. I was quite heavy at the time.

Not possessing a wise internal authority figure, teaching became unmanagible. The lack of control over myself or others has kept me from pursuing school teaching all of these 20+ years, although i am certified.

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We've spoken about my terrible housekeeping. Did i tell you what i used to do as a kid, to my school desk? To my locker? I just cleaned out the back of my car today of binge wrappers and it reminded me. All of the wrappers filled a giant trash can.

Well, as a child I was no different. My elementary school desk was so jam packed with papers, old homework, old lunches, books, that the teacher wrote a note to my mother to come in and clean the desk out.

And my locker in high school smelled so bad from all of the diet lunches my mother packed me that i didn't eat - i preferred to borrow money and buy fattening lunches - that my mother used to come to school, at night, when no one was in the hallway, and clean out my locker for me.

Making messes has been another lifelong pattern. Ask Megan "Megabytes" about my house and she will tell you i'm still in that holding pattern. I have a room upstairs that was once so nice, but is now so jammed with stuff, that you can't even walk in there.

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Making shrimp for Cliff tonight, i realized I didn't have to eat it, that the parent could be in charge.

Suddenly, it was easy to say no. I walked by the shrimp over and over again and felt no urge to eat it. Wow. I KNOW I've hit upon something with all of this.

If i am going to get myself in control, i am going to have to wake up every day, contact that parental higher place, meditate on it, pray about it, and allow that higher wisdom to really take charge. I'll have to check in with the parent many times a day. It sounds good. What's so wrong with that?

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I am a huge fan of THE SUPERNANNY, you know, the TV show about parenting? The website is: Jo, the supernanny is so incredible, such an amazing parental force, loving, disciplining, nurturing, calm, in control. She is my idol! Jo is so adept at analyzing behaviors and finding solutions. My God, she is AMAZING. I have always loved that show since my teaching days. How does she KNOW how to do all of that stuff?, i often marveled. She would take a kid that was so out of control, acting out, and teach the parents to take charge, take control, with seemingly simple techniques, and the results were astounding, as long as the parent really committed to the course Jo created for them, and followed through on the advice.

Sometimes the advice seemed CONTRARY to what you would THINK would help. Such as with a crying baby. Jo teaches the mother to NOT pay attention to the child, NOT pick her up. She directs her to NOT make eye contact, sit in the bedroom, moving closer and closer to the door. After a few days of this, the child realizes she is safe being left alone and that mommy will not respond to her tantrums. Amazing.

At the follow up portion of the show, the kids are often in good control following their new routines, much happier to be in control that out. The parents are happier, too.

I think my problem is often that I don't follow through with a plan i'm on. Like now. I could easily get cold feet, get scared, give up, run back to dieting just when i am so close to actually contacting something akin to SELF CONTROL. I usually jump around from one plan to the next, from one expert to the next, instead of really digging my heels in and committing seriously to what I want. The problem is - i haven't established really sincerely what plan felt worthy of committing to.

I'm coming closer and closer to that realization.

I did well today with my food, all raw while working at Arnold's Way, a chocolate smoothie and a green smoothie for breakfast, some hummus and veggies and raw crackers for lunch, and then a big salad, raw cheese and organic crackers for dinner.

I'm realizing that I want it all. I want to have my cake and eat it, too. What's wrong with dreaming?

xoxo michelle joy


Debbie said...

It's me again. I don't see why you can't climb on the 80 10 10 wagon again. I've fallen off many times and I'm back on it again. And each time I think it will be for good. I never thought of myself as optimistic, but I guess I am. You can be too. Don't think failure, think this next time it's going to work.

I had the exact experience with teaching that you did. But I didn't quit. I spent weeks in a room with a master teacher and learned the skills and tricks to get children under control. And then I taught elementary school for 10 years. The point is, if you don't get back in the ring again, you will always feel like you failed. This goes with teaching, 80 10 10 or anything else you try.

And why are you cooking dinner for Cliff????? He is a big boy and you need to be healthy. My husband no longer expects me to cook for him and that makes my eating way easier....

I think if you stay on 80 10 10 awhile, some of your emotional and mental problems will go away or be easier to deal with. Processed fatty food does just the opposite.

Anonymous said...

Hi Debbie,

It's Michelle, i have to add commments under anonymous, i don't know why.

I really super appreciate your viewpoint and enjoy your blog often. I think the difference between you and me is that you state over and over again that you WANT to be a fruitarian. I don't ever remember saying that. I state over and over again that I WANT to eat cooked control. I can't seem to give up the idea...that it's possible. And being something that i WANT, i am really motivated to work on it right now.

Losing 40 lbs on 811 was fabulous, i looked great. Gaining it all back was not fun. It was too restrictive for me to maintain. I applaud you on your motivation to keep getting back up on the horse again with 811. It's obviously something you want and value.

Yesteday, i had what felt like a perfect balance for me - raw smoothies for breakfast, raw hummus and veggies and crackers for lunch, and raw dairy cheese and cooked crackers for dinner with a big delicious salad with delicious dressing. Later i had a few bananas blended with chocolate almond milk. I felt so proud of myself for having such a good day - a mix of raw and cooked - no binge eating.

I so appreciate your encouragement with teaching. The problem also is: i don't want to be a classroom teacher. I'm an artistic soul and an opera singer in the making. A little late, but better late than never. I'm talented and CAN do many things. Now, what do i WANT to do? I've always wanted to travel and sing, work hard for spurts and then rest for spurts. I think it will fit me.

And fyi, I do teach singing, one on one, and i enjoy that SO much more than classroom teaching. I did not enjoy the classroom at all or the adolescents. I was out of my element.

I actually don't feel like I failed 811. I felt like it was an experience, an expensive one, and that i finally realized it's not for me for long term. I really value the lightness of fruit and don't want to stop eating fruit. I just don't want to eat ONLY fruit.

Oh, I've been cooking for Cliff during my 3 years raw and this last year. Cliff is not motivated to eat raw, and i am a cook. I enjoy cooking for him! 3 years raw i NEVER touched a bite. This last year i binged on what i cooked him. Now, i aim to eat some in moderation. I started to eat fish. I'm actually OK with it!

I think the huge difference between me and you is that i am a binge eater and you perhaps just struggle with staying on fruit long term. Keep getting back on track!

I feel like everytime i return to this concept of self parenting and am able to say no to binge eating, but eat in control that i am the biggest success in the world.

My health, thank god, is good, and so far, i've not killed myself from all of the binge eating. Someday i will be healthy and slimmer.

When i was on 811, i was worse emotionally. I was so fragile, always crying, my singing was awful. I just don't think it was for me - or the way that Doug presented it to me - didn't ultimately work for me. He was really pushing me to lose quickly, with no fat. It was just too extreme for me.

Anyway, i hope to incorporate lots and lots of fruit into my diet, i just want to eat the other stuff too. What i don't want is to binge. I'm not convinced at all that "fruit will take away binge eating." Doug says it will take 7-10 years for that to happen. So will ALOT of other methods.

We each have to find the method we WANT in which to achieve our goal.

Thanks again for your p.o.v. More power to you. Keep up the good work with 811!

xoxo michelle joy

Sari said...

How hard can it be to understand that raw/80-10-10 is NOT for everyone,I just don't get it. It's your decision and if your raw friends doesn't understand that, that's their problem. It clear that you have so many issues to deal with and pressuring you to "go back or else" isn't going to help. Keep your head and remember that you don't owe ANYTHING to anyone but yourself. I agree that eating processed non-nutrition food is not good for you, but raw is not the only option there is.

Cosmic said...

I can wholly relate to the stealing, secret binge-eating dramas as a minor. I, too was a timid child.

Thoughts and blessings to you Michelle!


Debbie said...

Michelle- You are right - I want to be fruitarian. But not because I love fruit, but because I love the way I feel on fruit. Anyway, I am just really really worried about you and your health/age.

I'll keep reading in the background. If you ask for advice again, I'll give my two cents again. It will be exactly the same, because it's the only thing that has worked for you.