Tuesday, July 5, 2011


Happy July 4th!

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."

I hope you all had a wonderful holiday declaring your independance from unhealthy eating! If you're still stuck in unhealthy eating, ask yourself this, "Am i truly happy? Is this the kind of life i want?"

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I like to talk in depth about my successes and how i got there, breaking things down, analyzing my choices, my thoughts, my actions, in the hopes that it might help others still suffering.


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I felt very, very FREE yesterday! At the July 4th BBQ we were invited to, I had no pull to overeat, no pull to take a taste of what i shouldn't, and no food compulsions at all! What a tremendous blessing this is, coming from a person who had become so obsessed with food to the point where she stuffed and stuffed and stuffed herself and was no longer able to think of anything other than food. This is how I gained 120 lbs in a year.

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Yes, there were lots of emotions driving this obsession with food: my mother was very ill, Cliff's mom died, i felt hopeless with my weight. Food is a numbing drug.

But in people with food addiction, food takes over their lives. It becomes an all encompassing obsession that you can't seem to break free from.

Binge eating....is a wrecking ball. The destructive force is so powerful.

What's amazing, is you really FEEL like you MUST obey the distorted thoughts, the distorted hungers. You are at it's mercy.

I needed to stop this, and going raw was the answer, again. It worked the first time! 3.5 years raw and 175 lbs lost! I got through lots of emotional stuff then. I flew across the country and sang in a raw wedding. I didn't sweat it.

Emotions may drive us to want to eat, but with food addicts, just like heroin addicts, once it gets in your system, you're at it's mercy. Even too much fatty salty raw foods can trigger my addiction. I have to be vigilant. I have to walk the tiger 3x a day!

But, to be free from food addiction? It is truly incredible.

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If you are obsessed with food, you must know, right now, how amazing it feels to be free from it's pull!

I believe there are many components that go into making us binge eaters, but above all, based on my experience, I do believe we are physically addicted to food. Over the last year, after failure after failure after failure, i finally came to terms with my addiction to cooked food.

I have tried my best this last year to learn how to eat pleasurable and delicious cooked foods in moderation, and i was not able to achieve success with this. Success always gave way to binge eating, always.

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In having given up EVERYTHING even slightly allergic, you must think i suffer, having left only raw fruit, veggies, nuts, seeds, oils, seasweeds, and not much else.

The suffering was when i tried to CONTROL cooked food and constantly lost control. And woke up compelled to eat it again. And lost control. And gained. And kicked and screamed and and swore off it. And ate it again, compelled to run to the fridge, store, restaurant. Then cried I'd lost control, again. And gained more. Then ate it in moderation. Then snuck to the fridge at night for one more bite, which led to a binge. I couldn't get off of that merry-go-round.

THAT was suffering.

THIS? This PURE RAW JOY has so many merits. Yes, lots of self denial, but it doesn't FEEL that way, because i gladly do it.
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My new way to eat raw is not to diet and deprive myself of everything 'good,' but to allow myself ALL of it, with one stipulation. My BODY must guide me to what is best for me, what i'm hungry for, eating when i'm hungry and stopping when i've had enough.

My head? The voices telling me to eat when i'm not hungry? Those voices are like seanymph sirens wooing me to sea. I pull away from these thoughts and ask myself, "Are you geniunely HUNGRY?"

If the answer is 'no,' I figure out what's bothering me.

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Following hunger/fullness is traditional eating disorder therapy, and yes, it works for me, but only if i use it for raw. Some people can use this for cooked and find freedom. God bless them! I wish it could!

But i never could.

History speaks for itself.

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MEDITATION has been invaluable on my journey in controlling my thoughts, desires, appetites. There is a still small voice within, and when we learn to tune into that, obey that, instead of the seanymphs wooing us, we are set free.

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Independance from the scale and from weighing is huge. It's not about quick weight loss anymore. The days of pulling my hair out over a 1lb gain are over. I stopped weighing myself, so 1 lb doesn't matter anymore or register in my consciousness. Thank GOD!

It's about a new lifestyle, it's about stopping binge eating for good, it's about eating raw and exercising and losing weight, and trusting, that if i do these things, the weight will come off. I have restored faith. I'm not living in fear of food anymore.

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VOICE OF THE DISEASE: "I haven't eaten salt for 2 days and if i eat this salt, i'll gain weight! Now i just ate it and i gained weight! I'm no good, i'm a failure! I might as well binge!"

NEW VOICE OF REASON: "Water weight is temporary. Enjoy this salty food in moderation if you are hungry. Stop when you've had enough. Just keep inching along exercising daily, eating raw, eating when you are hungry and stopping when you are full, drinking water, eating lots of unsalty foods, and you will get there! Have faith!"

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BBQ's are so different on raw. I converse and enjoy people instead of practice food obsession.

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I also watch people eat regular stuff and i realize they are all normal weight and they all stop when they've had enough. They are all normal with food and i am not. They are not addicts.

RAW is my medicine out of mental illness with food.

Tomorrow will be 6 weeks raw!

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I have some wonderful, wonderful friends who are immensely accommodating to my raw lifestyle. At the BBQ, I didn't have to worry one iota. There was SO MUCH for me to eat! (We'd brought watermelon in the car in case there wasn't!)

Lucille, our wonderful hostess, said, "Michelle, i have plenty of fruit for you!" And did she ever! Grapes, strawberries, plums, peaches, nectarines, watermelon! I happily chowed down on fruit until i had my fill. Thank you, Lucille!

Edging towards dinner time when everyone was eating hamburgers and hotdogs, i must admit, yes, i did feel a little sorry for myself. The burgers looked so good. "What if i had just one?"

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From my past history, i know that meat, with it's opioids and bread with that addictive gluten are things i am not able to stop when i start. So, for today, I care for myself by not including these foods in my diet.

Maybe someday i'll be able to have some non-offensive cooked foods like cooked veggies or baked potato, things that don't truly flare up any kind of a food allergy issue, but for today, i'm more than willing to believe that all cooked foods are off limits because I got myself into too much trouble over the last year indulging. I don't want to go THERE again. I'm enjoying HERE too much!

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I started to feel really sorry for myself, and i realized, "Heck, Michelle, you're hungry!" And I was! I hadn't eaten anything all day except for a tiny bit of watermelon for breakfast and the 2 fruit plates i'd had over the last few hours.

No wonder those burgers looked good. I was HUNGRY!

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Peggy said, "I made you a wonderful salad, Michelle, on a big platter! Go help yourself!"

My darling friend, Peggy, makes the most wonderful raw salads, but they are notorious for including some cooked things and lots of salt. She does her best and believe me, i am so, so appreciative, but I was unsure if i was going to indulge in her salad or not.

After 2 days of no salt, it might have been nice to continue. I'd contemplated skipping her salty salad and asking Cliff to take me to the store after the party for a ripe avo and some lettuce and i'd make my own salad. That really didn't seem like such an appealing option and begged the question, 'wouldn't i want salt in that salad, too?' When i realized the answer was yes, i realized i was being eating disorder silly.

Waiting until after the party to eat because i was afraid of a little salt seemed ludicrous and a set up to binge. "No, Michelle, eat now and enjoy yourself and then be done with it," the non-eating disordered part of me set me straight.

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Gone are the days of salt free raw "diets" that give way to enourmous raw salty binges. No more. I'm done with binge eating.

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The big platter of salad and raw veggies was gorgeous. Cut up raw veggies like green zucchini and yellow squash, fresh mushrooms, grape tomatoes, romaine and onion all marinated in olive oil, lemon juice, salt, pepper and garlic.

There were also cooked artichokes and lots and lots of olives (i love them but they don't love my ankles), and cooked red pepper strips.

I had 2 big plate fulls of veggies and salad, pushed aside the olives and cooked peppers and artichokes, not because i thought they would kill me, but because olives are very salty and it's best for me to avoid them, and the other veggies were cooked, and i am a cooked food addict, and i really have no desire to reactivate my disease for today.

After 2 plates of salad, I felt satisfied and happy and full.

And just like everyone at the party who was now full and done eating.

Only i have to eat raw to get to this place. And they eat regular.

No one was obsessed with food. They got to eat hamburgers to get there and I have to eat salad.

No one said life was fair.

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The salad turned out to be MILDLY salted (wow! awesome!), and pushing aside the olives was the right choice. Yes, i'd still gain some water weight, but since i don't weigh myself anymore, it doesn't much matter anymore. Wow! I love this freedom from weight obsession!

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I was free from food compulsion, but Cliff was not.

He has a problem with gluten, but hasn't made peace with it yet. He's still playing around, trying to see what he can get away with. I gotta let my babe make his own mistakes.

Cliff overate on hotdogs with regular buns, chips, cheeze doodles, sausage, baked beans with corn bread coating, macaroni salad, 3 peices of cake. He felt stuffed and sick afterwards. If his ankles burn from the gluten, he'll know why.

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Those days were not so long ago for me. On Easter, at Lucille's house, i went TO TOWN. I literally could not stop eating. Everyone was stuffed and i kept going, sneaking, getting up to look like i'm getting a drink and stuffing turkey in my mouth, over and over and over again. I hadn't eaten turkey in like 4.5 years and that thing was so delish, i was obsessed.

You'd think i woulda been happy. I was miserable.

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Today, life is blessedly different!

After the party, Cliff and I went swimming...at 8pm at night! What a JOY! "This is what i'm talking about!" Cliff exclaimed.

No after-party guilts. Just FREEDOM! There i was, swimming, at night! This is stuff normal people do. And now i'm normal! Raw restores me to sanity.

The pool at my parents' 55+ clubhouse was empty. We had it all to ourselves! Swimming, laughing, frolicking!

There was no swimming fun for me when i was binge eating. There was just torturous mental obsession and enormous out of control weight gain.

We went into the hottub afterwards. Fun! Kissing, fondling, loving. "This is what I'm talkin' about!"

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We took showers at the clubhouse...and walked back over to my parents' house, plopped into bed exhausted and flipped cable channels, until my parents came home so excited and pleased to see us.

My mother couldn't get over how much thinner my face is. "Your face looks it did in your high school graduation picture! My beauty, my beauty! Bernie, look how thin Michelle's face got!" Lots of kisses and cuddles and hugs! This is the life! I even got a nice friendly greeting from my brother (who i feel so estranged from).

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Declaring independance from the things that hurt us is not always easy, but once we decide to pursue "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness," we know what we have to do. When we decide it is TIME to give up our lives of sickness and despair and make health happen for ourselves, no self denial is too much. It all becomes so worth it and we do it with JOY.

You feel proud of yourself and good about yourself.

And that is worth more than anything.

Self control and independance from what we've become dependant on...is a skill and a blessed gift. Once you have it, grab ahold and don't let go.

xoxo michelle joy

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Way to go Michelle!! Congrats on 6 weeks, you are doing AWESOMELY! What a great post, one I want to read several times over and refer to again and again for inspiration. Lots of love from Karen