The Sacred Banana: Intuitive Eating Lessons at Center For Eating Recovery

banana joe happyI weighed myself this morning, like I do every day. Alison said I should stop it. In fact, I should get rid of my scale altogether, because paying such close attention to my weight is not a kind, loving way to treat my body. Checking in on its progress like that is unfair.

But I’ve been doing it so long I’m used to it. It doesn’t make me upset when the number is too high, but I do feel happy when it gets back down there. I weigh myself in the mornings, right after I wake up and use the bathroom. I usually do it before I put on slippers, to be more accurate, of course. Slippers are heavy.

The last two sessions with Alison Ross at the Center For Eating Recovery were about intuitive eating: the practice of eating when I’m hungry, not necessarily at the times that I’ve been programmed to eat. Breakfast time, lunch time, dinner time, snack time. Extra snack time. Time to grab a bite of chocolate while I’m walking past the bag of candy that my kids brought home on Halloween night. Times like that. Ross gave me a lot of scientific information to explain what happens in the body when people deprive themselves or overeat, and why it is much healthier (and loving and kind) to really listen to your body and feed it what it needs when it is hungry.

Last week she asked me to close my eyes and focus on my breath. Then focus on my gut, and pay attention to what is happening in there. How did I feel? Was I hungry? Full? In pain? In fact, I was in pain, a little. I wasn’t surprised by that. I have a history of stomach pain that hits me at seemingly random times. I suspect that it’s tied to my diet, but I haven’t tracked it to find a correlation.

Then Ross asked me to pay attention to my heart. I wondered if she meant my heart, the organ?  Or my feelings. It was my feelings. I was to identify any emotion that came up for me after I focused on my gut and what was happening there. In fact, I felt frustrated by the pain – all I had eaten was a banana. Bananas aren’t supposed to cause you pain. Is nothing sacred?

If I could do this meditative exercise every time I contemplated eating food, I have a feeling that I would make healthy choices more often than not. But who has the time for that? Mormons, maybe? I say that with the utmost respect. The only people I have ever seen stop and close their eyes right before they eat food, even out in public, are Mormons. That’s a perfect time to take a moment and think “Am I really hungry? Yes, I am. What delicious healthy food can I eat now?”

At this very moment the pain is back in my gut. As soon as I feel it I scan the last few hours in my memory and I think about what I ate, and what could be causing me this discomfort. Nothing stands out. It’s not like I ate a bucket full of rusty nails, or even a Big Mac. I did have a glass of red wine, but if you’re going to be all smarty pants and say “Gee, Kim, could that be the obvious culprit?” then I will tell you to shut your filthy mouth.

Even so, Ross suggested that I see a doctor to be tested for food intolerance or allergies. The most unlikely foods could actually be the ones that are making me uncomfortable, she said. The truth is that some people are just made that way, to not tolerate foods that seem normal and healthy and nourishing.

Even bananas.

banana joe mad

I’m participating in a comped 8-week coaching program at CER to facilitate this series of posts. This is part 2 of three. Here is part 1. Here is part 3. Everything I share here is something I learned firsthand about the Center or about myself.

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  1. […] I share here is something I learned firsthand about the Center or about myself. Click here to read Part 2 of this three part series. And here is Part […]

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