Random Thoughts of a Disordered Mind

Introspection and cleaning house


Cleaning WomanThis frigid, icy weather is driving many people inside more than usual, perhaps into hibernation which can lead even those without food issues to gain weight. Some of Us have discovered that it’s also a period of introspection, thinking about our lives and how we got to where we are.  My awesome friend Jen is an example.

Weight is a symptom, not the problem, for me and many of Us. I’ve gone up and down the scale like a giant yo-yo, using one diet after another, always gaining more back than I’d managed to lose. It’s gone on for years – and whenever things have been emotionally draining or pushed my self-protective barriers, whatever success I’d had just collapsed. It takes work, commitment, putting my needs first, positive thinking, and support for me to see the pounds drop.

But just working whatever foodplan I’m on isn’t enough. It’s like changing clothes without changing the body wearing them. Losing is easy if you just stick to a plan, but it won’t stay off – at least for me – without doing serious work on the inside stuff. Self-talk, patterns of relationships and identifying where buttons got pushed – and figuring out why.

I am an angry person but under the anger is pain, and under the pain is fear. And with all of it, I eat. So the way for me to really break the cycle is to allow myself to be afraid, to honor the pain and not try to hide it. Addressing those very difficult internal issues takes time and it can be hard to focus on foodplans and emotional stuff with the same degree of effort. But I know that I will not keep the weight off unless I take the time.

As I turn over some of the rocks that have made me stumble, I’m finding leftover crap to be discarded. Emotions, attitudes, memories – sometimes I’ve even forgotten what exactly they are but since they never were rooted out, they are leftover traces of events and people in my past.

It’s time to clean house, physically and emotionally. I have physical stuff that just takes up space and doesn’t bring joy or serve an essential function, in much the same way that I have an emotional storeroom to be cleaned out. (I’m mixing metaphors all over the place here, I know, but my brain is keeping up – I hope yours is, too.)

Right now I have piles to go to Goodwill, the dumpster, and things to be shredded. As I see physical space get cleaned out, I find that I’m letting go of past emotional stuff as well. I have more to do of course – lists to get off of, email to delete from people who no longer are part of my life, weeding pictures and the memories tied to them.

The goal is to focus on me, rather than me and past failures, real or imagined. I am stronger than I sometimes remember that I am. I can do this, all of it – the weight loss and becoming healthier physically and emotionally.

One rock at a time.

3 thoughts on “Introspection and cleaning house

  1. Aww, I’m honored to be quoted. 🙂 And I think that you’re right, that this stuff is the most important part — the diet and exercise stuff is only a small piece of the puzzle, and the big piece is getting our heads on straight. 🙂

  2. You and I are definitely on the same wavelength. The food and exercise are important, but are secondary to getting to the root problems that led us to this point. It sounds like you’re on the right track.

  3. i have been doing the introspection thing for the past 25 years and it’s gotten me nowhere but miserable with myself. I dont even want to think very deeply into things anymore, because it takes the time away from working toward things that I really want to do. Well, I really shouldnt say that introspection got me nowhere.
    It could be that BECAUSE of all that work, I now feel comfortable and I’m able to enjoy life so much more without the constant mental anguish. Also, because I tend to mentally work on things anyway, maybe it’s just become a subtle habit that carries me through without my conscious awareness.

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