Thursday, April 3, 2008

No Mistakes

'Today is a new day with no mistakes in it yet.'
-paraphrased from Miss Stacy in the CBC/PBS/Sullivan version of Anne of Green Gables

I don't necessarily believe in mistakes. When we do something that doesn’t work, we’ve learned a valuable lesson. We have learned that if this something didn’t work, perhaps that something will.

Life is all about trials and errors. Look at all the proverbs:

“That which does not kill us makes us strong.”
“Everything happens for a reason.”
“To everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven.”
“Fall down seven times, get up eight.”
“Pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and try all over again.”

These sayings and the theme behind them wouldn’t have survived if we didn’t need reminding.

I know that I need lots of reminders, but I am learning. Five years ago (gosh, has it been five years since I relapsed?,) I would binge after weeks of starving. I’d kick myself aftewards, starve and exercise more to punish myself for losing control. Which of course would always lead to another binge. Cycling along the bumpy road.

But over the past five years, I’ve been learning with each cycle. The most recent lesson I’ve learned is this:
It’s all in how you spin it.

After reading about a few “binges” in my food journal, my nutritionist suggested that I stop calling what I do binging. Because I don’t really binge. Either I am having a normal reaction to deprivation or I am simply overindulging. Neither are binges. She told me to think of it as “relaxing.” Just as I’ve been trying to incorporate a day or two of rest into my exercise routine, it’s okay to relax my control over food once in a while.

Yesterday (and last night especially,) I relaxed into a normal response to deprivation. For a few weeks, I’ve been trying to be “good,” to not eat as much as I had been (while still eating “enough.”) Over the weekend, I “binged.” So I tried to be “good” again on Monday and Tuesday. But yesterday, I decided that I had had enough. So I relaxed. Instead of berating myself for eating everything my heart desired, I told myself that I need to show myself that it can have everything it wants, whenever it wants. My intention is to not deprive it again. So I ate and enjoyed every morsel. Today, I’m not feeling so desperate. I still made out a plan for the day, but I incorporated many of the things that I truly enjoy (and hadn’t been allowing myself lately.) And I have spun the “plan” into a “guideline.” If I decide to substitute or not eat everything or eat more, that’s okay by me. I’m breathing and concentrating on what I’m truly feeling.

I’m eating mindfully. One bite at a time.

Have my actions changed?

Have I planned for more or less food?
Not really.

It’s my mindset that has changed. And instead of feeling depressed and deprived, I feel brighter and satisfied.

I may be a slow learner, but I never stop learning.

So, be gentle with yourself today. Remind yourself that there are no mistakes in life, just lots of lessons to learn.