Act 3, episode 12: Rest & Digest & Beatles
before we even begin.
Because I don't really know this morning where this blog
is headed, so I'll put a little word post-it labeled: Topic Change, right here.
Have you seen the Beatles, Get Back, on Disney+?
I'm halfway through, but I think
I'm starting to appreciate Yoko.
I mean, not the cat-singing thing she does.
Yoko was smart, and
when life gave her love and opportunity, she took it.
Unlike Linda - who sat quietly when she was expected to
by the man.
But I think I could have been friends with both women.
I was right about him.
And "my rebellious John" was more meek than I thought he was,
literally peace at any price.
What makes me laugh about these assessments I'm making,
about people I have never met, is this:
it definitely shows me where my work is.
The filter I have
is interesting, right?
OK, moving on.
I want to jump way ahead in my Younique Foundation Retreat notes to
Nutrition & Moods.
Of all the topics, this one has been revisited in my brain most often
in the last month
because I eat 2-4 times a day.
I'm constantly, steadily, visiting the part of my brain labeled Mealtime or Eating.
I started being very intentional
about my eating in January 2019.
I weighed over 240 pounds.
I say "over" because I stopped weighing on the scale
due to the extreme self-loathing.
It doesn't feel good to be that big.
Not because of how all people see you and make judgements because they have a brain.
Not (so much) because of others.
It physically hurts
and is limiting.
There were only certain positions in which I could tie my shoes.
Back pain, stiffness,
like walking on unbendable stilts.
It's been a ride.
My weight has steadily trended down...
except for those six months where Steve and I decided to
separate, but lived together because of the 2020 covid lockdown.
Those were our circumstances.
My thought was: OMGTHISISSOOOONOTOKAY!!!!
So I ate more food to distract me from my feelings.
Which is how I got to 240 in the first place.
Intense feelings ---> panic ---> eat.
This might shock you, but
Steve & I
talk about feelings.
I'm a Cancer. It was like a slow suffocation. Lol.
My Retreat notes on this topic are delicious.
The premise: what we eat = what we feel.
"Let food be thy medicine." (Hippocrates, Greek doctor, in 400 BC.)
"Begin at your next meal." (So empowering.)
I can change how I FEEL by what I eat, or what I don't eat.
And each BODY is different. You have to kind of pay attention.
But you also can't judge others for what they eat.
The most impactful part of this class for me was the Rest & Digest bit.
It blew my mind a little.
When an abuse survivor is in a trauma state,
with the limbic brain panicking and the frontal lobe disengaged,
and fight-flight-freeze is happening,
blood and oxygen are being sent to body parts to run or fight,
(thighs and biceps, legs and arms)
not to the frontal lobe or the digestive system.
Common triggered physio responses are:
dry mouth, which means saliva is not working.
acidy upset stomach, which means food isn't being digested.
upset bowels, so food is not moving, or runs right through.
The best thing to do in a state of trauma panic is to NOT EAT.
Rest & Digest.
But as humans, we kind of need food, so
when we eat:
sit in a comfortable, calm chair,
and before our first bites, we can do a little deep breathing and
Calming down before eating helps to digest the food.
Which is why we eat, so our body can use the food to
run all the physical business -
so we can live our lives. To. The. Fullest.
Briefly, because I sense some resistance to any conversation on
WHAT we eat...
(We all have our preferences, philosophies and "shoulds.")
Let me just mic-drop this here:
the western diet of red meat and processed foods
has a high correlation
The hippocampus in the brain,
which helps with learning, and long- and short-term memories,
is measurably SMALLER in the brain of a western diet eater.
The hippocampus is part of the limbic system and
it stores memories of WHAT IS NOT SAFE and
weeds out unimportant information.
Without the hippocampus, we would be in the state of alarm or anxiety all the time.
A smaller hippocampus means more states of alarm and anxiety.
(Wonderful Nutritional Psychology research question:
can the hippocampus grow back
after changing the foods we eat?)
The Western Diet = fast food, sugar, fried food, dairy, refined grains, high sugar drinks.
(Cereal and milk before school, drive-thru meals while shopping on Black Friday,
caramel macchiato at Starbucks...)
So, as a 240 lb woman who was eating her intense, panicky feelings,
not only was I not digesting the food because I was panicked,
but I was eating food that contributed to my own depression and anxiety.
Today's Deep Breath: here's a practical juju nugget, a collective Next Best Decision.
Good news: the Mediterranean Diet.
INTERESTING... Hippocrates, the father of western medicine,
lived on a Greek island in the Mediterranean...
...western medicine becomes the band-aid treatment for the western diet,
and the Mediterranean Diet becomes the standard advice.
It was recommended at retreat that we keep a
Food & Mood Journal to track:
what we eat
and how we feel,
paying attention to tummy, mood, energy level, congestion.
I started writing my food and feelings in January 2019. (BOOM)
(google search: No BS weight loss)
Let's chat about
how we usually eat.
Raise your hand if you eat at the kitchen counter, on the couch with TV,
or in front of your computer at your desk.
What mindful eating is NOT: getting on the floor
with our legs crossed
in full meditation, before each meal.
What mindful eating IS: asking ourselves targeted questions
to listen to the body
and the messages it is giving.
It's just a little conversation.
Am I relaxed?
If we are not relaxed, here's some tips:
Think about our gratitude for the food, in 3 sentences.
Do some deep breathing.
I am safe.
I am calm.
My body is ready.
Just reading that - doesn't that FEEL so different?