Connect, Communicate and Collaborate!

Re-Connecting!

Re-Connecting!

Welcome to the 4th day of the 12 Days of Christmas project! (If you are just joining the project now, you can get the full low-down here: https://thighhighbootcamp.com/2012/12/18/welcome-to-the-12-days-of-christmas-project/  and I really recommend that you start the project at Day 1 to get the full benefit!)

Yesterday’s post was all about your going inside your body to locate your appetite and to learn about it. By getting back in touch with your appetite, you can begin listen to it and to build a respectful connection with it. We’ll review the results of your 3-day Appetite Awareness Action Adventure in a few days time 🙂

“Come on then! What’s on today’s menu?” (I know you are raring to go now 🙂 !) Well, today’s all about your deepening your connection with your appetite and your body.

Let’s just look at things from a relationship angle for a moment. Imagine being in a relationship (a couple) where one is communicating very clearly and the other isn’t listening or can’t understand the communication. Imagine a relationship where one is communicating honestly and directly and the other offers a wall of silence or disdain.  Imagine being in a relationship where one is doing nearly all the “housework” and the other takes it all for granted or just goes around making a mess. Imagine a relationship where one regularly offers thoughtful or useful gifts and the other does not appreciate the significance of the gift or destroys the gift every time the couple gets into an argument. Imagine a relationship where one offers unconditional love and the other offers only crumbs of affection when their partner is “looking good” or “behaving themselves”. Imagine a relationship where one offers steadfast fidelity and the other leaves at the drop of a hat (and then returns, knowing that open arms await them in spite of how cruel they have been).

Build a loving and respectful relationship!

Build a loving and respectful relationship!

Now, consider the relationship with your own body and your own appetite. Read that last paragraph again. Ring any bells?! If it does, then maybe today is the day that you and your appetite/body are ready for some relationship coaching! And I’m not going to pull any punches here : I’m going to be straight with you. Brace yourself. Here it comes… Your appetite-body is the “good guy” here and, as my mum (married to my father for almost 50 years now) would say to me about my partner “It’s great that he accepts you for who you are. Make sure you look after him, make sure you are kind to him, make sure you let him know how much you appreciate him: he’s your rock. And, if times ever get tough, just remember to keep talking.”

(Oh – and if you are packing your bags ready for a guilt trip. Just stop right there! It’s worth remembering that most of us are doing the best we can with the resources we have at the time. Today’s activity isn’t about feeling guilt : it’s about learning, it’s about listening, it’s about dialogue and it’s about starting the process of rebuilding a healthy relationship.)

So are you in? Are you up for re-building your relationship with your body and with your appetite? Great! This next activity is all about your building a healthy relationship with your appetite/body based on a loving connection, honest communication and genuine collaboration (teamwork!)

Consider things from all angles!

Consider things from all angles!

Relationship-Building Barry Manilow-Style 🙂(Really – I’m actually quite a fan of his :)) Do you remember that song of  Barry’s (we are on first-name terms, obviously :P) called “Bermuda Triangle”? There is a GREAT line in that classic that goes something like this : “Bermuda Triangle, try to see things from my angle.” And this next exercise could have been designed by the man himself : it’s all about looking at a relationship from several angles (or perspectives) so that you can achieve a deeper understanding of the relationship and  gain new insights which may help you on your quest to improve the relationship.

 The Set-Up You’ll need 3 chairs for this activity. Take the chairs and place them in a triangle configuration. Chair 1 is the chair for you / you in your head / your mind (you choose whichever works best for you). Chair 2 is the chair for your appetite or your body (you choose whichever works best for you). Chair 3 is the expert chair / the Oprah chair 🙂 / the all-knowing chair or the higher-self chair (choose the description which appeals most to you).

Here’s how to do it! I’m now going to offer you a framework for this exercise and some suggested questions to ask / answer in each chair. However, once you get the hang of it, feel free to play with the process and have the conversation that you need to have to get the kind of relationship you want!

 1. Sit in chair 1 and look at chair 2 (your appetite/body chair). Create a visual representation of your appetite / body in Chair 2 and now CONNECT with your body/appetite in a way that is right for you. You can do this by greeting it or smiling at it – or even waving at it. What’s important is to acknowledge it! Now, talking to your appetite/body, explain how you feel about your body/appetite right now AND explain the kind of relationship you would like to have with your body/appetite instead. Acknowledge your part in the relationship “break-down” (some people actually like to apologise, express love and gratitude at this point. My advice is, just do what feels right for you at each stage of the process). Explain why having a healthy relationship is important to you. If you are clear about some of the actions you are prepared to take to improve the relationship, let your body / appetite know what you are prepared to do.

Tip : do not edit or consciously mediate your words. Let the words that come up, come out 🙂

Worth noting : what feelings come up as you are talking to your body / appetite? As you made the representation of your appetite / body, did it surprise you? Did it remind you of anybody or anything?

It can be a very moving experience!

It can be a very moving experience!

2. Stand up from chair 1 and get ready to “access” your body / appetite. Imagine yourself stepping fully inside the “mind”of your body/appetite – so that you have the experience of “becoming” your appetite / body. Sit in chair 2 and start to communicate with chair 1. This is your chance (appetite / body) to be really heard  Respond to what was said in chair 1, describe the kind of relationship you would like with your mind / your head / you , let chair 1 know what you think about their suggestions for improving the relationship. Offer your own suggestions for improving the relationship.

Tip : to gain the most valuable insights, make sure you are fully associated to the representation of your body / appetite. Really “see” things from your body’s / appetite’s point of view.

Worth noting : what feelings come up as you are talking to chair 1 from chair 2?

3. Now, stand up and move over to chair 3 – I’ll call it the Relationship Expert’s chair. Before sitting down, make a visual representation of the owner of chair 3 and then imagine yourself floating into “the expert”, so that you are fully associated to this position. In this position you are outside the relationship looking in and your value to the relationship is the ability to offer a more dissociated perspective. From this position, answer the following questions : what needs to happen for this relationship to move forwards? How can this couple collaborate better and become a team? What does the head / mind / you have to do in order to build a healthy relationship with the body / appetite ? What could the body / appetite do to support the relationship-building process. What advice / feedback would you have for either chair 1 or chair 2 or the relationship? Give a small task or activity that this couple could do today to start to re-build a collaborative partnership.

Tip : this can be a very powerful position for insights when you are able to remain dissociated from both chair 1 and chair 2.

Worth noting : were you pleasantly surprised at your level of relationship expertise? (It’s not call the Expert Chair for nothing!)

4. Now return to chair 1, fully associating yourself to your head / mind / you . Having heard the views from chair 2 and chair 3, what insights have you gained? What’s changed for you ? How are you feeling about the future of the relationship at this very moment? What’s the next smallest step you can take right now towards building a deep and respectful connection with your body / appetite? Thank both chair 2 and chair 3 for their contributions to the conversation.

Tip : you may want to continue this conversation, spending time in the chairs which give you the greatest insight (that’s usually chair 2 and/or chair 3 :))

Worth noting : write down all your learning in your journal.  You’re beginning to access some of your deepest body wisdom – it’s really worth recording this momentous event!

Sometimes a good honest conversation can transform a relationship. I wonder how this conversation will transform yours. I wonder what you’ll discover that may transform your perception of your body or appetite…

Gotta run 🙂 !

JT

© Jane Talbot 2012

Pleasure Permits Issued For The 1st Day Of Christmas!

Permission to proceed!

Permission to proceed!

Welcome to the first post of the 12 Days of Christmas project! (Oh – and a very merry Christmas to you too!) So, here’s the deal. Over the next 12 days, I’ll be blogging about how to “stay on track” over the festive period (you can get the full low-down on what I mean by staying on track and how it’s going to work here:

https://thighhighbootcamp.com/2012/12/18/welcome-to-the-12-days-of-christmas-project/ )

“But it’s only the 24th December and it’s not the 1st Day of Christmas until tomorrow!” I hear you shouting. That’s right, it is – and sometimes it’s good to open presents early so that you can make sure that they are all ready for use on Christmas Day. (I’m just making sure you have the metaphorical batteries, plugs and adaptors in place to have the full festive fun tomorrow :))

Okay, brace yourself. Here comes Top Tip Number 1 for your staying on track over the Christmas period :

Your pleasure permit is valid!

Your pleasure permit is valid!

Give yourself full permission to enjoy the festive food you’d really like to be having. Take full pleasure in eating and in the ritual of sharing food.  Yes. You read that right. If you want to have turkey with all the trimmings, goose with all the glitter or pheasant with all the finery – go right ahead and have it.  The thing is, most of us who have struggled with diets in the past know that this can be a pretty grim time of year if we feel that we have to stick to a set of diet rules (no matter what) and yet every inch of us wants to eat what everyone else is enjoying. Feelings of deprivation hang like an angry black cloud over festive gatherings – and it’s not just about the food, it’s also about missing out on all the associations linked with the food (l know that, for me, all my childhood Christmases are contained in a spoonful of my grandmother’s bread sauce :). Bread sauce IS Christmas.)

So. What if you didn’t have to feel deprived? What if you could go right on ahead and lap up the full pleasure of Christmas and “stay on track” by respecting your body’s natural signals?  Do you want to know how to do that? Are you willing to experiment ? Are you in? Brilliant! Here’s what to do tomorrow (and relax. If you opened this “present” early, feel free to play and have fun with it straight away!)

1. Give yourself full permission to take pleasure in enjoying the food you would like to be eating. You might want to say it out loud while looking in a mirror, or write it down. Notice what feelings or thoughts come up, if any. Handle negative thoughts or feelings (such as guilt or “that’s me off the wagon”) by explaining to yourself :

1)     Why it’s important for you to be able to enjoy eating festive food and to be able to feel that you are taking part an important ritual.

2)     That you’ll be respecting your body’s signals in a way that has benefits for both your physical and emotional health.

2. Be present while you’re eating. Every time you eat, do the following : 

0)     Remind yourself that you have given yourself a full Pleasure Permit!

1)     Ask yourself “Does this look good?” .What is it about the food that looks appealing?

2)     Ask yourself “Does this smell good?” What is it about the aroma of the food that I find so appealing?

3)     As you put the food into your mouth, ask yourself “Does this taste good?”  Which flavours stand out?  What does this food feel like in your mouth?  What do you enjoy about the texture of this food?

4)     As the food travels from your mouth and into your stomach, ask yourself “How am I experiencing this? Does this feel good?”

5)     Chew slowly, savour every sensory aspect of the experience and rest between each mouthful, asking yourself “How satisfied am I already? Have I had enough?”

3. Eat only when you are experiencing FULL pleasure (you can eat whatever you want, as long as you are really enjoying it). If the food looks good, smells good, tastes good and feels good – that’s full pleasure and you can go ahead and eat until you are satisfied. If it’s not giving you full-on pleasure, put your knife and fork down and leave it.

4. Stop when you are SATISFIED rather than FULL. The feeling of being satisfied is usually a pleasurable one, easier to pay attention to when you are operating at SLOW speed! This is not about stopping at the point at which the seams are about to burst (which, for most of us, is not pleasurable at all), this is about continually tuning it to what your body is telling you. If it’s been a while since you’ve paid attention to your body’s signals, this step could be a little hit and miss to start with. However, the invitation is for you to pay exquisite attention to your body’s communications and see if you can work out the point at which you should put the knife and fork down (no matter what is left on your plate). Here’s a tip – feeling satisfied often comes well before the feeling of fullness :). I recommend you making a mental note of your evidence for feeling satisfied as the 12 Days of Christmas project progresses (you might want to ask yourself the questions “How do I know when I am satisfied?” “What’s going on in my body that lets me know I’m fully satisfied?”)

Savour it all!

Savour it all!

5. Be present to the fullness of the ritual – savour it all! Whether you are on your own or with friends and family, as you are eating, pay full attention to the other pleasurable aspects of the experience. Who/what is bringing fun to the table? Who/what is bringing peace? What is familiar about the festive ritual you are enjoying? What is new that is bringing you pleasure? What are the positive connections between you and others at the table? If you are on your own, what is pleasurable about connecting with yourself at this very moment? What pleasurable emotions are you feeling as you nourish yourself with the experience? Where do you feel them the most in your body? Ask yourself, what does the ritual of sharing food with myself and/or with others mean to me right now?

So that’s you – all set for the first day of Christmas! You’ll be learning a heap of stuff about your appetite and your body over the next 12 days : many people like to keep a journal of their experiences when undertaking a project like this and I’d really recommend this approach. (You might want to consider some of the following questions : What happened when you gave yourself full permission to eat what you wanted? Did any food you expected to be totally pleasurable actually turn out to be not so pleasurable at all? Did some foods taste good but not feel good? Do you know the difference between feeling satisfied and feeling full? What is the difference for you? Did some foods not actually taste how you “remembered” them tasting? What did you learn about your relationship with food, your body and the ritual of eating today?)

Please feel free to share your 1st Day of Christmas experiences by posting a comment. If you have any questions, leave them as a comment too and I’ll post an answer as soon as I can.

Your next “present” will arrive for unwrapping on the 26th December 🙂 In the meantime, focus on your own present and savour every pleasurable moment!

Right, that’s me – I’ve a turkey to roast and that bread sauce to make!

Gotta run 🙂

JT

© Jane Talbot 2012