Observe, Learn And Let Go!

When the shadow is respected, full beauty emerges.

When the shadow is respected, full beauty emerges.

Welcome to the 6th 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 reviewing what you’ve learned so far (and it’s a really good idea to review your learning on a regular basis : you may be pleasantly surprised at how much progress you are making 🙂 )

Today is all about exploring the contents of your 3-day food diary in a little more detail. You may have guessed by this stage that the most useful aspect of this exercise isn’t necessarily the recording of the food you eat .Some of the most useful aspects of keeping such a diary are:

1. It helps you to become consciously aware of some automatic patterns you may be running (which may no longer be serving you).

2. It encourages you to spend time in your body so that you can get connected to physiological signals.

3. It helps you to re-learn the difference between an emotional signal and a physiological hunger signal.

Today, we’re going to focus on emotional signals . We’re going to learn how to recognise an emotion by observing it . We’re going to learn how to learn from the emotion (emotions are very powerful forms of communication : are you getting the message?). And finally, we are going to learn a simple technique to help you to process the emotion and let it go.

The theme of the 12 Days of Christmas project is all about your learning to “stay on track” naturally. One way of staying on track is to eat when you are hungry and stop when you are full: sounds so simple, doesn’t it? So why isn’t it that simple for all of us?

Well, it comes right back to being in your body. To be in touch with the signals, you really have to be close enough to the signal to hear it – that means getting back into your body and spending enough time there to know what each signal means. And when you know what each signal means, it’ about responding appropriately. Eat to respect a hunger signal : that seems obvious enough 🙂 But how do you respect an emotional signal?

Well, that’s what today’s activity is all about.

The Set-Up Take a look at your food diary and notice which emotions are present at the point at which you experience “hunger”. Which are your not-so-positive “regular visitors” 🙂 ? Sometimes, we are not sufficiently present in our body (or so out of touch with our emotions) that we are not able to name the emotion. If this sounds like you, check through your food diary for physiological feelings that didn’t feel good. Is there a pattern of physiological feelings that occurs at the point of “hunger”?

When I first got back into my body, I had absolutely no idea what anything meant at all! I experienced a lot of physical agitation and tenseness at the time of feeling “hunger”. I later decoded this message as “anxiety” (but it took me a while!)

A Little Note For Those Of You Who May Not Be Feeling Totally Comfortable Right Now. You are about to spend time with an emotion – and it’s been a while. It’s a bit like going on a date for the first time in a very long time and not even being sure whether you even like your date! You may be feeling nervous , even a little afraid  And you might want to respect those feelings by going gently with this process. You don’t have to dive in : just dip your toe in to start with. You might just want to start with Steps 1. and 2. After doing this several times (and noticing your increasing comfort), you can move further through the process. GO AT YOUR OWN PACE 🙂 And, if don’t feel ready to engage with your emotions on your own (and you have a genuine desire to get re-connected to them),I would suggest a 1-1 session with a professional. *

Step 1 : The next time you experience “hunger” or a desire to eat, check in with your body and see if one of your regular not-so-positive emotional visitors is present. (Or one of your regular physiological feelings that you don’t really enjoy). How do you know it’s there? What are you experiencing that lets you know that there is an “additional guest” at the table?

Step 2 : Once you know it’s present, welcome your guest in a way that is right for you (I know, it’s all very like Whoopi Goldberg in Ghost but it’s important to acknowledge its presence. You may not have acknowledged its presence for some while!)  If you can name the emotion at this stage, do so now. (I do this out loud.). Now invite your guest to leave your body and sit next to you : give the emotion its own place.

Tip : If your guest needs a little help leaving your body, give it a hand! Locate the feeling in your body and imagine pulling it out gently (it’s always good to be kind but sometimes they may need a bit of a tug!) and then place it beside you.

Observe!

Observe!

Step 3 : Observe your guest. Sit at a comfortable distance from the emotion or physiological feeling. How do you know that this feeling isn’t physiological hunger? (That’s important to ask if you were unable to name emotions in your food diary. If you realise that this is actually physiological hunger sitting next to you, thank it for its presence and take action :)). How do you know that this feeling is an emotion? What are you noticing about it? What are you noticing about your own internal responses? What does your guest remind you of? How is it relating to you? How are you relating to it? What are its distinctive qualities? (Answering this question can be really helpful in identifying this as an emotional signal rather than a hunger signal in the future). As time passes, what do you notice about your comfort level? Are you able to move your chair a little closer? What happens if you move it closer? What happens if you move it further away? What is the name of this emotion? Name it now if you were not able to name it at Step 1.

Step 3 : Learn from the emotion. Emotions are a very powerful means of non-verbal communication. After years of experiencing them, we develop skill at decoding the message. Once we get the message, our task then is to take congruent action : that is, respect the message in a way that is supportive of both our mind and our body (and beyond). As we begin to respect the message in this way, our emotions quieten : their job is done.

Sounds easy enough, right? Well, yes, if you’ve been in your body for some time and lived amongst your feelings and emotions (the good and the not so good) – in that case, it is easy. However, for those of us, who have only recently arrived back in our body, it may take a little time to get the message and it may take you a while to get used to the “noise” of emotions 🙂

As you sit next to the emotion, ask the following questions:

1 What message, of value to me, is this emotion communicating?

2.What is the positive intention of this emotion? (How is it trying to help me?)

3.What is there for me to learn from this emotion (of a positive nature), the learning of which would allow this feeling to go?

3.What is something I could do to respect the message, something that I feel aligned and okay with? (Avoid life-changing decisions and big commitments at this stage! Take a small step in the right direction 🙂 Learning to listen to your emotions counts as a step :))

4.Thank the emotion for its communication and for trying to help you. (If the help it is offering is no longer relevant for your life today , still thank it and explain how things have changed. This is a version of congruent action.).

Tip 1: If you get the message but you don’t take congruent action, your emotion is unlikely to quieten 🙂

Tip 2: It may take a short while for the insights to arrive. Be patient 🙂 If no answers come up immediately, just sit next to the emotion and wait. If after a while, nothing has come up, complete the process (the answers may arrive at a later time!)

Let it go!

Let it go!

Step 4 : Let it go. Once you have thanked the emotion, you can invite your guest to leave. I do this by imagining the emotion turning into the wind and blowing through my body. As the wind blows through my body, I feel the feeling and bid it good-bye, by name. You may enjoy a very gentle breeze, you may prefer the wind to blow around your body ,or away from your body, instead of through it (although having the emotion go through your body lets you get used to feeling feelings again – and that can be very helpful :)) or you may even prefer to design your own process for letting go!  

I have to tell you that the first time I tried this, I had a real epiphany moment at this stage. I realised that when it was time to let go of the feeling, I didn’t want to! The emotion I was working through at the time was sadness. As I looked at the sadness and acknowledged everything it had done for me, everything it was trying to tell me, I became incredibly sad myself (I am actually crying as I am typing this). I realised that I had enjoyed spending time with my emotion : it felt sacred and I wanted to keep the connection.I was actually feeling the feeling for the first time in a long time. I wasn’t frightened of it at all. In fact, I was suddenly in awe of the gentleness and dignity with which this emotion had handled itself in its attempt to help. It was an utterly tender experience. It was at this very moment that I decided to start respecting my body. It was at this very moment that I decided to start respecting my emotions : all of them.

In a nutshell 🙂 By learning to recognise an emotion and its purpose, we can begin to respect our body and our emotions in new ways. Just pay attention to what’s happening the next time you experience hunger : are you getting the message in a different way? If you begin to listen to your emotions rather than feeding them, what happens?

I look forward to hearing how this works for you!

Gotta run  🙂 ! JT

Group experiences can be nourishing and nurturing!

Group experiences can be nourishing and nurturing!

*If you would like to discuss the possibility of 1-1 coaching sessions (face-to-face or via Skype) with me, do feel free to call or email. If you think that you might enjoy exploring/ resolving your emotional relationship with food in a group setting (it can be fun, transformational and extremely nurturing to work with a group of peolple who really get where you’re coming from), do consider coming along to a live event! The next live events are in Northern Ireland (in Portrush and in Belfast in January and February) and in the England (Warrington in February). Check out this page to find out more https://thighhighbootcamp.com/dates-venues-price/

© Jane Talbot 2012

Early Epiphany Alert!

The Three Kings brought gifts!

The Three Kings brought gifts!

Welcome to the 5th 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!)

If you are playing the “get the message” game (take the first letter from the title of each blog post, starting on the 1st day of Christmas, and by the 12th day, you’ll get the full message), today’s letter marks the end of the first word of the message 🙂

Yesterday’s post was all about your beginning to re-build a healthy relationship with your body and appetite based on a loving connection, honest communication and genuine collaboration.

Today’s post is all about reviewing what you’ve learned so far. It’s about considering what gifts this process of learning to “stay on track” has brought to you. That’s right – the Epiphany has come early! I think that the Epiphany (when the Three Kings arrived with gifts in the Christmas story) actually occurs on the 6th January but, as far as I’m concerned, the earlier the Epiphany, the better 🙂 As epiphany also means a higher level of awareness, a moment of enlightenment or revelation, it provides a perfect focus for today’s activities.

Activity 1 : Your Epiphany As you look back over the last 5 days (I suggest that you do this exercise at the END of today to coincide with the completion of your food diary), what are the 3 most significant gifts (in terms of learning, insight and awareness) that engaging with this process has brought to you so far? What is changing as a result of your learning?

Activity 2 : What Is Your Gold, Frankincense And Myrrh? To keep the Christmas theme going, you might also consider your learning gifts as gold, frankincense and myrrh. There are many theories about the significance of these gifts from the Three Kings. Many would say each gift has a spiritual meaning. So, let’s get creative and discover more gifts by asking some more questions 🙂 There’s always more to learn!

Gold

Gold

GOLD – It was thought that gold was offered as a symbol of kingship. So, with the benefit of your increasing awareness, who or what has been ruling you in the past? Who or what should be on the throne? How would you like your territory governed? Who or what will be the chief advisor? What kind of realm would you like to live in?

Frankincense

Frankincense

FRANKINCENSE – It was thought that frankincense was offered as a symbol of deity. Considering your body and your appetite :  what inspires awe? What do you now hold sacred? Which of your body’s “special powers” are you most grateful for? How will you honour your body from now on? Which rituals can you create to celebrate your body’s magic?

MYRRH – It was thought that myrrh was offered as symbol of death. So, within the context of your “staying on track”, what do you need to lay to rest? In order to enjoy a healthy relationship with your body and with food, what do you need to let go of? What are you noticing that’s coming to an end? What are you noticing that’s beginning now?

Myrrh

Myrrh

Enjoy unwrapping your gifts (Oh – and look after them : they might even last you a lifetime!). Feel free to share your learning gifts as a comment 🙂

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

Welcome To The 12 Days Of Christmas Project!

With only 7 sleeps to go before the big “Ho Ho Ho!!”, it’s time to launch my 12 Days of Christmas project! If you are already on a weightloss journey and would enjoy support over the festive period, or if you are considering making 2013 the year that you make peace with food and with your body, then I’d be thrilled to welcome you to join me (it’s FREE!)

Everything you need to know about how the project will work is included in the short 10-minute video (below).  A snack-sized text version of the project information is also available (it’s underneath the video!)

If you’re feeling anxious about “staying on track” over the festive season, this blog-supported 12-day project is for you! Over the course of 12 days, I’ll be sharing tips and activities that will not only help you to “stay on track” but will also offer you the opportunity to ditch the “carrot sticks ‘n’ low-fat dips” menu. (It sounds like all your Christmases have come at once, doesn’t it? Well, if you can get in touch with your own natural body wisdom – and respect it – not only will Christmas never be the same again, your relationship with both food and your body will be totally transformed :))

Watch the video to discover the link between skis and this project!

Watch the video to discover the link between skis and this project!

If you are ready to give yourself a Christmas gift that will help you to break free from the dieting paradigm, all you have to do is click on the “Sign Me Up!” button on the right-hand navigation bar and just wait for your first “gift” to arrive in your email in-box on Christmas Eve (it’s okay to open this gift early!)

Oh – and there’s an added bonus! Each of the 12 “gift blogs” will have a title. If you take the first letter from each title ( in sequence), it will spell out a festive message just for you 🙂 (I wonder how quickly you’ll get the message……)

Gotta run (I’ve got gifts to wrap for you!)

JT

And She’s Off!

Blog helloWell – it’s been a long while coming but I got there in the end! That’s right – I’m starting to flex my blogging muscles (and I’m really excited about it too :))

I’ll be blogging about weightloss, fitness and optimal health – as well as personal development and personal discovery. (Oh – and probably about my dog too, who is alot smarter than I am –  and about food because I love cooking and eating!)

To celebrate the official launch of my blog , I’m going to be writing a series of posts to support my  “12 Days Of Christmas” project . Whether you are already on your weightloss journey or whether you are considering making 2013 the year you make peace with food and with your body, I extend a very warm invitation to you to join the project.

Over the course of 12 days, I’ll  be  sharing some tips and activities which you may find helpful over the festive period (and beyond) – and you may be pleasantly suprised at how much fun you have , and how much you learn,  along the way!

I’ll be publishing a project launch post in the next couple of days to explain the full details and how it all works. In the meantime, if this has whetted your appetite, feel free to keep up-to-date with all my posts by signing up to follow my blog (that way you get my posts delivered direct to your email inbox!) Just go to the navigation bar on the right hand side and click on “Sign Me Up!”

Gotta run now!

JT 🙂