4 things therapy taught me

Tonight was my last therapy session. My therapist wished me well, gave me a hug and I walked away from his office. A few minutes later I started crying as I walked towards where Lou was going to pick me up from. I cried because I am damn proud of myself for going to therapy and forever changing my life for the better.

My therapist and I both feel that I’m at a place where I no longer need to attend sessions. I felt it two weeks ago at my last appointment, that I was nearing the end of needing therapy, our session was shorter and I felt like I probably had one last session, so I booked two weeks out instead of the regular once/week. Today was even shorter, it was more of a check in to see how I was doing and how I felt my food issues were going, and also how the stressful family member issue was going.

The family member issue resolved itself last week when they moved out, so all is back to normal in my home and I am obviously so happy the stress is gone.

I let him know I felt 100% in control around food, and I hadn’t binged since our first session. I naturally have eaten more intuitively and pay so much more attention to how I am feeling while I am eating. I stop when my body tells me to, or if I just don’t really think that what I’m eating is tasty. I can honestly say I know my relationship with food is changed for the better, it will be something I deal with for the rest of my life, but after learning so much about myself and how I deal with my feelings around food I know I’ve got this.

Anyways, I wanted to share something I have been thinking about for last 6+ weeks, and that’s what therapy has taught me.

1. It’s okay not to have all the answers.

I’ve known I had major issues with my relationship with food for the last couple of years but I never thought I needed help to address it. I thought I would figure it out all on my own, boy was I mistaken! Seeking help was the best thing I have ever done for myself. It allowed me to talk about things I never felt comfortable saying to anyone.

2. I don’t need to be the parent.

Before therapy, I spent a lot of time telling other people what to do and it’s fucking exhausting.

Whether it was asking my partner to clean up after himself or clean something the way I wanted it to be cleaned, or telling a family member all the shit they were doing wrong in our house.

I remember when I touched on this stuff with Brian, he said something I will never forget: “Imagine all the free time you will have when you stop parenting other people”. It blew my mind. I was stressing out about other people and what they were doing, when I should/could have just focused on myself. It’s not my business the way my partner chooses to clean, because as long as it gets done then who cares if it’s different from how I would choose to do it. Who cares if someone asked me for help or advice and then chooses to ignore it, it’s their life not mine so why should I stress myself out over something not in my control.

In the last few weeks I have really thought more about when I feel like I may react to something in a negative way and instead of nagging or parenting someone, I’m starting to pause first and usually the want to parent goes away.

3. I’m the director of my life.

I was letting the unhealthy thoughts I sometimes have control my actions around food. Before therapy, I never once fought back or thought I could do things differently. Therapy led me to discover new skills, ideas and ways of thinking about my relationship with food. My life has improved a lot in the last 6+ weeks since I have been digging deep and working on myself.

4. Be authentic.

I have been on a journey since last year, a journey to being my most authentic self. Going to therapy was a huge part of my journey to fixing my relationship with food. When I look back on the way I was interacting with food I can see that I had been feeling lost, like I wasn’t myself. I was constantly thinking that I was not living my truth. I found myself thinking “who wants to go through their whole lives hating themselves because of their poor relationship with food?”. I don’t remember what exactly happened the day I called my employer’s EAP (employee assistance program) line, but I knew I was sick of living the way I was and I knew I had to do something about it.

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Life lately and Gratituesday

Hello!

It’s been a while, and I haven’t felt too motivated to write recently. I randomly will have all these great ideas for blog posts I should write,  but the ideas end up forgotten about by the time the day is over so I just bought a small journal to write my ideas down in, and hopefully that keeps me on the ball more.

To catch up on what I’ve been doing lately, I will give you a brief rundown:

-I’ve went to therapy late last week and it was pretty good, things are winding down with Brian as I feel I’ve gotten a good grip on the big stuff we have been talking about. Instead of booking with him weekly, I am starting to book every 2-3 weeks.

-I ran a half marathon that I have been training for 3 months for, last Sunday. It was long, and tough but I felt pretty great during the whole thing. My body didn’t start hurting until the last 4 km were left. I made sure to prepare my mind in the days before the run, talking over a few scenarios and my fears I had. I really think that helped quiet my mind and I didn’t doubt myself once during the run. I decided to talk the rest of last week off as rest and recovery, and then Alberta happened and it’s been freezing this week so I am off until the free Love2Run 5k walk/run at all Running Room locations this upcoming Saturday, luckily it will warm up by then. I am doing it solo as I couldn’t convince anyone to come run with me.

-I’ve been feeling a bit off balance and overwhelmed lately in other areas of my life, the main stressors are work, and family. Work has been non-stop go go go, which means my days are flying by, but it also means I don’t have enough time in the day to get everything on my to-do list done. This feeling should start easing up by next week I am hoping. The family issue is that we have a member of my family staying with us, and that person has  stayed a bit too long and is wearing on my nerves and not respecting boundaries. Luckily, they are moving out by the middle of this month. I’m sure they can’t wait for their own space because I know I can’t wait to have the rest of my space back.

-I have continued a lucky streak of winning giveaways and contests off social media. My close friends are convinced I have a horseshoe up my ass. One friend suggested I keep track of what I win, so I think I will keep a spreadsheet from now on. I don’t know what it is, but i have won an obscene amount of stuff in the last 2 years, 2016 was exceptional for this, and this new year has me seeing my BIGGEST win yet. I WON a freaking TREADMILL (and some other cool stuff, like a year’s supply of smartwater!!) from http://www.spiffykerms.com, which is a blog I’ve been reading for the last few years at least. I was having a really shitty day until i got the email from Nancy saying that I won (our dog, Lexi, has been sick this last week, and that was the first day which meant our house was basically covered in her shit and it was not fun to clean up). Anyways, you should check out Nancy’s blog, she writes about beauty, fitness, and travel. She is hilarious and super sweet and loves coffee as much as I do. Nancy is Canadian, she is originally from Newfoundland, and has been living in California with her husband, Scott and their cute dog, Alfie.

I wanted to introduce something I heard about, which I am going to try my best implementing as a regular thing on my blog, it’s called Gratituesday. Basically, every Tuesday, I am going to post what I am feeling gratitude for. On my journey to being my most authentic self, I have been focusing on what I have and what is abundant in my life, rather than what I don’t have.

Today, I feel gratitude for:

  • my amazing friends, they have listened to me vent about my irritating family issue, even when they have their own big stressors in their lives right now.
  • my body, as it allows me a lot of freedom. anytime I feel like I am complaining about my level of fitness I try and remember that I am so blessed that I have the ability to walk and run and do a lot of physical activities, I try and remember that a lot of people are not as blessed as those who are able-bodied.
  • my spouse, he is the yin to my yang. when i’m down, he brings me up (it works both ways as I’ve been known to be sickly positive when he finds himself in a negative headspace). he believes in me, more than i believe in myself sometimes and I am just so gracious for this. he is my best friend and I love to laugh off the stress with him.

Please share with me, tell me at least one thing you are feeling gratitude for.

I spend money the same way I eat… excessively.

Since my appointment last week, I have become hyperaware of myself and my thoughts around food. I am constantly pausing when an unhealthy thought comes to mind. I have been parenting the shit out of those thoughts, and haven’t binged since. That doesn’t mean the unhealthy thoughts are gone, they’re ALWAYS there. Constantly poking at me, telling me to eat ALL THE THINGS. I asked my therapist, Brian, something I had been thinking about since we first met: will I have these unhealthy thoughts the rest of my life? He said yes, they’ll always be there but they will become less and less loud overtime, and you will hold the power over them because you have started to replace those unhealthy thoughts with healthier ones. I am the boss, I am in charge. That is an affirmation I have been telling myself, and I’m feeling pretty damn powerful.

Last week, Brian told me that Cognitive Behavioural Therapy could be used in all aspects of my life. Since getting a better grip on my beliefs around food, I have become more and more aware about other aspects in my life that are not serving me. A huge revelation has come about in the last week, and that is my relationship with money. I met with Brian yesterday, and told him about what I had discovered. I realized my relationship with food is very similar to my relationship with money. I am constantly buying unnecessary things to make myself feel better if: I am down, had a stressful day, I feel like I “deserve” it, when I am bored. I am in a state of constantly paying my credit card balance off. That sounds good because it’s paid off each month, but that also ends up leaving me with no money in my bank account. While I don’t have debt, besides a mortgage, I also lack any sort of savings and this is not okay for me and how I want to live my life. It’s a vicious cycle and I am DONE with it.

I have thought about why I am this way, and my unhealthiest thoughts around money likely come from growing up poor. My mom was a single mom, with three kids. She didn’t have much financial support and was always working to support us all. She herself is not great with money, so we didn’t pick up any money skills from her. My dad, who I would say is better with money, never educated us. It’s like money is a taboo subject for him. I would say their own money issues stem back from their own childhood, but that’s not my story so I will just leave it there.

My thoughts around food and money come from a place of NOT ENOUGH. I eat in fear that I am not enough, or I spend more than I should because I feel I don’t have enough. Since working with Brian, I realized these are OLD, unhealthy thoughts that I need to replace with NEW, healthier thoughts.

This is my next step in becoming my authentic self. I want to let go of old, unhealthy habits, and replace them with new ones.

I will say that having a money conscious spouse has taught me a great deal, but I am also stubborn as shit and have always viewed my money as MY money, and I can do what I want with it. He has respected that, but MY way is getting me and us NOWHERE! We have our own bank accounts (highly recommend this), and we have a joint account for our monthly payments. I am still figuring out the best way for me to budget my money, and allow myself to come up with a good amount of savings, and emergency savings. I will start small, and work my way to a bigger goal. I definitely have some work to do.

 

What about you guys, do you struggle with money too? Do you have any tips for me?

another step forward to being my most authentic self

hey guys!

I thought I’d share a little (or a lot) about myself and some of the stuff I’m learning and doing so that I can live my best life.

I recently started going to therapy, to address my disordered relationship with food. I am an emotional eater and have been since I was a child. This relationship with food, at times, created a negative body image in my mind. I’ve worked on the body image issues in the last few years, and feel pretty good with how far I’ve come with accepting my body, in whatever size I am, at any given moment. I have realized in the last 1-2 years that just because I’ve become more accepting of my physical self, doesn’t mean I have the greatest relationship with food. I decided to enlist a therapist.

I have been to therapy before, but never for this. I believed I didn’t need the extra guidance, and that I could conquer it on my own. I also very much struggled with the fact that I actually do enjoy food, most of the time. I like going to the new restaurants (and old favourites). I enjoy meeting friends over food or coffee. I think I assumed that because I am a bit of a foodie, that I couldn’t also seek help for something I enjoy.

I’ve only just recently realized that these traits I have are separate. I did need to seek help from a third party to find out why I do what I do and how to change. I know my poor relationship with food has been holding me back from being my truest self.

I went to my first session last week, my therapist is an older man. I’ve never had a male therapist before and was a bit nervous, but we hit it off and it’s a great fit for me. I’ve already noticed some positive mental shifts since meeting with him last week.

Previously, if i had a stressful day or moment, I would tell myself to eat something “bad” because I deserved it. It would help me cope with whatever I was feeling. I would turn to food, usually something sweet and everything would be better.

After seeing the therapist, i’ve come to realize that it was the unhealthy thoughts telling me to cope with food and I never once questioned these thoughts, i just dove into the food as i was told. These thoughts stem from childhood. I have comforted myself with food, overeating when happy, sad, bored, etc. My unhealthy thoughts are childlike because they stem from my childhood, so I’ve been calling these thoughts “a little girl”. He’s got me working on “parenting” these unhealthy thoughts. An example of this would be the unhealthy thought telling me to eat a bunch of chips/cookies/insert random junk food because I had a shit day, my healthy thought needs to then parents that thought with telling it to shut the EFF up, and that I make the decision on what I want to eat, and it’s not chips right now. My unhealthy thoughts tell me to eat whatever I want because I ran that day, My healthy thought replies that I am in need of something nutritional and beneficial to get me closer to how I want to feel.

I know some people may think it’s a bit weird to talk to yourself in your head, but holy shit it has helped so much. I have unhealthy thoughts around food all day, everyday, but only once in the last week have I overate to cope with something. That is a huge accomplishment for me. My therapist gave me homework last week, it was to write down on one side of paper all the unhealthy things I found myself thinking, and then on the opposite side of the paper to write down all of the “parenting” thoughts in response  to the unhealthy shit I tell myself. It was mind blowing to read the kind of shit i let myself tell myself.

I saw him just today and read him my inner dialogue that he gave me as homework and it felt so good to read them aloud. Every time an unhealthy thought has popped into my head, I have been able to catch it and parent the fuck out of it. He has helped me figure out that I am the one in control of myself. For better or worse, I am responsible for my actions. I feel better knowing that I’ve gained another tool in my mental toolbox. I know this is a life long journey, but if i can keep on showing up for myself by replacing unhealthy thoughts with healthy thoughts, I know I can do great things.

 

if you have any questions about the above, let me know in the comments and I’d be happy to answer.

 

hello, is this thing on?

WHEW!

So last week I decided to make it official and tell people I was starting a blog. I wanted to hit publish with a goal of… yesterday, but fear took over soon after I made that decision and immediately I felt like I should abandon my plan because I didn’t think I could do it (a lifelong issue), once I recognized that it was fear I was feeling, I knew I would just let it pass and then plow ahead as soon as it did… so here it goes: 

Hello!

My name is Amelia and I was born & raised in Edmonton, Alberta.

I decided to start a blog to share my thoughts, mostly for myself, but also for anyone else who may be interested.

I plan to write about: my everyday life, travel and upcoming plans, my passion for running and trying new things in regards to fitness, food/restaurants, bettering myself so I can live my best life, learning more about myself and my struggles with food and body image, goals, and anything else I think might resonate with others.