September 14, 2008
Late Night Lament
So there I was ..it was 2 a.m. and I'm unable to fall asleep. A lot of tossing and turning ensued. And lots of getting up to adjust the thermostat.... and the ceiling fan...and finally dragging out the floor fan just for the noise it makes. Being hot, then cold, then hot, then cold. All to no avail--because sleep just wouldn't come.
The culprit I'm sure was that triple strength cup of coffee I had late that afternoon. I know better. But it was dreary outside and I was sleepy and thought it would perk me up. Well, it did. Boy, did it perk me up.
Now, during that tossing and turning episode I did a lot of thinking too. Some of it was the anxious kind, which I addressed by telling myself to : QUIT THINKING--NO ANXIOUS THINKING ALLOWED.
From that--my head with its thinking-- I proceeded to my stomach. Two days prior I'd been starving all day; on the heels of that was a day where I was not hungry at all and nothing sounded good and I actually under ate...and worried a tad about the negative effect that would have on my metabolism--too much knowledge doth a worrier make. And then the day of the sleepless night--I was back to my normal hunger level..and consumed my normal allotted amount of food. I actually counted the calories instead of relying on the hunger scale totally--I think it's a good idea to check up at intervals and see how you are faring. And I haven't lost the little bit of weight I gained at the beach, and then there was Labor Day weekend--so I'm putting off weighing. So, obviously, I'm a little concerned, not desiring to undue my hard work and regain additional weight.
Back to the point of this post--so...there I was thinking about food, unable to sleep and feeling hungry and thinking perhaps it was hunger keeping me awake. So I wrestled with that feeling, telling myself I'd had plenty to eat that day, so no--you're not going to get up and eat.
Finally, being weary of the struggle I decided to give myself permission to get up and eat anything I wanted. So--I asked my self: "Self--you can have anything you want--what do you want?"
Hmmm. I laid there and thought. I figuratively perused the contents of the fridge...nope...nothing there I wanted. Moved on to the contents of the pantry and cabinets. Same answer. Nothing....nada...zip. Then it happened--it dawned on me and the realization took hold and I experienced the big "ta da" light bulb moment---I wasn't hungry!!! Though I believed I was, I wasn't. Not until I extended to myself the grace to eat--not the grudging kind of permission that says "I can't stand it, I give up, I'm eating", but the kind that says "it's o.k...you're not a failure...you're hungry and it's keeping you awake"--did I figure out I wasn't hungry.
That freedom to eat, i.e. eat freely released me to discover I wasn't hungry. The struggle to prevent myself from eating was static--a diversion---my energy was divested in that conflict and it sapped my strength. I almost missed discovering the truth.
How many times has this happened in my life? Countless I imagine. And most of them I assumed I was just a weak willed person and spent my energy trying to prevent myself from eating instead of expending it trying to discover if I was hungry and what I was hungry for. I was a misguided person.... choosing the wrong fight,....picking the wrong battle... and failing to comprehend the real issue.
Once I realized I wasn't hungry, I fell asleep. And sweet it was....sound, deep, and lengthy. I awoke refreshed and quite in awe of the mental interplay and the giant step I took in those wee small hours.
To simplify my point: Next time you get hungry, and you believe you've eaten enough food--quit fighting with yourself in an effort to prevent eating. Instead put your energy into determining if your hunger might be a genuine need. By giving yourself permission to discover what you'd like to eat (no guilt allowed), you might find there is really no particular food you want..that in fact nothing really sounds good...that instead, your struggle is the limitation of not being able to eat freely and wishing that you could--- versus genuine hunger.
For a couple of days prior to the incident I related above I was bemoaning the fact that I must wrestle with food. The realization that never in my lifetime will I be free to eat without monitoring my food intake causes me to despair. My choices are two: eat with abandon and be fat or monitor my food intake and keep my weight in an acceptable range. ACCEPTABLE RANGE--not skinny, not slender, not slim---the best I can hope for is ACCEPTABLE. Sort of depressing, eh? Suck it up, I say to myself, let it go, move on. There are other more important things to conquer.
"....there have been many times when I have shed bitter tears, when if I had understood the situation better, I would have celebrated my good luck instead."