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Week Four: Recovering Sounds and Smells

My Encouragements


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Food Month Index

Day 22: November 22

I guess I should have known that we could not explore conscious eating without addressing our BLocks in and around weight. I suppose I had hoped I could help people to remain focused mainly on the more gentle aspects of conscious eating and in fact, I still hope I can. Just the same, for the many people who have written to tell me they suffer about their weight, I will now try to offer something useful; I will tell you what I have discovered so far about weight.

Know I will be offering these thoughts a bit at a time over the next week or so, so don't expect a comprehensive discussion all in one day or even over the whole time. There is simply too much I don't know yet and too much else to focus on. Also, please remember, what I am about to offer you are my preliminary thoughts, nothing more, so please don't run out and tell the world just yet except where your disclosures might generate more input here and more love out there. (I guess this means there are a lot of places in which you could share this information. Just the same, you might want to go slow.)

Now, where to start? I guess I should start with the same basic commodity I always work with, peoples' "consciousness" and "lack of consciousness." In other words, I will start with how "consciousness" and "shock" affect peoples' weight.

The first thing to know about body weight, then, is that no one gains OR loses body weight unless they have somehow put their bodies into shock. Period. This means that although, this month, we have been focusing on reclaiming "consciousness" so as to regain some of the joy we once felt in and around eating, if we want to explore how weight loss occurs, we must also explore the "lack of consciousness" or what I call, "shock."

You can start with the idea that although the word, "shock" sounds big and painful, all it means is that a person is experiencing some degree of disconnection from life. Thus, saying someone is in shock does not have to mean this someone is catatonic. Most times, being in shock is much more subtle and much less total; more like zoning out for a bit or feeling somewhat numb emotionally.

The point is, though, that shock plays a major role in how much we weigh and how this weight changes over time. This means, in order to effect changes in body weights, we need to learn to recognize and use shock in a constructive sense.

Have any of us already used shock in a constructive sense, in this case, in order to alter what we weigh? Absolutely. In fact, what do you think a diet is? A diet is a "shockingly sudden, selective deprivation" wherein we suddenly deprive ourselves of something kind of food in order to lose weight. This shock, in fact, is what all diets have in common.

Now, having dropped the bomb, let me explain. In fact, let me use myself as the example in this discussion.

The most significant parts of my consciousness reclaiming journey have occurred over the last six or seven years. No coincidence, I have also been on a number of diets over the last six or seven years. This means I have been somewhat more conscious as to my experiences with diets over the past seven or so years.

What kinds of diets have I been on. For one thing, I was on a low calorie diet, one in which I suddenly and significantly lowered my caloric intake. Did I lose weight? Absolutely. My conclusion at the time? That I had been eating too many calories for my metabolic rate, and that my weight loss had occurred simply from cutting this caloric intake down.

Was this true? Well I sure thought so at the time. And is regulating one's caloric intake a part of a healthy diet. Absolutely. Even so, this "willing myself to eat less calories" thing grew old real fast, and it didn't take me long before I grew very tired of trying to force myself to suffer through low calorie meals. Eventually, then, I went off the diet and gained all the weight back. No surprise to anyone reading this, I'm sure.

Next, I tried a low fat diet. In this case, I suddenly and significantly lowered my intake of fats. Did I lose weight? Absolutely. And again, should we be concerned with how much fat we take in? Absolutely, But what did I conclude when I lost weight from severely limiting my intake of fat? That I had been eating too much fat, and that my weight loss had come from getting rid of this terribly "evil" substance. And was this true? Again, I thought so at the time. In fact, for the second time in a short number of years, I felt I had found the magic formula, the secret to successful weight loss. Eventually, though, when I fell off the initial high which had buoyed up my will power, I again fell back into what I had been taught to believe were "bad habits." And into beating the crap out of myself for not living up to my "level of spiritual awareness." What BS. I'm just as human as the next overstuffed bear.

Anyway, eventually I gained back every pound I lost and then some. Yo-yo, yo-yo. And when people commented on how I had lost and then gained weight a lot, I worried even more, this time about what I was doing to my poor body and how this would eventually kill me in the end. Arrrgh.

So what did I do? I just looked for another diet, and this time, fell for one of the "no carbs" diets. What is a "no carbs" diet? Just another way to suddenly deprive your body of a whole freakin' food group. And did I lose weight. Absolutely. My conclusion this time? Once again, I thought I had discovered the secret to weight loss, and that my weight loss had come from eliminating the newly designated "bad food" from my diet.

But here again, eventually I found myself obsessively longing for a plate of pasta with Luigi's Vodka sauce and a table full of rich Italian desserts. The result? Of course, I am only human, and when my will power eventually evaporated, I gave in. Fell in actually. The result. I gained all the weight back and more. And worse. This time, my doctor told me I had some serious kidney problems, and that I had better make some serious changes to my diet. Serious changes? What the heck did he think I had been doing for the last seven years!

And here is where my personal journey into conscious eating began, a few months after being told I might be on dialysis in a year. At the time, I felt scared, and confused, and angry. And lost. But mostly, I just felt like giving up.

Yet here I am. Only months later. With all the weight I wanted to lose gone and with none of the deprivation going on.

So happened to me, and what is my point? My point is, none of the diets I went on were anything other than me using my will power to suddenly and selectively deprive myself of whatever has been currently selected as the "bad" food, something which I normally had been eating. The result. Each and every time I deprived myself like this, my body went into shock, shocked by the sudden deprivation.

And what about the weight I gained back each time I went off a diet? Well the same thing happened as when I went on a diet only in reverse. Thus, each time I gained the weight back, I gained it back suddenly. Why? Because I was putting my body into shock by suddenly and selectively overeating, in each case, a food group I had not been eating at all. The result? I was again putting my body into shock, only this time, from too much food. The result? My body was unable to process this food in a normal fashion and so, it lost access to the instructions which would normally limit how much of this food got stored.

Where am I going with all this? Well, for today, no further, as my point here, that weight loss and weight gain is the result of putting your body into shock, is a big gulp to digest, no pun intended. I promise to write more on this tomorrow though.

As for what you all are reporting to me, I think I have given you all quite enough for one day.

God Bless,

Steven

Day 23: November 23

What a day to try to remain conscious of eating!

Just the same, Happy Thanksgiving to everyone. And for anyone who has recovered even some small part of their ability to eat consciously, today's the day to be grateful for it. And if not, today will offer many more chances to do so by giving yourself some gentle attention throughout the day.

Speaking of gentle attention, isn't it funny how, if we give ourselves a little gentle attention and love, we can accomplish things which cause our "wires" to become bigger (my way of saying how we can increase our internal ability to carry consciousness). My point. I feel like I am just now finally finding my stride here, what with the writing a finished piece everyday thing being new to me. I also hope this is happening to many of you too, in that I hope your ability to apply conscious eating skills to your lives is becoming more and more a part of the norm rather than something you have to work hard at knowing and doing every minute.

Now, before telling you the second installment of my thoughts on weight change, I wanted to share the following response from a dear friend, a colleague and the mother of one of my current teachers, Jacob, who at this time is all of a year and a half old. And for anyone who does not recognize his name, Jacob's story is posted on my site. Anyway, this is what she sent me yesterday:

I am thinking about dinner with friends. I am already anxious, wanting to rush it. It is so much easier to eat alone; I can focus and be peaceful.

I am paying attention to Jacob's eating. I notice that I give him HUGE bite-fulls of food. I also seem to rush his meals. I don't take the time to allow them to be fun and enjoyable. It is the same attitude I have for my own eating that I bring to his tray, "hurry up and eat so we can be done with this activity." It is so fascinating that he gets distracted and stops eating when he is full. At that point, I usually continue to try and feed him, "one more bite." I worry that if he isn't jam packed in the belly, he might get hungry sooner and not have food to eat. Perhaps this is much of my own issue. Also, maybe I give him too many snacks. Sometimes he cries out, maybe it is not for food, maybe it is for me. I just don't want him to ever feel his hunger is ignored, so I STUFF him. No wonder 4 toddler clothing is way too small for him. It is sad to say, but if he were a girl, I think I would be much more uptight about the eating issues.

Just made some yummy cookies for tomorrow. Had to have some, couldn't help myself!!! Hope you had a good night. Happy Thanksgiving -- I am grateful you are in my life.

What an amazing food month realization; how a mother's conscious eating or lack thereof can affect her child's. So obvious in hind sight. Still, I so appreciate her courage in sharing this story with us.

As for today's thoughts about how weight relates to conscious eating, I will focus my thoughts today on an effect I have only recently discovered; the idea that how much we weight is very affected by something I call, "body cell memory."

What do I mean by "body cell memory?" To be honest, this is a complicated topic, but the part I want to focus on here is the part that has to do with recording what I call a "weight range." This idea, that of a "weight range," functions very similarly to how the high and low tides create water level marks on river or ocean pier posts.

Thus, anyone who has ever looked at the lines on pier posts knows that pier posts generally have several high and several low water marks on them, lines where the tide has repeatedly risen up to and gone down to over a significant period of time. Further, each of the high marks is related to a corresponding low mark and so, each mark is a part of a pair.

How do these pairs of lines get created? They occur when a tide remains in this range over the course of a long time. What also occurs, though, is inevitably this range will eventually shift, sometimes higher and sometimes lower. And with each shift, a new pair of high and low marks gets created.

Something very similar happens to our bodies with regard to weight. Thus, each time we remain at a certain weight for a significant length of time, our bodies record what amounts to high and low "body weight" lines, a pair of lines which mark the limits within which the body feels normal during this time period. And if you were to weight yourself when you are in one of these stable periods, regardless of how much you weight, you would find that the body sort of self corrects to within these limits, even if you occasionally over or under eat.

Of course, it may take a day or two or three for this internal correction to have an effect, but none the less, it happens just the same.

Now, before telling you how this "body cell memory" relates to weight loss and gain, I need to give you one more analogy, an analogy which explains kind of how these memories come to be stored in the first place. The analogy I am referring to concerns how the human body, in some ways, functions very similarly to the way a rechargeable battery functions. By this, I mean, all rechargeable batteries regardless of composition share one very important characteristic; they remember how far they were discharged. Thus, if they are recharged after being less than fully discharged, they somehow store a memory of this new low point as the new "normal low water mark." In other words, rechargeable batteries, when they are repeatedly recharged after not being fully discharged, forget how to access the energy below the original low water mark and so, loss access to the energy in that part of the battery. In effect, a new set of lines mark the range in which the battery can store and use energy.

Now, for those of you who have BLocks in and around science and technology, please be gentle with yourselves right now. Just the same, the whole thing comes into focus if you know that an aspect of the human body is that it also functions as a battery. Not like a battery. It is a battery. In fact, this idea is the basis of the recent hit movie, "The Matrix."

Movies aside, though, what all this means is that we each have within us a number of high and low water marks, essentially pairs of energy guidelines which the body uses to regulate our weight. Further, because of the way the body uses these marks, we will remain within the range of the current set of high and low "weight" marks even if we digress into decadence for a short period of time, unless, of course, we do something which puts our bodies into shock.

What does putting our bodies into shock do? Going into shock kind of abruptly shoves our weights outside of the current range, either above or below the current range. Does this mean the current range has changed? Good question. And the answer depends on how abruptly and for how long we stay in this new range.

To understand this a little better, picture how temporary storms cause temporary high tides, and how these high tides, even though they exceed the normal range of high and low water marks on the pier posts, will not necessarily create new high and low water marks. In fact, most times, the storm passes, and a short time later there is little if any evidence left on the pier posts.

How about the effect of the more severe storms though, such as those which occur during hurricanes? Here, the effect is so abrupt and so powerful that often, the tides change for long periods, imprinting the pier posts with new high and low water marks.

The same thing happens to us with regard to our weight. Thus, most times, when we over or under eat, within a few days or so, our bodies self correct back into what has been our normal weight range. This is why you can go through hell to lose weight and still be fighting the same five pounds. The body is self correcting and successfully returning you to what it sees as your current normal range.

What happens, though, when you do something which suddenly either deprives you of what you have been used to eating or something which causes you to significantly and abruptly exceed your current normal high weight limit? The same thing that a severe storm does to pier posts; either sustained over eating will cause the body to record a new high and low weight lines OR severe under eating will cause you to fall into the weight range one lower than what you have been at.

What causes these kinds of changes? Anything which causes our bodies to go into shock suddenly. Thus, diets cause our bodies to go into shock suddenly, and diets cause us to fall into a previous weight range. Suddenly reintroducing the previously eliminated foods from this diet will also cause the body to go into shock, and here, the body will return to the previous higher weight range.

Other causes are sudden illness (all illness being a form of shock) which puts the body into shock, as well as a sudden restoration to health which can also cause our bodies to go into shock.

In truth, anything which affects your head and heart will affect your body as well. There are no exceptions. Thus, any significant shock at all can alter our bodies high and low weight marks. This includes traumas like being raped and having cancer.

Enough for today. Has all this information put you into shock? If so, please be easy on yourself and give it all time to settle out into something stable enough for you to evaluate for yourselves. And for God's sake, please do not think I am trying to force feed my ideas into you. To be honest, I had no intention of even sharing these thoughts with anyone until I had enough support to make them at least plausible. But as I continue to hear people tell me how they suffer with weight and as I hear yet again more of the self hate in people surface, I know I need to at least offer some degree of help in whatever way I can.

How can my ideas help with weight? First of all, what I have been offering and what I will offer in the coming days is proof that it has been and is no one's fault for not being able to sustain a healthy weight. Is it your responsibility? Yes. Absolutely. But if no one tells you how to accomplish this goal nor even how the problem occurs in the first place (and please don't call the misinformation which is currently available, the stuff people use daily to beat themselves silly, the genuine article), then how can people be expected to maintain their weight in a healthy range?

Finally, I personally know many people, spiritually wonderful people, who literally kill themselves trying to change their weight and who, after years of reading and dieting and exercise, still fail to get to where they want to go. My mother was one of these people. Perhaps not the spiritually wonderful part. But I do know she tried desperately for years to gain weight, only to die of anorexia anyway at age forty-nine.

Did she die because she didn't try hard enough? Hell, no. And are my friends and clients who also kill themselves to lose weight not trying hard enough. No. This is crazy to even suggest this. Some of them could teach me about nutrition for years and still, I would not know all that they know.

The simply truth is, then, that unless you use shock and consciousness as your bottom line assessment tools, you will never really understand any suffering, let alone the terribly pervasive suffering we all experience in and around eating and food and weight.

As for where I am going with all this, I promise you, I will offer at least a place to begin before we finish this month's time together. Will it solve your weight problems. Hell, I don't know. But at least it won't introduce any more self hate into the process. And more important, perhaps together we can discover at least the beginnings of a sane solution to this painful problem.

And on this, day twenty-three of what has been a very, very intense month, please, please, please try to be extra gentle with yourselves today. And know I am so grateful to all of you for your help.

God Bless,

A very, very grateful Steven

Day 24: November 24

The day after Thanksgiving. How did you all do yesterday as far as staying conscious? Did you have a harder time than usual what with all the holiday energy about? Or perhaps I have overwhelmed you with the past few day's thoughts about weight and the body?

Whatever the case, remember to be easy on yourself. No one gets anything but "A's" from me no matter how much they do.

As for what I've been writing about in the past few days, about weight and the body, what I find most interesting about the "body cell memory" thing is that there is a second similarity between our bodies and rechargeable batteries; that of how the body loses it's ability to recharge as we get older the same way rechargeable batteries lose their ability to store and discharge energy as they get older.

In fact, this capacity to hold and discharge energy is what I believe gives us our feelings of "fitness." Thus, if we have lost a good deal of our ability to recharge, we will feel "unfit." Likewise, if we have been doing things which extend our capacity to recharge, such as a healthy program of exercise, we can maintain and even extend our feelings of "fitness" well into old age.

Oddly enough, though, a benefit of conscious eating I never expected to find has been that it somehow affects and even extends these feelings of fitness even without exercise! How? I don't know, and to be honest, I have been somewhat reluctant to share about these observations as they sound so crazy, even to me. Further, I am in no way implying people need not exercise to feel fit. However, there may be something which consciousness does for us which has as yet gone unrecognized.

As for what, here is one example of someone who has not been exercising and yet has experienced increased fitness from doing food month, rather dramatically I might add:

The most interesting phenomena is that despite my physical limitations I feel strangely fit! The other day I was standing at the top of the stairs when a sneeze caused me to throw my back out and fall all the way down. I landed thinking that I had surely sustained major injury, and somewhat amazed I was alive. I crawled to my bed, as I was gingerly trying to get in I realized that I did not feel as injured as I should have. Within an hour I actually felt OK!!!

I've also noticed that my body feels like I've been working out. My muscles are toning and I see the signs of weight lose in my face, fingers and waist!!!!! My waist hasn't looked like this in 9 and a half years! What ever is going on it's great!!!!

Now as to what is happening here, I am still too surprised, and confused, to venture an opinion beyond saying that I believe this increased fitness effect is somehow related to the deep discharge techniques people use on rechargeable batteries which have lost heir ability to hold a charge. By this, I mean, when rechargeable batteries begin to lose their ability to hold a charge, sometimes, repeatedly cycling through deep discharging followed by deep charging can restore some of their lost ability to hold a charge. Unfortunately, no one as yet understands why this happens.
How does this relate to emergence and to conscious eating?

At this point, all I can say is, I think that whenever a person experiences an emergence, they must somehow be restoring their ability to access energy within themselves. Moreover, I am pretty sure that in the actual instant in which the person experiences the emergence, that they are somehow deeply and instantly energetically charged and discharged. No surprise, then, that many people, after experiencing one of these healing instants emerge, say, "I feel drained." In fact, the person I quoted above has herself experienced many scenes emerge this month.

Now, some might say that the feelings of fitness some people have experienced simply what happens to you when you lose weight, and there is some truth to this statement. However, one fellow doing food month told me he woke up recently and felt "lighter" than he has in a while. So he got on the scale and found he was and has been at his heaviest weight in a while. Despite this fact, he continued to tell me he felt strangely "lighter."

This story is a good example of how "feeling lighter" is more a statement of your internal sensation of fitness than it is of your actual weight, and I do not mean it is simply mind over matter. So what exactly is fitness?

Again, I believe fitness is the range of your bodies capacity to charge and discharge energy. More range; more feelings of fitness. Less range; less feelings of fitness. And where are my feelings about this coming from? Actually, they are coming from my own experiences during the past two months. Let me explain.

Those who know me personally know I have, for some years now, enjoyed climbing. Not the sheer cliffs type of climbing but very steep climbing none the less. In fact, I have for years made my climbing part of my spiritual practice.

Even so, over the past year or so, I have been unable to climb as my life has become so filled with writing and teaching emergence. In fact, other than one time this past Spring, I have not climbed regularly since the fall of 1999.

Neither have I exercised in other ways. And when I did climb the one time this past Spring, I experienced what I have always experienced when I have been away from regular exercise; I struggled like hell because I was out of shape.

"Out of shape." What does this phrase mean? Really it is just another way to say I had lost my "fitness." Nothing really unexpected here either as I have been used to being unable to climb during the colder months and so, I have had a number of Springs during which I have had to work really hard to regain the feelings of fitness I had lost over the Winter.

My age is also a factor here. I will be fifty four soon. Thus, each year, it seems my ability to get back into shape becomes harder and harder.

None of this will come as a surprise to anyone I'm sure. These things are simply common knowledge to most of us. In fact, in order to set the stage for my story even further, I had a heck of a good test of my fitness early last Summer when my car broke down and I had to walk a mile or so to my office. Holy %^and*, was I out of shape! But I knew I would be. After all, I had done nothing physical in the eight or none months prior other than that one climb I did in the Spring.

Despite what we all know about fitness though, somehow I had (and am still having) the strangest side effect from my own journey toward conscious eating; I am feeling more fit than I have felt in many, many years.

These feelings began about two weeks into my own conscious eating journey which began in early September this year. At the time, I found myself strangely commenting to my chiropractor two weeks in a row that I felt more fit than I had felt in years, despite having done pretty much no exercise at all for more than a year. My logical mind told me it was simply my excitement about life, that I couldn't possible be even close to fit.

Then about a day or two before we all started food month, I had a genuine test of my fitness when my friend and colleague called and asked me if I'd like to get in a climb before the Winter set in. Thus, the next day, when he and I set out to climb, I was climbing for only the second time this year.

Now Ed is twenty nine and a Tai Chi master. He is also in the gym four to five times a week. Thus, it won't surprise you when I say that he was in great shape as we began our climb that day.

Nor will it surprise you when I tell you that I mentioned to Ed that he might have to go easy on me that day, as I was seriously out of shape for such a strenuous climb and so, might have to wait for me at times.

But as we began to climb, something strange happened. As I led the way, I fully expected to feel the same old familiar suffering I have always felt when I am out of shape. But it did not come. More over, when Ed, about a third of the way up, stopped to catch some air and the view, he remarked to in a joking manner that I was hardly out of shape.

Me, I simply wrote his comment off as him being kind to me, going easy on me, and the like. As for my lack of suffering, I simply told myself that I was wiser now and had learned to go at a slower pace.

Even so, when we reached the top and when I finally shared with Ed my confusion as to my having experienced fitness in my body, the kind of fitness I knew to be the fitness I had previously felt only when I had been climbing three to four times a week for months, he reassured me that it was not my imagination.

To be honest, I still didn't believe him. Neither do I believe my own body. After all, what I had just experienced totally contradicted everything I know to be true about how the body works. More so, the day we climbed I was in truth feeling somewhat tired from the busy schedule I had been keeping. And neither was I particularly happy nor unhappy that day. I was feeling normal. Thus, my feelings of fitness could not have come from me having had a great nights sleep nor from being so happy that my happiness overrode my feelings of being unfit.

Also important, I had not suddenly lost a particularly large amount of weight and in fact, the weight I had climbed at was my normal weight for climbing. So what happened to me that day?

Well, if this was the only thing that happened, I would not be writing this to you. But over the next few weeks, I was, for the first time I can remember, drawn to get on my treadmill for no other reason other than to reassure my self that I was out of shape. And when I got on it and felt the fitness I have only felt from weeks and weeks of regular exercise, I again found myself disbelieving my own body.

I guess what really made this all sink in was that later that day, I felt another urge to do the same thing; to get on the treadmill again. The result? I felt just as fit as I had felt before.

Weeks have passed and these feelings have not subsided. In fact, the closest I can come to describing what I am feeling is that I feel like I did in my late teens and early twenties when I would sometimes burst into a run just for the sheer joy of experiencing my body.

Will these wonderful feelings last? Who knows. At this point, I am grateful just for having felt what I have felt in these few weeks. Even so, when I again asked Ed if I had been climbing slowly that day, he repeatedly assured me that I was going so fast he had to keep catching up.

What does all this mean? To be honest, I need much more information about this before I will feel comfortable drawing any conclusions. Still, the idea that our bodies are analogous to rechargeable batteries keeps coming back into my consciousness. This and the fact that I can not explain what has happened to several others on this list as well.

At this point, I hope you all can see why I have asked you, this week, to report any changes in your feelings of fitness during food month. I also hope you will write me and tell me about any such changes, even those which you might not connect, such as what one fifty eight year old woman told me which was that she didn't understand why her workouts seemed so easy lately; that she was considering adding weight to her routines. At fifty eight! Wow!

Finally, for any of you for whom food month is still a struggle, please, do not be discouraged. Because of all the unexpected results I have been seeing this month, I now plan on doing a second food month during January 2001. And if you know of anyone who you feel could possibly benefit from a little conscious eating, please encourage them to e-mail me.

And for one more day, please try to be gentle with yourselves.

God Bless,

Steven

PS. I recently altered the addresses on my site, and the new addresses are listed below:

The Home page for Food Month is: http://TheEmergenceSite.com/Trans/TransFoodMonthMain.htm

The address for the Quik Summary on self emergence is: http://TheEmergenceSite.com/Quik/QuikCyclesOfThree.htm

The address for the longer article on self emergence is: http://TheEmergenceSite.com/Tech/TechIssuesCyclesOfThree.htm

PPS. Also again, please feel free to forward this and or any of my work to anyone whom you think use a little hope and love.

Day 25: November 25

Good morning. The Saturday of a holiday weekend. Do weekends change how consciously any of you eat? How about holiday weekends?

Actually, these questions raise an interesting point about the main difference between dieting and conscious eating.

With diets and so on, people change how they eat because they use will power to over ride whatever unhealthy internal desires they may have with regard to eating and food. Further, these unhealthy internal desires are simply the result of whatever BLocks people have, BLocks being life events (in this case, eating events) in which people can not remain conscious.

With conscious eating, though, (meaning, when you use emergence to actually heal a BLock in and around eating), people eat differently because they ARE different, internally. In other words, they eat differently because they have healed some particular injury in their natures which had been BLocking their ability to eat consciously. Afterwards, then, they eat differently because it becomes normal and natural for them to eat consciously and thus, these changes require no will power what so ever.

Yet one more way to describe this difference is to say that with dieting, people eat differently because they are using their minds and some new way of thinking about eating to over ride whatever injuries they have inside them. Further, because no diet ever addresses the actual causes of peoples' unhealthy eating (meaning, their BLocks), no matter how long these people stay on the diet, they will never alter their internal natural reactions to eating and to food. Translation. They will never stop needing will power to control their unconscious eating.

With conscious eating, however, people eat differently and react to food differently because the emergence process changes their very natures. Thus, they eat differently because the ARE different and not merely because they think differently and so, have learned a more healthy way to exert their will to control their unconscious eating.

This difference is one of the main reasons diets fail; with diets, people inevitably run out of stream and give in to what is still their natural way to eat; unconsciously. Why? Because diets do not focus on the actual cause of peoples' problems with eating; their BLocks. Only emergence does this.

Have these kinds of changes occurred to people here; meaning, have people actually healed any of their BLocks to conscious eating this month? The following is but one example:

Usually on Thanksgiving I completely stuff myself, in part because I get overwhelmed with just looking at all the food. This year was different. There was lots of yummy food to tempt me; however, I didn't have URGENCY to eat it.

Don't get me wrong, I had about 6 pieces of brie and filo on bread, as well as other hors d'oeuvres. I was eating it because it tasted good. Also, candy was in dishes around the room, and I had a few MandM's. But nothing more. I felt calm.

When dinner came, I took only small portions of food. Again, no urgency to pack my plate. I had one moment where I went by a plate with pumpkin bread and unconsciously took bites, maybe three times. I sort of knew it was unconsciously, but didn't want to stop. Dessert came and I did eat my share. Had a SMALL second potion of apple cobbler because it was so tasty. I was fully aware of what I was doing.

At the end of the night when everyone was complaining how uncomfortably full they were, it was a relief not to be. In fact, when I was going to bed several hours later, I actually felt hunger. It felt so good not to feel like a pig and beat myself up over how much I ate, as I have done in years past.

As I sit here and think about what I just wrote, I am astounded that I didn't eat much. It probably helped because I reminded myself several times before we went that I wanted to be conscious and not overeat. Interesting huh? Anyway, today is another big family day filled with lots of eating. I hope I do as well as I did yesterday. Hope you had a good Thanksgiving as well.

What is so important to see here is, this person did not once refer to will power. How can I tell she was not using it though? Because she reported being amazed by all the changes in her holiday eating experience. This amazement regarding changes in your behavior is, in fact, one of the surest signs that you have experienced healing in and around a BLock.

The following is a second example of what healing looks like:

Dear Steve; Well it has been a couple of days since I have written and there is a lot to tell you.
First, let me start by saying HAPPY THANKSGIVING and I hope you taste and enjoy all you eat today and every day!

A couple of days ago, I noticed I take huge bites while I am eating. So big of bites I am not able to chew them properly and I wind up swallowing them in big pieces. I also have trouble tasting what I eat while I am in this shock. I am not sure, but I think I go into shock about 2 minutes before I start to eat. I also noticed this primarily happens when I eat a sandwich or something when I eat using my hands and fingers.

A few thoughts came to mind after noticing this. I remember my mom always getting mad at me for being dirty ( a nickname she used was the "bizbag kid"). But this is all I remember; the thought... no scene yet. I also noticed I tend to get something from my meal on my shirt every time I eat generally in a family setting. Boy, it seems clear this comes from above. I also remember my father not wanting to finish what he was eating on the job one day and handing it to me and saying here, eat this. My reply was no. His reply was here, here, you're getting too thin. Mind you I was 16 and 200 pounds. I was not at all too thin. But I can see his eye's and see he was not there either. Nonetheless, he forced it on me, and I ate it.

Today, I noticed myself not as afraid to eat anymore. THIS IS WONDERFUL!!! And weird at the same time. My wife just yelled at the kids and boy it cut through me like a knife! Anyway, I find myself (cautiously saying this) teaching myself almost how to eat again. And I feel this is possible because the fear I had in and around eating is subsiding. BOY WHAT A FEELING!!!

As for Thanksgiving, I enjoyed the food more yesterday than I ever enjoyed it in my life. I tasted everything I ate. I also noticed I did not fill up immediately like I usually do. I got to eat and enjoy more food then I ever did! IT WAS GREAT!!! I noticed I ate slower than ever, smaller bites, and most of all without fear. I think I actually enjoyed my first meal without going into shock.

I have to go now, Thank you for food month and for all the help you have given me.

Well, I don't have to tell you all that I my eyes filled with tears when I read this response. And neither "I enjoyed the food more yesterday than I ever enjoyed it in my life" nor "I think I actually enjoyed my first meal without going into shock" are the responses of a person using will power to control how he eats. More so, what these responses actually show is the sure and certain evidence that this person has recovered some of his natural love of eating, some of the way he felt when he first arrived on the planet.

As for whether people can actually heal ALL of their BLocks in and around eating, to be honest, I doubt whether this is possible. Nor would I encourage people to make this a goal. However, I do believe we can heal enough of our BLocks so as to reclaim our natural joy in and around eating. More important, I am now convinced that reclaiming some of our ability to eat consciously directly affects our natural experience of fitness. Nice bonus!

But as for the dream that we can "completely" heal if we try hard enough, the following is a very good example of someone who is right in the midst of the healing process:

The conscious thing seems to be getting a little better for me. Don't get me wrong, I'm not conscious at every meal, nor even at every bite, but my level of consciousness has increased. I seem to float in and out.

I notice I am usually more conscious when eating with people, perhaps because I am so aware of what others are thinking. When I am alone, my main goal is just to eat as quickly as possible. At my Thanksgiving meal, I noticed something really interesting. There was some tension at my dinner before we sat down to eat. So when the meal started, I saw how it affected my choices. It impacted my decision on how much food to take on my plate, as well as my desire to eat. It also affected my feelings of hunger. Some could say that maybe it was some depression around the fighting that was going on around me, but usually when I'm depressed, I eat more. Then I was thinking, maybe my eating more or less is dependent on whether I am with people or alone. I also thought about the fitness question. I definitely noticed when I am feeling better about myself, i.e., more in shape, I tend to eat less. I think it's because I have the attitude that I am losing weight, or at least have the motivation to, and I don't want mess it up. When I am feeling fat and/or out of shape, I think I have the attitude like "What does it matter anyway?" So my state of mind definitely does have an impact on what I choose to eat, as well as how much I eat.

First and most important, this person reports being more conscious. Know that this is the most significant part of what she wrote. But also, she reports, in detail, having watched her internal personal process in and around eating, and from these details, we can easily see, she is becoming much more conscious in and around eating.

As for her final comments regarding what motivates her, I think she very accurately describes one source and the effect of will power. Certainly, these things do motivate people to make changes, even here. However, the goal of conscious eating is to heal whatever BLocks your ability to eat consciously because when you eat consciously, you do not need will power to eat sanely and with joy. Quite some difference.

Finally, as for the thoughts I have been sharing with you all during the past few days, my thoughts with regard to what underlies weight change, all I will do today is I will summarize my previous points:

[1] The first thing to know about body weight is that no one gains OR loses body weight unless they have somehow put their bodies into shock. Period. Diets, then, are simply times wherein we use "shockingly sudden, selective deprivation" to alter our weights. This shock, in fact, is what all diets have in common regardless of which food they designate as "bad."

[2] We each have, inside us, pairs of high and low weight marks which I call, "body cell memories." These pairs of memories are very similar to the "full" and "empty" memory levels which occur in rechargeable batteries. Further, the way these levels change as we age, meaning the way we lose access to some of our internal energy as we grow older, is very analogous to the way rechargeable batteries lose access to the energy inside them as they age. In both cases, the energy is still there. It is just inaccessible.

[3] Weight changes occur when we shock ourselves outside of our current "body cell memory" range, either into a previous, lower range, or into a new, higher range. In both cases, we must stay within this alternate weight range for some significant amount of time before the new weight range becomes our current norm.

[4] The internal experience we call "fitness" is simply another way to refer to the experience of our having recovered access to internal energy which was in a previously inaccessible "body cell memory" range. In fact, "what we refer to as the experience of "lightness" is simply another way to refer to this recovery experience and thus, "lightness" is more related to our ability to consciously access more internal energy than it is to our actual body weight.

Obviously, what I am presenting here is quite different than what is currently believed by many people with regard to eating and weight. Even so, if these ideas can help people to reclaim some of their loses in and around conscious eating, or even if they can help them to stop being so hard on themselves for not being able to reclaim their ability to eat consciously, then they are well worth the time they may take to examine personally.

As for how you can create a sane and loving program of weight change from these ideas, I plan on offering my initial thoughts on this in the next few days. Know that not one person here follow nor even believe these ideas. The focus of food month was and still is reclaiming the joy we once had in and around eating. Just the same, I would encourage everyone to examine these ideas and to find out for themselves whether they have any truth in them or not. More over, I would love it if people would let me know what they personally discover.

Finally, for anyone who has forgotten the primary directive here, please remember to be gentle with yourselves today regardless of how you eat.

Be well,

Steven

Day 26: November 26

The last Sunday of food month. Only five more days to go.

How are you all doing?

Me, I am somewhat overwhelmed again, what with the pace I've chosen for myself as far as writing and with so many people sharing what they have experienced. Are you too overwhelmed, for instance, by all I send you to read and or by what you, yourself, have discovered? If your answer is yes, I'm not surprised. January will be different, though. I promise <grin>.

Actually, the first thing I'd like to do today is to address the people who have somehow been unable to keep up with food month. Please hear me say this with a very gentle voice: you have not failed in any way. More important, as far as I'm concerned, you are entitled to as many chances as you need to reclaim what I see as your birthright; your ability to eat consciously.

I also want you all to know that I intend to offer people as much help with this journey toward conscious eating as my time permits, in that I will continue to try to develop a gentle, loving, and kind method with which people can begin to address their BLocks in and around eating.

With this in mind, I want to formally announce today that I will be doing a "Food Month II," a second chance during the month of January, 2001. More over, with the current month's experience under my belt, hopefully, I will be able to help even more people to stick with it and to heal some of their BLocks in and around eating.

Will the assignments be the same? Probably not, although I plan to build on what you have all helped me to discover this month. And actually, there may well be some days in which I use the same assignment. What the heck; if it worked before, why fix it?

Of course, I also intend to add many new twists to this month's assignments, as well as many new encouragements, perhaps along with some new discoveries as well. I certainly hope so anyway. Further, perhaps January 1 will be a better time to start this kind of endeavor many people traditionally begin new adventures on this date, at least they try to. Thus, perhaps more of us will all find inside ourselves, the inspiration we each need to reclaim even more of our lost ability to eat consciously.

One thing I already know I will be changing is that I will be adding some kind of rudimentary weight change outline to the month's observations, something which builds on what has emerged this month. Will this mean Food Month II will be focused on weight change rather than on conscious eating? Absolutely not. After all, everything we have explored this month has been based on noticing consciousness and shock. This includes the weight changes some people have experienced. Further, please notice I am saying weight "change" rather than weight "loss." This distinction is important in that for people, lie my mother, a woman who desperately tried for years to gain weight only to die of anorexia anyway at her age forty nine, the weight change needed was weight gain, not weight loss.

Also in this group are those people who get seriously ill and need to gain weight, as well as those older people who may need to gain back some of the weight they have lost due to aging and or inactivity. And of course, I am also thinking about the millions of people who daily heap onto themselves massive doses of self hate, believing this hate will somehow help them to find it in themselves to change their weight in whatever direction they deem correct.

Anyway, my point here is, please be gentle with yourselves are far as what you have and have not accomplished so far during food month. And even if all you gain this month is a few personal experiences in which you consciously recognize how much you are absent in and around eating, you will still be so far ahead of the rest of the world, most of which believe their eating problems are their fault.

By the way, I meant to ask you all how your discoveries this month have been affecting how you see others eat. For instance, I recently received the following response:

Eating dinner at ****'s sister's on Thanksgiving was interesting. I stayed conscious to a pretty great degree. Very painful watching his sister and bro in law **** continually reprimanding Justin to "eat; you're not getting desert until you finish your meat......".

I finally told them to stop it; they were driving me nuts. That it reminded me of growing up. And if they ever hoped to have their kid gain weight, they would leave him alone! (Tough).

Did it change anything? No, but I felt better. I ate by choice. Usually I enjoy thanksgiving food, but it tasted like cardboard. Interesting in light of the fact that ****, who'd cooked, was also angry at **** and **** for not disciplining the kids regarding picking up the food from all over the place where they ate (read cranberry sauce in my lap) and for yelling at **** to eat. I felt sadness and anger. Lost my appetite. Pretty easy to see why.

Sad to hear about, yet hopeful that someone is beginning to recognize the truth in the scene. Perhaps, too, this points to yet another difficulty people have been experiencing during food month; once you learn to recognize the unconsciousness, it is hard to just sit and watch it. Yet without personal experiences, who will believe what you have to say? Not many.

Are people here having these kinds of memories regarding being told to eat emerge in themselves? To be honest, I have received many such replies. The following is but one:

One thing that came up for me was the guilt of not eating all of my food, I could hear my Mother say eat up and do not waste. Though I do know that when I was young I never took more than I needed, so that guilt only came later on, when I would go out and have to leave some food to be dumped.

and another;

"eat your food, and shut your mouth." that's what my father said . . .

and another;

I've also identified the love/hate relationship I have with fruit. I love the taste and healthfulness of fruit but I hate the memories. When my siblings were enjoying something sugary for dessert (which we had every night) I was allowed only a piece of fruit. When they were happily pouring their Halloween candy into bowls I was being forced to divide mine between them while being told that little girls who didn't eat "right" had to eat fruit instead of candy. Same thing with Easter. I always had a basket but could never keep it . . .

and another;

I've seen scenes from childhood, like family dinners and holidays and the school lunchroom etc. and it didn't surprise me too much to see those things, but I was surprised to see scenes with my ex husband, such as fights at the dinner table where he would throw plates of food and pots filled with hot food... and one time when our daughter was a newborn and I brought the bassinet into the kitchen while we ate and I commented on how she was sleeping for a long time and he said, "I'll wake her up" and he kicked the bassinet really hard!

To be honest, I generally have a hard time hearing about scenes like these, especially scenes like this last one. This happens even when I remind myself that "wounded people wound people"; that this man in all likelihood experienced scenes just like this one when he was a boy himself. What I'm saying is, even though I know this truth; that people in shock, shock others; I still find it hard to be perfectly loving and accepting. Ha! Who am I kidding. Actually, I sometimes get downright blaming and angry at times, just like everyone else I know. Still, I sincerely do want to have more ability to see others as hurt not "bad." No surprise, then, that one thing I seem to have gained this month is more acceptance and non judgment in and around other peoples' eating. How about all of you? Have any of you found yourselves more loving towards others who struggle wit heating?

Actually, what really helps me here is to recall dinner table scenes in which I was just as mean to my own son and daughter. God, what a painful thing this is to remember. Beyond words painful right now actually.

As for others who struggle with watching how others eat, I received the following earlier this month:

Last night I sat with friends and watched a slim friend eat slowly. I was amazed at her lack of hurry. In fact, she was talking and eating, had a piece of food on her fork and kept talking. I was freaking out inside, "put the fucking food in your mouth" I wanted to scream.

This one is also a "me too" reply as I too had this very same response earlier this month; in my case, to a couple of thin friends whom I saw eating slowly. Thank God, this response occurred in me back at the beginning of the month and that I somehow, becoming more conscious has helped me to heal some of this BLock.

Finally, tomorrow I will be offering the first of a series of things to try as far as the weight loss thing, a few preliminary suggestions which I hope will set the stage for reclaiming more consciousness.

As for today, please remember to be especially gentle with yourselves no matter how much you have accomplished here. There are no losers here. Ever. Only some children who were more hurt than others.

God bless you all,

Steven

Day 27: November 27

Day 27. The home stretch. Are you hanging in there? I do hope so.

As promised, today, I'll be offering you the first installment of what I see as an honest and loving plan to use for weight change. Where does it begin?

First, let me remind you of the four principles I have already given you:

[1] The first thing to know about body weight is that no one gains OR loses body weight unless they have somehow put their bodies into shock. Period. Diets, then, are simply times wherein we use "shockingly sudden, selective deprivation" to alter our weights. This shock, in fact, is what all diets have in common regardless of which food they designate as "bad."

[2] We each have, inside us, pairs of high and low weight marks which I call, "body cell memories." These pairs of memories are very similar to the "full" and "empty" memory levels which occur in rechargeable batteries. Further, the way these levels change as we age, meaning the way we lose access to some of our internal energy as we grow older, is very analogous to the way rechargeable batteries lose access to the energy inside them as they age. In both cases, the energy is still there. It is just inaccessible.

[3] Weight changes occur when we shock ourselves outside of our current "body cell memory" range, either into a previous, lower range, or into a new, higher range. In both cases, we must stay within this alternate weight range for some significant amount of time before the new weight range becomes our current norm.

[4] The internal experience we call "fitness" is simply another way to refer to the experience of our having recovered access to internal energy which was in a previously inaccessible "body cell memory" range. In fact, "what we refer to as the experience of "lightness" is simply another way to refer to this recovery experience and thus, "lightness" is more related to our ability to consciously access more internal energy than it is to our actual body weight.

Now, in order to use these four principles as the basis of a weight change program, first, you need to do what I call a "weight range survey." This survey is simply a very rough outline of your weight over the past five to ten years. In fact, if you can of back more than ten years, so much the better. In truth, then, the more complete the survey, the more clear you will be as to what you will need to do in order to alter your weight.

What are you looking for and where do you begin? The best place to start would be to weight yourself first thing tomorrow morning. And since body weight changes somewhat over the course of a day, when you weight yourself again, do it only at the beginning of a day.

Regardless, though, weight yourself tomorrow morning and record this weight. You now have a baseline for the whole endeavor.

Next, consider your weight over the past year. Has it changed significantly; meaning, has it varied more than five pounds if you are a woman or three pounds if you are a man? Or has it stayed roughly the same; meaning, has it stayed within either the woman's range (four to five pounds) or the man's range (two to three pounds)?

If, over the past year, it has stayed within the same range, then think back to the last time it was outside the current range. How long ago was that, and what was your average weight then? Write these two things down.

Now repeat this process the best you can until you have a rough outline which covers at least the past ten years.

What if your weight has not changed in many years, meaning, what if you weight the same as you weighed ten years ago. If so, think back even further until you reach a time wherein your weight was outside the current range. When was this and how much, on the average, did you weight then? Record these two numbers.

Finally, think back to your highest weight, and to your lowest weight, and record these two numbers, with approximate dates, as best you can.

Now for those of you out there who are Virgo's or for those who, like me, who have their sixth houses in Virgo, please do not worry if the dates and weights you remember are only estimates. You will use these numbers only as an initial guideline. Thus, you can still succeed here even if the numbers and dates are off quite a bit, as long as your current numbers are pretty accurate.

What will you do with these numbers? For now, nothing. Today's work is but one step toward making the weight change you would like to make. I also realize quite well how many of you have been overloaded by all I have already suggested you do and so, do this outline as best you can, if you want to, and ONLY if you want to. Otherwise, you can simply leave this step for another time.

This said, know that you will not be able to really begin until you complete at least a rough survey of your weight ranges. Again, though, I have offered this information today only for those who actually wish to use it and not as anything remotely resembling a commitment. You have done quite enough work already this month.

As for what I have been hearing from you all, the following is typical of many who, having made some gains toward conscious eating over the month, are struggling not to fall back into the old ways of thinking, such as using starvation techniques or self deprecation to lose weight:

FOOD! I've been struggling... trying not to fall back into my old belief system and pattern! Ya see, whenever I would start to lose weight, then I would try to stop eating all together so that I wouldn't gain back any of what I lost. Then I would get so hungry when I didn't eat for awhile that I would binge! Luckily I never got into the purging thing!

First of all, it's really difficult to not eat during Thanksgiving and secondly, I KNOW that I CAN eat and still lose weight. I found that out this past month! But old habits die hard!! I'm very aware of how much my MIND dictates how I feel about my body... why can't I use it for GOOD instead of EVIL? <G> For example... if I eat a lot in one day then I feel OBESE! If I eat a little or nothing during the day I feel thinner. It doesn't matter what the scale says, just what my mind tells me. It doesn't matter if I eat "good food" or "bad", it's the AMOUNT that I eat. If I walk or exercise I feel better than if I don't. I guess that's why people become just as addicted to exercise as they do to food.

So anyway, I'm TRYING to remember the things you've been saying. I'm trying to be kind to myself and to eat and enjoy my food. I'm trying to remember that I've lost 6 lbs. during this past month by CONSCIOUSLY eating any food I want to eat. At Thanksgiving I was starving because I hadn't eaten for awhile and there was so much food! I took a lot and started stuffing it in, but then I remembered YOU... and I slowed down and tried to eat consciously and enjoy the meal and the flavors and the texture. It was much more enjoyable and I wasn't able to finish all I took because I became aware of when I felt full. I waited until much later in the day to eat dessert because I wanted to enjoy the flavor without that sick feeling that I get when I eat too much. It worked and I ended up eating a lot less dessert too.

But since then I've been fighting the old demons again. Telling myself I can't eat for the next few days because I ate too much at Thanksgiving. Luckily I kept off the weight that I lost so far this month. If I had gained weight back, that would have given me more reason to not eat. I hardly ate at all on Fri and Sat because I was visiting a friend and I still find it hard to eat in front of people. I guess I'm what you call a "closet eater". I haven't eaten yet today but I'm going to read all of your stuff over again and get back into the spirit of food month. I'm going to try to be kind to that little hungry child inside of me! :) I'm going to try not to overfeed her or underfeed her but listen to her to see when she's had enough and then stop eating. I'll reassure both of us that we won't die of starvation, there's enough food here and that hungry feeling we have isn't a BAD feeling! It shouldn't be scary! It's a good feeling, a signal to us that we should eat, just like the gas tank on our car tells us when we need more gas. I'll tell her we should eat slowly and enjoy our food, WHATEVER FOOD we choose, and when we feel full we should stop. They'll be plenty more to eat later when we feel hungry again. It seems like such a simple concept and I get so angry with myself when I can't get it. But I'll try to have patience and love for us both and I'll TRY to gently put us back on the right path if we stray. I'll also keep trying to look for the BLocks that led us to this eating pattern in the first place.

I can't tell you how many times I've had people tell me things just like this. And for what it's worth, I, too, have struggled with these same beliefs, although with the help you all have given me this month, and because I've focused my work this month on healing and not on will power, I have been doing really well as far as not having to fight these demons, perhaps for the first time in my adult life.

And here is another person who wrote to tell me she is also struggling:

These last two weeks of food month have been easier than the first two, however, I feel like quitting. Maybe just today, I don't feel like doing it. I want to eat without consciousness. I realize it is about other things that are happening and making me feel crummy, and not food month. Food has always been a tonic, and today I want to feel calmer than I do. Today I ate breakfast when I wasn't entirely hungry. I only had my usual bowl of cereal but I have been waiting until I am really hungry to eat it. I did give myself a hard time that I ate too prematurely this morning. I am wanting to eat lunch now, despite a lack of hunger. I will not do it, but I am really struggling. It is making me VERY irritable.

Please, please, please, if you are at all experiencing these kinds of struggles, please be gentle with yourselves. How? By focusing your energies on discovering your inner life during these struggles and not on how you can punish yourselves or beat yourselves into submission. Also, by remembering that these harsh self treatments will only put you back into shock, and that when you are in shock, your body will lose access to the healthy instructions you were born with. Lastly, by remembering that your difficulties with eating and food are not your fault, no matter how much you weight and no matter how spiritually minded you are or are not. If you are struggling, then you have BLocks. Period. And it is these BLocks and only these BLocks that have prevented you from learning to eat in ways which would feel loving and conscious and healthy.

Even so, knowing these things is not enough. Conscious eating is not magic eating or magic weight loss. Conscious eating requires you to be willing to sit with the pain of self inquiry at times. It also means you need to be willing to explore the places inside you in which food and eating leads you to places like painful scenes from your childhood family dinner tables, scenes in which you as a little boy or girl got frightened, scared, shocked and or terrified.

These journeys toward healing, then, require that you be willing to look inside yourselves, knowing these explorations can be both painful and frightening. However, there is nothing which says you must go on these journeys alone, and I would strongly urge you to consider doing them with a guide or at least with another fellow explorer along. Thus, if you link up with someone whom you know to be safe and the two of you do the month's assignments together, in this way, then, you may be more able to finish the journey you have begun do this month.

Finally, if you are one of those who has been struggling, please try doing some self emergence. Yes, it is hard to do and yes, it can be painful. But each time you emerge from one of the BLocks you have in and around eating, your whole eating process becomes permanently easier. And more loving and conscious

And the bottom line is, you deserve to reclaim what is your birthright with regard to eating; you deserve to once again be able to eat consciously without effort.

God bless,

Steven

Day 28: November 28

Day 28. The last day of week four. Are you getting worried as to what will happen when the month ends? Please don't. As I've already mentioned, I'll be doing a Food Month II in January, 2001. So if you missed this one or began late, or if you somehow were unable to find the motivation to even begin this time, I will be offering you a second chance in about five weeks from now.

As to the next installment of the basic "weight change" program I am offering, today's topic is how to use the information you gathered yesterday to create an personal "weight map."

Let me start by further defining this idea, that of a personal "weight map." A weight map is simply a personal history of your weight ranges, the 2 and a half to five pound high and low weight marks which we all have programmed into our bodies. For instance, the following is a rough outline of my own weight ranges, which I would guess might be typical for a middle aged man who has many, many BLocks in and around eating and weight.

190 - 188.5

184 - 181

179 - 177.5

174 - 171

169 - 167.5

168 - 166

161 - 158.5

155 - 153

First, notice that the average weight range is 2.5 pounds. Know that this range is the most common range for men, while for women, the most common range is five pounds. Thus, a woman's chart might have a smaller number of weight ranges but each range would be wider.

Next, notice that two of the weight ranges in my weight map overlap. This overlap is common in people who diet a lot. Also, notice there are eight weight ranges listed. This number is toward the high end of the scale and again, this amount of weight ranges is common for people who diet a lot, especially people who have jumped from diet to diet.

Finally, notice that the numbers in each weight range are listed from high to low and not in the usual low to high order which is traditional for Western people. This reverse order is done on purpose as it is common for people to spend most of their time pushing the high end of their current weight range. Why? I don't know exactly. Certainly, this is some combination of how the body tries to compensate for our eating unconsciously, a sort of built in self correction.

Whatever the case, though, what I've listed above is the first part of building a personal weight map. What comes next, then, is adding the approximate dates to the map, the times in your life in which you resided in each of these weight ranges. For instance, below, I've added my dates to the previous example:

190 - 188.5 Spring '92

184 - 181 Summer 2000, Spring '94

179 - 177.5 Fall 2000, Summer '92,

174 - 171 Winter '97/'98, Winter '96/'97, Winter '95/'96, 1994,

169 - 167.5 Spring '99, Spring '97, Summer '95, Summer '87

168 - 166 Summer '98, Summer '97, Summer '96, Summer '93

161 - 158.5 Winter '93/'94, Summer '86

155 - 153 Winter '84/'85,

God, the first thing which comes up as I look at this chart is, "how could I have done this to myself?" Guilt. Shame. Embarrassment. Ugh. But the next thing that happens to me is my eyes well up with tears as I remember the truth; that I have been in a profound level of shock in and around eating for as long as I can remember. Add to this the fact that most of my immediate world, including even the most respected of my teachers, has also been in shock in and around eating and I begin to feel the compassion I need to continue on my journey.

How do you come up with these numbers? Simply start with the highest, and lowest, weight ranges you can remember, and then think back over the past ten or so years to the first time you can remember being in these two weight ranges. Write these dates down.

Next, try to fill in as many Summer and Winter weights as you can, as often (but not always), these two seasons reveal the highs and lows for the year. On the other hand, if you know your weight changed at other times, such as a time in which you had a serious illness or personal loss, write these dates in as well.

Know that these dates need only be approximate dates. Thus, what we are creating here is only a rough outline, something an ordinary person can create and use and not something a scientist would consider valid. This flexibility is a necessary part of self love and also important because weight change is not science. It is simply a part of one's psychospiritual journey toward self love and consciousness.

Enough for today. Even reading about and considering the creation of a weight map can raise serious suffering in the most spiritual of beings. If this is you, please, be gentle with yourselves. And remember. Our focus here is on reclaiming our birthright; self love in and around eating. Thus, we need be as loving as we can possibly manage during the journey, even if this requires us to ask others for help. In fact, for many, this asking for help may be one of the more difficult but rewarding and healing parts of the journey.

Which leads me to the following response:

Dear Steve; This has been an roller coaster of a month. Who would have thought that becoming conscious of the food we eat and prepare could be such an emotional, complex and exciting process; which for me is far from over!

Just the other day I noticed that I do not breath when I when I have food in my mouth. Upon making this observation I commenced to consciously breath in through my nose and out my mouth while eating. Once I mastered the nuance of exhaling with food in my mouth I found that not only did I eat slower but the food tasted better and I felt full sooner! Wow!!!!

This leads me to the dilemma of maintaining consciousness while eating. I'll start a meal fully aware of what I'm doing, breathing, chewing etc... but the next thing I know I'm just about finished. Noticing this caused me much angst and self deprecation until I realized that 41 years of food "issues" are not going to resolve themselves in just one month!

I include this response because it is a very good example of a person who is giving herself the very love I just spoke about, the kind of gentle attention we all need to be able to continue on our journeys. And on this, the last day of week four, I wish you all the best day of conscious eating you have had yet, a day filled with gentle attention and the sure and certain knowledge that you will have many more loving discoveries to come.

God Bless,

Steven


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