You should really be over this by now–is that actually true?

If you’ve had eating troubles of any kind, then your mind has likely said loudly to yourself:

“Really? You did this again? What’s WRONG with you? You should be OVER this by now!”

Let’s inquire into this thought today, with The Work of Byron Katie.

Is it true you should be over this “problem” by now?

Are you absolutely sure?

What I noticed over the many years I struggled with eating, food, weight….is that I wasn’t over it.

And to this day, there remain concepts to look at that have to do with food, eating, moving. I may not be binge-eating or purging or so extreme with food anymore, but there’s still noticing and awareness and change and interest in peace in every situation.

How do you react when you believe you should be over it, when you aren’t?

Very harsh. I become a Dictator about myself. Or I curl into a ball of sadness and despair.

Desperate, hopeless, angry.

So who would you be without the thought you should be over something that you aren’t over?

And we’re talking about food and eating and weight management and all of that here (although there are many other things people think they should be “over” that they are not actually over).

Without the belief I should be over something I’m not, I feel very curious about the behavior. I have questions. I feel a greater awareness, a willingness to support this person I apparently am.

I inquire. I want to look. I might even ask for help, join with others, find greater support.

I’d look and see what the eating was expressing. What was I afraid of? Worried about? What’s my relationship with reality in the minutes surrounding this eating behavior? What have I not looked at, or what am I missing here that I’ve been afraid to see, or concerned about?

What would make me think overeating, or starving, is the only solution or way to solve my discomfort in this moment?

Who would I be without this story?

Turning my thoughts around: I should NOT be over it, I should be over my thinking. 

What’s the message? “This” energy can’t stop until I face it, look at it, respond to it.

I might even notice that I can say “no” to eating, even if my mind offers this as an option, and cravings have begun. I can be over my “thoughts” in this situation. I don’t have to take action on everything my thoughts tell me.

Including eat.

Could the eating I’m doing and my relationship with food have something to do with my worries about life? They sure did for me. The eating helped me to identify what it was I was thinking and believing about people, what people thought of me, my condition, being small, the dangers of life, the unfairness, anything I might worry about.

I can look at what’s going on in any troubling situation, and inquire.

Thank you, disordered eating, for showing me where my perceptions have not been peaceful about reality.

Much love,

Grace

The Hunger-Fullness Scale: A Guide to Get You Back to Your Natural Way of Eating

So what is the hunger-fullness scale and why should we use it as a guide or a stepping stone to eating freedom?

Well for one thing, my favorite thing of all about this scale is that it’s really a felt sense within. Not another thing you have to read about and follow by studying a book.

This scale is something that’s felt in the body, with no absolute definition. It’s subjective.

It means you are the one in the driver’s seat…or really, your body is. Your mind and your “plans” are not in charge.

Your physical feeling sense of empty and full is the one in charge. Not your EMOTIONAL FEELINGS, either.

This contact with physical sensation has to include the part of you willing to slow down, check in with your inner sense of satiation, and honor it deeply.

In today’s video I answer a few questions I get about the Hunger-Fullness scale and talk about it a little more.

The Hunger-Fullness Scale can hold all diet plans, ways of eating (vegetarian, vegan, meat-eater, and any kind of format for eating, weight watchers or a diet if that’s where you are right now).

It can accompany any way of eating that eliminates some foods and adds in others. Always, the body and the sense of honoring it’s guidance leads the way.

You don’t have to be there instantly.

Just know about this scale of awareness, and practice.

You may have had your head, or counting, measuring, weighing and other methods of portioning food or following rules lead the way and be in charge for a very long time.

This is about seeing the freedom built into you as a human. This freedom and feeling gives you exactly what you need when it comes to boundaries and guidance with eating, if you’re willing to feel it.

And if you are not willing….you might ask yourself why not? What would override your hunger-fullness boundaries?

Whatever would override this scale is deeply worthy of exploring. It’s difficult to do at first, but oh so possible.

It’s so powerful, that turning towards it to look and understand whatever would override NOT EATING when you aren’t hungry and EATING when you are, can result in immense insight and awareness.

If you follow this hunger-fullness scale, you automatically return to the simplicity of eating when hungry, and stopping when full. No diet or control of any kind is necessary.

And as for inquiry…..this is very, very important. You have to know how to identify what takes you away from the natural process of the hunger-fullness scale within, and then question it.

If you’d like with guidance through the tool called The Work of Byron Katie for this process of inquiry, you might love the Seven Day Course for Dingalings. It’s helping people go through this profound practice one bite-sized amount at a time, for a week. Sign up for it here.

Much love,

Grace

Unlearning beliefs like “there is something wrong with me” (+ Eating Peace 101 starts Thursday)

In these summer months of heat in the hemisphere where I live, I’ve heard from many about their urge to cover their bodies, never go to the beach, and hide themselves from the world and all those critical eyes.

The other day, I received a note from an Eating Peacer that she closed her blinds and stayed inside all day because the only cool place outside was the lake, and she was never, ever, ever going to be “caught alive” (she said) wearing a bathing suit in public.

I remembered this kind of shame about the body, and how it actually escalated my eating behaviors and turned them into crazed eating instead of normal teen eating.

My thoughts were constantly filled with stress, as I tried to get a more perfect body. I starved myself, then binge-ate, then starved again, then worked out for hours, then ran five miles, then ate, then vomited….

….and repeated the swinging flip-flop back and forth with enormous pain.

I believed something was desperately wrong with me.

I always aimed to try harder, use more willpower, get it right.

Which, actually, I finally sort of did. Although, I’m not sure “I” did it (I’m pretty sure nothing actually happened because of my plans, honestly). But my failures did lead to giving up, in a good way, and stopping the pursuit of a perfect body.

I just wanted peace.

If you’ve felt the pull to peace, and it’s become the most important jewel in your relationship with food….then peace tends to rise above all plans, controls, or management of eating and your body and dieting.

The upcoming Eating Peace 101 telecourse is a good place to focus more openly and deeply on peace when it comes to eating, to food, to our bodies (no matter what weight) and to our feelings and thoughts.

We’ll be looking at our belief system, our ideas, our screaming internal thoughts and voices, and investigating our moments of following a craving, or overeating food, or pursuing at all costs the perfect body.

Who or what would we be like without our stories?

In today’s Eating Peace video, I talk about one key important belief everyone can question who’s ever had trouble with compulsive or dependent behavior of any kind, not just with food: there’s something wrong with me.

Why do The Work?

Because when we do, we unlearn all the decades, centuries of beliefs about thin, fat, full, hungry, good, bad, need, emptiness, control, power, eating, food, attraction, should, shouldn’t.

You are not your mind. You are not your weight or your appearance. You are not your personality. You are not the food you just ate, or the way you ate it. You are much, much vaster than that. (Thank you, Adyashanti).

Much love,

Grace

P.S. Eating Peace Process, the immersion, will begin again in November 2018 and meet through April 2019. Some will attend a January 4 day retreat in Seattle area (optional). All those in Eating Peace Process will have bi-monthly support from May through October. This is an in-depth program for those who are serious about eating peace, and once you join, you’re “in” for life. Stay tuned or learn more (not taking registrations yet) by visiting HERE.

Gratitude Eating (and not because you should be)

I’ve created a course just for brand new beginners to The Work called The Work for Dingalings (LOL).

It’s a Complete Idiots or The Work for Dummies Course where you’ll receive an email per day for a week. You’ll need 20-30 minutes per day to complete your homework.

To enroll (it’s entirely free) sign up here.

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We’ve heard about the power of gratitude.

But sometimes, it’s very difficult to find gratitude when it comes to our relationship with eating, food and our bodies.

These have caused so much strife, hell, stress, desperation, self-criticism.

How can we find gratitude for the weird diet foods we’ve eaten, or the ugly foods we’ve placed before us, or the sick feelings we’ve had when it comes to eating, or the disappointment about our weight, or worst of all, the compulsion to eat when not hungry?

This is NOT a “should”.

But it’s worth trying anyway. The power of appreciation is immense–and maybe more magnificent than you ever imagined.

Take a moment today, and think about the service this relating to food, eating food has been for you.

When I think about my truly whacky disordered eating, it almost seems nutty to consider that experience in my life with gratitude.

But I can find examples of feeling appreciation for the wayI I’ve eaten:

  • It led me to explore psychology, peace, relating to other people, learning about all relationships, and improving my communication
  • it gave me a way to be different from my family, to rebel dramatically, to find freedom from rigid rules about life
  • it gave me a big Left Turn in my own life–I dropped out, I worked on a ship, I went to therapy
  • it brought me to my knees and put me on a spiritual path of acceptance, including myself and my emotions
  • I love the very taste, texture, joy of emptying and filling up every single day–I love eating
  • it’s helped me learn how to support other people also suffering from the same craziness with food

Today, you can try to simply find a sense of gratitude, of appreciation, for something about food, eating, and your body.

Feel it.

Especially before eating. Practice “thank you” and see what happens.

EVEN if you think you’re overeating, binge-eating, doing it wrong.

Without our stories, we are not only able to eat and act clearly and fearlessly, we are also a friend and listener to ourselves, our own bodies, our fullness and our hunger. We are people living happy lives when it comes to eating. We are appreciation and gratitude that have become as natural as breath, and eating, itself.
Much love,
Grace
P.S. Eating Peace 101 is coming: a six session class on Thursday mornings 8:00-9:30 am PT starting July 26th and will meet every two weeks (every other week) until October 4th. $295. Everything will be recorded. To learn more, visit HERE.
P.P.S. Eating Peace Process, the immersion, will begin again in November 2018 and meet through April 2019. This is an in-depth program for those who are serious about transforming their relationship with food from the inside out. Stay tuned or learn more (not taking registrations yet) by visiting HERE.

Violent Thinking Leads to Violent Eating

Long ago, I heard Byron Katie say something that caused my ears to perk up: “Victims are vicious”. 

Yikes!

I didn’t want to be a “victim”. They don’t have a good reputation.

And yet, what I had to admit was….I was very vicious. Mostly, to myself in my own thinking.

When I ate a lot, or binge-ate, or grazed from one end of town to the other, or looked in the mirror, or thought about what I should or shouldn’t be eating, I had a running voice that also said “you are lower than dirt.”

It was harsh, bitter, hopeless, and very mean.

So one of the very first things any of us must do, who experience an addictive behavioral process of any kind, is to relax and recognize the presence of something that is a lie.

Harshness doesn’t solve the problem. You can kill the thing you think you “hate” but it doesn’t end the war. It will rear its ugly head again if all you do is repress or condemn something or destroy it.

Kindness is what changes things at a permanent level. Love is what alters the experience of compulsion to one of understanding and awareness.

Let’s be kind to ourselves.

If you hear the voice that shouts and condemns you in your head, question it.

Remember to ask….is it true?

Do you really need to build this angry energy and use it to FIGHT food, cravings, people, relationships, reality? Are you sure you’re all alone, by yourself, against The World?

Let’s do The Work on this concept.

Is it true that you need to improve, change, or fix yourself….and that the way you are is wrong?

Yes. I’m too critical. My mind is full of harshness. I want to escape. I want to feel better, to get out of here. It’s me against the world (especially in this particular area).

Can you absolutely know that this is true that you need to change, snap out of it, get over it, stop being who you are?

Hmmm. Strange. But I can’t know it’s true.

How do you react when you believe you’ve got to change, especially when it comes to eating?

Ugh. I try everything and anything that addresses diet change. I feel very alone and discouraged. I hate my eating, my body, my attitude, my life.

Who would you be without this belief that you must change ASAP, especially with eating?

WHAT???!!!

But.

I’ve been trying to fix, adjust, improve or change myself when it comes to eating for “x” years (long time)! How could I NOT be wanting change?

Try it on for a moment here now. Just right now. Relax without having a single drop of a future, or need to change. Rest a moment. Notice how connected you are to everything in your environment, sharing the air, the furniture, the space, the people (if there are any). Sharing your environment with this thing called “food”.

What would it really be like if you did not ever go to war with yourself to improve?

Wow.

It can be exciting. Peacefully thrilling. Restful. Simple. Open. Mysterious.

Turning this belief around: I do not have to change. My thinking has to change. Change has to come to “me”. 

Could any of these turnarounds be just as true, or truer?

Yes. I can find how I am still alive, studying life and the world and myself in it and I’m not “done” even though some part of me believes I haven’t changed, or that I need to. I can notice life has it’s own timing. That even though I’ve eaten in crazy ways, I’ve also experienced joy, gratitude, peace and happiness here on earth.

Yes. I’m busy questioning my thinking. I’m learning by turning things around. I’m learning that what I’ve assumed to be true….often isn’t.

Yes. I can hold still and be open to transformation meeting me, not think of myself as needing to chase after it. I can make friends with life, my environment, my mind, my body.

Love is here in the present. Here I am with all my imperfection, a human being.

Who would you be without your story of yourself, especially when it comes to eating, food, your feelings, your body?

Can you feel it just for this moment, now?

Much love,
Grace
P.S. Eating Peace Experience Introduction is coming: a six week class on Thursday mornings starting July 26th and will meet every two weeks (every other week) until October 4th. $295 and we meet live 8-9:30 am PT. Everything will be recorded. To learn more, visit HERE.
P.P.S. Summer Camp for The Mind just started–a daily inquiry practice using The Work of Byron Katie– read more about it HERE and you can still sign up. We meet July 9-Aug 17.

Start Here to End Emotional Eating From The Inside Out

I’ve been off traveling again, but while away I received lots of emails–a surprising number–about where to begin when it comes to ending this whole crazy eating-weight-food-craving concern?

Today, I’m sharing three things that you can do to start your journey to end this weird eating thing that I know is very frustrating and agonizing:

1) Questioning your thoughts is a relief, and can change your behaviors with food, entirely. If you want the simple, lazer-sharp, quickest version of self-inquiry I’ve ever encountered (and I’ve seen a lot of ways to inquire and dissolve your thoughts) then I highly, deeply, sincerely recommend The Work of Byron Katie.  Read “Loving What Is” to understand this method and get the full and complete instructions on how to do The Work.

2) Question these two thoughts:

a) I MUST stop this eating thing, I MUST lose weight, I MUST change NOW!! Immediately! This is WRONG! I must control myself! I must WIN this BATTLE!! (notice there are lots of exclamation points with this energy, and these thoughts).

Why should you question this thought?

Because when you do, you have the opportunity to open up to understanding what’s going on in the first place. You can quit pushing, or controlling this situation with such vengeance. Diets are not necessary any longer.

b) I must suffer in order to end this problem. I must not EVER accept myself and relax with what is or I will remain fat or addicted, and never change. 

Why should you question this thought?

Because when you do, you get to feel supported by the world, by life, by food, by eating….even when you are not perfectly “thin”. You have a body, but you are NOT your body. You don’t need to get somewhere else that is not here. What a relief. This never means you won’t lose weight, because as you shift your thoughts, you likely will (if you find you’re overweight). Many people balance to their natural normal weight.

How do you question your thinking?

As I mentioned…use the four questions and turnarounds and question just one thought at a time. The Work is the best and most simple way I’ve ever found to follow this process.

FINALLY, do this third exercise:

It will seem too easy, but you might be surprised: practice the 60 second wait-period. This means, instead of starting to eat when you want to eat, wait 60 seconds and take three very deep breaths, slowly.

As you wait sixty seconds, ask yourself “Do I really need food right now?” If you’re hungry, then be kind and give yourself some food.

If you notice you aren’t hungry, literally see if you can imagine eating peace instead of food. Like a pale pinkish purple cloud of lightly glowing peace that you fill up your body with through your mouth.

Let it go into your stomach, then spread it through your legs to your feet and all the way up your body, filling your arms, torso, neck, head. Relax your skin and let peace sink in–see what colors it changes to and see the peace filling your entire being.

Much love,

Grace

P.S. I’m creating an Eating Peace Experience 101 Introductory class. It begins July 26 and runs for 2 months, with 6 class sessions on Thursdays at 8 am pacific time. Stay tuned for more coming soon.

P.S. If you’d like to join Summer Camp for The Mind, a 7 week program of practicing The Work for anyone and everyone (not specifically for eating issues–although they can be brought to these sessions)– read more about it HERE.

Do you hate your looks?

Breitenbush friends inquiring together in The Work of Byron Katie annual summer retreat 2018

We all have parts of our bodies we think are ugly, imperfect, wrong. Often the thoughts for people with eating issues about the body are that you must be thin. Keep staying thin. Get even thinner. Never be fat. Ever.

The obsession to be thin can actually backfire. Completely. We become so sure getting thin is BEST we’re totally identified with our goals for the body.

Here’s a powerful question to ask, if you notice you’ve got wishes, urges or hopes to be thinner–or something other than what you are right now:

What would I have, if I had this condition? (thin, muscular, smooth, strong, perfect).

What do you think “thinness” means? What qualities do you think you’d have, if you got thin? What would you experience, if you were thin?

When you identify your answers, you can then question the thought that Thin=Happy.

Who would you be without this story?

For me, I quit being vigilant around food. I quit obsessing about making sure I had enough, or the “right” amount of food. I quit going into the future about food.

The present became more peaceful.

Turning the thought around: Thin thinking is my success, I do not need this body to be thin in order to be happy.

Out beyond ideas of thin or fat, there lies a field (of peace, freedom). I’ll meet you there.

To join the secret, private Eating Peace facebook group for support, discussion and self-inquiry (completely free) please send an email or friend request through facebook to grace@workwithgrace.com or Grace Bell’s profile page. You’ll be privately invited to the group.

Much love

Grace

Do you wish you did MORE? Do you think you HAVE TO?

Room in the half-day retreat Seattle Sunday 6/10 2-6 pm (that’s today). Last half-day in The Work before summer break. Join us here. Or write grace@workwithgrace.com for directions.

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If you want to be a part of a private, secret, free facebook group of people from all over the world who are interested in healing eating battles applying self-inquiry and The Work of Byron Katie (plus body-feeling awareness)….send me an individual email grace@workwithgrace.com or a facebook friend request, and I’ll add you.

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Have you ever run around cleaning everything in your house because someone texted they’ll be knocking on your door in five minutes (someone like your mother, perhaps)?

You have to make it perfect. You have to make it look right. They have to see you as organized, clean, tidy, a good hostess. You have to work. You have to do laundry. You have to clean the bathroom. You have to mow the lawn. You have to weed the garden.

You have to.

If you don’t finish it…if you don’t at least put in a very good effort and get MOST of the job done (see list in head) then you’re a failure.

Is that true?

“Have to” is a push, a demand, a command, an order. And what do we do with someone who is extremely controlling and bossy?

We rebel, or ditch them.

And if WE are the dictator….then you may very well EAT.

Who wouldn’t want to escape from that voice?

Who would you be without that thought you HAVE TO?

Perhaps a normal, mediocre, addiction-free, relaxed person enjoying this moment in life…not trying to get to the moment when everything’s done and clean and the list is checked off.

Instead, just here now. Unfinished. But absolutely fine, just as we are. Ahhh……

Much love,

Grace

Eating Peace: Stop Obsessing About Food, Eating or Your Weight Right Now

Anyone who’s eaten off-balance knows what it feels like to be plagued by obsessive thinking about all things related to food, eating or body image.

We have thoughts like:

  • I should quit eating “x” completely (fill in the blank with some kind of food you’ve heard people should stop eating, or food you really like)
  • I’ll go on a diet
  • I need to weigh “x” by graduation, the wedding, the reunion, the summer
  • I can’t stop thinking about the yummy “x” food so I need to go get it
  • those other people look so much better than me
  • I need to worry about what’s going to happen next

These thoughts chatter away in our minds, and get louder and louder until finally, we DO something–we eat, or we go on the diet, or we engage in the rigorous exercise routine.

Have you noticed how this kind of thinking, obsessing, and frantic energy is all in the head, up in the mind–literally located at the top of your body?

So what if we took a moment to do this very surprising exercise to gain awareness of far more than this compulsive mental activity?

Much love,

Grace

Fixed links to secret facebook group and new Eating Peace eBook with Seven Day Practice Guide

Well that was goofy and confusing.

This past weekend’s Eating Peace note had whacky dead ends and non-working links.

(Sometimes the way we feel when it comes to eating, right?)

First of all, you are not crazy if you couldn’t find the facebook group for eating peace. It’s secret and not find-able.

For some of you, there was ALSO trouble accessing the newest version of Eating Peace eBook with a Seven Day peaceful-thinking practice.

To access these gifts, please follow the steps below.

I love your feedback and investigating this powerful journey of finding permanent peace with eating, body image, food….and our experience of life overall no matter what’s ever happened to cause us suffering or pain.

  • Download the Eating Peace: Seven Thoughts to Question, Seven Days to Practice ebook by heading HERE. You’ll enter your email (you won’t be double-subscribed so don’t worry) and receive it in your Inbox.
  • Second, if you’d like to join the secret facebook group Eating Peace for conversation and healing in eating (and often sharing that I only do there) then you’ll need to send me a quick email by hitting “reply” to this message. Just say something like “YES! sign me up for the eating peace facebook group”. I’ll send you a personal invitation from the group to join via email.

When I was bulimic or anorexic, I was filled with shame and couldn’t imagine writing or sharing about it anywhere unless I was kept very anonymous to the outside world. If facebook had existed at the time, I would only have joined if it was a secret group like this one, so I hope this serves those of you wanting to explore your relationship with eating.

Sharing and community changed my life. It was a key factor in altering the roots of my eating troubles. Because I know how life-savingly valuable finding community support is, I’m making it available to anyone who wants it, for free.

I hope either the ebook, or the facebook discussion, or both will serve you, if you’re drawn. I hope you may find the peace and end of the battling or compulsion you so deserve and want.

I know it’s possible to dissolve eating wars and no longer live in fear of weird, off-balance eating. If it’s possible for me, it’s possible for you.

We can find the working “links” to peace so eating is no longer a mine field, but a joyful pleasure every day.

Much love,

Grace