Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Day 12: Kitchens, Psychologists, & Starbucks

"It seems to me that our three basic needs,
for food and security and love, are so
mixed and mingled and entwined that
we cannot straightly
think of one without the others.
So it happens that when I write of hunger,
I am really writing about love and the hunger for it,
and warmth and the love of it and the hunger for it…
and then the warmth and richness and fine reality of
hunger satisfied…
and it is all one."
~ M.F.K. Fisher, from The Art of Eating

Inspirational Song
Come On In My Kitchen
Eric Clapton

In Atlanta there is a local community radio station, WRFG, that plays the Blues every morning. The DJs are all volunteers--a very country sounding husband and wife team on Mondays who sound like they might be putting on the show from their own den; she reads off the blues happenings for the week with the same kind of dialect as Flo reading the menu at Mel's diner. On Tuesday's--by far my favorite day for listening, and really the only day I listen to--there is AJ and Belle her Blue's kitty who often meows into the microphone. She starts each new session with one of her many versions of Come On In My Kitchen. I love it. Hearing it makes me think of a warm and cozy place where there is always hot coffee and someone to sit down to drink it with you as they look into your eyes and smile.

Come On Into My Therapy Session
This afternoon was my day with PhD2. We talked a bit about my feeling a bit cranky and irritable about the food plan and uncertain about how hard or easy to be on myself (and more importantly what I "say" to myself) about my lack of consistent exercise, and about Starbucks and drinking coffee.

All of the therapeutic discoveries aren't completely clear. And sometimes therapy sessions are like when I was taking piano lessons. . . it all seems perfectly clear in the moment when the expert is talking or showing you chords . . . but once you are by yourself and trying to recreate it, you realize it hasn't sunk in enough for you to explain it with your own words. . . thus, the need for practice, I suppose.

One good thing was, though, that in therapy, where all the conversation is so blissfully and calmly focused on me, there is time to think and be directed to think about what might have made me feel cranky. . .what was the trigger. Generally, it was not so riveting. . . stress, irritation. But what caused the stress and irritation?

Eating Triggers & Stress Triggers

Two important answers: First, I realized I get stressed and want to toss the plan if I have planned meals that require hubby to start them for us to eat within a reasonable hour and if he is working so that he can't start them. Having to punt for dinner when you're hungry is not a soothing thing when you're trying to track what you eat. Note to self: plan meals that I can be responsible for myself in a timely way if necessary. (Save the roasted chicken for the weekend or to cook AFTER dinner for a next day meal).

Next, I was feeling some stress about the lack of focused exercise as I mentioned in last night's post. This is important because if I beat myself up, it could throw me off in many ways. I can be very crippling to myself with my nasty inner voices.

PhD2 suggested that I tell myself how great it is that I am purposefully adding in new movement and activity--walking up the escalators, doing laundry before leaving for work, doing the mini bike at work, checking out the pool, checking out the new dog collar to make walking the dog more palatable, and to keep adding in new things and challenging myself in a positive way, allowing myself some room that I am a returning fledgling in this. I think to keep doing what I have been with the goal of continuing to add movement and structure seems like a reasonable plan. And I think planning a few movement things and following through on my plans also seems like a good idea (versus waiting for the spirit to hit me).

What's Really Inside the Cup?

The Starbucks thing is a bit more of a puzzler to me. Until July 4--my day of reckoning--I went to Starbucks at least 2 times a day. My drink of choice is a grande Americano, which is a medium espresso (3 or 4 shots) with hot water added. I add skim milk and cinnamon, so it's not a high calorie drink. But as I started calorie counting and taking charge of my eating, I started weaning off the Starbucks' runs. I can't explain why too much. I could brush it off as due to their increased rates. But that's not it; I waste lots of money.

As I tried to explain it to PhD2, 2 odd things came up. One: the people at Starbuck's are probably the most friendly people to me all day. Everyone there knows my name, knows my drink. And something about that feels kind of pathetic to me. Even though most of the most friendly people in my life (and for the last several years) are ones I PAY to be around me--my dog trainer who I spent all of Sat. chatting with over my kitchen table after our session with Yeats, my PhD, my former trainer. In Boston, it was my trainer, my PhD, and my physical therapist. I am not sure what this is all about. . . I think it's more of a lack of opportunity than that I'm unlikeable. . . but I still find it sad and odd.

Two: I did stop at Starbucks on my way to PhD's today. And it struck me that carrying it into my session with me was kind of like carrying around a baby bottle or security blanket. Somehow it soothes me. It seemed like something that as I'm working on my issues with food that I should rely on less.

I'm still drinking coffee--the free stuff in the office--about 2 or 3 cups a day typically. And I've started taking to drinking herbal tea at night (steeping it myself is key, go figure), which I'm aware is a soothing ritual as well as a signal to me that eating is over. Plus something about steeping the tea feels elegant.

I guess my PhD is worth the money, huh? I certainly can't figure myself out!


  1. Cool music, cool quote. I have often thought food was/is a substitute, or physical manifestation of love and nurturing.

  2. Have I told you lately how much I relate to your stuff, and that I love your blog/writing??

    I love my therapy. I find that it is 100% ESSENTIAL to changing my life, eating disorder behavior, and attitudes.

    Anyway. Great stuff.

  3. OMGOSH. I canNOT thank you enough for this music. I am rockin and swayin'! THIS is going on my playlist!!!!!!

  4. I was thinking security blanket too. Everyone needs their coping device - mine was the blankie, cigarettes and now food. I totally get the coffee connection too - I always feel comforted with a nice hot cup of it in my hand. But you're right - probably any hot liquid will do.

    Do not fret about having to pay people to be friendly to you. It seems that folks in general are getting crabbier and feeling more entitled these days - much to my dismay. Wish the global warming could be attached to people and their personalities! It's not you, it's them.

  5. Good post indeed! Thanks for sharing such nice information.


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