Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Transformational Weight Loss Update #2

Patti from Welcome to My Universe wrote a comment on my last TWL vlog that made me want to write about one aspect of TWL here.

One of the most interesting aspects of TWL is portion size. With TWL, you stop controlling portion size all together. For most of us who have struggled with our weight in various ways, including in my case with eating disorders, we've tightly controlled portion size, always keeping it to some external standard, such as:
  • "as small as possible"
  • less than x calories
  • not more than y carbohydrates
  • x ounces
  • "a portion as big as your fist"

---something! TWL is about letting go totally, and eating what your body wants no matter no much or how little it is. This is terrifying for most of us. You are sure that disaster will ensue. You have been conditioned to believe that the body cannot be trusted, that it has to be controlled. And if you're fat, then it really, really has to be controlled. Your mind (conditioned by years of exposure to the diet industry) has a field day, saying:
  • "What if I go crazy and eat a whole box of cookies? Or seven boxes of cookies?"
  • " What if I end up being 300 pounds?"
  • "My body has no idea how much to eat! I have to rely on someone to tell me!"

What you discover though, and fairly quickly, is that the body knows. Even the fat body knows. If you listen, if you trust it, your body will balance out and end up wanting a "good" portion size that is right for you. A healthy body doesn't end up wanting to overeat, because overeating doesn't feel good or pleasant. But it takes a bit of learning. It also takes totally giving up control, something that you've only done in a negative way on a binge. It takes surrendering to the wisdom of your body. You may overeat a few times as you learn to trust your body, but you get to find out how overeating really truly feels, and once you do, as Kelly has described perfectly here, it is hard but it is good, because this is an experience you've missed out on despite overeating and numbing out gazillions of times.

Your body will learn. Pretty quickly. And yes, even your body can be trusted. (Cause for celebration for those of us who feel like our bodies are defective and unattractive and irreparably damaged from years of distorted eating from strict dieting, wild binging, or other eating disorders!) Your fat body is a good body and has just been adapting and trying as hard as it could to adjust to what you've been putting it through. And your body responds with answers---sometimes pain and discomfort from overeating---but also joy that you are finally listening to it. It is a profound relief.

Annie has described an initial experience with TWL so beautifully here. She has put into words so well what I wish I could describe.

This is radical, unconventional, counter cultural, gentle, kind, and only possible for people who are interested in and willing to learn to be present. I don't know if I could have done this before...well...now, as opposed to last month or even a few weeks ago. It's a stumbling, uncertain, and joyous path, too, one in which I'm thrilled to have Kelly and Annie walking along with me.


Angela said...


This is so fascinating and the parallels with my recovery are unmistakable. I guess, they are both addictions, just different types. I really appreciate your committed way of sharing and keeping us up to date with your changes. Congratulations!

Patti said...

Ah yes, I see now. I think that is what I was trying to say. I filled my plate 'unconsciously', then thought 'consciously' that I didn't want that much to eat after all. My body regulating itself. And I listened to it! It is a very harmonious way of living.

Journey Through Life said...

Olivia, I am glad that you were led to this book and introduced it to the rest of us. And glad to be sharing the journey with you. Thank you.

Kikipotamus said...

I am also so grateful to have you with me on this journey. I got my hard copy today, so I will be more easily able to read a chapter or more before sleep.

I am doing better on the staying present while eating. Still experimenting with what I want and how much, which is sometimes really scary when I let myself have something, but I think this may just be my pendulum swinging back in one direction after swinging so far in the opposite way for so long.

I have to trust it will settle in the middle before it's all over.

Claire said...

blogger's letting me comment today, so hello dear olivia, warm hugs and mistletoe kisses xxx

Karen said...

I've noticed that when I'm completely present while I'm eating I also notice how good the food tastes and when I'm done being hungry.

I gave you an award over at my blog--swing by and pick it up when you get time.

Olivia said...


I agree with you that they are both addictions and have so many parallels. I think that anything can be used to numb out, to disappear from our feelings...

Thank you for what you said about my sharing. It helps me so much to be accountable. Plus, I really, really want everyone to WATCH this work in my life---that's how convinced I am that it will!

Peace and blessings,


Olivia said...


Your life sounds so harmonious overall, and very peaceful. That is what I am wanting and working to create in my life!

Joy and aliveness,


Olivia said...

Oh, sweet Annie, thank you for walking on it with me! Peace and photos and bushwalking fun,



Olivia said...

I am so grateful for you too Kelly. It is so scary. These are the beginning days. I have to hope that it will improve.

Today I did a lot of allowing for myself. Then I felt how I felt---not good. Tight. Stuffed. It must not have been true hunger after all. I am really feeling it---good! Hard and expensive (weight-wise) lessons to learn in the short term, but invaluable and necessary in the long term. I can't believe how much of the time I ate like this before, though! It makes sense that I would weigh what I weigh.

I love what you shared about not weighing for 6 years. I am going to refuse to weigh also. It doesn't matter what the scale says, but how present I am. I have been a slave to the scale for (assuming I started weighing at 10 years old) 40 years! I'll spend the next half-century doing things differently. Weight Watchers teaches you to watch your weight forever; this works very well for some people and I understand why, but it has never worked for me.

Thank you for being my fellow traveler,

Much love,


Olivia said...

Claire, It is good to see you here at the happyluau!! I visit you at your place too though and am excited for you about the new journey you're going on next year. End-of-the-year blessings, and comfort and great joy to you,



Olivia said...


Thank you, Karen, for the True Blue Blogger Award...YAY! You are that for me, too!!

You are right about being completely present aiding awareness of the body's signals. That is what I struggle the most with. I eat all meals but 1-2 each week alone, and love to watch television while I do so. In fact, it's the only time I watch television---during my solitary meals. I enjoy it greatly! I struggle with making time to eat and just be present. But I am certain that this is what I need to do if I'm really serious about this (and I am). That you for this important reminder, Karen.

Thank you again for the award :)