Dealing With Disappointment

After every major event I’ve planned — be it for work (a press conference, a symposium, a meeting) … or for fun (a party, my wedding, a vacation), following the immediate high of said momentous occasion/event, there’s always that immediate feeling of OK … now what?!

I think that’s part of being one of those people who is always looking four steps ahead and struggles (as I’ve acknowledged here many times) with being content “in the moment” and not looking beyond it towards something else.

The holidays for me are another “event” — and though this year was different in that we weren’t with immediate family or travel anywhere, I still feel that unsettling sense of  “OK, now what?”

Couple this temporary lapse into a depression (which many people experience this time of year) with disappointment in myself (a result of my tighter-than-I’d-like-them-to-be jeans and WAY too many sweets) and you very well *could* have recipe for disaster.

But in spite of this, I actually don’t feel like I’m headed into disaster territory right now — and here’s why.

See, I think it’s OKAY to feel this bit of depression/disappointment in this moment … because I know in my heart of hearts I’m going to bounce back and not dwell on these feelings.

I say this not to offer a blanket statement here (as everyone is unique), but because sometimes I think I need to hit rock bottom before I can see the forest through the trees.

That happened with me in March, when I stopped chewing/spitting cold turkey. I hit rock bottom and then BAM, haven’t done it since. Hell, I don’t even think about it anymore (and when I do, I shudder at the memories of how miserable I was when I did it).

Still, my relationship with food is quite uncomfortable at best, volatile at worst.

For my first few years on Weight Watchers, I was a straight A student, and avoided things cold-turkey.

Then I got cocky and tempted myself little by little, which led to a little weight gain but nothing major.

Then I got really sneaky and started chewing/spitting those temptations, tricking myself into thinking this was “OK” because I wasn’t really swallowing the food …

And then, though I stopped that nasty, gross habit, I started consuming the foods I previously chewed/spit … which meant I wasn’t eating cleanly and was definitely eating too much processed crap I didn’t need.

Which brings me to today.

Though I am not engaging in those unhealthy behaviors anymore (chewing/spitting or over-exercising), I am still quite disordered in my eating: wasting tons of Points on junk during the day and then finding myself low on Points. which means I either am stuck with a lame-ass dinner, or go over my Points and eat Activity Points (which I’ve been doing week after week lately … )

The truth is, even with stopping chewing/spitting and exercising regularly, I’ve not dropped an ounce since March (I’ve technically maintained, though after the holidays … eeks! Who knows).

And so if I’m being perfectly honest (because I always am here), I’m disappointed in myself for 1) not nipping this recent several-months-long crap-fest and 2) not losing the 10-15 lbs I’d like to, to get back to where I feel my best.

Though I say I’m saner (and, truthfully, I do feel much saner and think I act saner now than I did even a year ago), my relationship with food is still quite volatile and, I’m sad to say, very emotional-driven.

For example, I was upset about something yesterday and instead of just buying what I went into Target for (this cologne my hubby wants that apparently they don’t sell at Macys but DO sell at Target — go figure!) I was on autopilot for the snack aisle. Seeing they were on sale, I bought a bag of dark chocolate and a bag of cheddar.

In the car, I had a little handful of each and, once I had the (earth-shattering!) realization that, “Hey, Chex mix isn’t going to make you feel better, Melissa!” I tossed the bags.

It’s moments like that where I realize I’m still not “normal” when it comes to food. Then again, I recently heard a quote that I loved that goes like this, “Normal is a setting on a washing machine and nothing more.”

So maybe there really is no official “normal” … but regardless, I know in my heart I could treat myself — and my body — much, much better. Last year my non-resolution resolution was to treat my body like a temple, and I think I fulfilled that resolution about halfway.

This year, I’d like to be able to feel like I fulfilled it all the way.

Wrapping this ridiculously long post up, though I’m disappointed in myself, I don’t think that it’s  such a bad thing — especially because I’m going to be using that disappointment to fuel something positive: an attitude adjustment and an outlook adjustment towards my body.

After all, we only get one body … we need to love it and nurture it, and I’ve not been doing a good job at either of those things.

And since I want to be a mom someday, it’s all the more reason I need to get a grip on my eating and my outlook. Now. Why put off tomorrow what you can do today?!

How about you? Do you think it’s OK to feel disappointed in yourself? Does it help you get over whatever hump you’re facing?

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7 thoughts on “Dealing With Disappointment

  1. I have been batteling the binge monster this year and I am winning. I know that when I go for things that I normally wouldn’t eat it’s due to an emotion. I am REALLY trying to focus on those emotions and sitting when them.

    No one wants to sit with frustration, anger, disappointment. But more though covering/coping/dealing with these emotions with food is exhausting to me.

    I have also read this AWESOME post by Hilde @ Live Out Loud on letting go of guilt. It hit me SO hardcore that it’s helped me get past guilt. I think with WW (and I have been on and off of it for 8 years..and I am now back on it) is that it caters to a type A personality. It’s easy in it’s approach ‘be perfect’ all the time is what many people evolve to. If they’re not perfect then they guilt themselves into a horrible mental space, binges, etc.

    I don’t give a shiznat about points anymore. I mean..yes it’s great if I am on target. But if I eat under or I eat over I am not exhausting myself anymore with guilt.

    I hope that you find a place in your life where you let go of the restrictions that are holding you back. That you are able to pause and let the food anchors release themselves so you can sail.

    ~M

  2. Mish, it sounds like you are in a wonderful place — that’s awesome!

    I think it’s important to note that I am not striving for “perfection” like I did when I first did WW in 2004 … I am just striving to be more diligent, to put more effort in because I simply haven’t been. I need to rid myself of the emotional eating and impulse buys — which I didn’t do either of when I was starting out with WW at all. I just quit those foods cold turkey, and I don’t need them now (except maybe on occasion, not every day!)

  3. I think it definitely depends on what you are disappointed in yourself for. In your case, I don’t see anything you should be down on yourself for. It sounds like over the past few months, you made HUGE strides. Also, I can relate to the “now, what?” feeling, and I think that is both our struggle with always looking a step ahead but it could also be a sign that we TRULY enjoyed the holiday season and are sad to see it go. Which is a good thing!

    But, eating out of your comfort zone and maybe “indulging” more than you wanted to, is actually quite “average” this time of year. We don’t do well with shocks to our routines, but in general, it’s going to be pretty boring after the new year soon, and you’ll long for the days when there was a party to look forward to.

    Okay, I’m ramblin now, I hope I made some coherent point 😉

    1. Jenn, I’m not disappointed in myself for the holidays themselves but rather how I’ve been behaving the past 3-4 months, especially. But thank you, I do feel like I’ve made HUGE strides and am, indeed, proud of them 🙂

      Good to know I’m not alone in that “now what” sentiment!

      Yes, you did make many coherent points 🙂

  4. what is normal? stop comparing yourself to what you think is normal or what you think you should be! just be the best YOU that God wants you to be, that you want to be.

    im not a person who is motivated into positive action or change via negative feelings. but there is a difference between disappointment and anger/ire/self hate. i think disappointment can turn around into something positive because disappointment isnt rock botom, it is maybe more “realization.”

    at the end of your post here, you have already used the disappointment to realize the positive pushes that are more healthy to springboard from. 🙂

    1. Exactly, there IS no normal…but I could treat my body much better. And I’m with you — disappointment can turn into something positive because it’s usually related to awareness/realization. 🙂 Thanks, Clare!

  5. Melissa — thank you. Thank you for writing this. I’m in recovery from anorexia, but this November I tried stopping my anti-depression medication (as recommended by the doc) to see how I’d do without it. Adding in the further stress of doing NaNoWriMo (trying to write a novel in 30 days) led to me adopting the weird, strange, and gross habit of what you call chewing/spitting. I thought I was the only one to come up with this idea, and felt disgusting and ashamed. I have stopped (thank God, and hopefully for good), and I feel so much better in body and mind. However, I’ve also put on weight that I’d rather not have. But, like you, I’m okay. I’m not overexercising or restricting my food to take care of the weight. I’m simply doing exercise (moderately) that I enjoy and that will help me focus on toning rather than “getting skinny.”

    Anyhoo, my comment is getting to be blog post length, so I’ll stop here. But I did want to say thank you for your guts, your honesty, and your success in not punishing yourself (or your body) as a result of some of these disordered eating habits that sneak into our lives. Keep at it, girl!

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