When Logic Fails

Anxiety is rearing its ugly head once again.

Or maybe it’s not anxiety; I don’t know for sure. Maybe it’s just fatigue? Whatever it is, I don’t like it.

I know I’ve said it quite a bit recently, but for the past few months, I’ve been having trouble with not giving in to temptations.

Logic says: If I didn’t buy it, I wouldn’t eat it.

You’d never see me order a cheeseburger or fries at a restaurant (I prefer to make meals like that at home, modified to my liking where I’m controlling the ingredients and can “healthify” the meal) .

Yet I seem to have no problem buying trashy processed Chex Mix and lack-luster chocolate bars that I’ll take a bite of before tossing–wasting both hard-earned money and precious calories that could be/should be spent on nutritious options.

It’s illogical, ridiculous, and emotional. But the truth is, it just isn’t that easy for me lately to just say no to my irrational compulsions.

Defying logic, I seem to be on auto-pilot, unable to stop myself from the compulsive behavior. (As noted before, I struggle with compulsion when it comes to shopping, too).

I need to be keeping in mind what Dr. G. taught me about overriding immediate gratification, but so far … FAIL.

I did some soul-searching this weekend and tried to come up with a reasoning behind these past few months of just not caring (yet caring) and all I can come up with is I’m testing myself.

Horrible as it sounds, I feel like I’m testing my body’s limits.

I’m fueling it craptastically. The only time  I’m not noshing is when I’m sleeping, and I’m exercising as much as always and haven’t cut back really, save for last week’s short runs vs my usual cardio sessions.

It’s like I know what to do, but am ignoring my own intuition. My own logical voice. An emotional person, I’m usually driven my emotions. But here, in this case, I really need to be driven by logic. I have the tools in the toolbox. I’m just not using them.

I know some of it has to do with being away last week and having mad PMS cravings and zero willpower to just say no. But it’s a cop out. I’m being too easy on myself, which is the opposite of how I usually am.

And this is one of those moments where having high expectations of myself might help me out of this slump.

Because I know myself well; Chex Mix and chocolate are my Achille’s heels. You’ve heard me say it before; this is nothing new. So why do I continue to buy it?! It’s like I’m possessed. It’s junk food that DOES NOT FILL ME. DOESN’T MAKE ME FEEL GOOD. WON’T HELP ME LOSE WEIGHT.

I know I need to raise my expectations, believe I CAN do this … instate “no choice” and flex my resistance muscles but, at the sake of sounding whiny … I guess deep down, maybe “I just don’t wanna.”

And until I “wanna” I will not lose weight. Plain and simple.

I realize that emotional eating is the last hurdle for me to get past, and this one seems to be the most troublesome, because it’s so deep-rooted in me.

I feel like such a fraud; I eat healthy MEALS (balanced, nutritious, delicious) but then my SNACKS are all unplanned and, well, junk! Stuff I’d shun years ago. Calories I don’t need, but give in to. Stuff that doesn’t make me happy or feel good about myself.

GUILT, not PRIDE.

Who am I?! Why the mask? Why the need to hide it? Because truth be told, I’m ashamed at the thought of being “caught” at Walgreen’s on my lunch-break buying this junk … I know people think I’m a healthy freak. Therein lies the problem. It’s sneaky behavior. And it’s unnecessary.

Let’s be real here … If I didn’t think it was wrong, I wouldn’t be embarrassed at the idea of bumping into someone I know!

<<SIGH>>

Ultimately, I want to get to the place where food is just food, without any complexities or judgments. I don’t know if that will ever be the case, but I don’t want to feel ashamed about my choices or feel like I’m living some double-life; promoting healthy eating and living it … but still indulging in junk food on the side, and not in the normal “occassional” way.

It’s becoming a problem. Logic tells me this. For once, I need to listen to logic.

Tomorrow is a new day, and I’ll just try my best. I need to practice intuitive eating, and when I am eating cleanly … it’s much easier.

I know I can handle this on my own — I just need to have faith I can do it. Sometimes that’s the hardest thing to muster up.

How about you? Any strategies you’d like to share for mindless/emotional eating? Self-rebellion/ testing yourself?

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21 thoughts on “When Logic Fails

  1. thanks for sharing this, melissa. it was probably a huge weight off your chest just recognizing, owning up and writing about your feelings.
    it’s really hard to stop once you start the indulgences, but you are right, you definitely CAN do it.
    There have definitely been times in my life where people thought i was such a healthy eater, but little did they know that in my head i was thinking – don’t get in my way of the dessert table! i would come up with reasons for overeating in front of people because i was so embarassed to be caught.
    One mantra that i like to use is simply – “it’s not an option”. picking up chex mix while on lunch break? nope, not an option.
    allow yourself your bit of grieving, but then put this behind you. get back to your happy place, and move on. i know you can do it. you know you can do it.

    1. Yes, it was … and thank you, it is good to know. My “No choice” seems to be similar to your “it’s not an option.” and what’s funny is I can practice it so well when OUT … but when alone?! HA! That’s when I go nutso. Not good.

  2. I am so glad that I stumbled upon your blog. I too am still dealing with recovering and, while some times are better than others, it’s always when I’m stressed/tired/overwhelmed when everything rears its ugly head. I guess when keeps me going is that tomorrow is a new day and I don’t have to be defined by this.

  3. This may be crazy, and I can’t promise where it will lead … but maybe eat nothing but Chex Mix all day, so that it makes you sick and you never want to eat it again?

    Other than that – I vote for replacement. Come up with a specific, concrete thing that you’re going to do during those times when you would go to the store to indulge an impulse.

    Those are my two cents. But I’m also a big believer that sometimes indulging a craving is a smart way of managing others stresses, as much as it may feel like “giving in.” We have so many things we need to button up; sometimes we need something that let’s us be self indulgent kids. Know what I mean? For me, it’s having that extra glass of wine when I really know I shouldn’t.

    1. Hey Sara, I see what you mean … unfortunately, I have this sick compulsion to buy it — and then I toss it after a serving or two or three … you’re right, I need to come up with something else. I always go in for a Diet Coke — but come out with more sometimes.

      I think if this was a once-in-a-while thing it might be OK but the reality is it’s not helping me any and in fact seems to be making more anxious–my inability to “deal” — if that makes sense.

      1. Yeah, it makes total sense. It makes you feel out of control, not in control. Which is definitely NOT what you need. It’s not easy, but I know you and I know you’ll get on top of it!

  4. Oh Melissa! ::hugs:: I know just where you are coming from, and I don’t know that I have too much advice for you, but I just wanted to say that you are not alone!

    I think I’ve said this before, but I struggled with disordered eating for so many years. I think what really “cured” it is becoming a mom. I used to think that I couldn’t be truly happy until I was thin and fit (even though I was a size 4 for years and still wasn’t truly happy!) but now, when I hold my son, I don’t even think about my weight or my jeans size — honestly! Even though I am 2 sizes bigger than my pre-pregnancy weight! Yes, I still try (try being the operative word) to eat healthy, and I work out a few times a week — carrying around a 17-pound kid all day is plenty of exercise — but it just doesn’t matter like it used to.

    1. Thank you so much, Alison — really appreciate your words so much. I can only hope to feel the way you do when I become a mom someday. I’d love to be where you are NOW, without even having a baby … so that when the time comes I am ready.

  5. Aww, ((HUGS)), Melissa! I’m so sorry you’re struggling. I feel like I’m not there for you! I have the same issue I think, sometimes. I eat healthy all day long and then when I’m home and I get anxious, I eat. And, it will be in secret. Most days, I just have to remind myself, ‘Hey, vacation is in a month and a half. Be-freaking-have.’ But, sometimes I don’t. Maybe vacation can be your motivator? Or, one big thing that I know you’re conscious of is that you’re preparing your body for a baby (someday!) and that’s one thing to really get healthy for – both mind and body. If you ever need me, I’m here sister.

    1. Hey Staci, thanks sweetie! Aw, you’re swamped! No worries. I think that’s a good idea … maybe think of va-k as a motivator to behave more; we leave for Korea in 26 days! So maybe that will help … esp since the baby thing seems so far off now (well, not really, but you know what I mean). Thank you; we’ll chat!

  6. I have totally been there, I struggled most of 2008 with this exact thing. Finally sought counseling and the first few weeks I was still really overeating. One day she said point blank “I don’t think you truly want to lose weight” I must have looked at her like she had two heads. What??? Of course I wanted to lose that is why I went to her, to stop the emotional eating. But she kept pointing out how I was making the choice to buy the trigger foods, etc. I was going out of my way to buy that stuff, it wasn’t just appearing in my lap. She kept saying “you are choosing to eat cookies over losing weight” and kept reinforcing how I had the power to NOT buy the junk. She forced me to dive into the issues that were causing me anxiety and that I was turning to food for comfort. There is always a reason why we eat when we know we shouldn’t. sometimes it is obvious like a bad day at work but other times not so much and you need to rack your brain to figure it out but almost always becomes apparent.

    1. Spot on, Lara. If I really wanted to lose, I’d do everything in my power like before. Clearly I don’t want to that badly. Part of me is OK with being this way; it’s still me, 15-20 lbs (depending on the month) lighter than my pre-WW weight. But I know if I looked better I’d FEEL better and vice versa.

      Just like I have the power not to chew/spit (and haven’t since March) I also have the power not to buy and eat junk. Thanks for this calorie-free food for thought 😉

  7. Hey!!
    I know this one inside out, I felt like you were writing my behaviour out. Sometimes it is so confronting and amazing to read other peoples post. this one for me, really hit home, i felt like you even picked up on the tinyest things like guilt and not wanting people to see you with them from work etc.
    I guess the way I have overcome small parts has been making sure I stick to my plan from the nutritionist.
    I find also, excersizing keeps me on track although I am pretty slack at this and need some motivation myself.
    I think it comes down to time and consistency, I guess something important is to recognise the behaviours like you have, but dont beat yourself up, the first step to big changes is realising it is a problem right?
    so same with small changes, same with this maybe, now you have seen what is going on for what it is, and thats always the first step to tackling something new, this could be your new goal for this week, to really try and get on top of this.
    I always break it down to just for today.
    so just for today I will stick to my meal plan really helps me a lot.
    otherwise it all looks incredibly overwhelming.
    take care

    1. Hi LouLou and thank you. Exercise is NEVER a problem for me; if anything, I work out too much. It’s the food that’s my biggest problem. Yea, I always say “break it into palatable pieces” — might as well try it. I did plan my menu for today … I think that’s been the missing link. When I joined WW in the beginning, I was VERY good about meal planning. lately, my dinners end up being “whatever I have Pts for” and then I’m snacking later b/c dinner was small and lame b/c I had no Pts which means I’m still going over. And if I had just stuck to a plan, I wouldn’t do that!!

      So … step one, meal planning. “If you fail to plan, plan to fail.”

      1. Having a more or less set meal plan really helped me. I worked with a nutritionist when I first started the therapy for emotional eating. She didn’t give me a rigid plan like eat X, Y,Z at 8 AM but gave me calorie and macronutrient guidelines and goals to hit and looked over my food plan each day. I tended to eat very low fat so she had me bump that up a good deal. I worried at first I would find this restricting but it took a lot of the anxiety away because I would plan my day and wouldn’t have to think twice about it. There was no room for extras. I always planned in a little treat, for me that was half anounce of good dark chocolate. That helped a lot.

        After a while I realized how much better I felt eating this way, the cravings for the stuff I had been overeating went away and I felt so much more satisfied with my food. The scale moving down was great too.

      2. Lara, I think it will help enormously … I was so good about it back then and it really helped me feel CALM … I think part of my anxiety is stemming from my LACK of control … funny as it may sound. When I’m in control, I feel good. No, I don’t want to become obsessive again, but there is a certain degree of discipline required and I’ve just been slacking like mad. I’m glad to hear it worked for you and maybe I’ll be joining you!

        I leave for Korea in 25 days. I can make a difference between now and then and set the tone for a wonderful trip to Asia.

  8. “Ultimately, I want to get to the place where food is just food, without any complexities or judgments.”

    That is my goal, too….and other days I am closer to achieving it than others, but yesterday, for example, not so much. My mom gave me a box of Girl Scout cookies (Thin Mints!), and immediately a surge of anxiety sprang up inside me. Of course I finished most of the box yesterday and am feeling the guilt today.

    I REALLY struggle with the sneaky behavior, too. If I were around people all the time, I’d be fine! But I know that is the common struggle for most of us who eat emotionally. It is SO difficult to do (and I’m not always successful, as in last night!), but I often remind myself WHY I’m eating when I’m not hungry. Usually it’s anxiety, and so I tell myself eating X will not help that problem. Like I said…it does not always work, but when it does, it feels like I conquered a huge problem!

  9. Oh Holly I can sooo relate. BTW–did you see that GS video on Facebook yesterday?! Thin Mints are my FAVE!!

    YES! It’s sneaky!! And I HATE it b/c I’m not sneaky about anything else — just food! Soooo frustrating. But you’re right, when we DO overcome it, it feels good.

  10. I can definitely relate to your “self-rebelling” or “testing yourself”..Recently, when I dropped below my healthy weight, I knew that I had. I hadn’t been to a therapy appointment for a few months, and over those few months I had built up strength and endurance in my exercise routine, yet was not altering my meal plan to balance these changes. So, basically, I knew what was inevitable, but I chose to look in the other direction for awhile. Like, it was okay this time, because “it wasn’t on purpose.”

    What really made it “click” was hearing my therapist confirm what I’d known: that over the past few months, I’d gone down just a bit. After having that tangible proof of my feelings, it was easier to make changes. Not the healthiest way to do things, but for where I am in recovery, I’m accepting it.

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