I don’t know if I even have any readers anymore these days, but if I do –I hope your Christmas was merry and bright!
Though I haven’t blogged about food struggles in a really long time (mostly because I have been living and not worrying ) … I am now because I have been slowly gaining the past year. And though I haven’t wanted to come to grips with it, the basic reason is because I’ve done more than my fair share of eating my emotions.
For those who have not experienced the wrath of emotional eating, it is not just the image of a girl in her bed eating her emotions with a carton of Ben&Jerry’s post-breakup. It’s a legit problem, and it doesn’t always mean eating because one is sad or depressed; in my case, I’m in such a good place in my life — a genuinely joyful place — but the emotional eating is still a challenge. Emotional eaters can eat for any reason–and it’s usually to fill a void somewhere else in their life … but not always. Sometimes it really is just fun to let go, let loose, and give in to whatever, in a moment of elation. Sometimes it’s stress-induced. Sometimes it’s anxiety-induced. But the end result is the same — and it’s what hurts.
It’s not just about the obvious weight gain that is so upsetting; that’s a given. It’s about the lack of control — and ultimately the lack of caring — that is so troublesome to me, at least with respect to myself. Because in spite of all my progress in my recovery journey, I’ve still never stopped being an emotional eater. I was able to hide it for so long behind arduous workouts that canceled out indulgences, but as a working mom with two young kids now … I just can’t keep up the facade. Neither my waistline nor my mind can hide it any longer.
I recognize I don’t have the time or energy to commit to my body anymore the way I did in my 20s — yet I know I need to make myself a priority so I can be here for my kids for the long haul, so I can set a good example. It’s a total conundrum — one so many of us face. And while I may not be able to get to the gym 7 days a week anymore like I did pre-kids (or even with 1 kid) … I can work on curbing my emotional eating.
I’ve gone from moments where IDGAF and am completely aware of what I’m doing yet unwilling to stop myself (because, well, IDGIF), to moments where I am suddenly in shock looking at my food journal at how much I had consumed in one day … Like, wondering who is this woman? Seriously, a former over-exercising, restrictive, chewer-and-spitter is eating this much, and this much crap?! What happened to Ms. Orthorexic, I-don’t-eat-THAT??!
Yup, you could say I’ve been struggling. I haven’t turned to any bad behaviors, thank goodness, and I am fully confident I won’t. But the emotional eating has taken its toll, particularly in the past year.
And so the past four days being back on WW –a new, much-tougher plan — I’ve really had to sit with my feelings instead of eating them. Like if the kids are screaming and running wild and giving me the world’s biggest headache, it doesn’t mean I “deserve” to toss a couple Hershey’s kisses into my mouth. No. Instead, I can go in another room and calm down before
going ape on them dealing with them.
No matter what I lose this week (and I do hope it’s something because man is this new program hard!), I can tell you that I have re-gained some much-needed insight into my own brain and how it operates.
First, as I learned so many years ago in therapy, one of the benefits of an anxious mind is that we work well in parameters. So following a “plan” — and knowing that I can’t “go over” now — really is striking a chord and putting the kibosh on emotional eating. There’s simply no room in this plan for it. None, whatsoever, unless I want to starve … which I do not!
And second, sitting with my feelings is something I’ve honestly forgotten to do — but it’s necessary. It’s what helps us be better people. For example, I’m realizing that I’d lash out at the kids, at Luis, at the dog …for the slightest infraction. And maybe if I sat with that feeling (anger, frustration, sadness, whatever) perhaps I could handle them better. I wouldn’t need to turn 180 degrees and into an impatient, angry monster if I could just sit with what I’m feeling. I think this will make me a better parent and wife. It’s just not easy to do … and now that I don’t have food as a crutch … I have to sit there and feel whatever I’m feeling.
What’s funny is I went back and read several blog entries from my earlier days here on the blog tonight, and in so many ways can see how far I’ve come … yet I am still fundamentally the same anxious person; I just cope with it in healthier ways.
Writing was the medicine in my recovery efforts back then. It’s what helped me get to where I am today. And so tonight, writing helped once again to soothe me. I’ve forgotten how much I miss this elixir, this outlet. And even if no one reads this blog anymore, I love knowing I have a place to go — to write, to genuinely feel my feelings again.