Monday, January 31, 2011

Emotional Eating

Today is the last day of January. I am amazed at how fast this first month of the year has gone. I am also amazed at the amount of education that I am allowing myself to gain this year. I have finally convinced myself that I am fully committed to not only changing the way I look...but also the way I feel and the way I see myself. Those are pretty big realizations for just a month. The true education though....came this weekend.

You know....sometimes what we know down deep inside and what we actually admit to ourselves are two different things. I am an expert in living in Lisaland where I am totally oblivious to reality and where I make up my own rules and my own truths as I go along. The fact is though....that hasn't exactly worked out in the best way for me up til now....Lisaland needed a good swift shot of reality, with a equally potent chaser of "wake up and quit hiding from yourself!" for good measure.

I have always down deep known that I was an emotional eater.....except when I wasn't(long story for a different time). When I allowed myself....every pain, heartache, death, sadness, frustration, etc....became a reason to eat. And forget reaching for the carrot sticks and fruit platter. Oh no! I wanted pasta, ice cream, chocolate, hamburgers. Anything rich, full of carbs and calories, and comforting. What I don't think I realized was how vindictive I was. Ninety percent of my emotions have to do with how others make me feel (mad, sad, frustrated) and when I dive into the Haag en Das....I eat with purpose....a vengeance almost. Rather than verbalizing my emotions.....I am eating them. Yeah...not a new concept for anyone who has ever dieted and understood why they needed to....but it is a new concept for me in the fact of how I do it. The more intense my negative feelings.....the more I eat to punish. Without thinking....I reach for the things that are the most health harming and the things that ultimately will end up making me feel the worst. For example....sugar is NOT my friend. I can eat small amounts and be okay....but if I eat more than a slice of something or a couple of pieces of candy.....I get excruciating headaches, I swell, and I feel like crap. It is close to the feeling of an alcohol bender....without any of the fun. So rather than striking out at the culprit of my discontent or at the very least getting to the bottom of it verbally.....I strike out at eating. In the end....I am not only still unhappy over the original issue....but I also find myself feeling both mentally and physically miserable over the food I consumed under the guise of "making myself feel better!"

This weekend a situation came up that was extremely frustrating and upsetting. Not the first one this month mind you, but it was one of those hitting your head against a wall with no results things that leave you feeling completely helpless and out of control. I won't lie....I was also very angry at the culprit, but knowing that if I said anything....the situation would only escalate into something it didn't need to be....I just decided to not say anything further. Apparently swallowing my words was neither filling nor I reached for the Pringles and gummy bears. By mid day Sunday when my rings didn't fit and my head felt like someone had bashed it with a sledge hammer.....the realization of what I had done to myself became clear. The origination of my frustration felt no pain.....whereas I felt like I had been run over. The worst part was....I had done it to myself. Needless to say....I had also gone just a tad bit over my WW points for the day too. Truth be told....I probably went over my points for the month!!!! Rather than get more frustrated though and reach for more pain inducing foods..........I STOPPED! I really thought about what I had done, why I had done it, and WHO ended up getting punished for all of it. The realization was powerful and believe it or not.....I forgave myself fairly quickly. My next move was to start drinking lots of water to get the sugar out of my system.......and to put the weekend NOT out of mind, but rather to mark it down as part of my learning curve. The real kicker was having to go back and write down and account for every point consumed. Trust me it wasn't pretty....but it was eye opening.....and now I am prepared with my new found knowledge about move forward.

I am not saying that I will never find comfort in a bag of gummies again. After all...I am human and at times...a very emotional human at that. I am saying though....that with what I have learned, maybe I will start heading off my need to emotionally eat by actually going after the cause of my emotions rather than swallowing them and a pint of ice cream too. May I just children should probably be afraid....very afraid!

On the upside....the scales showed a nice 1.5 loss at my last WW meeting. I have no illusions that I will lose all my weight in a month, nor do I think I will ever look like I did when I was in my 20's again. However, I have hope that when the weight comes off (and it will) that I will have the skills, the knowledge and the fortitude to keep it off for good. Will the scales reflect my weekend indiscretions? Most likely.....but what those indiscretions taught  was invaluable and I will take the gain on the scales....right along with the gain in knowledge knowing that next time....maybe I won't need the gummies!

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