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emotional eating

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Ooh, there is too much I want to blog about, a LOT on my mind lately, and not enough time. But I want to write about the following in the next few days:

  • people who have successfully lost weight/kept it off without counting calories or points
  • blaming one’s weight gain on others (entities, people, situations, etc)
  • my first run/walk around the local lake AND my first Couch-to-5k session (done!)
  • what people are talking about when they say “dealing with your issues” re food/emotions and why this year might be the first year in my life it might actually happen
  • this week’s episode of the Biggest Loser
  • changing up trainers/exercises/workouts

SO — that’s what’s been on my mind this week! I want to write about it all eventually. What would YOU vote for, for me to write about first?

Assessment: Two Months Today

Two months ago today, on January 17th, I got my wake-up call and thus began my… what? My New Life? My Healthy Journey? I keep trying to think of how to describe it. I think I shall call it my Turnaround. Also Turnover. I began turning over all of my old habits, thoughts, fears, activities (and lack of) and really trying to examine what got me to that point. It’s been a very busy two months.

Here’s my little self-assessment after two months have passed. In the tradition of the maddening “narrative progress reports” that my kids used to bring home from school, because the poor little darlings were’t thought to have enough self esteem for letter grades:

What’s Going Well:

  • Well, I’ve actually lost 16 lbs! That’s no small potatoes. And I intend to keep going. I’ve been through a plateau or two, and a day or two of discouragement, but the trend is steadily downward. And that can’t help be encouraging.
  • I haven’t had a major bout of Emotional Eating since Jan 17th. I can’t even describe how shocked, incredulous and frankly moved I am by this. Previously I would not have thought this possible. I truly have found ways in which to ride out the emotions, write them out or talk them through. And they have passed. In the many times that I’ve dieted in the past, THIS part was never really addressed. So it’s huge. HUGE, I tell you.
  • I am pretty happy most hours of most days. Which I can say has not been true for YEARS. I mean, I used to have some happy moments in what were either “regular” blah or downright bad-feeling days. NOW, I have moments of absolute ECSTASY within days that are mostly happy or at least content, with little blasts of unhappiness now and then. I don’t know whether to attribute this to the endorphins from exercising, to the fact that it just feels comfortable and nicer to be smaller and fitter, or the fact that I am channeling my emotions properly rather than using food. Probably ALL of the above.
  • Most importantly, I think I am improving my health. I have been able to discontinue my blood pressure medication that I have been on for over five years. I think I’m going to have more improvements when I next see my doctor in April. I’m moving in the right direction.

What is Going Better But Could Be Improved:

  • Low-level anxiety that This Cannot Possibly Last.
  • Insecure in my new habits (this is echo of first point)
  • Probably too much focus on the scale

What Needs Major Improvement:

  • Eating breakfast. I’m getting tired of eggs, not wild about many other breakfast foods, etc. I KNOW it is the most important meal and that it jump starts your metabolism and all that! I really need to work on this one. I am going to experiment with eating lunchy/dinnerish foods in the morning and see if that helps any.
  • (more echo of point one) “Breakfast like a queen, lunch like a duchess and dinner like a pauper.” This is what I’ve read repeatedly but still dinner is THE MAIN EVENT around our house. I wonder how much it would help if I could actually implement this style of eating. We did eat like this in Latin America, where the main meal is at noon, then dinner was more like what we’d call a “snack.” And I did lose 26 lbs while living in Central America, but that was probably the hard labor and turista. 🙂

Conclusion: All in all, things are going shockingly well. I have to say that I am cautiously optimistic. But nervous, you know, because I’ve never done this before.

Could Have Eaten Three Cheesecakes Today

…. but I didn’t.

It was one of those uber-emotional over the top days when the stress level is SO HIGH and in the “bad old days” – um, just 10 weeks ago? I would have just been inhaling everything in sight.  There was major drama going on at work, my blood pressure was (probably) hitting the roof, I was extremely concerned about a loved one, and I was this close to having my head explode.

I work right next to a 7-11. Which is the perfect source for out of control emotional eating.  Haagen Dasz bars! Skor bars! 7-11 hot dogs!! (ha) More junk than you can stuff in your mouth.

I really love my job. I love the people I work with. I love the work I do. And so for me to have a “bad day at work” is like one in a million. But today I was just triggered and set off and I was a basket case. Then I was worried about somebody that I love, and that was hard too. (understatement)

I didn’t have breakfast because I was rushing too much. Then I got to work and dealt with drama for several hours. My mom, who had come to the office with me (she’s a volunteer there) wanted to stop and get a drive-through burger. I almost got nothing for myself and then thought better of it and got a drive-through chicken salad. Which turned out to be a great thing.  She sat at my desk and ate the burger and fries while I inhaled the fumes.

After all the drama, I ate my salad which was actually very very good. I had a plan to visit a friend this afternoon so I left my office. I walked past the 7-11 to go to my car.  The junk food was calling my name. LOUDLY. I did not have time to sit down and Write Out My Feelings. I made myself steadily KEEP WALKING and felt in my pocket. Voila, there was a sugar free caramel hard candy!! It saved me. I sucked on that thing til it disappeared. I drove to my friends house. She gave me a cup of tea, a cut up apple and some tangerine (she is a good good friend!). I told her all my woes, and while I was talking to her I got a relieving text message from my loved one.  Things took a turn for the better.  She helped me get more grounded regarding the work situation, and when I left her house I felt a million times better.

I came home and had a nice healthy dinner with my family.

The only “down” thing is I did not exercise today. Trainer said I could have one rest day, not two. But now I am post-dinner, and I do not think I can do anything comfortably. I will just have an extra vigorous workout in the morning.

I am very relieved and actually SHOCKED that I did not overeat today. I really think I might be learning some new ways of coping.

Amazing.

Can Blogging Save Me from Eating?

(wrote this yesterday while traveling, and the answer to the title is YES)

I’m on the first leg of my trip. I just landed in the airport of the city where my birth mother lives. (back story: I was adopted as a baby, found her when I was in college, and have had a rollercoaster relationship with her for the past 28 years) It used to be when I stopped in her city for a layover, she would come to the airport, if only for an hour, and would bring me goodies to eat. Talk about food associations! She knew I loved cheese and once brought me an adorable little cheese basket with all sorts of fancy cheese and crackers. Once, she came with my (half) brother and his newborn baby. I have so many associations of very intense, brief meetings in this building; ones that had my adrenaline pouring through my body and leaving me limp on the next flight. I have two hours to lay over here this afternoon. As soon as I stepped into the gate area, I was hit with a rush of emotion and memory. And of course I immediately wanted to eat. And drink (alcohol). I rarely drink and when I do drink, it’s very little, so you know this has to be an extreme situation. I wandered into one restaurant and glanced at the menu briefly. It looked too dangerous so I left. I wouldn’t be able to trust myself to order a salad or something reasonable.

I’m sitting in an isolated little area with some chairs, in between the moving walkways. I have an apple and a mandarin orange in my bag, plus a container of yogurt that smells like it might have exploded in the flight. I’ll eat the orange and see if I feel better. It does help to write it. To write it, write it instead of eating it. This is one of the biggest triggers I have, my relationship with this woman. Breathe. Breathe. Look for the orange.

Aw crap, my yogurt broke. My apple and orange are covered in it. I have to go to the restroom and rinse them off. I wish I had my Beck book with me. I have it but it’s in my checked suitcase. OK, what would she say? You’re not going to die from these emotions. Just feel it. I feel like I am five years old and I am struggling to understand why my mama does not love me. Just got a text message from my daughter. She is holding me up. I can get through this without eating. I have to go wash off my fruit because I really AM hungry.

Epilogue: I ate my orange and some cheese. I talked (texted) with my daughter. She brought me back from the edge. I cried. I wrote. I paced around. And GUESS WHAT? The emotions passed. They really did. And I did not, for once in my life, turn to food for solace.

Ten gold stars, baby.

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