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overeating

Because My Mouth Wants It

I may have been a little overconfident with that St. Patrick’s Day post. Last night I realized that it’s easy to stop eating foods I don’t particularly like. But what if it’s food that I really, really like? That’s a different story.

Last night I had to go find dinner out because my daughter was at a school play and it was just wasting gas to drive allllllll the way home and back. Plus, the theater was about two blocks from the famed Gourmet Ghetto. It took me a while to decide where to eat but settled on Saul’s Deli, which I love but haven’t gone to in years.

I ordered the falafel platter, which was a yummy combo of baba ganouj, hummus, tabouleh, three crispy falafels and fresh, hot pita bread. Mmmmm!! My PLAN was to eat slowly, mindfully, in very small amounts. But I was hungry. Probably way too hungry. That didn’t help.

Then: everything was SO GOOD. There was nothing on that plate that wasn’t absolutely wonderful.

I tried to eat slowly. But I did pretty much have a death-grip on that fork. I tried to close my eyes and breathe and think of olive groves and sunshine. But you know, it all came down to, that food was so good. And I did not want the experience of having that yummy goodness to stop.

I tried mentally dividing up my plate. I tried many tricks. But it was really like trying to hold back the tide. I think I finally stopped when the plate had about 1/3 left.

That’s when I sorta noticed that I was full. REALLY full. I remembered one of the comments from an earlier post, and grabbed the sugar dispenser. I poured sugar over the last remaining falafel, the lovely puddle of hummus and tabouleh (the baba ganouj was GONE) and the nice warm pita. I pushed the plate away. The waitress came by, gave me a quizzical look and asked if I wanted a box to take it home. I shook my head. I was weirdly sad.

I was sad because I’d not been able to stop myself, slow down earlier, and I was sad because that lovely food was going away.

And I’m just beginning to see that this is no simple thing (ha).

The Zen of Eating

After reading this article, I was inspired to buy the book The Zen of Eating by Ronna Kabatznik. I am really liking it a lot. I’ve been very attracted to Buddhism for a long time and this book just calmed me down and made me feel hopeful. I think that this is going to be very useful for me. A few passages from the book have already made me a little tearful, they resonate so much.

The Buddha defined suffering as a ravenous appetite to find peace and security in places where it can’t be found.

The nourishment that comes from being kind to yourself and to others is the kind of food that stays with you.

Some suffering is inevitable, and some is optional. This is an important distinction. A certain amount of sadness, loss and frustration are built into the framework of being alive. This is inevitable suffering. Optional suffering is within your control: it comes from your reaction to situations, inevitable or otherwise. Optional suffering is what you add on to whatever happens.

It’s good food for thought. (no pun intended) I also just decided to sign up for a beginning meditation class nearby, starting in April. I can’t help but believe that it will help me in this journey.

Ignorance Isn’t Bliss

I feel so much better now that I’ve had my lunch! Phew! I got a portobello mushroom “burger” which was a mushroom with a whole wheat bun. It was super juicy and delicious, topped with grilled red pepper strips and just YUM. I was sooooo hungry. This is a good warning to myself to EAT, especially in the morning. Sometimes when I can’t decide what to eat, I will grab a string cheese and that is often better than nothing.

It was interesting sitting around in this ice cream parlor place, watching other people. There was one family next to us: the parents were both significantly overweight, and they had one overweight kid and two regular-weight kids. They ordered burgers, fried onion rings (one of my prior favorites),  and sodas. Afterward, they had these giant sundaes. I looked at them and thought, really, is that what I want? To not have to think about what I eat? Because I would have made similiar choices at certain points in my past.

There was another older couple sitting nearby. The woman (I noticed she had a medic-alert bracelet on and wondered if it was for diabetes) was quite slender. She ate a small salad (picked off the croutons and put on her husband’s plate). The man was pretty overweight. He ordered a cheeseburger, potato chips, a chocolate shake with whipped cream. I thought, she is clearly making a choice there. She’s conscious. But is it for her health? Because she thinks she can’t eat that stuff?

It was just… interesting. I do see my weight loss journey like being on a river. Sometimes I’ve been on the Ignorance side, where I’m defiantly NOT making choices because of health or weight loss reasons.  When I’m over there, I look at the Conscious side, and think it doesn’t look like fun at all. When I’m on the Conscious side, I am afraid of falling off and ending up on the Ignorant side. It would be nice if I could just paddle down the middle, never being totally out of control but not having to spend so much time and energy on food stuff every minute. I’m hoping that as the healthy choices become more automatic and natural, it won’t be so time consuming.

My portobello mushroom burger was very satisfying and yummy. I was happy I made that choice. But for a few minutes, I longed for that Ignorance… until I looked around and saw what that really looked like.

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.

Dagnabbit.

Another @*#&! learning experience!

I was doing SO WELL this weekend! Until last night, my small downfall, but still, at this point, small things can undo me. So, I planned a potluck dinner with some great women friends. I was so excited. I made a beautiful healthy fibery Greek lentil soup (with lemon and rosemary). Everyone who brought food brought SUPER healthy stuff; vegan dishes, salads, etc. Which is what “confused” me. If people had brought huge pans of lasagne, or cakes and whatnot, I would have stayed away with a ten-foot pole, but the healthy food was so delicious looking that I ended up filling my plate too full. I was not attending to portion control because I was so excited and happy to be with all of these women. I ate too much. THEN, when people were having dessert (which I did not touch), I went back and had another 1/2 bowl of soup as “my dessert.” What was that about? I was already full! But I guess I wanted to have something when everyon else was eating chocolate brownies and pound cake and biscotti.

I felt fuller than I had in a long time. Bleah.

And this morning, I was up .8 lb. Not a huge amount, but damnit I wanted to keep going DOWN DOWN, and I could’ve if I’d kept my wits about me last night.

So I’ve brought my lunch to work and have it all carefully planned out.

Another (ouch) learning experience.

Take home lesson: Just because it’s “healthy” doesn’t mean you can eat a ton of it. DUH.

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