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Monday, January 13, 2014

So the last two weeks have been rough, emotionally. Since Thanksgiving, when I moved to my new place (which I love, love, love, by the way), I've been off-track with my food and fitness. In December, I started working on getting back to the behaviors that really support me, with mixed success. My success has been mixed because I've decided on several occasions, to eat for comfort.

What's going on that I'd actually consciously choose to eat for comfort? My girlfriend's father became critically ill and died in the first week of January. They're in Ohio, and I'm in Los Angeles, so due to the polar vortex I wasn't even able to join the family for the last days or funeral. Travel was impossible.

At the same time, my ex's wife (my daughter's stepmom) is battling cancer and this time it looks pretty grim (she's had a number of brushes with death as this has been chronic). She needs a ghastly surgery and there's really no certainty that it will prolong her life meaningfully. So I need to be here physically and emotionally for my daughter (and I'm trying to be decent to my ex).

I have had many days of deciding to just eat. Usually in the evening. Usually carbs or chocolate.

At the same time, I've been having a lot of trouble falling asleep at night. I attributed that to the general stress of all that's going on (not to mention life -- work, housework, parenting, attending to my elderly mother). A couple of nights ago, though, as I was drifting off, my mind jumped to all the chips and cheese I'd eaten that evening (without tracking, of course). Dang! I got this big jolt of anxiety and adrenaline.

Sure, my stomach was over-full, and that was uncomfortable. But then I also had this incredible anxiety. I had a concrete experience of the immediate connection between the over-eating and the anxiety. The very behavior I used to use to "sedate" myself when life was "too much" was adding to my anxiety! There's a direct causal connection, not just five weeks down the road when I don't like the number on the scale or what's happening when I get dressed.

Right now, today, eating poorly makes me feel worse. And I don't like it.

Maybe that last sentence is really the kicker. I don't like it.

In the past, I might have said I don't care. I don't care, I want the food anyway. I want the momentary thrill of the chocolate on my tongue or the fun of pulling apart those nachos and chewing them up.

But now, I don't like how I feel emotionally when I abuse myself. And that's what using food for emotional novocaine is, of course. Abuse.

So. Now is not the time for more self-harm. No harsh self-talk. No punishment with overexercise or rigorous "dieting." Nope. Now is the time for feeling the feelings, and gentle self-care, starting with good food in healthy proportions and some activity.

I've been on track again for a couple of days, and last night I noticed a big difference in my anxiety level. Here's to less anxiety and more self-acceptance, friends.

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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    You've expressed very well what I've felt a million times. So, so true.
    2549 days ago
    emoticon -- emoticon for an insightful post!
    2712 days ago
    2714 days ago
  • no profile photo CD13961612
    Great blog. I noticed a few months ago that if I overeat at supper, I wake up too early and can't go back to sleep. It's like my body is trying so hard to digest the excess amount of food that it is spinning its wheels, keeping me wide awake, starting up my thinking (brooding) activity, too.
    On the nights when I'm succesfull at not overeating at night I sleep longer and better.

    2715 days ago
  • no profile photo CD14232130
    What an inspiring blogpost. You hit so many nails on the head you could have built a whole house! I relate to so much of what you say about eating foods for comfort and not liking it! and I am very familiar with sudden feeling of anxiety at night -- either over something I over ate or overdrank! since changing my habits I have had far fewer of those moments. Good luck with all that you are going through. It sounds like a difficult time in your life
    2715 days ago
    2716 days ago
    Hey, we all have to reboot and restart from time to time. Banish that guilt! You have the skills! Hang in there!

    We can do this!
    2716 days ago
  • LINDAK25
    You are so right! Eating badly does add to your anxiety, because it makes you feel unwell. Eating like that keeps me awake at night, too. Sorry you're under so much stress. Remind yourself that you're okay and that you are doing all you can do to help, even if you wish you could do more. It's nice to have something concrete to do, but sometimes just listening to someone can help them through tough times, even if it's just a phone call. And for your daughter--you are right there with and for her. My pastor always says that the gift of presence is important. You have to take care of yourself first in order to take care of those around you, right?
    2716 days ago
    Sounds like you need to be extra kind to yourself. Not a license to overeat, but a time to not be critical. Accept that due to external influences outside your control. you are doing the best that you can.
    2716 days ago
    emoticon Soft gentle hugs hoping to make you feel loved and cared about.
    Take care and you are right. Now is not the time to beat yourself up, LOVE and care...
    again HUGS
    2716 days ago
  • POPSY190
    Great blog. Sorry about the current traumas but looking after yourself is the only positive way to deal with them. emoticon
    2716 days ago
    I'm sorry you're having to go through so much. It sounds like you've learned a lot, though, about taking care of yourself, which is something positive to come out of it. Continue to take good care of yourself!
    2716 days ago
  • no profile photo CD14253479
    Beautiful and brilliant! I made that connection myself this last time off program.

    Well done! Well said!
    2716 days ago
    (((((((((HUGS)))))))))) You have a lot of overwhelming things to deal with. It's not easy. Those are the times when it's so easy to slip back into those habits we THOUGHT we'd ditched.

    Prayers for you. Glad you at least blogged about all this. That at least helps me to get it off my chest and feel a little better. Hope it did you too.
    2716 days ago
  • SPEEDY143
    Wow... that's a lot to deal with and of course we reach for food to comfort us. You've made connections to the why and therefore and you know the answers to feeling better.... and when we feel good we make good choices. You've got it figured out... stay strong dear one. You will never regret the loving support you are giving your daughter's step-mom... your actions will forever by remembered by all concerned and can only make them better human beings. I am including all of you in my prayers emoticon

    Peace emoticon
    2716 days ago
    Your plate is so full right now, and I'm not talking food - I'm talking life. Now indeed is the time for self-acceptance and self-care - you are figuring out how to take care of you in the middle of a mess - that is incredibly hard. Way to go on facing who you are right now and valuing you as you are right now.
    2716 days ago
    Great blog! And I am certainly seeing the connections between emotional eating/stress/GERD adding MORE stress instead of comfort in my own life.

    We can make the positive changes we need!
    2716 days ago
  • no profile photo CD13354694
    First, I am sending GREAT BIG virtual emoticon your way!!
    Sorry to read about your very difficult past few weeks emoticon
    There is a quote I love at times like this... "This too shall pass"
    emoticon on getting back on track!!! emoticon
    2716 days ago
  • no profile photo CD14277958
    I wish SP had an "I admire the hell out of this post" button, but I'll settle for "I liked this Blog!"

    2716 days ago
  • TIGER_LILY_613
    Goodness, you're going through a LOT ! emoticon

    I'm so sorry to hear you're going through this, and I wish you strength. You have a good mindset and you will get through this. We're rooting for you.
    emoticon emoticon

    2716 days ago
    Atta Girl! You've got a lot going on right now so you're feeling overwhelmed! That's a pretty natural response. You've just proven to yourself though that taking care of YOU lessens your anxiety -- so make that your goal. Think of it in terms of "The only thing I can do to help these people right now is to look after myself." The pay off comes in how you feel and and you'll have more energy to help where you want to.

    You're going to get through this. emoticon

    Let the Spark community help you carry the load. emoticon
    2716 days ago
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