Monday, 29 July 2013
Dealing with My Food Demon
As you may have read in my first post, I have struggled with my weight and emotional/stress eating pretty much since I can remember. Up and down, in and out, it's always been a #1 thing on my mind. I've also struggled with depression & anxiety for the last 8 years or so. However, with the help of medication and finding an outlet for myself (I trained for my first half marathon) I had found a very happy, healthy space. I had finally gotten down to a weight that was healthy, normal, maintainable and I actually made me feel comfortable in my own skin. I was enjoying exercise, enjoying food and I pretty much let go of all my fears and anxiety about food.
Until June...In June, I did a pretty stupid thing. I went off my meds (for many reasons I won't get into here). I didn't do it the way I should have either. I went cold turkey. Very bad. I started to get emotional, and distraught. It was constantly up and down in my mood and temperament. I spent a lot of time crying (behind closed doors, that is). Not only that, June turned into the month I most needed my wherewithal. Between work, events, a wedding, moving and more, I had an extremely full plate.
Under normal circumstances, I would have been stressed out, but would have been able to deal with it. However, these were not normal circumstances. I had 1 million things to do, and the emotional energy to do none of it. I tried to do it all, and when I couldn't, I would beat myself up about it. I tried to please everyone (because they anxiety of saying "no" to someone is crippling to me) and ended up feeling like I had failed everyone.
How did I cope? Did I talk to someone about it? Release my energy & stress by working out?
I fell back into my classic emotional, stress eating pattern. I had constant cravings for junk food. Mass and epic amounts of junk food. There was a negative, angry voice inside of me that could only be silenced by food, and lots of it. Then, because I felt like I was also failing myself, I ate more and told myself that as long as I was exercising, I would be fine...and when I didn't gain any extra weight, I figured I was okay.
I wasn't. I was in a hole so deep, I didn't even realize until now that I've been back on my meds for over 4 weeks, that I was in such a deep hole.
The worst part? I pretty much stopped talking to anyone. At work, I covered it up from everyone (except for my Hubby, who I couldn't fool) and went about my life with a smile on my face, and jokes to cover it up. I posted on my Running to Bake Facebook page about eating well, and exercising all the while sitting at home, stuffing my face and feeding my guilt because I wasn't practicing what I was preaching.
All I kept telling myself was fail, fail, fail.
Then one day, right at the end of June, I decided...enough. Luckily (or unluckily, depending on how you look at it), I have been through this cycle before, and I knew how to pull myself out of it. I knew I had to get back on my meds and start reaching out to friends and family. I knew I had to do some sort of emotional rehab on myself if I ever wanted to get out of my pity hole.
So I started talking. I started reflecting. And yes, I went back on my meds. Now, these aren't the be all and the end all, but for me, they are something that I need to function properly.
I can happily say, here at the end of July, I am in a much better space emotionally. I'm still struggling with a few things, but emotionally I feel back to where I was before.
However, all those good habits I build for myself back before "Black June" happened? Gone. I'm still emotionally eating. Last week, I went through 3 bags of chips, plus ice cream, baked treats and wine. I'm watching the scale ever so slowly creep up on me, half pound by half pound, and I keep telling myself "Tomorrow I'll go back" which I know is silly.
I also stopped working out. I stopped running, I stopped going to Zumba. I figured walking Molly was enough. I was tired and hot and busy. It just didn't fit into my schedule.
Here's the thing. THIS, what I just described above, is life. I know this will happen again (minus the whole meds thing, that was just dumb) and I know that I'm going to have weeks where I'll just want to sit on the couch and stuff my face. There are going to be times where eating a bag of chips, or stuffing my face with my baking will truly be all I need. Sometimes you are truly too tired to work out...the trick is figuring out when it's a need and when it's your brain talking you out of it.
I don't know this trick.
Then why am I telling you all of this?
Maybe you have your own food demon and you're having trouble tell it to screw off. You eat to fill a hole, that keeps getting bigger and bigger the more you feed it. You start to feel fat, and because of this, you eat more.
Maybe, you just love junk food and can't say "No Junk Food, not today"
Maybe you're having a shitty week, month or year and food is your only source of comfort.
Maybe you just have bad eating habits and are having a hard time changing them because, lets face it, food rocks.
Maybe you're tired, and don't want to exercise, even though you KNOW you love it and it will make you feel better, but you just can't do it.
Finally, maybe, like me, it's all of the above. You have too much on your plate and the thought of changing any of the above is exhausting and unappealing. You're quite content to sit in this hole of self pity and sadness.
So I'm telling you my story because I want you to know that you're not alone. I'm in this ship right along with you.
How do I cope? For me, the best way to do it is take it ONE day at a time.
Start making changes slowly. Today, allow yourself one piece of your favourite treat. Tomorrow, worry less about what you're eating and go for a jog. The day after, repeat. Find some time for YOU. Smile. Breath. Savour.
I want to leave you with something I am starting for myself this week. A list of things to try doing and things to avoid doing:
Saying "I love myself" (even if you don't believe it)
Letting yourself make mistakes
Setting aside 15 minutes a week for yourself
Telling yourself "I am worth it"
Setting small, daily goals
Pick one treat per day that you will have and enjoy
Giving yourself a break
If you're an avid snacker, find something that you enjoy snacking on that is lower cal (no, not celery and carrots) For me, I LOVE these CheeCha Puffs & Popchips as a way to curb my chip cravings:
Setting ultimatums for yourself - this means saying "TOMORROW THAT IS IT, I am going to healthy, run 10 miles, work on my abs and do 30 push ups today. From here on in, no more junk, I will run every day, I will not fail and I will not eat junk any more" This is setting yourself up for failure.
Avoid rewarding yourself with food - instead, get your nails done, by yourself a new top, have a bubble bath, do something for yourself that isn't food related
I'm sorry that this turned into a mammoth post, but this is something I constantly hear around me (online, in person, on blogs, in articles) and it is something many people deal with. Although I am in a much better space with myself and my body, I still struggle with body issues, and I probably always will.
If you every want to talk (even if you don't know me at all, and live on the other side of the planet from me) leave me a comment below, or shoot me a direct message on my FB page. I don't know everything, but I DO know that talking about it can make all the difference.