Tag Archives: emotional eating

Means, Motive and Opportunity

I awoke this morning to find carnage in my kitchen. At the center of the obvious crime scene were the ravaged remains of a bag of barbecue potato chips, a bag of multi-grain tortilla chips, a king sized Hershey bar with almonds and a container of Dream salted caramel gelato. Oh, the horror! The inhumanity! Who could have done such a thing?! Surely not I, the Positive Thinking Blog Goddess – Her Dotyness herself!

Johnny Cochran said, “If the glove doesn’t fit, you must acquit!”

But, then, Cotille Jones (remember her?) said, “If yo ass shows swell, you guilty as hell!” It seems that Ms Jones has seen my jeans.

As I’ve mentioned to you before, I am an emotional binge eater and for about the last month, I’ve been struggling with it – like Godzilla versus Megalon type struggling. Small Japanese fishing villages have been torched in the fray. And I’ve been losing.

At first, I thought the cravings were just PMS (and they might have been), but that’s not the issue now.  In public, I’m making good food choices; but, behind closed doors, I’m eating everything I can get my grubby little hands on. My cats have learned to be even stealthier than usual and my dogs sleep with one eye open. PMS cravings would have ended after just a few days. This has been going on for about a month. Now, the jeans that I could take off without unbuttoning a month ago are a real challenge to button at all. Not good. Clearly, something else is going on here.

My friend Russell told me years ago that I was one of the most self-aware people he knew. I like to think that I’m pretty self-aware; but, I like to think that I look a lot like a young Ann-Margret, too. Whatever my level of self-awareness, I am aware enough to know that to change my behavior, I have to figure out where it originates. If I want to stop my emotional binge-eating, I have to uncover the emotion(s) that is (are) causing it. To that end, I’ve been poking around in my mind to see what anxiety fuse has blown.

The suspects:

  1. Money. Since my income dropped by about 75% last year, I’m always worried about money. Nothing has happened to change that; so, that’s certainly a contributor.
  2. Holidays. Thanksgiving and Christmas are coming. I have to work Thanksgiving; so, I’ll likely be asleep all day and working that night. The traditional holiday meal will likely be just like every other day’s meal. Since I’m not starving, that’s only a First World Problem. I don’t have to work Christmas; however, with money as tight as it is, I don’t see how I can fly my son home for the holiday. It will be our first one apart and just the thought of it is ripping me up, especially since it has been a year since I’ve seen him. Another First World Problem.
  3. Health. I had some curious symptoms that were scaring me. Tests have shown that there’s nothing abnormal going on – no cancer. Relief.
  4. Disappointment. I had an idea where I would be at this point in my life and I’m just not there. I’m trying very hard to get there, but it’s unbelievably difficult.

I worked at Complete Automotive Repair and Service in Metairie, LA. (Julie’s, to most of our customers.) We had this one customer who, when asked how she was, would always reply, “I don’t have any problems that money can’t solve. So, I guess I’m good.” That’s what I need to focus on. And I’m trying.

I don’t walk miles each day to get water of questionable safety. No mortars fall in my town. I don’t live in fear of being attacked every time I leave my front door. I don’t have to wear a burka or have a male escort to go anywhere. I can vote. I can publicly disagree with my government. I can practice any (or no) religion I choose. Stocked grocery stores are all over town. And I have my pick of doctors to see when I’m ill.

As long as I have food, clothing, shelter and health, the rest are just First World Problems that I should be grateful I have.

Then, how come I still want a brownie?





Commitment Doesn’t Have A Past Tense

Noticeable weight loss
(L) May 2011; (R) March 2012

Neither does accountability; but……..

All in all, I lost 80 or so pounds with my lifestyle change – from a size 20 to a size 6.  I went from eating garbage to eating clean, nutritious foods.  I went from feeling like I had sludge in my veins to feeling light, clear and powerful.  I went from refrigerator squats to kickboxing three times a week, running, and rock-climbing.  Then, life happened.

In July of 2012, I injured my knee.  In August, I was laid off.  In September, my only child started college across the country, I started a new (more stressful) job, had knee surgery and was told no impact exercise. November was my first Thanksgiving without my son. December was Christmas and resignation from my job. January was job searching and eating.  February was job searching and eating. March was studying to pass licensing exams, eating, a totaled car, and the death of a precious aunt.  Did you notice that I was heavy on eating, light on exercise of any kind?

My knee was in worse shape than the doctor or I anticipated.  As a result, I was unable to do much of anything for six months.  I could have gone swimming or used an exercise bike every day; but, I didn’t.  Instead, I slipped back into old habits – bad ones.

Here’s the thing: I’m an emotional eater.  Stressed?  Depressed? Anxious? Pull the chair up to the fridge and eat until you feel better!  Happy? Celebrate with some ice cream!  Bored? Cheetos are entertaining! Tuesday? Fried chicken makes for a great lunch!

With the life stresses that were weighing me down, I began to hear those negative voices again. (Not literally, for goodness sake.  Don’t go reserving me a padded room.) You know the ones I’m talking about – “You can’t do this.” “You messed it all up again.” “You’ll never be anything but fat.” I ate a little more ice cream, drank a little more beer and wore a little more elastic.

Unable to button a skirt, I had to take myself to task.

What would I do if I heard someone telling their child, “You’ll never be anything but fat?”  I’d be livid and might just say something.  So, if I recognize that sort of talk as unacceptable from one person to another, why don’t I recognize it as unacceptable from one person to self?  I have to remind myself every day to be kind to myself in my own thoughts.  I CAN do this.  If I messed it up again, I just have to TRY again. I have been at a healthy weight and I WILL BE AGAIN.

I have gained about 30 pounds.  Enough.  I’m  not going to beat myself up because I gained some weight back.  That’s over and done with.  Berating myself for it doesn’t help in any way.  What does help is throwing out nutritionally bankrupt foods, raiding the produce department, and taking the dogs for a walk.

My life is still something of a train wreck; however, today, and every single day, I commit to myself.  I commit to taking care of my body and my mind with good food, drink and thought choices.

I bring commitment back into the present tense and, with this blog, I bring accountability with it.