I’m writing this retro-actively because I want to be sure to get my tally up here, but the glories of Harry Potter had me distracted for a while.
Apples and Almond Butter
Gina’s “OMG I have no time” Throw-together
Approx 4oz of Almonds
Apples and almond butter
At the movies
Approx 2/5 of a large popcorn (NOT PALEO)
Approx 1/2 large movie sprite (NOT PALEO)
I think I might need to spend some time really, seriously evaluating why I chose to eat the popcorn. I know that I have lauded this as the second step to dealing with eating food that’s bad for you, but I think sometimes I do a really shallow analysis. Maybe it really is that I’m stressed, but I feel like perhaps there may be something more going on. Maybe I’m afraid of finding out what that is. Maybe it’s just that I’m a slave to my passions (a la Plato) and will never be more than a hedonistic fatass who can’t control what she eats and is just attempting to fight the inevitable. Maybe I’m just afraid of that conclusion.
Ugh. If you can’t tell by that uncharacteristically self-deprecating madness I’m a bit down in the dumps. I have been for a few days now. I’m not 100% sure what the cause of it is. Perhaps just generic, good ole fashioned stress. I would like to spend the weekend evaluating myself, but I don’t have the time at the moment. I need to make a bid on two contracts and to do so I need design ideas. Oh well, they say you’re at your most creative when you’re a bit down. We shall see.
I am also going to get some exercise if it kills me. I think maybe not having time for TKD on Wed. is part of what’s making my mood tank.
Any other ideas? What do you do when you get into a funk you can’t shake?
Today, I had a really rough meeting. To give you an idea, the meeting started at ten. Two hours later, at noon, we broke for lunch, and we still weren’t done. After coming back from lunch at one, I was released at three.
My coworkers and I went out to lunch at a bar across the street from us, and I ordered not one but two bowls of french fries as my coworkers lifted their eyebrows and sipped on their alcohol.
It was delicious. But, of course, the aftermath was not. The food high from the fries got me through the next two hours of my meeting, but it is now nearly 8PM and I am still full. This means I ate a LOT.
I have written before about how we ought not to excuse our stress and emotional eating. In that same post, I said that we should not wallow in guilt, either. How do we strike a balance? How can I successfully hold myself accountable for my emotional eating without making myself feel guilty?
Dilute the poison
Often times when I eat starches, especially when I indulge in them, I feel like I’ve eaten a fistful of poison. It sits heavy in my stomach, and that heavy feeling keeps me from moving forward from the slip up. Sometimes I wish I could throw up. Not necessarily because I feel like that’s a great way to lose weight (hint: it’s not), but because I feel like I have put something bad in my body, and my body wants it out.
You can’t undo your mistake, but you can help “water-down” both the logged feeling and the guilt feelings. Two ways to do this:
1) Drink a lot of water — and I mean a lot. Keep a bottle by your side and suck or sip on it until its gone. Then go get another one. There isn’t really a “counter-effect”when you drink water, but drinking water is good for your body. If you’re consistently doing something you know is good for you, it can help mitigate the full carb-logged feeling and help alleviate some of the guilt.
2) Exercise! — Even after I had finished my french fries, I still really wanted to go for a run. If it had been an option for me, I might have done that in the first place. Exercising can help work off the loaded, heavy feeling as you work off the calories you ingested. Additionally, exercise is a great stress reliever and can help you eliminate the shitty feeling that made you go eat in the first place in addition to helping you shake the guilt of going to eat in the first place.
Reflect on the Problem
I ate the two bowls of french fries in full knowledge of what I was doing. I knew that I was stressed, that there was nothing I could do about the situation, and felt I needed a prop to get me through the rest of the day. That made me feel justified in eating the fries, and ultimately why I chomped them down. If you don’t know why you’re stress eating, that’s the best place to start — why are you doing it?
If you do know why, but are doing it anyway, welcome to my boat. Let’s explore some more ways to reflect on the problem.
Often times when I go to eat bad things, it is because I feel justified in some way. Today it was because I “knew” I “needed” it to get through the rest of my day. Both of those assumptions — that I needed the food and that I knew I needed it — should come under some pretty heavy examination. Did I really need the french fries? Am I not a strong enough person to deal with the stress without having to dope myself up with endorphins? Absolutely, if I am awesome enough to handle my own social awkwardness without depending on alcohol, I can certainly handle a little (a lot) of incompetence without having to binge on fries.
This is something I highly suggest talking about with someone else, more than any of the others. Just like attempting to find solutions for problems in any other realm of your life, you can’t always do it yourself. Find someone you trust, and work with them.
I haven’t gone through this part of the process myself yet, but when I can get my fiance to respond to my gchats, I am hoping to explore the following question with him; “If I were in the exact same situation tomorrow, what could I do differently?” I am going to tackle this idea of feeling justified in going off paleo, and ways to head that feeling off. I am not 100% sure what the best way to approach this is, but I am confident that with his help, I can work it out.
Where you’ve been, where you’re going
Finally, as Hermione says, it’s important to keep perspective. You need to remember where you’ve been and the progress you’ve made to keep yourself from feeling guilty. You need to remind yourself of where you’re going so you don’t get complacent.
I have been trying to do better about this lately. On the my letter of love to myself, I have a chart keeping track of how much weight I’ve lost — 42 pounds!! — and I need to remind myself of that sometimes.
Additionally, visual stimulation helps. When I went and looked back through this blog, I was shocked to come across these two pictures:
I looked at those and then quickly thumbed back to my Facebook change to see a pic taken of me last week, and I am amazed with what I’ve done the past six months.
I need to keep that in mind to keep myself from slipping into the guilt-eating death cycle of doom. I need to remember how awesome my trip has been, the benefits the paleo has brought to my life, and the great successes that I have had. I don’t drink soda anymore, and really have kicked back tea and juice to “moderation.” I am HUGELY more aware of what I am eating, and more importantly why.
But I still have progress to go. I want to get a manifesto going of what kind of person I want to be physically, so that I have something tangible to work towards. That way, I can keep an eye on my future as well as my past.
I feel much better after writing this post, and I hope you do too, if you’re having similar issues. For those of you who are also dieting and struggle with emotional eating, how do you bounce back after a relapse?
I had a pretty stressful and sad-making class today. So when I got into the dining hall and found nothing to eat, I shamelessly went and filled up a cup full of frozen yogurt, and that became my lunch.
I fully recognize that this was stress eating, and I will talk in some way about that particular instance later, but I wanted to talk about this article first.
“Emotional Eating isn’t ALWAYS Bad,” is the name of the article which I posted to my facebook page.
The general thrust of the argument is that it’s okay to use food to ease your emotions so long as you do it with presence of mind and you do it efficiently and in a controlled manner.
I pretty much vehemently disagree with this principle. I have come to see emotional eating as on-par with doing drugs. When you’re upset and you go to smoke a joint or drink booze or eat ice cream, you’re knowingly ingest a chemical that you know will make you feel better instead of dealing with the stress and anxiety that got you that way in the first place. You’re covering up your unhappiness instead of changing the situation in which you have become unhappy. To me, that kind of behavior is irresponsible and essentially immoral.
So I’ve pretty much begun to consider emotional eating as equal to ingesting drugs. So to me to say that you can emotionally eat as long as its controlled and you do so with a presence of mine is equally morally wrong as it would be if you said the same of drugs.
I should take time to point out that this is a personal moral conviction. I am not the kind of person who is willing to demand that everyone adhere to my moral code. But this is mine, and that’s what I’m working with.
The notion of guilt
There is a common theme in diet blogs that you DO NOT feel guilty when you end up eating emotionally. There is a certain type of logic to this: if you consume yourself with guilt then you’re more likely to stress eat again and again. So I definitely don’t think it’s a good idea.
But I do think it’s dangerous to not hold yourself accountable for the emotional eating that you do. If you do not recognize that what you have done is wrong, then you have no incentive to not do it again. When you kill someone or when you hurt someone’s feelings, there is an awareness of having done something wrong that you need to have in order to keep you from doing that again.
If you just sorta pass off your stress eating as something that is natural and okay, then you forget why it is that you’re trying not to do it in the first place.
So it’s important to not beat yourself up to the point where you get caught in a vicious cycle of stress eating, making yourself feel bad, and then stress eating some more, but you can’t completely absolve yourself of responsibility for your actions.
Don’t give in to emotional eating. Part of not giving in is not berating yourself into stress eating more. But Part of it is also not absolving yourself of responsibility of your actions. Acknowledge the fact that you just drugged yourself out. Tell yourself that it was wrong (or bad, as the case may be). Don’t forget about it. Don’t let yourself make that instance of stress eating okay, cause it’s not.
But don’t wallow in self-pity. Resolve to do better next time. You can’t really improve unless you recognize and understand what you’ve done wrong.
So back to my frozen yogurt lunch. Do I feel guilty about it? No, but I am acutely aware that I have violated my moral codes, and I am working on changing it so that I can do better next time.