Saturday, June 2, 2012

A Hard Week

Well this has been a hard week for me. I am constantly amazed at how much of an emotional eater I really am. I have realized for years that boredom would bring on the snacking, and of course you always hear that when women are depressed or sad they want chocolate. Yes those two things definitely happen in my life. This week though I was sorely tempted to soothe the soul with food.

There is a reason some foods are called "comfort foods" I wondered just what exactly the definition of "comfort food" was, so I Googled it! HaHa. Of course there was a listing under Wikipedia which said "Comfort food is food prepared traditionally, that may have a nostalgic or sentimental appeal, or simply provide an easy-to-eat, easy-to-digest meal rich in calories, nutrients, or both. Comfort foods may be foods that have a nostalgic element either to an individual or a specific culture. Many comfort foods are flavorful and easily eaten, having soft consistencies. Comfort foods may be consumed to positively pique emotions, to relieve negative psychological affects or to increase positive feelings. The term was first used, according to Webster's Dictionary, in 1977."

You can read the rest here if you are interested. According to one study cited on Wikipedia positive emotions in men trigger their desire for comfort food and negative emotions of women trigger that desire. I found that difference very interesting.

So anyhow, one night this week I was feeling particularly self destructive as far as my eating habits were concerned. Years ago I found that writing in a journal was a good way of stress relief for me. I could rid myself of any anger or stress or sadness without any of my friends having to listen to me complain. It is a habit that I have struggled with since becoming a mother, there just doesn't ever seem to be enough time. So I made a deal with myself. I told myself that before I went and got anything to eat (like the last cupcake sitting all by it's lonesome self on the shelf) I would try my old habit of writing in my journal, just dump every single emotion that I was feeling in there.

See I didn't feel like I could talk to anyone about what was bothering me without people misunderstanding and feeling guilty for their role (real or imagined) in the situation. I did not want anyone to think that I was throwing a pity party, or that I was trying to make them feel guilty for what they did or didn't do. So dumping all of my thoughts and feelings in a journal was a good option. No one that had anything to do with my actual life would be reading that journal. I type much faster than I can write and so years ago I switched from keeping a hand written journal to keeping one on the computer.

So I sat at the computer and cried and typed. Typed and cried. Typed and typed and typed until I thought the tears were gone. The whole time I was thinking about what the problems were and I knew that I was over reacting emotionally. I knew that my old feelings of insecurity were bombarding me again and that they were not justified. But just because you know your feelings aren't rational doesn't mean you can dismiss them. After a long time of thinking and crying and typing I found that although I still had the "craving" for my comfort foods I was by then exhausted physically and emotionally. I had also been able to pound it into my brain that eating those calorie rich foods would only cause me more pain the next time I weighed in, and that idea was more than I was willing to accept.

Remember those old cartoons where whenever someone had to make a decision an angel would pop up on one shoulder and a devil on the other? And whenever they had to make a decision both the devil and the angel would try to influence them? That seems to happen with me sometimes too. At one point my brain says "who cares! just eat the food and feel better right now!" (yes, I always talk to myself in lower case, capital letters are too formal for talking to ones self) But if I can hold out a while my rational brain seems to be able to smash that nasty devil and I'm able to make a better choice. Don't get me wrong, the craving doesn't completely leave, and I almost always still have to have something! But I'm able to choose a low fat yummy treat instead.

This week was hard though, and I'll admit that last night I gave in to the weariness and when my husband suggesting getting a pizza from a local pizza place I readily agreed...and it was delicious! The leftovers are calling me from the fridge today...

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