Sunday, March 21, 2010
I am a master avoider. My ninja-esque skills are legendary. I am so good that I can avoid feeling negative emotions before I even know Iím experiencing any emotion at all.
I think Iíve figured out how it works: I interpret a statement, a circumstance, or a thought in a way that causes me sadness or anger or fear. Before I consciously feel the emotion, I automatically think a distracting thought and push down the feeling. This all happens so fast Iím not even aware it happened at all. Next, I begin to feel agitated. The agitation grows as long as I donít feel or understand the feeling that I am suppressing. The agitation itself is uncomfortable, so I often find that I try to distract myself with TV, computer games, books, and, oh wait, FOOD. The agitation can last for days or even longer until it slowly fades, assuming I donít overlap suppressed feelings one on top of the other. Needless to say, I spend a lot of time feeling agitated.
I came to this realization as Iíve been working on my emotional eating issues. I now know that if Iím feeling agitated thereís something more going on that I need to address. If I can consciously understand the feeling that I am suppressing and confront the issue or even just feel the authentic feeling, then the agitation goes away pretty much immediately. Unfortunately, sometimes I just hide the original issue too well and donít know what Iím suppressing. Recently, I was agitated for four days, but when I awoke on the fifth day I understood that a conversation with a friend had caused me pain that I didnít want to face. I must have dreamed the solution, because I woke up knowing what the problem was and just that understanding was enough for the agitation to leave me.
So whatís the take home?
1. A desire to eat when agitated may very likely be emotional hunger.
2. When I am feeling agitated, I need to figure out how to uncover the root issues, especially when I have trouble doing so. And at some point, I need to start allowing myself to feel the negative emotions as they come up so I can deal with them instead of avoiding them.
3. I amaze myself sometimes. Without good role models from whom I could learn effective coping strategies, I figured out a way to cope. And although my avoidance is not the healthiest coping strategy, it got me through some really rough stuff in life. I did the best I could with what I had, but now itís time to learn how to face life head on.
Hmm. Iím starting to feel agitated.
Saturday, March 20, 2010
Today was glorious. The first day of spring turned out to be sunny and mildÖthe perfect day to go sailing. Lucky for me, some neighbor friends are members of a sailing club with access to sailboats in a marina that is walking distance away (2.3 miles round trip). We picked up some Subway sandwiches for lunch on the way. I noticed how my understanding of portions, calories, and making better food choices has improved immensely after only just over a week on SP. Before, I'd get a footlong tuna or ham and cheese with mayo and a soda or punch and eat it all. The sandwich I chose (turkey and ham on whole wheat, mustard, no mayo, lots of veggies) was delicious. Even with a glass of wine on the boat, lunch was calorically reasonable and very satisfying.
I love sailing. My mind becomes totally in the moment. When sailing, I am present. Iím not worried about the future or dwelling on the past. Iím feeling the wind on my face, gauging the strength and direction, adjusting the boat accordingly. Iím steering, sailing past Fort McHenry, making fine adjustments as I talk and laugh with my friends and my husband. Iím not thinking about food or my weight. Iím just living in the now.
Friday, March 19, 2010
Yesterday was really rough. I was so sad I couldnít seem to stop crying. I donít know what happened. In general, Iíve been feeling up for the last several weeks and Iím feeling much better today, but yesterday I seemed to be overwhelmed by waves of grief or depression, Iím not sure which.
Yesterday, I woke up not wanting to face the day. I couldnít seem to get out of my funk, but thought exercise would help, because of the endorphins and all that. I went to pilates and had a good class, but felt no better afterwards. I had friendly conversations with several people, but still felt so down. As the day went on I seemed to be feeling sadder and sadder.
In the afternoon, I thought a cookie would cheer me upÖnothing else seemed able to and sugar plus deliciousness usually did the job. I looked at the nutritional information for one oatmeal raisin cookie and it was only 90 calories, so I had a cookie and coffee. I felt proud that I went to pilates even though I didnít really feel like moving and that I ate only one cookie. I felt even more bummed, though, that I ate a cookie to medicate my mood, which is something Iíve really been working on. I was also bummed that what used to workófeeling better after eating a cookie or something equally sugary and deliciousóhad no impact on my mood. I suppose thatís good in a round about way, though, because next time I might be less inclined to use food to medicate.
On an irritating note, my husband informed me that I misread the nutritional information. Turns out that although a serving size was one cookie, a ďcookieĒ was defined as .8 oz, but the actual cookie was 1.6 oz. That really irked me. I felt scammed by the cookie company. At least I was within my calorie range for the day even with the extra ďcookie.Ē
Anyway, every day is an opportunity to learn something new. And every day I try to do just that. I just wish I could figure out what happened to my mood yesterday. And why just yesterday? Iím so glad Iím feeling more upbeat today, but why was I feeling SO down?
Wednesday, March 17, 2010
Today, I saw a tall, rail thin, beautifully dressed lady. I was envious of her. Why the burst of envy? At first I thought it was because she's thin and I'm not and I'd really like to be. But that didn't feel quite right. I like having curves and know that a great body is hiding in here somewhere. Turns out that what I was envious of was her clothes and how they looked on her. They fit. They draped properly. The shirt did not strain at the middle button. The wasteband did not cut into her middle so that she had muffin top. All the lines were clean. I want that, too. I want to be able to find clothes that fit. I want to get back down to a size where I can walk into any clothing store, pick up a cute item, try it on, and have it accentuate my figure, not fight it. After, I felt highly motivated to exercise extra hard.
Walking home from the gym I realized that I could use envy to gauge what is important to me. If I'd just felt the envy and not taken the time to figure out why I felt envious, then I wouldn't have learned anything. But I did think about it and understood why I was feeling envious. Once I did that, I wasn't envious of the lady any more. I was happy for her. I also know that I will get there eventually, too. I realized that my envy, when examined, was a strong motivator, spurring me to work harder toward getting what is important to me. Envy can do some good.
Tuesday, March 16, 2010
I wasn't feeling great today and the thought of attempting to get my legs over my head did not appeal, so I ditched pilates class and went into the main gym area instead. Having new tennies, I decided to take them for a test drive on the treadmill. Turns out the shoes have to go back, but I ran RAN for three minutes straight. This may not sound like much, but the most I could do the last time I was on the treadmill was two minutes and just barely at that. I am just thrilled! Next goal: jogging 4 minutes straight.
After my walking warm-up, I moved through the circuit of weight machines. The last time I did the circuit was sometime in October of last year. I set all the weights to the October level, but found that except for one exercise, I was able to do more reps than the last time. I got stronger and I'm sure it is from the yoga, pilates, and water aerobic classes I've been taking. Boy, did it feel good to learn that I'm getting stronger and more aerobically fit from taking excercise classes that I really enjoy. Yoga tomorrow. Yay!
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