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    SUEINTHEPARK   35,819
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Loneliness is an emotion...

Sunday, March 11, 2012

I just read SP Stage 3's Lifestyle Change Strategy #5, "Is Emotional Eating A Problem?". Very timely considering I'm realizing that I am an emotional eater (and didn't think I was before, as I'm not a particularly emotionally driven person), but it's a subtle emotion for me that is my trigger. Loneliness.

A week ago, I posted a blog about my evening eating habits and how I have been eating for hours straight, in spite of the thoughts in my head which attempt to halt it. It's no coincidence, now that I read a bit more about emotional eating, that this is happening while my closest friend in my "new life", my roommate, is away for 10 days. I don't have anyone to talk to outside of work, apart from the 3 hours per week when I'm with the running group. Evenings at home have been very lonely. It's making me think second thoughts about getting my own place, actually! I already knew that I was unhappy with my social life here, and have been taking steps to improve it (joining the running club was one attempt), and I think this is something that I will need to focus that much more on, if I am going to stay here for any length of time. A contract renewal is in the works, so I really need to find some like-minded friends!

Currently I'm keeping myself as busy as possible. Monday nights just saw the start of a Spanish class, Tuesdays I go to speed skating practice, Wednesday is Running Room Group Run night, Thursday the Running Group has "10k class" and a run, and then speed skating practice. The ice is melting and speed skating is pretty much over, and this is the last week of the running group (although I could join in with the Half Marathon group still on Wednesdays). I'm tinkering with the idea of joining Toastmasters, as this is something I've thought about for a while and think it would be great for my development. Yet in the absence of an activity to fill my spare time, I need a plan for how to deal with my lonliness and the eating that accompanies it. When my roommate is home, I don't snack all evening long, so I wonder if I can self-regulate to the same level as if someone were watching all the time? My success at maintaining my weight loss will depend on it once I'm on my own again.

The plan: email doesn't seem to be a strong enough connection, so I should phone a friend on evenings when I am free and on my own. I would be too embarassed to be snacking needlessly while on the phone. The time zones are a bit of a challenge, as I'm two zones west of all of my people, but it's something to try.

Another plan is to just simply go to bed. I get up at 5AM to go to work, so it would be helpful if I could get past the mental barrier about bedtime being a later time than it really should be for me here. I can't seem to get myself to bed by 9pm, no matter how hard I try, as it's just too early. I did have success when I was travelling back and forth, and left my clock on Eastern time, so would go to bed at 11pm EST, rather than at 9pm MST. It was a mental trick, but seemed to work. As an intelligent being though, I'd rather not have to trick myself, and would like to work to get past my own early-to-bed barriers and biases. Any tips from former night owls out there?
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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CHRIS3874 4/20/2012 10:49PM

    There is definitely a difference between being alone and being LONELY. I experienced it first hand 11 years ago for 3 months and it could have driven me crazy had I let it.

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OOLALA53 3/11/2012 3:24PM

    I think you've actually done a good job on how to stay busy, but I also agree with the poster who recommended trying to get comfortable with being on your own some of the time.

To me, loneliness is a form of sadness at the belief that you are disconnected from someone necessary to your vitality. As life has gone on, I've come to the conclusion, and this is not a popular opinion, that it is usually an illusion. Although human beings can flourish with each other and survival does seem to be dependent on the group working together, each of us has an essence inside that can sustain us no matter what. Giving yourself time to connect with that periodically can be very empowering.

I ate at night for decades. I have broken myself of that habit, and I live alone. It is one of the best things (breaking the habit) that I've ever done for myself. It may not solve all my problems. In fact, it has also helped me see some things it was masking. I affirm your taking steps to face this now. emoticon

Comment edited on: 3/11/2012 3:25:55 PM

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LE7_1234 3/11/2012 2:32PM

    Sounds like you have a lot of ideas for ways to distract yourself... but what about plans for learning to be alone with yourself? Can you teach yourself the difference between alone and lonely?

Maybe meditation? listening to a podcast? (I saw your blog through the IOWL team, so that's what I'd suggest.... There's a series of episodes on sleep techniques, actually.)

Good luck!

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INIT2LIVEIT 3/11/2012 12:17PM

    I trained myself to be "ready" for bed earlier using Dr. Mercola's techniques.
Low lighting, soft music if any, turn off media distractions, eat early, stop drinking water by a certain point too. It really does help. I also tend to sleep with white noise to block out outside noises.

On the other hand if you are going to be so busy every evening it may not be so easy for you to unwind after all the stimulation.

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DEBJAE 3/11/2012 10:01AM

    Wow, I also get up at 5 am but am wiped out by the time 9 pm rolls around so sleep is not a problem!

What about having some fun? Seems like all your activities are athletic-based, not that there's anything wrong with that! Do you have any connection with anyone in these groups? Maybe set up a get-together (dinner, movies, bowling, etc) for after speed skating ends?

There's also meetup.com, where like-minded people meet to do things they enjoy...from as simple as lunch to a movie to hiking or just about anything imaginable.

I'm new in town myself so I've done the meetup thing and it's not so bad. Have yet to make any real connections but it gets me out of the house.

I know you'll find your 'groove'. Good luck!

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