Dealing with heartache
Friday, April 27, 2012
The other day this hit me in full effect, as I felt the familiar pain that I've come to know well over the past few years. Heart ache.
Most of the quick patches I've done to my heart while strategically placing duct tape over the holes and tears.. had to do with eating my weight in comfort food.
I suspect this is because chocolate releases dopamine which is known as the 'happiness' horomone. The one that is super addictive. I also suspect the more you've eaten it, the more of a tolerance you get to the release of dopamine. Or subsequently, if the level of sadness is also high the more needs to be consumed to 'feel' the effects. Which I also suspect is why you hear about sad women eating an entire container of ice cream or an entire chocolate cake. Not because this kind of thing makes you ravenous, but merely because some part of the brain is trying to even out the ratio.
Of course this is not long lasting. Not even close. I'd say minutes if that, before other non-awesome feelings start to creep in. Feeling fat. Feeling completely out of control. Feeling guilty. Wanting to take it back but knowing you can only go forward.
I thought about this as my boss offered to order me lunch at a place that has the best chocolate cake. I am not gonna lie. I wanted to order the damn cake. Two pieces. But I knew enough to know that it wasn't going to make me happy in the long run. I've worked really hard for those -2.4 pounds (- 3.1 as of this morning!) to throw them away for a minute of just feeling 'ok'. Not worth it.
That's not to say I didn't have a few well calculated pieces of candy. I totally did. But I held back the urge to eat my way to feeling 'happy', and stuck to my limit.
Then when I got home, I thought about the other thing that can trigger that same dopamine. Exercise. Ah ha.
I had it on my schedule to do some form of this. It is good for me, and is getting me into shape.. so why not?
I decided that even though I didn't fuel the best in the afternoon for a run, I was going to see how many miles I could go before I fell down out of exhaustion. This would both meet my need for exercise and pushing my body to its limits until I could think of nothing else but breathing. And I wasn't stuffing my face. Win/Win.
This wasn't ideal. Not even close. I left my I-touch at work. My fuel source during the day consisted of coffee and measured sugar. Nothing that was going to give me a magic mile feel. But none the less, I went out there anyway. Pounding my feet on the track. One after the other with thoughts flying through my head. Trying to process everything thats happened. Trying to use that fuel of being upset as fuel to pick myself up off the ground and get STRONGER.
Which is no easy task when it feels like you've barely been able to lift your head from the ground.
So.. I started running.
As tough as it was at times, I kept pushing forward. Counting the laps off in my head as if they were mile markers of my own private marathon. Keeping that goal of what I wanted to do ever in the forefront of my mind.
My last three laps, I had a new male runner behind me. I heard his feet pounding on the track ever closer to mine. Enough that it sounds like for some moments not unlike a second heart beat, which put me into over drive. I ran for everything that I was worth in those last laps. Something that I normally do, but told myself I wasn't going to because I was so tired.
I didn't think it existed in me to do it. But I did. I kept pace with him for those three laps. I even extended a pretty wide gap. By the end of the run, I was catching my breath in shallow gasps. I had also set out what I hoped to accomplish. My first 5 mile run since my injury.
I did about 15 minutes of yoga to even out before going home a sweaty, hot mess. Endorphins had pumped out as much as they could, to try even out that sense of sadness.
I wasn't expecting miracles. I knew I wasn't suddenly going to run my way to happy, just like I couldn't eat my way there. But still. The sense of being alright stayed with me through most of the night and still the sense of accomplishment this morning.
My mind said it didn't think I could run 5 miles. I proved that it could.
Now to prove that I can get up and put the pieces back together.