If you read my blog, you know I had a rough week. I had a heavyweight title bout with candy, and candy won. For four consecutive days I was having these mini chocolate binges. I've been fine about my eating otherwise, not feeling at all deprived. I've never even considered myself much of a chocoholic: I'm usually the person who'll want the fruity, cinnamon type treats. My biggest downfalls have always been of the pie and ice cream variety. So what gives?
I've been trying, apparently not hard enough, to eat mindfully. I even meditate most days and always try to remember that I'm more than my thoughts, lest they lead me astray in one way or another. So I should be understanding this out of nowhere craving to do exactly what I at least think I don't want to do: eat a bunch of useless calories whose pleasure is pretty ephemeral.
I could not put my finger on what would make me do this. And then last night my sweetheart and I were watching the hastily put-together telethon for Hurricane Sandy relief and I started really crying. And that was my answer. Sometimes it's as plain as the nose on your face.
I'm from New Jersey. I grew up there. Many of my best memories involve the Jersey Shore. My first trip after I got my driver's license was to "the shore." I went there on prom night, I worked "down the shore" as a waitress one wonderful teen-aged summer. I'm a huge Springsteen and Billy Joel fan because their music sounds like home to me. And the shore town I always went to, even took my kids to when they were little, was Seaside,
If you are from that area or have been watching the news about the storm on television, you know that Seaside is in ruins. The photograph of the roller coaster sitting, wrecked, in the Atlantic? Seaside. I've been on that roller coaster on dates and with my best girlfriends back in the day.
So yes, this is what my emotional eating was about, I'm sure of it. Yet at the time I was gobbling down those Hershey bars and Snickers, the tragedy was the furthest thing from my mind. And that, I believe, is at the heart of emotional eating for me: an unconscious attempt to soothe my grief at having watched all these beloved places destroyed.
I'm not trying to compare what I was feeling to people who lost tangible things in the storm. I'm just trying to understand my motives. If I know that what I did had an emotional basis, maybe next time I'll think twice before I give in to my emotions in a self-destructive way.
The next time I'm moved by what appears to be an out-of-nowhere craving, I'm going to ask myself what is really wrong, drink some water and find another way to soothe myself. This journey I'm on is all about changing habits and I have to remember that usually our most ingrained habits are not even conscious. But that doesn't mean they have to be automatic.