I haven't been blogging much for a while. I've had some health issues, work has been really busy, and I find it a challenge just to keep up with exercise, food tracking, shopping for healthy food and cooking. Sometimes my house gets kind of messy, but I usually choose to exercise first, so I think my priorities are in order!
Anyway, I wanted to share the almost-binge I had tonight. I had a short day at work scheduled (yay!) after a very long week with gruelling shifts that I undertook because two of my co-workers are on vacation. I take on a lot at work, and because I do the scheduling, I often wind up with crappy shifts. I take them because I'd feel too mean if I gave them to someone else! Wacky, I know.
But then something happened at work and I felt like a failure. I wasn't a failure, but I've got a boss for whom nothing is ever quite good enough. I felt awful, even though his expectations are beyond unrealistic. He's a workaholic, passive-aggressive, and a piss-poor communicator. Strangely, I still think he's an okay guy -- most of the time. But I can never measure up, and I take that pretty hard.
Work was piling up, so I stayed two hours late, which meant a delayed dinner. I do keep healthy snacks at work (yay!) but it wasn't enough. On the way home, I decided that I'd have ice cream for dinner. Yes, I would. No one can stop me. I can do whatever I want. So there!
Luckily, it's a 20-minute walk home, so I had time to unwind and work through my angst. Disordered thinking about food generally falls into two categories: permissive and restrictive. I'm the former. Whoo boy, am I ever! With the help of a support group a few years ago, I painstakingly uncovered my 'hot thoughts' -- i.e., the thoughts that set me off onto a binge.
My biggest hot thought was such a surprise that I laughed out loud when I was finally able to identify it. It was: "My life is so hard; I deserve a treat."
I laughed because my life isn't hard at all! Why was I thinking that? The thought was habitual. It was a remnant from a time when I'd really been struggling and food became my sole coping mechanism.
I have many more tools in my belt now! And my life is easier because of them. Again thanks to that support group, and to the support of my friends and family, and to my own hard work, I've figured out a lot of ways to distract myself from distress and to soothe myself when I'm upset.
But here I was, deciding on ice cream for dinner. I'm still turning to food as a reward for a hard day! And I'm still thinking permissive thoughts! But restrictive thoughts don't really work for me. If I deny myself something, it turns into a massive internal argument, and the stress from that is enough to make we want to eat myself into a stupor. So forget it. I just tell myself: you can eat whatever you want. Anything at all. Now, what do you really want?
As soon as I know I can have anything, the pressure lifts. I don't really want ice cream. I want to feel better. I want sweetness. I want to feel free, unrestricted and unencumbered, because work felt like prison tonight. Really, though, it was my own perfectionism and unrealistically high standards that imprisoned me. That's why my boss's high standards bug me so much; they are an uncomfortable reminder of my own!
I tracked my food before I ate dinner. I had far too many calories left for so late at night. That's often gotten me into trouble in the past. I've been craving spinach and salmon, so I cooked a bunch of spinach and ate it my favourite way, with butter, salt and rice vinegar. (Seriously, it's delicious!) And I made a salad with canned salmon and ate it on rice cakes. Not bad for a late snack/delayed dinner.
And now I'm in my calorie range, though near the bottom of it. Before I started writing this, I wanted to go back into the kitchen and find more to eat. I felt empty, bottomless, like I was missing a piece. But I poured my heart out in this blog, and it filled me right up. Funny, that.