Today, I'm shaking off the ridiculous depression I've let myself be imprisoned by over the past few days. Anyone who's followed my rants and raves about food, dieting, exercise, blah, blah, blah, should know by now that I'm a stress induced eater. If you don't, then let me introduce myself, hi, I'm Lisa, and I'm a stress eater. I wish that had a more positive connotation, like "wow, she gets stressed and eats it for breakfast, what a champ!" No, quite literally the opposite - if I get stressed, depressed, I am ready to rush over to Dairy Queen and drown my sorrows to the tune of a zillion calorie eating binge. Difficulties with food and weight manifest themselves in a number of ways, this is the cross I have to bear.
If you check out sites on stress/emotional eating, you'll find they'll give you an assortment of reasons associated with what drives this behavior. Well, having gone through a divorce, losing my paternal grandmother in the past year, dealing with a stressful job, and a spiteful/vindictive ex-husband, it probably makes sense that I easily succumb to emotionally driven eating.
What to do then? In my case, and speaking exclusively to such, I need to wake up, acknowledge the problem and resolve to do something about it. While I still continue to work out 3-4 times a week, that's not going to be enough to keep my problem in check. Here's my plan of action .....
- Water - Planning to practice what I preach here, water detoxifies, regulates body temperature, aids metabolism, to mention a few benefits. And I'm suffering from all the symptoms of dehydration right now - migraines, tiredness, constipation, dry skin, etc. It's not pretty.
- Diary - Yup, I've pulled out 'Losin' It' again and immediately saw my infractions and patterns emerging. It's so hard to see what you're doing as you move through your day, I find this 30,000 foot perspective on my meals extremely revealing - I'll be planning the rest of my meals & snacks for the week through it.
- Vitamins - Yeah, vitamins. I keep falling off the wagon with this one and need to take my vitamins more consistently.
- Random Acts of Activity - This is the fun one for me, it's like a puzzle. Finding ways to incorporate activity through my day. Started off the day with using steps only in my commute, accounting for over 100 steps! I'll probably do some sets of 10 tricep push ups on the register in my office. Little bits count too - try doing some sit ups while you're watching TV tonight.
The course of events in my life over the past few years resulted in a number of people that are openly critical of my choices. Insecurity and self esteem has always been an issue for me. In all objectivity, should I let the opinions of a few angry individuals influence my own perception of myself? As I type this out, it's clearly ridiculous, but at those moments when I'm not feeling well, deadlines are pressing at work, and I'm pulled in several directions, logic and reason fly out the window. Do you like yourself as a person? When I ask that, I want you to not look in the mirror, but look inside yourself. Are you a person you would be friends with? There are redeeming qualities within everyone, I really don't believe anyone is inherently bad. When I look inside myself, I like who I am, and it's taken years to feel that way. That's the other, darker side to my emotional eating, the self esteem and insecurity. Breaking the connection to feeding myself to fill that void, is another problem that runs concurrent with the stress eating for me. I'm working to change that behavior, to not reach for food everytime I'm upset - a tough one to break if you had family members feeding you when you encountered tough times. Food is such a comfort for me, but I need to break the connection to my emotions.
A friend once said to me years ago to "be a duck" and let things roll off my back. It's a good piece of advice and one I should really try to put into practice more regularly. Resilience is difficult for me, but a skill that will only serve to benefit me more, especially as it relates to my emotionally driven eating. What to do when that next moment heart stopping stress arrives? Instead of running to the vending machine, or pulling out a snack, my plan is to drink water, step back, take a breath and try to objectively put my situation into focus.
Food for thought? Definitely. Am I (or we?) still works in progress? Absolutely. Remember, every day is a new opportunity to make a change. Keeping my goal of a healthy lifestyle is what will help me get there.