Getting off the (emotional) teeter-totter
I’ve stated before that, unlike most people, I’m not really an “emotional eater”. “Emotional eating”, while obvious to some, is defined as:
Emotional eating is the practice of consuming large quantities of food — usually “comfort” or junk foods — in response to feelings instead of hunger. Experts estimate that 75% of overeating is caused by emotions.
Except me being me – always the rebel – I’m the complete opposite. When I’m stressed and/or upset, I can’t eat. Simply the idea of eating, even foods I might like, when I feel like that actually makes me feel sick to my stomach and nauseated. When I’m stressed or upset, my stomach ties up in knots and on the occasions I have attempted to emotionally eat, well let’s just say the results were so far from comforting that I don’t even bother to attempt it anymore.
But it’s a Catch-22. Because being the opposite of an emotional eater is someone who doesn’t want to, can’t or even likes to eat when they are upset or stressed. Skipping meals isn’t any healthier than drowning your sorrows in a tub of Ben & Jerry’s Chunky Monkey (get it?).
Reduce stress, they say. Just be happy, they say.
In any case, as many of you have found, just as with losing weight, reducing stress is easier said than done. That’s not to say that we can’t reduce stress, it’s just not that easy. Especially when you’re like me.
That is, a worry-wart. That’s not to say that I sit around all damn day and worry about everything and anything. I have never been like that. And I’ve always tried to limit my worrying to those things that directly affect me, ignoring the things that haven’t happened yet or may never happen, but again, it’s not easy. I’ve gotten so much better at it, but still, I’m not perfect. For years when I was married I worried about our finances, even though I worked hard every month to make sure every bill way paid. But by the time I was divorced, it hit me how stressed I had been for most of my marriage. It explained why I felt sick so much.
But those things that I do stress about, I can often “turn that mole hill into a mountain” with my over-active imagination and just overall fear – because I can’t always control what happens. So…
Hello, my name is Danielle and I’m a (bit) of a control freak.
I can’t say how long I’ve been like this. I grew up an only child so maybe that had some effect on that. No siblings to boss around, or none to boss me around. But more and more as I grow older, I’ve noticed something else. I’m far more emotional than I used to be. So no matter how much used to affect me before, now sometimes it seems to be to an epidemic level.
Crying at every Budweiser commercial that has puppies and Clydesdales. I can’t read or watch a video that is sad without bawling my eyes out. Forget Marley & Me. I watched it once and don’t think I ever could again. And I know that it’s natural to feel emotions like that – I’m not a robot – but to get choked up just reading a novel or seeing an emotional movie or commercial, it’s disconcerting to me to be THAT emotional.
I understand as well that it’s not just external forces that drive how we feel but chemicals in our bodies and in our heads. Sometimes my hamsters are mellow and chill; sometimes they’re on crack. I’m starting to deal with menopause, so who really knows what that’s doing inside me as well. But there are days when my moods swing like, well…
Whew…that was a close one. Did you stand by or run?
But in all seriousness, I’m not bipolar or something, but I can be emotional. And most times, I really can’t even tell you why I’m feeling the way I do. Sometimes I just wake up in a foul mood; sometimes I don’t. Okay…sorry…I usually wake up in a foul mood. But let’s move on to later in the day…
Even if I’m in a foul mood in the morning, most times by the afternoon I’m fine. More so when I’m home on the weekend am I less cranky than at work – can’t imagine why since that’s usually the source of my stress, but I digress. There are days when it doesn’t take much to upset, hurt or anger me – to where even my favorite music annoys me. And yet there are times when I’m quite happy; I might even say euphoric.
Sometimes it takes me taking some alone time to move on. Other times it’s the kind words of support from my mom, a warming message from a friend, a nice smile or kind words from an awesome good-looking guy. But I’ve come to realize that no matter how I feel at any given moment, it will change; it won’t last.
It’s like what I always say about how fast the weather here in New York changes: It’s like “weather by Sybil” that means so does my moods.
So even if I feel absolutely like I hate the world, I know that I eventually will be fine.
I always am. I always have been.
My dad died when I was eleven. It was one of the worse moments in my life. But I survived. But it wasn’t easy. The worse moments never are. But in the grand scheme of things, some of the things I stress or worry about really aren’t that important. They are for that brief moment of time in my life and then I’m fine.
And if you’re a long-time reader of this blog, you can see I’m fine. You can see that I’m not bat-shit crazy and have mood swings that rival Babe Ruth’s bat. But sometimes I do. And I hope you can all tell the difference.
The point to this (again) long-winded post so far it to talk a bit about how my moods have swung a lot since I started this healthier living plan with Maria.
The first several days I was very moody. Most likened it to my giving up the Pepsi. I have no doubt about that. But as a friend told me today, my body is still likely trying to figure out what the hell is going on and it’s adjusting. It affects not only my body physically but mentally. I don’t know all the science behind this and will do more research on it but I believe this to be true – I’ve experienced it. My body was used to my feeding it all sorts of greasy, fattening things and suddenly it’s like, “Wait! What? What the fuck are you doing? Did you not see that Dunkin’ Donuts you just passed??”
So while it might feel like it’s getting easier each week, there are moments when it suddenly feels harder. The daily weigh-in stresses me out, I admit. I’m physiologically programmed to look at the scale and if any time it goes up, that triggers a foul mood. Even though I know as I get fitter and build muscle (which weighs more than fat), so the scale may slow down, I can’t deal well with the up and down of the scale. It directly affects the up and down of my mood. Regardless that I’ve dropped 2.5″ in my waist and 3″ in my hips, because I always wear loose-fitting clothes, I count more on the scale to measure my success.
Even though I know I shouldn’t.
I’m very pleased with all of the hard work I’ve done since starting this plan 3 weeks ago so to not see the best results all the time is a bit disheartening.
But as that same friend said, “Underwear doesn’t lie.”
For those that don’t know that reference, this is what I posted to my private weightloss group on Facebook last week:
Now normally I wear my clothes quite loose anyway but I grew tired of having my underwear not staying up or pinching/binding (sorry! 😉 ) so 2 months ago I bought new boy-shorts type underwear. I’m not calling them “panties” because they resemble nothing like nice girly panties. In any case, I normally was buying the largest size so 2 months ago I bought the next size down. And now already they are getting too big. I put on a pair this morning, brand new out of the package and thought…well shit…now I have to buy the next size smaller.
And that’s effing awesome!!!! 🙂
In any case, the mood swings will happen. Hopefully fewer and farther between but we’ll see. And for as needy as I am for people’s support, it really is during these times that I need my friends and family’s support more. More than criticism; more than questioning my decisions. Neither of which frankly, I don’t need.
So how do we get off the emotional teeter-totter? More to come in my next blog on there after some research. 🙂
Regardless, I’m still here. I’m still doing. I’m still trying. I’m doing well and even if there are moments when it doesn’t feel like it – as Brandon Auret told me recently – Just keep on keeping on.
So that’s what I’m doing.
Love to all and thank you for your continued support – no matter my mood.
Posted on February 29, 2016, in Weightloss Journey and tagged battles, emotional eating, emotions, faith in yourself, journey, strength, stress eating, struggles, support, weight loss, weightloss. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.