More and more I am learning that just because I am upset, angry, sad, or frustrated, I do not have to use that as an excuse (aka "reason") to eat. Maybe this is not a revelation to most people, but for me, it is like the light is coming on, slowly but surely. The more I go through, the more I realize I do not HAVE to use food to get through life.
This has been a rough year for me. If you've followed my blog know it's been a real roller coaster ride, with 2 cancer scares, an absent husband, surgery, losing my health insurance, marriage issues, deaths, losses, and dealing with my kids' health issues. Some days I think it is a miracle I have lost any weight at all through this difficult time in my life. Other times I am just thankful for all the blessings I have, and I hold my breath, praying it doesn't get worse.
I used to use food to comfort myself... or rather, numb myself... when things got to be too much. When I feel overwhelmed, I can stuff those scared, lonely feelings down with a carton of ice cream and a box of donuts. Or I can feel the feelings. I can cry. I can yell into my pillow.
It's a choice. It wasn't a choice before.
I think that's what some people don't understand. Before, it was so automatic it was like breathing, or a heart beating. It just happened with no thought. I got an upsetting phone call, and before I knew what happened I was sitting, eyes glazed over, stomach full, and an empty Cheeto bag on the floor. I might not have even realized what happened except for the orange powder on my fingers. That and the extra 130 pounds hanging off my body.
It was seriously *that* automatic most of the time. Unless I was "dieting," the autopilot reaction to stress was food. Over the past year, I have been paying more attention, fighting those automatic reactions, trying to substitute healthier alternatives. But not until today did I really understand.
You don't have to gain weight when you're upset.
I had one of those upsetting phone calls tonight. When I feel like a situation is out of my control, I get scared. I get this really tense, hyped-up feeling like I have to DO something, but there is nothing I can do. In the past, a candy bar would solve this problem. Well, at least it felt that way. I wouldn't have to think about the *real* problem anymore, at least for awhile, because I was a) enjoying a candy bar, or, in reality, 4 candy bars; and b) worrying about going off my "diet," being fat, and how to control my eating. Viola! I didn't have to deal with the real problem or feel the fear anymore.
But tonight, I just sat down and felt the feelings. It was nearly overwhelming. I've been struggling with pretty bad PMS. I have enough stuff I am dealing with already. I didn't need one more thing to be added to my plate right now. I was really upset.
I went and rode my bike, even though it was almost 9pm and I was tired. I was upset on my bike, and I didn't forget my problem. But I didn't compound it by getting fatter.
When I was done riding, I came and sat down. I have no urge to eat, or binge, or any of that. I can just be upset. It's not fun, and I don't like it. But that's life, and I find solace in the lesson learned.
Upset does not have to equal out of control. It doesn't have to make me fat.
I'll solve my problems. Time will pass. Things will work out. I'll have peace.
And I will NOT BE FATTER.