Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Reshaping

I've been feeling somewhat irritable since yesterday afternoon, when my son told me something sad that happened to someone he knew. Well, it really didn't affect me personally, nor did it affect my son much. But somehow, just knowing something tragic happened to someone out there in my town made me feel really awful. I sort of obsessed on it for awhile. I tend to do that, sometimes. I imagine the feelings of people going through a hardship. I feel it *for* them... certainly not to the extent *they* do but I really get sympathy pains for people. Sympathy's good, especially if it motivates you to do something helpful. But *dwelling* on scary events that are out of our control, that's not so useful.

Add to that the fact that 2 of my kids have been giving me stress... one not doing his homework, another being too flippant and irresponsible for my comfort (aka being a teenager)... and another kid sick, you get a grumpy mama.

Yesterday afternoon I was doing that pacing thing, where you want to eat something just for the sake of eating something. I didn't know what I wanted, but I wasn't hungry. It's weird, when I am stressed out I get distinct desires for particular mouthfeels: either something cold and creamy, or something hard and crunchy. Those two extremes seem to serve a purpose of providing stress relief. Creaminess soothes; crunchiness is like taking your frustration out on something... sort of like punching a pillow I guess, but with your teeth. Yesterday I was dying for crunch. A bag of chips? Pretzels and dip? Toffee bars? I have eaten 6 Heath bars in a sitting getting my crunch relief. I thought about carrots and celery... just not what I was looking for. I decided on some fiber-rich crackers, measured out a serving with a wedge of Laughing Cow cheese, and went to town crunching away.

Later, around dinnertime, I got out some veggie soup and started warming it up. But I *knew* I did not want soup. I still wanted to take out my aggressions by beating my teeth on something with substance and sound. I wanted to work my jaw. I paced around the kitchen. I thought about baking cookies. I wondered if I should chew ice. I wanted peanuts. But peanuts are so calorie dense... is it really worth it?? After thinking it over, I decided on a meal that would give me chew time, crunch time, volume, and nutrition. I ended up eating the rather unconventional dinner of 4oz pork tenderloin, a cup of cantaloupe, and 1/4 cup of salted peanuts. Boy, those peanuts were divine! I savored each one and the crunching in my head was just what I was looking for. By the time I finished my peanuts I was satisfied. I was fine. Calories for the day? 1496.

Breakfast had been coffee with creamer, and a bowl of oatmeal with diced apples, butternut squash, cinnamon, vanilla, and pecans with a splash of milk. I had a peach for a snack, and lunch was this:

Ratatouille with mozzarella cheese melting inside it, baked with an egg on top and fresh sweet corn with butter and salt. Mmmm.

I eat a lot of food for my calories, really. I can't say I get *hungry* most days, but I do get this nostalgic longing for junk food, or even something not necessarily junky but carby and in great volume. Just like I wanted the crunch, sometimes I want to feel stuffed. Or sedated. Or indulged. Those are the hard feelings, because I have spent *so long* giving that to myself that I really have a tough time saying NO. But I am saying it, and meaning it, because how else is this going to change? One decision at a time, that's the only way. I either find a way to fill my desire in a healthy manner, or I just say, sorry. No dice.

I walked for 30 minutes again today. I pushed myself at times when I just wanted to go home. I saw a lady about my age, roller blading down the path. I smiled. It's gonna be me. I am healthy, I am fit. I am carving... chiseling... a new identity for myself, with all the good qualities of the old me still intact (and even brighter) but even more facets of myself coming to the light. I am so proud of myself. Who reshapes their entire life at 40? I do. I am. It's exciting, even on the grumpy days.

18 comments:

Brenda said...

I also get that voice inside my head that says "bake cookies" when something is bothering me. So glad to hear you worked through it and came up with a satisfying meal! I went from 215lbs down to 157 3 years ago (took me 1 1/2 years), but i gained 25 pounds this last year after a car accident knocked me off my game. Now I'm back on track. Found your blog the other day and it is giving me great inspiration! Thank you!

Jack Sh*t, Gettin' Fit said...

Teenager? Say no more...

Shake off that stress; it's not a good companion for a successful weight loss jouney.

Friend of the Bear said...

Hi Lyn. Glad that you spent the time working out what you really needed to satisfy you on all levels: frustration, texture, nutrition and calories. The result was unconventional but it worked!

I wouldn't have liked your dinner, but I love the picture of lunch. Looks very tasty!

Great that even on a more than averagely stressful day you're making all the right moves and seeing all the positives, both now and in the future.

Best wishes,
Bearfriend xx

Holly L. said...

I, too, get that craving to feel stuffed. I try to take out the aggresive feelings that I get built up from stress, but it is just as you said, a difficult habit to break. I sometimes wonder if I could change my standard of eating from being relative to my old ways to being relative to someone who has it figured out a little more than I do. I will occasionally see a beautiful woman in yoga pants at the health food store with a basket full of veggies and I wonder "If I lived with her would I eat this way?" Unfortunately that only holds me off for so long... We'll get there some day Lyn!

Tammy said...

Dude...I ususally walk in the morning, about an hour after I get up. I just wasn't feeling it today. So, so sore. It took me til 5pm to talk myself out of the house, into the car, and on to the park!! Didn't want to do it, but knew I'd feel better once those 4 miles were behind me. And I did. It does feel good to do the right thing, even on the crappy days. :)

Tony the Pink Panda said...

Who doesn't want cookies when they are stressed?

justjuliebean said...

I am reshaping my life at 40. Or still have that ahead of me. I don't feel excited usually, just a bit scared and lost.

Diana said...

That was a good way to deal with your cravings! Inspiring, you are.

Mama Bear June said...

Hey, I'm doing it in my LATE 40's so I know you can do it now. (I'll be 50 in March.)

You are doing an awesome job at managing everything and taking care of yourself!
Path to Health

South Beach Steve said...

What is it about crunchy foods that give stress relief? I wonder if a study has been done on that? And like you indicated, celery and carrots don't seem to cut it.

I loved one of your last statements, "ho reshapes their entire life at 40? I do. I am." That is great stuff.

Vickie said...

I wonder if you can retrain your self with GUM to tide you over until you figure out something NON-food/oral related to relieve your stress?

Vickie said...

And I was watching a show where they were trying to retrain a child who threw fits and punched things when his stress level went up. Which is actually the same thing you are talking about - just a different response. They actually retrained him with breathing exercises. He had a quiet place to sit and collect himself and then a series of breathing exercises. And he was able to deal with his feelings and get himself under control. It was very interesting to watch.

Dinah Soar said...

I was listening to Dr. Laura on the radio yesterday. A caller who had cravings for sugary foods when she needed comforting or when she was happy, etc.(in other words she used food as many use alcohol and drugs--she grew up in an extremely dysfunctional home, drugs abounded, etc. and she is the only one not in that lifestyle--food was her only comfort and joy) wanted to know if hypnotheraphy could help her overcome those cravings. Dr. Laura said yes--that if she could spend an hour with her, she could be rid of the cravings.

Dr. Laura says this type of hypnotheraphy is not about getting someone to behave like they are a chicken, etc., like you'd see at a magic show, but done with a licensed hypnotherapist. It got me to thinking for certain. Since I believe that those who struggle with diet and weightloss food issues stem often from the mind and the personal relationship one has with food and eating--and have little to do wtih will power, self control or lack of discipline-- it makes perfect sense to me that this type of therapy would help. Something to consider. And worth the expense--how much could an hour of hypnotherapy cost?

Sincerely, Jenni said...

What is it about crunchy foods that makes us crave it so badly?

Good for you for standing strong, and avoiding the temptation.

I enjoy reading your blog. You're very inspiring.

Leslie said...

You got through a tough day in the emotional department without bingeing. In my book, that's true success. Interesting you mentioned wanting to eat but knowing you weren't hungry. I just wrote about that myself yesterday, as I reflected back on a binge from the night before. Empty stomach hunger is easy to withstand. It's the compulsive emotional yearning to eat (that has nothing to do with hunger) that is so difficult. Happy reshaping!

Meg said...

Wow, I'm really impressed at how even stressed and upset as you were, you managed to make such healthy choices! I totally understand the need for "mouth feels". That urge to eat not for the feeling of fullness but for that feeling of the eating process.

Great job!

Theresa said...

I've had one horrible morning... wanted to eat like crazy. Read you post. It gave me streghth to NOT eat. Thanks Lyn.xo

Josie said...

I had the urge last night for something crunchy...just for the sake of crunching. I wound up eating 18 cheese-it crackers, for 100 calories. That lunch of yours looks fabulous, by the way. You'll be rollerblading before you know it and it'll all be worth it.