You might not know it from my blog posts, but this is a very hard week for me. I struggle with PMS for about 5 days out of almost every month. I always have. When I was in 7th grade, I used to get so sick I'd stay home from school and lay in a recliner with a hot pack on my belly all day, too sick to move. For some reason, my mom never gave me anything for the pain or cramps, so I just suffered. When I was older with small children, I'd get so sick for a week that the neighbor would say to me, "are you okay? You look almost green!" My skin would get this sickish cast to it and I would battle cramps, headaches, nausea, and fatigue for days. And then, poof! It would be gone and I'd feel great again when my cycle started.
I have seen several doctors and tried different medications, but what has made the biggest difference in my PMS is what I eat. Sugar and junk makes it worse. Low carb healthy eating makes it better. In fact when I am on plan, there are months I don't have even a hint of PMS at all! And even when it's at its worst, like right now, it is 90% better than it ever was before I was eating right.
Anyway, I have been on plan for 18 days now. (My goal is to make it to 100 in a row). But this week has been hard... very hard. Not so much the physical symptoms, which are there but very mild (very slight, occasional headache and nausea, and bloating/cramps that are pretty minor). But the emotional effects are there... and WORSE right now. Every day I have had moments where I felt like going off somewhere and crying. Every day I have felt frustrated, angry, and upset at least briefly to the point of tears. Every day I have had negative thoughts that aren't usually there. Why? Because I am not using food to cram them down.
When you stop eating your feelings, they start bubbling out. They need to be felt. They come to the surface instead of constantly being shoved back with chips and ice cream. Believe me, I am a pro at stuffing my feelings down with food. And now that I have stopped, PMS is just the hormonal tripwire that allows everything to slowly start coming up and out. And I have to sit with those feelings, and feel them, and acknowledge them.
The eating this week has not been hard. I am on plan and have very few cravings or desires to go off plan. Whenever I see or smell something yummy but off plan, I just think, "nope, not going down that path. Not worth it." And that's that. But throughout the day I find myself upset about the most random things, like that I am not sure which of my kids' lock of blonde hair I found in a baggie, or that my house doesn't have a decent deck, or that our yard is smaller than the neighbors. I saw a picture in the paper of a little boy running to hug his father who was returning from overseas, and the huge smile on his face and his mother's following behind to hug her husband, and I got all emotional because I never got to experience that kind of relationship with kids who look up to and adore their father, a father who is a pillar to the family, a life partner who adores me. I mean come on, looking at that picture and having this huge emotional reaction about my own failed relationships is a bit over sensitive, I think. I see the neighbors having a barbecue and my emotions get the best of me because I don't have the luxury of a husband who barbecues or a yard for entertaining or a lot of close friends to come and celebrate anything with me. Oh, it's all silly stuff, really, because I do have a good life, but it is stuff that apparently has been bothering me on some level, and the thoughts are all coming out NOW because I am letting them, instead of eating them.
So it's a rough week, I am emotional, but not turning to food and not considering turning to food. It does get exhausting dealing with a million little feelings that have been mashed down and contained for 20 years with binge eating, that are all slowly leaking out at once. All the "if only I hadn't"'s and "if only I had"'s is tiring, but it needs to be done. Once I think them through and let myself feel them, they go away. I don't dwell on them anymore. And I think that is healthy... letting it out. And I know next week will be much, much better.
Food on the Brain
1 day ago