Monday, April 16, 2012

Escape Methods

Boy, have you ever had one of those days (weeks) where nothing big and *horrible* is happening but a billion little tiny irritating things are? It's like falling into a stinging nettle bush and coming out with all those teeny tiny "hairs" stuck in your skin... no gaping wounds but my gosh is it annoying! That's how my day is going. Nothing huge, just a TON of little things that, when added together, seem to be too much. A semi-sick kid, a limping pup, icky rainy gloomy weather, lack of phone service for 5 days, difficulty getting medical referrals, and a whole slew of inept people who are tripping up my plans left and right, all make me want to... to what?

Take some drugs?
Go to a casino?

Escape. In whatever way people generally escape. Those are some really unhealthy escapes I listed right there. Self destructive ones, possibly harmful ones. Self medicating is, I think, something lots of us do. But once you've gotten into a habit of using some specific method as an escape/release valve, it's kinda hard to switch to something different. Something healthy.

It would be nice to jet off to a tropical island, but most of us have responsibilities that preclude that from being our escape method, so we have to find other ways to lower stress and soothe nerves.

It's hard for me. But it has become easier the longer I have gone without bingeing. As the weeks, months, years tick by, that reflex is weakened. But yes, my mind still wanders there. I still get so overwhelmed sometimes that I think "Oh I would LOVE to just go to the store and buy a bunch of junk to eat." But I manage to stop myself, at least, from the volume, from the binge. For me, at least, there is a vast difference between the old crazy binge behaviors and the new occasional stress eating behaviors. It's a remnant of the old me, but just a shadow. That ice cream I ate last week, the latte I ordered today. It's this little remnant that is left, of the old binge behaviors.

A lot of times I think it is bad... that I need to completely eradicate any hint of using food to cope. I wonder if it is some sign of weakness or failure to turn to food, EVER, for escape. Is it? Must it be gone, be erased, for one to be truly healthy? Or is it okay once a week, once a month, on occasion, to use a food or a drink in non-binge amounts to make you "feel better" about some stress or irritation? Can that just be normal?

I'm not sure. I have a list of non-food ways to cope with stress, but habit prevails at times, and somehow a yummy treat seems so much more appealing than a bath or a walk or reading a book. Maybe this is another case of finding balance... MY balance, what works for me. Because if this latte is not harming me, not keeping me from getting healthier and losing weight, not leading to a binge, then maybe it is not such a bad escape method after all.


Anonymous said...

I've been learning to appreciate teas that smell good and cinnamon in my coffee to add to the pleasure. Learning to give myself little breaks: 5 minutes to make a cuppa and read something inspirational or fun. I get the gift of indulgence without calories. Sometimes it is the action of doing something that we need and what goes down our gullet can be adjusted.

Anonymous said...

I don't think it's a bad thing to sometimes use food as a source of pleasure or comfort. For thousands of years, people have gathered together for feasts/festivals/parties/etc all for the point of celebrating around food. Along with sex, it's a truly natural pleasure that humans have always desired. For these health nuts to suddenly say food should only be used for nourishment and nothing else seems unnatural.

Of course, moderation is always key.

Anonymous said...

I think you (WE) have to do whatever works..Only YOU know yourself and what works to soothe and comfort. I LOVE hearing suggestions of taking a bath,a walk in the park,a good book etc has NEVER worked for occational treat and the realization that I am personally eating it to put a bit of calm in my life is what works..You are a winner in my eyes and I continue to LOVE your honesty..Blessings to you Lyn

~~Stacey~~ from Sylmar Ca

MargieAnne said...

Hope some of those pesky irritations resolve as the day progresses ... OH! I realise you are probably reading this the following day!

I know you have lots of experience dealing with days like this so I wonder what you do.

You did mention escape to a desert island. Maybe that's not such a silly idea. Find a suitable place to lie back and imagine you are there 5, 10, 15 minutes. However long you can take time out.

Hope you're having a better day.


birchgirl said...

I think it is inevitable to sometimes turn to food for comfort. If you can generally stick to a plan while doing so... and not doing so every day .... that is pretty good. Cafe au lait, nonfat, from starbucks is always a good choice for me ... 60 calories in a tall, and it feels "special". Ice cream to me is generally not worth the calorie splurge.

katie said...

Me? a bath and easy book and maybe a small glass of white wine...a real self care treat! (Phone ringers turned 'off')

Bluezy said...

Escape to blogdom and get group support keeping both hands on the keyboard so not to have one available for that bag of chips? I hope you think that is funny and not rude. I am eating some low carb pork rinds right now in between blogging. Grateful that I can snack, but be smarter about it.

Happy Spring!

StarvingBitch said...

I have really been trying NOT to escape with Food. For me, food is definitely a comfort for me, when I am upset, it's an emotional crutch. It makes me feel better for the 30 mins it takes me to eat it, but not overall. So I consciously try NOT to do it. It doesn't always work but working out helps me to destress...Boxing especially. Sometimes when I am really craving something, I will paint my nails and drink some water, by the time I'm done drinking a 16 oz glass of water and my nails are dry, the "hunger" has gone away.

Do what you gotta do...but don't derail your goal.

dlamb said...

As I've said many times before, this is why calorie counting works for me. Whatever I "label" consuming a particular food choice, (comfort, stress, entertainment, true or false hunger, leaving the house unprepared, etc.), it gets counted.

If it comforts me, if it reduces stress, so much the better. I try to select foods that also add some sort of nutrition, as opposed to completely empty calories but regardless of why I eat, everything gets added to the bottom line because that's where it ends up anyway, whether I add it myself or not.

There was a time when I engaged in "magical thinking" and ate above and beyond my planned calories, crossing my fingers that it wouldn't show up on the scale. Unfortunately, it rarely worked and I learned that flying by the seat of my pants didn't work for me.

Diandra said...

One of my favorite escape methods is reading a good book.

Mina said...

I think a latte is fine as a treat, or a small serving of ice cream, but you drove two miles to get a pint of ice cream due to stress last week. I would call that a binge. It may have been small in volume compared to your binges of the past, but it's still a binge. I don't think that would qualify as a healthy balance.

Lyn said...


Stress eating is not a binge. Binges are characterized by eating very large amounts, rapidly, with a sense of being out of control. None of that was happening. And for comparison, a 14 oz "pint" of ice cream is less than what you get in a medium Dairy Queen Blizzard. Overindulging? Yes, for me. Binge? Not even close.

Jane said...

I'm sorry you are having a rough time ... I am too. I was doing so great, and poof it is gone. I'm trying to get back on track, but sometimes my motivation is just out the window, so I totally relate! I don't think a latte is a bad idea at all!!

Kady Sanchez said...

I see nothing wrong with savoring a small goody to help relax your nerves. I subscribe to the "all or nothing" mindset, so this has never worked for me. I can never just have a little. But kudos to you for your strength and willpower!

Just came across your blog today and I really like it.