Weighty Matters

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Finding Other Ways to Deal

on April 20, 2012

We had some sad news at work today.  A man we cared about died.  Even though it was expected and we were prepared, there is no way that it doesn’t suck and make us feel sad.

Sadness is one of my trigger emotions.  Okay.  Almost any intense emotion can trigger a mental desire to eat, but sadness is a really strong one.  I know in the past that I would eat almost anything in big quantities in order to comfort or numb myself.  It’s how I very easily put back on 100 plus pounds after my Dad died.  I used food to cope with my mother’s illness and death.  Gained a great deal of weight back then, too, and then some.

So, here I am today, feeling the weight of sadness and overeating is not an option.   It’s been twice as challenging to focus on tasks, to even motivate myself to do things I should be doing.   My heart was filled with mourning and my head was filled with thoughts of food.

Despite it all, I think I’ve done okay.  I learned of the death shortly before lunch, but stuck to the plan of part of a Lean Cuisine dish.  A co-worker had baked really scrumptious looking chocolate chunk cookies.  I thought about it and decided that a single cookie was not going to derail me.  Let me tell you, I savored that treat and ate it realllly slowly.  For dinner I stuck to my small portion of a meaty tomato sauce with a couple of pieces of ziti.   I just had a Weight Watchers small ice cream bar as an evening snack.

Is this a perfect food plan?  No.  Did I overeat?  Not at all.  I guess I could have kept finding more food to stuff into my stomach and eaten it until I threw it back up.  But I didn’t.  That’s a truly important development and a significant improvement over the ways that I used to deal with my emotions.  So, I’m giving myself a check mark in the positive column for the day.

There’s a saying I learned in OA that the feelings won’t kill me but the food might.  I’m grateful that today I was able to sit with the feelings and not let them kick me into gorging on bad food choices.

That would only have made me feel worse.

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4 responses to “Finding Other Ways to Deal

  1. I’m so sorry, Mary. ((((hugs)))) I’m somewhere in between the eating and Roben’s far more healthy way of dealing with strong emotions. I know that is where I need to be, but . . .
    Sometimes it’s difficult trying to ferret out what emotion it really is that is making me want to comfort eat. I think I need an on-call therapist!!

  2. bhnmt says:

    Mary, you’re inspiring me. Thanks. I’ve been less good about this than you for the past few days, and with far less provocation. Tomorrow when I want to eat-to-cope, I will think of you. (and I’m so sorry for your loss.)

    And Robena, wow– that is really brave. Maybe I should try that. I’ve been pushing back crying for several days now because I hate it, too.

  3. robenagrant says:

    I’m so sorry for your loss, Mary. It seems no matter how prepared we think we are, we never are. And that’s how it should be. We should feel the loss of the departure of a friend or loved one.

    I used to do the same thing, eat my grief. Eat my loneliness. Eat my unhappiness. So I truly understand. What I now do is allow myself to dig deep into the grief until I cry. I really hate crying. But after every deep cry I feel myself move just a little closer toward healing. If it’s an emotional problem I interrogate myself and ask what am I really feeling? What is the emotion. If I can identify it, I can always find another more healthy way to deal with it.

  4. Briana says:

    I’m sorry about your friend.

    Good job on taking care of yourself when things are difficult.

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