Weighty Matters

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Instead of Eating

on March 5, 2014

Compulsively eating or binge eating were my go-to behaviors when stressed/upset/angry/sad/fearful/pick-an-emotion for so long. Developing another strategy and coming up with different coping behaviors is an on-going effort. There are always better choices, but making those choices when I’m in the midst of the emotional reaction or situation is always a big time challenge.

The fact is that I really don’t “need” those old behaviors in order to cope. Binge eating or chowing down on chocolate or some other sweet doesn’t really make it easier to cope. A candy bar never solved a problem.

I need to remind myself of that every time I’m tempted to relapse into disease behavior because of an upsetting situation. The candy bar, handful of cookies, half pint of ice cream or whatever won’t solve the problem. Thinking that they’ll help me cope is a convenient, comfortable lie. Not only will they not make me feel better, eating them in that compulsive manner usually makes me feel worse.

Today I had tons more stress over some things at work than is normal. I can’t tell you how many times I remembered that there were still plenty of cookies, brownies and pastries in the kitchen and heard my brain say, “You need one. Go get it.”

I don’t need one, or six. That’s the truth. What I needed, and worked for, was to not compound the upset by binging out on sweets. I drank water and hot tea. I got up and took a walk. I focused on the tasks at hand. I vented a little. In short, I did whatever else I could instead of acting out by eating. At the end of the day, I was still stressed by the situations and workload, but I definitely felt better about it all than I would have if I’d eaten junk.

The long and short of it all is that there are countless other things to do instead of eat. Remembering this before I eat, is the key. It goes back to being mindful and making the most appropriate choices to foster my recovery.

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6 responses to “Instead of Eating

  1. Hope says:

    I think the most interesting aspect of this diet bet that I’m doing with Allison is that it’s making me aware of just how often I say to myself, “I had a crappy day, I can have [insert sweet things here].” I say it almost every night! No wonder I stopped losing weight.

  2. Skye says:

    I still use for comfort. I am fortunate in that I am not greatly overweight; well, I’m maybe 40 pounds overweight, which isn’t great, but I carry it well so it isn’t as noticeable. But when I food-comfort myself too much, my weight goes up of course. I know I need to find better forms of comfort. Binging on books isn’t any better because it is still binging rather than quality time. One can even binge on exercise.

    I think that Mindfulness is key. You practice Mindfulness all the time nowadays and it seems to work well for you. Mindfulness trumps mindless.

    • Mary Stella says:

      Mindfulness indeed trumps mindless, Skye. Unfortunately, impulse and compulsiveness can kick in before the mindfulness. It’s always a journey and process. I just keep practicing as often as possible.

  3. christineabush says:

    In my crazy brain, sometimes I have a ‘disconnect’ about food.. that it was inappropriate or too large quantities of food that made me so overweight. My crazy brain said food would calm me.. that food would excite me.. that food would give me more energy.. never at the time of sabotage would my brain say “too many calories will make you fat and give you more problems than you can even imagine.” Today I am thinner.. and healthier. But still at times, the thoughts come. I can even forget how far I have come in the ‘brain blur’ of those crazy thoughts. I have two pics on my fridge.. one from 2 years ago.. one recent. I need that visual at times about what bad food does.. and what good food does. I don’t ever want to forget…..

    • Mary Stella says:

      Ohh, Chrissy. I love the idea of side by side photos to remind me. I think what I also need to do us capture those images in a single shot on my phone. That way I can always have the reminder when/if I need it!

      Dear friend, we’ve known each other a long time. I am so proud of you and inspired by your progress.

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