Trust Your Gut is a series of stories about real people with weight issues, and complications arising from those issues.  It will explain what the person is facing, what their options are, what they have decided to do to take action, and why they chose the path they are on.  Each person’s story will be based on truth, so it won’t all be happy, but it will be real.  The goal of this series is to get people talking about options that are available for people who have weight issues, on either end of the scale.  If you would like to contribute to this series, there is a contact form linked on my Homepage for this blog.  I know there are people out there that want to help people like them; as I do.

The names here may or may not reflect the person’s real name.  If someone wants to remain unknown, we will choose a different name for that person’s story.  The goal is to help people, and anonymity is a valid personal choice for contributors.  I will use a person’s name only if they give permission to do so.

Here is the next addition to my own story, Trust Your Gut: Tish’s Story; Part 5

Emotional Eating Epiphany

Today’s Trust Your Gut story is brought to you by alliteration, and the 5th letter of the alphabet, the letter “E”.  It is the fifth entry in my own story.

You don’t generally get to be hovering between 299 lbs and 301 lbs by eating healthy, drinking lots of water, and exercising regularly.  It doesn’t work that way.

I love food.  Not only am I addicted to sugar, but I centre a lot of my thoughts, moods and feelings around food.  I never thought about it too much before this past week.  I have had a doozy, but the point of this story is not to focus on what is happening in my life, but rather how it affects me in terms of my weight issues.  That’s what the series is about.

So I’m going to break it down real simple.  If I am bored, I eat.  If I am hungry, I eat.  If I am moody, I eat sweets.  Sometimes I can keep myself to the small sample of one of each type.  In candy, this can be reasonable.  If it is a box of doughnuts, that could be a disaster.  I have cravings.  I do obsess about food sometimes.  If I am lazy, I eat fast food.  If I am gearing up for a real honest to goodness attempt at not having junk food in the house, I will eat it all and then it is gone.  That is what I tell myself, I can really work on that plan after the bad food is all gone.  Not thrown in the trash, but devoured.

I am working on it.  All the time.  I find if I give into a craving when it happens, I can have what I am telling myself I need to eat, and then I can move past it.  The problem is, the damage is already done.  I have to take extra medicine for my sugars when I am not behaving. I have recently discovered, the hard way, that if I eat too much sugar, not only does it make me sleepy, like narcoleptic, but I can now feel sick to my stomach if I eat too many sweets.  Does that stop me?  Not if I am mad, or sad, or bored.  Not if I know in the back of my mind that there are cookies in the kitchen or that box of chocolates, well it is empty because I ate those a tray at a time so it was gone from the house faster.  And doing damage to my health by being in my belly.

It is easier to eat your emotions than deal with them.  When you associate feelings with food, you learn to rely on it to feel good things.  Food makes me feel better.  In the short term.  It keeps me from thinking about what is really happening, and from having to deal with it.

I have spent a lot of time eating, and a lot of time avoiding the reasons why I am eating what I am eating.  I have had to start to focus more on what I am eating, instead of just grabbing whatever is quick and easy.  It takes grocery list making, meal planning, meal prepping, and a plan for storing what I have made.  That consumes a lot of time and requires energy and the desire to spend the time on myself and my health.  To want to do better.  For me.

It does no good for me to meal prep too much because it would be a waste to not have the containers to divide it into meal sized portions.  I am now trying to plan different meals at times.  That is more work.  But my husband appreciates the efforts to make him his own food, as he has a day job too, and we can’t afford to eat out every day, financially or healthily.  It is hard, sometimes, to pace myself with it, as I would benefit from having extra food made in advance so I can eat healthy with little effort on a regular basis.  I go in circles, with the creative mind, and when I get on a roll, if I don’t go with it, I don’t know when I will feel like tackling the prep cooking again.  I go through productive spells, and slumps.  Currently, I am in a slump.

This is my second year of being on the Trim Healthy Mama Plan.  There are times when I follow it like a Bible, and I am able to be strict and keep myself on the plan.  The plan does have some foundation from religion, so it is an accurate description.  There are other times when I view it as a guideline, like when I am dabbling with it.  I like the 3-hour rule.  If you go off plan, you get right back on it in 3 hours.  Give yourself some grace, allow yourself to be human, and move on.  Don’t wallow in it.  Good in theory.  I like this concept.  But if I am being honest, I am cutting myself too much slack right now, and not making myself get back on plan as a reaction to keep the momentum going in the right direction.

I finally put it all together, this week, when I was thinking about writing this week’s story.  I need to stand up to my feelings.  It will be rough.  But I am avoiding them every time I eat them.  That is a bad place for anyone to be in.  It is time for me to take action.  I want out of this cycle.  When I follow Trim Healthy Mama, I do feel better, and I do see results.  Win win!  It’s time to up my game, and work on myself.  Nobody else is going to fix it for me, so I have to work on myself for myself and by myself.

After the week I just had, the hardest part is going to be convincing myself that I am worth the effort.  I know it in my heart, but it is covered in layers of unhealthiness, telling me the easy way is the best way.  Old habits die hard, and I am fighting for my life. Again.  One day at a time, one meal at a time, one snack at a time.  Every 3 hours, I can stay on plan, not need to get back on plan.  Start with something you can do as a beginning, and ride it through to the end.  I will keep reminding myself that I can do this, and the food is wonderful, so I should work harder at this.  I know I will see results.  I just have to be strong, and learn how to deal with my feelings.  

I am also going to have to change one of my favourite sayings.  I really believe that the day gets better after lunch.  It means you are closer to the end of your workday after lunch.  Or it means I am focusing on my food because I don’t want to think about work.  It’s going to be a hard thing to get a solid 8 hours of sleep every night, but I am going to try and focus on that, for a while.  Rest is important to your health, so it is a better thing to focus on, rather than food, or the next meal or snack.  I don’t like going to bed, I never have.  Once I am settled, it is hard to climb back out of bed.  I didn’t like to have to get in the shower when I was growing up, either.  Same thing, once I am in there, I don’t want to get out.  I have changed my train of thought on that one, I play music in the shower, it helps me try to keep it reasonable in length of time when I am in there.  And music makes my world go round.  If I can change my mind about that, then I can change my mind about lunch.  A new focus may be just what I need to get out of my slump.