Truth: I don’t really want to write this post. Because it’s difficult to admit your struggles, it’s difficult to admit your challenges, and it’s hard to say “I’m still struggling”.
But yes…. I’m still struggling.
I can’t tell you exactly how or when I started relying on food for emotional support. (My hunches, are that it really accelerated in 2008 – Click Here for details.) Either way, I’ve become accustomed to using food in a variety of situations:
– In happy times
– In stressful times
– In overwhelming or anxiety-producing times
– In bored times
– In tired times – to feel that “boost” of energy
– Because sometimes I tell myself I “deserve” it
And the food that typically brings me the most relief is sweet and/or salty: ice cream, candy, chocolate, chips, popcorn, nachos, etc. You name it, I love it.
With this Whole30 plan, I don’t have the opportunity to binge on the foods I typically did; I can’t eat processed foods and I can’t rely on those same tactics or coping skills to get me through difficult times. And so, I’ve been forced to “feel my feelings” – that horrible, horrible process of actually dealing with emotions, as they come up. And the result of “feeling my feelings” came to ahead this past week, as I was frustrated, crying, yelling at Jay:
“I just want to drive to the grocery store and buy everything! I JUST WANT TO EAT ALL OF THE THINGS!!!”
And I realized that until I start to actually process and address the emotions and the feelings I have (inadequacies at work, frustrations with friendships, disappointment in self) – then I’m never going to be able to live a “healthy” life. Eating as a way to escape or “numb” those feelings SOLVES NOTHING. It solves absolutely nothing. And after the wave of blood sugar, insulin, leptin, glucose and irregularity in my system pass (from giving it incredibly processed and sugar-laden poison), the feelings are still there.
They are always there. I can’t “eat” them away. The only way to truly address my feelings is to FEEL THEM.
And so, that’s what I’ve been working on.
It hasn’t been easy. One night, I made 10 bacon-wrapped dates (OMG. So good.) and although my plan was to have a few, and save the rest, I found myself going back over and over and over again, until all of them were gone. Was it a tremendous calorie impact? No, not likely. But was it an unhealthy way of handling my emotions instead of actually feeling them? Yes. Yes, it was.
I love you, but I can’t have you anymore.
Instead, I’ve been planning healthy activities (hot yoga, meeting up with friends, etc.) and letting myself feel those feelings when then come up. If it ends in a fit of frustration or tears, or even the classic “King Tut” position. [Just lay on the ground, cross your arms, and block out the world for as long as you need.]
In case you need further proof, this was on my Good Earth Tea bag a few days ago:
Although I consider myself to be “struggling”, if I take a step back and prospectively consider where I’ve been, and where I’m going, I can see that I’m progressing closer and closer to the person I want to be. I’m recognizing my struggles with emotional eating and the cycle of “feeling my feelings” – something I haven’t quite fully mastered, yet. I’m making healthy choices and putting myself first – doing things that help me reach my goals and live in a healthy way.
I think the Whole30 plan is helping me get to where I want to be. Is it the be-all end-all answer-to-all-my-problems? Absolutely not. But right now, the Whole30 is a plan that’s helping me go in the right direction. It’s pushing me outside of my comfort zone and letting me understand the way my body is meant to function – without processed foods or sugar.
And for me, I can confidently say, this is exactly where I’m meant to be right now.