Tuesday, August 11, 2009

I'm not even sure what cycle to break...

I've been realizing that the I've had a not-so-good eating habit the past few months.

First, I eat very well and "on plan" during the day. But when I get home? All bets are off. I eat much more than what I should be - past the point of being no longer hungry. And go figure that the result has been me gaining and losing the same 5 pounds. The weeks when I lose weight are the weeks that I exercise - and the weeks where I gain are when I don't exercise as much.

I know. I'm a rocket scientist.

So I'm trying to come to the real issue here. Why do I eat and eat and eat when I don't really have a good reason for it?

A few years ago I used to have a big problem with sleep. I'd stay up, watching TV until 1 or 2 and then eventually fall asleep on the couch. I'd then wake up at 4ish, walk upstairs to my bed and sleep until 6:30 when the alarm went off. As you can imagine, I didn't have a restful night's sleep and was constantly dragging. I had to ask myself why I was refusing to go to bed in the first place? Why was I making myself stay up? The answer that came back to me is that I didn't feel like my day was done. I didn't feel like I had truly lived that day - merely worked and came home - and I wanted to try to pack more into the day. It took awhile, but I eventually broke myself of the habit and learned that bedtime rituals are actually pretty important.

Likewise, I think that I eat at the end of the day more and more because I feel like I NEED something. I need to feel pampered. I need to feel like a priority. I need to feel like I'm not on a diet where I can only have a certain amount of food. I need to feel not deprived. The eating? It happens whether I had plans that evening or not. I've gone out with friends, had a fantastically full day, come home, have not been hungry, and have STILL had two bowls of cereal.

I know. There are ways to circumvent this - brush your teeth after a meal, go for a walk, drink plenty of water, blah blah blah. And those are good distraction techniques. But instead, I am challenging myself NOT to be distracted. I want and need to meet these feelings head on.

Last night I had a date. I wouldn't call him my boyfriend just yet, but I will say that I have an absolutely fantastic time when I'm around him. He is so very funny, nice, thoughtful, and all sorts of other things I could gush about him. Instead of looking ahead and wondering what might be, I'm enjoying THIS moment. The time that I spend with him feeds my needs and I'm soaking up all of that attention and fun that I can.

Anyway, we went out to eat at the Cheesecake Factory where I ate about a third of my cobb salad (two reasons: their portions are HUGE and I was really concentrating on the company that I was keeping. I let the food be a nourishment while I enjoyed my time with him). We went back to his place, kissed like teenagers, and then I went home. It was a great night.

But on my way home, I wanted to stop for a quick burger. I wanted to eat SOMETHING when I got home - I just knew it. What it was didn't make much of a difference. So there I was, in my car at a stoplight, and I actually asked aloud "Anne- WHAT are feeling?" The light turned green and I still hadn't figured it out. By all accounts I should've been satisfied by my day and my date. And yet, I wanted to complete it somehow.

I went home and told myself that if I couldn't even figure out what I was feeling, then I shouldn't eat. I was happy to eat, if I could just identify the feeling that accompanied it (it seemed like a good compromise - this is the first step). And I couldn't figure it out. So I didn't eat.

I did stay up - way too late. I wasn't even DOING anything, just vegging out. The thing is, I was tired, but I didn't want to go to bed. I'm not sure if it was me not wanting to end the day, or worse me NOT wanting to take care of myself (almost a way to punish myself?). Is it that I want someone to take care of me? Is it just a habit that is hard to break without any feelings behind it at all and I'm just completely over-analyzing?

Have you all experienced anything similar to this? If so, what'd you do to get out of it?


POD said...

Boy, this is a real fight to the finish. The only thing I can think of (and I can relate to what you are writing about) is it's the addictive element of food. We get anxious...I used to get home from work and munch on anything I could get my hands on for the first few minutes. Then I would go for a walk..except after eating the crap I was eating, I could hardly make it up the damn driveway. If I didn't eat, I could go. But eating carbs made my legs hardly move.
Sometimes I'd eat cereal late at night out of boredom but most of the time it's an feeling of anxiousness or I just had some fun (and I feel anxious). It's nervous energy..the only way to describe.

I'd say if you (or your mind) are grasping/grabbing at food...in a semi-panic mode, you are using food as a soother, not as nourishment.
When you think of your body as an engine that needs the right fuel to run properly, you won't be eating to soothe.

Kris said...

WOW! That is a loaded blog. Did you feel like your day was not over since you had not reached the 'eating limit'? I think that is a great step for you to ask, out loud, 'What are you feeling?' I think It was also a great step to enjoy the company and eat the food for nourishment, but did you lose out on the food nurturing whatever it is that you needed? I have not completely digested your blog...I may have to get back to you. Thank you for sharing!