Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Happy Place Rant

I barely slept a wink lasts night, so you can probably guess that I didn't follow through on my plan to get up early and walk before work.  I was so sleep deprived today that it affected my patience level with one particularly difficult customer and by the time my shift was done I knew there was no way I was going to be good for much tonight.  I have to be OK with skipping a workout here and there, I just don't want it to become a habit.  Right now I am almost the extreme opposite, afraid that if I skip a workout I will instantaneously regain any weight I may have lost.  I'm trying to get away from that all-or-nothing thinking this time.
I saw something that irritated me a few days ago, and the more I think about it, the more it bothers me:
Now, I know this is all for fun and laughs, and people wouldn't find it humorous if it wasn't something many people can identify with.  It bothers me because it is making light of something that so many of us find torturous.  When I am compulsive-eating I am miserable.  On the surface, for a quick moment the pleasure I get from eating the food is a bit of a high, but mentally I am suffering.  That is why many of us turn to food for comfort, to try and numb ourselves or shove down the feelings so we don't have to feel them.  Food gives us something to focus on other than the darker stuff that is on our minds.  And, hand in hand with that, while we are eating and belittling ourselves for doing so, we are promising we'll get back on track or start a new diet on Monday.  Diets and plans to diet are distractions from all the stuff inside that makes us feel like we are not good enough.  Our parents didn't love us?  Must have been because we were fat.  If we could just not be fat anymore, everyone would love us.  So, the fat is what is making me miserable, right?  That's what we believe.  Building yourself from the inside, editing the beliefs we have about ourselves that just don't make sense as an adult, those are the ways to stop using food to try to numb ourselves with food or constant thoughts of dieting.  Willpower alone will not save you from turning to food as a coping mechanism, our emotions are too powerful.  Sometimes when I am wanting to eat like crazy I stall myself by thinking through what has happened since I woke up, to see if there is a particular trigger to why I want to eat (referring specifically to eating when I'm not physically hungry).  Sometimes just thinking deeper about what I'm trying to avoid feeling is enough to make me stop the conditioned response to the food stimulus.  We do create habits from our conditioned response.  When I am stressed out, I want to eat.  It triggers feelings of inadequacy and weakness in my personality, and food doesn't make me feel better, fixing my mind about those things makes me feel better.  Once I affirm to myself that I am not inadequate or weak, I start to release the stress of the situation and stop wanting to try and put anesthesia on it with food.  These are not my own ideas, this is what I have learned from reading Geneen Roth's books, especially "When Food is Love".  I knew I was eating emotionally, but until I started reading her books I didn't really know exactly how to work through the situation.  I used to feel like food had all this power over me,  why can't I stop wanting chocolate?!I would whine to myself, and my blogs were full of wondering how to get back on track with healthy habits.  Once I began meditating, I started to see some of the ways that I was reacting on gut instinct; being triggered by emotions that stem from childhood and how that shaped my concept of self.  Many of those things have turned out to be so false, I just never took the time to examine them closer.  To my "hurt child" brain, I had a pretty rough childhood, was really lonely, had parents who ignored me and degraded me and didn't love me, and were just not very present.  In reality, my parents do love me, and they did then too, they were doing the best they could in their situation, which wasn't so great to begin with.  Our perceptions, when viewed through the eyes of a child, are not always accurate, so it is really essential that we go back and examine the ones that are a trigger for us, and reassess their validity.  Yes, some things about my childhood were dark and lonely, but I have been misinterpreting that to be my weakness, when in reality I think that is admirable that I can come out of that a decent human being who is warm with others and open-minded and rises to a challenge.  I am not that little girl anymore, desperately wanting my parent's attention and acceptance, I am a grown, beautiful, powerful woman.  Perception is everything.  Introspection and examination are crucial if you are to get to the core of habits you wish you did or didn't have.  Without putting in the mental work, I think it leaves us prone to becoming Aunty Acid in the meme above, where the fridge is our default "happy place".  I don't think anyone who turns to food for comfort can be said to be happy.  Then again, perception is everything.  Rant over.

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