Yesterday I had a great workout today. Really great … the best I’ve felt since my surgery (and the months leading up to it). I felt stronger than I had in a long time and even though I was drenched in sweat by the end of it and my forearms felt like they were going to fall off my body, I left the gym feeling satisfied.
That high after a good workout is tough to beat …
Unfortunately, once I got home, I checked my email and received some really disappointing news. Something that I had been eagerly waiting to happen fell through. I was really gutted.
My first thought was ‘&!ck this $!it‘ and all I wanted to do was stuff my face. There was no conscious thought about it. It was a natural, instinctive reaction. I received disappointing news and my reflex was to do something that made me feel ‘better.’ Eat my feelings. Suppress any reasonable, productive solution with layers and layers of food. At least, that’s the superficial explanation.
Despite that being my instinctive reaction, I didn’t follow through. Part of the reason was that there was nothing ‘binge-worthy’ to eat in the house, but aside from that as soon as the thought came into my mind I sternly said to myself – Enough of that!
I knew that though bingeing might feel like a temporary fix for the devastation I was feeling, in the long run it would only make me feel worse. Not only that, but eating wouldn’t solve my situation. It was completely unrelated.
I am surprised, and if I’m honest, a bit disappointed, at how quickly my thoughts went to such a negative place and how instinctive that desire to ‘eat my feelings’ arose. Even after all these years of trying to live a healthier lifestyle, learning what that entails, and putting it into practice, all the habits I have worked so hard to build were momentarily thrown out the window and replaced by an emotional reaction. Even if I didn’t follow through, the temptation/gut reaction was there.
This morning there was another disappointment. Something we had been planning for a couple of weeks now fell through. We had put in a lot of time and effort to arrange for this thing to happen, and at the last minute, it didn’t happen. Again, I was really disappointed and even slightly angry — I thought to myself – why even bother?
I took a moment to grumble and feel annoyed and then I acknowledged that even though this was a setback and things didn’t go the way I had hoped, it didn’t mean that all was lost. I realized that I was placing too much importance on something that was out of my control. More than that, I was letting something that had nothing to do with me personally have an impact on my day — and if I had chosen to binge eat to try and ‘soothe’ myself, then it would have had an impact on my health as well.
Realizing how my emotions are still so strongly connected to my actions was important. It’s something that I had always known but hadn’t consciously thought about or appreciated in a while. I’m glad that I was able to recognize the tendency and stop myself before acting recklessly.
I’ve been in this place before – you know, the place where your emotions take over any logic, where self-destructive behavior surpasses any level of discipline or self-control. I’ve been in that negative head space before – where you are constantly reprimanding yourself and for some reason chanting negative mantras such as – you deserve what happened, you don’t deserve to be happy … without realizing that the only person who put those unfounded thoughts in your head is the same person that can get rid of them – you.
It’s easier to believe the bad stuff. That’s something I’ve struggled with my whole life. Even if it was just me saying the bad stuff to myself. It’s a terrible path to walk down and a tough one to veer off, but veer off I must.
The important things to remember:
- things happen and when they don’t go your way, it doesn’t mean you’re a bad person or that things can’t turn around; it just means that it didn’t happen today
- don’t expand one misstep/one error into encompassing everything or even several things – acknowledge it for what it is and don’t let it spill into other areas of your life
- you maintain control and instead of seeing this as a burden, see it as something empowering – you will not let one occurrence, one person, one meal have more power over all of you; you are stronger than that