Saturday, May 21, 2016

Emotional Eating

21 May 2016

Today has been a bitch! See, I am an emotional eater, first class! What I mean by that, is that when life gets tough, I eat. Pizza, cake, ice cream, candy bars. Usually high sugar, and/or high fat items. I should also mention my history of depression. When life gets tough and I indulge, I open the door to allow in the depression, in the form of isolation, self-loathing, sadness, and a general feeling of emptiness.

54 days into using Medifast on the Take Shape for Life program, and today is the first day that has been seriously hard for me.

For those unfamiliar, Take Shape for Life is a health transformation program that includes weight loss. The weight loss is accomplished using meal replacement foods, produced by Medifast. The combination of nutritionally balanced meal replacements, along with one meal daily consisting of lean protein and low glycemic veggies, as well as the support of a personal coach, books by TSFL founder, and an online community of other folks also doing the program, are usually enough to keep me on track. 

I came to this program as a 66 year old woman with borderline hyperglycemia, borderline high cholesterol, and borderline low density lipoproteins, an inactive lifestyle, and a body weight of 212.4 pounds. My goals were to get my borderline blood values into the normal range, lose weight doing it, and learn what  got me to this weight, so that I could address the appropriate changes. I wanted to be healthy and learn to eat like a healthy, thin person.

Yesterday I was to have a shortened work day, with only 2 of the usual  3 children I care for with me. I was looking forward to spending some time with just the two older kids, who only had a half day of school. The plan, as communicated to me, was that I would pick the kids up at their elementary school, and take them out to lunch, followed by some time at the park. Sounded good. But, due to poor communication, on both my part, and their Mom’s, I hadn’t realized I was stepping into a situation fraught with children’s anger and disappointment. 

Yesterday was "Kennywood Day". (Kennywood is a local amusement park) And, the kids were not going, even though the original plan was for the family to go. Personal family issues made changes necessary and these had been discussed with the kids the previous evening and again that morning. Although, I knew nothing about any of this at the time.

Within 10 minutes of picking up the children, things were headed on a severe downward trajectory. So great was my frustration, that I even told the kids that I had no idea how anticipation of time together could turn to dread within 7 minutes! (Yeah, I know, no freaking nanny of the year award here!) But, we did, after a phone call to Mom, some intense talking time among the three of us, finally rescue the day. At lunch, I had a salad with only items allowed on my low glycemic plan. It was what we on the program refer to as a "NSV", or non-scale victory. But it wasn’t enough to remove the darkness of the days earlier experiences. Nor could the fact that one child reported, "it was a great day!"  How could it?  Especially when the other child still thought it was "the worst day" of her life?       

OK, so why is that included here, in this saga of mine about a bad day on my lifestyle change plan?  Because those kind of bad feelings linger with me. It’s as if those kinds of feelings have some sort of emotional stick-um, which prevents me from just shaking it off. As a result, when I got home from my shortened day, I was feeling emotionally drained and very tired.

We had our dinner, without any drama, thank goodness. And I was still on plan. We sat down to watch my beloved Penguins play game 4 of the Eastern Conference Finals. I was tired, but really had high hopes for the game. As the drubbing of my guys at the skates of the Tampa Bay team progressed, I became even more dejected. At the end of period 2, I went to bed. I was feeling overwhelmed by those sneaky feelings that creep in and can result in a full blown depressive episode, - the sadness, lethargy, need to isolate, emptiness, and self-loathing. But, at that point, I really thought I would wake up feeling "normal" in the morning.

The plan for Saturday was to include some neighborhood yard sales, which I was looking forward to earlier in the week, my weekly weigh-in, and relaxation. Laundry was already done, and except for some dusting, so was the cleaning.

I slept in until 8:15 AM.  Still wasn’t feeling great, and since it was cooler outside and raining, that added to my feelings of dismay. But since today was weigh-in day, and I just knew I was finally going to be under 190, I was sure things would begin looking up.

WRONG! Weigh-in was 190.2 pounds. Now, to those who have not hitched their wagon to the numbers on the scale, that two tenths may seem insignificant. However, if you are sticking to a program, and wanting desperately to stop seeing the 190s on the scale, it is greatly significant. Just another in the series of small, crappy feelings that cling like dog poop to your shoe.

So, I thought, I should go to the support page for the group on Facebook and post my weight and my feelings of dejection. Which I did. Only I included a snippet from yesterday’s lunch at Steak & Shake, about me sticking my baby finger into the younger child’s hot fudge sauce, as a cheat. Really, it was a non-issue for me, so I really shouldn’t have even mentioned it, except for my need for full disclosure. The important parts of my post to the group were that I was still in the 190s weight wise, that my team lost an important game on the way to the Stanley Cup, that I wanted to go eat a freaking Blizzard, or giant piece of chocolate cake, AND that I really wasn’t feelin the whole Medifast/TSFL thing at that moment in time.

[In fairness, a couple of people "got it". But, there seemed to be many who thought my issue was that I had "cheated" with that minuscule bit of hot fudge! Those people irritated me!]

I don’t know, maybe I’m simply an angry, obtuse, slightly-less-fat-than-I was in March person. I still want to go get an order of Gorilla Fries at the pizza place in Zelienople!  I don’t think I will. But I want to. 

I know that everybody has bad days. I know that no plan is a panacea. I know that emotional eating opens the door to depressive behaviors that I want to remove from my life.  I know enough to know that if I didn’t write this down, I would continue in a downward emotional spiral, and that is not a healthy direction. I also know that this too shall pass, but for some reason this, Day #54 on my health plan, has been the hardest since day #2. And on day #2, I sat on my LR couch and cried, because I felt physically ill, and had a headache that would not abate. I think that was easier to navigate than this emotional quagmire.

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