Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Harder, even, than mountain climbers

I promise I'll tell you about my first 'real' workout session, but I need to get this out there into the ether.

Today has not been a banner day. Not a bad day, by any means - just an average Tuesday. I'm feeling a little sensitive, maybe, or maybe it's the weather. It's a bit of a blue Tuesday.

Regardless, a few hours ago I got some feedback on a project I'm working on that I perceived as negative and it sent me into a tailspin.

I immediately craved chocolate. Cookies. Pastry. Sweets. Whatever I could get my hands on. NOW.

I sat at my desk and held back tears and made myself think about what I really wanted. Weigh in is tomorrow. I worked really hard at the gym this week. Do I really want one comment to flip me upside down and 'blow' all my progress?

No. I wanted comfort. I wanted something happy, something to get my mind of my troubles for a few minutes.

So I bitterly chomped on the celery and carrots I brought for my afternoon snack. I gathered up the courage to go talk to the person who said the thing that threw me off - and as it turns out, it was not intended to be critical (of course...).

I drank some water and I walked around the office.

But it was hard. Really hard. REALLY FREAKING HARD.

It's so easy for me to comfort myself with food. I've ALWAYS done it! What is wrong with me, that I can't self-soothe? We learn as babies to self-soothe, to put ourselves back to sleep, to calm down.

Why can't I, as a 26 year old woman, calm myself down without reaching for something sweet or salty or inevitably high calorie to shove in my mouth?

3 comments:

Deb said...

It's pretty darn common for people to need help soothing or calming down. Adults need a hug or a cuddle all the time. Or an ear to listen. When we can't get those things, we often look for other external things to soothe ourselves. We were unfortunate enough to latch onto food at a young age and it's worked for us - kind of.

Part of the key is replacing the habit. I think sometimes that's the only way to get around it. Just eliminating the habit and expecting it to go away often doesn't work. It's why smokers might chew gum or eat more when they're quitting. Same concept. For some people, it actually works to chew gum or munch on celery instead. For me, I need hard, long workouts. It's almost like I have this crazy need to beat up my body in another (albeit healthier) way.

It might have been hard, but the victory is that you did it. And you got through it without resorting to your unhealthy coping mechanisms.

Carolyn said...

I believe in you!!! How about some sweet tunes to take the edge off your sweet tooth?

http://news.discovery.com/human/music-dopamine-happiness-brain-110110.html

Amanda@BustingThroughIt said...

I'm sorry you had a rough day, Meg. It is so hard to go against our instincts to use food for comfort. But I am so proud of you for recognizing the habit and then working hard to not give into it! That's progress :)