Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Staying the Course

I know how to eat well.  I know how to eat to lose weight, even.  What I struggle with is balancing major emotional crises with the urge to eat - usually something not good for me.  When hit in the face with a familial argument, I want M&M's.  Or ice cream.  Or potato chips.  When I have a huge deadline looming ahead, I would rather drown my frustrations in smooth dark chocolate or a thickly-creamed, hot mocha.  What is it about emotional eating that is so hard to stop?  I recognize the problem, yet have a hard time stopping in the moment and therefore, stopping the habit of eating improperly.  I really want to lose weight - it has nothing to do with the desire to be healthy.

But it has everything to do with how we nurture ourselves.  I read a great book called, "Self-Nurture" by Alice Domar many years ago.  She talks about how we as (mostly) women find so many other things to occupy our nurturance except ourselves.  We leave ourselves to last when we dish out the caring energy.  Oh sure - there are those of us who know how to balance work, family or friends and life in general without eating our feelings.  But I can almost guarantee that if you show me an overweight woman, you will find someone who has forgotten how to care deeply and carefully for herself.

I used to have these things called 'betterments' where I would do one thing just for me.  They didn't have to make any sense to anyone but me.  Some of my 'betterments' were taking a walk in the woods, getting a pedicure, going to a movie, sitting quietly, playing music, going out with a friend, going shopping.  Perhaps it's time to bring back those 'betterments' in order to place less emphasis on feeding my feelings, and more on feeling them, and basically, just enjoying myself sometimes.  You know, I got so good at this in the past, I was actually finding a 'betterment' to relish every day...!?!?!

Do you have any 'betterments'?  What can you come up with that feeds your soul instead of your belly?


Barbara Bechtel said...

welcome back Jill! enjoying following your posts again! I love the idea of "betterments" because in line with what you discussed, if you nurture yourself last, then food is such an easy way to comfort yourself, at least for me. I end up telling myself, "I've had a rough day, I DESERVE THIS (insert whatever bad food choice here)" Our society also makes it so easy to eat poorly and it is a much cheaper form of faux fulfillment than many other "rewards" I'm thinking about this in the new year as well. Just today I was running a lot of tedious errands that had emotional implications to them and as I went through the Starbucks drive-thru, I immediately thought, GET THE LATTE. You deserve it TODAY! But i passed today, and just got skinny old coffee.but boy i wanted that caramel latte soooo bad. still do.

You're not alone!

Dogwood said...

Sounds like you are learning new ways to nuture yorself and be more healthy. Way to go.

Angela said...

So glad you're back, Jill!

Some of my favorite "betterments" that aren't food or alcohol related:

a warm (or hot) bath
a hot shower (can you tell I'm a water person?)
a long walk
curling up with a book
sauna and jacuzzi at the spa (there's that water person thing again)
a massage!