I wrote a post on Monday about how things have not been going so well… I have been struggling with my own demons again. Fighting to keep my head above water.. I have talked to those people who make me feel safe and got a lot of wisdom + kindness from those friends. I have felt so tired lately that I feel like my whole head is tired.. That it is HEAVY, with a huge weight inside it that may burst out at any minute.. Talking of bursting, I have also felt on the verge of tears at any given moment.. For gawds sake when you see me please do not ask me how I am… Unless you want to see a grown woman cry. You know how it is.. your TRYING REALLY HARD TO KEEP IT TOGETHER.. and some lovely soul says “How are you?” and the tears just trickle down. Well thats been me for a few weeks..
When I get this tired, aside from seeking comfort from those who make me feel safe, I also somehow find myself seeking old habits that make me feel safe. Safety can come in the form of comfort eating, wine drinking, self loathing, sabotaging patterns of behaviour. I revert back to old ways of dealing with stuff. I am sure I am not alone in this right? “In any given moment we have 2 options: to step forward into growth or to step back into safety” Those old patterns kept me safe for many years of my life – It seems to be an easy ‘safe’ default mode to go into when one is completely exhausted.
Working with people gives me an insight into just how many lengths they will go to JUST to survive.. I give a lot of thought to what I have done in my life to survive. Losing my brother at just 21 meant that I numbed the pain via alcohol and drugs just to get through. Seeing my Dad so disabled and distressed just compounded my pain and the subsequent addiction patterns. I did this for many years, hating myself and berating myself for being the one still alive. These patterns are the ones I fight to keep away daily. Most of the time I win, and sometimes I don’t. BUT what I have in my tool box now, is that I HAVE done it before so I CAN do it again. I know what failure feels like, I know what hating myself feels like. I like feeling how I feel when I am in control and happy. I have grown to like myself, and I like how that feels.
So to address the comfort eating issue that has arisen for me lately 🙂 I asked the Bootcamp ladies on our secret support group whether they used food or alcohol as an emotional crutch. Quite a few of them answered with insightful reflective posts about how they DO use food and/or alcohol. Many of them take to the wine bottle or chocolate cake when bored, stressed, happy, sad, upset, tired, grumpy + hormonal >> These are just a few of the reasons that came up! The phenomenon of emotional eating can strike at any time, and clearly isn’t just related to actual hunger.
I have personally found lately that I have been craving sweet things.. When I looked this up I found this answer: “Chocolate stimulates the release of Serotonin (our feel good natural anti-depressant). We instinctively seek this out if we need a boost in happy chemicals. If you crave sugar, it could be that your blood glucose levels are low, you’re looking to boost your mood or that you are low in energy.”
YES, I definitely need a boost in energy, but maybe my break on Friday will help that and I’ll get some much needed sleep!!!!
Here is some advice for you IF you do have emotional eating issues, have a read and let me know what you think and if any of this resonates with you.. *I often write these posts to help and remind me but my hope is that it also helps someone else along their journey*
1. Tell yourself that it’ll all be OK!!! Its OK to feel sad, tired, crappy, grumpy, pissed off, angry, lost. These thoughts are normal and its important that you acknowledge your feelings rather than try to numb them with *insert drug of choice here* If you do however succumb to eating or drinking, don’t then allow your guilt to take over… Tell yourself “Its going to be alright, you will be OK” Approach YOU with kindness + understanding in the same way you would a friend who needed you. Listen to what your mind is telling you, acknowledge how you feel, write it down if you need to. You will be OK.
2. Take on board how beautiful you are! Listen when your friends give you compliments, and I mean REALLY LISTEN! If you have to write it down every time someone says or does something lovely for you. You are worth the effort and consistency that you give others, and you are OK! We are so quick to berate and slag ourselves off ~ we don’t see our own beauty and self worth. We compare ourselves negatively to others whilst all the while thinking negative thoughts about our own being, which can compound self abusive behaviour. Dr. Gail Dines says, “If tomorrow, women woke up and decided they really liked their bodies, just think how many industries would go out of business.” <<< I totally love this and can relate.. Its so true!!! Its time to wake up to your own inner beauty.. You are ENOUGH!
3. Are you aware of your triggers? I know this probably sounds difficult, but try to think about possible situations where you may comfort eat/ drink. When I asked my ladies this they were able to name: Boredom, stress, sadness amongst other things. Meaning they have some awareness of when they may reach for something that ultimately brings them more guilt or pain. Have a think about when YOU may look for comfort from food and apply strategies that may help when you find yourself in that situation. We do not want to feel deprived so aim to find things that may you feel whole and “safe’ enough to not divert to your default mode.. One of these things should be to find time for you to relax. Today, even though I knew really didn’t have the time, I booked in a 40 minute massage. I gave myself permission to relax and enjoy it and not feel guilty for indulging myself in me time (one of the many things women feel guilty about). IT WAS AMAZING, and also kept me from stuffing my face with sugar in a stressful anxious rage 🙂 *Thanks Elaje!