I just passed a big test. I’d been interviewing for a new job and I found out they went with another candidate. It was down to the wire — I was one of the final candidates. During the process, I was hopeful, but realistic. You know how these things go. Once I learned the outcome, visions of ice cream and chocolate kept coming to mind. I wanted some serious comfort food. I thought about a lot of things that “sounded really good.” There was an argument raging in my head all day. For once, I knew I’d be sorry if I gave in to my desire to eat and the enjoyment would be short-lived. I used my basic principle of “Is It Worth It?” over and over. ALL. DAY. LONG. I’m not even kidding. It was an epic battle.
I used to eat my way to comfort. If this were two years ago, I easily would have eaten my way through the kitchen immediately after hanging up the phone. I kept pushing those thoughts away thinking I’ve made it this long today without splurging, I can make it a little longer. And, that’s the thing. If I’m going to splurge I want to enjoy it. I want it to be because I’m having a good time with friends, or celebrating something — not because I’m trying to bury my emotions.
I’m writing (and publishing) this post because I want to share that the struggle is real and I suspect it always will be. Even with all the weight loss success I’ve had, it’s still hard. And, as far as I’ve come, it’s not so far that I was eager to go out for a walk and clear my head. I thought about it, but physical activity is not a comfort to me. I’m not someone who finds a walk (or going to the gym) to be therapeutic. Maybe someday I’ll get there. But I’m not there now. I spent a good part of the day moping and my eating was not stellar, but I stayed away from the big point items. I managed. And, I’ve learned it’s OK to “just” manage. It was far better than it could have been. I am glad I had plans with my sister for dinner that night. It definitely lifted my spirits and I was glad when the day was over and I could go to bed. The next day was a fresh start with new perspective and continued focus — not only on my eating, but on the search for my next career opportunity as well.
How do you manage your emotions without food as a crutch?
June 2, 2017 at 3:53 pm
OH the top way I relieve stress is writing. Just mindless writing. My fingers aren’t allowed to stop typing, typos just have to stay put, I must write for at least two pages. This doesn’t take me long, but in the end allot of the stressors that are deep down and hidden have been released into the paper.
I normally take that piece and work with it until I have a post for a blog or a game plan for life. I used this allot in management to figure out the core of some of my professional issues and so that I could solve them without being influenced by repressed emotions.
June 5, 2017 at 6:57 am
I guess that’s what I did here! I didn’t think about it that way, but it worked! Thanks for your thoughts!
June 5, 2017 at 6:35 am
Great job, Robin! I used to eat to manage my feelings too. I don’t know how it happened, but now I just don’t care about food when I’m upset. You are doing an amazing job!
June 5, 2017 at 6:59 am
Thanks so much! I care, but I was able to talk myself out of it. I don’t know how I got to this place, but I’m so glad I did!
June 5, 2017 at 7:10 am
I come from a culture in which food is love and we do tend to manage emotions with it. I love your conscious view of this traip.
June 5, 2017 at 7:13 am
I do too! Every celebration is around food! I’ve also learned that sometimes eating out is a celebration and sometimes it’s because you need to eat! So, that helps me make good choices too!
June 5, 2017 at 9:10 am
Habits are so hard to change…but look at how you’ve done it, Robin!
It’s so easy to say, I’ll go for a walk instead, but it’s really hard to change our mindset!
I have found being with other people is a great help!!
June 5, 2017 at 8:20 pm
Jodie, you are so right. Being alone is the worst! Thanks for your comments!
June 5, 2017 at 12:27 pm
Good for you!! It is so easy to go for the comfort food when we are feeling down. But you are right, the comfort is only temporary. The satisfaction we get from resisting sticks around much longer!
June 5, 2017 at 8:19 pm
Thanks, Christina! It’s a startling reality when you realize the thing you’re craving really isn’t going to have a long-lasting positive effect! The greater reward is resisting!
June 5, 2017 at 12:44 pm
Comfort eating is so common – my friend does so much exercise it’s insane and yet she can’t shift her weight, because as she readily admits, she comfort eats! I use mints as my “crutch” – having some just on me keeps me calm and if I do have moments on panic/anxiety I just suck on a mint and all seems well.
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June 5, 2017 at 8:17 pm
Oh! Great idea! I might try that too! Isn’t it interesting to learn how we all handle our challenges differently?
June 5, 2017 at 1:02 pm
Like Jess, I write when I am upset or otherwise I saddle a horse and I ride out. I have also discovered that perfection is not essential, one’s best in one’s current circumstances is good enough.
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June 5, 2017 at 8:16 pm
You make a great point! Accepting that “perfect” isn’t a requirement can be the greatest gift you can give yourself!
June 5, 2017 at 3:23 pm
It is so easy to turn to food for emotional support so you did a great effort minimising the after effect of not getting the job. You have to take it one day at a time and you will get stronger. As you lose the weigh your mindset will strengthen and you will achieve your goal.
June 5, 2017 at 10:10 pm
I completely agree, Sue! The more weight I lose, the more confident I become. It’s really unbelievable! Thank you for your comments! This is such a common struggle for so many.
June 5, 2017 at 4:11 pm
You know food as the “go-to” is my default setting as well. Walking and working out are good replacements for me–or they were when I was younger, but I seem to be less inclined to turn there as I get older! You make such a good point about wanting to plan and save the “splurge” occasions for happy celebrations. We need to break the association of food=comfort. Like you, I will likely fight it the rest of my life too. but we can do it!
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June 5, 2017 at 8:14 pm
Yes we can, Lee! And, that’s one of the reasons I started my necklace! It’s such a great tactile reminder of my successes. It gives me strength to fight the food=comfort cycle!
June 5, 2017 at 4:45 pm
I admire your resilience Robin so well done on managing to get through the day! I’m in the go for walk or a run category as I find it helps me think and clears my head. Everyone is different in how we manage and the fact that you are coping, and writing about it, is a great step. Keep moving 😊
June 5, 2017 at 8:12 pm
Debbie, I envy those like you, who find comfort in the go for a walk or run category! It’s such a chore for me to do in the first place, it’s the LAST thing I want to do when feeling down!! Thank you so much for your kind words!
June 5, 2017 at 5:42 pm
You are winning the biggest battles! Yay you, strong woman!
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June 5, 2017 at 8:09 pm
Sharon, this is truly the BIGGEST battle of my life. And, you’re right! I AM WINNING! Thanks for your kind words!
June 5, 2017 at 6:42 pm
Love this! Not passing an interview must really sting, and I know the temptation to stuff your face when things like that happen! But well done on having made it without turning to food. That’s the toughest job in the world and you handled it! I don’t have a specific alternative to food when I’m upset, but if anything it would be taking a hot shower followed by a cup of tea (hello Aussie winter!), listening to music and gathering photos for a vision board.
June 5, 2017 at 8:08 pm
Those are great alternatives! I’ll have to try that next time! Love all the ideas that get shared here!
June 5, 2017 at 7:40 pm
When I quit smoking I went through similar feelings. For me, it was my ex-husband leaving. Talk about wanting to smoke! But I did use the gym as an outlet for my emotions. I would just put my headphones on and listen to music that would push me through my workout. And after that, there was no way I could have a cigarette.
June 5, 2017 at 8:06 pm
I just kept talking myself out if it. I was moping, but I managed! That’s all that mattered! I think the key is finding something to pass the time to get through the urge!
June 5, 2017 at 9:58 pm
Yet you continue on your journey still strong. I think that is awesome. I am also hoping that a better job is out there for you!!!!
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June 5, 2017 at 10:01 pm
Me too, Stacey! I have to continue. I’m not going back!
June 6, 2017 at 5:45 pm
This is definitely still a struggle for me :-/ I try coloring with my kids or sitting outside to de-stress when possible.
June 6, 2017 at 6:11 pm
Great ideas, Amber! I think knowing it’s a weakness is the first step. Having a solution to the problem is huge progress! Then, we just have to find the strength to execute!
June 6, 2017 at 7:50 pm
Well done! I agree that it is not actually enjoyable to binge on food for the sake of it to cope with something, though eating the same food can be enjoyable if eaten for a positive reason.
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