Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Eating My Way to Happiness

For as long as I can remember I have had a love hate relationship with food.  It has been the best way to celebrate the good times, the accomplishments, the goals met.  It has relieved my stress and renewed my strength after an anatomy and physiology final among other exams on my way to becoming a nurse.  Food has been my source of comfort when I was feeling sad or lonely, bored, angry, frustrated...  I love food!  I love eating!  Food has been my drug of choice.  Food IS my drug of choice.

I guess I am fortunate to have chosen food over alcohol or drugs but it is no less a problem for me.  I have buried my feelings by eating, in excess, often finding myself at the bottom of a half gallon of ice cream with no idea of how I got there or even what the flavor of the ice cream was.  I have baked chocolate chip cookies and instead of eating one or two I have looked at the cooling rack to find six or eight of the cookies gone. Did I even taste them? I have bought a pound of M&Ms at the convenience store often commenting to the cashier that I needed them for a recipe (God forbid he think I was going to eat them) only to go home, open them and eat the entire bag in one sitting hiding the empty wrapper in the trash to deny it ever happened but I would still be hungry.  Was I hungry?  Why do I continue eating like this?  What am I hungry for?

Figuring out the difference between physical and emotional hunger has been a battle.  I do better some days than others but I am still learning.  I often hear the same comments in the Weight Watchers group I lead and I can truly answer, "I understand!".  For those of us who try to eat our way to happiness there are no easy answers, no quick fixes, no magic words to make it stop.  I have lost almost 200 pounds and there are days when I still battle.  I win more or those battles than I used to but I still find myself on occasion with a bag of M&Ms or a spoon and a carton of ice cream.  I have learned to move forward from those times and forgive myself.  I am a work in progress.  :)

I follow a blog called, "Thighs and Offerings" which is written by a minister named Kate who by her own admission had a serious eating disorder.  She wrote about her battle with emotional eating in a post several years ago.  Here in her words is a description of her battle with pumpkin scones:

  "A pumpkin scone has been far more to me than an acquaintance, and far less than a friend. Truth be told, the role it has played in my life has been that of, I don't know, a lover, an ex-boyfriend you can't quite shake, who you keep seeing and who you keep letting in and who keeps breaking your heart." 

So what is the solution?  What do I do?  I have learned to ask myself two questions BEFORE I put anything in my mouth: Are you hungry and what are you hungry for?  If my answer is anything other than physical hunger I get out of the kitchen, out of the house and far away from any place that sells M&Ms!

Happiness is NOT found at the bottom of a container of ice cream or inside a package of M&Ms.  Happiness is found by loving yourself and knowing you are worthy of the effort you are making to take care of yourself and lose the weight you want to lose.

To those of you who read my blog and fight this battle Kate and I understand! 

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Father's Day without my Dad

I said goodbye to my dad almost two years ago.  He had fought a very long battle against congestive heart failure and irreversible heart disease, it was time to go.  I was blessed to be with him during his final hours.  

My dad was an amazing man!  He was a child of God, a Presbyterian preacher, a husband, a father to four, a grandfather to eight and a great grandfather to one.  He was my role model and my friend and I miss him!  He lived a life full of love and service.  I have no doubts about where he is or what he is doing.  As he lay dying a wrote a blog which was called things my dad taught me.  I read it to him before he died and we cried.  He asked me to read it at his memorial service, which I did, and I fought the tears but proudly read it and I got through it.  I can think of no better thing to share for Father's Day so here it is again; lessons from my dad, life lessons.  Happy Father's Day Dad!  I love you!

Here, in no particular order, are just a few of the things my dad has taught me:

If you want to catch fish, you have to use worms and you have to bait your own hook.

When cooking, always clean up as you go.

When playing Boggle, making up words is allowed as long as you snicker while you write them down.  If you are lucky one of them will be a real word.

It is OK to eat your Nana's cream puffs for breakfast.

Patience is a virtue especially when teaching teenagers to drive or when taking  them to pick out a Christmas tree.

God is good all the time.

Say you're sorry and mean it.

Let go of wrongs.

Forgive and forget. (Yes I know those were similar but they were worth repeating)

Love unconditionally.

God always answers prayers but not always the way we expect.

Always do your best.

Never put off saying I love you.

Treat others the way you would like to be treated, especially when it is difficult.

Even grown men like to play with tractors.

When faced with a broken bike, it is a good idea to take it to a bike shop for repairs.

Pay attention to the details.

Dog names are reusable.

If you can't say something nice, be quiet.

Good people come in all shapes, colors, and sizes.

Doing the right thing may not be easy, and no one may notice, but do it anyway.

And finally the one that seems most appropriate on a day like today:

At the end of even the worst day there is always something to be grateful for.

Thank you God for this gracious and loving man you chose to be my father.  

- I tried unsuccesfully to get my dad's favorite hymn to play in the background.  He loved Fairest Lord Jesus which is a beautiful hymn.  I know itunes and youtube have a version you can listen to if you are unfamiliar with it.  Enjoy and be grateful!