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! 

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