Avoiding The Spiral

I’ve written a lot over the years about my emotional relationship with food. It’s never as much about weight or size or calories as it is me trying to maintain a healthy relationship with food. Over the last several months as I’ve gotten my eating in check and my training schedule on track, I’ve felt really great and a lot of that is because I’m not giving food any power over me that it doesn’t deserve. That doesn’t mean I’m not eating donuts (I had two last week at the office) – or that I’m 100% healthy, it just means food is fuel. I try to constantly be thinking about how it’s fueling my body both physically and emotionally. And this Thanksgiving break? I just stopped thinking about it. Hence the gray day yesterday because food became my method of coping with stress and sadness and not about fueling my body physically and spiritually.

And that happens. The problem is now? I need to avoid the downward spiral that follows because – and everyone who deals with this knows: When I feel shitty about how I’ve been eating? I EAT SHITTIER TO MAKE MYSELF FEEL BETTER.

Now, if you’re like my husband and have never really let food dictate feelings in your life, this seems ridiculous. You know your crappy eating has made you feel terrible, so to make yourself feel better you eat worse? That makes no sense.

BUT. As we’ve discussed before, many of us know and it makes sense to us.

So I started by asking Donnie yesterday afternoon if I could run this morning. Usually he gets Monday mornings, but I know if I need control over my day, I need to start with a run because that focuses me. I tearfully said, “I just need to start my week of on the right foot after the stressful few days because I’m feeling overwhelmed. Please? Can I run in the morning.” Of course he obliged and 2006 Zoot shook her head thinking, “I have no idea who that woman is who is begging behind tears for a run.”

WAIT. That’s not what I did first. Actually, what I did first was eat terrible the rest of yesterday because I had already declared it a “Bad Day” and once a day is “Bad” I give myself permission to eat everything because I tell myself, “Tomorrow! Tomorrow we’ll do better!”

Which is all terrible and not at all how your supposed to look at your relationship with food. HENCE ME TRYING TO AVOID THE SPIRAL.

So! Today. I’m going to start with a run. Then, I’m writing about it here to make you guys hold me accountable. Zoot is not going to fall down a pit of stress eating today. She is going to eat what her mind and her body needs so she can shake the gray away.

Next? I’m getting rid of the junk food that’s left. There’s not much, part of my binge-eating mission last night was to eat it all before today (WHAT? I KNOW. I’M TEXTBOOK.) but there’s a little bit so I’m going to make sure it’s not here when I’m home from work tonight. I’m going to log what I’m eating today. I don’t do that every day, but on days I’m worried (Rest Days on my training schedule tend to have me over-eating) that I’m not balancing the fuel right in my body, I log my food. So today? I’ll log it so I can see how I’m fueling and say, “Good job on protein today, Kim.” I can see specifically how I’m eating and really make sure I’m asking myself if I’m taking care of my body and my mind with my choices.

Finally? I plan. Part of the bad holidays was having a weird schedule where I couldn’t really plan like I normally do. So today? I’m packing my typical breakfast and lunch and snacks so I can map out my day accordingly so I’m making it easy to take care of myself, not giving myself as many opportunities to make decisions based on anxiety over fuel.

Once I have a good day after a few bad ones, I’m re-fueled again and avoiding the spiral is easier. My mind needs good food as much as my body does and I can handle stress and depression better when everything is in balance. The spiral is self-destructive because when I cope with that misbalance by eating terrible, it makes it that much worse. Especially where sugar comes into play. I’m that rat in the lab who is acting crazier than the cocaine rats and the only addiction I have is sugar. When I get too much of it, it messes with my emotions and my anxiety which – of course – MAKES ME WANT MORE SUGAR.

So I really have to remind myself of that today.

It’s like the first day of detox when I’m having to get several bad days of eating out of my system. All I want all day is more sugar, but tomorrow? Tomorrow will be better once most of it’s out of my system.

Here’s to a day of smiling through the rain and remember to love myself by giving my mind and my body the food it needs and deserves. I owe my body that much, it’s been kicking quite a bit of ass lately.