Yesterday was one of those days PERFECT for the eating of the feelings. I was exhausted after a late night and early morning and several hours out in the sun volunteering at a race. I was stressed because I tried to go into work to catch up on some stuff but technical difficulties thwarted me making me terribly unproductive. I was overwhelmed with my “To Do” list and I dropped the ball on a few things and best of all? I shattered my phone.
So last night I wanted to eat all of the birthday deserts in the world. Which we have plenty of as we had Wes’s birthday celebration here Sunday night.
BUT I DID NOT.
And it felt weird.
I wasn’t perfect, I still ate more snacks than I should have, but I didn’t have any typical Kim binge sessions and I had plenty of opportunities. I even had to make a run to Publix for one thing and typically on a “bad day” that means I buy something terrible and eat too much of it hiding in my van in the parking lot and disposing of the evidence at the park next door before I go home.
Seriously. That’s my thing. I do it often.
Instead I bought exactly what I was supposed to and came home and continued the frequent journeys to the kitchen where I would look at all the deserts, and make some preserves-on-toast instead. Or something more healthy. Like I said, I still snacked when I wasn’t hungry, but I didn’t fall down any of the binge pits I usually do on similar days.
AND IT WAS SO WEIRD.
I just felt off all night because my body/mind had no idea how to feel all of the things I was feeling: exhaustion, stress, sadness, shame – without stuffing my face. It was like my body/mind knows that the release for those feelings is to eat so much I feel sick and without the feeling sick, I just felt like a brimming pot about to boil over. All of the anxiety was bubbling at the surface and nothing was turning down the heat.
That’s why my Grief Recovery Handbook calls it a “Short Term Energy Releasing Behavior” because it changes that energy by replacing it with the energy that binging gives me. And I was unable to find any other ways to disrupt that energy last night. BUT – that’s okay – because while I didn’t figure out a way to cope with the feelings, I didn’t fall back on binging so that’s a step.
(Sidenote Book Review: The book has had a lot of wonderfully helpful things in it – things weirdly only barely related to grieving for my Dad. But the book and my therapist have been great helping me find the cause to struggling with the grief, which has less to do with my Dad dying than I thought. All of that said – the book is a hard read without my therapist there to guide me through it. I’m not sure I would recommend it wholeheartedly unless it was something you were going to work through with a professional. I doubt I would have made it past the first chapter on my own.)
It was weird though, because I thought a lot about smoking. When I used to smoke I would step outside and have a cigarette when I was brimming. Granted – that was 13 years ago – but still, last night? Somewhere in the back of my head a part of me was remembering that. It’s not like I was considering smoking, I would not do that, but there was a part of me remembering that solution to similar days. Which is probably why I was only 108 pounds when I quit smoking. It turns out weight gain was not an issue when my coping mechanism was an appetite suppressant instead of a 6-pack of donuts.
Anyway. It was just a weird night. I tried to unwind by reading a bit and eventually I calmed my brain down enough to sleep, but sleep was restless and I woke up at 2:50am. So last night definitely did not belong in the “Using Food As An Emotional Crutch” category but it also didn’t fall in the “Healthy Coping Skills” category either. But I’ll still celebrate the win. And try to figure out how to shake the super-weird feeling that pervades me when all of my body and emotions seems to think I can’t let go of negative feelings without walking away with an over-full stomach stuffed with unhealthy foods.