Gravy Endorphins is going to be the name of my memoir.
PREFACE: I just finished typing this entry and it is ALL OVER THE PLACE, Y’ALL. Make sure you’re wearing your seatbelts.
My friend introduced me to this method that started in self-improvement circles – Wish-Outcome-Obstacle-Plan. It turns out some have taken it and replaced “Wish” with “Goal” which I like a lot (except it makes me think of Gwenyth Paltrow which I do NOT like) and we were discussing it in terms of food/health. You know, how you could apply it to small Goals, “I’m going to not drink beer today!” and think of the Outcome (how it would make you feel if you reached the goal) and then think of the Obstacles and make a Plan to move around them.
I’ve been thinking about W-O-O-P and G-O-O-P ever since about EVERYTHING. From biggish things: How I really wanted to read 100 books this year and I got behind but I think I can still do it! To big things: How I want to try to train for a half-marathon. To the BIGGEST things: How I want to open a bookstore. But I also was thinking about it in regards to the little things, like waking up one day and making a small goal: EXERCISE. Or if I know I’ll have beer at home: DO NOT DRINK THE BEER AT HOME. You know, come up with specific small goals each day and practice this method.
Well, bring us to yesterday. I kinda had a crappy morning in that I was stressed and didn’t sleep well and didn’t run. I found myself really feeling bad that I’ve not been able to connect with people in Knoxville as much as I had hoped. Life here just sneaks away from me with Mom’s hair appointments and driving and weed-killer and vacuuming and groceries and…suddenly the days are gone and I’m on the road back to Huntsville again and still haven’t reached out to Knoxville people.
I think I was feeling shitty about that yesterday and just the chaos of this life split between two cities where I feel like no one is getting the FULL me and everyone is just getting shitty halves of me and I just wanted a big gross breakfast and so that’s what I got. I was eating it (hiding in my car, WHY DO I FEEL SUCH SHAME AROUND FOOD?) and I started thinking about W-O-O-P and G-O-O-P and how I could make it a goal to not binge the rest of the day just because I had a crazy 1,000 calorie breakfast. I was trying to think about how to make that desire into a small clear goal and I thought: I’ll just make my goal: No more food until a sensible lunch. Because normally if I go crazy at breakfast is non-stop crazy all day.
But the second I thought about actually writing down the goal? I no longer cared about G-O-O-P or W-O-O-P. It was like a part of me KNEW that if I wrote it down, it would happen…AND I DID NOT WANT IT TO HAPPEN. I wanted a day of binging. I wanted a day that would make me feel gross and mad at myself. Even though I knew in my heart that writing down the goal would really help me avoid my most typical downward spiral, I DID NOT CARE.
So the rest of the day I binged, although not to typical levels because I don’t have my trusty binge methods in Knoxville with the fast food places right down the road. My Mom’s condo is not a quick jaunt to anything. BUT STILL, I did what I could with what I had. And all day I just was shocked at my brain, “Brain! Why won’t you do the thing that you KNOW will make you feel better? You KNOW it will help you reach your gals. You KNOW it will provide a road block to self destruction. WHY DO YOU FIGHT AGAINST YOURSELF?”
I went to bed with an upset stomach (typical) and wishing that people fighting food addictions could have sponsors they could call and say, “Okay, I’m about to nuclear. What do I do?”
Of course, would I have called them? No. Just like I didn’t want to write down any goal or wish for my day. Because both of those things would have stopped the train that I evidently REALLY WANTED TO BE ON. And today? I woke up still wanting to be on the train. Because I tend to have goals I like to meet on binge days: Things I don’t normally eat that I only eat on a binge days that I didn’t eat yesterday because I’m in a strange town and I don’t know where the things are that I normally binge on. So, it’s like I woke up today STILL WANTING TO BINGE to meet the FOOD goals I didn’t meet yesterday.
So it seems the G-O-O-P method is working FINE for me in terms of BINGING GOALS. Those I’ve got set in my sights and read to aim and fire.
This is why I always end up back with reading material about addictions. Because when you are addicted to something, the addiction survives BECAUSE of the self-sabotage. That’s why my therapists have always said that this is not just about “diet” or “weightloss” for me. This is behavioral. This is not something that going Keto is going to fix. Or this is not something that food logging will fix. Alcoholics don’t give up drinking because they write it down, they give it up because they take it one day at a time and recognize that every second of every day is a challenge and the addict brain WANTS YOU TO FAIL. Because if you succeed? The addict in your brain dies. So the addict in your brain is going to fight you every step of the way.
So, I just stopped typing just now, opened my page in my bullet journal and just at least wrote down a few goals for the day. Nothing mind-blowing. Nothing unachievable. Nothing out of what I could and would normally do on a good mental health day. I just quit thinking about it and quit letting the addict in my brain push me to give up and just DID IT.
I mean, I wrote it down. I didn’t actually do anything yet. BUT I HAD TO SHUT UP THE ADDICT BRAIN FOR EVEN THAT SO WE ARE CELEBRATING EVEN THE WRITING OF THE GOALS!
The sad thing is, food on binge days actually makes me HAPPY. I mean, my stomach tends to feel bad, but those endorphins get surged when I allow my addict brain to take over. It’s all temporary, I understand that, it doesn’t lead to long-term happiness. But if you’re having a shitty day and a giant plate of sawmill gravy biscuits will make you HAPPY, then of course you’re going to do it. And for me, that means a day full of non-stop sawmill gravy biscuits. Because once I scratch that itch, it itches all day.
I had times in my life where my spending habits weren’t the greatest. I had the same endorphin surge when I would buy something new, so I would make bad financial decisions just to keep that “high” going. This is what I mean when I say, “addictive behaviors,” I show them all. It’s also why “no checking facebook” is on my goal list today. Because that is also an addictive behavior.
It’s just that all these little things give me these surges of EXCITEMENT or HAPPINESS or a feeling of NORMALCY that all shake up a shitty mental health day. And I think something I need to face is that shitty mental health days happen. It’s okay to be sad or frustrated or angry. I just need to sit with those things and not try to eat/shop/internet those feelings away. I need to be okay with feeling sad and not immediately try to find something to erase that. I need to be okay with feeling tired or angry or frustrated. I should actually spend time soaking in that so I can understand it so I can figure out how to treat it in a way that doesn’t require a temporary surge of Gravy Endorphins. Or a trip to buy new shoes. Or 2 hours scrolling through Facebook. All of those are distractions from the negative feelings I’m trying to avoid and in the end, it’s okay to just sit with those negative feelings for awhile.