Jacki’s back with a few good questions. And answers to boot.
To eat or sleep? …That was the question.
I had been looking forward to that night all week!
It’s not until I woke up past midnight that I realized…
I had fallen asleep on date night. (Oh the shame, the horror!)
And it wasn’t the first girlfriend faux pas I’ve had of late… (We’re in the middle of moving. I’m a ball of high anxiety!)
I sprang up from my deep sleep, looked at the clock, and immediately started to panic. I wanted so badly to stay awake and enjoy our evening together as planned.
Then I woke up and for a midnight snack.
I stood up, tried to shake off the exhaustion, walked into the kitchen, grabbed a salty, a sweet, and an apple and crawled back onto my bed – willing the food in front of me to give me a second wind.
As I started to eat my midnight snack, I realized I wasn’t tasting anything. I was still half asleep and I was literally use food as a means to stay awake.
And that’s when I did something awesome.
I didn’t get mad at myself and I didn’t use my old phrase as a crutch, “Well, I’ve already messed up –might as well finish off the night!”
Instead, I put away the apple, wrapped up my treats, turned to my boyfriend and said, “I’m not going to keep eating just to stay awake. I love you, but I have to go to sleep now.”
In the past, I’ve successfully talked myself down from boredom eating, “stay awake!” eating, and emotional eating. I’ve evaluated my emotions, my hunger cues, and my body and I’ve decided time and time again that food wasn’t the answer to the question I was asking myself.
But before this moment, I can’t ever recall a time where I’ve been able to stop overeating once I started.
Dealing with Eating Triggers
Even though it wasn’t emotional at first, the process of eating for any reason other than hunger can sometimes trigger me. Eating has meant so many things to my taste buds, my body, and my mind over the years. So, sometimes when I start to eat when I’m not hungry, I remember what the act of eating used to mean to me, and it can be hard to decline an invitation to binge.
Read This Related Article:
Mindful Eating Series: Is This Real Stomach Hunger?
But even in my groggy state, I knew that what I was doing wasn’t a good choice for my body. I reasoned that even if I could stay awake for another 30 minutes by chewing my way through a quarter of a movie, I wasn’t going to have time to enjoy or digest the copious amounts of food I intended on shoveling into my pie hole.
So I put the food away.
Was I About To Binge?
The big question: Was I about to binge?
Now, this wasn’t reminiscent of a binge for me (everyone’s binging experiences are different). I wasn’t eating fast, I wasn’t eating not to feel, I wasn’t eating in secret, I wasn’t feeling out of control, and I wasn’t feeling anxious or guilty. (Ok, I did feel guilty about zonking out on date night, but that was un-food-related).
Read This Related Article:
Did I Just Binge or Overeat?
When I looked down at my snacks, the only thing I felt was confusion. Once I became aware enough to know that I wasn’t hungry and that my body wasn’t asking for any more food, I asked myself, “Why am still eating?”
And, “to stay awake” wasn’t an answer I was ready to accept. So, I told myself:
- It’s okay to be tired
- You’re not ruining anything
- He loves you and he understands
- You can do this. You go girl!
And I even managed to say the one thing I never let myself believe:
- This food will still be here tomorrow… when you’re actually able to enjoy it!
Putting Yourself First
As hard as it can be to place yourself higher up on the ladder than the people you love, we just have to do it sometimes. Even though, during this particular instance, I continued to squander date night – I knew what I needed. And what I needed was not to eat to keep myself awake.
So I put myself first – and perhaps a less loving partner would have judged me for this, but this is where having a strong support system comes into play.
The next day I raved about my milestone – about being about to stop my efforts toward gaining that second wind… before it turned into a full blown hurricane. As I went on and on about my accomplishment, my partner smiled brightly – knowing what that moment meant to me.
Your Body Knows Best
Our bodies give us cues all the time – it’s up to us to tune in, turn up the volume, and listen to the P.S.A. (Personal Service Announcement).
I’ve used food to try and “fix” nearly every problem imaginable – sadness, self-hatred, exhaustion, frustration, loneliness, boredom, etc. You name it – I’ve tried to send the food troops in to fight the battle for me. But it never worked. I never won. And I always felt worse post-war.
It’s so simple to say and so difficult to do, but if we give our bodies what they’re actually asking for – our minds just might find comfort knowing that we are physically getting just what we need… not more of what we don’t.
Until Next Time,