Number one: The diet mentality that I thought I’d kicked to the curb swoops in for a bitch slap… “You ruined it! All the hard work we put in! Knock it off!”
Number two: My body literally feels like crap. My joints are achy, my face is swollen, my pores feel clogged. I just feel… off.
Number three: I’m not very nice… probably because of numbers one and two.
What I eat, how much I eat, and when I eat play a HUGE role in how I feel mentally, how I feel physically, and how I act (and react) toward others and myself.
It took me years to connect these dots. But now, I am 100% convinced that these three things are tangled up together. Foods affect my moods and moods affect my ‘tudes (and my body).
Feeding My Emotions
When I was bingeing multiple times every single day, I didn’t want to know how foods were really making me feel. My main goal was the opposite – I wanted to feel as little as possible. I wanted to be numb.
I only cared to know one thing about the foods I was eating: how long is this going to last? When will I need more?
Related Article: Emotional Eating: Flowers brighten mood
I wasn’t concerned if a food was harmful to my body in such large quantities, or if my body really didn’t like a particular food group. I needed more. More was better, quantity always too precedent over quality.
After bingeing or emotionally overeating, I used to think that I only felt crappy because of the guilt.
I had broken the rules and acted badly. I messed up yet again. I had spent money I didn’t have on food I didn’t even want… but felt I needed.
I also usually felt physically sick. Sometimes, I even threw up because my body just couldn’t hold everything I’d just forced down in such a short period of time. As I was throwing up, I swore I’d never binge again. But as soon as I was done, I needed to eat immediately. Throwing up meant more emotions, but it also meant that there was (now) room for more food. (Phew, that was hard to type!)
Even though bingeing isn’t a part of my life right now, emotionally overeating still is. But instead of punishing myself, I’ve been trying to learn from these difficult moments by tuning in and paying attention to how I feel before, during, and after eating certain ways, certain amounts, and certain things.
What I’ve learned along the way
(these are unique-to-me and based on my observations, not science!)
- Too much sugar makes me irritable and cranky (this doesn’t mean I don’t get down with sweets… we just don’t go out on five dates a day anymore)
- Eating too late at night makes me feel groggy in the morning (everyone has different thoughts on this one, but for me it holds true! I swear that my dreams are tied to my eating habits, also. I find that I sleep more soundly, wake up less frequently, and have fewer nightmares when I stop eating a little earlier in the evening.)
- Overeating certain heavy foods makes me feel tired (a big breakfast, contrary to everything I’ve ever read, doesn’t work so well for me)
- Eggs, in some forms, make my ears itch (Allergy? Intolerance? I’m just weird?)
- Cheese might make my nose stuffy… (this one is still up for debate)
I’ve also learned a lot about myself by eating foods in simpler ways sometimes. I wanted to know if I was intolerant to some things, but the idea of doing an elimination diet to find out – was NOT something my bingeing brain was going to allow.
So, when I’m able, I try to eat one food at a time to see how it makes me feel – in every which way. This isn’t a diet. I can have whatever I want. This is a strategy to find answers for myself so that I can feel my best: mind, body, and attitude.
I used to feel proud of myself over the thought that I might have lost a pound or two. But that bliss never lasted more than a second before the feeling of “I have to do better” set in.
Related Article: Is Sugar Making You Hungrier?
Nowadays, I get a little jolt of excitement purely by giving my body what it needs to function at full capacity. That feeling can last hours, days, weeks, or more – and it has nothing to do with how much I weigh. (How do I know that for sure? I don’t weigh myself!) The positive reinforcement is that I FEEL good. I can go for long walks, carry a heavy load of laundry down two flights by myself, and get a decent nightmare-free night’s sleep.
As I keep moving along on this journey (forward, backward, left and right), I really am starting to believe that feeling good ranks higher than looking “good”. That doesn’t mean I’m going to “let myself go”. I’ve just learned to let some of the pressure go, which makes it that much easier to breathe and focus on what I’m really striving for.
When was the last time you took a deep breath?
Until next time,
If this post resonated with you, please feel welcomed to share in the comments section below. Your words are safe here.
P.S. Please remember, if you do binge or emotionally overeat, you have NOT failed. The worst thing you can do is punish yourself further. The best thing you can do is be there for yourself by offering yourself some compassion during these fragile moments. Try to forgive yourself.
Important NOTE: If you are bingeing or vomiting, like I described above, please contact a professional for help. Green Mountain at Fox Run is opening an Outpatient Treatment Center for Binge and Emotional Eating on November 2, 2015. You can call 802-228-8885 to set up a consult with one of their amazing professionals. Help is just a phone call away.