Wednesday, October 29, 2008

#20 - Fighting "Mood Food"

The other day I was driving home from an appointment and along the way I started thinking that I wanted something to eat. Now, you all know me well enough to understand that when I'm driving AND thinking of something to eat, it's usually not because I'm hungry. To be honest, I've been in a little funk lately. This funk usually happens at the change of season and it doesn't matter if its a hot season turning to cold or a cold season turning to hot. Something just happens and for a few days I feel in the doldrums. Thankfully, as quickly as this feeling comes upon me, just as quickly does it leave.

Speeding along the highway, I try to fight the feeling of wanting "mood food". To this end, I turn my thoughts to my woman's group meeting earlier in the week. For this meeting, I had asked a local yoga instructor interested in healthy eating and healthy emotions around food to be our guest speaker.

During our meeting she taught us, among many lessons, how to try to stay with the moment. She told us not to give in right away, to stay with the feeling and to try to figure out what was driving [no pun intended] us to eat. So, being in my seasonal transition funk, I explored those ideas. I asked myself a number of questions like, what was it that I was feeling and was there something I did, or heard, or didn't do nor didn't hear that set me off. I dug deep, but I couldn't put a name to this je ne sais quoi [french: literally meaning ‘I don't know what’, an intangible quality that adds or makes something attractive or alluring].

Meanwhile, off the exit ramp I drive and I start to pass WAWAs, 7-11s, Dunkin Donuts and many other potentially dangerous food establishments. I just can't seem to figure out what it is that I want to eat. All of a sudden I realize that the reason I'm having such a hard time trying to find THE food is that perhaps this feeling is not treatable with this form of medication.

-- I realized that there is no food that is going to cure what ails me. The cure comes from within.
-- I realized that this realization, in itself, was a great feeling
-- I realized that I had finally graduated from emotional eating 101 and could now move onto emotional eating 102.

I realized that what I needed to do was to grasp with my mind that which the soul desires. And that which the soul desires is peace and serenity. The rest of the drive home was just that. No thoughts of food. No desires to fill that "empty space". My soul felt free and light and that lightness filled up my empty space. As I pulled into my driveway, I realized that my seasonal funk may have just had its last day.

Monday, October 20, 2008

# 19 My Dog is a Candy Corn Addict

Every year around this time I do something terrible. I buy candy corn. I know you're thinking how terrible can that be? Well, I just don't buy candy corn, I crave it. And once I start eating it, it's very hard to stop. Sometimes, before I even know it, I've popped 10 sweet kernels into my mouth. As the 11th goes in, I begin to get the shakes and feel nauseous. It's usually when I'm feeling this way that I question my sanity [Aren't there better things to crave?]. What's amazing though is that once Halloween is over, I can pass candy corn in any venue and have absolutely no desire for it. I mean zilch. You could even offer me some and I'd very easily so no thank you.

This year, however, things started out a tiny bit differently than previous years. This year I started buying my candy drug in September. I usually wait till at least the first week in October, but for some reason [I'll guess an emotional one] I allowed myself a small bag of Brach's candy corn [the only brand I'll eat]. On the 4th day, when that last kernel was eaten, I contemplated the possibility that I had gotten them out of my system early.

NOT! About a week later I arrived home to find a package from UPS on my porch. I opened it and there inside was a small bag of candy corn. Sooooo sweet!!! Not the corn, but my 12 year old daughter. Being the understanding, wonderful and nurturing person she is, she sent me a care package. Anyway, to make a long story short, I OD'd on them the second day and had to head upstairs for a sugar-induced nap. During my afternoon siesta, my husband told my daughter to go hide the candy corn and to dole it out sparingly... and only if I begged. Hmph!! I don't know at whom I'm angrier? My daughter for buying it, my husband for hiding it or me for my lack of control over it.

Fortuitously [or not], I found the stash of candy corn. As I was sitting at my desk this afternoon answering emails and munching on my drug of choice, I dropped a few. Iggy, our adopted dog, knows that when something drops he has to wait for permission to eat it otherwise he would be eating buttons, staples, you name it. Well, you'll never believe what happened. The minute Iggy saw what had fallen, he lunged for those 3 yellow, orange and white tipped sweeties. I swear, we had a fist to paw fight over them. As I sat there staring at my dog and three lost candy corn, it came to me in a flash: Oh my G-d, Iggy's previous owners had turned him into a candy corn addict!!! I smiled... it's nice to have a junkie buddy.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Sharing the Struggle

Dear Bobbie,

I was amazed to hear about your struggles with food. You are so thin and pretty I thought the struggles you have gone thru were way in the past. It gave me hope to hear you share that food still calls you. You've shown that it's not about deprivation, but choosing the right foods in the right amounts; it's about loving yourself and finding one's way in the jungle of eating. Thanks a lot for your sharing.

Sincerely, S

Dear S -

It is a jungle out there for some of us. I've been struggling with food since my early teens although I do have some vague memories of sitting in a dark closet eating Halloween candy as a little kid. Somewhere I learned to use food for a myriad of reasons. I have my good days [sometimes weeks] and then I have my bad days. Thankfully, the bad ones never last too long and I'm able to grasp onto some foothold and hoist myself back onto the wagon. I truly believe that food, like drugs, cigarettes, shopping and alcohol can be an addiction.... and an easy one because food is so accessible.

The secret is, I'm scared to get fat again. I'm not good company when my clothing gets tight, my eating is out of control and I'm feeling "fat". This is why I continue after 8 years to go to Trevose Behavior Modification. I don't want to ever see those 25 pounds again. I may not always do the program, but when I'm having problems, it's the program that I run back to. I know that losing weight isn't just about dieting, there are also a lot of emotions attached to it. When people open up about personal food issues, it allows others to see themselves as not alone or different. It also lets us see that we can have issues, but still look good and maintain a "normal" weight.

Keep up the good work. Stay focused. Be strong, and take good care of you. Thanks for writing and sharing.