A Long Time Coming

I’ve sat down to write this post a few times, and every time I’ve just stared at the screen blankly.  No words.  Or rather, I’ve been unable to find them.

I’ve hit an emotional wall.
And I’ve done nothing but eat my feelings for the last couple of weeks.

I’ve been sick – first a stomach bug, then a cold which has continued as a cough that just won’t quit.

Work’s been a massive time-suck as we hit our busy period.  And I (perhaps irrationally) feel bullied into taking it all on my shoulders.

Between these two, I’ve struggled to make time for anything else – except food.

Bad food.
Terrible food.

We’re talking two chocolate based a day kind of bad.  To make it worse, I’ve been hiding it.

I know my eating habits are a problem because I’m ashamed to show them to anyone else.

I am undoing all of my hard work.

Knowing that this is destructive, damaging behaviour only serves to make me feel worse.  And – in a vicious cycle that so many of us are familiar with – I eat to make myself feel better.

I’m spiralling downwards and I don’t know how to pull the brakes.

Logically, I know what I want to achieve.  That I want to be healthy.  That I need to eat well.  And that exercising, and eating well, will actually help me feel better.

But… in practice… I just don’t know how to get there.

Have you been here, too?  
What did you do to help yourself?

26 thoughts on “A Long Time Coming

  1. I have been there many many times and first thing I have learned to be nice to myself, to be just be the loving caring parent/friend that comes sit with me in the couche, take me into their arms and tell me it is okay, it is okay, I am safe, I will get over this and I can let go.
    Second thing is to let go. And this opens the door to self forgiveness.
    When the emotional burden is eased there is an option of having a look at what happened and try to see if it is possible to alter my response to it. Then I open myself t solutions and they usually come : someone talks to me about something, I see something on the TV or the internet or in a book etc. There are solutions. It is ok to be overwhelmed,it is ok to eat chocolate, you have no shame to have, you are a glorious human and nobody has ever been better at being you than you ! You are doing beautifully well. there is no falling off the wagon because life is not a wagon. It is all ok.
    Hope this helps ! Fruity hugs.

  2. Don’t be so hard on yourself. So, you’ve had a hard time and you have done things you didn’t like ( ie comfort eating). You have spotted that you are doing it ( sometimes we don’t, or we don’t acknowledge it), that’s step one. Step two is deciding whether to say ‘ well that’s the way it is just now, I’ll sort it later,’, or saying ‘ I don’t want to do this I’m going to sort it now before I get in too deep’. Whatever you choose, it’s up to you, but you can do it. Just don’t beat yourself up, it’s wasted time and energy. Two steps forwards, one step back. It’s the way things go. Time to step forwards now. Julie oxo

    • Logically, I know you’re right. But, I’ve hit a mental wall at the second step. I guess that’s a default decision in itself?

      Going to try and make a conscious decision not to beat myself up while I’m trying to climb the wall…

  3. I have been there too and kind of am right now. I’m not hiding my eating though, it’s out in the open and well no one notices because we live in a world of overeaters. You are such a lovely person and if I could reach through the internet I would give you a big hug and say it’s ok. You need comfort right now if you’re eating for comfort. There are other ways to find comfort besides eating, but you just haven’t found them yet that will work for you. When I notice I’m eating for comfort, I double up my efforts to find other ways to get that comfort. You can start there, make a list of things you enjoy doing and that feel good or rejuvenate you. Some people rely on meditation, some running, some hobbies. Everyone’s different. Keep searching for ways to comfort yourself without food and you will find what works for you. hugs!!

    • Thank you – crowding out the bad with the positive is a great idea. I’ll be giving it a go for sure.

      I hope doubling up on your other sources of comfort helps you get through this time, too. Hugs!

  4. First of all, thank you for sharing. The internet can be a scary place at times and you fear ridicule and hate. But on this little part of the world wide web, you are safe. We’re here to support you.
    Have I been there? Oh most certainly.
    What have I done? Accept that I’ve had a shitty week, weekend, day or just morning. Eat one thing that’s healthy. Even if it’s an apple. You will be surprised how much better that one small gesture can be. Then I suggest going for a walk. Put the headphones in and just walk it out. Run if you want. By the time you come home, you will be in a better mind frame to take on “the world”. And even if this is all you can do every day. Still eat crap, but do that one apple and walk, you will find the strength to get back on it….when you are ready.

  5. I have been feeling the exact same recently. Not feeling well, busy and overwhelmed at work and I just let things crumble. When i get very stressed like this I find it helpful to tell myself I am taking a night/weekend “off”. Not from work, but from all of the other many commitments (gym, exercise routine or any other plans) to reset and regroup. To get an early night, do something relaxing, get some good sleep, (have a good cry if necessary), be nice to your self for the night/weekend. Do some pampering, non food indulgences. By giving myself the time “off” and “permission” to rest I don’t feel like I “failed” at going to the gym/run etc etc and therefore put a bit of a halt to the spiral of guilty feelings. By taking a night/weekend out to be nice to yourself you can just come up for air, realise any “falling of the wagon” is so completely part of life and such a small thing in the scale of everything. We put so so much pressure on ourselves to be doing it all, and doing it all perfectly, when we’re only one person. The internet, blogs and having a space to share can help but certain sites etc can also add to the feeling that someone out there is doing it better when this just isn’t the case. We are all people, we all make mistakes. We all need a break from time to time. If it’s a busy time for work then maybe ease up on other areas for a little while, even just mentally. be kind to yourself, I find your blog so inspiring and the journey you’ve been on the last year or so is incredible but it’s important not to put yourself under too much pressure. A healthy life is for happiness. Don’t forget about your own happiness first and foremost.

    • You’re quite right – happiness is the end goal. Everything else is a means of getting there. I really do have to keep that in mind and ‘see the forrest, not the trees’

  6. 1.) There’s a difference between eating when you’re hungry and eating when stressed. If Chinese is what you crave, then do it. If you know you ate not too long ago, drink water. Also, low-calorie snacks are a great investment: popcorn (i like kettle flavor), boiled eggs, chopped up veggies w/ hummus
    2.) Don’t beat yourself up.
    3.) Make smart choices to go with the “guilt-ridden ones: A.) Drink Water B. Include Steamed or fresh vegetables (before, after, or during)
    4.) Don’t forget your spiritual side needs feeding too: yoga, meditation, affirmations
    5.) Your lifestyle will have history so there will be ups and downs.
    6.) “I’m grateful for” concerned blog readers, my mom, my job, my career, my ability to get out of the house on my own, etc.

    You got this!!!!
    Vonnie xoxoxo

  7. Big hugs! Take a minute. Take a breath. Be kind to yourself. And do whatever you have to do to live in this moment. Stop every time food enters your space and be present and thankful. I’m right there with you — it’s been a rough time with food and with being kind and no amount of “fighting” has helped, but the past two weeks I’ve started these basic things and giving myself gifts and rewards that aren’t food based (grace and gentle activity) and slowly my headspace has started to shift. Big, big hugs. Kindness and grace to you always!

    • Thank you – hugs always help! Being present is such a big step – but so, so important. I hope things get easier for you, too – it sounds like you’re on to a good thing 🙂

  8. I agree with Tania about having at least an apple. That small positive action can give you the push in the right direction. Give you a feeling of accomplishment and beating your negative thoughts. I’ve been where you are, it’s not fun and it’s hard to break the cycle. However, don’t let a small moment in time outweight future moments. You’ve made progress, don’t let your weak moments be more important than all the good you’ve done. Accept what you’ve done and move forward. It’s hard, but not impossible. I treat each day as a do-over, nothing is permanent unless you make the choice to do so. Baby steps. Good luck, you can do it!!

  9. I’ve been there many times and am back there again. I was doing good for about 6 weeks and then totally derailed over the weekend, and then again today and too know I should put the brakes on but it’s hard. I too know I want/need to be healthy and yet I choose not to do those things on a consistent basis. I know eating right and exercising works, I proved it last year! You’ll get back to where you need to be. I’m not sure what makes me pull myself out of it but I do come back around. It doesn’t help I live alone and am the only person responsible for my food choices. Part of me wants to lose the rest of the weight and part doesn’t. I’m more comfortable now than when I was 100….80 pounds ago…but am scared to keep going. I’ve known too many people who lost a shit ton of weight and then the changed and not for the better. I don’t want that to happen to me. I’m pulling for you and know how you feel. ((HUGS))

    • You know exactly where you want to be, and that it’s a journey to get there. You WILL get there. All the comments on this post – including yours – have told me the same thing. A bump in the road doesn’t throw the whole journey – there might just be some delays while you re-attach a wheel.

  10. I read. A lot. I read books about emotional eating, hiding from emotions, long ago traumas, and so on. I read books by other people that mirrored my own destructive behaviours so a) I didn’t feel alone, that there were other people out there going through the same thing, and b) I delved into my mind, and started to face the emotions; anger, resentment, worthlessness, sadness, shame, guilt, embarrassment.

    Next, I started writing. It gave me a safe place to face what was happening, and it helped me reach out to others that were going through the same thing I am.

    Then I started talking to other people. Sure, just my wife and my dad, but those are other people, too! Then I joined a support group. It’s really helped.

    I also stopped believing that my happiness was behind a perfectly manicured diet and robust treadmill. These are tools to help me, but it’s not just about my physical. It’s about the emotional and spiritual pain. That was probably the hardest part, realizing that there was no quick fix, that I just needed to start loving myself.

    We’re here for you!

      • Thanks :), some days the mindfulness is there. Some days not lol.

        A great website to start is http://healthygirl.org. It’s not what you’d think, it’s just communications from girls that have various disordered eating.

        After seeing that website, I read “Food: The Good Girl’s Drug.” It really spoke to my need for control and perfection. I understand a lot more about why I do what I do because the mini journal exercises challenge my way of thinking.

        There are some other ebooks, but I found they cater more to very specific catalysts, such as “An Unspeakable Act,” which is about childhood sexual abuse.

        Last, I would be disappointing my dad if I didn’t mention “Healing Your Inner Child.”

        Everything you read will lead you to another thing to read. I’m still educating myself, but it really had been the difference some days between eating mindlessly and mindfully. Don’t get me wrong, I still have my moments every day, except there is less shame now, and I don’t hide it, I’ve confided in some trustworthy people that support me.

        I also started going to OA meetings, it’s really helped me by connecting me to people that not only get it, but truly want to see me healthy and happy, whereas family and friends seem to struggle to understand.

        Sorry for the long response! I hope it’s helpful :).

  11. It happens to us all at times. Recognising and admitting are the first steps towards climbing back on the wagon. You’re certainly not alone and you shouldn’t beat yourself up about it. We are human, we fall and then we get back up and start over again 🙂

    • Thanks 🙂 Since writing, publishing and re-reading this post I do feel a lot lighter – like actually, I haven’t done ‘damage’, I’ve just lived a little more.

  12. YES. Soooo been there. That has been a struggle for me for a while now where it’s off and on – A couple weeks like what you’re experiencing, a few months of being good, then another couple weeks of the bad stuff. It’s a huge challenge. Sometimes when you get into a “mode” it’s hard to get out. For me I can get out if I make a structured plan and journal about it. I like to give myself a couple days of buffer time to get ready for getting things back to normal and weigh in to see where I’m at on the first day back on plan. But I’m still working out these issues.

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