Tag Archives: anxiety

You Can’t Spell Beast Without E-A-T

12 Mar

During my brief stint as a Religion teacher at Paterson Catholic Regional High School, when I got angry and/or crazy my kids would say “You beastin’ Ms. G.” Well, I was beastin’ this weekend.

I’ve been going through a lot the past few months: I’m out of work and looking for a job, trying to lose weight, and dealing with some difficult and often perplexing relationships. I’ve been trying to sort things out – figure out which issues are related (likely all of them) and which are controllable. I’ve started to connect the dots between my new birth control prescription (changed to be more affordable) and my lethargy, massive case of dry eye, and possibly how hard it has been to lose weight. I’ve also realized that not having the simple activity of going to work, walking around the office, and generally expending energy 8 hours has made an impact on my weight…oh, that and getting older.

At any rate, this weekend The Beast made an appearance and wreaked havoc. It’s “That Time of The Month”, or Shark Week as I like to call it, and my hormones are running wild. Starting Friday all I wanted to do was eat. This had nothing to do with hunger, nor was there a specific craving I was attempting to satisfy – I just couldn’t stop eating.

The truth is that over the past several weeks I’ve been relatively uninterested in food. That’s not to say I wasn’t hungry or that I didn’t eat, it’s just that nothing was sounding particularly appealing. I’m a big fan of Geneen Roth’s suggestion that you should ask yourself what you WANT to eat, give yourself time to consider, and then eat that – even if it means a run to the store – as a way to prevent yourself from grazing and tasting and nibbling to find the satisfaction you’re looking for. It was working really well for me until the day that I asked myself what I wanted to eat and there was no answer. I pressed myself asking “If you could eat ANYTHING at all, regardless of fat, calories, or Weight Watchers points, what would you want?” There was still no answer.

For weeks now, I’ve been unsatisfied because I can’t think of anything I want. When I’ve defaulted to my usual treats and cravings – like pizza – nothing has tasted as good as I hoped it would. So here I was, alone all weekend , all issues present and accounted for, waiting to hear about a job I interviewed for on Tuesday and knowing that I wouldn’t until at least Monday, and full of rampaging hormones. I tore through my kitchen like a Tasmanian Devil. I ate everything but the Cascade dishwasher tablets. Thank goodness I hadn’t been grocery shopping recently.

While I was on this tear I knew I wasn’t hungry but I couldn’t stop – I was bingeing but it wasn’t making me feel any better and I was berating myself the entire time.

It finally stopped when I got an unexpected call from a friend from New York who happened to be in the area and wanted to meet for coffee. I have a lot of AMAZING and supportive friends, but she was just the person I needed at that moment. Not only has this friend lost a tremendous amount of weight over the past year, but she understands what it’s like to be CONSTANTLY working at it. She is calm and understanding and chock-full of actual useful suggestions. She let me dump all my issues and worries onto the Starbucks table between us and helped me sort through them. I needed someone to hear me out, get where I was coming from, and not dismiss any of my feelings or challenges and magically she appeared.

I’m still tired and stressed. I’m still awash in hormones. I’m still not particularly interested in food. None of it is GONE, but I’m calmer and more in control.  The lesson I learned from this is that my binges are trying to tell me there’s something I need that I’m not getting and it rarely has to do with food. What I learned this weekend is that my friends are like a baseball team and each player has specific strengths and purposes. I’d never ask Derek Jeter to pitch, so why was I asking friends who don’t have the skills or experience with my issues to handle them and give me an MVP performance? I need the right man for the job.

For now The Beast is being held at bay but I know I’ll see it again; at least now I know what it takes to put it back in the cage.

Emotional Eating Poster Child

22 Sep

Ah, good intentions!

From my last post you can probably tell I’m going through a slightly…turbulent time. While it’s true that I’m focusing a lot of energy on keeping positive, there have been some situations that have had the same effect on me that kryptonite has on Superman…that is, if Superman reacted to it by putting on sweats and eating macaroni and cheese….in bulk.

The job situation, despite my best efforts and intrinsic charm, has not resolved itself.  While I have a phenomenal support system, the people who can’t see beyond their own noses are taking center stage and pushing every hot button I have. Yesterday the combination of some bad news and a migraine sent me into a tailspin that drove me out of the office at lunchtime and straight to the grocery store. I filled my basket with every comfort food I could think of and then drove home to hole up for the rest of the day.

There was carnage my friends. There was salt and fat and carbs. There were cookies. It ended with a faceplant/nap on my couch that lasted til about 5pm, followed by a fog that didn’t want to lift.  If I ever had a single question in my mind about the connection between my emotions and my eating it exists no longer.  The hardest thing to reconcile, especially as I climbed on the scale this morning to welcome back 4.5 lbs, is that all this “comfort” is doing nothing but hurting me.

I felt so disgusted with myself today that I didn’t want to eat anything but last night’s overindulgence kicked my metabolism into high gear. My stomach was like something out of Little Shop of Horrors; growling “Feed me Lisa! Feed me!” I fed it a turkey sandwich that made me simultaneously overfull and sleepy.

The irony of all this is that I KNOW not to do it. I KNOW how I need to eat to be healthy and knock off the pounds. I SHOULD be eating a nutritious breakfast to keep the hunger and cravings at bay. I SHOULD be eating vegetables and moderating carbs….but I’m worn out and my logical self and willpower have decided to sound the retreat and lay low until I get my shit together.

So I obviously have to get my shit together…and fast…before that Chris guy from Extreme Makeover: Weight Loss Edition starts ringing my doorbell and asking me to weigh in on the loading dock. Which reminds me, how IS it exactly that these people are too heavy to weigh in on a regular scale and then three months later can get on a scale that this dude carries in his Jansport backpack?  But I digress…

I know they say “We plan. God laughs.” but I need a plan. First, I need to REST this weekend. That may mean shutting off the phone and watching too many episodes of Dance Moms and Toddlers and Tiaras. Next, I need to get back to giving my body actual FUEL. If I eat right I have more energy and I won’t feel like couch potato-ing my way through the next couple weeks or months.  Starting Monday, October 3 daily gym visits are back on the schedule. Yes, I’m delaying the gym a little, but I find from my own experience that if I give myself a week to re-adjust to a healthy diet and drop a few preliminary pounds I’m uber-motivated to get into the gym.

I need to re-establish some control and there’s a limit to the things I CAN control. Maybe while I’m at it I can try to convince Fitness, Shape, or Self that they need a chubby on staff. Think about it, they could reach a whole new audience…road test workouts on someone who is in…less than optimal physical condition. They could have “real life” editorial input (a.k.a. “No, I would NEVER eat lawn clippings for lunch no matter how much Minka Kelly raves about the results.”)  There! I have a new pet project….one that keeps me from eating a pint of ice cream while watching The Biggest Loser.

Boys and girls, there’s always going to be a time when things suck and you just-don’t-wanna…those are the times when we have to summon our inner parental voice that says “Do it anyway. It’s good for you. Ok, do it because I said so.”

Stop, Drop, and Roll

31 May

Holiday weekends are tough for everyone. We have more time on our hands, less control over the food available, nice cold beer, and parties and barbecues seem more amusing options than exercise.  Since I’m talking the talk with you I had to walk the walk this weekend.

I wrote Friday about being prepared so I kept my scout uniform on for the weekend.  I got through the dinner that night without a problem, in part due to the fact that my hostess had read my blog and is totally supportive of my effort. She offered me fixins to make myself a nice, big salad which made it SO much easier to manage my portion control where the pasta was concerned. There was fresh fruit and great conversation and I came out of it feeling like I’d done a good job.

You know that old saw “Idle hands are the devil’s workshop”?  Um, yeah. Welcome to my life. I never eat as much as when I have time on my hands. Although I had a number of things to do, I also had more time than usual with no work and an extra day of weekend.  So I started talking to myself. Ok, this isn’t something new for me…at work I frequently walk in circles in the parking lot, talking to myself out loud trying to figure out the right phrasing for a marketing piece, I mutter to myself at my desk about what a douchenozzle someone is – basically I’m a step away from being that guy who sits on a bench on Bloomfield Ave. in Montclair yells at random people in cars (sometimes rather graphically).

So I decided to use my crazy for good rather than evil.  When the temperature went well over 80 and exercise was the last thing on my mind I told myself that I was allowed to watch old episodes of The Biggest Loser as long as I drank water the whole time and that as soon as the sun set I would go walk in the park.  Good deal. Done.  Better yet, that walk energized me and when I got home I spent an hour doing activities from The Biggest Loser Challenge on my Wii (more on that in an upcoming post).

I talked myself into exercise every day this weekend by making deals (as long as I kept them) and thinking things like “I feel like running” and “walking outside will feel good.” I know I can’t really run but every lap I did in the park ended with a short sprint to satisfy the urge.  It was good. I felt good….until…

I GOT ON THE SCALE.  I was 4 lbs. heavier. WTF?!?  I panicked. I freaked. I raged. Then I calmed down and thought about it. What went wrong? I exercised every day. I moderated my portions. I slept.  Then it occurred to me that a TON of water had been going into my system but very little had been coming out. It was hot, I refused to turn on my air conditioning and I was drinking a lot of water to keep cool and hydrated. Bottom line, my body needed that water but it wanted to hold on to it. Sometimes my body really pisses me off.  I really had to fight the impulse to say “Fuck it all.  I’m doing everything I can and I’m gaining weight.” It’s what I’ve done in the past and, frankly, it hasn’t worked out that well for me…although every store whose name ends in “Woman” sends me Christmas cards thanking me for giving up on “that ill-advised diet and exercise thing.”

Logic my friends. Cool, calm logic kept me from eating a pint of Ben & Jerry’s.  Ok, logic and talking to myself.  I had to say OUT LOUD “You are retaining water because it’s hot and because all those muscles you are using need water. Your body will keep it as long as it needs it and then it will release it. This is not a permanent gain. Oh, and by the way, put the AC in the window you dumbass. You make enough money to pay the electric bill.”  Like an infant, we have to learn to self-comfort, but we also have to look in the mirror and ask ourselves if we’re having a self-sabotaging temper tantrum.  It made me think about when we were kids and fire safety education taught us “Stop, drop and roll.”  I think that’s what we have to do when we’re having a diet or fitness related freakout – stop in our tracks, drop our anxiety and frustration level, and just roll with it.

Coming soon: my first trainer post!  Do you have questions you’d like answered?  Leave them in the comments and I’ll grill a certified trainer for you.

Becoming a Diet Boy Scout

27 May

I’m home from work a little early after a Hannibal Lecter-like quid pro quo from my boss so I figured I’d toss off a quick post.  I’m heading to dinner at a dear friend’s house tonight and am trying to curb my anxiety about being around all her delicious food AND not having enough time to exercise before I go.

My natural tendency is to say that one meal never killed anyone and that I’d make up for it with tomorrow’s workout but that kind of procrastination is what has made me and Lane Bryant BFFs.  As I drove home from work I reflected on the cocktail  party I survived on Wednesday night.  I knew there would be tempting little hors d’oevres and plenty of booze (it was an alum event for my swanky private high school) and I knew my anxiety level was going to shoot through the roof. During the event the school’s Headmaster said that these events are great for discovering that the guy you hated in high school really wasn’t such a jerk.  I beg to differ.  That guy, he’s an incredible douchebag proving only that I was an excellent judge of character at the tender age of 14.  Despite knowing that the arrogant gassbags in the room are their own worst enemies and not mine I still have a tendency to drink like it’s my job to quell the feelings of anxiety that creep up in these situations.  At the last party my date nearly had to use a fireman’s carry to get me to the car.

I decided resolutely that this time would be different. I had a plan. First thing in the morning I sat down and planned my consumables for the day starting with the idea that I would allow myself 2 glasses of white wine at the party. I’ll interject here that Weight Watchers Online is AWESOME for these endeavors.  I entered the wine in my eating plan for the day and set about planning an eating schedule and menu that would allow me to successfully avoid eating anything at the party and keep me from going over my allotment for the day.  I won’t bore you with every morsel that passed these disturbingly small and thin lips obviously inherited from my grandfather Harry whose natural expression was a tight-lipped grimace.  What I will tell you is that I came home from work and ate a peanut butter and jelly sandwich on an Arnold Sandwich thin and a handful of SnapPea Crisps and drank 2 glasses of water.

I went to the party, sweated like a whore in church (it was over 80 degrees and not air conditioned) but I didn’t eat.  I was prepared, I wasn’t hungry and was determined not to eat or drink my anxiety.  I had two tiny cocktails and called it a night. The asshat from high school was there and was standing shoulder to shoulder with me for quite some time without so much as breathing on me.  A lovely group of beautiful and kind younger women I recognized took me into their circle, made me feel less psychotic and complimented me on how brave I was to attend alone….I assume they mean fat, unmarried and childless but it was lovely of them anyway.  I said no to every pierogie, slider and tuna tartar that came my way.  I considered it a win.

I guess what I’m suggesting you take from this is: Be Prepared.  Whether it’s planning for an eating or drinking challenge or just sticking a Larabar in your purse (or murse if you’ve got a pair) in case things go awry and you’re faced with nothing but bad food choices.  So I’m going to go hose myself off and admire the somewhat human-colored hue I’ve obtained from being outside for an hour and then eat a banana so I’m prepared to eat just enough. Then tomorrow I will exercise but not because I have anything to make up for.

%d bloggers like this: