I don’t normally make these kinds of confessions on this blog (especially since I just posted my blog link on Facebook, allowing all of my students easy access to it); however, I also can’t create this illusion that developing and maintaining healthy diet and exercise habits is always healthy and always easy.

The question I’m asking myself this morning is “Why?” What was I thinking?
Yesterday, I felt anxious and stressed out. There are some things that are going on at work that I’m not completely happy with and although I love where I work, what I do and the people I work with, life, as you all know, isn’t always perfect. My dissatisfaction isn’t anything life-changing or worth changing jobs, but I wasn’t tolerating it too well this week. If it were something within my control (eg: being behind at work due to not balancing my time well), it would be an easy fix. But I have no control over this thing.
Around lunch time, I noticed I had that annoying fluttery feeling in my chest and shallower breathing than normal. I employed every success strategy I know. I recognized how I was feeling. I validated it. I said out loud “Yup. It’s been a rough week. But it’s getting better.” I reminded myself of the incredibly supportive way my supervisor responded when I shared my concerns and frustrations. I decided to leave campus for my lunch break to escape for a bit. And I took deeper breaths.
I ate spot on all day yesterday:
Breakfast: scrambled egg whites with spinach, mushrooms, 1/2 oz LF cheddar and 1 oz lean ham with an Arnold’s Thin. I wasn’t hungry ’til lunch, which saved me the 150-200 calories I normally budget for a morning snack.
Lunch: 1 c. miso soup, 1 California Roll and a salad with carrot-ginger dressing from a local Chinese place. I wanted ice cream. This could have been dangerous, but knowing what was planned for my afternoon snack and dinner, I knew I could fit it into my budget. I got a kid-sized Slederita (soft serve for those of you who are unfamiliar with the chain) from Rita’s (160 calories, no fat, 34g carbs, 1g fiber, 6g protein).
Snack: WW yogurt
Gym: I didn’t fit in abs, but I did do spin and weights.
Dinner: grilled salmon, coucous, steamed broccoli and spinach
This was satisfying, included health convenience foods (take out at lunch) and it was balanced. My workout was even pretty calming, until the spin instructor’s mic died and I had to concentrate more on her instructions than the little zen biking trail atmosphere I created for myself. My day was diet-perfect until about 7:30pm.
I had to run errands at Target and pick up a couple things at the grocery store. I wasn’t hungry. There should have been no urge to cheat or eat. But I did:
  • 4oz steamed chicken dumplings and shrimp purses from the asian buffet
  • 2oz M&Ms from the bulk foods section
  • 2oz amaretti cookies from the bulk foods section
 (Fotunately, all the food had to be weighed for pricing so I have an accurate record of what I ate.) It wasn’t a ton of food, but I didn’t need it, and most of it wasn’t even healthy. I felt gross afterwards. As I reached for the little cardboard carryout container for the Asian buffet, my head said “you don’t need or want this.” Some other voice inside me pushed reason out of the way and essentially said “shut the f— up. Why don’t they have potstickers tonight?”
It was my own Voldemort versus Harry Potter internal battle. The poor kid didn’t have a chance.
And now I’ve seriously compromised my ability to meet my mini goal I had for WW tomorrow.
I’m still not sure why I did it, but here are some theories:
  • post-event stress. I’ve always had a tendency to deal well through stressful situations and then break down afterwards. This fits that pattern and explains why my eating was perfect all day yesterday and the day before.
  • the thought of change makes me nervous. I’m not completely satisfied right now, but I’m comfortable. Making change runs the risk of being uncomfortable (even if I end up more satisfied). What is really important to me?
  • I was overhungry for dinner. My snack wasn’t substantial enough to get me through weights and spin class. My hands were actually shaking as I prepared dinner–fortunately, it only took 15 minutes to cook! Although dinner was satifying and filling, I think my brain was still telling me that I had to eat.
  • I also haven’t had enough down time lately, which makes me more prone to being stressed out. I haven’t been home three out of the last four weekends due to weekend travel plans. The weekend I was home, I was on call.
 I feel better. I think. I’m not going to dwell on this now that it’s done, over and documented. In the past, this would have been a bender that lasted several days–maybe even a week. I’d be cranky, moody, sad, bummed, disappointed and generally just living under my very own, personal rain cloud. I’m thankful that I’ve evolved enough so that I can work past this within a day–oftentimes just a few hours.
I just ran another session of my Couch to 5k plan, and I’m feeling pretty good again. I have Friday through Sunday off and will spend it at home. I will say, I have gotten better about stress eating. For the most part, I’ve learned a bunch of healthier strategies over the past two years:
  • distracting myself with something that doesn’t give me the opportunity to eat (nail polish is a good one, but so is shopping at a non-food store!)
  • going to the gym
  • reading a good book or magazine
  • blogging
  • talking to someone about whatever is stressing me out
  • coming up with a game plan to alleviate the stress (of course, the stressor isn’t always in my control)
  • drinking tea or a diet beverage (This isn’t really the best strategy, but it works for me. Green tea is good, but the chemicals in diet beverages really aren’t the best. Still, it’s better than 500 calories of junk!)

What kinds of things set you off for unhealthy eating or a binge? What do you do about it?

3 responses to “Confessional

  1. I crochet or knit to keep me from doing it.

    Are you sure you ate enough food during the day? And it wasn’t a combo of stress and not eating enough. I know when I had triple workouts in college I couldn’t help but binge at night becuase I didn’t have time to eat during the day .

  2. Unfortunately, yes… I had 1620 calories (my budget is 1600-1800) by the time dinner was over. According to WW, I had 28 points (30 is my budget, but I usually reserve 2 for an evening dessert/snack).

  3. Excellent post. I’ve been in this situation and had this kind of conversation with myself too many times to count. You’ve just moved forward and tried to learn from it which, in my opinion, is the very best thing that can come from it.

    If I let myself get too hungry, bad things happen. I also tend to eat when I’m overly bored so I have to pay attention to the fact that boredom is the issue and find a non-eating type distraction.

    On the plus side– Your workouts sound awesome!! Good for you!

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