What is it about stressful situations that puts me into an instant downward spiral? Today I was at Target shopping, and the place was a zoo. It was hot, there were a million people, the checkout stands were a nightmare, my 5 year old was cranky, I forgot my Target debit card so I didn't even save the %5 I was counting on, the guy at the food court screwed up our order, and my son spilled Icee all over the place. Before we even got out of the store, I ingested a cheese pizza, half of my sons fries, and a Diet Coke (which I gave up a month ago). Then. as I sat there feeding the demon inside, two moms sat across from me with babies about the same age as my baby, but they had flat stomachs, and perfect bodies. Cue the self hatred. So then I felt entitled. I felt like I deserved, nay, NEEDED to cheat. I felt like the only way to calm my nerves was to eat something sinful all the while telling myself in my brain how disgusting I am.
I have always chalked up my stress response of eating to the fact that it is the only vice I have. I don't drink, I don't smoke, I don't do drugs, I don't take sleeping pills, or any pills for that matter, I don't cheat on my husband...but I do have a very, very unhealthy relationship with food( oh, and I kind of have a potty mouth...oops!). So when the stress comes, the only way i have learned to cope is by stuffing myself. In all of the years I have dieted and studied weight loss, I have never been able to master the cycle of addiction. I know without a doubt that is why I have never conquered my weight long term. I have an emotional trigger like stress then instantly I crave food, I go through the ritual, I use it to soothe me, then I hate myself, which then leads to a trigger and we are right back on the roller coaster.
I was watching the Today show a few mornings ago and they had a male guest who spoke about binge eating. He said in his past he had always focused on controlling the food. If only I can control the food, I will get a handle on this. He went on to say that until we learn to control our emotions, we will get nowhere in the battle with our weight. I am not even sure where to begin with that. I read THIS websites information about emotional triggers which suggests that emotional triggers stem from an earlier trauma. In the last few years I have really searched myself trying to figure out what if any trauma brought me to this place with food. I can't think of any one event, but there are a lot of little things that I think contributed. My mother battled with food her whole adult life. I remember her portioning my food differently than other kids. I remember once at a birthday party she cut me a much smaller piece of cake than the other kids got. I cried of course not understanding. She took me aside and told me i had to be more careful about how much cake I ate than the other kids. I remember being called fat by some boys at school. I remember struggling to find clothes that fit me even at a young age. I got put on Phen-Fen at 14. I had a very thin, popular, beautiful sister who I looked up to, but never looked like. I felt like I was always compared to her, and we couldn't have been more different...at the time anyways! But as adults, her and I have come to realize we both struggled with food. If there was some sort of trauma, I either don't remember it, or my mind has chosen to forget it for me.
There are times when the thought comes to me that I in fact have an addiction and therefore in order to overcome it, I must treat is as an addiction. Just as a recovering alcoholic must learn to cope with life without using alcohol, so must I learn to cope with life without using food. If there is anyone reading this who relates, or has a trick they use, or has learned to overcome, or hasn't learned to overcome and wants to learn, please, share. I have no idea who reads this, like I have said in the past, I do this for myself. But I also hope, someone, somewhere can read about my struggles and feel less alone.