Some of my food-sober friends say that the first step is awareness. If that's true, then boy oh boy am I aware. For a long time I was eating unconsciously, just stuffing food into my mouth whenever and wherever and without any kind of awareness.
Now, I can see my hand going toward my mouth and I'm all: WAIT. IT'S NOT MEAL-TIME. WHY AM I SNACKING?
And then I get to sit there and feel all my feelings. WHICH REALLY SUCKS.
I would so much rather stick a handful of Cheez-its in my mouth than feel all my feelings.
Here's the awful truth: after I binge on Cheezits, I feel even worse. I still feel what I felt before I ate and on top of that, I feel guilty for eating so much.
It's been really hard for me to admit this to myself but I have a problem with gluttony. I am a compulsive overeater. Cue weeping and gnashing of teeth.
Here's why I want to change: because I just don't feel good. Eating like this makes me sluggish, tired, low-energy, grumpy.
This week I discovered that being tired is a HUGE trigger for me. My brain starts short-circuiting. My eyes get prickly. My back hurts. My shoulders sag. I yawn incessantly. And then I start snacking.
I learned this awesome little acronym: H.A.L.T. It stands for: Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired.
Whenever I'm feeling super-tempted to gorge on Cheezits, I HALT. I ask myself: am I hungry, angry, lonely or tired? I'm beginning to distinguish between Real Hunger and Boredom/Stress Hunger. I'm also realizing that my body needs to nap. Everyday. I'm a napper. It's just how it is. If I don't get a 15-20 minute nap at about 2pm, I will be a raving lunatic by 5pm.
Here's another revelation: you're supposed to feel hungry before a meal. That's normal. Huh. WHO KNEW?!
It's like I've been running around for the past two years desperately trying to avoid Ever Feeling Hungry. Because feeling hungry makes me feel all kinds of other things like: anxious, worried that I won't get enough....
I'm still working on what foods I need to abstain from—I'm going really slow about this because my tendency is to OVERWORK my food program. I will abstain from All The Things! I'll never eat sugar again! DEATH TO DONUTS!
But deprivation is the road that leads straight into Taco Bell. DON'T ASK ME HOW I KNOW.
Yesterday afternoon by 4pm, I was exhausted. I'd been driving the kids around all day long. Then my washing machine broke. Then one kid sprained his ankle. Another kid lost her favorite friendship bracelet.
I was crying by 4:30pm. And I still needed to make dinner. GAH.
Here's another thing I learned: I need to plan my meals in advance because if I wait until I'm starving, I will just grab whatever is in front of me.
Awareness, man. It's like my entire life has been lit up by stadium lights and I can't NOT see what I'm doing. I can't pretend anymore. I see it all and holy maccabees, this food-sobriety journey will probably last the rest of my life.
This is Day 2.