Emotional Eating With Ben and Jerry

eat it!

Image by Darwin Bell via Flickr

After a very small dinner tonight I ate Ben and Jerry’s half-baked ice cream, with whipped cream. After that I had one purple bunny peep, cheddar Sun chips, a piece of raisin bread and I’m still on the hunt. If  the stores would be open now I would grab my license and run out the door to search for the new M & M’s with coconut that I saw in the stores a week and a half ago. That was my mistake. I should have bought them then, eaten them and have gotten them out of my system. Instead, during a time of stress and emotional eating, I’m raiding the fridge and searching in the cupboards.

When it’s this kind of emotional hunger, I don’t get full. I eat and eat and look for comfort and in the act of eating mindlessly, I, for a few moments push my stress and anxiety and worries away. But, it doesn’t last. I’m full but I’m not; I’m sure there is another victim out there that I can kidnap. If I had jelly belliesI would be happy. That is what I want to eat now, one after the other, slowly, not biting them completely because I do not want to disturb my TMJ, that nasty, sharp-pained nuisance. I’m not supposed to eat the Jelly Bellies but I truly don’t care, I want them anyway preferably now.

I’m not hungry, I tell myself, and physically that’s perfectly true. I am hungry emotionally having had  two days of pure, unadulterated anxiety and sadness and heartbreak and stress, illness and loved ones and more stress.  I hold my hand over my bulging stomach and know I shouldn’t eat more and know that I will. The only decision is what to eat and when to stop.

After searching my son’s room, with his help, he only had empty Starbursts wrappers. No good. His girlfriend offered to do a “jelly belly run” for me which further endeared her to my heart. After tearing the kitchen apart I found a great substitute, cut up pineapple chunks: fruity, juicy, chewy, not jelly beans but the same idea. I ate those thinking I was in the clear. Until I found the Yodels……

I’m not ashamed to write this, this is no hidden blog post, this is for people like me, that once in a while binge eat, grin, and regret it the next day. No matter what a Psychologist would say, I think it’s okay as long as I go back to eating healthfully tomorrow. So there. Yes gain, no shame.

Eat that Weight Watchers.

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Optimist or Pessimist?

Just call me a “wide-eyed POPTIMIST.”

Bird Houses / 20071230.10D.46705 / SML

I think the word to describe me would have to be “Poptimist.” Let me explain. On the outside I am, without a doubt, a pessimist. I worry, I feel stressed, I imagine the worse. I annoyed my college friends when I thought for sure I had failed a test and then got a 98. I used to be so nervous every time I took a test that I thought for sure I had failed miserably. I held my breath when the professor handed the tests back. I sweated and trembled and thought I would vomit with anxiety. I always expected a 54, circled in bright red marker to further call me out as a loser. Honestly, that is what I really believed. I’m a horrible test taker and I never knew how I did. I just assumed I had failed even though I studied for hours on end. It was always such a welcome relief to get, not only a passing grade, but a really good grade. Self-protection? Of course. Defense mechanism? ABSOLUTELY! As I got older I became more of a pessimist; my mother is a die- hard pessimist and I know I got a lot of that from her. Nature and nurture. My father was an optimist for most of his life. Perhaps I have a tiny, hidden bit of my optimistic father deep inside me. I worry BEFORE I know the outcomes of things, call it anticipatory anxiety if you will. Yes, I do meet worry half way. I actually go up and greet worry and practically invite it home for lunch. But, way deep down, once in a while, there is a small voice, like a tiny, quietly chirping bird, hidden by a brightly colored bird house, that makes me feel if I make it through the stressful process, it just might turn out to be alright in the very end.

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Simple Truths

Mind sets: we all draw a line in  our minds, a dividing point, a moral measure, for a variety of  issues: religion, romance, love, food, friends, work, relationships. The list goes on and on and how we stand on something can change like a puff of wind to a dandelion. We all have our own truths. We make our own rules, adjust accordingly and somehow, someway, sometimes because we have no choice, we find our way back. It isn’t always easy.

I met a woman at a party a week ago, Kate,  and her face is still sketched in my mind. Taut, tanned skin, blond, perfectly highlighted hair, her body upright and rigid, wearing a swimsuit with a long flowered wrap tied at her waist.  We were talking about graduations and I said that I will definitely cry when my son and daughter graduate. She said “I never would cry, never at a happy event, as long as I have all my loved ones around me.” Her comment took me by surprise. Her face was hard, still and emotionless; the words emphatic and cold. She swept her hand towards her extended family including her children, her sisters and her elderly parents.  It was as if she was wearing an emotional shield, made of armour, but tiny, invisible cracks were beginning to form.

I felt bad for her, for the innocence that one day will be lost. It’s as if there was a vulnerable and frightened five-year old girl inside her, covered up with layers and layers of an impenetrable facade. It won’t stay like this forever, I thought.  Her family will not always be in this perfect order. I felt sad because I know what it feels like when someone you love dearly, dies. Nothing is ever the same, it’s before and it’s after and nothing in-between. Your world changes forever at that moment, frozen in time.

I nodded my head in agreement with her bold statements but mostly, I wanted to somehow keep her safe, or prepare her though I knew I couldn’t.  I knew she was appreciating everything she had now but was in no way prepared for the future. I am NOT saying that you can ever be prepared but I knew, in my heart, that this particular woman, will become undone, so unable to cope. I hope I am wrong but I had that strange eery inner sense that I get sometimes, that 6th sense. I’m usually right. Let’s face it, we don’t know how WE will react when an unknown situation is strewn our way.

I have been that little girl, in some ways I still am.  I was the girl who grew up worried and anxious and afraid. I’m not entirely sure why, part nature, part nurture perhaps. Can you ever be prepared for a life that can change in a second’s time? Do we worry about everything because something is bound to happen? Why can’t I imagine the good, the great popping up like beautiful purple and yellow, blue and red wildflowers instead of focusing on the bad?

I try so hard, and have failed so many times, not to worry about the future. “Don’t meet problems half-way” an old, lesbian, Irish ex-nun friend once told me. She was absolutely right but sometimes my mind wanders, drifts to the “what if’s.”  I have to remind myself, like I am doing now, that we have no control over ourselves or our future.

Who would have predicted a massive oil spill in the one element, water, that I have always loved so dearly. My fantasy was to live near the beach somewhere, next to the turbulent, gentle, overpowering ocean with its moody green waters and it’s whipped foam topping, crashing relentlessly against the giant rocks. The dream seems gone now, because of the BP gas spill that threatens our waters and our animals, innocent animals.

Not worrying is a lesson I need to learn and relearn and I must be failing because it happens over and over again. Why can’t I learn it, I wonder?  Maybe it is just the way I am?  Maybe I was never reassured enough as a child? I have faith too and even with that, I sit up nights, anxious, with my head playing mind games, rolling tape like the old-fashioned movie cameras, reel to reel, over and over and over again.