Like many of us, I lived on processed food growing up. Cheesy pizza, pasta, and hamburger helper were on regular rotation. And Little Debbie Snack Cakes? I could put away a whole box if no-one was home to stop me.
I learned to cook healthy meals after my kids were born, but I was still an emotional eater that ate tons of sugar and processed foods in between those healthy meals.
Eating this way kept me feeling miserable most days. I was irritable, tired, gave up on projects easily, woke up with anxiety every night, and DID NOT handle stress well. I moved like molasses and I felt like a walking zombie.
I am grateful to say that in the past 4 years, I’ve learned to overcome that emotional eating roller coaster and I feel like a new person.
What finally helped?
- I learned to focus on eating for energy instead of eating for weight loss.
- I learned how to manage my mind to feel my feelings instead of numbing them with food. (This deserves a whole post by itself!)
I’ve been able to use these two tools to increase my energy, decrease anxiety and depression, and yes to finally lose that 30 lbs.
Oh, and another thing happened. My marriage improved. I now had the energy to focus on improving my relationship with Cris. I wanted to prioritize ‘us’ again.
I’ve been on a role the past several years, getting better and better at respecting myself and honoring my body… so It’s been a while since I’ve felt like that walking zombie of the past.
Until last week.
Last week, I was reminded of what if felt like to be trapped in a body that just.can’t.move.
To not want to go on walks with my kid.
To see dirty dishes and feel utter dread.
And to see every single 10 minute task like it was a mountain to climb with 100 lbs of weight on my back.
So what happened last week to make me feel like that?
I wanted some excitement during this quarantine and I decided to order a meal kit. Yes, the magical little kits that measure everything for you and make it easy to try something new and exciting to eat!
Well, it was all well-intended, but this particular meal kit didn’t have any healthy options that matched our family’s needs. We have some gluten intolerances and dairy sensitivities and unfortunately, they didn’t have any of those options.
So after I entered my credit card and tried choosing meals, I realized this company wasn’t going to work for us. So I exited out before ordering. I thought.
But somehow the box was ordered.
A lovely box showed up on my doorstep the next week. I told myself, “Whatever, I guess some of us will eat this for lunch for five days so it doesn’t go to waste!” My kid with a severe gluten intolerance would eat something else.
So for five days, I had cheesy pasta, cheesy enchiladas, pizza with really thick, amazing dough, and two other meals I can’t remember right now.
After day one, I realized I woke up super hungry, craving cereal. So I ate my kids’ granola instead of my usual eggs and avocado. By day 3 my body was in a constant craving for sugar and I was listening to it.
I could have created more balance for myself and ate healthily outside of those 5 meals, but I chose not to. I chose to just let go for a week. I’ll call it a “quarantine brain” hiccup for now!
I told myself, “Hey, just relax about food this week. You’re eating crap anyway, might as well go all out. We’re in quarantine after all. Lighten up.” So I did.
And by day 5 I felt like a zombie.
My energy was at an all-time low.
My ability to relate with others was sinking.
I was irritable and grumpy.
My libido completely went into hiding.
The dishes seemed like a mountain to climb. And for the first time in a long time, I woke up at 3 am with intense anxiety.
And then day 6 came… Oh thank God! The meal-kit was gone! Woot! I was ready to do some planning to get my energy back. And that’s what I did.
The beautiful thing about the human body is that it’s resilient. After three days of eating for energy again (and feeling all the feelings instead of numbing them with food), I am craving less sugar, my focus is better, and I’m excited to engage with my people again.
I’m not sharing this to put down meal kits or demonize processed foods. There are some incredible meal kits out there and they can be helpful for families on the go. And let’s be honest here: foods with flour and sugar are fun sometimes.
But I know myself—if I eat like this regularly, it hinders me from living the life I want to. It hinders me from relating with my people the way I want to because I feel like shit.
Instead, I want to cultivate the kind of respect for my own body that helps me to feel my best.
We deserve to treat our bodies with kindness. We deserve to feel our best. This is the kind of self-care and self-respect that I want to cultivate on a regular basis—not only for myself—but for my clients.
If self-respect is low, your ability to have the kind of healthy relationships that you want will be low too.
Stay tuned for next weeks #SelfRespectThursday where I’ll talk more in detail about how to listen to your body’s needs and what to do with the intense urges to emotionally eat during a crisis…which could be when we’re on lock-down for months at a time—or simply when our partner looks at us the wrong way!
If you totally get this feeling, check back next week for more.
I approach relationship coaching holistically. If your relationship with yourself is suffering, we start there first. Self-Respect is top priority for having a healthy marriage.
If you’d like help with this, click HERE to set up a free mini-session with me. You don’t have to do this alone. I got you.