Tag Archives: freak out

Work stress

My stress levels at work are such that I am having trouble making decisions. I spoke to one of the OH&S people and I am getting support now. The stress/anxiety is impacting life outside work; at the shops this morning I almost had a panic attack. I had to choose between similar things and I couldn’t. There were so many people and so much noise. I started panicking. I kept going by pulling my focus in so narrowly that I only thought of one thing at a time. And I did some breathing exercises. I got to the car and cried because of the relief that I could go home.

Things are changing at work. I will be moving positions very soon and I have an appt with a psychologist on Friday. I think I will go to my own doctor early in the week for sick leave. I am almost through the worst of it.

Until I am, I am not going to worry to much about my eating. I will try to exercise every day. I will try to eat a balanced healthy diet. But I won’t be posting stats or focussing on weight loss. I just need to get through this time.

emotional eating

Usually where I have come from is not an issue but yesterday it was very much part of my day.

The things my head is trying to process:
– I have lost 25% of my start weight and am halfway to a healthy weight. That is simultaneously wonderful and difficult. I have come so far! I have so far to go! How did I get that overweight? I am doing so well!
– I found pictures of me at Christmas to put in an album to show where I started from. They were hard to look at. I remember at the time thinking they were realistic and that I looked terrible. I had already started working on a plan so it reinforced my motivations. But I felt ashamed looking at them.
– I had pictures taken of me yesterday and I look so good in comparison! I look thinner and happy. I put one on facebook and lots of friends commented about how well I am doing. And again, simultaneously wonderful and difficult. And I also felt vulnerable. I was letting people who didn’t really know what I was doing that I was doing something.

Last night we went out to dinner and that was nice. We had Indian and the food was fabulous. I found myself missing green vegetables even though we had one vegetarian dish. I ate more than I needed but I did not overeat. And we stopped at the Indian Grocer next door and I got one Galub Jamun for desert. I just wanted something a little bit sweet. But in the course of events, it never made it home. Which was frustrating.

My man was going out, I was staying home with the toddler. I had a little bit of the chocolate slice he was taking with him. And that did not ease my frustration. He left and I prowled the kitchen looking for … something. I deserved something. I had worked hard all week at tracking and exercise and had been spot on. I had such a stressful week at work as well. The scales were going down – quite quickly and so I was entitled! I was entitled!

And what did I do with the feelings of entitlement, frustration, vulnerability, loathing and success? I ate. I had one bottle of cider and a packet of choc finger biscuits; the whole packet. And while I was eating I felt relief and acceptance and comfort. I knew last night that it was a one off. I knew it was not the same as a couple of weeks ago where the compulsion stayed with me. I knew that I would be ok the next day. This morning I got up, did 60 minutes fast walking up the hill and back. I have eaten well and am tracking everything and I have had not problems with keeping to my plan or any desire to deviate.

Tonight, I told my man a short version of what happened last night with the biscuits. I guess I was testing myself. I did not want it to be secret eating. I wanted to say the words and make it real and have it known. But I had not worked out why I had eaten the way did last night, I thought it was just the frustration and did not link it to the photos and stuff from earlier in the day. And so I was left with feeling exposed and I wish I had said nothing. I just wanted to hide and I slipped quickly into control/freak out behaviour. I cleaned up in the kitchen, I got my food ready for tomorrow, I kept myself busy as my thoughts spun and spun and spun.

Not normal, not normal, what is normal anyway, it was normal for me, not good certainly but it was my normality, what do other people do anyway? Why would I want to be like other people? I like who I am, I am strong, I am clever, I am making my own way. This is my path. Not normal, what is normal?

I don’t know what normal eating is. I don’t know what the average person eats. I know what books tell me people should eat but I don’t know what people actually do. But I know that food is not just food to me. Food is acceptance and comfort. Cooking and eating is about sharing and love and family and acceptance. This is me. This is my struggle.

With all of those emotions last night – the self loathing at what I had let myself become, the vulnerability, the fear, the frustration and the sense of entitlement, is it any wonder that I ate? No, not really. Did I feel better? Yes, at the time. And tonight? I have worked through my reaction and understand why I wanted to say it out loud and why I then responded the way I did. And now? The spinning has slowed down and I feel like equilibrium is returning.

I don’t want to be normal. I want to be me – understanding where I have come from, where I want to go and be real along the way. My man supports me. He doesn’t understand my twisted relationship with food. I suspect he eats for hunger while my normal patterns for so long have been to eat for acceptance and comfort. I am trying to build new patterns and they are getting stronger every day I keep at it. I have a long way to go on this journey. Eating well and exercising is the easy part.

Stress and comfort eating: stumbling along the way

This has been a hard week.

I am finding work really difficult at the moment. A month ago I decided to start looking for other positions and I had ways to manage some of the difficult things to keep going in the short term. Well, this past week things unravelled a little more and my eating went out of control.

I decided on Wednesday afternoon that for the rest of that day I did not have to have my healthy living goals in view. I did not have to be aiming for them. I gave myself space for the rest of that day. I ate what I wanted to, aware all the time that I was seeking relief from the stress. That was ok because I had some plans to manage some of the work stuff on Thursday and I was also completing a job application and submitting it.

Things did became a little easier at work on Thursday as I implemented my plan but my eating did not fall back into place. On Friday I woke up not feeling hungry but I still had a substantial breakfast. On Saturday I started with good intentions but there was no follow through.

My exercise also disappeared last week, but that was partly because the weather was so bad. A convenient excuse to have this week…

This post is not really about beating myself up (well it is a little bit). I need to write about it and reflect on my relationship with food and stress and try to learn through this.

It is obvious that food is my main stress relief strategy. The reason I have been able to get through so much at work already is because exercise has helped me to manage my stress levels. But in a week that was really difficult, with my lunchtime walks all converted to siting down for lunch, I just was not coping. And so I ate. I ate so that I would not feel the stress anymore. And then I kept eating. I ate till I felt unwell. I ate so that I did not feel hunger between meals. I just wanted all the frustration and ambiguity and disappointment and struggles with work to stop; eating made it stop for a little while. Eating dulled everything for a little while. These are old familiar patterns and it worries me how easy it is to slip back into them.

Pulling out of the comfort eating was hard. I knew I was taking very fast backward steps in terms of my weight. I kept saying to myself that this week was already a write off so why not really write it off. And then part of my mind would swing into the positive self talk and the goals and motivations. I felt trapped in the stress, by my goals and in my body. But I knew that if I had one day of eating well, I would feel better and I would be able to go again. And if that one day was before the start of the new week then I could start the week off in a better place and leave this past week behind.

I weighed myself yesterday morning and am up at least a kg on last weeks weight. It was good to see that on the scale, to get confirmation of the backward steps. I went walking yesterday, I did a 70 min walk with my fam and friends in the morning and I walked to the shop and back in the afternoon. I felt alot better after my morning walk. The other thing I am pleased about with this walk to the shop is that I did not buy something to eat on the walk home. I struggled with that. I really wanted something. I argued with myself and I walked away empty handed. Yesterday I was already in a better place and was starting to be accountable again.

This morning I woke up hungry. I had my normal cereal and milk for breakfast and I tracked it. I went out with my toddler in the morning but took a banana and an apple bar to have for morning tea, and I tracked it. I bought a good lunch option and I tracked it. I had afternoon tea at a sensible time to stop my blood sugar from plummeting before dinner and I tracked it. And I have tracked my dinner. I am back to chewing gum between meals because that way I am chewing something. I have stopped my comfort eating. I have relaxed this weekend and I feel better for nurturing myself in healthy ways.

I currently have a headache. It is a low sort of buzzy headache that I associate wth quitting smoking. It is a withdrawal headache – my body is missing the refined carbs I guess. I ate alot of refined carbs in the last 4 days. The good thing about this headache is that it shows me that going back to plan today has made a difference to my body. The other good thing is that I know that tomorrow the headache should be gone and I will feel better in myself, with my energy levels and general wellbeing.

The last week has been a struggle. While my old patterns are very easy to fall into, I also see changes. I pulled out of my comfort eating in 4 days. I recognise my headache for what it is, I recognise how much exercise helps me. I know that I need to do nurturing things for myself to help me manage the stress of work. I am not going to look back and feel bad about the lack of control, I am going to get up tomorrow morning, weigh myself, do my exercise and look to the new week.

Success is not what I achieve at any given moment (although walking out of the shops yesterday empty handed was a victory), success in terms of this journey is improvement from where I was, most of my choices being healthy ones, respecting myself and my body. I am already a success. I will keep being a success.

I am ok.

6 weeks completed

Today is weigh in day 🙂

Last week I did get a bad cold and was only able to exercise on Monday and then again yesterday. But I was really careful with my food and I am happy that I did pay close attention to it.

Start weight (3/1/11): 140.9kg (310 lbs)
Today’s weight: 128.9kg (283.6 lbs)
This week: -1.8kg (4 lbs)
Total Lost: 12kg (26.4 lbs)
That is an average loss of 2kg a week.

A couple things happened this week that were interesting, challenging and very thought provoking

I am now starting to think the weight loss needs to slow down. I am enjoying seeing the numbers go down and my clothes are starting to feel looser. But 2kg a week is alot and it is not sustainable. I have worked out a way to manage this. With the points system for food allocation, as you lose weight you also decrease the food allocation. So, for every 10kg I lose, I am supposed to drop a point’s worth of allocation. I was going to drop that point at about 125kg but have decided not to. To sensibly slow my weight loss I need to eat a little more. And this seems an easy way to manage it.

And while I was sick I started thinking about incorporating some resistance training. I have a couple of handweights that I could use. But I need a plan, I need a goal. So I started looking for ideas. I think I will give it a little longer while I build on the start I have made. I will get some equipment and work out a routine so that when I am ready to go, I will have all the tools in place.

And then.

My man wanted to have some friends over for lunch on Sunday and started suggesting things like fried haloumi burgers. I just started putting up road blocks. With my lack of exercise and feeling sick I just could not let go. He didn’t understand and I did not communicate very well because I was getting stressed about food I had not planned for. He gave in and told them lunch was not on offer that day and then, after about 30 minutes, I was able to explain the fear and the mental confusion that his simple suggestion had made. And it was ok, he might not understand exactly how I feel but he does support me and could follow my twisted logic.

And then, just because I was curious, I decided to work out what the healthy weight range is for my height. And with that I just melted into a puddle. It is so very far away. The very top of my healthy weight range for my height is 69.5 kg (153 lbs). Over half. Over half of my start weight. I thought if I got to 80 that would be ok, and 75 would be amazing. And both 80 and 75kgs would be so much better than where I am. But to be in the ‘healthy’ weight range… I would need to lose 71.4kg in total. I melted. I started freaking out. I went into uber-control mode and calculated all my food for the next day and worked out when I could exercise even though I had not fully recovered from the cold. My positive self talk kicked in but I just ended up cycling from despair to control freak.

I brushed my teeth and went to bed. My man came in and said he loved me and I just cried. How? How could someone find me attractive, desirable when I am this size. And I explained to him what I had been thinking. It was hard and I almost turned the light off so I could tell him in the dark and he would not be able to see my face but I left the light on and I gathered my thoughts and he held me as I cried. He did not try and solve things or really make suggestions. He just held me and tried to understand. I did not sleep well that night.

I am somewhat relieved that hormones played a part in my little melt down. I am also proud that I did not turn to chocolate to ease my tight chest and sooth my aching body. And this morning, my positive self talk was back and I was able to talk through what happened. See, my plan for this year is a 40 week plan. I have committed to 40 weeks and am aiming for a 35kg loss in that time. And then for the 10 weeks before Christmas I would like to lose another 6kg to make it to 100kg. My plan never included reaching my healthy weight range this year, so I don’t really need to worry about it. I just keep saying ’40 weeks and 40 by Christmas’. Down the track I will come back to the BMI guides but that is not part of this years plan. I need to let go of the number and focus on today’s choices. And the reason I like my plan is because it is challenging but achievable. I know what I look like at about 100kg and I have a photo of my on the fridge at about that size to remind me. I have lost 30kg in 6 months on a past attempt, so I know I can I have a plan that is achievable and realistic, I am eating food I enjoy, have the tools to track, the support to help and next year is another challenge. I don’t forget but I can’t let it overwhelm me.

A crazy up and down week. But I finished it with a commitment to moving forward, staying focussed and shifting weight.