People do many things when they feel down. Shop, sleep, drink, sleep around, send text messages to people they absolutely should not be texting. You get the idea. Me?
Sometimes I shop, but 98% of the time, I turn to food. It’s been my go to for decades. Does it make me feel better? Yeah. Well, at least it does for a few minutes. And then regret seeps in. Followed by shame. Then I feel even more down than I already did. Which usually leads to more eating. It’s not a unique story by any stretch of the imagination.
Almost a month ago, faced with out of control blood sugar numbers, and severe anxiety about my weight I decided to make one more attempt at losing weight. And since January 14th, I’ve done really well. I’ve lost twenty pounds and stayed completely on plan. I’ve eaten tons of veggies. My blood sugar numbers have been awesome! I’ve resisted pizza, Wendy’s, Arby’s, a giant bowl filled with leftover Christmas chocolate, and piles of baked goods. That’s the short version of an incredibly long list. I have seen myself exercise self-control I really didn’t know I was capable of.
Last Saturday night, I had an incredibly realistic dream. I was tearing my house apart, devouring every little bit of chocolate I could find. I woke up with the most intense chocolate cravings I’ve ever had. I fought it all day Sunday, ending the night by sticking my head in the previously mentioned giant bowl of chocolate and just smelling the chocolate fumes. But the important thing is, I didn’t give in. I didn’t actually eat any. The cravings continued for days. To top it off, I’ve been feeling a lot of stress about work, my stupid fertility issues, and my upcoming root canal. The cravings and stress have started dragging me down into the dark place I don’t like to think or talk about.
I hate the dark place. I know I’ll climb out of it eventually. I’m just hoping I’ll crawl out in a few weeks, instead of a few months. This isn’t my first visit to it, and I know it won’t be my last. I’m not a strong person, but knowing I’ve gotten out of the dark place countless times over the years, helps me hold on. I may sound flippant, but honestly I feel anything but.
Knowing all this, I’m sure it won’t come as a surprise that last night I gave into the cravings. I ate a ton of chocolate and gummies, both from a Japanese snack box I ordered before deciding to get healthy. A strawberry ice cream popsicle, and three bites of a truly disgusting frozen chimichanga. I came very close to going to Taco Bell and ordering 3/4 of the menu, but it was after 10 pm, and would’ve required the wearing of pants.
By 11 pm the regret and shame had settled in, and I realized that I had two options. Clearly the first (and hopefully last) binge of 2020 hadn’t magically drug me out of the dark place or really made me feel any better. The only good that came of it was that my chocolate cravings were no longer driving me mad. So, my two options were:
A. Fall back into my old norm of binge, feel even worse, binge, feel bad, and repeat ad naseum.
B. Accept that I fell off the wagon, suck it up, and remember the important words from Gone With The Wind, “After all, tomorrow is another day!”
So, I woke up today, checked my blood sugar and weight, and hopped back on plan. Nothing magically changed overnight. I’m still in the dark place. I’m still stressed, and honestly I would much rather have had a bagel than my breakfast drink. I can’t promise that I won’t give into my cravings again, because I’m smart enough to know I probably will. I’ll keep facing the same battle, but hopefully I’ll do better the next time I fall off the wagon.