Today, ironically the day of the Boston Marathon, I discovered that I’m a runner. Truthfully, I already knew this, but today it became painfully obvious. I run from my emotions.
On Saturday night, I decided to, along with my regular water intake, to consume just the bare minimum; just a couple of pieces of fruit, for the next few days, to help me reach my weigh-in goal on Wednesday (which is 248, by the way.) Sunday went pretty great. I was challenged that evening by smelling seafood being cooked and eaten, not necessarily wanting the seafood, just wanting food. But I only ate my orange, drank my water, and called it a day. This morning, I felt pretty proud of myself, and planned to do the same thing today. While I was in the bathroom getting ready for the day, I decided to step onto the scale to see how I was progressing on the way to my weigh-in goal.
I was disappointed, but not surprised, really. I was only hoping for a miracle after what I had consumed two days before. I’ll explain.
Over the weekend, we went to visit my dad. If you read my earlier post about going there, you know what the obligatory activity is: a trip to the casino. It’s about 30 minutes from the house, and due to frequent patronage, the establishment essentially pays for our buffet dinners. The last time we visited, I decided not to go, but this time, since it was my boyfriend’s birthday and that’s what he wanted to do, I went along. I went in knowing that I would only have a salad, and that’s what I did. But I brought an avocado to cut up on it, as well as used their regular French dressing, which added plenty of fat to it. This buffet doesn’t focus on salad, to say the least. I guess they assume their clientele is more interested in the roast beef and fried chicken. Because of that, the fresh items to choose from on the salad bar are limited to romaine, cherry tomatoes, red onion, and green bell pepper (which I don’t digest well and didn’t eat). The rest is meats (pepperoni, ham, chicken), two kinds of cheese, pickled peppers, olives, and croutons (sodium). I think I brought the avocado just to have something to look forward to, even though I knew it might sabotage me in the end. But that’s not all. 😔
All of the above happened on Friday night. On Saturday, I ate an orange in the morning, drank all my water, and we went out to the flea market for the day. On the way home, the family was like, “boy I’m getting hungry!” So D (my boyfriend) asked me what I wanted to eat. (I have to say, D and Dad both support my decisions. I can’t blame them for anything I choose to put in my mouth, and they don’t give me a hard time about anything I decline.) He then immediately suggested, out of kindness and understanding, that we go get salads from another place locally. So I agreed. My salad contained fresh veggies, and some cooked mushrooms. But then I caved and slathered on more French dressing. Then I got home and cut up yet another avocado onto my salad. Should I be surprised about the 253? Probably not.
Today is Monday, the first weekday of spring break, and I’m at home, able to do what I choose to do with my time, which is record some improvisational music, something I’ve been wanting to do for many many moons. I’ve toyed around with my music off and on, but never diving in seriously. Musical self-expression has remained a dream of mine for eons. You might be surprised to see the number of instruments and amount of equipment I currently own. My plan this week is to focus on the music. I felt extremely excited about getting started today, still do, but something happened in the process of setting up…one of my psychological triggers. I ran.
Running is one way to describe avoidance of a task for any number of reasons. It’s how we procrastinate. When the emotions come flooding in as we try to connect to something we know we should do or even actually want to do, sometimes they can seem too powerful to endure, and we run. To check our email. To watch television. To clean or organize something. To anything that disconnects us from those emotions we don’t want to feel. To the fridge.
My emotional reaction to playing music again, partly excitement and part fear, came up and instead of sitting with the discomfort, I stopped. I looked for something to eat. I made a quinoa salad (with tomatoes, green onion, coriander and sea salt). Looked up the fat content in 1/2 cup of cooked quinoa: 2g. Ok. Not terrible. Ate the salad. Enjoyed the taste (even with no chick peas and no avocado), but then a full feeling came over me, combined with my desire to avoid starting to work on the music, combined with seeing my bulging reflection in the monitor of my laptop, and I went back to the kitchen to look for something else. As I was doing this I knew. I asked myself, “What am I not doing?” I felt myself shallow breathing, and started to take a few deep breaths. I knew I had momentarily lost faith in myself and what I was doing over the past month. I knew I hadn’t renewed my mind. No prayer. I just wanted to feel good and to forget. I wanted to go blank and blindly seek temporary pleasure. I ate french fries. I ate four pieces of toast with margarine and strawberry jam. I have a headache.
I need to figure out what to do to keep this from constantly happening. After today, I realized that I am overestimating my strength and underestimating the power of my triggers, by not setting up a plan to deal with them when they happen.
My Identified Triggers:
Discouragement (feeling like I’m not progressing, the damned mirror)
Feeling full (as a food addict, it makes me want more)
The universe is giving me tools to win, I do know that. That knowledge was reinforced ironically earlier today by episode 284 of The Rich Roll Podcast, featuring Leo Babauta, creator of Zen Habits. In the episode, Babauta explains that much of our suffering as human beings can be conquered by learning to sit with things we find uncomfortable. Many of our struggles are formed from the addictive habits we develop in order to avoid what’s most important in our lives. At the end of the discussion, he suggested that this ability to thrive in the midst of discomfort is a skill that can be cultivated with practice. So I shall practice. After all, as Babauta said in the interview, our emotions are just feelings. They aren’t going to kill us. They seem overpowering at first, but then they shrink, fade, and eventually disappear.
Just when you think you’ve got it all figured out you find out there’s more to learn.
I think it may be time to do two things.
- Start some kind of exercise to complement my eating plan. Not sure what that will look like yet.
- Start telling people I know about this blog. As of this date, April 17, 2017, I haven’t shared it with anyone. The accountability and the potential for a community of support may help me move forward.
Thanks for following along with me on my journey. Comments are appreciated.