Friday, April 25, 2014

Relax Tiff and do the work!

I promised an update on my plan going forward. Before I get there, I'll delve a little more into the cycles I've been observing myself involved in.

Basically, I need to relax. I need to be okay with me.  Also, I need to grow a thicker skin so my feelings aren't bruised so easily.

Turns out I'm stressing myself out, a lot. Over big things, over little things.  And then I over eat.  And then I get frustrated and eat more.  Or I'm lonely/ my feelings are hurt which results in a binge. Or, I'm stuck in the mental comfort zone that comes with binge eating.  There is a definite sick "comfort" in binge eating, even as it makes me miserable long term. All that jacks up my stress hormones even further.  Which equals more binges.  And the cycle continues...

The bottom line, I've been over eating and binge eating... Chasing a dopamine release to get a moment of pleasure.  Really though, it's making things worse and reinforcing behaviors and pleasure pathways in my brain which I don't want to reinforce. After some serious thought I realized that I've been engaging in this type of behavior for YEARS. I've used food, alcohol and cigarettes at some point or other to soothe myself.  There have been less destructive periods, but this pattern keeps reoccurring.  Being aware of the behavior is a good first step! Making active, conscious, positive changes is next. 

So I looked at my current "coping" method and decided to frame some new personal guidelines to help me navigate the path going forward.  

- Keep consumption of dairy & sugar to a minimum. I love dairy but it doesn't love me. I've observed that dairy messes with my female hormones, big time.  When I'm regularly consuming dairy my PMS (especially depression/mood swings & cramping) is out of control which increases cravings for "happy foods". It's another vicious cycle.  My moods and overall health improve without dairy so it's kind of a no brainer to exclude it.  As for sugar... Do I really need to go over my reasons for excluding refined sugars? I hope not... But the short answer, it's unhealthy and causes me painful inflammation.

- Relax! Stop over thinking every part of my diet, especially in terms of pre/post workout nutrient timing.  Giving it some thought is fine, getting obsessively crazy is not okay.  JERF- Just Eat Real Food & KISS- Keep It Simple Stupid.  

- Do not eat while cooking dinner (this is my biggest binge time). I will stand at the cupboard and shove anything and everything in my face...usually very calorie dense foods. 

- Eat a balanced meal if I'm truly hungry.  I will make up a plate and sit and eat. Meals should have at least 1 serving of veggie, protein & fat. Possibly a carb if its appropriate. Again, I'm the queen of standing at the cupboard and shoveling the food in. Sitting and eating in a controlled fashion is important.

- Sleep more!!! The best way to hormonal health? Sleep.  Period. I need to sleep more to be healthy, happy, energetic & decrease stress. 

- When the urge to binge strikes... Go for a walk, call a friend or sit in the sunshine for 10 minutes.

-Focus on the positive and analyze the validity of my "feelings".  Chances are if I'm having negative thoughts about myself, they aren't true.  Reframing and putting it in perspective is helpful, instead of stuffing my feelings with food.

I think this list of guidelines will be helpful going forward.  Just sitting and writing this down has helped me clarify and focus on the next step.

Do you have any tricks or tips to help me out?  Something you think I left off the list? 


Jeanette said...

I think the framework you laid out to do instead of binge eating sounds great-- all things I have had to employ in my day to day in order to actually deal with stuff instead of turning to food/etc. My problem has always been anxiety, and so I've had to really learn to sit with and experience the anxiety, deal with the root causes and let it go naturally instead of comforting myself momentarily. It's good you are thinking about these things- its where change happens!

Tiffany said...

Learning to sit with the feeling and cope is the hard part!! *sigh* But it's time to break this cycle. :) Thanks Jeanette!