Tuesday, November 18, 2014

November 18th, 2014 Here, Eat This, You'll Feel Better

November 18th, 2014 Here, Eat This, You'll Feel Better

What I'm about to share with you isn't an attempt to gain sympathy, pity or concern. It wasn't a bad thing at all, it was a good experience. And although it comes from working through the loss of my recent relationship, it isn't about her or me, in the context of that relationship. It's about processing emotions and allowing them to run their course without running for cover under a blanket of food.

My emotional development was stunted at an early age when I developed a dependency on food to buffer my emotions. For me, the answer wasn't to feel the emotions and work through them, processing the natural stages of the emotion. It was different. The routine was simple: Feel the onset of my changing emotional state--then eat, eat and eat some more, until the emotions subsided, or I forgot just how overwhelming they initially felt. And if I didn't feel better, then maybe another helping of whatever would do the trick. 

The distraction from the emotions during the joy of eating, followed by the natural effects of time on the emotions, meant I would actually feel better. I was convinced it was the food that made it all less challenging. Isn't providing a little relief what "comfort" food is all about? "Here, eat this, you'll feel better."

I never allowed my emotions to process in a healthy way without an all-you-can-eat interruption. Instead of helping me work through emotions, this quickly developed reflex was in-effect, stopping my natural emotional development in its tracks. The food gave me an illusion of being okay, while creating an emotional deficit with each occurrence.  It was very much like emotional trading. Let me borrow the illusion that I'm all better today--and I'll try to figure out how to pay for the pain some other time--just not right now, I'm eating. It's a heavy price. For me, it meant spending twenty years near, at or above 500 pounds.

Then I lost 275 pounds. Then I maintained for a year and a half. Then I faced big emotions again. Then I hit the "escape into isolation" button and ate my way to gaining back over half, all but 111 pounds.

I had zero practice at allowing emotions to take their natural course. While I did lose weight successfully and maintain for awhile, it wasn't because I had learned how to properly feel and process emotions. I enjoyed the initial success because I built up an incredible support and accountability system. And it was my immaturity in dealing with emotions that created deficits anyway, and these eventually get balanced one way or another--usually in the form of holding me back or flat out destroying anything good or potentially good, that comes along.

Allowing the emotions to run their course isn't easy. But I can honestly say that's exactly what I've been doing lately. I've felt things I didn't want to feel. I tighten my grip around the fundamentals of extraordinary care in the background by reaching out more for support and paying close attention to my behavior with food...and in the foreground of life, I allow myself to feel without buffers, without defenses--I just let it be, let it feel--let it run its course, and let it go. Suddenly, I realize feeling these emotions isn't the end of the world. It's actually the pathway to new beginnings and better days where I'm not held back. It's an entry way into a healthier existence where good and potentially good is allowed to flourish.

It was a long day today. I battled long lines at Walmart in order to grab a few things I needed after work, then I headed home--carried everything upstairs, put it all away, then I sat in my recliner and cried. 

I cried the most cleansing cry I've ever experienced. And it felt amazing to let it out. I felt it, it was exhausting. And at the same time, it was the most natural and healthy relief, ever. It was cathartic. I just sat there afterwards, letting it dry and feeling like a weight had been lifted.
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The rest of my evening was beautiful. I co-moderated my weekly weight loss support call with Life Coach Gerri, cooked an amazing meal and had a phenomenal workout at the YMCA. I'm feeling really good tonight. The melatonin is starting to kick in, so I'll let it.  

My Tweets today:
















Thank you, sincerely, for reading and your continued support,
Strength,
Sean

22 comments:

  1. Wow Sean, I'm so glad you were able to find that release. We all need to go through those things at some point in our lives. You have been really strong and didn't break through that "steel curtain zone" despite going through such a difficult time and your getting your exercise in as well. Way to go Sean!! You've been in my thoughts and prayers.

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    1. Leah, I sincerely appreciate this, thank you!! It's incredible how different and better I feel today.

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  2. allow me to say that I really admire you. Also allow me to say that I am sorry you are in pain, and that I know how hard it is to feel that way. Hugs.

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    1. Christine, thank you. The admiration is mutual, my friend. It is--but really, it's necessary, you know? Truly, in order to grow--it's absolutely necessary to experience. I appreciate your support, thank you again.

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  3. Sean, I'm so glad you are making it through your storm of emotions without the binge. You are handling it well. Two years ago I walked out of a job that I loved for the emotional toll it took on my life, abuse from a boss and so on.. and I ate and ate like no tomorrow. In bed, out of bed and in between, I ate. And I became a whale of a women, so unhealthy. And reading your blog today, I realized that I don't do that any longer. I can get through it with cleaning or walking or what ever it is, but not food. Its funny how I didn't realize that until I read your blog.
    I hope your pain starts to deminish. One day at a time!
    Rosie

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    1. Rosie, thank you so much. Congratulations on the incredible progress you've made! You don't do that anymore--and that's amazing to be able to step outside of it, analyze it--and recognize what was happening--and do it differently, even against our natural inclinations. That's a BIG deal. One Day At A Time, indeed--Rosie!!

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  4. Very powerful, insightful post, Sean. Getting over the fear that your emotions will be too much for you and just feeling, processing them is such a huge, huge step. Blunting everything with food was my old pattern, too. Now, if I am sad, I just try to feel sad, while practicing loving self-care at the same time. I am sorry for the pain you are going through right now and I admire the way you are going through it. I love that you are recognizing this as such an opportunity for you to change and grown.

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    1. Roxie, it is difficult to allow the flow of those emotions when everything natural to me says to stop it--hold it in, don't let the dam break... "Now, if I am sad, I just try to feel sad, while practicing loving self-care at the same time." --So wonderful, Roxie--Thank you!!

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  5. what an honest post. I'm in recovery myself, and there's a saying there that's stuck: there is pain in recovery. misery is optional. keep working at it-- I think you'll find your peace there.

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    1. "Misery is optional." I LOVE that. Thank you, A.

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  6. I have found a good cry to be very cathartic over the years. It's the kind of cry where you just let it all out, and when you're done you feel better, like you did. There's that other kind of cry over an on-going problem that isn't quite so cleansing however. It's the kind of cry (for me), that could happen every day for a long period of time. Right now, I am extremely emotional, just writing this and thinking about the problems I am facing right now (Hub's Stage 4 Cancer, son's marriage) brings tears to my eyes. In this instance, the crying is ever present, tears always close to the surface (although I try not to cry when hubs is nearby), and when I'm done crying, I don't feel all that much better.....just very sad. Ah well, I will continue to stay strong and endure....it's what I do. Like you, I'm trying to do it without the comfort of food. I refuse to give in. I refuse to give in. I refuse to give in.

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    1. Pam, It was/is cathartic. I felt like, this is what I've been missing all these years of holding back?
      Pam, my friend--what you're experiencing right now is on another level of pain I've never known. I admire your strength through it all and your commitment to taking extraordinary care of yourself in the face of it all, is quite honestly, miraculous.
      With my situation and others like it, I'm certain of it getting better. You're dealing with much uncertainty--and I would imagine it keeps the pain going, even after you feel those emotions--more are waiting. I'm so sorry.
      You and your husband have such a wonderful love story and your powerful love for him is always "visible" in your writings. You two are in my thoughts and prayers, always.
      You're incredibly inspiring, Pam. Thank you for being so wonderful--for being you.

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  7. A good cry always helps cleanse out our soul. I'm sending you a virtual hug and a hat off. You continue to inspire me through your honest and relatable posts.

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    1. Alati--thank you for the hug! It is soul cleansing--oh my...deeply.

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  8. I've been out of commission for a while so haven't been commenting, just reading. So sorry about your breakup. Learning how to deal with the fallout is such an accomplishment. It's a difficult and vulnerable place to be. Most men are taught to "keep a lid on it", bottling emotions inside for a long time or they end up channeling emotions in the wrong direction. Anger towards others, drinking alcohol or numbing the pain in other ways, like our old favourite food! (Although my man has broken his big toes more than once from kicking walls!)

    Keep doing what you're doing Sean: writing out your emotions (if not blogging about it here, in a personal private journal); reaching out for direct one-on-one support from an objective person; focusing on the important basics of your life - work, health, sleep, exercise and of course family.

    Keep on truckin' my friend!

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    1. I didn't realize how much I've kept inside for all these years. I've always tried to hold back my emotions. It felt good to let it go and be okay with it all.
      Wonderful advice, Nikki. I appreciate you.
      And I'm glad you're recovery nicely!! From reading your latest posts, I see you have many friends and your man is taking very good care of you, too! You'll be back to 100% in no time!

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  9. Sounds like you have broken through those first heavy sidesteps that we have been so used to taking when it comes to handling what seems (at some level) to be unbearable. So happy you were able to have the cleansing cry. The image - resembling the peeling of an onion. Keeping your healthy schedule intact and treating yourself well with keeping the background routine there, was a wonderful achievement has you moving toward wholeness! Thank you for sharing the details of your day!
    N~

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    1. Nancy--I sure do appreciate you and your fantastic support. I feel like I've really experienced some breakthroughs in all of this. You're always welcome! It helps me, tremendously when I explore and share these thoughts and happenings.

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  10. Thank you. You can put into beautiful words what many of us have gone through with emotions and how lack of dealing with them can affect our life and weight. I wish you well on your road to healing. Patti M.

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    1. Patti, thank you for this.And you're very welcome. It's very true, isn't it? The emotional deficit we create by avoiding takes a lot of energy to sustain itself...and it zaps the energy it needs from our life. Finding a healthy release--and dealing directly with these emotions--oh my, can be difficult, but incredibly rewarding.

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