Monday, April 27, 2015

April 27th, 2015 That Deep End Dive

April 27th, 2015 That Deep End Dive

For most of us, I believe there are two different sides of resistance along this path we share. The food addiction side, where we hopefully identify a particular substance initiating the addictive reactions in our brain, and we apply sound recovery principals in that direction (mine is refined sugar). And then there's the emotional/stress eating side of our equation, where eating becomes in ineffective tool in our attempts to handle emotions and stress.

These two sides are not one in the same. And it's completely possible to be an emotional/stress eater and not a food addict. I know many who would fit the mold of someone who regularly handles stress and emotions in the nearest drive through, yet, they wouldn't be considered a food addict by its purest definition.

On the other hand, almost all of the people I know who are self-proclaimed food addicts, many in successful recovery, are also emotional/stress eaters.

Without a shred of doubt, I'm both.

For someone like me, any and all success ultimately takes a two pronged approach. I've written extensively about my abstinence from sugar and the life changing results it's gifted me, but that's not my focus tonight. My abstinence continues to be strong, sacred and non-negotiable.

My focus tonight is stress.

My stress level has increased exponentially over the last few weeks. Work stress, stress I'm creating as I make time to focus on personal and professional projects and various other personal things!--all contribute to this uneasy-unbalanced trek forward. And my oldest daughter is getting married at the end of May!

I'm on guard. If my resolve had a DEFCON number, five being smooth sailing and confident and one being extreme and imminent danger, I would say I'm at DEFCON 3.

Have I had thoughts of cutting loose on a binge in a foolish effort to somehow make everything better? Of course. That's been the pattern 85% of my life. I'm really good at it.

But we know the truth about emotional/stress eating. It doesn't fix anything. It's a detour into a state of pleasure where the troubles of the moment are not fixed, they're ignored. And when the plates are cleared, the troubles still exist, only now we have the added feelings of guilt and shame. Instead of fixing or at the very least, distracting us from the stress--it only serves to compound the stressful and emotional triggers. Any reasonable person can understand how this dynamic quickly becomes an out of control spiral.

Knowing the truth isn't the best defense. The truth can be ignored, for a while, at least. 

The best defense is good support. Sharing what you're feeling--it's what I'm doing right now and the therapeutic benefits of writing it on the screen brings an immediate refresh and calm. Reaching out to support buddies--sending that text, making that call--it helps. It's working wonders for me at the moment. My calorie budget has remained solid throughout and it's certainly not because I'm some strong super-human weight loss machine. I'm not even close. I'm human and exceptionally experienced in all of the ways to go off the deep end.

I'm making a stand, my friend. I'm not taking that deep end dive. I'm reaching out for support instead. I'm writing about it in a way that was always the purest intent of this blog from day 1.

It's getting me through. I'm grateful.

After a long day at the studio, I headed home with an unapologetic intention to nap well. Oh wow, I'm really good at napping, too. I handled my nap this afternoon like a champ. 

I made it ten more minutes into Marc Maron's WTF podcast before I was gone. It's interesting, I started drifting when Marc started discussing his lifelong internal struggle with emotional/stressful eating, his dismissing it as largely circumstantial while on the road and the more damaging self-loathing he experiences every single time he does it.

I'll go back and give that a listen one more time. I love Maron. Not just because of my former career as a stand-up. That commonality is like a bonus feature for me to enjoy, especially when he's interviewing or speaking of someone I worked with along the way. I listen to him and I find myself relating to so many different aspects of his experience and psyche.

I woke feeling refreshed and ready for the second part of my day: A good meal, a good workout, some good support interactions and a good blog post. I feel better.

 photo cff2bcd5-7893-4eb9-9f6b-99a18fdefe9f_zpsby0zbqkp.jpg
Before/During. I don't miss the facial hair, by the way. In fact, I'm totally embracing the daily shave required to keep it smooth. It's the strangest thing--apparently it's an age thing, because I don't remember needing to shave as often. One day and I get the shadow thing going...two to three days and I start looking incredibly sloppy. :)

My Tweets Today:

Thank you for reading and your continued support,


  1. FWIW, my wife and I paid for our own, beautiful, outside wedding over 23 years ago and we loved it. The experience helped us mature and appreciate what we have.

    1. Thank you, TL. The two newlyweds to be are paying a big part of this one, along with her mom and me helping with some key things The grooms parents are even helping!
      It will be a beautiful wedding, for sure! We've all divided up the different elements needed. Still, stressful!

  2. I believe you have a big jump on stress eating just because you are AWARE and watching for it. I commented on another blog yesterday in regards to "intuitive" eating that I believe it is possible to eat intuitively (after all I'm married to someone who does just that), and not count calories, etc. etc. but I also believe that for those who have spent years fighting the battle of the bulge and counting calories, points, fats, etc., if laying that down, you have to pay attention. Pay attention to hunger signals, physical signals, and especially emotions. Because a lot of folks who are overweight got there because of ignoring those three things.

    1. I agree, Helen. For some it is completely their reality--they can intuitively eat and be fine. I must always stay aware or I get in trouble quickly!
      "Pay attention to hunger signals, physical signals, and especially emotions." Yes!! Thank you, Helen!

  3. I agree with Helen that awareness is so yay you. I'm glad you have a good support system; not enough of us take advantage of that when it come to nutritional stability. Yay you for that, too. I hope your stress level calms down, so that only father of the bride is the real issue. ;)

    1. Awe, thank you, Gwen! I believe the stress level will subside very soon. I'm going to be a big mess of emotions when I walk her down that isle.
      Yes--awareness is critically important!!

  4. Again, you are a lucky man for having that support system. Some do not. Until reading your blog I didn't know there were support systems out there.
    I'm in the process of buying a house and let me just say I WANT TO EAT every single night! My stress from family and that has just taken me through the roof! I've held off but I'm like a tea kettle ready to blow! No Twinkies or cake in the house for me!!!
    I went through the wedding thing two years ago with my son. And after every thing was bought, they backed out, mutual. I was glad that they made the decision but I lost a lot of money .... now right there.. that's stress! LOL
    You'll do fine. You are so strong right now nothing is going to make you fail!

    have a good day!

    1. Oh my goodness, Rosie--I can't imagine!! They backed out after all the expense...I'm so sorry!! That would be incredibly stressful!!!
      I'm very careful not to ever utter the phrase "nothing is going to make me fail," but I appreciate your confidence! I'm very confident, too--but still, always aware and embracing that in order for me to remain in a good place along this road, I must practice the fundamental elements of my recovery each and every day. You're right--I'm very lucky to have the support system in place--and as far as the daily fundamentals, I've made them very enjoyable, so as not to be a burden--it's a pleasure to do what I do and I believe that's a key element in our success...making this enjoyable. Thank you so much, Rosie!

  5. Emotional and financial stress With your daughter getting married. Sure can relate. Stay strong Sean - use your support team (as you know) and know that prayers are coming your way to help.

    1. Nancy, thank you! I sincerely appreciate your thoughts and prayers!

  6. First, had to chuckle about the shaving. When my husband and I got married (Age 19), Bill had to shave no more than once a week ...much to his dismay, since he wanted to grow a mustache. Now, if he shaves in the morning and we want to go out for the evening--he has to shave a second time...much to his dismay.

    Second. Food addiction & stress eating. There is the chemical thing, all in and of itself which makes us prone to using food as our drug of choice, but I think those who stress eat and are not food addicts are a small group. They are, at least, the lucky ones.

    I compare it to an alcoholic vs what some call a problem drinker. Most alcoholics get to a point in which they drink every day. A problem drinker doesn't usually drink every day, but he's much further down the road towards alcoholism than a mere social drinker, but he may not have hit the end destination. He gets drunk when things go wrong. Maybe not falling down drunk, but certainly "feeling no pain." And isn't that the goal?

    It's not alcoholism, but it's not incidental drinking, either. And danger hovers, I think.

    The social drinker is one that I would compare to the eater who overdoes it on Thanksgiving, who eats too much cake on his birthday, who enjoys snacks he doesn't need while watching the football game. That's not eating for stress reduction or emotional soothing.

    And, therein lies the rub, once we find that food can be used as drug, we're in trouble and it's a dangerous road that often leads to addiction.

    It was the road I followed. You described it well in your post. After a year of your being on plan and losing more than 150 pounds...the food as drug still beckons. It's a good thing to have exposed that--not only does light always diminish the power the lie that says, "Eat and you'll feel better," but it certainly helped me to read it.

    Like taking in a deep breath after holding it way too long.


    1. Yeah, Deb--the shaving thing is very interesting. Where did all this hair come from and why is it now growing so quickly?
      Great comparison on the levels of drinking alcohol.
      I discovered the food=drug effect so long ago--and I dived right in, for sure. The response to go in that direction seems deeply embedded and the only way I've found to combat it is through various means of support and recovery methods.
      Oh--yes, that lie...and it's one that has been around for ages--we've all heard someone say, "Here, eat this, it'll make you feel better." It has its own category of food--and shelf in the cookbook section: "Comfort Foods." Yep--it's a deeply ingrained part of our society... For some--not a big deal. For folks like us, it's trouble! :)


I sincerely appreciate you taking the time to leave a comment. Thank you for your support!

Copyright © 2008-2019 Sean A. Anderson

The Daily Diary of a Winning Loser. All rights reserved.