Yesterday was HARD. It became clear by the early afternoon that we were not going to be able to go on our vacation this weekend. Both of the kids had 103 degree fevers. It was also a very low key day. We had a princess marathon watching Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, The Little Mermaid, and so on. Since the day was so low key, that means not much was going on to keep my busy. I was also pretty tired/sleepy which is another trigger for me. So combine not doing anything (or at least not going anywhere aka being home all day watching movies with two feverish kids), the stress from the kids being sick, being upset about having to cancel our weekend vacation, and you have a perfect storm for emotional eating. My internal dialog went something like this all day long "You are emotional, not hungry. Eating a bunch of food is not going to solve any of your problems. You are emotional, not hungry. Eating a bunch of food is not going to solve any of your problems." We have chocolate fudge ice cream in the freezer and it was very hard not to delve into it. My food choices may not have been stellar yesterday, I don't think I ate a single vegetable all day, but my total calories were under 2000! ( I ended the day at 1,959). Huge personal non scale victory! It would have been so easy to eat well over 5,000 calories yesterday with how crummy I felt and how stressed I was with being home alone with the kids all day. Matt was gone working from 7am-9:30pm because he had planned all his work into today to prepare for the weekend, which now we won't get to take advantage of it being rainy, cold and two feverish kids. But I stayed strong, and *mostly* out of the kitchen.
Fortunately yesterday the kids seemed to be on opposite cycles and fortunately the children's Ibuprofen helped a lot. So as one kid's medicine wore off and they began to feel really sick again, the other one would start feeling better and need a little less attention. And they would go back and forth. They even took naps at different times. In the morning I was feeling incredibly snacky, that is when the urge to eat uncontrollably started. I stayed firmly planted on the couch holding the kids and watching Sleeping Beauty for the umpteenth time until 10:00 when I decided to have some of the air popped popcorn that we made after Lily's dance recital yesterday. I measured out 4 cups and I figured there was about 1/2 TBSP butter on it since in the whole bowl (1/2 cup unpopped popcorn, I have no idea how much that makes: all I know is it make one big bowl ha!). I still wanted to munch after that but I drank some water and forced myself out of the kitchen. Around 11:00 in order to distract myself I figured we would do school but after about two minutes it was very clear that Chloe needed to go to bed. So I spent time putting her to bed, and then since Lily was feeling well due to her medicine I gave her the IPAD and I did Zumba World Party on the Wii. The last 15 minutes were pretty tough and I was starving, so I went and ate lunch- more than I normally would have, but I had just done Zumba so I wasn't too worried and I was more focused on not binging. I really wanted to delve into the ice cream but I have one hard and fast rule that is very important and that is this
NEVER EAT SWEETS ON AN EMPTY STOMACH!
If I eat sweets when I am hungry I don't just eat a treat, I eat and eat and eat and eat and eat and eat and eat. I'm unstoppable and uncontrollable mostly because I'm hungry, and things taste better when you are hungry so those sweets just taste irresistible and I want more and more and more. It's a terrible cycle. So, I never never never eat sweets when I am hungry. I will eat them after lunch or after dinner and it it much much easier to control my portions and stop after having just a little bit when I am already satisfied from my meal. (Notice I said easier, not that it was easy to stop). So I ate a yogurt and some tamales, and some BBQ chips and drank 24 oz of water and I felt much better and stayed out of the treats. I knew that if I got into the sweets it wasn't going to be pretty due to the emotional factor that was hanging over me all day.
The afternoon proved to be harder still, my mood started effecting my thinking and all my negative thoughts came flooding back. During my shower I just felt fat and I started thinking "what is the point of all this? I'm working so hard and I'm not making any progress, I still look awful and I will never reach my goals, I might as well give up and go eat that ice cream." It took all of my mental powers to push that voice to the background (since I couldn't seem to shut it up) and remind myself that I am just finishing out week 3, which really isn't much time at all. I have to allow myself time, which is the hardest part. I think because I have been good for two weeks I should be at goal but it just doesn't work that way. It is the day in and day out efforts that add up over time.
Time is so weird. One moment it can seem like time is flying by, and the next it can seem like a lot more time should have passed than has. I was doing great the first half of the week, feeling good, spirits high and thinking "this is going great! I've made great progress, I'm doing well, sticking to my training, and changes are happening". Today I'm thinking "I've been doing this forever, I'm tired, I'm going to fail, this is stupid, why even bother?" It's the times like this that it is important to coach yourself down from the ledge. A skill I had not heretofore learned, but I am now being forced to learn (which is a good thing) because I just can't quit. That isn't an option because I have a commitment to race in this triathlon and there is more than just me tangled up in it. My father in law just bought me a wetsuit! I can't let him down.
There are so many skills to continue to learn, and learning to cope with the hard days is among my top priority. It should be among yours too because it always seems that we start off strong but sometime around week 3, something comes along and smacks us down and if we don't know how or don't try to work our way through those problems we will never get anywhere because life never stops, something always comes along. There will be one challenge after another and learning to overcome those challenges is where we grow, is where we change.
I used skills yesterday that I have been working on building for over two years.
1. never eat sweets on an empty stomach
2. Workout when you feel tired or lethargic, it might make you feel better. (If you start to exercise and then just continue to feel worse as the workout progresses then stop, you probably need a rest day).
3. Substitute something better for something worse, or in other words, choose the lesser of two evils (I chose popcorn and butter over bowls of ice cream in the morning, I chose animal crackers and beef jerky over cookies in the evening. I made some hot tea to drink at night instead of snacking more and I put splenda in it. Animal Crackers and Beef Jerky may not be the healthiest choices but I guarantee they are better than eating 12 cookies (I made sure to eat only one serving of animal crackers and I measured out my Beef Jerky portion). There is a lot of controversy over artificial sweeteners and splenda in particular (along with aspartame) but I guarantee it's not as bad as downing half a gallon of ice cream),
4. Distraction. In the morning I tried to do preschool with the kids and failing that, ended up exercising instead. In the afternoon I put my headphones on and resolutely stayed out of the kitchen and then later ended up grooming my dog.
5. Mental Coaching- learning to shut up all the negative self talk is very important, or in failing shutting it up, pushing it to the back of your head, then remind yourself of some truths and the reason why you are doing what you are doing. Don't let negative half truths or lies derail you.
6. Repeating a mantra- "I am emotional not hungry, eating a bunch of food is not going to solve my problems". This helped remind me that in fact, I was not hungry I was just stressed and stuck at home and in fact I did not need to eat.
This is an important post for me because this is the first time I have been able to make it through an incredibly difficult day without binging. I ate more than planned, but again, the lesser of two evils. I would rather eat 1900 calories any day than 5000. I feel good about how I handled yesterday, I feel empowered and I know that since I have done it once, I can do it again. It is all about being in the moment and dealing with the current situation, and I do feel like I have made progress. Reflecting on yesterday has been eye opening. I should print my own list of tools and keep it handy.