Every Week, Every Day: This is Life

Grief AngelLife happens. And life’s happenings tend to get in the way of our grandest plans. We find ourselves on one track only to be pushed over onto another route, let alone another track. I had hoped for a clean, 8-week series of posts detailing my experiences with Marc David’s The Slow Down Diet, but that’s not what the Universe had in store for me!

I lost my grandmother last week, and everything got turned upside down: emotions, geography, sleep schedules, meals, budgets, work deadlines, and plans for consistent personal development work based on clean and intuitive eating. Well, as I basically said, “Plans shplans.” But that’s not to say I didn’t get some personal development work in. My 8-week course is becoming a longer one–and so be it.

Honestly, I don’t have the energy or time to pull out a bunch of really wise learnings from this difficult time in my life. I’m still in the midst of formulating insights. But what I can share is that my eating has been what you might expect it to be: off the rails one minute, back within a healthy zone the next. At a high-level…

  • Junk food is called “comfort food” for a reason! But I don’t like the way my body, mind, and spirit feel when I’m “in the food” and overeating mashed potatoes, pretzels, and cookies. Stomach ache, heartburn, swollen fingers…ick!
  • It’s really difficult to stop eating junk food, probably because of its addictive qualities; plus, when I’m “down” and feeling tired and weary, it’s just easier to give into it.
  • Asking God to help me not eat junk food for comfort is the last thing I want to do when I want comfort from food. (DUH!)

Here’s What Matters Right Now
There are times when taking care of my body, mind, and spirit are less important than comforting myself with junk food–and this realization is what’s KEY to my recovery. This is the crux of my issues, and I suspect that others who share my struggles can identify. It’s in this gunky area of discomfort that I need to focus my work. Yes, it’s “normal” to use food for comfort, especially during difficult times. I’m willing to bet most people do a little comfort eating when faced with a death on the family. I’m not arguing this point. I take it do a different level, beyond the parameters of normal.

What I’d like to understand–and I’m willing to ask God for guidance here–is why I’m able to so easily ignore my physical, mental, and spiritual health when the going gets tough? And why is it so difficult to reclaim my responsibility for health once I slip into old habits? “Because I’m an addict and I’m not recovered” is probably the answer to both questions. So perhaps my question should really be centered on what I can do about it.

The answer is spiritual–I believe this. An alcoholic in a 12-step recovery program has a plan to not drink at times like these. I’ll probably upset certain people by pointing out that many alcoholics, while they won’t pick up a bottle, will turn to food. This is where the conversation gets exhausting–and the answer, for me, requires something more than “Hand it over to God.” I need more help getting to that point.

I come back to the concept of self-love and, indeed, the act of welcoming God into my every moment. I can’t ignore the addictive qualities of junk food and my body’s response to consuming simple sugars (moooore, please!). Then there’s this coursework I’m starting soon through the Institute for the Psychology of Eating, which I expect will shed light on all of these things and more.

I’m discouraged for not having everything figured out. But that’s life, right? We’ve got to go with the flow regardless. I’m a human being and I’m on the path to recovery from some form of an eating disorder/food addiction. It’s a road I’ll always travel, by nature of the beast. I’m exploring myself deeply and will soon begin an academic study of the challenges so many of us face, so that I can help myself and others deal with the pain I’m going through right now.

Be on the lookout for the official Week 3 post of the 8 Weeks in the Woods series…a little out of consecutive order, just like life. 😉

 

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