I would like to discuss the influence of emotional overeating on working toward achieving a healthy lifestyle. Here's a recap: In addition to medication, which caused weight-gaining properties, emotional overeating has had a great influence on my rapid weight gain over the course of many years. I believe that it affects many individuals in different levels of severity. Severity is in the eye of the beholder. It can range from consuming an "extra cookie" to binge eating. I have experienced the whole spectrum of these levels during different points in my life.
So, you may ask, what in the world does this have to do with this week's column? EVERYTHING! Well, despite the wonderful and proud loss of pounds in the prior weeks, a sad cloud loomed over my head. We all deal with these clouds, which may or may not influence our attitudes toward our coping mechanisms. What do I mean by "clouds looming overhead?" It can mean being under stress, health issues, finances, relationship troubles, being bored and the list can go on and on. I have experienced just about every one of these examples at one time or another. For the most part these past couple of weeks - I was just plain grumpy. Now, be honest, doesn't everyone have a bad day once in a while? Ever notice when one thing goes down hill, it seems to snowball into something overwhelming? This effect can take a toll and it can seem cyclical.
I think it is important to bring up this topic. I fully admit to have participated in binge eating (and even only ingesting that extra cookie) throughout my life. That cyclical effect I mentioned before causes yo-yo weight gain and weight loss. When that colloquial snowball reaches its top speed, I reach for food.
It finally dawned on me that I need to deal with whatever the issue is as it may manifest itself. I realize now that it isn't the end of the world. It just seems like a speed bump along the way. Try to 'own' the problem by changing how you process the incident in your head. It can be subdued by not seeking comfort to food; rather, do something different. It is easier said than done and that's OK. Just make small changes. Here are some examples of how I combat these issues. Go exercise or participate in a craft or hobby. Seek a weight-loss support group. Beginning that small change will eventually break those chains of emotional overeating.
When I practice this binge eating, it does not do me any good. I may feel that burst of self-gratification when I eat that candy bar. It does not, however, fix the root problem. In fact, I feel that guilt/blame monster again as it looms overhead.
A couple of days ago, I purchased another sampling of a different favorite snack (while being in a bad mood). I purchased white cheddar rice cakes with garden vegetable cream cheese. Yummy! It is not a terrible snack when its consumption is limited. Except I ate the whole thing! Aargghhh and oops pop into my head. There is a good side to all this: that snack was no longer appealing nor comforting to me. I realized that I would have been better off not to have anything at all. Even having an apple may have sufficed. No guilt, no blame, no shame. I've been there, done that. Trust me, it works.
When I said I was going to be candid - I meant it. Truth be told, I did not exercise as much as I planned nor did I eat as healthy as I planned. I can also guarantee that this happens to a lot of people.
I am pleased to say that at my recent weigh-in, I lost two more pounds (down to 305 pounds) despite the emotional overeating factor and lack of some exercise. Now, I know, that with the new found epiphany of changing that attitude in the first place and doing something to combat the problem, I feel energized and inspired once more to tackle any issue when it rears its ugly head. Remember, just say "NO!"
Thank you again, readers, for your unconditional support in my endeavor. Stay tuned for every other Monday's edition.
Casi Stewart can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. A Weighty Issue appears every other Monday on the Life page.