Friday, October 17, 2008

I'm doing quite well, except that there's so much going on in my life that my head is spinning. After soccer ends for the girls, things should slow down. A bit. I'm feeling a bit anxious about this weekend because I have: a chili cookoff to attend tonight; an all-day scrapbooking event tomorrow (always lots of unhealthy food), followed by a dinner out with T's siblings and spouses; and our annual block party on Sunday (everyone is supposed to bring an apple or pumpkin dish for the cookoff). It's an all food all the time weekend. I've been feeling so great that I don't want to freak out and make this a horrible weekend. So, I'm not going to. I'm going to eat mindfully and stop before I have that "too full" feeling. So it won't be such healthy fare. It's one weekend out of my life. Tune in Monday to see how I did.

I saw my therapist this week, and she's happy with my progress. Her only assignment for me is to work on stopping my irrational thoughts sooner. I shall endeavor to complete my assignment well.

Last weekend was a very full one with little down time (always a trigger for me) . As I sat down to pay bills (also always a trigger for me), I started to feel the urge to binge. At first I was so distracted by the desire that I couldn't concentrate on what I was doing. I paced around a bit, trying to soothe myself with little success. Finally, I got a little snack packet of cookies to sit down with and decided that I would ride out my urge. I reasoned that it couldn't possibly last forever. As I got involved in paying the bills, it was still there but I ignored it. When I finished, I wavered as I stood in the kitchen putting the leftover detritus in the recycling bag. I reminded myself that I was riding it out and went upstairs to get ready for bed. After I did my bedtime routine and got into bed to read for a bit, I realized that the urge had lessened. It didn't really completely go away before I went to sleep, but wasn't there any longer in the morning. It was really an empowering feeling to know that I'd faced the urge and beaten it without escaping the house on my bike or on foot. I stayed right there and didn't give in.

I had never really thought about why sitting down to pay bills is a trigger for me until I read this in Karen Koenig's blog and it struck a chord with me...

there's the anxiety response from childhood which "makes" you turn to food. Because you know exactly when the munchies will hit, prepare yourself. Recognize that the appointed hour will come and you'll want to eat. Plan to do something else, either distracting or comforting or both. Anticipate that you'll have mega-anxiety and reframe your beliefs to help you ride it out. If someone trustworthy is around, enlist their help in getting you through the anxiety without eating. If you have feelings connected to the anxiety, write them out or cry or scream. Talk yourself through the moment. You reinforce your "need" for food every time you eat out of anxiety and move toward extinguishing the behavior every time you resist it.

I remember watching my mother pay the bills and worrying so over every penny. She used to have to juggle things to have enough to cover everything. Making her grocery list involved also listing the price of each food next to its name so that she knew exactly how much the bill would be. It was very anxiety-producing to watch her go through this ordeal week after week. I think that even though we have enough money to pay our bills every month, I still worry that I will end up like my mom. There was so little money that having something break was a major trauma. There was a very odd time that she rationed toilet paper to us and told us that when we ran out we'd have to use newspaper. Then there was the time she discovered someone had left a radio on all night. She took away everything we had that used electricity, including our light bulbs, because she wanted to prove to us how much we were wasting. That was the reality of my childhood.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Congrats on riding out your urge to binge. That is a huge accomplishment. I will remember this post the next time I get the urge.

I hope you enjoy the weekend, don't let the food bully you!