Sunday, April 3, 2011

A thought or two on Emotional Eating...

It does happen and it DOES suck.  Over the past 2 weeks, I have been doing just that.  Eating my emotions.  ALL of them.  I have had a lot going on lately and I have just been feeling really stressed, overwhelmed, and lonely.  I love being an independent woman and I would never ever change that for any reason in the world, but sometimes it would be nice to have someone in my corner that I could trust with out any doubt.  However, I was reminded recently, that even when I think I can trust someone as a friend and rely on them, I am wrong.  The ONLY person I can rely on is myself.  Period.  And even that sometimes is questionable.  Especially when I allow myself to open up and trust someone because I make decisions with my heart instead of my head and I end up getting hurt as a result.  Recently, I was hurt by someone I trusted and in a way I never imagined and instead of dealing with it, I turned to food.  I know I have gained weight because of it.  I can see it and I can FEEL it.  As I type this blog, I am still trying to work my way through what I have had to deal with and I will be okay eventually, but I need to vent and share my experience with emotional eating...

What causes us to turn to food to help ease emotions that we don't want to or don't know how to deal with?  I don't know the answer to that, but I wish I did.  I wish I knew how to avoid it... for life, but I don't.  In this journey that I have been on for the past two years I have learned a lot.  A lot about life, about myself, and about people.  However, I know that I still have a lot more to learn.  Although I tell myself (and everyone that asks me for advice and support) to take it one step and one day at a time, even I sometimes don't listen to my own advice.  Which has become more than clear lately.  

Over the past two weeks I have been eating HORRIBLY again.  Things like fast food, junk, and donuts.  Lots of donuts.  I don't know why it's been donuts this time around, but it has.  There is a bakery here in Indy that is well known for its delicious donuts...those of you that live here with me know what I am talking about...Long's Bakery.  I have made several trips to the Southport location over the past 2 weeks.  I am really embarrassed and ashamed by it, but I know I need to be accountable about it.  The bottom line is...I F'd up.  I F'd up royally.  I let the stresses of life, shitty emotions, and a certain person get to me in a bad way and instead of dealing with things in a healthy manner, I went back to old habits, in just a snap.  It sucks.  It sucks bad.  I feel like I have erased all of the progress I have made since December in just 2 weeks and I just want to scream about it.  I want to slap the stupid out of myself.  In some ways I want to continue to feel guilty and dig myself deeper and NOT deal with any of this because in some ways it is easier, BUT...I know I can not do that.  I know I have to stop while I am ahead and I have to go back to doing what I know works.  Eating right.  Eating 6-8 small meals each day totalling about 1800-2000 calories with most of it being lean protein and drinking LOTS of water.  That is what works for me.  I know that.  I have learned that, but I have lost sight of that in the midst of stress, loneliness, and hurt. 

Every time I binge eat on food like this, I always feel so guilty as I am doing it, but I somehow put myself in a state of denial.  I deny that it will affect me in any way; deny that it will make me gain weight; deny that I am being a HUGE hypocrite when I do it.  I somehow convince myself that I can stop whenever I want; that THIS one last splurge will be it and I will get back on track tomorrow.  However, it is so easy for that one splurge to turn into another and another and another and before I know it, it is two weeks later and I feel miserable as I do right now.

When I weighed over 400lbs, emotions weren't really something I had to deal with.  They were always hidden by my massive size.  I never had to be too worried about people (particularly men) approaching me or trying to be part of my life in any way.  People saw me and the only thing they saw was an obese person and they didn't think twice...they just kept it moving.  Those that did approach me were usually not very good people and looking back, I think they knew that they could take advantage of me because I had absolutely zero self-esteem and that was pretty evident.  Living most of my life with that huge shield covering me took me to a place where I was able to block out hurt and pain and sadness and anger and every other emotion that is humanly possible to experience.  Anytime I started to feel something, I killed it with food.  Essentially, I shut my heart down.  Even though I did experience those type of things, I blocked my heart and my mind and my soul from DEALING with those things.  What I am now realizing as I continue on this journey is that I have never really dealt with any of my emotions from any aspect of life--I have always just shut them up with food.  After doing that for 25 years, it is hard to have a different approach...

These days, I know that I am a blessed person and I am thankful, but I also know I have had my fair share of the not so great things in life.  From being lied to and cheated on and taken advantage of by men, and watching my family fall apart after my Gramma died, to dealing with the death of my mother when I was just 20 and having to grow up overnight and take on the responsibility of raising my sister because her POS (piece of shit) father took off after our mom died, and everything in between. 

What I have learned as I have lost all of this weight is that ALL of those emotions that have been buried deep for many many years are there...and they are coming out in FULL force.  I can be a very emotional person these days.  Things that never phased me before leave me in tears more often than not now.  In some ways I wear my heart on my sleeve and I trust way too easily and I am very sensitive.  Yet, in some ways I am still very guarded.  Either way, I am still very unsure about how to deal with all of these emotions, clearly... and I am still trying to figure them, and myself, out...

I don't know the answers to dealing with emotions, either... and I am certainly not going to pretend I do.  I just know that I need to figure it out.  I know that as I continue through this journey and continue to grow as a person, I will eventually start to figure it out.  It's a process. 

For now, to get me out of this emotional rut I have been in, I am going to go back to basics.  I am going to take my own advice and take things one step, one day, one bite at a time. 

I'd like to say thank you to all of you out there who are supports to me.  Those of you in my direct support circle of family and friends who do care about me and have my best interest at heart.  There aren't many of you, but I know who you are and I thank you for your love, your concern, and your support.   

Thanks for taking time to listen and read.  If you have experience with emotional eating and how to deal with it, please share your thoughts with me.

Till next time...

Lots of Love,

Baked Cheese Sticks and Crunchy Ranch Chicken

Two new recipes for ya.  I am sure ya'll have your own versions of these somewhere, but here are mine.

Baked Cheese sticks:
3 Light & Fit string cheese sticks, cut in half
1 egg beaten
1 cup water
Italian bread crumbs
(sometimes I also use panko, but didn't on this one)

Spray a baking sheet or whatever baking dish you want to use with non-stick spray.  Soak the half cheese sticks in water.  One at a time, dip them in the bread crumbs, then the egg, then back into the bread crumbs until they are well coated with a thick layer of bread crumbs.  TIP: use separate hands--one wet and one dry--otherwise, you'll have a mess on your hands, literally!

Place them on your baking sheet or pan or dish and bake for about 12-15 minutes at 350.

Serve them with marinara or pizza sauce and enjoy!  They are SO good and can help curb cravings for fried cheese sticks!!  :-)

NEXT--Crunchy Ranch Chicken

1lb chicken tenders, cut into pieces
8 oz plain Greek yogurt
1/2 envelope Hidden Valley Ranch seasoning
Panko bread crumbs (about a cup, cup and a half)
Ignore the veggies---those were for a snack a different time :-)

Mix the ranch into the yogurt.  Rinse, clean, trim, and cut up the chicken.  Stir it all together in a bowl and let it sit as long as possible.  A few hours would be ideal, but I thought of this last minute and only let mine sit for an hour.  It was still really good and VERY moist chicken!
 After you've let the chicken marinade dip each piece in Panko bread crumbs, seasoned with Salt and Pepper.
 Bake for 25 minutes at 350 (flipping over about half way through) and enjoy!  I also used a little bit of the Greek yogurt ranch dip to well, dip them in!  :-) 

Hope you like! 

Till next time...

Lots of Love,