Skinny Daily Post

Invincible.

Crabby. I feel crabby, cranky, bored and am churning like an 11-year-old on a rainy day in July. It’s not as if I have nothing to do, but nothing I have to do is anything I want to do. There are deadlines looming or missed, stacks of filing to do, bills to be paid, people to see, appointments to keep.

But I don’t want to.

The only thing I want to do right now is eat. I could eat my way through my pantry and yours. I could concoct strange forms of frosting from the cocoa powder in my pantry and any form of fat at my disposal. And wallow in it. I could plow through all the half-eaten cereal, while waiting for a double batch of cookies to bake, then eat those so hot they burn going down.

I could, but I won’t. Not this time.

I am overwhelmed by life. Plain old life, pure and simple. I’ve just had a bit too much of a week. Too many highs, lows, demands, disappointments. Too much DNC. Too much politic. Too angry, too happy. Too much memory. Too sad, too hopeful, too burned, too anxious.

I need an opiate, a narcotic. A legal one, and one whose addiction will do me more good than harm. Food is one kind of opiate, my oldest and surest one, but it doesn’t wear well on my bones. Alcohol makes me feel a lot worse a lot faster. What I need is a long, deep sweat, and hard enough work to get some endorphins circulating in my wee brain. I need to get my heart going and keep it going for awhile. I need to go “run it off.”

You will find lots and lots of support in the nutritional and psychological communities for this cure. From full-blown depression to these intermittent blues to anxiety and panic attacks, the clinicians all recommend getting a goodly hunk — say 45 minutes or so — of aerobic activity daily, or at least 5 times per week.

To cool your jets, help you sleep, smooth the jitters, raise your spirits, give you a little more juice: panting and sweating make a great prescription. It also helps to manage anger, sadness, loss, or nervousness. Walking it off (or swimming it off, or dancing, rowing, biking, hula-hooping, playing it off) is great old medicine.

And it burns calories.

So don’t binge, burn. It works faster, costs less, and gets you to your goal a whole lot faster.

Am I crazy? Have you noticed that exercise can help cool your binges? Please share your own experience below.

Read Instinct to Heal, by David Servan-Schreiber

Zoloft or Exercise, the Duke University Study at psych.org

Read Healing Moves, by Carol and Mitchell Krucoff

12 thoughts on “Don’t Binge. Burn.

  1. dietgirl says:

    i’m with ya, deary! exercise is an excellent solution. possibly the only thing better is a good round of bedroom gymnastics!

    i’ve also switched to exercising in the mornings (most days) so i can get the feel-good chemicals stirring before the working day has started. really makes one feel righteous and smug when rockin into the office and everyone else is munching on bacon rolls.

  2. Rachel says:

    Oh yes, I’m right there with you on this one. There’s been more than one occasion this year where the the muchie demon was camping out inside my head and I have managed to get rid of him by going for a long walk or (shorter) run. I also find that I sleep so much better when I’ve been exercising and eating well & feel so much more refreshed in the morning.

    It always makes me wonder how I ever managed before….

  3. Mya says:

    I second (or third, or forth) that! In my daily schedule I get up at 5am to head to the gym. It’s hard to get up some mornings but I know after about 5 minutes on the treadmill or lifing weights I feel a million times better! People say “how can you get up so early?” and I reply “how can I NOT?!?!?”

  4. marianne says:

    As so often happens, your timing is perfect. You are a great source of calm and support. I worry about projects, deadlines, my son’s health, my messy house, etc. etc.–and how easy it would be to have a chocolate fest. But your advice the other day (track how different foods make you feel) and today (admit you want to eat the garbage comfort food, but Don’t–get out and exercise)gives me strength. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

  5. Dana says:

    If only I had read this last night! I had a bad case of the Sunday night blues, something that tends to come on as the end of the weekend approaches and my deadlines and committments come to the surface again. I put off exercising, with the excuse I had no time — now I am realizing that a run would have put things in perspective and given me *more* energy to tackle the to-do list.

    Thanks for the reminder!

  6. Mercury says:

    One note of (probably unecessary) caution: while I completely agree that exercise is a great way to lift your mood, I’d recommend consulting a doctor about serious depression. I went into a major decline about ten years ago despite the fact that I exercised regularly and vigorously. It got to the point where I would sometimes burst into tears on the treadmill. My doctor strong-armed me into old-fashioned talk-therapy, and it may well be the best thing I ever did for myself.

    But yes, by all means, go forth and exercise!

  7. rachel says:

    This article said just what I needed to hear today. All afternoon I daydreamed about eating a bowl of ice cream the size of my head. I’ve walked twice today – and now maybe I need to do something else active. Don’t know why some days it’s difficult to stay away from the fridge and others so easy – but glad to have something inspirational to read.

  8. ladymisstree says:

    Oh, how I needed this today. I sedated myself yesterday with food, but I made good choices. I ate too much, but it was good quality food, not the usual fat-filled junk I used to medicate myself with.

    Forcing myself up out of bed to walk and doing weights to try and keep myself from self-medicating today. Wish me luck.

  9. cornfieldpixie says:

    Wow, and I thought whole grain had finally gone to my head. Life has been full of stress lately and I find myself bouncing around our office making statements like “I wish we had a stationary bike or a treadmill around here right now, because I would burn it up”. Used to be the vending machine that I would want, okay, not that I don’t WANT it anymore, but I found something better. My co-workers just look at each other like “as if tofu brownies weren’t enough…”, they are supportive but don’t understand that maintaining an 80+ lb loss takes a completely different type of lifestyle. But you guys know what I’m talking about! Disco class starts at 5am so don’t be late!

  10. Barb says:

    Yeah, in my old life, I had heard about this- but thought it was just a bunch of hooey cooked up by “those health nuts”. Now that I’m a health nut too- I know it’s true! I find that at the end of a long work day, my 30 minute round of circuit training and stretch at the end, put me in a totally different frame of mind. Calm, peaceful, much better able to deal with the commute home and what I will find when I get there!

  11. JuJu says:

    Hi folks,

    So knowing it works and doing it are still two different things. Like you, Barb, I didn’t believe it before. Now I believe it. But, so knowing what I know, why do I sometimes prefer to sit and grind my teeth?

    Okay. Enough whining. I’m going to run now.
    Don’t wanna. Doing it anyway…

  12. Carolyn says:

    Work, my mom visiting, life in general…too much stress = lots of M&M’s! I’ve been so good walking every day and eating right but last night the stress hit bad. Was it the full moon?

    I’m posting this article in my kitchen.

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