All this discussion of ‘treats’ and their place in the life of someone trying to manage their weight given me good pause for reflection. One of the positives that I always got from overeating was a certain combination of pleasure and anaesthetic. Quite possibly because I’m introvert at heart (on the Myers-Briggs scale ) I do find that the normal process of daily living causes me to be slightly on edge. For decades, food –administered often– was what soothed my shattered nerves and kept me functioning.
This use of food as painkiller became so second nature to me that I never realized it. Only when I stopped feeding myself with lots of refined carbs and lots of fat did I begin to understand something was happening. At first I thought it was a simple as ‘withdrawal’ or just resentment. While both of those clearly WERE factors in affecting my mood, they didn’t explain everything.
What made me notice it was that I began developing a constant case of exasperation. People bothered me. Traffic bothered me. Work bothered me. The dog bothered me. And I began to do some serious damage to my relationship with my significant other. After all, what is more irritating than a person who is irritated all of the time.
Most probably this is what led me to regain some weight last year. On the conscious level, I couldn’t understand what was propelling me to eat junky foods so often and why I felt so vulnerable to emotional eating (especially in the evening). But the addition of these junky items apparently did provide at least some calming effect, either as a sedative, a burst of pleasure or as an anaesthetic.
These past few months I’ve been eating more peacefully, in a healthier manner, and have slowly lost weight. This was largely accomplished by cutting out those foods that had been dancing around the periphery of my day. A cookie here, a snack bar there, a few handfuls of peanuts when no one was looking. Once I had cleared those away, things seemed to fall into place.
Except for one thing. I’ve been kind of irritable lately. Devin mentioned it to me, as a matter of fact. Apparently despite daily exercise, focused relaxation, and more sleep, I’m just missing that certain extra something that was helping me get through the day. I know if I sit quietly for a time by myself, it tends to help. But as a grown man in a busy world, relying on “down time” is not a particularly practical strategy.
I know this – I refuse to simply go back to eating junk food just to take off the edge. But I need more tools that work – simple, easy things that I can do on the run. When my back hurts, or my ankle (running injury) throbs it seems to help to take a REAL aspirin. But I’m at a loss for other solutions that are as immediate, when its just my psyche that’s in pain.
I’d like to think that the ‘real’ Jonathan is a thin person who smiles a lot and has a great sense of humor. I’ll keep you posted.