Devin plays so much tennis, and plays with such gusto, that at any given time, some part of his body is always in a lot of pain. He doesn’t take any analgesic of any kind, however, because his philosophy is that the pain will stop him from going too far and really injuring himself. I’ve always marvelled at this, because I’m always ready to take any kind of chemical, whether its an espresso before I go for a run, or a xanax if I’m having a panic attack. It seems to me that he has a much higher threshhold for pain than I do.
On the other hand, twice yesterday I ate so much that I was in a great deal of physical pain. I was conscious of what I was doing that was causing the discomfort, but my emotions were so high and my need for comfort was so intense, that they overrode my fullness signals.
What motivates an athlete to push the envelope is a competitive spirit, and a desire to achieve. It seems to me like a healthy way to channel physical, mental and emotional energy. I admire that process, although I am not a competitor by nature, and I’d rather observe than participate in that kind of activity.
Unfortunately, the mental and emotional processes that drive me to overeat don’t really offer much in the way of a positive outcome. Its understandable that the pleasure of the food, the emotional anaesthetic, and the comfort that I derive from it are what keep me repeating the behavior. But clearly, eating to physical excess is a malfunction.
As I seek to understand myself better, and adapt my strategies so that I can better channel my own energies, I think I can use my physical comfort level as an important signal to stop eating. I may have spent a lifetime actively ignoring that, but it doesn’t mean I just have to give in and give up.
Today my eating was much better — more relaxed and healthier, and I didn’t overdo it. So perhaps the pain threshhold I reached yesterday just took a while to kick in. It might be too much to expect that I can interrupt myself mid-binge. But there’s nothing to say that I can’t identify what’s happening and do a little post-facto course correction.
One thing that seems to have helped is that I shook up my menu a bit today to overcome the bored feelings I was having. Combined with proactively staying away from the kitchen, this strategy seems to have helped me remain physically and mentally satisfied and comfortable. I was also active despite the marginal weather(and even ran 9 miles in the driving rain).
I’m still waiting for that magical day when they come up with a pill that teaches me to stop eating before its too late. Until that time, however, its live, learn, forgive, and move on.