Side Notes: Sometimes, It Happens

Side Notes: Sometimes, It Happens

I explained in my last Side Note about how freeing I have felt recently not worrying about food all the time. I have kept it up and it has been awesome, but like everyone, I have my off days. Lately when these come, I’m able to rationalize the thoughts and re-evaluate how I’m feeling; how I’m REALLY feeling.


Almost two years with Rena helped me learn about really listening to myself, not just the physical signals for hunger but also to my emotions, because sometimes aren’t just for feeling, but to explain some overwhelming problem that might be occurring.

I have learned over the years how my emotional eating was a way for me to escape from something that might have been bothering me. Stressed out about a long day? Lets push that emotion aside and mask it by numbing myself entirely with the consumption of food. And then lets proceed to feel guilty about eating all that food, making the next day that much harder because all I want to do is negate whatever I ate.

If that were to happen today, I would imagine how else to deal with the looming long hours. Maybe, go to bed an hour or so early. Get some coffee in the morning for just in case, as driving long hours through certain environments can be exhausting. Pack an energy packed lunch to make sure I don’t feel fatigued from all the hiking. Bring lots of water and focus on fueling my body the way it needs to function properly. If all else fails, find a rest stop and take a cat nap to make sure nothing bad happens.


Sometimes these emotions can just get too overwhelming, as they have been the past few weeks. I won’t go into much detail about the problem specifically, but it’s been rather difficult. The unknowns and hard decisions are starting to weigh down on me, and without the support or reaching out that I’ve needed, I turned to food. I ate a “tad” (hah, understatement) more chocolate than was probably healthy for me. Sugar was basically in everything. I wasn’t feeling numb like I usually would though, but I also wasn’t feeling any guilt. It was an interesting turn of events and truthfully I had a hard time dealing with it. Instead I really started to feel the physical effects of the way I was eating: I felt lethargic, bloated, oily, and just overall not like I would like my body to feel.

I had some tendencies to worry about my body, especially when I did my weekly weigh in and for the first time since I’ve returned home from Peru, saw the scale go up instead of down (I have been letting my body adjust how it wants and guiding it with patience, don’t get me wrong. There are no eating disordered/anorexic behaviors going on here). I hadn’t felt that kind of, how do I put it, dread, in a very long time. I was surprised by it and really did not like it.

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So what better than to fight it, right? It’s hard when you’ve already gotten in the groove of it without really knowing it, but there is always a fight to fight.  I had to fight in order to win back the relaxation and ease with which I’ve let myself have in the past few months. To me it’s not about starting over on Monday when the new week starts, as it seems many do, but about the next second after that emotion comes to the front. There is nothing like confronting it head on and dealing with it. Yeah, it sucks and it’s hard, but that means things will only get better from there, right?

They have to if you’re trying. I have found that when I’m willing to listen, everything is so.much.easier. No joke. Keeping everything inside has never done me any good and talking with friends, family, you guys, always makes things so much happier, easier to deal with, or passable. This too, shall pass.


So sometimes even when I think things are going so well, things can get hard. But all I’ve got to do is remember how great it is without all that mess…so much better.

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7 Responses to Side Notes: Sometimes, It Happens

  1. glidingcalm says:

    “This too shall pass” has been one of my most helpful reminders!! That’s what Buddhism and meditation have really helped me with too….. focusing on the present… realizing that this pain, discomfort (and joy, happiness, bliss) is temporary. The idea that all feelings will pass, so try not to judge them… but instead observe them.

    It’s definitely not always easy… and sometimes instead of feeling, I eat too…. or act on impulse… but with every day we learn more, and that’s what’s refreshing! We can always try again the next day, the next hour, the next minute. :) Anddddd with each victory, we build our confidence… we realize, we’ve done it before so the next time when we are there, we know we’ll be able to make it through.

    Love and hugs, friend!

  2. I hear you, sister. I’ve also been having a rough few weeks :( But you’re right – it can only get better from here! :)

    Keep your head up and be gentle with yourself. You are perfect. Always.

  3. Totally with you girl – it’s been rough for me lately too, but I love reading things like this that encourage me to THINK about what I need and take care of myself.

  4. Maggie says:

    I’m sending you a giant hug and hopes that this week begins to lighten up for you. “This too shall pass” is a wise thing to remember, for all of us. Sometimes it’s hard to remember that when you’re in the middle of things…

  5. biz319 says:

    I know its hard not knowing what’s going to happen in your life – but you have come so far Mel! I love that even though you had more sugar than was probably necessary, you recognize it, faced it and can move on. So proud of you!!

  6. This is such a great post for me to read. I still struggle with emotional eating, mainly when I am either feeling lonely or stressed/frustrated. I also struggle with it more when things are uncertain. I used to beat myself up a lot for it, and I still do sometimes, but more and more I try to observe what I’m doing and why. Sometimes I let myself do it anyway, but I think that’s all part of learning how to be “normal”. Many “normal” eaters eat on occasion out of emotion (or don’t eat, which is still manipulating food to manage your emotions), so I do think it’s something that’s difficult to shake completely; but your awareness of it is a really important part of re-learning the “rules” of normal eating.

  7. G says:

    I agree with Sara above. Emotional eating is part of a normal diet and I think it is OK to grant yourself some room to listen to that part of your body too. You know, after the healthy food, the rest, the thoughtfulness, sometimes you just aren’t going to relax until you eat the pound of chocolate. That is when I channel Geneen Roth and “pull up a chair” and accept that body wants what it wants and denying it is only delaying it. The frequency has dropped a lot and I stop a LOT sooner than I used to just with this awareness.
    Field work is hard because it is physically and mentally draining, often with a lot of down or travel time, and long days=lots of snack with you that are easy to accidentally eat before 11am. Taking mental breaks to check out a magazine or do a crossword puzzle and physical breaks to stretch might help too. Books on tape/CD/mp3 are available at most libraries and fun podcasts (this american life, the moth) and can keep you out of your own head during long car rides.

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