When Numbing Out With Food Stops Working

My father died in November. I proceeded to numb myself out with food all through the holidays. The abundance of holiday treats at gatherings, work, and in my home didn't make me feel like I was going out of my way to overindulge. It was a continuous nibble on whatever was in front of me, late morning through after dinner. I started adding sugar to my morning coffee because my father never drank coffee without sugar, I was honoring him. When I'd add two tablespoons up from one, it tasted even better. I'd snack on cereal and refill my bowl if milk was remaining. Yes rolled off my tongue when a server asked if we wanted a second bowl of chips when dining out. The unconscious eating stories are endless. After all, it was the holidays and my father died, so naturally I said yes a lot.

Food is comforting. It's okay, I have a lot going on. I shouldn't beat myself up, not now my father died. It's understandable. 

Then I started noticing my pants were snug, buttons popped open on my jacket. My clothes started fitting differently. One morning when I was home alone, I stood in front of the mirror in simply a pair of underwear for a good ten minutes and felt so overwhelmed I started crying. I noticed the changes in my thighs, my arms, my belly. When I start carrying belly fat, that's the greatest indicator for my body type that I am packing on the pounds. I was too scared to even look at the number on the scale. I told myself, I'll just lose a few pounds and then weigh myself when the number is gentler to accept.

Wow. Shall we call this a dark place?

So instead of avoiding the scale until I felt like I was down to a number I could handle, on the two month anniversary of my father's death I stepped on the scale. I looked closely at the number, it actually was not as bad as I anticipated and concurrently was a frightening high end of a mental hard stop for me. In that moment I knew eating to numb myself was over. I told myself, it all starts with sugar. I was going to give up desserts and go back to my morning cup of coffee with just a splash of milk. I knew reducing sugar in my diet would also reduce carb cravings and break bad habits I had fallen into. Now, since giving up sugar wasn't as difficult as I thought, I'm considering taking on a 30 day diet reset.

In a magical way that I desperately needed, without knowing any of the personal struggle I'm facing, a friend invited me to a fitness class she was teaching. I hesitantly said yes because there are a million and one ways my mind can convince me I'm not cut out for this type of fitness, but deep down I knew accountability to a friend is a great reinforcement. Since the day I stepped on the scale, I've been to three fitness classes and to the gym on the other days (sidewalks and trails are currently snow packed and icy). I feel more grounded and a new clarity having chosen fitness classes that appeal not just to body, but also the mind. I've filled my apple watch activity circles every day for movement, exercise, and standing goals. My pants are starting to fit a little better, but my head is in a much better place. I simply threw away all my excuses and started to take action.

Yes my father died and there is no reason why being kind and gentle to myself doesn't mean fully taking care of my mind and body with a healthy diet and exercise. May this journey continue to flourish...


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