I am an emotional eater. Back in the day, if I had some major stress going on, I would sit down to a big plate of nachos or a huge bag or Doritos and go to town. In my mind I thought it made me feel better. I was killing myself. My addiction is food. I know that now. I didn’t know it then.
Drugs- never did them. I hate the way I feel when I have to take a pain pill or something like that. I couldn’t be a drug addict.
Alcohol- Pre-op, I would have one or two drinks at social events etc. I was never a big drinker. Now I will sip one rum and diet coke all night and I am happy. I am having one as we speak actually. Just don’t have that desire to get drunk and never did. I like being in control too much.
Food- that is my thing. I used to drown my emotions in chips and nachos and hamburgers and fries and junk that was making me morbidly obese.
I have not had a lot of really stressful times since my surgery two and a half years ago, so I have always wondered how I would hold up under pressure. Would I cave and go to the nearest Taco Bell and try to stuff myself with nachos? Would I buy a bag of Nacho Cheese Doritos and eat til I was stuffed?
Well I have gotten my answer. In the last four weeks, my life has been full of stress. My dad went into the hospital for four days. Then he came home and my 19-year-old son got very sick and spent three days in the hospital. Then after he came home I found out I was going to be a grandmother. Then my brother was rushed to the hospital and they found a brain tumor. He had surgery and went home. Then this past Sunday night, something in his belly ruptured and he was rushed back to the hospital where they found a baseball-sized mass in his abdomen. When they went in to remove it, they also found 3 liters of pus and a hole in his colon and a ruptured intestines. Yes it has been a rough week.
Upon leaving the hospital Monday night, I was a wreck. We were not sure my brother was going to make it. My addiction was gnawing at me. Once we got to the restaurant, I was so exhausted and the addiction had me looking at every fried fattening horrible thing on the menu. This was my first real test. I was definitely in a weak moment and this could have been a disaster. I looked at my husband and told him how tempting the fried shrimp and buttered garlic bread looked to me.
Normally these things just do not bother me anymore. Monday night they did. What made the difference this time as opposed to my pre-op stressouts? Education and a new relationship with food. I know now what food does for my body and what the fatty greasy fried shrimp would have done to my body.
I looked at the menu and remembered that I cannot eat much at one time. I stopped thinking about fried shrimp and buttered garlic toast and decided that having a small piece of Ben’s steak and the salad that came with his meal that he did not want, would make a much better dinner choice and one that was filled with protein.
I felt fine after eating my small piece of steak and my salad. I was able to spend the rest of my evening feeling full, and knowing I had put some good nutrients into my body and not a lot of fat and carbs. I felt really proud that I had survived the test and not given into my old stress impulses.
It may not seem like a very big deal to some, but for this food addict, being able to keep my healthy relationship with food in the midst of pure and utter emotional exhaustion and stress was a BIG victory.
I love my new life and I love my renewed health and not even terrible stress in my life will make me revert back. That is a really powerful and liberating feeling indeed!
Have a great evening!