This is a story I have only shared with a few people close to me, so far. That’s because it’s embarrasing and not something I am very proud of. I share it here, tonight, because maybe it will help someone else who has found themselves in the same bad pattern of behavior that I found myself in.
It was the summer of my oldest daughter’s wedding. She was beautiful and was engaged to a guy who was everything that we had hoped she would find in a husband. My husband was working out of town, my youngest daughter was out on her own, and I was working the afternoon shift as an RN at a local hospital.
The bridge by our house was being replaced that summer and the new construction going on meant that I had to drive the long way around a neighboring town, cross a different bridge, and then travel on to the hospital. Going to work was not bad, although a more lengthy drive for me. Coming home alone at midnight was a different story. Sometimes I had to drive over a torn up dirt road, through an empty, creepy construction site. Sometimes I had to park up the road and walk home for about 1/4 of a mile down a dirt road and through the woods at just after midnight to reach my front door.
The upcoming wedding, just a few months out, and my long “to do” list had me stressed to say the least. My intentions were to diet down several dress sizes but the stress of the summer proved to be a bit too much for me. I would usually eat sensibly all day but at midnight on the way home I had to pass several fast food establishments. With the fast food smells wafting in from outside I would wind up going through one of the fast food drive throughs to treat myself to some super-sized, delicious, high calorie fat and sugar bomb. Then, who wants that smell and garbage in their car, right? So, knowing better, when I hit an empty stretch of road, I would wind down my passenger side window and toss all of the garbage out of the car. That was so bad on so many levels. Each time I would tell myself that it was the last time, but night after night I continued right up until my week of vacation started for the wedding. I was now exceedingly fat. The dresses I wanted did not come in my size. I wore a stretchy, flowery dress to my daughter’s wedding hoping no one would really notice what I looked like.
That my friend is stress eating. Plain and simple. And, I am not proud of it.
It wasn’t until a few years later, after I was able to peel away the layers of emotions that I had myself hidden in, that I could began to curb my stress eating and lose my 100#. I started by trying to recognize what I was actually feeling when I was overeating. I had to learn to feel the raw emotion rather than feed it food. I learned that sometimes when I felt like stress eating that what I really needed was a nap, or that I was really thirsty and needed a big glass of water. I learned that sometimes I just had to wait and do something else and that the feeling would pass. Sometimes maybe I was actually hungry and an apple, some yogurt, or some low fat string cheese would suffice. I learned a new way to handle my stress and actually feel good about myself the next day. I liked that a lot. I learned to let my bad feelings and emotions go and I still sometimes have to work on that. I no longer let negative people or thoughts rent space in my head (not for long anyhow) and have come to learn that a lot of what causes my stress is actually not my problem–it’s someone elses.
I hope this akward story of mine helps someone else lighten their emotional load. Leave me a comment if you like or follow my blog. The Platinum Muse can also be found on Facebook.