Last night was interesting for me.
I went to bed early, as I have been instructed to do (as per this post). I had created a list of things I needed to do this weekend before I laid down in an effort to stay my mind from drilling me over all of the stuff I “should” be doing (or just flat out reminding me of what I need to do in the coming days despite the fact that I have told my brain time and time again that I’ve got it covered). I laid there for a bit, and as my mind traveled, it wandered to one of the worst topics it could find for sleeping – money and food.
It is easy to see how my brain got there. It was telling me about how I needed to call the power company before our move-in date. Then it told me how sad it was that I hadn’t had the chance to work on the laundry list my second job has given me so that I would have cushion to pay my move-in fees. And then it had to throw in “and you’ve eaten out so much, it’s not like you’ve saved any money there either”.
And in a single moment, a dam had broken in my mind. Suddenly, there was the roar of hundreds or thousands of mes chasing down this topic. It was deafening in my mind listening to all of this rabble about what I eat, how I should eat, how I’m killing our bank account, how I should be better, how I should stop, how I could stop… on and on and on and on.
Eventually, I got so frustrated with the roar, I decided to get up. I couldn’t handle it anymore.
I had let my Other know what was up, and he dropped what he was doing to sit with me. I don’t know what had snapped in my mind, but as he prepped a pot of tea for me to drink, I sat on the floor and let tears fall. I don’t really know where they were coming from, but they came and I didn’t have any real reason to stop them. In retrospect it really feels like something ‘broke’. Almost like I hit a level, or reached the next level, or uncovered something in my brain… something, and now all hell has broken loose. It’s like I’ve fixed the first layer of issues, and now my brain has decided it wants to go deeper. And ironically in a matter of a few hours, my body went from feeling great to feeling like it used to- in pain and not cooperating with me. Ironic how the mind can effect our health.
I’ve run my brain over this a million times, and I want to post it here – partially to get my thoughts in order, and partially to see if anyone has any effing clue as to what I could be doing about this.
As most of you probably know, I have problems with food. I use it to medicate, to fill holes. I have discussed it off and on with my therapist, but I have yet to really figure out the trick to eating in, or eating better. I can tell myself until I’m blue in the face that I need to this or that, but in the end, I have yet to ‘will’ myself into doing what I seemingly feel I should be doing (and my therapy seems to imply that the key to dealing with this issue is to face my pain, to deal with my pain. Too bad I’m not sure what that pain is, or how to deal with it). So based off of last night, here is what I sorta have figured out. This might include stronger language, words that my therapist would probably tell me not to say or think about myself. But honestly, I think something gets lost when I filter out the real strength of the emotions I feel regarding this. So I’m leaving those words in. Here goes.
What I have figured out –
I have figured out that my eating is strongly related to stress. When I get stressed, I suddenly want to eat out more. Lots more. I’ve figured out that, in relation to last week’s session about expectations about myself (and what I feel I should be doing or need to be doing at any given moment) that I have a LOT of expectations about what I feel I should be eating. And when I do eat out, I really down on myself for doing so. I’ve had to learn to not spew this out, because it makes my SO feel like crap as well. He feels cock blocked because if he makes me eat in, and eat things I don’t want to eat, I’m a bear to him. And if he lets me eat out, I turn the whole event into some shit fest about how “we really need to get this under control”. It’s pretty much lose lose for both of us. And while I’m curbing how much of it he sees, I’m still thinking it to myself.
This brought me to an interesting idea this past week as we were on our way to go eat out. Something I’ve been learning in therapy is that everything (generally speaking) is a choice. No one forces food in my mouth. I choose to eat out. And despite all of my talk about owning up to decisions (such as in the Cliff post), I am horrible at owning up to the fact that I eat out. Sure, I’ll tell you about how we do it all the time, but I will rarely take responsibility while I’m in the act of doing it. This has to stop. As I read what little I could find about eating in more, I found an interesting article (here) about how the first step is to give yourself permission to eat. And really, I don’t. I completely down on myself for eating out. One could go so far to say I hate myself when I eat out.
And I eat out pretty damned often. So put those two together.
So I know there is a lot of ground in purely knowing these few things. I know my mentality towards food has to change. Food is necessary, and once upon a time I loved to eat. However, that has shifted to thinking that food is a chore, and I can say that most of the stuff I eat isn’t very yummy to me. My range of foods that I like (and can eat) has dropped significantly in recent years, and it is stunting my ability to find foods that I can make at home or even buy at restaurants. It’s really frustrating. I know that deep down I could probably force myself to eat things I don’t like, but realistically it’s not effective. I’ve done the whole ‘make a menu for the week’ thing, and if I get home and don’t like what I’ve slated for that day, I decide I don’t want that, and I eat out. And anymore, I can’t find 7 meals to string together for dinners… and that’s an issue too.
I mean, I’ve got a whole shelf of recipe books and I can honestly flip through them and say that nothing sounds very appealing. Am I just being a spoiled 5 year old who needs to be forced to eat things? Or is it something deeper? Of course, most of the cuisine that I was raised on either sends me into a comatose state after eating (meat and potatoes) or sends my stomach reeling due to an obscene amount of grease. Or both. And I have yet to find any niche or genre of foods that doesn’t contain things that set my stomach off or are actually tasty. There are a lot of healthy foods that I do like, but I have yet to find good ways to prepare them so that I will enjoy them.
I’ve looked into other alternatives for eating in as well. I’ve looked into having meals delivered to my home. I’ve looked into cooking meals in other locations, and bringing them home. However, most of the meals rely heavily on foods I shouldn’t be eating (such as tomatoes), that I don’t want to eat (meat) or are more expensive than what I’m already spending per week – despite the eating out. We’ve looked into pre-cooking meals and freezing them (to no avail, and lack of space to boot). We’ve tried to make simpler meals. More complicated meals. We’ve tried buying more food, less food. We even went so far to try and buy junk food for me to eat in the house (so that I wouldn’t go out and buy junk fast food to eat). Turns out the junk food that’s in the house tastes worse and makes me ill. Go figure.
I even began to blog about things I’m cooking at home to try and bring myself to want to cook more. While I’m more able to maintain a level head when I’m hungry and I’m enjoying the learning of cooking (slow as it may be), I’m still having problems with finding things I want to eat. Even now, I know I need to find recipes for next week, and currently I have no idea what I will be cooking. Nothing sounds good.
To say I’m at my wits end doesn’t really cover it. And what is most ironic about this, I know that my stressing about the situation only makes the situation that much worse. It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy, and many days I wonder if the key to eating in general is to not care where I get the food from, but to just enjoy eating again.
Too bad I have no idea how to turn my brain off so that I can do that.