Thursday, January 14, 2010

Pulling Off the Veil


It's really no secret to anybody that I have gained quite a bit of poundage since I graduated from high school. I know lots of us are in the same boat. And surprise, surprise, I gained even more when I got married. This means I'm happy, right? RIGHT??!!

Well, I'm to the point that somethin's gotta give. Seriously. Bad habit after bad habit just keeps compounding, and things aren't getting any better. I was raised to eat hyper-healthy. I'm not even kidding. We NEVER, and I repeat NEVER, had any sort of carbonated beverage in our house when I was growing up. We rarely ate out, and I can literally count on ONE hand the number of times in twenty years my mother FRIED something. It just didn't happen. We ate lots of grilled and baked white meats and tons of vegetables. I always pigged out on dinner rolls because that was pretty much the only indulgence we had. And I'm very, very thankful I was raised this way. I was an extremely healthy child and even now may be healthier than I would have been had my mom allowed us to eat junk when I was a child.

The thing I'm not so thrilled about? When I grew up and moved out, just like everything else in my life where I had been on a short leash... I lashed out. I went nuts. I remember going to restaurants with friends and ordering something horribly fried and greasy and thinking how flippin AWESOME it was that I could do it without feeling guilty or pressured to eat healthy.

And now, well, see where that's gotten me? You add my new-found culinary freedom to the fact that I married someone who has ONLY eaten fried things and variations on potatoes and bread all his life, and hence that's what we always have in the house... this does not help matters. This does not make for healthy eating habits.

But it's more than that, I think.

I've known for a long time that I eat more/worse when I'm stressed or upset or lonely. I always looked at those girls who just got dumped and didn't eat for weeks and I was like... seriously. If that's all it takes, I gots to find me a guy who'll dump me! I always went the opposite way. And I knew it-- but still I gave in every time. Comfort food, they call it. And then back a few months ago, I started observing my physical reactions to hunger. And it's out of control ridiculous. If I start feeling even the least little bit hungry, my entire body tenses up and I become very anxious and agitated. Irritable. Whatever we're doing, I'm like, forget this, I want some food and I'm gonna complain til we get some. I noticed I was doing this, so it was cause for concern and of course, contemplation.

Here's the way the thought process went: hunger = huge anxiety. Ok. physical hunger = physical anxiety. But is it purely physical? The anxiety points to something emotional for me. I am physically hungry and anxious that I will not be fed. This can't be all there is to it, because I know damn good and well I'm not going to actually starve. With all the extra padding I have now, that would take weeks, seriously. And even at that, I have access to food. Always. I mentally know that I am not going to starve. So why the anxiety??

It's emotional. And while I was mulling over that equation-- I am hungry and am fearful I will not be fed... It hit me like a ton of bricks. The anxiety is triggered by the fear that my emotional hunger will not be fed. My physical anxiety is literal manifestation of my fear that no one is listening, that no one will validate me, that no one sees me and accepts me as I am. I felt these things as a child. And it's not worth pointing fingers now, it was just the way of my world. It's why I have nine books on the bookshelf sitting next to me now full of poems and writings of things I felt but couldn't say in my childhood/adolescence.

And so here I am again now. The fear has reared its ugly head once again. And so now I've figured out why I have the anxiety reaction to hunger causing me to eat more and make bad choices when I eat. But now what do I do about it? What do I do when I get hungry and my muscles ball up and I get anxious and feel like I. need. food. now!! So I tried something today, and it worked, at least this time.

This was a good day to practice because at school we're testing all week, and we don't have time for a lunch break til nearly 2 p.m. So about 1:30 when the hunger feelings started, I felt my body starting to react. I started to get tense. I took a breath and said to myself, "Ashly, you are not going to starve. You will get fed. And you are a successful person who has grown up quiet nicely. You're heard and seen. And you're extraordinarily loved." And I felt my muscles relax. It was a very peaceful feeling that I've never felt before when I've been hungry. And in fact, I had time, but still didn't eat lunch til about 2:30. This is an anomaly for sure.

So I've started to pull off the veil. I'm trying to be honest with myself and have been honest with you, in turn. :) I'm going to keep up the hard work and try to stick with it. I'm learning things about myself. And now that I know, I have to do something with it. I can't go back to not knowing...

So we'll see how it goes. Wish me luck!


Safronified said...

I'm with ya. Have a few post-baby I need to tackle. But make sure you don't starve yourself--you need calories to burn calories, believe it or not! And you are beautiful, just the way you are. So don't forget to enjoy life! xoxo

Ashly said...

WE, you know me. You really think i'd starve myself? HA!! :) I'm LITERALLY physically incapable of doing that. I'm on a program. And I like it so far. And thanks for the compliment, chica! :)

Kan said...


I read that and I can not even express to you how much I related and had a connection to everything you said. I am literally in the SAME boat. I read your words and could have sworn that I had written them. It makes me feel really good that there is someone else out there dealing with the same stuff I am dealing with. Also, it really excited me to see words put to what I have been feeling. Thank you so much for sharing!

tomorrowsmemoriesphotography said...

i just wanted you to know that i will keep you accountable, so don't get upset with me :D. i've been where you're at.

something else i've learned that works w/ my hunger pangs is drinking a glass of water...

and when i'm feeling stressed, i walk/run/dance like a mohican...just depends on where i'm at & who's around :).

you ARE incredibly successful & ARE extraordinarily loved :), therefore you WILL succeed at this!

Ashly said...

Kandace- just saw your comment! Thank you for sharing! We can do this!!

Mary- thanks for the encouragement. Misty & I are doing weight watchers online and trying to stay on top of it with each other. So far, so good!! Down 5 lbs since last Tuesday. Learning to breathe is reaalllyy helping!