Every now and again I smile to myself and thank God for all His blessings. I don’t do it often enough – how often is often enough anyway? But I know how blessed I am. And some days I realize that it’s my brains I’m thanking Him for… some days it’s my spouse, some days it’s my job. Some days I thank Him for raising me to be the kind who IS grateful and DOES appreciate what she has – as it’s all I need and more.
Today it was my daughter. She treated me to one of those wine and paint nights. Considering that I couldn’t draw a straight line with a ruler and smiley faces intimidate me, this was a stretch for me. But she was determined to prove me wrong. She’s SO artistic – everything she touches turns to art. Anyway, mine was not horrible, NOR was it the worst in the class – yay me! It’s good to stretch your limits once in a while. I haven’t done that in a long time, and it felt GOOOOOOOD! But her treating me to the evening wasn’t the only reason I was thanking God for her. I raised a good girl. And approaching this Mother’s Day weekend where I internalize so much because my mom isn’t here, it’s really great to realize that I have this adult child with whom I thoroughly enjoy spending time. I have two actually – two kids became adults who I enjoy. I enjoy conversations, I enjoy spending time with them, I enjoy how their minds work and how grown up they became. They’re nice people. They’re good people. I had some part in that. Unreal.
This past week the food for thought in our Weight Watchers meetings revolved around emotional eating. And my members, both coaching and meetings, really dug deep in to feeling and not hiding or stifling their emotions. And then there is me. Approaching Mother’s Day is hard for me, I miss my mom. It’s simple. And very often – and this year was no exception – I eat those emotions of loneliness, missing her, and have a very tasty pity party for myself because she’s not here. When really, all I need is to treat the loneliness. Treat the missing her by filling myself with her – and that might mean filling myself with my kids, or pictures of her, or memories of her in conversation. There are ways to feel the feelings without eating them. My beautiful members came up with fantastic coping skills for themselves. I wonder if they know how much they inspire me.
I’ve been at my goal weight for over 7 and a half years and in all that time of hard work, I consider myself lucky. I know I work hard. I know that it’s not easy – especially during certain times of the year. But each meeting I get something more….something that they give me. And I never know what it is. I’ve said this before. My vulnerability is my strength. It’s when I feel the most vulnerable that those little gems my members provide really give me the needed lesson. I rarely learn when I’m being strong.
I’m an emotional person. If I took all the weekends, all the holidays and all the “emotional times of the year” off from my plan, that would add up to 90% of the year and as a result I would be triple my size. Realistically, I have to follow the plan more often than I don’t in order to stay this size. People ask me, “Isn’t it hard?” “Don’t you want to just go crazy?” Well, the answer is “Sometimes”. Sometimes it’s hard. Sometimes I want to go crazy. So what? So I do. Since I’m not a perfectionist and I never do it perfectly anyway, it’s not hard to reign myself in after a little detour. It’s not an option. It’s on the schedule. Remembering that I love my life, my job, my size MUCH more than I love any food (and I LOVE FOOD!) helps me set an end time for my detour. I know I’ll have them. I’m human. And you know what – I NEED to feel these feelings. Sometimes that goes along with food – but sometimes it’s just the feelings that I need to embrace. Emotional eating is sometimes the result, but it’s less often than it once was. Victory.
When I spend nights like this with this woman who I raised – this girl child woman who I adore – not once did I think about food. We laughed. We painted. We joked. We were busy in each other’s company and in a task that made us smile. Those moments are better than the food we might have eaten or overeaten. We’ll remember the memory.
How do you cope with that feeling you have after binging on potato chips and M&Ms (what? Don’t judge, people – that’s my go-to for certain emotions!) Maybe if you’re sad, watching YouTube videos of animals will help. Maybe if you’re lonely, reach out to a friend and connect. Maybe missing your mom, find someone who knew her and talk about some shared memories – or find someone who didn’t know her and tell them something about her. Maybe if you’re angry, you could forgive – it helps you and has nothing to do with the behavior that was the cause. Maybe if you’re ready to reward some great accomplishment, you could think of something that TRULY fits the accomplishment, instead of ice cream. The only accomplishment ice cream feeds is making ice cream. Have the food because you planned for it. Have it because you love it. But don’t have it because of a feeling.
I ended my meetings this week with the quote, “If hunger is not the problem, then food is not the solution.” I eat for other reasons than hunger and guess what? It’s okay. But what’s important is this. I need to feel the feelings and LIVE my life – with the feelings, with the food. I don’t want to hide behind the chips anymore. When you feel the most vulnerable, look for the lesson in it. Is it hard? Yes. It’s okay. Aren’t you worth hard? You are. So am I.
Thanks Mom, for raising me so I can raise these kids. I don’t know if they’ll have kids to raise or not – but right now I know they’re amazing. And we did something good. And that is a better reward than chocolate or bacon.