Men Lie, Women Lie, the Scale Does Not:
I had been losing and gaining the same ten pounds for more than six months. I would lose the weight. Get excited. Treat myself (to food) and gain it all back. I would see the inflated number on the scale get back on track and lose it again. Being at the helm of a fitness accountability group, Get Fit with Fe, I had to lead by example. How can I have a fitness group and not be fit? Instead of getting discouraged, I decided to get real.
I could out exercise anyone. 2-3 hours in the gym was nothing for me to do. Insanity workouts became a breeze. I could see muscle definition but that number on the scale did not move past go. Had I reached the dreaded PLATEAU?
To be totally honest, my exercise was on point but my diet was not. I would still have my Doritos for dinner days or my pint of ice cream moments. Really, Felicia? To keep it 100, I had no idea of how many calories I was consuming. I ate when I felt like it. The big problem with that strategy - I always felt like eating. I ate when I was feeling good and when I was sad. I have a sedentary day job and I would snack my way through the day. All of this led to one thing - the scale not moving in the right direction.
What is Emotional Eating?
The breaking point came when I went to the doctor a few weeks ago. The nurse says, "Your resting blood pressure is a little high. It was a little high when you were here last time. We can give you meds but we recommend trying a lifestyle change first."
What the what? I would NOT be taking medication for something I could control. First, I had to admit that I was out of control. The past few months have been pretty emotional. I was gearing up to move back north when my plans were suddenly postponed. My relationship(s) - a bit rocky. I ate to cope. My epiphany - I was an emotional eater.
Emotional eating occurs when food is used to manage emotions.
“Sometimes the strongest cravings for food happen when you're at your weakest point emotionally. You may turn to food for comfort — consciously or unconsciously — when you're facing a difficult problem, stress or just looking to keep yourself occupied.” Source
My snacking was driven by my emotions. The times I was in control of them, I was on target with diet and exercise. When my feelings got really hurt or I felt really disappointed, I ate more of the wrong stuff. Salty, fatty snacks, literally, made me feel better.
The Tools I Used to Get in Control:
I started journaling my truest, rawest emotions. I realized that I was allowing someone outside of myself and circumstances outside of my control to overwhelm me. Eating was my coping mechanism. Eating as therapy was making me unhealthy.
I did the thing I had dreaded for so long. I started to count my calories. I downloaded the My Fitness Pal app to assist me. I decided to just log what I ate naturally. The first weekend was difficult. I had the evidence staring me in my face. I routinely ate over 2000 calories a day. When I was working out 2 hrs 4-5 days a week, I did not see the weight gain as I was burning off those calories. The days I slacked off, the weight showed up faithfully.
I started being more faithful in my morning meditation and prayer. In my alone time with God, I started to feel a great sense of peace. God really began to show me how I was contributing to my own unhappiness. I needed to re-focus – first on Him and then my projects. Instead of snacking my way through the work week, I began listening to Psalms on YouTube. I am telling you the peace of God filled me up more than any food could. Feeding on the word of God and prayer made me stronger. I could say no to cravings. I could honestly track my food intake via the app. The scale started to slide down.
I am still a work in progress. My relationships are still challenging. I know how to cope. I pray. I exercise. I refocus. I hustle.
I feel in control.