Eating My Feelings


Being an introvert is a special thing because at the foundation of my personality is the relationship that I have with myself. Still, I don’t spend crazy amounts of time dwelling in a room alone. While I may have a moment here and there, I am often too distracted by external events to focus and connect. So when I get an opportunity to breathe, focus, and think over an introvert’s weekend, I make the most of it by doing some soul-searching. It’s my time to confront myself and ask the hard questions, like: why am I gaining weight?

Well, it’s because I eat my feelings. I always have and probably always will. My favorite treat is “Sympathy Cereal”: the bowl of cereal at the end of the day because I’m a little bit hungry and stressed and this milk and sugar is resolving my issues. If not cereal, maybe ice cream. If extra reinforcements are required to save the day then I will unwind with wine and cookies! Red wine and Oreo’s go great together, I’ve discovered. At work, there are donuts in the break room that haunt me. On the weekend, I am not remotely interested in eating healthfully.

I used to get away with indulging all of these desires. My three-days-per-week exercise regime did the trick for several years. Additionally, I was nursing so I not only wanted to eat anything and everything, but also needed to eat more. My postpartum body hid from me while I nursed the baby for a solid 18 months. After having eaten (at least) an extra 500 calories a day for 18 months, I am currently relearning my portions and creating new habits.

So, here I am 21 months postpartum and just now showing the extra “baby weight.” I truly didn’t think about adjusting my intake as the baby adjusted his until I saw my body changing. Between not exercising and getting older, it is time to make a change.

But how does one adjust the innate desire to eat their feelings? It’s not like I can turn my feelings off. Honestly, food feels good and I don’t want to give it up!

That’s not to say I haven’t adjusted. For now, I am tackling the easy stuff such as: better portions, wiser choices (most of the time), and more frequent exercise.

I am not yet ready to tackle the why behind eating my feelings. Is that bad? Does it matter? I’m not sure. Most of the adjustments I have made were done so that I could continue to accommodate my tendency to eat my feelings (I’m thinking about you, Sympathy Cereal, my favorite food group).

Tackling the urge to eat my feelings is a longer process that will take perhaps the rest of my life to address. I am okay with that, because it’s who I am. Knowing that is more important in the long run, I think.

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