‘Food is the most abused anxiety drug. Exercise is the most underutilized antidepressant.’
Stress gets to all of us. Drama enters all of our lives at one point or another even if we don’t talk about it. We are all walking around with the invisible monkeys on our backs consisting of workload, financial concern, family dynamics. What matters most is how we manage these things.
Let’s be brutally honest for a moment. Yes, when I was overweight I had medical issues that contributed to my gains but I ALSO chose to self-medicate my negative feelings with food. That is one of the hardest things to admit.
I remember well the rush of awesomeness that I would feel immediately following eating a doughnut. I can recall clearly the comfort I felt when eating a heaping plate of pasta smothered in cheese. It is impossible to forget the feeling of being happy when I had the same treat, drink or meal that someone else was having even if it wasn’t good for my body. Add to this the fact that I was never taught how to properly control my portions, that when I started cooking for a man I started to eat like one and you have yourself the perfect recipe for disaster.
When I think back to what I was really experiencing back then it wasn’t just smothering my feelings. It was that I was literally drowning myself or committing a slow suicide with my food. I remember well having the blood rush to my head when I bent over to tie up my shoes. I can recall clearly the feeling of not being able to have my child sit in my lap because I was too big. It is impossible to forget the feeling of red and hotness creeping into my face after I sat in a chair and broke it.
NO MORE! I refuse to be that person ever again. I have taken a pledge, made a silent oath to myself that I will treat my body with the love it deserves, feed it with the food it needs to be healthy and move and challenge it as much as it wants.
Take a look at what you’re doing to manage your invisible monkeys. Are you talking with friends? Are you going for a walk? Are you indulging in self-care of a bath and a cup of tea if that’s your thing? Just be brutally honest with yourself because if the real answer is that you’re going to the cupboard and picking out the thing that you THINK will bring you joy, the harsh reality is that it may do that for a millisecond but it is creating so much more in lasting damage.
My turning point, as many people in my life know, came when I had a conversation with a box of Timbits. Yes, you read that right – a conversation. I stood in my kitchen hovering over my stove, looking into that box and I asked myself the hard questions. I knew that things were changing when I walked away and the Timbits went in the garbage.
Want to know a secret? All of you out there who want to make the same change, who are tired of living life the way they have until this point have it within them to do it. All you have to do is promise yourself. Promise to eat better, promise to move more, promise to walk away from the things that are hurting you. Promise it and mean it.
I hope wherever you are and whatever you’re doing that you are keeping the promises you’ve made to yourself.
(credit photo on right to Trevor Ball @ trevorball.com)