So like I mentioned before, February was a bust for us. And in the midst of our illness-induced terrible eating and lack of exercise, I, of course, became a complainy, self-depricating whiner.
You know the drill: “Man, I feel so fat!” or “Why don’t my clothes fit me better?” WHAAA WHAAA WHAAA.
Everybody’s list is different. I mean…it happens to the best of us.
But my husband said something in February that was pretty insightful– which is shocking considering its dangerous territory to psychoanalyze any woman when it comes to body image issues (at least, from the situations I’ve observed with others both in real life and on TV, it’s lucky if the man can get out alive).
But my husband spoke the truth. He said, “You know, I don’t think you’re really wanting an actual size or number. I think you’re looking for a feeling.”
It took me a moment to process what he had said. I mean, sure I say I’m not too focused on the numbers all the time. After all, it’s about being healthy, right? But I’d be lying if I didn’t admit to having an ideal number in my head. And with being a bridesmaid in three weddings this year alone, of course dress sizes float about my brain before dive bombing like an obese albatross.
It’s easy to lose focus on the real purpose of all of this.
But the truth is, I’m a feeling seeker, as many people are. It definitely makes sense. As a self-diagnosed emotional eater, it’s all about the feelings. That pint of ice cream makes me feel better when I’m sad. But it’s not just sad eating. People emotional eat for EVERY emotion and don’t even think about it as such. Celebrating that “special” occasion gives you a free pass on your diet. Why? Because it makes you feel special and happy. Sure, it’s not wrong to indulge every now and then– but understanding the associations we have with feelings and food can help us make better choices in the long run and well before we’ve past the weight threshold we never thought we’d cross.
But on the flip side, I have discovered some entirely different feelings. When I exercise or eat healthy, I’m a happy ball of energy. I think clearer. I feel empowered.
It’s definitely the combination of both physiological and psychological side effects from treating your body right– but it’s probably the best feeling in the world. And when I don’t have that feeling, when I neglect taking care of myself, I feel TERRIBLE. It doesn’t matter if I’ve lost 10 lbs and haven’t gained any back. Neglecting the healthful things that make me genuinely feel clear-headed and confident changes how I feel about myself and even other things and people around me.
And as you can imagine, terrible feelings in an emotional eater can lead to poor eating choices. It’s a terrible cycle that I know I’m not the only one who has felt trapped by it before.
But realizing I have control over my feelings is an important key to taking ownership of my own health. Having a grumpy day? Instead of self-medicating myself with a “pick-me-up” muffin like I used to do ALL the time, I now seek a different remedy. Maybe take a brisk 5-minute walk outside to clear my head. Or drink my protein shake or a glass or freshly made green juice. Stressed? Time to work that out on my elliptical or my favorite kick boxing DVD. Sad? It’s Pilates time. Just breathe. And maybe have a bowl of Yonanas (blog about that awesomeness to come).
By forcing myself to do these things, ultimately increasing the good feelings, I’m a generally happier person. And soon, it doesn’t feel like I’m forcing myself to do these things because I HAVE to. I begin to crave the healthy things that give me the good feelings.
The best part? The results (ie. weight loss and shrinking dress sizes) are a side effect of the ultimate goal– feeling good and being healthy.
Being a slave to the scale is detrimental to anyone and dangerous ground to walk on. But working out for you because you want to feel good and healthy, because you want to live a better quality of life– that’s what it’s all about.
And I’m happy to report that even though February was a complete bust, March has been fantastic so far and I’m looking forward to finishing the rest of the month strong.
How do you feel after a good workout?
I love this post! I struggle with the same exact thing. I punish and reward myself with food and letting go of that is a huge part of my journey! Thank you so much for the reminder that it’s not just about the sizes and the #’s on the scale!