Mental Health and Wellness

I missed last week! Yikes! I’ve been working really hard on applying for jobs in a field that is entirely new but a fantastic fit for me. Over the last several months, I’ve been sharing my weight loss journey. I’ve shared a lot of research, tips, and ideas on how to do it but I think my greatest contribution to the weight lost canon is why to do it. I talked a little about this in an earlier post but little bits of my why are spread through all my posts.

Figuring out your why is hard stuff. You have to develop a sort of internal Socratic method. You’ve got to chase down all the answers you can and doing so can be a painful process.

People overeat for a lot of reasons. But a big one is emotions. And overeating is not restricted to the overweight; people of average weight overeat when they feel sad or when something bad, or even something good, has happened to them too.

I have struggled with emotions all my life. When I was very young, I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. I’ve been through hell and back. I’ve spent time on locked psychiatric units and in residentials. I’ve been through all kinds of therapy and all the medications.

Nothing has helped me more than finding my why. I bring this up now because I know a lot of people who struggle with mental health and wellness also struggle with physical wellness, as I did.

I’ve never thought of overeating as self-medicating but I can see how that has been true for me. When I feel anxious at a party, for example, I eat and eat and eat. And that is something I still do, despite all this success I’ve had in other areas.

Anything that can make me cry can also make me eat. I’ve been crying a lot lately because I haven’t been able to run so I’ve also been eating a lot. I’ve put on about 8 pounds over the winter. This has been a big challenge for me, learning how to eat without the ability to exercise off excess. I’m losing a few battles at the moment but I fully expect to win the war.

Another time I overeat is when I’m happy. I just celebrated my ten year anniversary with my husband, and I ate an enormous piece of cake (we get a small version of our wedding cake every year). I’m sure that cake accounted for at least 1,000 calories.

And I overeat when I’m busy. Busyness causes me to stress and makes me more likely to look for takeout options, even if I have healthy alternatives available.

I suspect most people are like me too in these respects. Life is hard for all of us. A lot of my earlier posts make it seem so easy. “Just weigh your food” I say! But that’s just a small piece of the situation. It doesn’t account for all the emotional stuff weight loss and gain and management in general brings up.

More next week, but in the meantime, be well.

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