Saturday, August 9, 2014

One Lesson at a Time

I am unsure if you know how cathartic blogging has become for me.  I received a bunch of private messages responding to the last blog I wrote and I am so glad my therapy seemed to resonate with a few of you out there.  One great friend pointed out that I started the blog to remain accountable.  Not blogging is like not logging my own accountability.  Such a good point.  Alas, my goal even in the craziness of my work travel and other life priorities, will be to blog at least once a week. 

After last week's full on heart dump, I felt like a new person.  Not fixed, by any means, but had a new resolve, a new determination, and a new day with a clean slate.  This is the beautiful thing about life.  There is always another day to get it right, to try again.  "Though the sorrow may last for the night, joy comes in the morning."

For me right now, that means there is always another day to learn a lesson. 

As many of you know I have a job where I travel for work.  Right now my travel is super crazy and frequent due to an exciting merger my company just experienced week before last.  This month, I will sleep in my own bed maybe a total of 10 nights, though it's likely closer to 8.  I will be on the road for 31 days.  This past week, for example, I drove to Atlanta on Sunday, then all over Atlanta Monday, to Nashville Tuesday, back to Atlanta Wednesday, all over Atlanta Thursday and Friday then returned home late Friday night.  I drove over 1100 miles total and that doesn't even count the other miles I drove to drop my baby girl off with the grandparents last Sunday afternoon BEFORE I started my work trip.

Needless to say, the massage I have scheduled for Monday at lunchtime has been earned and is a requirement for my survival - before I hit the road again.

All of that to help you understand that I'm battling this food addiction/recovery while having to eat out MOST of my  meals this month.  While it's not ideal, it is what it is.  And if I can survive not cooking for 6 days and still losing weight/meeting goals, then I feel like I'll end up even stronger when the dust settles in October.

So this week I began my Celebrate Recovery journey. Unfortunately I won't be able to attend a meeting until probably September and it looks like I might have Cross Country meets to attend for my daughter so I'm on my own for the most part.  I'm ok with that.  I've accomplished alot on my own so far.

The first workbook says "Stepping Out of Denial into God's Grace."  Interestingly, I sort of balked at the word denial. I mean, I started the study, right?  Could I really be in denial?  Maybe not right at this moment, but a TON of denial is what led up to the events of last week, right?  Yeah...

So some people are "emotional eaters" which is defined as this when I googled it:  (from
"Emotional eating is eating for reasons other than hunger," says Jane Jakubczak, a registered dietitian at the University of Maryland. "Instead of the physical symptom of hunger initiating the eating, an emotion triggers the eating."

Too true.  I've always marveled at people who seemed to lose weight when tragedy struck, as I seemed to gain it.  Instead of losing my appetite it seems I always have an appetite.  Not hunger, as you know that's not the same...but an appetite. I want food.  I eat when I'm happy, when I'm sad, when I'm bored, when you're happy, when you're sad, when you're bored.  Seriously.  I always want food.  I'm addicted to it. So emotion is really tied to food for me.  I am an emotional eater.  But "staying happy" isn't going to keep me healthy since I eat then too.  And let's face it, life is tough and we aren't always going to experience happy days.

Mainly this week the study forced me to write out that I have a food problem - to admit and stop denying that this is causing serious disruption in my life.  And to identify people who can help me along in this journey. I'm so blessed to have a few particular ladies who are completely inside my head on this - you know who you are and I'm so thankful for your accountability, prayers and time you have and will invest in my recovery. 

I had a great learning experience this week that resulted in something I'm hoping others can utilize.

After a long day on Thursday we all decided as a team NOT to do dinner together again.  We had eaten together most of the week and all of us were tired, needed to work on our laptops for awhile and decided we would part ways for dinner.

Next door to the community we visited last was a Publix.  I felt strong, and determined.  Rotisserie chicken and green beans is what I decided I would get.

I walked inside only to find myself greeted with huge amounts of fried chicken staring me down and NO rotisserie chickens.  There were 25 minutes left before they would be ready.  A heinous storm was brewing outside and I did not want to be caught in awful rain in downtown Atlanta traffic.  I stood there for a moment trying to decide what to do.  Walked around the corner and there were some rotisserie chickens that weren't freshly cooked in the cooler - they were cold and just unappetizing to me.  I walked back to the hot food and stared at the fried chicken tenders.  I've eaten so many Publix fried chicken tenders in my lifetime.  They are yummy but who knows what is in the batter and oil used.  And of course, I would want honey mustard.

Forget it!  I walked toward produce hoping to find a salad with walnuts and fruit on it and kill some time so the chickens would be ready.

One salad folks.  Greens and 4 tomatoes.  It looked as unappetizing as it possibly could.

Forget it!

I walked back up towards the front, an internal battle going on.  Almost like the angel on one shoulder and the devil on another.

You've only been clean a week.  You've been clean a whole week!   Two very different messages whirring around in my head.  You're tired just grab something.

I stopped dead in my tracks and realized what was happening.  And that I needed to get the crap out of Publix RIGHT THEN.

I grabbed a six pack of water and checked out of Publix.  Hopped in my car still unsure what I would eat but more focused on just getting myself out of a dangerous situation.

One of my close friends is a mental health counselor - when I described this situation to her she described the chicken and Publix situation as a "trigger" for me - and that "getting the crap out of Publix right now" is a great example of "relapse avoidance." (I'm really thankful that my dear friend is willing to indulge my food addiction talk with actual terminology).

I drove in the rain and wanted to order takeout from Urban Pl8, a fantastic paleo restaurant not terribly out of the way from the route back to my hotel.  And no one was answering the phone.

Dang it!

I had a new resolve and was NOT going to let my newly revived fried chicken craving win, so I kept driving.  Didn't see a Panera.  Nothing I wanted.  I went back to the hotel as I knew room service would at least have a steak option.  I really hoped sweet potatoes too.  Funny thing, I was craving sweet potato ALL day.

Room service had a 12oz NY Strip steak.  I called down and the girl offered me steak fries or broccoli.  "Are those your only two sides?" I asked.  "Yes ma'am." She replied.  I mumbled back that broccoli was fine and pouted in my room for a few minutes.

Then I remembered I had bought an extra kombucha at Fresh Market in Nashville the day before.  You would have thought it was Christmas morning!  I was so excited!

They brought my food - the steak was good, though I had to trim quite a bit of yucky fat/cartilage off of it. The broccoli was ok, I ate some of it.  Finished it off with a green apple and my Mango kombucha and I was satisfied.

As I was driving home yesterday, I pondered this situation and it's result.  I was really happy with how it turned out, though I came dangerously close to eating off plan and potentially sliding back into a binge situation.  I came up with the following acronym to help me (and anyone else who wants to use it) next time something like this happens.

It's S.A.G.E.  What does sage mean?  According to


1. a profoundly wise person; a person famed for wisdom.
2.someone venerated for the possession of wisdom, judgment, and experience.
Please know I'm not using this word because I think I'm wise - ha!  But I'm more someone who possesses some wisdom due to my own experiences and I want to share that with you.  While driving last night I came up with this (the marketer in me, sorry).  
When I'm in situations like I was at Publix, when anyone has reached a crossroads and feels themselves teetering remember this SAGE advice:
S - Stop.  Right there.  Stop where you are and take a deep breath.
A - Assess the situation.  Figure out what got you there, and how you can get out of it.
G - Get a grip and get OUT of the situation you're in.  If it means you have to leave, then leave!
E - Engage your brain - everyone says follow your heart but I have proven my heart and emotions to lead me astray on my journey.  My brain, however, is smarter than fried chicken.  E can also stand for evaluate  - figure out an alternative to whatever unhealthy behavior you are considering.  
On another note, I participated in a spiritual fast on Friday as I was praying for a need some friends have.  It began after my dinner (around 9pm) on Thursday night and I broke it this morning around 9am.  So it was approximately 36 hours.  I felt ok all day, stayed very very hydrated and probably drank too much coffee in addition to 150 ounces of water and some kombucha when I arrived home but again, I felt fine.  I actually slept well last night and woke up this morning energized.  Enjoyed a small green apple then did a Kettlebell workout.  Then enjoyed some eggs, bacon and apple/chicken sausage with some bulletproof coffee. 

Thanks for reading my update and sticking with me.  I'm working this next week on lesson 2 of the Celebrate Recovery program in book 1.  It digs deeper into the theory of being powerless.  

In the meantime I'm going to apply my SAGE trick anytime I find myself in trouble this next week.  Will let you know if I find myself in a situation where I have to "get the crap out and now."   In the meantime, I hope this helps encourage you in whatever journey or struggle you maybe facing.

Here is a song that really encouraged me this week...and I'm not gonna lie, made me shed a few tears.  I still can't hear it without crying.  Overwhelmed by Big Daddy Weave


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