So far, so good on the journaling to weight loss. I always scoffed at the idea because I figured I used to write in a journal for years and I was still heavy. But, it's apparently about what you're focusing to write about. Since it's all about "what makes me eat" I'm learning some stuff about me that I knew but didn't know.
Today's entry went back to sugar. When I was a kid, my mother was fanatical about sugar. My parents didn't buy junk food, soda or even juice. Lunch from as far back as I can remember consisted of a squished PB & J and an apple. We had milk (warm by lunchtime) in a thermos. Once, the milk was kinda going off, so my mother added choco syrup to hide the taste of turning milk. We LOVED it lol. That was the only time that happened that I can recall.
I remember being 6 or 7 and sitting at a picnic table, watching a friend of mine eat his lunch. He had a sandwich like mine, only his was cut into triangles and wasn't squished. He also had juice and cookies to go with his sandwich. I also remember being terribly jealous of the kids who got hot lunch because they ALWAYS got juice with their lunch.
My mother was so fanatical about sugar, my parents bought sugar packets so they could dole out ONE to put on our oatmeal. We never had sugared cereal. We never had candy, cookies, cakes, etc. We did not have dessert after dinner, ever.
The only time we got junk food or soda was on very special occasions and holidays. I remember every year my dad's work would host a barbecue. There were always trashcans full of sodas and my sisters and I would gulp down soda after soda, just to get as much as possible while we could. We always grabbed one on the way out, too, and then drank it as slowly as possible to make it last as long as possible.
Both my surviving sister and I are sugar whores as adults. Is it any wonder that we have both struggled with our weights since leaving home? I still get a thrill going to the grocery store when I get to choose to buy a sugared cereal or plain ol corn flakes. Thankfully, I've primarily lost my taste for sugared cereals and a lot of the snack foods kids love (like twinkies) but I still sometimes feel the need to have one just because I can.
Fast forward to today. I have determined 2 times during the day when I am most likely to overeat. The first is during work time and the second is after work during relax time. Here is what I think are the reasons:
1. Work time: I am BORED by my job. It is very rarely challenging. I have been doing the same job for the last 10 years with little variation. I also feel stuck because this is the only job I know I could do to earn as much money as I do and be able to work from home.
When I first started working way, way long ago, I worked as a secretary for Kaiser. It wasn't a hard job and once I'd really gotten efficient at it, I began to feel bored and tired. One day, I bought a bag of coffee-candy to help keep me awake. They were coffee-infused hard candies. Every time I would feel bored or tired, I would pop a candy. Soon, I was taking other candy to work and other sweets. I learned: bored? pop a candy. I gained 20 pounds in 6 months.
I think because candy and sweets were associated with the best holidays and events in my childhood, eating candy when I was bored at work was like imagining yourself on a desert island, with the blue ocean and soft breeze and sun on your skin. It was my escapism to a happier place.
2. Relax time: After spending 6 - 8 hours doing a job I don't like, chasing after a 1 year old off and on all day, cooking and cleaning, doing my workout, by 10 pm when I get ME time I'm DONE. So, I sit down to read a book or watch a movie. Only, these activities aren't that satisfying because I do them almost every night. They're kinda boring now, even the good ones. I feel cheated somehow. I've done what I needed to do, why can't I then have some real enjoyment time? Why is hubby on his computer and not interested in spending time with me? Why can't I just go out and do something with a friend after work? Oh yeah, cuz I don't have friends in this town.
Discontent sinks in. Boredom sinks in. Feeling hard done by sinks in.
Food is my elixir, my distraction, my reward, my love. Candy & Soda = happiness. I DESERVE that happiness for all the things I've done that I don't like to and all the things I don't get to do that I want to.
Last night was no different. I was just sitting down to read a book when I suddenly wanted some of the kids' cereal. My stomach contracted as though I was honestly hungry, even though I KNOW I couldn't possibly be hungry because I had a good sized dinner. I so badly wanted that cereal, I could already taste it. It knew would make me feel good. I would feel good if I ate that cereal. I would have my food and my book and I would be HAPPY.
Except that I know I won't. Maybe for the first bite or two, but then 2 things will happen: 1. The food will ultimately be a let-down. It never tastes as good as I imagined it would. It doesn't satisfy. It isn't what I REALLY wanted, so I would go on a quest for what I REALLY want and end up eating and eating until I can't eat any more. 2. I will feel really, really bad about myself for giving in. I will gain weight instead of lose and I will feel I failed again.
Food will NOT make me happy.
Food does NOT = happiness. Food does NOT = reward.
This is my new mantra. Remember in Finding Nemo, when the white shark was trying to stop eating fish? His mantra was: Fish are friends, not food. My mantra is: Food is nourishment not happiness.
I need to find a new reward system for myself.