Monday, June 30, 2008

HYC Check-In / The WHY of Emotional Eating - Do We Really HAVE to Know?

I read a lot of weight loss blogs and the comments of other readers often, usually on a daily basis. There is a recurrent issue that I see pop up and it has recently begun to bug me - like, make me want to write long comments and risk the wrath of other commenters who think I am being mean and awful and uncaring. Well, damn it, this is MY blog and I am just going to say this stuff because it helps ME - if you don't like what I say, well - it's been nice having you visit.

So here's the issue... Why, if we are here to help each other, do I read so many comments that actually ENABLE destructive eating and inaction toward reaching goals? For example - One blogger that I read often is really having a struggle with "getting back on track." She is intentionally overeating and is gaining back her weight - slowly, but it's happening. She continues to spiral, though she claims to remain positive in the face of her own ruthless self-sabotage. The comments are positive, of course - supportive and loving, to some degree. But nobody says what needs to be said. Instead, people suggest that she should take time to find out WHY she is doing this to herself. Strip your soul bare, figure out what makes you want to overeat, analyze your feelings and somehow, that is going to make this woman completely change her life patterns and stop trashing herself. My question is, does it really matter WHY she is doing it? To me, the answer is to STOP doing it, not become stagnant as you wallow around in the mire of feelings and emotions. Those nasty things will adhere to your ankles and keep pulling you under until you just give up the fight. Taking a stand against yourself is a lot harder than simply giving in and letting the waves of self-pity and doubt drown you.

Now before you start calling me a big ol' bitch, just consider this - Sometimes we really NEED someone to say "Snap out of it and stop feeling sorry for yourself." And sometimes, that someone HAS to be us - because nobody else is going to give us the cold, hard truth - at least not in your blog comments. A really good friend MIGHT do it but even then... usually not. I believe that we don't give that cold truth to people because we don't want to hear it ourselves. We want life to be nice and simple and wow, if only I find out WHY I make such screwed up decisions by reading the right book or getting the right therapist or joining the right group or finding the right religious belief THEN I will have the answer and all will suddenly be RIGHT. I will be FIXED. And then life will be PERFECT. It's just another pipe dream, though - just because you find out WHY you act a certain way is not going to stop you from acting that way.

I know this from experience because I am an alcoholic and have been living with this internal fight for a very long time. WHY I drink or WHY I am an alcoholic, while important, is not what keeps me from drinking. I've known why I am an alcoholic for many, many years but that did not stop me from nearly destroying my entire life and the lives of others around me. I have to actively make choices to take care of myself every single day and that requires work - it requires accountability, responsibility, and discipline. Because I tell you, if I just sat around wondering why I was a lush all the time (and I did, for YEARS) I would just keep getting drunk. Thinking too much is what keeps alcoholics drinking - at least this alcoholic. I KNOW that I drink because of things that happened to me in the past but I can't dwell on those things if I am going to live a good life. I acknowledge those things but I don't waste time hanging out with them. Action (and a lot of prayer) is how I get out of myself and my feelings. Feelings are not facts - that has been a hard lesson for me and one that I have to keep re-digesting.

For me, the weight loss process is very similar to my alcoholism because I am an emotional eater. I eat to escape my feelings, just like I drink to escape feelings. I don't see the two being very different, at least for me. So when I see people advising others to sit and ponder their weight problem or why they are sabotaging themselves or whatever, I just get the urge to scream "Stop now, before your life passes you by!" Don't think about it too long or before you know it, you will be 40, 50, 60, 70, whatever and the best years of your life will have been spent on examining the WHY, without taking action toward the WHY NOT. Don't stagnate - don't be caught in analysis paralysis. Take ACTION. And you just might find, as I have, that a lot of the WHY is actually discovered during action.

Have a great week, everyone.


Holly said...

You know, I really do agree with you to a certain extent. However, some people may not respond well to the cold, harsh truth, even though it is the truth and they very likely need to hear it. Some people respond much better to gentle nudgings and a supportive friend. But yes, to those who are in a cycle being off track for weeks and then back on track for a few days and who are gaining more than they are losing, they may just need a serious dose of reality. I know I do after being off track last month. That's why I updated all my stats, measurements, etc and just stared at them and realized, hey, this is not the direction I want to be heading again...

Mama Bear June said...

You are right. I think almost everyone needs a good wakeup slap now and then. It is too dangerous to wallow in self-pity and get mired in the clay for too long. Path to Health

Claire said...

Oh boy, was this timely for me. I've been beating myself up for regaining so much of the weight I had lost in the past year...and asking myself "WHY!!!!!" You are just doesn't matter. I'm 42. I'm killing myself with food. Thank you for your frank words.

dadivastreet said...

I agree with Holly, some people can't handle the whole truth. Hopefully a nudge in the right direction will help. Thanks for visiting! I'll check out more Shaun T once I make it through Rockin Dance Party. I'm still motivated & doing it, so I know he has something that is working for me! Have a great week! said...

Hi Honey, I agree with your ideas in your last post. Here is some cold, hard truth for you... It is almost my birthday again and there has been no update or pictures of my beautiful grandson since my last birthday on your "Breck Family Circus" blog. What gives?? Get off your *&%@ and update it will ya!
Love you Mommie

amma15 said...

hmmm this post got me questioning whether I was "that blogger" considering my last 2 posts...except I don't get that many comments.

Anyway, when it comes to comments...since we all (or most of us) don't personally know each other there's this natural boundary observed in the kind of support we give each yes it's fluffed and sugarcoated but I don't think it makes us hypocrites or dishonest. Through blogging our interaction is so limited so it's natural to want to be more on the safe side iwth communication.

There are alot of things I would say to my good friend that I wouldn't say to like my distant neighbor for example.

Missie said...

Ay-to the Men, sister! I agree wholeheartedly with what you said.

While I do think that there needs to be some introspection as to the Why we do things so that we will NOT repeat them, I think too much emphasis is spent on that part of the process. Why spend all that time "contemplating your navel" while your actions are causing said navel to become a crater?

I am glad I married a very kick in the pants kinda guy, not someone who coddled me all the time. If he did, I would be about 600lbs right now. He helps keep me on track. Even when I wish he would just shut up already. ;)

Claire said...

How are you, girl? A full month without a post. Hope all is well.

Missie said...

I too am worried about you. Where are ya, sis?

MizFit said...


YOU SO NAILED IT and in a way I always longed to use with clients but only attempted with the very few I knew could 'handle' it.

I did a post this week on motivation which was ALMOSTTHERE and shocked me that my readers didnt rebel :)

(someone asked me how I stayed motivated and I just said IM A GROWN ASS WOMAN. IT'S TIME TO SH** OR GET OFF THE POT AND TAKE CARE OF MYSELF)

love your blogmusings.