Gone are the days when I could tuck two toddlers under my arms and head off to the grocery store, then shop for the week without list or having looked through a cookbook. Oh and then come home to feed them lunch, bathe them, and whip up a lasagne for dinner. However did I have the energy? And didn’t all that pasta pack on the pounds?
My secret was cigarettes. Yes I know, seems scandalous now, doesn’t it? Back then, nobody minded. We smoked in cars, houses, and restaurants with wild abandon. Ah for the good old days. Because the minute I quit smoking I (of course) gained weight. And I’ve been struggling with it and writing about that struggle ever since.
Recently I decided to stop struggling and get more mindful about the whole eating and weight issue, and just not judge myself so much. If I want lasagna for dinner, I’ll have lasagne. I’ll just do it mindfully: Day 1: Shop. Day 2: Simmer sauce. Day 3: Make casserole.
Walking the winding mindfulness path, I remember something I learned about myself and food in Weight Watchers. I’m an emotional eater.
When I had cigarettes to soothe my frantic, sad, angry, lonely overwhelmed self, I was fine. After I quit, the feelings got shoved down with food. If I gained too much weight, and I did, often, I went on a mindless diet. I cut calories or fat or meat or carbs or sugar. I didn’t have to think about it, I only had to be brutally strict with myself until I lost the weight and the cycle started again. Most of the diets I’ve been on worked very well for a year or two, which is when the emotional eater would burst from the confines of the latest diet and wail Why can’t I have lasagna?
The thing about knowing you’re an emotional eater is it doesn’t help you lose weight. In Eat.Q Susan Albers says dealing with emotional eating means upping your emotional intelligence. Huh. I always thought I had a pretty high EQ. I read other people really well. I’m tuned in and sensitive, mostly. I know myself. Turns out just not as well as I thought. For example, for most of my life I have been willfully clueless about how to effectively guide my emotions around food. That’s changing. I’ll keep you posted.