Sunday, May 10, 2009

What's missing in your day?

If you have been investigating your eating habits, it is not new to you that food is more often used to supply our psychological needs than our physical needs. I have already written here about how we use food as a way of numbing ourselves from situations and feelings we do not want to face. Now, after several months analyzing how I use my food as an "anesthetic", I have lately been shifting my focus to another aspect of emotional eating that is more related to filling in my voids than to trying to hide my sore thumbs.

I am not referring to the kind of unexplainable voids we feel sometimes: those vague sensations that tell you something is not really in place (the way I imagine a mid-life crisis might taste like - pun intended!). What I refer to is a lack of pleasurable things in life, the inability to find or feel pleasure in our daily activities, or even the inability to believe we deserve to feel such pleasure. Yet life is today, life is now, and if we're not enjoying this moment, when do we expect to?

The point I am trying to get to is the following: if you have nothing to look forward to in your day, you're going to find something - anything - to fill in that void. And if you're like me, that thing might just be some less-than-healthy "comfort" food. So, what exactly is "missing" in your day?

I put "missing" in quotes because - in theory at least - I believe we should be able to find enjoyment in life no matter what. To me happiness is something that comes from within and not the other way around. Unfortunately for many people (myself included), it is not always that simple, and on our journey to "nirvana" we end up using some crutches along the way. So much the better if they are of the healthy kind...

I'll give my example here in case other people might relate. For a while I had been working on (and succeeding) quite well in feeling happy regardless of the moment I was living and being positive about the fruit I would be harvesting in the near future (literally and non-literally in this case! :)). Then certain aspects of my present life started to weigh on me and I started to rely on (junk) food again. I must admit that eating certain foods have recently become the "high point" of my days again - even though I feel quite crappy afterwards. Which has also made me realize I must do things I really love every single day and not wait for the "perfect moment".

Right now I feel somewhat stuck. I am living in a place I rather not (and cannot move just this moment), I am working on something that wasn't exactly what I dreamed of (and can't leave it just this moment either), and my financial situation isn't exactly the best. I am also involved in a web of things I got into over the years and that will take a while to disentangle from.

I hate to complain about my life; first because I am lucky to have a wonderful family and second because I live in a country where it would be an understatement to say that most people are less fortunate than myself. Yet I also hate to have to conform to a sub-optimal situation because of the sort of "universal guilt" or whatnot that women often love to carry.

Rationally, I know that I am slowly moving towards a better picture, but sometimes it just seems to be taking too long. Thus the feeling of being stuck: to get to where I want I must do several things I rather not do, so I procrastinate and end up taking even longer and because I feel guilty that I'm not doing what I should be doing. Consequently, I also end up sabotaging what I truly love to do.

To sum it up, although I have known this rationally for a long time, only now has it really clicked that if I want to keep emotional eating down I must make time everyday to do things that bring me pleasure. My life is now and I can't spend it solely doing chores and working on stuff I don't like that much. Not only for myself, but also for the people around me that I love – I am certainly a better mother, wife, daughter, friend, etc. when I am happier!

To me, some of the things that bring me pleasure and help me live a more harmonious life are: writing, exercising, spending time with my son without worrying about all the chores I have to do, and moments of solitude when I can just be. That way it is much easier to eat what really nourishes me instead of using food to numb myself or to fill in my voids.

And you, what is pleasurable things are missing in your day?

1 comment:

jessica said...

i agree with needing to do things that we love and enjoy to do on a regular basis. when there are too many days that i am not doing what i love to do, i feel anxious. i try not to have too many of those days. crafting is something i enjoy. just this morning i made is soothing for me.