Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Embracing the Triggers...Even the Ones You Don't Like Talking About

Dear Diary...

I'm feeling much better this morning.  It was a rough day yesterday.  I had trouble keeping my eyes open for most of the day.  When I got home, I passed out on the couch for about 30 minutes before dinner.  After dinner, I started to feel a little better - more awake.  I ended up staying up until almost 10 - after watching Biggest Loser and reading another chapter in the book I'm reading.  Before I went to sleep, I decided to give myself a breathing treatment - and that really helped let me drift off to sleep quickly...and I stayed that way all night. 

Being sick - even if it is allergies - just takes every bit of strength out of my system.  Both physically and mentally.  I'm so hard on myself.  I haven't been to the gym this week.  I told myself that I wasn't going to allow any excuses - but I'm pretty sure that not being able to breath is a good excuse.  I hope?  I was literally wheezing and catching my breath just walking down the hallway at work yesterday. 

I have seasonal asthma, and it usually only really bothers me for a week or two each year.  It comes at the time that all the blossoms come out on the trees, and after we have all of the April showers.  Well, being that it rained the ENTIRE week last week - I'm in pollen grand central station right now.  I'm hoping it's just the shock to my system that's causing the asthma symptoms to happen so quickly and heavily and once my body adjusts a little - I'll be able to get back to my sneezy, watery eyed, but able to breath normally self. 

If dealing with my allergies and not being able to go to the gym wasn't enough - Aunt Flo also decided to show up yesterday.  You all know how much I love her, right?  Yep.  The evil witch is here, in full force.  When she comes she brings cravings, mood swings, and laziness - her closest friends - along for the visit.  If my allergies weren't making me lazy enough, Aunt Flo will be sure that she has a hand in completely keeping my behind on the couch for the five to seven days she's here. 

Laziness I can tolerate the most.  As long as I'm able to keep cravings and mood swings at bay.  And, well, come on... my track record shows how well that goes down.  It never fails that I start the excuse train each time AF is here - and I start cramming down the sweets, the salty, and then snapping anyone's head off that says a thing about it. 

Yesterday, she won.  I ate two cupcakes.  Not just one.  Two.  That were brought in for a child's birthday.  I could have stopped at one.  Heck, I could have gracefully declined all together - but no, I caved.  Needless to say, I went over my calorie intake by 345 calories yesterday giving me a grand total of 1815 calories consumed.

During my self loathing and self pity party that I threw myself last night, all I could think about was why I always let AF win - and how much I hated it when she's here.  Then, I remembered reading something in the Savor book about embracing the triggers.  My plan for helping overcome cravings was putting myself through a strict detox.  I was successful for the week I did the detox.  I told myself that I'd keep doing it - but a week off for spring break put the dampers on that.  Then, I told myself I'd pick up where I left off once going back to work.  Only two days in, and I'm talking about eating cupcakes - two days in a row.

I'm not going to quote the book word for word, but I remember reading that when I fight my triggers that set me in to an emotional eating frenzy - I end up losing.  The losing, or failure comes from the fact that I tell myself that it's the triggers that are making me eat.  It's the triggers that are causing my moments of weakness.  It's a cycle of excuses that I let my body go through.  The weakness is in the failure - or allowing myself to blame the triggers.  The only way to cope with the triggers is by embracing them.  Understanding that they'll always be there.  Learning to find ways to live with them without self destructing each time they appear.  If I continue to let AF be the excuse that I mindlessly eat when she's here - she'll always win.  Embracing her when she's here, and feeding my body healthy foods - that keep me energized and full - can alleviate some of the weakness I feel.

My mind was on a mission when I started the detox.  The mission was to eat mostly fruits and vegetables.  The mission was to keep sugar and white flour out of my system.  My mission was to test my palette with foods I wasn't accustomed to.  And the main mission?  To help overcome the cravings and overeating that happens whenever I get the slightest sniff of unhealthy food.

Yesterday, I really got to see how bad sugar affects me.  Instead of opting for my bowl of Kashi cereal for breakfast - I ate a granola bar.  Granola bars have sugar in them.  Real sugar.  A lot of it, too.  For the entire day after that, I was hungry.  Then I ate a Smart Ones lunch.  Low calories - but pasta as the main ingredient.  Can we say craving coma?  Not only had I eaten sugar, but then I followed it up with pasta.   No wonder by the time the birthday cupcake celebration came around - I was unable to control my urge to eat not one, but two cupcakes.  It wasn't Aunt Flo that did that to me - it was the sugar! 

So, I know I'm rambling on with all this and moving in about a thousand different directions.  What's the point of all this excuse banter?  Well, I have to embrace the fact that it's not AF that causes my time of the month self destruction.  It's the fact that I've got so used to having an "out" each time she's here.  I've created the excuse in my head.  I've personified the normal cycle a woman goes through each month.  I've given it this strange super power - as if it were a real person inside my head that arrives with a full suitcase and wants nothing more than to wreck havoc on my week.  Did you read the first part of this blog?  I call it Aunt Flo, for heaven's sake.  I referred to it as if it were a real person.. I did that!  And I really do have an Aunt Flo - and I'm sure she'd cringe after reading something as silly as this.

Each month, I have a period.  Period.  Yes, it messes with my hormones.  Yes, it causes bloating.  Yes, it's more than likely I'll retain water for a few days.  But that's it.  There's no little person inside of me demanding that I feed her cake and ice-cream and chips.  There's no evil Aunt that demands I do nothing more than sit on the couch.  I may feel moody - that will be the hormones.  I may get grouchy - that'll be the bloating causing my clothes to fit tighter.  But the urge to eat everything in sight?  That's all me.  That's me saying - "Hey! You have the perfect excuse to mindlessly eat yourself in to a sugar coma.  You can pretend that your period is making you do it!  Just make it sound like your period is an evil entity living inside of your head with some kind of crazy psycho mind control abilities, and no one will notice how crazy stupid it sounds."  It sounds stupid now, right?  But in reality, that's exactly what I've done for the past gazillion years since my period first started.

Today, the AF excuse will be embraced.  I'm going to embrace and accept the trigger.  It's going to arrive each month for probably the next twenty years.... I've just got to get used to it at some point.  I'm back on my detox - again.  There will be no more sugar or flour or pasta or bread entering my body for a while.  Probably a long while.  A week wasn't near long enough.  I want to get in to a size 16 by May 17th.  This eating plan can only help that goal.  This eating plan will help me stay energized so that (when I'm able to breath normally again) I can get back in to the gym and burn off tons of calories and help tone and shape my changing body. 

As my good friend, Jenn likes to say:  It's Day #1 Again!

Till next time. ;)


  1. :D :D
    Every day is a chance to begin again!!!

    First of all, I'm glad you are feeling better. And from what you describe, it sounds like you were having a difficult time breathing in general - I don't see how you would have pulled off a cardio session. It's one thing to go to the gym and have a stuffy nose etc, but another to go and risk a full on astham attack. Not worth it. So try not to feel guilty about that!

    Your self-awareness is really incredible. It does sound like you have a horrible period. But you are right, it's not an excuse to go sugar crazy for a week. If anything, it's time to eat even better! Last night I went for a run and I called a friend to come with me and she said she was in too much period blah-ness to go. All I wanted to yell was, "You'll feel better if you just get up and go!!" But you can't do that to someone. You have to let them learn on their own. I'm looking forward to your next period (haha! I know you're not!) But I know you are gonna kick it's ass!!

    Thanks for sharing your trigger with us!

    1. One of my followers on Twitter told me that she allows herself one day to be lazy and give in to a few temptations when it's that time of the month... but the rest of the time, it's business as usual. That's not a bad idea. I always feel crappy on my first day - so maybe if I give myself one day off a month it will be a lot easier to manage?

      I did so much better today, and hardly craved chocolate at all. There was some minor pangs of want - but nothing I couldn't handle.

    2. Glad you had a better day today.

      Once I go off course, its really hard for me to go back, so cheat days, cheat meals...that sort of thing, just doesn't work for me. I dont' do good with moderation. Wish I did because I'm totally envious of those who can pull it off.

      I made cupcakes with the kids today - talk about pangs of want!!! Whoa, mama! Can't wait for BL recap tomorrow :)

    3. I don't think it's something I could do for a while. I'm like you - the slightest cave, and it's all downhill after that. Look what happened when I was going to take the weekend off of my detox for camping. It ended up being the entire week of bad eating.\

      Looking toward the future, though, I hope to have those one little splurges here and there...and find the strength to get through them, appreciate that it is a minor splurge, and not a straight path back to downward spiral. I can hope. :)

    4. I really hope I can get to that place where I can enjoy a piece of b-day cake for either myself or a family member, with out it turning into a carb coma that lasts for days or weeks. My goal, once I get to maintanance, is to be good 95% of the time, with the hope that the when I do indulge, it's not even a blip on the radar. I feel like I'm getting there.


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