Yesterday was the first day I had to work since starting my diet. Have I mentioned I love my job? I do. I feel like it is the perfect job for me and it also allows me to be home with Preston a bunch which is really good for the both of us. I love my job because of what happens when I’m working with couples or families (or individuals). Perseverance, rethinking, clarifying, honesty, change. I offer possibility and perspective that my clients may have been unaware of before they came into the office. I encourage people to see how they impact their world, their family, and themselves – and when they don’t like the impact they’re having I help them find ways to change. The job requires a delicate balance of stirring the pot and being sensitive and empathetic, being straight-forward and walking the winding path with your clients. It’s a great job for me.
At one point last night I felt a twinge in my chest and I began to think about food (in an unhealthy, binge triggering kind of way). I observed this and moved on as I was focused on what was happening in the session but as I drove home last night I began to think about the feeling I had and the topic that was being discussed. The topic was how a married couple could rely on each other and work together when parenting… every time this topic comes up it reminds me of what I don’t have in the parenting department (a partner) and sends a signal to my brain to
cope with emotions I don’t like eat to dull the pain. Like I said before, in session I can observe it and move on and remain focused but its after work that those feelings come up for me.
In the past year I had developed a habit of coming home from work (around 10:30pm) and eating. On one hand sometimes I didn’t have dinner before I went or I ate very little before I left for work because I was rushing to get Preston to bed and therefore I would feel hungry at 10:30. But mostly it was an excuse. Late night eating has always been a struggle for me – and tends to be a time most overweight people indulge because no one is around to watch. So on my way home from work I’d stop and get a second dinner or I’d come home and eat whatever I could find in the pantry. My after work eating was not an all out binge in the 5,000 calorie range or anything, but it was an additional meal which was still likely over 1000 calories so still a binge in my book.
On top of possibly feeling hungry this was also a way of avoiding feeling sad or frustrated about the situation I find myself in, in terms of single parenting and lacking a partner who supports me. I am so good at avoiding those feelings – I would come home eat my meal and watch TV until midnight or 1am to completely distract myself from thinking about how I felt (and virtually trash myself for the following morning). I would let myself get lost in TV shows just to escape and avoid feeling. Of course, no one can keep those feelings inside forever so they’d bleed out in various areas of my life – onto Preston, in my attempt at co-parenting relationship with Justin, to my lack of effort put in other areas of my life etc. So clearly this was not really working for me, but eating and avoiding has been how I have coped for many years.
So back to last night. As I drove home (passing Taco Bell, Chipotlé, McDonalds, Five Guys etc) I thought about how easy it would be to go home and follow the same pattern of eating to dull whatever pain or discomfort I was feeling. But I knew if I indulged I would only be perpetuating the problem. So I told myself no; no Megan you don’t need to eat anything its 10:30pm you need to go home and go to bed. So that’s what I did. One might argue that I still avoided the feelings I have about disliking my single parent status, but I am not sure that 10:30 at night is the best time to attempt to process those feelings anyway. In fact, I know its not because it would’ve kept me up until well past midnight.
I woke up this morning feeling really good. I was also proud of myself for doing what I knew I needed to do. It gave me confidence in myself. It helped me believe that even though I want more for my life than living in my parent’s basement and being a single mom, I can still be content in the present. I can still manage me. AND the more I manage myself now the better the future looks for both myself and for Preston.