Ben’s Profile Journey: Temporary Pizza Fail
Hi, Ben here, and I’m embarking on a mission to not be fat when I turn 42. To do that I’ve partnered with Profile by Sanford and I want to take you with me on my journey.
Hey everyone. In this week’s update I have to talk about failure. I failed. Well, at least I fell off the wagon. A little bit, for a day.
First off, my Profile coach has told me from the beginning, whenever I rant about my fears of succumbing to the devil on my shoulder, that if it happens, it happens. You just pick yourself up and move on. Acknowledge that you made a mistake, be aware of what triggered the event and work to avoid or overcome it. She’s right of course. But now that I have to confront something like this I find myself battling shame and an impulse to give up.
Here’s what happened. Last week my family got some terrible news. My wife was unexpectedly laid-off. One day everything was rolling along fine. We were getting ready for the school year and starting to think about the holidays. The next day everything was thrown into a bit of chaos.
My wife and I have been through rougher patches before. In our pre-parenthood days we moved to back to Nebraska from New Mexico without jobs or a place to live. We worked and came back from that. Other times we’ve made huge messes of situations and come back strong. And that cloud of bad luck has landed on us before too, and we rode it out and rebuilt. In the end I have complete confidence in our ability to make it through this touch of bad luck and be better when the storm clears.
But, as I’ve droned on about before, I have developed a nasty habit of eating my feelings. Especially stress. I read recently that people who overeat may be doing it as a form of self-medicating control. They feel like they can’t control anything except what they put in their mouths. I’m sure the roots of my issues grow in similar fertile ground.
In this situation, for the first couple of days it was not too bad (eating-wise). The priority was on my wife. Making sure all sorts of paperwork was in order. Rearranging plans, reaching out to our networks of friends and colleagues, planning job hunting, and things like that. As the weekend started I began thinking about money and figuring out the next few months. What are we going to do about this and that and so on? I got up Sunday morning after a night of fitful sleep, an hour at a time, feeling beat-up and starving.
I want to take a moment here and say that I’m focusing on my feelings and experience in this post because it’s about my Profile journey and my own eating problems. I am not minimizing my wife’s experience. That cloud of bad luck smacked her hard. She is a strong, smart, amazing person who is navigating this better than I could. She, of course, was far more affected by this than me; I mean it happened to her. I just don’t want anyone to think I’m co-opting her pain for internet attention. I’m just talking about part of my reaction in relation to my Profile journey.
Anyway, this is a long winded way to say that on Sunday I pizza. I was wrapped in the fire of an anxiety attack. I wanted to smoke, to drink, to eat; I wanted all my old friends to come over. I know that they are not real friends; they’ll destroy way more than they help, but in the old days they were always the first to respond when stuff broke bad. I resisted two of the three, but I got and ate some pizza.
Not the whole thing though, so I got that going for me.
I discovered that it didn’t help. Duh, I know. All that bread and cheese was like reconnecting with a high school crush; great in memory and very disappointing in reality. I ate four pieces before I got a hold of myself. I stopped, backed away and put the rest in the fridge. I felt sick. I drank water and got on with my day. After a while I noticed that my energy level had dropped. All my newly discovered vigor had died up.
Also, I of course found that after I ate that pizza, all the issues we had to deal with were still there. Turns out it wasn’t a magic pizza, just a regular one. It didn’t make money rain from the sky or find my wife a new job. It just made me want to take a turkey day-type nap.
That’s what I did. I rested, and then went to the gym with my wife. I worked on bleeding off the waves of anxiety on the treadmill and various machines. I know working-out doesn’t make up for the extra calories or get me back into ketosis. What it did do though is have the effect that I wanted the pizza to have. I felt the relief that I was looking for in that pie of pepperoni. Again, this was a thing I knew to be true, but again I had to touch the fire to believe that it would burn.
I’m going to count that Sunday as a lost day on my Profile Journey. A mind trick I developed when I worked an unhappy food service job is to remind myself that time doesn’t stop. No matter how bad the day is going the end of the shift will come, just keep going. The end of that Sunday came; I slept and started fresh Monday.
It happened; I have to accept that I may not go down in weight this week. Now I need to double-down on my focus and commitment to the program and make sure it doesn’t happen again.