It's almost 10pm and I really should be heading to bed. After all, I need to be up around 5:50 tomorrow morning. And going to bed would mean that I can ignore feeling hungry. You see, I started a "health challenge" two weeks ago, (you earn points for each healthy behavior you do for each day) and one of the rules is that you can't eat after 8pm. Sigh. You know how the munchies hit around 9-9:30 as you're finally unwinding from a long day? I no longer have the comfort of food to bring on the happy sleep coma. But... I feel better. Not only am I no longer snacking late at night, but I'm not snacking on junk food at all. No more cookies, cake, muffins, (can you tell I love baked goods??!), chips, chex mix, etc. Now it's ants on a log, baby carrots, applesauce, apples, bananas, and sometimes some granola/nut mix or a granola/protein bar. (Very few of the latter... they're too high calorie!)
It's been an interesting journey so far, and I'm only two weeks in. I've already learned some important lessons:
a) It's okay to feel hungry. Really. I'm not going to starve to death (no laughing, please.) What I feel is nothing compared to what many people experience as a daily fact of life, and they don't have the comfort of having a fully stocked pantry downstairs.
b) Food can't make my hurts go away. I now have to come closer to facing the reasons I overeat. Often it's been because of boredom and easy access to delicious foods. But I also eat when I'm stressed, tired, or wanting to reward myself. One of my favorite pinterest sayings is "You are not a dog. Do not reward yourself with food." So true.
c) It's really hard to deny yourself all the goodies in the house when everyone else is eating them around you. BUT... after two weeks it's getting much easier. I can stop and think it through.. Is that particular junk food worth losing a point? Is it going to make me healthier? Do I really want to put that into my body, or do I love myself enough to "just say no?"
d) Drinking 64+ ounces of water everyday means a lot of trips to the bathroom. I'm learning to get more of it in earlier in the day so hopefully the 4am call of nature will soon be a thing of the past.
e) Vigorous exercise is a lot different than comfortably plodding along on the elliptical. The "walking" video I bought is getting me moving a lot faster than I normally do. (Boosted walking is just another way of saying JOGGING.) You know how in nature some animals are built for speed and some aren't (think cheetah and hippo)? Well, I'm not the type that's built for speed. Never have been, don't think I ever will be. But I'm giving it my best shot, and it feels good to be challenged.
f) I feel good every time I practice self control. Whether it's saying "no" to unhealthy foods or saying "yes" to 45 minutes of exercise every day, I feel empowered and in control of my body and appetites. And I don't feel nearly as guilty when I enjoy some goodies on my "free" day (one day a week when the rules don't apply.) I've also learned that too much junk food on the free day only equals a tummyache, not complete and utter satisfaction.
I'm not sure I would have taken on this challenge even a month ago. Fortunately, I finally gave in and talked to my doctor and was prescribed wellbutrin for depression/seasonal affective disorder. Honestly, I don't know if it's just the seasonal blues or the depression that's been building over the past year, but it feels good to be interested in life again. My energy level is still lower than it should be, but I feel a lot more hopeful and engaged in life. And this is at the lowest dose! (My doctor just upped the dose today, but that also doubles the cost... so we'll see how long I can keep it up. Darn high deductible health insurance with no prescription coverage.)
So that's where my life is today. I'm tackling my food issues, depression, and some personal stress but at least I'm facing it head on. That feels good. I'm going to give myself a pat on the back. And then I'm going to bed. :)