When You’re Sad Do You Turn To Eating?

You know how sometimes you just feel like a dark cloud is hanging over you and no matter what you do, you just can’t shake it?

by Andrea Albright

I was feeling kinda low this week and feeling like things weren’t really going very well.  At least that’s how I was seeing things.

I knew there were many things I could do to try to “lift” my mood – Like a nice long walk, breathing the fresh air outside, or cozying up on the couch and pouring myself into my journal, or pulling out the yoga mat and doing postures in my living room, or meditating and doing deep breathing exercises.

I know all the things I could do, but I decided not to do those things.

I made my choice – I decided that I wanted to eat something to make myself feel good.

Now after studying the psychology of eating for over a decade, I knew very well what I was doing. So in other words – I made a conscious choice to eat in order to “stuff down” my feelings.

I’m very familiar with this choice because this is the way that I dealt with my sad feelings and emotions for the first twenty plus years of my life.

And for an “experiment”, I decided to do it again.

So I made a special trip and bought a carton of chocolate ice cream. I sat down on my couch and dug in. After just the first bite, I started to get carried away on the sugar rush and my problems started to fade away into a distant blur behind the excitement of my taste buds.

I don’t remember much else after that. It seems like I was sucked into a time warp or something because the next thing I knew, I looked down and the ice cream was almost gone.

I woke up from my sugar-induced trance with a shock. How could it be almost gone? Did someone come in while I was zoned-out and eat it? Is there a hole in the carton and maybe it’s all dripped down my arm? Or maybe this is that special ice cream that dissolves as soon as it hits the air and starts to melt? Even though I was high on sugar, I couldn’t deny that none of those scenarios was possible. I ate it.

I pulled myself up off the couch and walked over to the trash can to throw the almost empty carton of ice cream away… but not before I took one last bite.

Okay, it’s gone. And now what?

I remembered that I was doing this as an “experiment” so I started to tune in and really watch what was happening. I felt very light and tingly all over, like there was some kind of pulsing energy inside of me.

Now I should mention that because I haven’t eaten sugar regularly in over two years and I only eat it on special occasions.

I am very aware of how sugar affects me. And I could feel it inside of my body, raising my blood sugar levels up SO HIGH… I was fully into it right now – the full sugar RUSH was taking over my body, my mind and my feelings. I felt good. Elated actually. And for a brief moment I thought, “This sugar thing is great!”

I realized that I didn’t have a care in the world… that I was happy and blissful. I actually started to whistle as I went through my house cleaning and straightening all of my stuff. Might-as-well use the sugar rush for something productive, right? … but I hadn’t even finished my first cleaning project before things started to change. FAST.

Suddenly I felt this intense cramping in my stomach. I made my way over to the couch and I plopped down, clutching my stomach in agony. I curled up into a ball and cried out in pain. And that’s when the headache started to come on. At first, it was just a distant throbbing from somewhere inside of my head… But then it got louder and louder until it was a full-on headache explosion.

I lay there on my couch, clutching my head and my stomach as the pain cycled back in forth…

And then the depression set in. I started to think about how weak and hopeless I was. Why did I eat that sugar and chemical-filled ice cream knowing that it would do this to me? Why was I so stupid? Was I ever going to learn? I lay on the couch for the rest of the night in agony and then I craved sugar mdaly for the next three days as my body went through the detox cycle and got it all out of my system.

So how did my experiment go? Well, I learned a lot from it. And I wanted to share it with you. I learned that high doses of sugar are NOT natural for the human body. And once your body gets “cleaned” of all the toxic sugar residue, it will send you very powerful signals that it does NOT want you to be eating it.

I learned that the few minutes of pleasure you get while you’re eating the sugar and the short sugar rush is NOT worth the “crash” that follows.

I learned that every time I eat sugar, I want to eat MORE of it – and that intense craving lasts for at least three days. I learned that whatever sad feelings I had before I ate the sugar, only got WORSE after I tried to “escape” or “stuff” them down.

But most of all , I learned that I need to FORGIVE myself for trying this experiment in the first place.

See, it’s easy to beat yourself up when you have a hard day and you’re feeling down so you turn to sugar to lift you up. But if you KEEP doing that, then you are only creating MORE of those bad feelings that you were trying to escape from.

Instead of focusing on how I was “weak” and turned to sugar (a drug) to make myself feel good, I’ve decided to focus on all that I’ve done that is GOOD in this experiment. Such as:

1. I actually had to go out and buy the ice cream because my home is a “safe zone” where I NEVER bring food that I know is dangerous and tempting.

2. I bought the dairy-free ice cream because I have a dairy allergy (like millions of other people around the world) and I also know that the HORMONES and CHEMICALS they pump into the dairy cows are very dangerous for my physical, emotional and mental health.

3. As soon as I was done with my pity-party, pig-out session, I threw the ice cream away immediately – if you keep it around, then you’re going to eat ALL of it.

4. I’m writing about my experiment and telling my friend (you!) about it so that I can acknowledge the areas where I struggle and bring the light of AWARENESS to my journey. So regardless of where you are at in YOUR journey, I hope that you start to tune-in and listen to how food is affecting you. Recognize when you are feeling “weak” and when you turn to food to make you feel better. And then watch what happens after you make the choice: Is the food REALLY helping you? Or is it actually making things worse?

I hope that you have gotten some inspiration from me sharing this very personal story with you because I want you to know that you are not alone.

I believe in you. I know that you are reading this right now because you are a person who CARES about your health. You are on the path of AWARENESS and growth for a lifetime of health and happiness.

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