Friday, August 19, 2011

When Food is no Longer a Comfort - Coping Mechanisms in Flux

Today has involved some interesting insights and revelations about myself and how I cope with stress now versus how I used to.

I used to have a complete reliance on comfort foods. If I was upset, I needed a treat, dammit. If I was stressed out about something, I wanted foods with huge amounts of carbs like, oh, macaroni and cheese or such. I wanted sugar and I wanted lots of it.

Right now things are a bit stressful at my house. My husband has been job hunting for several months, my ten-year-old is having the "summer sillies" and work is going well but I'm very busy. Add in some extraneous other issues as well as my health news and my "remake myself" voyage and it's a lot of concern and stress.

Normally, I'd have dived into some chips-n-dip. Maybe a cheesecake. Oh - grilled cheese sandwich and tomato soup! But I realized because of a comment a friend made when she wanted to eat because of stress that things have reached upheaval in my world.

I Don't Want Comfort Food.

Seriously. I just don't care. I'm not hungry. This morning I actually woke up a bit stressed and found myself eager to get to the gym to let go of some of that stress!

I thought about it while driving to the gym and while on the treadmill, including some discussions with one of my BFFs (who valiantly meets me at the gym two days a week - even though I'm not up to her pace but, boy, do I appreciate the encouragement and the sanity checks!).

My coping mechanisms are in a weird state of flux.

Food seems to have come off the table as a comfort/coping item because:
  1. When I was diagnosed with celiac disease, some comfort foods went onto the forbidden list right away and others I had to find gluten-free substitutes for. Even more than that, eating was now fraught with suspicion and concern. Very few foods could just be trusted, everything had to be examined in detail. Spontenaity was pretty much GONE.
  2. When I then had to go low carb as well, all the substitutes had to be re-examined and most had to be discarded.
  3. The biggest thing, though, is that after a month on low carb, my tastes and have changed and I'm just not hungry. I just don't care. In fact, there are days I think I was stalling my own weight loss by not eating enough food. Not because I enjoy or want to feel hungry but because I just don't feel hungry.
I had to stop and think. What is my coping mechanism now? I don't think I'm just leaving stress bottled up inside me or I'd be (a lot more) nuts.

Then it dawned on me - my newly minted coping mechanism seems to be activity of some sort. At work I've been getting up from my desk and walking around the floor/building. This morning I wanted to get to the gym to get over my mad-on with my husband.

I can live with this.

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