Self-Sabotage as a Coping Mechanism. It does not work.
Saturday was an unhappy day for me. Don’t let the world of social media pictures fool you, although if you read the words that go with my daily Instagram posts you will gleam some insight into how I am feeling and how my emotions are for the day.
It wasn’t a happy day for reasons that maybe I’ll explain or try to understand one day but now is not the time on here. I was miserable. I had spent the morning at football with Josh and came home for the boys to taken straight to the in-laws. This gave me around 7 hours at home by myself.
My intention in the morning had been to go out for a long run to try to burn off some of the anger I was feeling but no, my mind took me another way. My coping strategy and my sub-conscious mind took me off to the Co-op and I bought all sorts of rubbish food. I then came home and worked my way through said bad food until I felt so sick I couldn’t eat anymore.
Sunday, feeling in a different mood, I decided to add up the calorific content of the food I ate. It came to 4000 calories, 3 days’ worth of food in one day. I ate ice-cream, cookies, a rough as anything rustlers microwave burger, macaroni cheese, garlic bread and a big bag of mix-ups. My stomach was killing me by 9pm, I can’t cope with that sort of bad food after having my gall-bladder removed, so I had to just go to bed early. I felt disgusting after eating it all, but I couldn’t stop myself eating my way through it during those 7 hours of being alone.
Why binge eat?
So firstly, with me there is the financial aspect that I can go the shop and buy whatever I can. There has always been a part of my mind that thinks I can go buy whatever I want with no guilt of spending that money because I can afford it. I think this goes back to when I used to do the shopping as a 16-year-old. After my mum died I used to do everything at home, shopping being one of those jobs. The trip to Tesco involved a strict list and some money that my dad had given me. I would walk around with a calculator to add it up as I was doing so I wouldn’t overspend. It also meant there was never extra cash for goodies.
I think the second thing is a control thing. That I can eat whatever I want and if I want to eat 4000 calories worth of bad food then that’s my choice to. But there’s a part to it where I can’t stop. I had to finish the tub of ice-cream or I had to finish the large bag of crisps. Its only ever the first mouthful that tastes nice and sweet so why carry on and finish the whole bag or tub? Each subsequent mouthful loses its positive sweet hit on the brain.
I believe the biggest reason for me binge eating is suppressing emotions and difficult feelings. As I mentioned it’s been a tough few days. And so, to avoid those feelings of pain, disappointment, anger and inevitably a situation that I have no control over, I turn to something I have ultimate control over, what I put in my body.
Four ways to avoid self-sabotage
- Avoid the if-only thoughts. Try not to dwell on these thoughts, they are in the past and cannot be changed (although I watched Donnie Darko the other night, totally one of my favourite ever films and that made me believe again in time travel). Its better to focus on what you can influence in the now and near future.
- Don’t let your thoughts over take you whole being. Something I am guilty of is to over-think a situation and let whirl around my mind again and again. Just face that thought and accept it as a thought. Maybe write your thoughts down into a journal to get them out of your head.
- Don’t bury your feelings by putting them in a box and slamming the lid shut. Its better to release those feelings bit by bit to release the pressure.
- Try to get out of the thought that tomorrow is a new day. An interesting theory that I have always stuck by. But the point here is to focus on controlling your sabotage behaviour in the moment. You don’t have to wait until tomorrow to change your behaviour, you live in the moment. Change your mindset and make that change now. Have a chat to a friend, do some meditation, go for a walk. Break the destructive thought process with something different. I totally should have done this yesterday.
These avoiding self-sabotage tips were inspired by this article in Psychology today.
A New Day, eating well, exercise and writing.
Sunday was a new day. The negative feelings remain there but it’s been a completely different day self-sabotage wise. I went for a 4-mile run to burn off a big chunk of those calories from the day before. I ate wisely, roast lamb with lots of vegetables. A small bit of dessert. And I have kicked back in to using My Fitness pal to record my food from yesterday and today which tells a very different story.
And I have written this blog post to share my thoughts and frustrations with the readers of Mrs Mummypenny. If you suffer too I hope the four ways to avoid self-sabotage helps and that maybe reading that I am going through the same that you do helps you feel like you are not the only one.