It’s all in your head

Well, at least it’s all in MY head.  I can’t really speak for yours.  😉

 Last week I got a lot of writing done.  I was housesitting for a family with a 17-year-old son and he was home all week, so it wasn’t quite the same as having a house to yourself.  Not that I minded; I’ve housesat for these folks before and the son is a really sweet kid.  He’s not out partying every night or bringing weird people home.  Mostly he just needs someone to wake him up in the morning. 

Anyway.  Since I was only going to be there for a few days, I just packed some food of my own.  (Weight aside, I’ve learned that I generally eat much better than most people, so I prefer to just bring my own rather than chance whatever someone has in the house already.)  And since the son was home, I pretty much let him hang out in the living room and watch tv.  If I wanted to watch, I did, but I kind of like time to myself, so I did a lot of writing at the kitchen table.  So I’d come “home,” feed the dog, make some dinner, write for a while and then go to bed.  Sometimes I’d read in bed, sometimes I wouldn’t.  I wasn’t eating late or drinking at all and I wasn’t even staying up late; most of the time I was asleep before 10. 

And you know what?  Last week I felt pretty damn great, despite the stress of the breakup (which is finally officially over – for now, LOL) and the stress of being in someone else’s house, and the stress of rooming with a stranger and the stress of taking care of the dog (who needs to be walked at specific times, because he’s VERY regular – ahem).  I was eating dinner fairly early, so I was hungry in the morning, and although I’m not normally a big breakfast person, I was eating some toast or something in the morning.  But I wasn’t snacking or anything, just because I wasn’t hungry.

Ok, that last part is important: I wasn’t snacking or eating junk food constantly, and it wasn’t because I was trying to be “good” or any other horseshit like that.  I just wasn’t hungry – it didn’t SOUND good.  The only “junk” I really ate was Thursday night, when I was feeling a little stressed, and I ate a handful of chips and some peanut M&Ms.  That was dinner, but even then, I didn’t eat a LOT of them.  Certainly not as many as I would have eaten if I was thinking about how “OMG, these are BAD FOODS that I SHOULDN’T EAT!!!!  TEH FATZ!  TEH FATZ!  OH NOEZ!”  Yanno. 

I’ve been trying REALLY hard to do two things: eat what I want, when I want it and to eat mostly real, seasonal, organic food.  The most interesting thing has been that by removing the “bad” labels from certain foods (*cough* chips and M&Ms *cough*), I find that I actually want them LESS.  Forbidden fruit and all that.  And I find myself eating very much like I did in college, except that in college I was obssessed about it, and now . . . not so much.  I like some bread in the morning: a croissant or a piece of toast or an english muffin.  If I’m really hungry I’ll eat oatmeal or some eggs.  Lunch is a sandwich with a bunch of veggies – I usually eat half and I’m full.  Sometimes I eat the other half in the afternoon, and sometimes I don’t.  Just depends on if I’m hungry or not.  And I’ll eat some sort of meat and vegetables for dinner.  After dinner, if I want “dessert” I’m more likely to have a glass of wine and some cheese, but just as often I skip “dessert” altogether.  I just don’t WANT it – mainly because I know I can have it whenever I DO want it.  I don’t have to think about eating it all RIGHT NOW, RIGHT NOW, BECAUSE I DON’T KNOW WHEN I’LL GET TO HAVE IT AGAIN OPEN MOUTH INHAAAAAAAAAAAAAALE! 

::::sigh::::  It’s nice to feel that way.  It’s nice to realize that given the opportunity, I won’t actually eat my weight in Doritos and M&Ms. 

Here’s something, though: since I’ve come home, I’ve had a much harder time maintaining my equanimity.  I don’t think it’s the food, though.  I think it’s the sleep.  That is the main difference between my state of mind last week and my state of mind since Friday (when I got home).  When I was housesitting, I was getting at least 8 hours a night.  Since I’ve come home, I’m averaging 4-6.  Not for any good reason: I get busy with something and forget to go to bed.  And then a second glass of wine looks good, and then I have a buzz, and hey!  Doritos!  And M&Ms!  And I LOVE this episode of Law & Order!  And this one!  And this one!  (Damn you TNT, for endless L&O reruns!)  And in the morning, I have a sugar hangover AND I’m tired.

When I’m tired, I eat more.  I just do.  And it’s usually simple carbs, because my body doesn’t have enough sleep, and it needs SOMETHING to run on, for crying out loud.  So today I haven’t really been hungry per se, but I’ve eaten breakfast and lunch and a package of cookies this afternoon.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not advocating skipping meals, but here’s the thing: I didn’t really WANT any of it.  I’m sure at some point I would have gotten hungry and eaten something, but I wasn’t hungry any of the times I ate.  In fact, I’ve kind of had a stomachache all day from eating, because I don’t digest food very well when I’m tired, either.  (Probably another reason for the simple carbs: easy to digest.) 

So now I feel gross and yucky and bloated – even though I haven’t really eaten anything that was different from normal.  And because I’m tired this is exactly the time I would normally go home and eat pizza for dinner and drink too much wine, which then leads me to feeling equally gross tomorrow. 

So here’s what I’m learning: lack of mental peace leads to exhaustion, which leads to eating foods that make me feel worse, and that leads to more agitation and exhaustion.  So today, instead of going home and turning on the TV and pouring a glass of wine, I’ll go home, do some yoga, take a shower, fix some dinner and curl up on the couch with a book in the quiet of my house.  And because I don’t have the noise of the TV, I’ll probably feel rested and peaceful earlier, and I’ll end up in bed at an earlier time.  THAT would be nice. 


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