I’ve been trying to find my “voice” for a little while now. My blogging voice, that is. I started my original blog maybe… wow two years ago?… called AFutureRD. It chronicled the day-to-day life of a future dietitian trying to find the delicate balance between living life healthfully and to the fullest. I thought I knew what I was talking about, and to an extent, I did, but a lot has changed since then.
A couple of weeks ago, I was supposed to workout with my boyfriend after work, but I felt like crap. I wanted to cry. This happens to me sometimes. I feel “depressed” and want to do absolutely nothing but sit or eat. Rather, I want to do nothing but sit and eat. Literally just sit and eat and cry, all at the same time (glorious trifecta, eh?). That day, I knew that if I did make it to the gym, I’d start crying in the middle of our workout and thus told him I was going to skip it. He’s a personal trainer and had just come from training a client (good for her, I suppose). He was hungry, and I was hungry, so we decided to hang out and order Chinese.
No workout. Yes Chinese delivery. I felt like my dreams had come true.
We ate food and watched Modern Family. It was lovely. Until he left for his next client. I got into bed and ate dessert. I’m supposed to eat dessert once a day (I’m serious), so I ate 3 Halloween-candy sized Baby Ruths. I stared blankly at American Idol until I felt like a couch potato and had tears in my eyes. At that point it was 9 pm, and I had been doing nothing for 5 hours. I had to move. I rolled out of bed, gathered fallen pieces of chocolate and peanuts into my hand, got myself together and ran out the door to the gym.
Though I only broke a teensy sweat, I was pretty happy that I went. But the sense of satisfaction was transient. Two blocks into my walk home I felt down again: “Everything sucks. I want to cry. I have no motivation to do anything.”
Blah blah blah. And the little white girl cried all the way home.
Knowing that things weren’t actually that bad, I attempted to do what I’ve heard can be helpful when feeling this way, which is to take time to think of things for which I’m grateful. I got as far as “Well, I have my health…” before feeling like it was totally cheesy and superficial, so I took a second and thought of something related to the situation for which I was truly grateful.
I thought of how I would have handled the situation eight months ago.
<<Clears throat>>: I would have left work at 5 pm. Feeling sad, I would have stopped into Sprinkles and bought two mini cupcakes – so I didn’t feel like I was being “that bad.” I wouldn’t have felt satisfied, though (I mean, they’re small), so after getting out of the subway, I would have picked up something else, something convenient, maybe a pack of cookies from CVS or Reese’s from a newspaper street guy, or – ew – a Snickers brownie from Pax (clearly it wasn’t always about quality). Craving savory after, I would have stopped to get pizza, 2 slices, and burnt my tongue because I’d have eagerly taken a bite while walking home. I would have felt kind of exhausted but not “done,” so next would be dessert (again), probably frozen yogurt. I might have ordered delivery, because walking the 10 blocks to get fro-yo would have meant admitting that I was really “doing this”. With the $10 minimum, I would have had to order two, pretending that both wouldn’t get eaten that night. Amidst all of the eating, panic and regret would begin to sink in, so I would pull out my phone, scan the spin class schedule for the next day, and schedule two classes. Next would have been a string of text messages to my mom and sister about how shitty I felt about everything I had just eaten, to which they would respond that I still “look fine” and “always get back on track.” I would stress that that’s not the point, watch TV, and go to bed.
Do you need to take a deep breath? Because I do.
As feelings of hopelessness set in that night after the gym, I decided to acknowledge how much I’ve improved. I didn’t eat dessert on the way home because I knew I could eat it later on (as per my daily dessert allowance). I didn’t go crazy at the gym to punish myself for eating too much Chinese or one too many Baby Ruths. And while I still felt pretty down, it was a world of difference from the mess that would have occurred eight months ago.
As I wrote my original blog, I realized that I was exposing unhealthy, hyper-balanced, compulsive, restrictive eating and behavior. I didn’t want to show that anymore. And from a nutritional standpoint, trying to “undo the bad” with “super clean” eating isn’t a healthy message to send. I know that now. Eight months ago I finally decided to speak to someone about how I felt, and I’m so thankful I did. Sometimes I still feel stuck. Other times I feel my life has changed because of it. I do know, though, that I have a much healthier mindset now. And can you guess the best part?
I get to eat dessert once a day 🙂