Yesterday I ended six weeks of continual passive motion (CPM) therapy for a knee repair that I had back on June 3rd. Nothing has ever pushed my buttons of frustration more than this unexpected time of rehab, and I’ve experienced a lot of frustrating and stressful moments in my life up to this point. Perhaps it was because I felt well, and lying on my back with a leg strapped to a machine for that long during nice weather just felt so unnatural and claustrophobic. Perhaps I didn’t like being dependant upon others; or isolated from society; or unable to cook, clean, pull weeds, or do laundry the way I like. For whatever reason, the volcano of frustration increased with each passing day, and last week it erupted. Big time.
So I took off for the kitchen.
I had no idea what I was going after, but I was determined to find something.
After opening the cupboard doors and spotting a canister of cocoa powder I found my drug of choice. Now mind you, there’s absolutely nothing unhealthy about cocoa powder, but I wasn’t going after nutrients to nourish my body. I wasn’t hungry whatsoever.
I was mad.
I was frustrated AND desperately wanted a quick fix to soothe and pacify my frazzled nerves.
First I dumped a bunch of cocoa in with frozen bananas and made a scrumptious chocolate dessert. After that vanished I dumped a bunch more into some hot oatmeal. Ahhhh. I was soothed.
Or so I thought.
That was, until the next morning when I woke up. I had created not only a toxic headache, but stirred up even more frustrations so I headed straight back to the kitchen. This time I dumped at least twice as much of the powdery stuff into a frozen banana dessert and bowl of oatmeal. As I was in the process of bingeing, I gasped slightly at the amount of cocoa that I was putting into my body, but it didn’t bother me enough to quit.
However afterwards, when I came to my senses, I couldn’t believe that I had this much “attack” still left in me after almost three years of overcoming many emotional eating hurdles. Then the light bulb turned on. Have you ever misplaced an infant or toddler’s favorite pacifier or blanket? Watch out.
Immediately after that revelation I had absolutely no desire whatsoever to go after the cocoa powder. Why the change?
We all know that most everyone turns to food (and/or drinks) to celebrate happy occasions. Likewise, for years I’d viewed eating as a normal response to life’s stress, because it seemed like most everyone also turned to food as an acceptable drug of choice when frustrated too. Now I view it for what it truly is; silly and immature behavior, an out-of-control temper tantrum that only adds more stress.
I never had a pacifier, but I clearly remember the day my favorite blanket named “Pinky” was put on the burn pile. (I grew up on a farm.) I was six or seven-years-old and the blanket was in shambles. The time had come for me to let go of it; it was time for me to grow up.
Perhaps pacifying emotions through unhealthy eating behaviors is something that many of us need to let go of. Perhaps it’s time to grow up.
image credit: flickr by ff137