Food Guilt

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I’m still DOING the things that are keeping me from drinking.

I’m seeing some guilt sneak in though. I bought some WW snacks/protein bars so I wouldn’t have to think. Just grab. It’s working great! Yet, my guilt about not growing, cooking & eating all my own food (& cleaning up after said activities) is sneaking in. Probably 85% of what I grow/cook/eat is homemade so I need to be a tiny bit gentler on myself in the moment.

I typically have 3 months of meals frozen for tax season by now. But this holiday season I didn’t make the big meals I usually do – so no leftovers to freeze. AND at 18 & 21 my boys are finally eating more food. Normally a turkey gives me 12 months of leftover meat. This year they ate the WHOLE THING. (I have to say, in my defense, it was really good!!!)

I have a bit of food guilt. For someone who used to be paid to cook, it pains me to not have the time to do it. I sit at my desk working, knowing that if I don’t work, I can’t pay the bills. The kitchen is just one room away and it calls to me, especially during the holidays.

One nice thing, I don’t like to cook & drink or even have wine with a meal. So that isn’t triggery. But guilt is a trigger!!

In the same way I started changing my attitude about exercise & meditation as an investment, I need to look at keeping my blood sugars in check as more important than my feeling of EVERYTHING must be homegrown & homemade by me.

Maybe start with gratitude. I am able to have room for a garden, the knowledge to grow & can, the ability to cook and hopefully the wisdom to know that this is an ‘all or nothing’ trap in my thinking.

Dopamine

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The “I Want” neurotransmitter. When the brain recognizes an opportunity for reward, dopamine gets released so we go and get the “thing”. If we don’t get the “thing” anxiety is felt.

Some of my Things:

  • Pink wine in a box
  • Grocery shopping for unique food
  • Gadgets – especially cooking gadgets
  • Office supplies
  • Technology
  • Garden supplies, seeds
  • Hardware Stores

Some Things that don’t trigger me:

  • Casinos
  • Malls
  • Shoes
  • Clothing
  • Ikea
  • Coffee shops
  • Jewelry
  • Drugs, pills, supplements, legal & not

There is nothing inherently bad about most “things”, but when it has created a big dopamine response it becomes addicting…like the next level of Donkey Kong or Pinterest or wine can become for some people. Me!

I think trigger is a good word to use because it starts the cycle of anxiety if the “thing” doesn’t happen. To relax I like a little Candy Crush, you win a little prize when you check in each day. There are pretty colors, fun surprises & enough thinking power to keep me engaged. Most days I play my 5 lives and I’m done. On a Saturday I play a little more between cleaning projects.

Could I put it down & never play again? Sure – but I would still seek out a relaxing reward most likely. I also do harder games daily but they don’t create that light dopamine response. They are more like fuel.

Can I put down the bottle (or box)? I have for the last 5 days with much less discomfort than at any other time I’ve tried. The difference this time is I replaced the desire or wanting. I’ve stayed tight to home and not shopped to reduce any outside stimulus. I’ve eliminated scenarios that would normally create that anxiety. I focused on fulfilling my needs so I wouldn’t go into a state of deprivation.

I was associating alcohol as my only reward. I was depriving myself all day from any comfort and would get in such a state of anxiety by the end of the day.

I have changed my perception of exercise and meditation from stress relief to putting gas in the car. The same with food & water. Stopping what I’m doing to refuel.

For today, I’m going to keep doing what’s working. And I’m going to watch if I’m triggered in other ways, checking FB, email, the news.

Consistency

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I had to laugh. One of my morning books is The Willpower Instict by Kelly McGonigal. I had forgotten that it’s written as a CHALLENGE. It is still this current years WOTY for a few more days and it ties in to my takeaway this morning.

One of my biggest hurdles (to really anything I want) has been the good times. Brene recently said what I feel – when things go well & I get happy – get ready for the plunge into self-sabotage. In the willpower book she cites a weird scientificc phenomena that when you do a little ‘good thing’ it gives permission to be a little bad. Things as simple as buying organic at the store and then driving thru a take-out on your way home from the store. ME!!!

To counteract this is a consistency thought pattern. And this really shook me. Take whatever you are doing and apply it to every single day the rest of your life. So, if I’m drinking 9 glasses of wine at night, I have to drink 9 glasses every single night forever.

Now, my first instinct on that is “You can’t tell me what to do!” The second thought is it makes me sick to my stomach.

So, I tried this with some of the choices I make daily.

  • Have a cup of coffee every morning the rest of my life (yes)
  • Not bake or cook a meal from scratch ever again (no)
  • Watch tv for 3 hours every evening (ME no, my Mom yes!!)
  • Get drunk every single night the rest of my life (no)
  • Work so hard I yell at those I love (no)
  • Read everyday (yes)

When I look at I HAVE TO to get drunk every night, it totally takes away the reward/naughtiness appeal. Even tv – if I HAVE TO fit in 3 hours of tv every day I find the thought disgusting to waste so much time.

One of the big excuses is – I will indulge today because tomorrow I will start, do better, make up for it. So ME!!! To counteract this excuse is to reduce the variability of each day. Establishing some concrete rules that are in line with my WHY.

Some of my WHY

  • Live on the water
  • Travel
  • Not have old crappy furniture & out of date decorating
  • Eat my own homegrown food
  • Be strong physically and be comfortable in my body

If I find myself using indulging behavior, I’m going to look for what I think I need this indulgent reward for – I deserve it because……. And do I want to do that indulgence every day the rest of my life?

Another Day Another Nickel Bwahaahaa

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We still quote SpongeBob around here.

I went to bed last night at 730. I got tired of watching families on social media. I got up around 10 and had some toast. Woke up to the dog puking at 330. My dog gets super excited for Christmas.

I was careful yesterday to keep my thoughts in check and didn’t get the urge to race out & get alcohol. The breathing techniques really help me.

Today was supposed to be a trainer day on a (non)Christmas Friday, so I went ahead & put together some exercises that made me feel good as an investment in my day. I had done some early, post dog puke, meditation already and I added a couple more little treats, long shower, cappuccino kind of stuff.

I’m glad I did.

I had read a nifty little passage in a book on willpower this morning about athletes & fatigue. Our bodies will sometimes create fatigue to protect us. (This was a women trying to finish the last few miles of an ironman.) It spoke of creating the WANT at the end. Pushing past either the physical or the mental fatigue to get what you want.

I have felt that fatigue even doing the tiny little workouts I do. No, it’s not my body actually being tired but my brain sure is telling me I’m fatigued. The consistency of 3X week for 20 minutes has taught me to get past the “thought” of fatigue. The WANT at the end of my exercise has been to increase my mobility, and wow has it helped!

For drinking, I just want to stop fighting the craving so I give in. I haven’t been able to learn that craving feeling is something I can actually push past. I’ve been afraid of how powerful it has gotten.

I have been feeling it today and I’m so glad I started my day from a place of strength. I’m (blogging-duh) and am going to do some more movement & another class of the craving meditation pack. (I’m on Level 2!!) AND I have at least four of you that are in my cell that I can call or text if I need it.

Lori, Day 3 if counting, or Another Day, Another Nickel – just keep showing up.

The Little Happy Things

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When I hired a trainer I had a goal. Two-ish years later I can finally articulate what I need. And that is to not have a goal. There isn’t an end. I learned exercise isn’t a way to get somewhere for me. It’s become a necessary investment in my heath and I WANT to do it because it makes me happy.

Who meditates over a thousand minutes in 7 months? Well, I kind of do! I love my meditation app, especially for sleep, so all the “meditation minutes” are not actually awake minutes! I started the sessions on Cravings. I know that one is helping. And it’s not part of the sleep section so I’m awake for it! Lol

Blogging and doing challenges not focused on sobriety got me out of my head and I found some amazing things that made me happy. (Or rather, I did more of the things I love more often.)

Now, here’s a surprise, drinking doesn’t make me happy. Haha – I know this and I don’t. Knowing it (cuz I’m a smart person) and BELIEVING it down to the smallest wrinkle in my brain are not the same. And since my WOTY is BELIEVE, I need to BELIEVE that not drinking makes me happy.

How did I get to happy feelings about exercise, blogging, challenges & meditation? I did them, without a goal, for the simple reason that just engaging in the behavior brings very tiny changes that add up over time.

Im going to slowly invest, one day at a time, in not drinking as one more choice in my life that doesn’t need a goal, but builds up increased moments of happiness.

Lori, Day 2

Thinking & Shaming

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The willpower chapter stated that we expend energy by THINKING. I had just heard twice this week about how many calories a professional chess player and a researcher burns while THINKING, around 6000 calories a day. I also heard a professional strongman say it takes 7000 calories to maintain (and his favorite meal was not having to eat one!)

The assertion of the chapter in relation to 5pm – energy reserves are good in the morning, but after a day of THINKING our energy reserves are depleted.

Light bulb moment.

I have been shaming myself, that because I sit all day, I should have plenty of energy because I physically did nothing. I have not considered the fact that my drinking ramps up when I have a more intense day of THINKING. I just thought it was stress.

I did an exercise class at 5pm this week & I didn’t have anything to give and I couldn’t focus. The same routine I would have enjoyed at 7am felt like cement.

My son watches amazing unique movies and I tell him I don’t have the brain power to watch those in the evening. I call them THINKERS. Lol I’m starting to put some of this together.

At work I showed my son an IRS reg that had come out on Friday. It gave us some much needed guidance for the stimulus loans. Then I ripped up the paper and said now Congress changed it again. This is the 5th change since last year. My brain is very tired keeping up with tax law this year.

Now that I’ve worked through these thoughts, (thoughts about thinking!!), it’s no wonder I want to soothe my brain at the end of the day. But I’m not soothing my brain, I’m killing it. I’m pouring alcohol on an open wound and hoping it stops the pain.

So I need to take my brain out, give it a good massage, hug it & feed it, smile at it, treat it kindly & gently, keep it calm & warm, let it know it’s loved & tuck it gently back inside my head.

I have spent these last years blogging about how to love myself through small rewards. Recognizing what is a true reward and what is a false reward. Learning to stop shaming myself about my body and parenting. But I haven’t found that key to stop drinking.

There is something about this THINKING that is deeply resonating with me. It feels like I found a key that fits, now I need to see if it opens the lock.

Plan again

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This last year of CHALLENGE has taught me that starting and trying are the only way to finishing. I have been afraid to start because I was afraid to fail.

So I had put off the Not drinking CHALLENGE. And here I am starting & failing. But I’m going to keep writing through it. Because the only true way to fail is not to start.

I didn’t “finish” most of my challenges, but just starting moved my thought processes. So was the challenge a failure or a win if it wasn’t completed? Not in hindsight. And hindsight is 2020. Lol

Sleep

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This was an easy one I learned long ago. Sleep is better without alcohol. Yup.

I’ve had some thoughts around blood pressure and low blood sugar. The word coming to mind is Repair. I was wondering just exactly how sick I would have to be to give up alcohol in a heartbeat.

Yesterday I did not do as well as I’d hoped. I did keep to my eating & water drinking schedule which definitely helped, but six hours of zoom meetings was butt numbing. It was resentful feelings that got me yesterday. Only two hours of meetings today.

My goal for today is to dig out the blood pressure cuff.

Must like to drink

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The premise of day 3 is that we must like to drink. And then she sets out to show how that isn’t true.

I kept 2 things from yesterday. Grape juice during the news & some pampering, which was just washing my face & putting on lotion. I tried to add a third thing but my eyes were just too tired.

I am so miserable tired by supper. So, I am definitely trying to get rid of that feeling. Hmmm…Maybe tired isn’t a “feeling”. Like happy, sad, angry, lonely. It’s more physical discomfort – like hungry, thirsty, hot, cold.

Around that time of day I can definitely say I am PHYSICALLY UNCOMFORTABLE. I am hungry, cold, tired. Then when I drink I perk up, I warm up & since I am too tired to make dinner, I snack.

I’m going to put some thought into this today. Maybe try some all day long things – like eating timely & drinking water. Doing some movement during the 6 hours of meetings today. Maybe doing some movement during the news to warm up.

Interesting thoughts.

Talking to self

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Today in my Annie Grace 30 days, I’m supposed to watch how I talk to myself. I have to say that one I have worked on and I’m probably a little TOO nice to myself. This has been one of the BEST things to come out of my years of blogging.

I get a gold star for my challenge yesterday to have grape juice during the news instead of wine. Then I took it a little further and did a face & eye mask after that. I shaved at least 2 hours off my nights normal drinking. That habit I liked. A fun non-alcohol drink during the news & some pampering after. I have loads of fun products, tooth whitener etc, to play with.

My CHALLENGE tonight will be to add a few minutes of sorting a pile of recipes after the pampering. I BELIEVE that a quiet project will keep my mind occupied and not rev me up so I want alcohol to calm down.