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NSV: food won't solve my problems

Tuesday, July 05, 2016

I know so, so many people who are emotional eaters. It's so widespread. And I remember that I used to consider it normal. Food was soothing. Whenever I faced stress, I'd eat. It did make me feel better - for a very short period of time. Then the stress returned and was usually worse because I also piled up shame and guilt on top from binge-eating three rows of Oreos or a family size bag of chips.

I've been having car problems since last Wednesday. It started when I left work with my engine making weird noises, then my check engine light blinking and my car going on limp mode (when it won't go faster than 50 km/h). I made it home and tried to find a garage but they all close at 5. I panicked a bit - it's the first time I have troubles with my car (I bought it new four years ago) and I always feel very hopeless when it happens, especially since I'm alone with my boyfriend in a different continent until tomorrow night.

I got a garage recommendation from my boss and asked a coworker for a ride to work the next morning. I called the garage and they agreed to take my car that afternoon. Then it was a puzzle of getting a ride home, driving my car there (again going no faster than fifty), and using my boyfriend's truck that my in-laws left at the garage for me (I couldn't be grateful enough for them!). Then picking up my car, that seemed to be fixed without a bank-breaking fee, and then picking up my boyfriend's truck that was left there...

Well my car misfired again when I left work that evening. It was the long weekend, the 1st being Canada Day. Again stress hit me. I was supposed to go away for the weekend and couldn't use my car, and and and...

Finally I just let go, and Friday I left with the truck. Had a nice weekend. Yesterday morning called the garage again, and again left my car there after lunch, and again my MIL gave me a lift from the garage back to home to use the truck. The garage called me around 4 telling me what was up with my car, and it turns out I have to take it to a Honda garage because only them can fix it. The problem being that the closest one is in Regina - 200 kms away - a two hours drive... under normal conditions. That's now a four hours drive since my car won't go faster than fifty.

Picked up my car... went home... and I had to bike to my hair appointment since I didn't have a ride. I got there stressed and sweaty, but at least I wasn't late. Then I rode my bike to the truck... and drove it home. I feel like the last week has only been me riding back and forth in different vehicles between my apartment and the garage.

Then add more stress when I had to ask my boss for a whole day off to drive to Regina, get my car fixed, and come back. I had already planned on going tomorrow night since I have to pick up my boyfriend from the airport. He never answered my email, so finally when he got at work this morning around 10 I went to his office and kinda crashed. (At least I didn't cry.) He gave me my day off and I could feel the stress start to melt away. Then I decided to book a hotel for tonight so I can drive there tonight instead of tomorrow morning since I want to be at the garage as early as possible. And it gives me more latitude if I encounter a problem on my stupid four hours drive. So I did. And more stress went away.

Although I can't wait to be back in bed tomorrow night with the whole problem FIXED, hoping it won't cost too much money (or better yet: that it won't cost nothing at all; I have no clue if this is under warranty; but the garage guy said he found something about a recall but he wasn't sure if it applied to my car).

So the last six days have been stress piled up on more stress and I can totally feel it everywhere in my body. My shoulders and neck are stiff and hurt like never before. I couldn't sleep last night until 11:30 (when I'm usually sleeping at 10-10:30) and I had a few crying fits in the evening.

In the last six days I've wanted to eat, eat, eat. I found so many excuses. Thursday night I wanted to pick up some takeout - something greasy, crunchy, salty - telling myself that why bother cooking anyway? I didn't need lunch for the next day... well I ended up cooking some "comfort food" - some kale chips (that I absolutely adore), and sauteed vegetables including a ton of mushrooms, one of my fave veggies, in a good tandoori sauce.

Then all weekend I was thinking about my car and stressing about it. It didn't help that the friend I was staying at kept asking me questions about it. We had dessert with almost every meal, but I only had a small portion every time, and refused second servings (and was offered seconds every time too) since I wasn't hungry. It was tempting, though. It felt like it would make me feel better.

Then again yesterday evening. By the time I made it home after my hair appointment it was 6 at night, and I was very, very hungry. I still had to get groceries, I felt exhausted and stressed, my belly hurt from it. Instead of opting for takeout I decided to hit the grocery store and buy stuff I really felt like having. I ended up making a big mixed beans salad with spinach, celery, tomatoes and red peppers, and a dressing of my invention. It was super good and satisfied my craving for something crunchy and fresh.

Did I glare at the cookies while at the grocery store? Sure did. You know how they put all the specials at the end of the aisles? There was a huge stack, six feet tall, of chocolate chips Decadent cookies. AKA my favorite cookie ever. On sale for $1.97 a box. How tempting. I walked quickly by and ignored it and three seconds later forgot about them. I also saw ice cream on special, and chips I really like. "Nope" I told myself. "Chips and cookies won't fix your car."

I noticed in the last months I've been getting better and better at NOT turning to food to soothe stress and negative emotions and situations. I've done it a few times, sure, but not nearly as often as I used to. In fact, this used to be a weekly thing. Telling myself "I deserve it". The thing is, I never deserve food or not. It's just food. It's not good or bad. It won't fix my problems to eat french fries or ice cream. It's just going to fill my stomach and give me very few nutrients for my buck. And I'm so so so glad that the voice in my head that actually KNOWS this is getting louder every time. It used to be so easy to ignore it, now it's not. I know that every time I eat less nutritious foods because of stress I don't even enjoy them. I usually eat them too fast, and in large quantities, and then I feel like crap both physically and mentally and it was all for nothing. Just a waste of stomach space and mental energy.

Hopefully tomorrow everything will get fixed and my life can go back to normal. I'm trying to stay positive and to do everything that's in my power to get this resolved ASAP, and to let go of the things I can't control. Sure, it's pretty awful that I have to drive a broken car for four hours with my hazard lights on at 50 kmh on a highway. But what else can I do? The other option is leaving the car at home and never getting it fixed. Hm... no thanks.
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