What Freedom Is... To Me (Confessions of an Emotional Eater)
When I think of the word freedom many things immediately come to mind. Our military... The popular meme with someone atop a mountain - their arms spread wide and a sunrise behind them (probably containing some impactful words on freedom)... The United States flag... Mel Gibson's last words in Braveheart... And God. But ultimately what I settle on is one thing - the one common thread: freedom is the opposite of being enslaved. We can be slaves to many things. In fact many of us are. We can be a slave to our job, our stuff, others opinions, our bodies, our fears, our anger, our insecurities... you name it. I've recently discovered, or acknowledged perhaps, that I am an emotional/impulse eater. (#yayme) I've learned a few things... Namely, that I have been a slave. Not only in my desire to numb my hurts (with my fave comfort food), but that I've also been a slave to the actual food itself. Every time I was presented with treats outside my norm - two things would happen:
1.) If I chose to resist, I was miserable. Regardless of who I was talking to or what I was doing, I'd be preoccupied. (With food!!) All I could think of was how deprived I was, and how much I wanted the ice cream cake and sopapilla cheesecake that everyone else was enjoying. (See, it left a mark)
2.) I would say - "screw it," and not even try to resist. And upon having one unhealthy goodie, I'd decide I needed more, and leave feeling gorged. And we all know what follows that. Cursed food guilt. And regret. Like - why in the world would I sabotage my fabulous healthy progress for some (not very good) hard, store-bought cookie? I mean, I didn't even really like them. But yet I had 3. And why exactly did I do this?
Because it was there. (I wish there was a better reason...)
If you know me, you know I'm a social butterfly. I soar in social settings. But yet, I've been fighting (and losing) a battle that no one really knew about. BBQ's, birthday parties, picnics at the park, dinners with friends, social activities in general - were a place of struggle. Instead of being fun-filled times to enjoy my friends and family, they were often my nemesis. Because I was CONTROLLED by to whatever food was there.
Ugh. Just writing that feels pretty gross. But it's true. (And knowing is half the battle.)
Well my darlings, I have something #cray to report. I spent this weekend with my amazing family in Wyoming. As is often the case for family gatherings, there were all kinds of delightfully yummy goodies. (They make the best treats ever!!) My mom-in-law made her signature chocolate caramel "goo bars," (they are divine my loves) and my grandma-in-law made these amazing strawberry cake bars. There was candy and ice cream and chocolate chip cookies too. (YUMMM) Normally, I'd eat more treats than I could even count! And by the time we left, I'd feel just feel horrid. (Like I'd need to go on a diet of water and lettuce for the next week to even out the abundance of calories I'd consumed in just a few days, lol.) But something was different this time. ME!!!! Over the course of the weekend I had one goo bar, one strawberry cake bar and 2 jelly beans. That's IT people. You may think this is no big deal but I can assure you, for the SD (aka: me) it's MAJOR. So what made this time different? Did I suddenly have iron-clad will power? And super hero self-control? No. (I'm laughing, you just can't see.) Was I consumed and full of "poor ole me, I can't have this yummy treat," self-pity?? NO!! I had a ball, and wasn't a slave... to food. (Woohoo!) Here's what is different: A few months ago one of my besties told me she felt like a whole new human due to some products she'd been taking from a health and wellness company called AdvoCare. I had heard of this company but never tried a thing. As usual, I was very, VERY skeptical. (Right?) But I trusted my sweet friend, so decided to give it a shot. What the heck. My loves, I feel uber cheese saying this, but AdvoCare actually HAS changed my life.
I am a different human now, too. In addition to taking a few of my favorite Advo products faithfully, I follow the diet/lifestyle plan and actually LOVE it. Unlike everything else I've ever done - I'm not eagerly awaiting it to be over so that I can eat what I am craving. Because I am not craving. Anything. This is my life now. The new me. And what's the most absurd (and freeing) is that I don't secretly dread social gatherings, feel food-deprived, or find comfort in eating junk. Case in point: you won't find me on a couch pounding Doritos after a crappy day anymore. I am eating wayyy more (healthy) carbs than I was before, and I'm not only extremely satisfied, but I don't crave garbage. Ever. (So, so weird) With the exception of my one splurgey-splurge meal a week, I don't do sugar, processed anything, white flour, or fried food. An get this: I DON'T MISS THEM! What??? So why did I only eat a few sweet treats when surrounded by a plethora of goodness this weekend loves? Because I didn't desire them. I literally looked at them and thought something to myself that I never have before: "No thanks. I'm good." Are you freaking KIDDING ME??! The best part?? No!!! I am no longer a slave to whatever food happens to be present in the moment. I no longer use food to numb myself or take away boredom. I eat it for fuel, health, joy. And that my dears, is freedom to me.
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