Really late last night, I had a fight with my husband.
After our fight, I headed to the pharmacy to pick up my thyroid medication refill. I knew I was in a vulnerable place and a binge seemed inevitable. I've bought junk from this particular pharmacy many times, and those big bags of red and green Christmas m&m's were on my mind for some reason. I sat in the car a long time outside the pharmacy, thinking "I don't want to do this. I want the pain to go away, and I know the binge is probably going to happen, but I'm so sick of being a slave to this compulsion." When I finally headed in, I had decided to go ahead and let whatever happen.
I walked the aisles stocked with cheap, mass-produced Christmas candy. I spotted the m&m's--the regular ones, the peanut butter ones, the peanut ones, the coconut ones, the mint ones, and the pretzel ones. (By the way, have the m&m, pop-tart, and Oreo minions decided to just keep "innovating" until every last American has diabetes, or what?) Nothing was looking that appealing. Then, lo! A thought occurred to me: this candy isn't going to change anything. The problem I'm having with my husband is still going to be there, whether I eat this crap or not.
I shuffled over to the other side of the store and picked up my prescription. Then I wandered the aisles that contain ice cream and packaged snack cakes. And THEN I remembered I had dark chocolate cherry Kind bars at home, and that I had planned to start using some of the more decadent Kind bars (there are a few varieties that are more dessert-y than others) to ward off binges at night. Something for those nights when I feel like I will go crazy if I don't have something comforting. I left the pharmacy with no junk food in tow.
I got home, ate the bar even though I was not hungry at all, and felt relieved. It was still emotional eating--still taking in calories my body didn't need at all--but it was 170 calories instead of however many are in a large bag of m&m's. I didn't feel compelled to have another bar, I didn't feel terrible about it afterward, and I didn't have a food hangover this morning.
I have days where nothing but full-on ice cream, chocolate, etc. will quiet the beast. PMS days come to mind. But there are days like yesterday and today where the beast is whimpering for a little something and is actually satisfied by a small taste/amount. NOT a small taste or amount of actual dessert, because that sets me off wanting more, but something dessert-LIKE. This afternoon, I was experiencing my millionth craving for eggnog so far this month, so I went home and made a whey protein smoothie with milk and a frozen banana. It was thick, cold, and slightly sweet, so it hit the spot. It worked today; it wouldn't have worked a couple of days ago in the midst of the PMS crazies. And frankly, I wouldn't want to be drinking a banana smoothie on Christmas while everyone else around me is having eggnog.
It's amazing to me that reasonable substitutions work sometimes. I hope I can get better at figuring out what kind of day it is, so to speak, and not going further with the comfort eating and indulgence eating than I need to on any given day.