Wednesday, February 25, 2015

The Downside To The Upside

Isaac's Advice
I know I have shared with you some of my triumphs and victories in my journey to a healthier lifestyle. I have dispensed advice for your journey, encouraged you not to give up and we have laughed at some of my fitness adventures. The upside, you may say, but it would be an injustice to you and to the point of sharing my journey if I didn’t share the downside as well. Like today.

Today was rough.  

If I say I was just not feeling it today that would be true but not the whole truth.  

The whole truth would be that the thing was happening again.  At one point in my life it used to happen so often that I didn’t know it was happening.  It doesn’t happen so much any more and when it does, it doesn’t last as long as it used to.  I can look back over my life and see that it has been with me for a very long time. My first recollection of it was when I was in university in upstate New York. It was a very turbulent time for the state of New York with incidents like the Tawana Brawley Rape Allegations, the Bensonhurst Murder to name a few and the ensuing fallout and ripple effects. Racial tensions was high New York and the atmosphere felt hostile. All while I, a young, black, female, island teenager was alone in a practically all white institution.  It was a cold, dark, relentless winter.   It was so intense.  I wanted to see the sun so badly.  Eventually I took my passport, left all my belongings and caught a plane back to the sun.  It, lifted slightly, but I’m sure it was with me for the remainder of that year.

Today started like any other, but I knew it was different.  I could sense it, ever so slightly. I tried to ignore it and carry on with my day.  I called my husband to say hello before I started work at the office (coffee shop).  Even though we talked about many things he kept asking me if I was ok. Finally, I said it must be the weather.  It was a cold, gray day but I knew better.

I worked till it was time to pick up my daughter.  I was frustrated and felt like I hadn’t accomplished much so I wasn’t upset that it was time to go.  There were many things I could have done on the way home, but I opted I skip them. Trying would have been too much.  Once getting home my daughter scampered off to her Daddy and I marched around the house pulling the shades.  I wanted the sunlight to come in, even though it was gray outside.  I can’t stand the darkness. Hubby eyed me warily as I pretended to be ok.

Nap time came, none too soon, and hubby sat while I went to the store to get supplies for dinner. The pressure was peaking and I was cracking under it. I needed to do something.  I was irritated, frustrated, anxious and antsy and I knew what was coming next.  Yes, I should have prayed.  I should have done the things that I know that work but I didn’t.  It required more than I had at the moment.  The store became the escape.  I got the items for dinner, but I also got two pieces of fried chicken, honey BBQ chips and red velvet cake.  ummm!  Before I got home the chips were almost gone.  I set my meal up and a 48 oz cup of water (don’t laugh at my crazy) and I prepared to mindlessly watch some tv and banish these feelings.  Create some distance between me and whatever this was.  

I love, love, love fried chicken, especially thighs, but I guess the years of eating boneless / skinless chicken breast have spoiled it for me.  The chicken was salty and fatty in my mouth.  Gina close the chips before you eat the whole bag.  The cake, the cake, I thought there is hope.  The first taste was like sugar shock.  It was way too sweet for me. I tried to force it, but I had to let it go. In the meantime somehow I had landed on YouTube watching Ledisi sing at The Potter’s House. By the end of the first refrain a tear ran down my face.  By the end of three views of her singing ‘Thank You Lord’ I felt a lift in my spirit.  I could take it from here.  I got up and threw the food out.

So what exactly was the problem?

  • Feelings of discouragement?
  • Feelings of inadequacy?
  • Was it a hormonal imbalance?
  • Worry?
  • Fear?
  • Tired?
  • Death?
  • Politics?
  • War?
  • Money?

It could be a little of all those things or none of those things as well.  The point is when I feel something and I have to learn to be still and feel it. All of it and walk it out.  At the root of the problem, I’ve been afraid of the feelings.  The intensity of them and where they can take me. To manage, I created a coping mechanism of binging.  There I said it (whew!). Binging - stuffing myself with comfort foods to numb myself so the feelings won’t feel so intense or not feel at all. The only problem now is that it doesn’t work anymore.

My husband told me once, “Don't be afraid to feel. Feel what you feel. Move through it. Don't get stuck". I will have to remember that as I learn to walk this thing out. I must learn to find the strength to do the things I know will help and to know ultimately that this too shall pass.

It was a rough day today, but by the time my family awoke from a nap, Mommy and Wifey was on her way back!

Here is the Ledisi singing 'Thank You Lord'. I hope it blesses you as it did me.

Are you an emotional eater?  How do you handle difficult emotions?


  1. As you told me once before, we have those days and it is totally ok. Don't get caught up. You acknowledged it which is a great start. Keep pressing on, and always how far you have come, and that you are continuously a work in progress.

  2. Great job LaToya! I'm truly inspired by your story to go ahead and feel your feelings and move through them. So often we ignore them because we're scared of where they may lead. But we can't let fear control us. God bless you and great post!

    1. I agree we do tend to ignore them, then they back up on us. Glad we could connect.

  3. Being a new mom, I'm not trying to lose weight but I am trying to tone and go back to eating healthier. I have my binge moments which I know aren't healthy and I to think it's because have so much going on in my life at the moment. I just ask God for guidance and know that tomorrow is a new day .Thanks for inspiring me! Nice to know that i'm not the only one going through this.

    1. Shani it really does help to know that we are not alone. Congrats on becoming a Mommy!

  4. Oh Gina this brought me to tears. I know so so well how that feels! I lived it for many years and for the past 2 years I let it consumed me. I gained weights because I am numbing myself with binge eating. :(
    Thank you for sharing this bravely with us. I love the song. God bless you!

    1. Wow Maureen but just know there is hope and recovery for us and we will get there.

  5. Gina I could just hug you right now. I have so many of these days where I do anything and eat anything to avoid my feelings. Your husband gave you great advice. My husband says something similar.
    It is so hard to just face it sometimes. I'm working on some mind right things right now so when the baby arrives, I don't slip, fall and stay down in emotions, pain, war or whatever it may feel like that day.

    Ledisi really should move into my house for a few months! Her voice touches deep down in my soul. Definitely lifts me just when I need it.

    1. MJ I'm glad you have someone in your corner that is compassionate towards you. As you know, at those times, it means the world to know that you are not alone.

  6. I can be either an emotional eater or non-eater. My general 'preference' is the non-eating part. It's hard to sometimes know the vice, recognize it coming on, and not step through the feelings, instead trying to hide or bury them. But, when I let go of trying to "act normal", I can usually at least start to thaw a bit.

    Music helps, reading helps, crafting helps, being alone to do self-care helps. Find what helps and just keep trying things. Good thing you did the same here! :)

    1. I especially like the letting go of acting normal and being alone to do self-care. Thank you so much!