I feel crappy.
It started a few days ago . . . that familiar ache in my cheekbones, radiating up into my eye and down into my gums. Yesterday, I developed a very stuffy nose and scratchy throat. By last night, I was miserable so it was off to the doctor today. Sure enough . . . the sinus infection has returned and I am back on an antibiotic.
I never had allergies until a couple of years ago, which a lot of people found pretty amazing given that I live in a “Big Valley” that is a notorious allergy zone. Things got really out of control in May 2005, when I traveled to Oregon with the rock band I was playing in. We stayed at a church-run camp. Trying, literally, to be a “good camper,” I stayed in one of the cabins. I knew when I walked in that I should run back out the door . . . the smell of mold and mildew was palpable. But it was a long way back to the nearest town via a dark, twisty road that I simply could not navigate by myself with my post-retinal detachment vision. So I fired up the small wall heater in an attempt to rid the air of as many harmful molecules as possible . . .
Ironically, I had undergone a root canal a few days earlier and the doctor told me that the infection in that tooth was probably not completely eradicated when I spent one sleepless night in that cabin. The next night, I did go to a hotel in town, but the damage was done. When I got on the plane to come home the following morning, I could not open and close my mouth because of the pain in my cheek and jaw. Antibiotics, breathing treatments, inhalers followed but it seemed that after that episode, I was always out of breath, congested and miserable.
Finally, last summer, I went to my doctor and declared, “I can’t live like this. You have to do something.” Allergy testing and injections were the next order of business and, of course, she recommended exercise and weight loss. Duh.
I had attended water aerobics classes previously, but discontinued due to a combination of scheduling conflicts and eye surgeries. I determined that day in the doctor’s office to get back in the pool.
It was the best decision of my life.
I also decided to resume using Advocare‘s Metabolic Nutrition System (as discussed in my previous entry) and adhere once again to a healthy eating plan.
But on days like today when I feel just crappy enough to be miserable, but not fully sick, the temptation to overeat is palpable. Why is that? I know that overeating is not going to make me feel better, but that doesn’t change the fact that I want to.
Is it about comfort? Or consolation?
On days like this, knowing the difference between a diet and a healthy eating plan really matters for me.
When following a healthy eating plan, there is no need to be hungry between meals. Physically hungry, that is. It is imperative to discern between true physical and psychological hunger. True physical hunger should never be allowed to continue and I think people who tell you to drink a glass of water to hold it in abeyance are, well . . . all wet.
True physical hunger should be assuaged with healthy food choices and water is not one of them. Yes, you have to drink plenty of water each day, but if you are trying to trick your body into believing it isn’t hungry when it really is, you can give it up. It’s smarter than that. And by engaging in starvation diets and such silly trickery, all you succeed in doing is slowing down your metabolism. Yeah, you might lose weight but you will find it again — faster than you can imagine — once you give up the starvation plan. And you will. Trust me on that. Nobody can sustain it forever. Been there. Done that. Have the clothing in various sizes hanging in my closet as I type this to prove it.
Quiet true physical hunger with food that is good for you, thereby keeping your metabolism running in peak form.
Quiet psychological hunger by distracting yourself. If you just can’t, such as on those days when you really feel the desire to crunch or munch, enjoy a snack like carrots and celery with nonfat Ranch dressing or a couple of rice cakes. The vegetables are great for you and allow you to hear that crunching sound you long for! So long as you dip in nonfat dressing, your “binge” won’t hurt you at all.
Most importantly, be kind to yourself and acknowledge your success. After all, in the old days, that binge would have been comprised of a package of _______ (insert your favorite binge food) as an appetizer, washed down with _________, and followed up with __________ (insert your second favorite binge food). If your “pig-out” involved carrots, celery, rice cakes or a similar healthy choice, look yourself in the mirror, smile and remind yourself that “you’ve come a long way, baby.”
Now I’m off to the frig for some of those baby carrots . . .