I had a déjà vu experience this week. I found myself overwhelmed and anxious (I know, nothing new there, right?); but, it triggered a sugar craving like the ones I used to get when I was heavy. The feeling was instantaneous. It wasn’t a simple desire, but more like a desperate urge that I had to fill.
No, I wasn’t on Pinterest looking at all of the food porn that’s constantly making appearances, nor had I just finished watching something from the FOOD Channel on TV. I wasn’t even near the kitchen when it happened. I was in my bedroom, reading. Specifically, reading about the ‘8 Mistakes Small Business Owners Make’ when I put my laptop down and started thinking about eating. I got up from my comfy reading spot and my train of thought specifically went to lemon squares. What my deal is with lemon squares lately, I do not know. But there it was, festering. I began to pace around the house, wondering which route I would take to get to the one place in town that has the best lemon squares I’ve ever had. (Damn you, Uptown Kitchen!) Just so you know, not only was it storming outside, but it was also cold – the two things that normally wouldn’t drive me from the house for anything. But as I say, I had serious crave brain going on.
I changed my clothes, put on my shoes and took one last look outside at the wind and rain, and noticed something. I couldn’t stand still. I was shifting from one foot to the other. Slowly, I started paying more attention to my body language – the fidgeting hands and the urge to leave the house. I realized then that what I was experiencing was the same type of feeling I used to get in college, which always led to a sugar binge. I’d have a deadline for an art project that I felt I wasn’t ready for; or, say, a critique in class that left me feeling unprepared and nervous. In other words, my anxiety was at warp speed and wanted that sweet relief it once used to get.
I immediately sat down at the table with my coat still on, picked up a marker and slid over a piece of watercolor paper. If I want sugar that bad, I’m going to have to work for it first, I thought. I began to write down all of the things that I was feeling anxious about. The first thing I wrote down was the word Etsy. Okay, I’m obviously having anxiety over starting my own business; that’s perfectly normal. But then I began writing things down that included phrases like: time constraints, not enough talent, fear of making mistakes, poor marketing skills, and so on. Separately, I wrote a list of frustrations I’ve been experiencing as a result of my sloth-like recuperation from surgery two months ago.
It took about 15 minutes to purge myself of the negativity I’d been keeping locked away in my mind. When I read everything through a second time I realized that aside from my post-surgery woes, 90% of what I wrote came from something I’d recently read about starting a business. There are endless articles online that want to show me what I’m doing wrong, what I could be doing better and why I’m not succeeding. Realistically, if I took every piece of advice and actually did all of those things, I’d literally drive myself mad.
Starting anything, whether it’s a business or a diet can be extremely intimidating. One of the reasons why it took me so long to regain control of my health was because it was too overwhelming to throw out all of my off-limit foods and adhere to a long list of diet rules and make time for all of the exercises and weight loss group sessions. Doing nothing may get you nowhere, but feeling like you have to do everything perfectly can make you feel just as paralyzed, trust me.
I may have conquered my weight issues, but stress, anxiety and fear are just a part of life. I needed to get a handle on how I was going to deal with my feelings of doubt but reverting back to old habits was simply not an idea that I had the luxury of entertaining.
Deep Breath……now repeat: We do what we can do.
Okay…so, yes I’m nervous; yes I’m scared, and yes, I’m afraid that I may screw up; but I also need to start taking my own advice. Maybe there was a reason why Woman’s Day contacted me during the same summer that I had major surgery and my job ended. Perhaps I needed a reminder of the day I began the bold yet scary task of losing weight; of how hard, yet how rewarding it was/is. Maybe it was to remind me that it’s okay to be overwhelmed and afraid – I just can’t let it stop me from the act of beginning.
If you’re beginning something new,or contemplating a new start for a better life, you’re not alone. Just remember to keep focused, do what you can and treat every little accomplishment as a big deal, because it is. We have to remember that to succeed, we must begin, regardless of how small and insignificant the act may sound. Because really, who knows where we might just end up?
I had thirteen responses to my book giveaway, and I was glad to see many new faces in the comments section! If you’re new here, WELCOME!!
It would have been so COOL to have taken pictures of me plugging in my cyborg robot as it mathematically produced the lucky winner from its mouth (which also serves as a printer!) But, my bazillion dollar robot is unfortunately in the shop at this time so I had to resort to option 2: asking my husband as he was leaving for work to shout out a number between 1 and 13. He yelled back: NUMBER ELEVEN – HAVE YOU SEEN MY COFFEE MUG? You’ll sleep well knowing that we did find his coffee mug (and thanks honey, for the help!)
So, Margot – you are my lucky winner of Unjunk Your Junk Food! Please contact me and send me your address so I can wrap this baby up and ship it out to you ASAP!!
To the rest of you who entered and to those who entered after the deadline, I plan another giveaway next month, as I always do around my blog’s anniversary – and I have a few great items lined up so stick around!
Have a great weekend, everyone! See you back here next week.