Beginning Again

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? 

 

 

 

**GIVEAWAY**

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.

xo,

~Ellen

11 thoughts on “Beginning Again

  1. Roxie

    Being able to break down an “urge” like that is awesome. To be able to “name that emotion” is such a big step to dealing with issues in ways that don’t involve food. I know that you’ve dealt with all of your stuff, but it amazes me how often (for me) I get to re-learn the same lesson.

    I totally get the whole “don’t do this wrong” thing. It does become overwhelming and it just excelerates my anxiety. Slow and easy, baby step at a time is how I have to make major shifts – looks like we are cut from the same cloth.

    Reply
  2. Sharon

    What I will take away from this marvelously written post if the point at which you said, “I noticed something………I started paying attention to my body language.” When we are able to STOP the forward momentum, we are able to halt the behavior. Once something negative enters our mind, it seems the feelings just intensify, snowball and before we know it, the deed it done. We’re left looking back thinking, OMG, what just happened. I am getting better, but still have a ways to go before I can depend on myself to “notice something” before it’s too late. Thanks for putting the process into perspective.

    Reply
    1. Connie

      I laughed out loud when I read your post (not laughing at you – just the fact that I do the same thing). I don’t know how many times I’ve ate something and not even a minute later I’m like ‘what did I just do?’. I can’t really explain myself most of the time except to say that I wanted it and I ate it and I didn’t bother to think about it until I was done but by then the damage is done. I’m hoping that I will get a better at stopping myself and asking questions before I eat and not after. Easier said than done. I wish us both luck!

      Reply
  3. Caron

    I’ve had that same – out of nowhere – urge to eat and eat something decadent NOW. I usually did not stop to analyze it before resorting to eating something I should not have had. I want to follow your example if I get one of those urges again and think about what is causing it. Thanks for a great post.

    Reply
  4. Munchberry

    You JUST started your business. You cannot expect miracles. Slow and steady you plug away.

    I know this stress eating you speak of. I also like to indulge in frustration eating. Stopping it mid attack is the hardest thing. HARDEST.

    You will beat this lemon monster.

    Reply
  5. Jan

    Wow! I’m so proud of you for stopping and putting yourself in “check-mode”. I seem to act on every desire without even thinking, yet you stopped and started paying attention to what you were about to do. I admire that and what an example you are. Loved reading today’s post and am keeping it to read often (reminding me to be more aware of my own actions). :)

    Reply
  6. Connie

    I can totally relate to the issue you have with sweets. That’s been my downfall my whole life. There are times I control it pretty well and others when I don’t. It sounds like you were able to get through it with flying colors as well as doing some soul searching in the process. Win-win. I wish you the best with your recovery as well as your new business.

    Reply
  7. Kyra

    Hey you! First, I’m emailing you.

    Second, you’re right – don’t look at those sites telling you everything you’re doing wrong. If you hit a problem, look for the solution by looking specifically at that one problem, but otherwise – unless you are bored and have nothing else to do – stay away from that. Remember that your business is SPECIAL and unique, because you are offering art. Art is hard, because the rules often don’t apply or are even opposite what they say and that can lead to anxiety!

    It’s taken me a long time to even start going in the correct direction with it, and you are already on the right path. Sometimes, like with weight loss (as you said) it’s just about believing in what you are doing even if the results aren’t there yet. They will be. ;)

    Reply
  8. debby

    So well written and so helpful to hear someone else goes through this stuff after maintaining so long. I am going through a bit of beginning again myself. Your description of noticing your body language and then what you did is very helpful.

    Reply

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