Crazy, Busy, Stressful, Haven’t-Slept-Well Days

I love food, and I love healthy food. I avoid things that I consider unhealthy not because I’m scared of them, but because I would rather eat something that makes me feel good physically and feel good about eating it. I think that looking back at what I ate on a certain day and seeing that I ate a wide variety of vegetables, a couple fruits, and I met my dairy for the day, it feels good. (I have no problem meeting my protein/fiber requirements so I don’t even think about them)
But then in through the door walks stress. Stress can be job-related, work-related, life-related. It doesn’t matter, it pretty much all feels the same. Then (for me) when stress bumps in to lack-of-sleep or any other trigger, trouble starts. It’ll be the end of the day, and I’ll have my dinner and be unwinding and then I get that itch. That itch for something else to eat. So I decide, “hey, I would love that ______ right about now.” So I go and I eat whatever ______ is…. and I’m still not satisfied! (My hunger needs have already been met, this is not hunger. This is emotional.) Then I decide, “what the heck, I’ll just have more of that, or something else.” I have it, and I realize that I’m still not satisfied. Nowadays I can see what’s going on an realize that I’m engaging (or about to engage) in some sort of binge behavior. I’m not hungry, I’m simply unsatisfied (because of stress/lack-of-sleep/etc) and using food to satisfy myself. I don’t necessarily feel out of control, just out of caring about if I eat too much or not. Typically once I reach this point, I’ll eat a random assortment of small portions of things that I don’t eat on a typical day (candy, crackers, non-natural peanut butter, leftover pizza). And then I’ll usually reach a point where I can distract myself with some other task and stop eating.
So, yesterday was one of those days. I’d been losing some sleep because I have to work at 6 AM on the days I work, and I (of course) can’t just put my life on hold to go to bed. So that mixed with some stressful episodes at work, left me in prime conditions for a mini-binge. Sometimes I might look back at it the next day and say “oh, why did I do that?” But today I don’t feel bad about it. I actually enjoyed it. In fact, I think my digestion had been off that day (I may have eaten something that was going bad), and my mini-binge kind of pushed everything along nicely. (Note: I call it a mini-binge because I wouldn’t consider it to be on the level of the clinical definition of “binge”)
And today, I got plenty of sleep and woke up feeling refreshed. Plus, when I stepped on the scale this morning, I found that I didn’t weigh anymore than I typically weigh. I think that I’m understanding myself more these days and seeing how my body responds to various stimuli.
Do you ever experience episodes like these? How does your body respond to stress?


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