Put Down that Donut! Dealing with a Lousy Day without Turning to Food

My Bariatric Life Health Guide
  • Yesterday was a bad day. No – make that a lousy day. We’ve all had those. Bad days take many forms – a project you’ve worked really hard on gets cancelled; ghosts from the past come back to haunt you; unexpected bills appear in the mailbox; an argument with a loved one takes place. What made it a lousy day for me is that all of these things occurred on the same day.


    How did I deal with it? Well, I cried. It really is OK to cry – yes, even if you’re a man. After that, I wanted to soothe myself with a treat. That’s not OK.  Emotional eating is not a coping skill. Oddly, I had an image of a donut in my mind – a craving for something that I don’t even like to eat.

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    For me, this is a very slippery slope. Just one donut might be OK for someone else, once in a while, to nurture some hurty feelings the way that Mom probably did for you when you were a kid. But I don’t know if I will stop at just one donut. And giving into emotional eating this one time makes it that much easier for me to give in next time, and the time after that. Let’s be real here, there will be more bad days for me to face across the coming decades, of this I am sure. I made a commitment to take care of myself after my bariatric surgery. It is best not to put a bad decision into play, such a picking up a donut, or else it may become a bad habit.


    I have eaten enough donuts to last me a lifetime. Let someone else have them.


    Why a donut? As I said, I don’t even like them. It is more the notion of the donut that I liked. It evokes feelings of nurture and home and childhood, a place and time when the problem of the day could be made better with a donut – or more aptly, the love and comfort of my mother who ate the donut with me and said everything would be alright.


    So how can we comfort ourselves, nurture our health emotionally and physically, on a bad day? Well, on this particular day, I shared my feelings with someone who was facing the same hardships as me. It really did help to connect and bind with someone at that moment who was going through the same thing.


    Later that night, I found myself caught up inside my head. “Stinkin thinkin” is the term that comes to mind – thinking things are worse than they really are rather than just being with what is. Some call this “Chicken Little Syndrome.” Most times the sky really is not falling. It just seems that way in the darkness of the moment.


    I went to bed.  And things really did look better in the morning. The problems were not gone, but a few good things did happen to offset the losses (sometimes the universe throws a hungry dog a bone) and I felt better able to deal with life’s “stuff.”


    And today there is one more donut in the world, for someone else, thank you.


    If you enjoyed this sharepost, you might also like "My Experience with Mindfulness Meditation," which discusses a wonderful approach for dealing when life throws you a curve ball. Or you may wish to read, "Stress Overeating Remains a Pitfall After Weight-Loss Surgery," in which I discuss a recent struggle that I had with emotional eating.


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    Living life well-fed,



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Published On: October 23, 2012