Friday, June 6, 2014


It's funny, because I've actually had a couple of posts all queued up in my head and I even sat down to type them... and either something shiny went by, or I just lost my oomph.

I gots no oomph, people!

My lovely friend, Jill, sent me an article theorizing why we eat when not hungry (and if I wasn't a total dork, I wouldn't have accidentally deleted it from my email - apparently FOREVER, did you know there was a forever setting on gmail via your phone? Me neither. I know now.) Anyway, part of it really resonated with me, and luckily since I was texting her about it, I still have that actual quote:

"When we have uncertainty about the future, remember we also lose our ability to delay gratification."

For me, this was totally mind-blowing, because that's exactly my problem! Now, before someone yells at me about excuses, let me just say that it's not. It's understanding. Because now that I know what my problem is, I can start putting things in order to help with it.

So, let me step back here a moment since I have to summarize the article anyway (and I'm missing great big parts of it, because there were other reasons listed too, but this is my reason. Nail, head, so there!) There were a lot of good things in the article, but just hearing that statement and thinking it over was eye-opening.

My life has been in flux for so long. This isn't just the moving nonsense that's been going on since February, although that has been the absolute worst lately. No, I can step back further to when there were some other things that happened that kept me awake at night and fearful from then on out. But let's stay away from the scary personal and family issues and focus on the moving fiasco, because seriously, it's ridiculous.

We've been waiting on pins and needles since February when they gave us less than 48 hours to decide whether or not to move to North Carolina. They had to know, and RIGHT NOW! NOWNOWNOW!!! After they got our yes, and us thinking this was a sure thing, they then proceeded to act as if it was one gigantic Maaaaaaaaaaybe, and that's how my whole "future" got thrown into the garbage disposal. Where does it stand now? They keep adding hoops that have to be jumped through, and say this needs to happen or that, and it could be months and months before we know - or we literally could be packing up and moving in three to six weeks. I kid you not. Months to years, or hey could be tomorrow and suddenly you have to go! (My response to that is indecent, but extremely colorful.)

It's been one big wishy-washy mess that has both infuriated me and totally ruined my ability to plan into the future. I'm serious. As an artist, I cannot book any shows. This completely slams my business income, but as the shows are nonrefundable AND expensive, I simply cannot book anything I might not be here for. I have a second business that hasn't launched yet, but now I can't launch it even if I wanted to (and if I move there are legal issues to moving the business as well.) So that's on hold. I cannot offer classes. Frankly, I can't even order some art supplies because the movers may refuse to move them (hazardous chemicals) and they're not cheap.

Essentially, I am one seriously ticked off artist. I want to punch or stab someone at this point. That's right, all Miss joy-joy-painting-unicorns-and-fairies over here has gotten stabby! That's how bad it is! I literally find myself trying to paint and find my happy place, and wanting to stick a knife through the canvas instead. It's awful. I'm angry. I know it's not my husband's fault at all, but I'm mad that it's HIS company holding MY life and MY career hostage because of their bureaucracy (that's pretty much the reason behind the lack of action over the past few months. It's of course more complicated, and I'm sure there are reasons, but whatever. I'm furious about the position this has put me in.)

I don't know where to have my kids registered for school. I don't know if I am selling my house and moving, or staying put. My parents want an answer because they'll need to move with us (we help them out, and they want to be by the grandkids.) I don't just have uncertainty about my future, it's being held hostage by people who couldn't care less!


So, yeah. Uncertainty about my future? Really massive, dragging the pen so hard that it rips right through the paper - CHECK.

OK, so now that I've established that I might be suffering from uncertainty about my future, let's move on to the delaying gratification part. That whole phrase "Good things come to those who wait" is something I usually agree with. Right now, it makes me want to bite someone. Nothing good is coming. I have nothing to look forward to, because nothing is planned. There is no decision that is made, no path forward. I'm on hold, so I am completely uncertain... and I realize I've been eating to alleviate that uncertainty.

Well, what I mean is that if you bake a cake, you can pretty much decide if you want a piece or not. There is power in that, whether you choose to eat it or not. The interesting thing is that the inaction, the choosing to NOT have a piece, is more costly on some level. It's one more thing dangling in front of your face that you can't have. Whether you say so, or society, or whomever, it's one more thing that you can't enjoy. So, JUST saying no isn't actually the answer (and thank goodness the article agreed with that. You cannot replace a need with a vacuous deprivation.)

So, if doing the right thing means leaving yourself wanting and open, that would just be heaping further misery onto an already miserable situation. Wait, though - the answer is NOT having the cake.  Instead, the answer is filling the gaping hole with something else. Something that gives you a little thrill, but doesn't give you more weight to lose. A treat that isn't food related.

The author suggested things like flowers, if you are into them. Buying yourself a fresh bouquet of flowers and setting them on your desk, so that when you start to freak out and think the only good thing you can possibly feel is by eating that cake, you stop. You stop, look at your pretty flowers, smell them, and feel good. Replace the reflex food action with something else.

Now, I'm not a flower person (they DIE. I've never understood giving people flowers.) So, I need to put something else in that place. I know that this is a good strategy because I can feel that these eating issues I've been facing are directly tied to having issues with delaying gratification, and my uncertain future. For me, that totally clicks. I can almost feel the gaping wound in my physical body, all rough edges and misery, and I can see that I've been wrongly trying to give myself something, anything to help. Wrong things, but I can see it now.

I cannot delay gratification successfully right now. OK. Then I need to figure out how I would spoil myself other than food. For me, in the past, this has usually been hot baths. As we move into summer, this is less feasible (without air conditioning) and I also wonder if that would mean I'd be taking 18 baths a day. (I'd be the cleanest woman on the planet! Or I'd grow gills.)

I... I seriously don't do anything for myself in the spoiling arena. I'm not a shopper, so going out and buying something special that I can indulge myself with and wear to remind me just doesn't work. I like candles, but lately they've been giving me migraines, and I haven't bought any more since we might be moving. I...

What the heck do you all do to spoil yourselves? I guess I just don't, for the most part. I don't know if I even know how.  I realize that this is something I need to figure out, because I need to put something in that empty place. I've been trying to fill it with chores, and simply denying myself things, and a lot of negative "I hate you Kyra" self talk. It's not working (and there's nothing like hating yourself while scrubbing a toilet. Brings you to a whole new level, let me tell you.) I have to change things, or I'm going to end up in a really, really bad place and a really, really high weight.

So, if you made it to the bottom of this post, here is what I would like to know:

  • Do you treat yourself?
  • How often?
  • How do you treat/spoil yourself?
  • Or are you someone like me who really sort of ignored yourself and didn't bother to treat yourself to anything, and now you don't know where to even start?


Jill said...

I'm mostly in the last group, same as you. Although after walking around with unpainted toes for 5 days, it really gave me a lift to paint them again! Weird but true.

Natalie said...

In winter, as it is here, I love hot baths, but as you say that is not really feasible for you right now.

I can't really think of any other non-food treats...

Other people say exercise, a nice long walk, can make you feel better. Is your ankle up to that?

Buying a new book to read?

I would so hate to be in your situation that I can't really imagine how I could make myself feel any better if I was. I would be stress eating for sure.

PlumPetals said...

Uncertainty about the future and for me, more importantly, boredom are my two main downfalls when it comes to mindless eating. When I have a purpose or a goal I stay on track a lot better.

I don't really have a 'treat' set up for myself. I don't know if that type of reward system will really work for me.

Monique Noel said...

I'm extremely OCD and chronically anxious about the future, so I can't imagine what you're going through. I'm so sorry. :(

Maybe you have already considered it, but what if you booked a show or offered classes and, if your husband was moved to North Carolina, you bought yourself a cheap studio apartment on a month-to-month lease and lived there until your art show/classes were finished, then joined your husband?

I'm sort of like a male when it comes to listening to problems lol. I always wish I could think of a solution! But if all you needed was someone to listen, then I hear ya. :) I hope things look up soon.

Kerstinchen said...

If I had to pick a treat, it would probably be a massage or going to the hairdresser (other then when it REALLY is time for another haircut). The latter probably not an option for you, and the massage thing does sound really tempting, but considering the costs hardly an everyday option. Also, it does necessarily involve other persons, maybe not what you want on every occasion.

Totally with you on the flowers btw. I don't even own a vase. On the other hand, the only (two) occasions I ever got flowers was when I passed exams.

Leslie said...


I can so relate to everything you are saying in your post. I don't really know how to plan for much in my life right now either. I know that my husband and I have chosen this path in regards to going after our long term dreams, but it doesn't it make it easier. The thing that is helping me in regards to the food is just telling myself that at the end of this twisty/turvey road I don't want to have an added problem of more weight to lose.

I have never really had a lot of things that I loved to do that were any type of replacement for the immediate gratification that comes from food. So for me I just have accepted that, and so when I am upset or in a not so comfortable situation, I just lean in to the fact that I am going to want food. So I try and make healthier foods or get healthier foods that I really enjoy. I go out of my way to get the stuff that I might not normally buy such as already prepared fruit and veggies.

Today I found it really helpful to just acknowledge that because I was working on stuff I didn't want to do, I would want to snack. Some would say you shouldn't use food as an escape, but if you can't beat it ---accept So I was able to plan in lots of snacks that fit in my plan.

I don't know if any of this helps, but hang in there.

I wonder if there are parts of your business that you could focus on, so you don't feel like you are putting it on hold.