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The Slippery Slope

This will be a short missive – at least, that is my intent as I sit here tip-tapping out the first line.  I wanted to pop in for a minute or two and tell you about my week.  Not because I think it particularly interesting, but rather because I hope it may, at some point, help you out.

There’s never a dull moment around here.  As I type, Penelope is lying between the monitor and the keyboard, purring like a freight train, with her head wedged under the top edge of said keyboard.  Florence is licking photographs to my right.  This week, especially, has not been dull.  It’s been a very stressful week involving a lot of nausea, two ginormous mis-understandings with people I care deeply about, a migraine, the death of a friend, the unfortunate aftermath of drinking coffee on an empty stomach, nearly ending up in a ditch after skidding around a bend in the rain, and being late for my boss’ all-day Leadership Meeting.  And there was me thinking that things only come in threes.  But wait!  There’s more! I went ahead and made it all a whole lot worse.

By Tuesday lunchtime I was so stressed that my two-day headache escalated into a migraine.  After lying in the dark under my desk at the office for 2 hours – desperately trying and mostly failing to rid myself of it – I attended a business dinner, and when presented with a small slice of baguette I didn’t have the strength of mind to resist.  It all went down hill from there.  One slice became, oh I’d say about 6 more, and then later a pot of chocolate mousse slid down my throat.  Just the mousse you understand.

By Wednesday afternoon I was desperate for more sugar and while buying cables at Best Buy I ate a whole bag of Swedish Fish in 7 minutes.  That sudden flash flood of sugar made my brain light up like a heroin addict’s.  So Wednesday night I ate a loaf of bread.  Safeway, I loathe you for baking that French bread every day at 4 pm.  And 6 pm.  I’d describe it but that would make you all want to go buy your own.

Thursday, despite my heroic and successful efforts to avoid *inSANEity at an all-day meeting, I swung by Safeway on the way home to pick up another loaf of bread.  And ate it.

Friday I ate more bread and then, at the movies, downed a whole bag of Sour Patch Kids, although I did manage to make them last 22 minutes.  Pre-bed snack when I got home?  More bread.

And so here we are on Saturday morning and I am feeling quite horrid: physically, mentally, and emotionally.  UGH.  My brain feels foggy, my body is sluggish, my guts are a mess, I’m emotional, and throw in a large dose of lethargy to boot.

What started as a response to stress exploded into a physiological response for more and more sugar – because even though the stress subsided Thursday evening, my brain was by then hell-bent on keeping the supply of its drug of choice flowing into my veins.

Why am I telling you all this?  Because I know you have these moments too.  You are not alone.  Life happens.  Emotional and stress-induced eating is real and once you start – even with one bite – it can put you teetering on the edge of one very slippery slope.  For me, with my recently healed hormones and metabolism the effects of this weeks inSANEity on my weight have been negligible, but I am acutely aware that if I don’t stop feeding these stress-induced cravings for sugar, slowly but surely I will clog my system and the fat will start to build up again.  Because that’s how our bodies work.

I have often mentioned that since my transformation I can eat a treat every once in a while without any issues whatsoever.  I now know I need to clarify that by saying I can eat a treat every once in a while as long as I don’t do it when I’m stressed – as long as I don’t do it out of some deep emotional pull.  And that’s where being aware of what is driving your desire to eat *inSANEly becomes all important.

So as I sit here this Saturday morning I am focusing on eating proteins and fats to help turn off the physical cravings I reignited.  Mentally I am internalizing the fact that my actions were the result of stress.  Acknowledging the reason for stepping on the slope makes it a lot easier for me to not slip away from the *SANEity.  Because eating *inSANEly intensifies rather than reduces the problem by creating physiological stress in addition to the emotional.  Not only that but it typically creates a mass of miserable feelings of failure and self-loathing for being weak-willed or lazy or whatever other crazy lies we tell ourselves about the whole sorry saga.

Don’t let stress woo you into putting your foot on top of that slippery slope.  You are worth so much more.

With that I’m off to create some delicious egg casserole thingy to take with me on tomorrow’s Sunday Road Trip so I won’t feel compelled to grab some hideous edible product at the gas station when I roar in to fill up with fuel.

What makes you feel good – do more of that.


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  • MintaAnd I spent a hunk of Friday with you and had no idea! That’ll teach me to forget to ask, ‘and how are you, Carrie?’….ReplyCancel

  • TeresaI can fully understand that response to stress. I am sorry you had to go through all that after just getting out of that bad depression. Glad you’re getting back on track. I’ve also had an unusually rough and heartbreaking week as I had to let my dog go. But it was the merciful thing as she was 16 and losing function in her hind legs and in pain. My response was to go buy fast food every time I was out. Fortunately, I haven’t had much of an appetite so most of it will be discarded. I was in the hospital a month ago and now have physical therapy coming which helps motivate me to do the exercises before their next visit. But it took a bit today to get out of that black hole and get going. I know I will have more of these as I miss my best buddy. I find driving soothing and will need to grab my camera again and find some nice scenic places to go as you do.ReplyCancel

    • carrieTeresa – I am so very sorry to hear about your loss. In my experience the grief never goes away entirely, but you adapt and learn to move forward despite the pain. I am glad that you, like me, find comfort in driving. Do more of that!ReplyCancel

  • aubreyThank you for sharing. Definitly can relate. All will balance out promise xxx.<3ReplyCancel

  • KathyI’m there with you this week, Carrie. It’s been a couple of weeks of HUGE stress, and the sugar/bread combo reared its ugly head for me too. Tomorrow is a new day, and I have all Sane and healthy items in my pantry and fridge at the ready. Now if I’m only able to control my emotions and eat up the Sane foods instead of stopping by the donut shop…that’s my current goal.ReplyCancel

  • DieannaThanks so much for sharing that with us Carrie! I know we have all been there with the sugar high……for various reasons. We all need to find ways to handle our stress and realize that we DO have control over our stress induced eating. You help so much with your honesty and posts. I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart. You’re one of a kind!!ReplyCancel

  • Beth“Slip happens” as they say. It’s reassuring to hear that you have these moments…err… sometimes longer…just like me. Thank you for sharing. I’ll will definitely remember your words of wisdom as a reminder to find other ways to cope with stress than my go-to comfort sugar/starches. Here’s to the start of a brand new week ahead. Enjoy your road trip tomorrow!ReplyCancel

  • Dr Mike KeenI have been a fellow traveler over the last couple of life-stressful weeks, my need for bread, especially, has hugely intensified. This need is, unusually unrequited by almonds, avocado, NSVs and the like. This demonstrates to me that the memory trace of my inSANEity that was lying dormant in my supposed SANE brain, is hugely powerful and potentially derailling in even the most SANEloyal of followers! The take home message……….????…….NONE of us are Teflon coated, we all may respond to hardwired primal urges, life is chaotic even in the most pragmatic of individuals, thus to effect long term, sustainable lifetime changes we must accept that our human frailties will occasionally overpower our ‘iron wills’ and that beating ourselves up over these lapses is not the adaptive option. Use them as opportunities, not threats, embrace the SANEity that we have incorporated into our lives, for without it our lives would be far less energised!ReplyCancel

  • MareeHello Carrie, Yes, I think a lot of us can identify with your situation. When a migraine is coming on I crave carbohydrate. It can be anything I find in the house, but sugar it must be!

    It must be the phase of the moon or something because I also have been feeling less than bright and bubbly this last week. It’s a lot to do with my 93 year old demented mother who should be resting with the angels but medical science insists on keeping her alive! There is little I can do but frustration is the name of the game!

    So, having got that off my chest, I feel like leaving my family behind and sailing off into the blue – away from the utter sameness and responsibility that no one can shoulder but me. Sound familiar? I do love my gorgeous Burmese. In all this, his play and his utter loyalty and company keeps me going. Love to you Maree.ReplyCancel

  • SylviaHi Carrie

    I’ve been on that slippery-slope for about 9 months now and I feel very fat, heavy, bloated, disgusted ….. the list goes on.

    Reading your post has given me some motivation to get back on track a.s.a.p. Thank you so much for sharing your story.

  • Dawn RandallHugs from Ohio, Carrie. Our battle really is “One Day at a Time” so much more than we sometimes remember. Amazing what a difference one day can make (in either direction). Love your last line….I needed that reminder! Thanks for sharing real life with us and for sharing yourself. Here’s hoping for a no-headache week!ReplyCancel

  • SusanCarrie, I feel your pain. Been there, done that. One small thing, don’t forget to forgive yourself. You’re human and fallible just like the rest of us. Isn’t it nice to know you aren’t alone?
    Thanks for sharing and hang in there!ReplyCancel

  • MeghannThank you so much for sharing. You ARE helping in so many ways. Stress is so huge in this whole management scheme. I was doing so so very well and then my husband’s job evaporated. Your mind makes things so much harder for yourself. While we were never ever actually in true hardship I have still gained back over 40 pounds in the past 1.5 years. You are not alone Carrie and I thank you for opening my eyes. I can see I am not alone either. Hope your new week goes better. Hugs!ReplyCancel

  • Leslieso glad you wrote this! I had the same problem while at a 3 day seminar last weekend, only it started with small pieces of baked goods at the seminar. It escalated to Dairy Queen, and big soft, salty, bread Wetzels pretzels (2 per day) once I started sliding. I would definitely have gone for the swedish fish and gummy bears if they were somewhat convenient to my hotel! What is it about bread and sugar? Glad to know I’m not alone in that slippery slope. Many people don’t understand the addictive quality of sugar.ReplyCancel

  • SuzanneIt still amazes me how much we all have in common. Sugar and carbs are my drug of choice. In as much as I try to work at being sane, life does seem to present an emotional roller coaster. And – heaven forbid – something happens to one of my four legged-children (cats), that is the worst. But they (the cats) are also what keeps me going in the worst of times! Thoughts and virtual hugs to all of you!ReplyCancel

  • Mary LouCarrie, Have you heard of Tapping Solutions. A brother and sister both have a book. I have both of them. Just google it. Their names are Jessica and Nick Ortner. You can watch a bunch of videos. It is a miracle.ReplyCancel

  • SherryThanks for the honesty. It is good to know I am not the only one! I’ve had a similarly bad 4 day streak and boy do I ever feel bad as a result. I’ve slid doff the slope for now and don’t want to return.ReplyCancel

  • EmilyThank you for sharing your slippery slope. Yes, we have all been there, sliding our way down into a pit. Stress, just like alcoholism, NEVER goes away. It may be dormant, but is just there, outside lurking, waiting, eagerly, for our weakness. Then it flares up on its hind legs and takes over our life….again. “Feed me, feed me,” says the stress, “feed me sugar, feed me grains.” I don’t have any answers, but perhaps knowing that i am not alone helps. You help me, and all of us Carrie, by sharing your story. So let us all hang on to each other and push through this together. Namaste.ReplyCancel

  • JulieThank you *always* for your brave vulnerability (Brene Brown would be proud! :) You DO help *so* many of us by sharing these 100% human reality checks that we ALL go through. It’s awesomely compassionate of you to share & connect with us, reminding us that we are not alone and all amazing- simply for being :) You rock, Carrie!ReplyCancel

  • ColleenIt’s amazing how things show up in one’s life just when needed. I have lost 22 pounds and 12% body fat eating S.A.N.E. over the last 5 months and have really healed myself. But on Friday night it all started with 9 screaming little girls at a Battle Blast birthday party, a slice of pizza and a piece of chocolate cake. I thought just a bite….that turned into Cheetohs, wine, more cake, a hot dog, potato chips and cooked over the course of the weekend. I never eat like that — even before I cleaned up my act. It was as if I lost my mind. I have been very stressed over the ill health of my other child and I think I just lost it. So I agree that a treat is dangerous when we are emotionally stressed or depressed. On Monday I bravely got on the scale and I had gained 2 pounds. Not the end of the world. I’m eating S.A.N.E. and drinking lots of water and am almost back to normal. No worries, I know how to get there now.ReplyCancel

    • carrieTHANK YOU for sharing, Colleen! It’s great to know we are not alone in our struggles and that we are totally in control of getting things back on track. Kudos to you!ReplyCancel