“Do You Think Your Dietary Restrictions Influence Your Mood?”

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“Do You Think Your Dietary Restrictions Influence Your Mood?”

Okay.  I was asked a question on Monday to which I have a very long answer, “Do you think your dietary restrictions influence your mood?”

And before I jump in with my long answer, I want to say that I have some qualms about putting this all in print because I hate to expose the full extent of my pathological thinking. It’s one thing to have crazy thoughts and reasoning and rationalization in my head…It’s a whole other can of worm to put it on “paper” so that other people can see it.  And then also, since people I know and respect read my blog…I hate to look extra crazy in front of them.  But, I am guessing those people have figured out that I am fucked up anyway…What’s a little bit more crazy going to do?

Do my dietary restrictions influence my mood?  Absolutely!  This process with the Nutritionist has pushed my mood to both ends of the spectrum.

During September, I made a huge change in my eating habits in that I stopped my emotional eating.  The Nutritionist had worked with me on finding other ways to soothe myself, which I made a half-hearted attempt at.  Some things work and I have kept up with, like listening to music.  Some things, I try and try to do (and I really used to enjoy doing) like knitting, but I just can’t get into it and enjoy it.  So, for the most part I quit emotional eating cold turkey.

And I crashed and burned.  Being left without my primary and lifelong coping mechanism was impossibly hard because I was left feeling and feeling and having no respite from the barrage of feelings.  I was totally overloaded and in constant emotional pain.  It was ugly and nasty and so I turned to an older and more negative coping mechanism of self-harming.  Mind you, this overlapped with the AT’s Forgetting Incident, so I was truly beyond overloaded with managing my feelings….When pushed to emotional extremes, evidently I resort to coping extremes.

I have had a couple of emotional eating relapses, but at this point, not for a while.  I still feel the urge to medicate myself with food, but I just don’t do it.  It’s not allowed anymore.  I have integrated it as one of my rules. (I have lots of rules about things.)

Currently, my “dietary restriction” is helping my mood.  I feel really, really good being in control.  I might realize that I have gone a bit around the bend with my zealousness, but I don’t care.  At the moment, I am getting far more positive out of this minimalist eating than negative.  For one thing, every time I step on the scale, my weight has dropped.  This makes me very happy.  I don’t care how quickly it is coming off, I am just glad to see it going.  One day recently, I even managed to weigh less at the end of the day than I had in the morning.  That spiked me into a mood high.  I will admit though, I am a little nervous because I recognized that mood high rush as the same good feeling I get from self-harming and that sends up a little red flag…..But since I am nowhere near a point where I am going to starve myself to death, I am ignoring the flag.

Something else I really like about the minimalist eating is that I feel strong when I am restricting myself.  I can override cravings and hunger and that means I am strong and have total control.  And this makes me feel really good.  I like being in control.  I like being able to make hard choices (by not fulfilling cravings) and I like that this makes me feel better about myself.  This proves to me that I am not weak and powerless (which is how I feel a lot of the time time) but that I am in charge and I am empowered.

Logically, I know this thinking is distorted, but emotionally, I am just riding the high of control and success and loving every minute of it.

I have talked before about my lapse into OCD eating habits…But where I am at now is way beyond that OCD phase.  In the OCD phase, I feel stressed and anxious and self-hateful.  In this phase, I feel calm and motivated and self-satisfied. I like this better.

I do harbor a pretty intense fear though, and it is part of what keeps me motivated.  I am afraid that if I change anything about my current eating situation that I will gain weight back.  To do so would be the ultimate failure for me and I am afraid of the self-judgment and self-loathing and feelings of worthlessness that would accompany such a failure.  So, I am really invested in making this work.  And failure is a definite possibility, I have lost weight before (and large amounts) and gained it back.  I am accomplished at weight loss failure.  That raises the stakes even higher.

Now…If I had any courage, I would print this out for the Nutritionist and let her read it tomorrow….But I would be so ashamed of her reading it that I don’t know if I can do it.  I don’t think she realizes exactly how fucked up I am.  Then again, she is probably going to be on to me when I tell her how much weight I have lost in the past two weeks…She’s not stupid.

Anyway, that’s my answer about how my diet impacts my mood.

7 thoughts on ““Do You Think Your Dietary Restrictions Influence Your Mood?”

    • That is exactly what the nutritionist and I have been slowly broaching the past couple of visits….finding the middle ground. I am really good at extremes… but ultimately there are more healthy methods.

  1. I admire, as always, your courage and frank self-assessment. The phrase that caught my eye was when you casually mentioned this food control to self-harm. I think that if this food control is a step along the path to feeling healthy and happy, and you are able to move on to a different coping mechanism when the time is right…this is not a worry. However, if lurking in the background are those self-harm thoughts…like “I don’t deserve to have treats” or even associating food success with judging your inherent “goodness” or “badness” you need to keep yourself alert and deliberate in not allowing this pattern to become a hidden and seemingly socially acceptable form of self-harm. From what I understand, long-term success in weight loss and health goals comes from a healthy place within. 😉 I will now step down from my soapbox…and return to my frank admiration of your stunning ability to always move forward, self-assess, and make and keep fantastic goals!

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