Archive for the ‘emotion’ Category

Gratitude

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I am exploring the concept of gratitude.

On the one hand, that makes a lot of sense, because that’s how I make my living – studying emotions. But to tell you the truth, I hadn’t ever really thought too much about gratitude. That’s not to say that I was never grateful or, heavens forbid, ungrateful, but gratitude – in and of itself – just wasn’t something that I ever thought a lot about.

Recently, however, gratitude has been popping out all over the place. I get emails about gratitude. I have coaches who talk endlessly about gratitude. And just the other day, I turned my iPod on shuffle and up popped a segment of some random Eben Pagan program that was talking about, you guessed it, gratitude. Heck, for the last six or so weeks, even before all of this prodding started, I had set up a mastermind with my friend, where we start of by saying something that we’re grateful for! And just lately, on the advice of all those coaches, I have started keeping a daily list of 10 things for which I am grateful.

So what is gratitude?

According to Dictionary.com, gratitude (pronouned grat-i-tood), “is the quality or feeling of being grateful or thankful.”

Unfortunately, thankful refers to the feeling or expressing of gratitude, so things are beginning to get a bit circular, but I would imagine that you get the idea.

As is the same for most North Americans of European descent (or those that celebrate Thanksgiving in any meaningful way), I am more familiar with the term thankful – as in what are you most thankful for, as recited annually around the dinner table in front of friends and family. It is on those moments that we learn that we should be thankful for the good things in our lives. Very rarely do you hear anyone express their thanks for their problems, their miseries, their trials, their tribulations, or, last but certainly not least, their seeming failures.

Seriously, how many times (either as a child or as an adult) have you ever seen or heard someone actually give thanks for a divorce, a job loss, a tumor, or a death of a loved one? Especially in the moment in which it is happening? Despite all of the platitudes that we have also grown up with: “Every cloud has a silver lining…”, “whenever a door closes, a window opens…”, etc. And when we do hear it – usually decades after the fact – when someone actually says, “losing my job/getting cancer/losing my leg was the best thing that ever happened to me…” we generally have a hard time believing it. No matter how sincere they seem.

Wouldn’t it be great to be able to have that kind of acceptance, that kind of gratitude in the moment?

Is that even possible?

I think it is possible, for some people. Indeed, there seems to be a upsurge of what some people are calling, “Radical Gratitude.”

I first saw this phrase in an email; it was one of those daily motivational things that seem to explode out of my inbox.

I’m paraphrasing here, but it said something like, “It’s easy to be grateful for the good things in your life, but not so easy to be grateful for the things that you don’t like. Pick one thing about your life (or your body) that you don’t like and find the gratitude. Find one thing about this that you absolutely love.”

That was it. No instruction. Just pick the one thing about yourself that you hate, and express gratitude for it.

You know, I tried standing in from the mirror and expressing gratitude for something – anything – that I didn’t like. I’m sure I came up with something, but I didn’t feel it. I would have laughed it off as some silly self-help thing, but the idea kept niggling. Eventually, I realized that I was grateful – really and truly – that I had a bad knee, because it reminds me (by locking up when I don’t) to tap into and take care of my physical body.

It was amazing how good it felt to stop hating my knee.

The very next day, I heard the Eben segment on gratitude. Being Eben, he put his discussion of gratitude in a much more elaborated framework:

1. Why – Why is gratitude important?
2. What – What is gratitude?
3. How – How do you experience gratitude?
4. What if? – What three steps can you do right now to start experiencing more gratitude in your life on a daily basis?

Simply put, gratitude is important because it has the ability to pull us out of almost any negative emotion state. If you can learn to find the gratitude in an authentic way, you can manage your emotional state, no matter now negative or overwhelming that state may me. In this regard, Eben (and other within the self-development genre, industry – whatever one chooses to call it) refers to gratitude as being the “crown jewel” of all other emotions.

What is gratitude? Well, as stated above, gratitude is the experience or expression of thankfulness; it is also a powerful emotion management/emotional regulation strategy. According to Eben, as well as many sociological accounts, gratitude is a tertiary or higher order emotion. In other words, it’s not one that is hard-wired into us via biology; it’s not something that simply occurs, such as fear, anger, disgust, happiness, and joy or is somehow linked to our evolutionary survival. Instead, gratitude is something that we learn – we learn to be grateful for certain things. Gratitude is constructed via the stories that we tell ourselves about the events that are happening to us, especially those events that result in basic emotions (fear, anger, disgust, happiness, or joy) or the secondary emotions (such as jealousy, anxiety, excitement, depression, envy, guilt, or shame).

So, how do you do it? First, you acknowledge that whatever is happening is happening or, if the event happened in the past, that whatever happened has happened. There’s absolutely no point trying to change reality. It is possible to change what happens in the future, but it’s pointless to try to change what’s happening right now or what’s happened in the past. It happened or it is happening. Accept it. Second, ask yourself: “What can I learn from what is happening right now or what has happened in the past? Third, taking that information into account, what can I do moving forward to improve my situation?

Now, Eben, being Eben, takes this to the logical extreme (that is, the death of a loved one) to illustrate that you don’t need to be happy that it happened in order to find gratitude. A loved one died. You realize that life is short and there are no guarantees other than your own death, whenever that may be. You start living your life on purpose so that you can accomplish as much as you can in the time that you are allowed. You’re not happy that your loved one died, but you are grateful that you had the insight regarding your own situation early enough to do something about it moving forward.

Finally, look for challenging things in your life which you had been wishing hadn’t happened (or wasn’t currently happening) and find the gratitude.

I must admit that I wasn’t actively following through on this. However, I was thinking about it a lot and I was keeping my gratitude list. You know, the one I mentioned before that had to include 5 body-centric things? Well, things were slipping on there that I have been railing against lately – my core, which might be bigger than I’d like but nonetheless keeps me upright; my bum knee, which keeps me mindful; my autoimmune system that is working really hard (one could say too hard) to keep all of the things that are not me from becoming me….. I’m sure you’re getting the idea. And I was feeling the gratitude, but I was having to reach for it. It felt authentic, but it didn’t feel easy.

This morning, however, after I finished a 45 minute yoga session (which was much easier than it had been the last three times I’d done it) and I just sat there on the floor in awe of how much more balance I have in my life, how much more I enjoy the exercise I do, how much more balance I have in my body, and (yes, I am shallow) how nice my shoulders looked in the reflection of the window pane against the dark New England morning. And then I asked myself, How did I get here? What happened to that stressed out woman who was always in the office by 8:00, usually after having completed a grueling 1 to 2 hour cardio workout, who was stiff, and tended to have difficulty walking in the morning because of her super tight hamstrings? What happened to that woman who used to breathe shallowly, if at all? What happened to that woman who gulped her food down in a hurry without ever tasting it? What happened to that woman who would have thought you had lost your mind if you’d told her she wouldn’t set foot in a gym in over a year, never miss it, and spend hours on end dancing in her living room or on a yoga mat? What happened to her? Not that I miss her or anything, because, you know what, she was pretty uptight and really not that much fun to be around. More to the point, she didn’t love herself, which made it pretty hard for anyone else to love her either.

What happened? Because whatever it was, in that moment, I was truly grateful.

And then I remembered.

My thyroid happened. Or, rather, my thyroid stopped happening.

Did that mean that I was grateful for my hypothyroidism? That there was something that had happened as a result of that malfunction that had actually changed my life for the better? I certainly wasn’t happy that it had happened, but was I grateful for the changes that occurred as a result? And even more important, would I have changed myself if the hypothyroidism hadn’t occurred?

I took out a pen and paper and wrote the following sentence: I am grateful for my hypothyroidism, because it’s changed the way that I relate to my mind, my body, and the world.

I sat with that. It felt true. I breathed into it. It still felt true. I sit here at my desk and read it again and I know in my heart of hearts, it is true.

I’ve found the gratitude (or perhaps I should say, the gratitude found me). Regardless, I am grateful and with that, I am at peace, perhaps for the first time since I realized that sleeping on the couch for five days in a row, crying jags, delusions, and depression weren’t my typical summertime MO.

I am grateful for the life I have now; therefore, I am grateful for the things that got me here.

Perhaps Eben is right; gratitude is the crown jewel of emotions (and one hell of a strategy). Now if I could only move my lag time to real-time.

My ten things:
1. My hypothyroidism
2. My job
3. My ability to communicate with others
4. Waking up in a warm bed next to a man who loves me and who is loved by me.
5. My thumb
6. My liver
7. My pancreas
8. My tongue
9. That I grew up as an overweight child
10. My ample behind (which cushioned me this morning when I fell on the ice).

What are you grateful for?

Forgive my absence: I’m in love

Isn’t it funny how people always have plenty to say when things are going bad, but not a lot to say when things are going well?

It’s sort of like the news. If you just watched the news, you would assume that we’re pretty much living in hell, because all of the good things that go on in the world don’t seem “newsworthy.” It’s also like your friend who only has bad things to say about their partner/boyfriend/girlfriend/husband/wife.

So we live in a society where bad news is newsworthy and we’d rather bitch about our lives than celebrate. Lovely.

Having given this topic some thought recently, I’ve come up with a couple of possible explanations of why this might be the case.

1) When life, love, diet, etc. are going well, we’re simply too busy enjoying life to whip off a blog post or call up a friend.

2) We’ve all been socialized not to brag – which, ironically, may have unintentionally sucked all of the celebration out of our lives.

3) We’re socially predisposed to not notice the good and only notice the bad.

4) We’ve been taught (there’s that socialization word again, different spelling) that bad news is the only news worth reporting. (What is that old saying: no news is good news?) And while that maybe true, how would it change our lives – if not the world – if we not only focused on the good, but also shared, reported, and celebrated it?

So, in the interest of experimentation: I’m in love!

Now, I’ve been in love with my partner, soon to be husband, for a while now and that has not changed, other than ripening with each passing day. However, I have recently discovered a new love – actually, three new loves. (I started to write, “It seems almost like an embarrassment of riches, doesn’t it?”, when I realized that was just me who’s been told – repeatedly by well intentioned people who had it told to them – too much of a good thing does not a good thing make or, better yet, no one likes a braggart!)

So, who are my new loves?

Love number one, hoop dance. About a month ago, I purchased a 3.5 pound fitness hoop on amazon. It was the first hula hoop I’d ever owned. I could barely get it around my waist once and I would only hoop when Michael was downstairs. Even though I’m sure he could hear it clattering against the hardwood floor, at least he wasn’t watching. Within a few weeks, I was hooping up to an hour a day and just recently, I’ve made the jump to dance. This is literally the most fun…ever. I’m not doing a lot of the fancy tricks yet, but I am exploring space and dancing. It’s fun. It’s feminine. It’s a killer workout. And when I used to sit down and whip off a blog about food or diet, I now go and pick up the hoop. And perhaps even more importantly, instead of putting something in my mouth, I’ll go pick up the hoop. And did I mention the number of inches I’ve lost, in just a month? I’ll be posting my hoop reviews shortly (as I now have quite the collection, in a host of colors).

Love number two: Brittany. Now, this may sound a little woo-woo, but bear with me. I’ve been working with a coach who specializes in inner child work (which, until I started doing it myself, I’d always assumed was a bunch of hooey; well, turns out, it’s not). For about a year, I’ve been aware of my inner child, Kathy Jo and I’ve cultivated a very good relationship with her. Bottom line, when I take care of her, my needs to “act out” in terms of drinking, over eating, binging, procrastinating, etc, really diminish. During a recent session with my coach, I closed my eyes and there was Kathy Jo: cool. But there was another child with her, slightly older, who was skinny (which was weird, because I don’t really think of any of the iterations of my past in those terms) and dressed somewhat like an orphan. It took a while, but eventually she told me her name: Brittany. Brittany is older than Kathy Jo and she is the part of me with abandonment issues. She is also the part of me who wants to be the center of attention. It took several days to finally get into relationship with Brittany, but now that we have, my entire life seems easier and I am much more at ease in my body and in the world. Because now that I have recognized her and am in relationship with her, it’s easier for me to just be and my desire for recognition (and security) seems much less persistent.

And finally, love number three: myself. I have finally fallen in love with myself! It’s taken 41 years, but it has finally happened. I can’t explain how or why, but it’s true and it’s fun and it’s a glorious place to be. I was actually afraid to say anything publicly, because I was afraid to jinx it. However, after a four week honeymoon, I think it’s pretty set. And, notably, the hooping, Brittany, and the body are all connected and are, in many – if not all – ways, mutually reinforcing.

So that’s me. I love my hoop, I love all of the previously cordoned off parts of me that appear to be making an appearance one by one, and I love myself. It really doesn’t get much better than this, which is – in and of itself – worth reporting.

Learning to mourn without food

I am sad.

I have been sad now for five days (give or take two days in the middle, where I thought I’d found peace).

But yesterday, in a middle of a conversation with Michael J. about de-cluttering, despair washed over in me in waves.

The spirit of my beloved companion for the last 19 1/2 years departed her body and returned to the – for lack of a better word – “energy soup” of the universe.

And I am left here, staring at my other life-long companion – food – with longing.

And not just any food, but the fat, salt, and sugar filled foods.

If I didn’t know that Michael would catch me full out, there is not a doubt in my find that I could finish off a jar of peanut butter (or a tub of tahini or a bottle of wine) without blinking an eye.

I finally know what people mean by the term “numbing out.”

So I drink my water, munch on kale chips, and exercise.

Instead of grabbing a spoon, I picked up an old forgotten chick lit novel that I’d bought once in some airport that I started but never finished.

And when Harley, Michael J’s cat, who isn’t sure what it means exactly to be the only cat in the house again, crawls up next to me and lays his head in the crook of my arm, I am simultaneously grateful and guilty.

Feeling your feelings. Who knew?

I settled down to sleep in Michael’s arms last night and just as I started to drift, deep choking wails broke forth from my chest – again, like a tidal wave, uncontrollable, unexpected, unheralded.

Life moves forward, haltingly, without compassion – and, if I have anything to do with it – without peanut butter or anything else that I might be tempted to use not only to ease, but also to hide, cover, and ignore the loss of a life that meant so much to me.

I love you
I’m sorry
Please forgive me
Thank you

Shining the Light On the Ghost of Gym Teachers Past

A few weeks ago (or maybe months at this point), I told you that I had started doing High Intensity Interval Training, otherwise known as H.I.I.T.

I was pretty excited about it and I told you that I would keep you posted. Part of the reason I was excited about it is that it gives you little bursts of energy – bursts of energy that may very well have saved the life of Michael J’s super-friendly, but not overly bright feline, Harlequin. But that’s another story and one that I’ve shared before.

Since that fortuitous day, my love of H.I.I.T. has dwindled.

1) It’s hard.
2) It’s not nearly as fun as spinning.
3) Did I mention that it’s hard?

Or at least that’s the story I kept telling myself – all the while ignoring the fact that I loved how I felt once I was done (partly because it is hard and I really felt like I accomplished something) and how I could literally see and feel myself getting stronger by the day.

So, I sat down and really thought about it. Why do I dislike this so much? Why do I have such strong internal resistance to this particular form of exercise? I mean, seriously. I am a woman who did P90X (three times) with more enthusiasm. So what’s the deal?

The clues to the answer to my question came from two places.

One, I was bemoaning my fate to my Aunt Linda and she said, “I think I might actually like this. It sounds like the stuff we used to do in school. And it doesn’t sound like you need a lot of fancy equipment.”

Ding.

Something resonated deep down in the depths of my psyche.

Two, I’ve been working with a personal coach who is awesome. She’s been having me do written exercises that will help me bust through the resistance I have to doing certain things in my real life – things like reviewing articles, starting my book, cleaning the house, doing H.I.I.T. exercises.

During the one of the exercises, one of the steps is to write down all of the negative emotions and thoughts associated with doing H.I.I.T. When I got to that part, I heard that same low tone. And all of a sudden, I was back at the gym at Carver Middle School, during the week of the the Presidential Fitness Test – thank you Ronald Reagan. May you be best remembered for terrorizing poor, clumsy, fat kids across America.

I realized that not only did H.I.I.T. remind me of middle school gym class in general (just like they had reminded my Aunt of hers), but it also reminded me of one particular instance of middle school gym class that was so personally horrifying that I didn’t even tell my sister about it until a few months ago (some 27 years after the fact). And when I told Michael J., sometime after that, I cried.

Methinks herein lies the problem.

I’m putting this out there – shining the light on my demons, if you will – to see if I can exorcise them once and for all and hopefully, get on with the act of exercising!

At my middle school, we had a female coach (Coach Holmes) and a male coach (Coach Rogers). Technically, I was in Coach Rogers’ class, who was a very sensitive and perceptive soul. However, during the week of the Presidential FItness Tests, all of the girls went to Coach Holmes’ office to get weighed and measured and all the boys reported to Coach Rogers’. Unfortunately, Coach Holmes, though nice enough, was not nearly as sensitive or perceptive as her male counterpart.

Imagine, if you will, a group of middle-school aged girls standing in line as the teacher for all intents and purposes shouts out your weight to her student aid, who just happened to be her very attractive, athletic, and if memory serves reigning kick-pin champion/cheerleader daughter, Kendra.

I step onto the scale.

Dead silence.

I look at Coach Holmes.

She looks at me.

We look at the scale: 180.

“It must be broken,” she says.

“It’s not broken,” I say. “Why would it be broken now when it wasn’t broken when anyone else stepped on it?”

“That can’t be right,” she says.

“It’s right,” I assure.

Kendra, bless her heart, looks embarrassed.

“Go down to Coach Roger’s office and use his scale. That can’t be right.”

“It’s right.”

“Just do down to Coach’s office and try it again.”

I remember stepping off the scale and marching, face beet red, down to the other end of the cavernous gym, thinking I had never been so mortified in my life.

I was wrong.

Halfway down the length of the basketball quart, I hear Coach Holmes yell, “Coach Rogers, I’m sending Lively down there to weigh, because I think this scale is broken.”

The entire gym fell silent and 60 pairs of eyes landed on my chubby body simultaneously.

Someone laughed.

(Do you blame them?)

I kept my head up and walked steadily into Coach Roger’s office.

“Lively?”

“It’s not broken,” I said.

And he nodded silently and laid a sympathetic hand on my arm. “I’ll tell her.”

Maybe there is something valuable about airing your dirty laundry, because as I tell it, it doesn’t seem that bad. But as I carried it around with me for years, it was one of my most tightly guarded miseries. I’m hopeful that tomorrow, when it’s time to exercise, I will not feel that lingering sense of dread, reluctance, or resistance.

By putting it out there for the world to see, to share, and perhaps even to think, “What’s she complaining about? That’s nothing,” maybe it will, indeed, become nothing.

As always, I’ll let you know.

And if any of my old middle school friends read this and you ever happen to see Coach Holmes, give her my best. Because I realize, in retrospect, that that’s what she was only trying to do.

Falling off the food wagon

The last couple of days have been more indicative of family vacations, I’m afraid.

Ironically, it wasn’t even them. It was all me.

Monday, we were off for an unexpected family funeral that was scheduled at 2:00 p.m. I got up, went for a walk, had a shake, packed up some blueberries and that was it. And although my mother has a medical condition that requires that food be readily available, my parents hadn’t packed anything else either. At some point my Dad said, “Why didn’t you bring one of those little bags of carrots you’re always carrying around?”

Good question.

Bad answer: Poor planning on my part!

As it turns out, my Aunt lives truly in the middle of nowhere and we were having lunch after the funeral (that is, dinner), not before.

Luckily I had a Dark Chocolate Zone Bar in my purse.

The funeral ran long (as they often do when held in a church in the south). We stopped at a gas station, where I scrounged a bottle of V-8 juice and a bag of Baked Lay’s. Has anyone ever noticed how Baked Lay’s taste like cardboard?

Back to the story: it was also as hot as hell and when we got to my Aunt’s (along with 30 other people), the air conditioning was out and she still insisted on frying fish and potatoes, making it officially hotter than hell! These were to accompany the pork roast, the brisket (no more brisket, please!), the pork and beans, the spiral ham, the brownies, the cake, and her world famous chocolate cream and coconut cream pie. Not a vegetable (other than corn on the cob swimming in butter to be found).

Luckily, it was literally too hot to eat. Though I did try a sliver of chocolate pie; it’s still as good as when I was a child.

We got home at 8:30. I made a shake, went to a friend’s house (the friend that I was supposed to have had dinner with). We ended up going to a local pub, where, still ravenous, I had two dirty martinis and split an appetizer with her of her choice, which turned out to be a thin crust, wood fired pizza. Not so bad, though I probably should have skipped the second martini.

It was when I got home at midnight that it went even further south. I bienged. It was unbelievable: icecream, lavash with hummus, and tabouli (not in that order). When I finally forced myself out of the kitchen, I felt disgusting, and not unlike I was about thirteen again!

But, unlike the thirteen yeat old I once was, I at least realized what went wrong.

Poor planning and inadequate nutrition leads to poor dietary choices. I was also tired and even though the person that died wasn’t a close relative (she was my mother’s sister’s husband’s mother), there was something about the funeral, the energy, and being around my Aunt, Uncle, and cousins, that set off my desire to emotionally eat. It also may have something to do with the fact that everytime I come home, it seems, we’re going to a funeral. In fact, this one was unplanned, but I had had the foresight to toss in a skirt. Maybe it’s the fact that my parents are getting older and I’m afraid that the next time might be them. Whatever it was, it was an ugly combination for food. And I’m sure that the inhibition olive dressed libation didn’t help either.

Exercise, its limitations and gifts

Even though recent studies have shown — depressingly so — that cardio workouts don’t really offer the much touted post workout fat burning boost, they do, according to new research, improve your mood for up to 12 hours! Given my mood these days, it seems like a pretty fair trade.

One of those days!

I woke up in a great mood today. The sun was shining. I had a good work plan. I had packed a nice, healthy lunch. I decided not to go the gym first thing, because I was going to work out at home with k-bells and maybe even do a little bit of yoga.

Time for some back story: Last week I took my five year old car in for a 60,000 mile tune up. The shop recommended that I have a small seal replaced (as it was still under warranty). It was a bad seal to have leaking, because they had to take the transmission out to get to it. All together, even with the warranty (and $400 worth of rebates from my credit card company) it was still close to $500. Ouch.

As soon as I drove the car off of the lot, I noticed that there was this high pitched airy whine that hadn’t been there before. It wasn’t consistent, though I noticed it more whenever I would shift into third gear. It kept it up all week and then I didn’t drive the car all weekend.

This morning, on my way in, I decided to swing by the auto shop. 1) The whine was much more pronounced. 2) I was also beginning to hear something that sounded broken. 3) When I shifted from third to fourth, the car gave a deep shudder — like a horse on its last legs. I decided to go through town instead of taking the back roads.

Right as I was heading around the town square, in one of the biggest commuter spots in the region — which, granted, really isn’t that big — the car seizes up, shudders, and drops to a dead halt. Whoa, Nelly! I think she’s dead, Jim.

I ran across the street to the local Curves (where I used to workout) called MJ, called the car store, who promptly called a tow truck. When I got back to the car, two minutes later, the police were already there.

I rode with the tow guy to the car place and they dropped me off at work.

What does this have to do with food, you ask?

Well, it’s been awhile since I’ve sat it my desk and munched my way through my daily allotted calories — and the clock hasn’t even struck three! More to the point, I realized somewhere between the two Balance bars that I plowed through (within a hour period) that I am on a low grade binge. It’s been a while, but here I am. I thought I’d gotten a better handle on stress-related eating. Apparently I was wrong. Though, not to beat myself up too badly, there were days in the not so distant past that I would have eaten 1,303 calories in an hour, let alone 8 1/2! But still. Sigh.

So, what’s my plan? Well, first things first, I just drank a second slug of Perfect Food to (hopefully) break the cycle.

I also gave in and called the car store and it turns out that I was right. The seal they put in hadn’t set. All of the transmission fluid leaked out. The transmission locked up. And the heat melted/destroyed several of the ball bearings in the transmission (and who knows what else, but if they do know, they’re certainly not saying)!

Good news: their fault, not mine. Towing, repair, and rental are on them. Thank god for small mercies.

After that, I managed to get some work going, but then I hit another wall.

So, as soon as MJ comes to take me to the shop to pick up the rental, I’ll go to the grocery store, head home and exercise. And when I’m done there (depending on the time), I’ll sit down with a huge platter of steamed vegetables, read a couple chapters of a good book, have some herbal tea, and go to bed.

As a famous heroine once said, “Tomorrow is another day.”

Learning to Say No (with grace)

Yesterday, one of my colleagues walked into my tiny airtight office with a plate of freshly baked (I mean, she had just baked them in the toaster oven in the main office–damn devoted mothers of three children who know such evil tricks!)–and said, smilingly, “It’s cookie time!”

“No thank you,” I responded sharply, through gritted teeth, holding my breath. I barely even glanced at her.

Just to provide a little back story, I gained twenty pounds last year eating chocolate chip cookies while I was waiting for my tenure decision. It’s not that I don’t like chocolate chip cookies. On the contrary, I love chocolate chip cookies. And, to add insult to injury, yesterday, I just happened to be a little tired and a lot stressed. Not the optimal time for someone to walk in bearing my own personal version of crack!

Anyway, back to the story. She said, “Oh, sorry.” Turned and immediately walked out.

So I got what I wanted, right? Not really. Because I had turned down her emotional offering as well as her baked goods. In a broader sense, I also rejected her (during a time when she, too, has a lot going on). Believe it or not, I called her back to explain.

“I’m sure they’re wonderful,” I admitted. “And normally I would love to have one–maybe even two–but in this case, I have to pass because I’m committed to maintaining my weight loss. But thanks.”

She accepted that. I had given her a reason that seemed reasonable. And more importantly, she felt like I had accepted her gift, even though I hadn’t.

All together it was a win-win and, fortunately for me, it was warm enough to open the window!

Speaking of Useful Acronyms….

When I posted the other day about C-A-N-I, it made me think of another anagram that I have used over the years. Back during my days at Weight Watchers, my group leader kept a big colorful poster on the wall. HALT, it said. Don’t ever let yourself get too Hungry, Angry, Lonely, or Tired. Throughout all of my fitness efforts, I have tried to keep that in mind, because it’s when I’m really annoyed, hungry or tired that I tend to overeat. And not only overeat, but eat the types of things that do not support my body in a healthy and vital way. Unfortunately many of us have learned to manage our emotions with with food.

In coming posts, I will talk about the links between emotion management and hunger management.

Despite their seeming dissimilarity, they are surprisingly close. I’ll also share some strategies that I have learned/developed in order to combat both.