Let x = I ate this
I ate this ^ [guilt for eating the wrong thing] x [shame for eating too much]² x the number of times I’ve done this in my life. (It’s probably the 1 billionth time by now.)
But what if I subtract 2 hours in the gym. And no water + coffee x [a laxative!] + hot yoga with no water. I’ll sweat it out.
And a cleanse will exponentially increase my mortification! Let’s do a cleanse! Clean eating? No. Gluten-free, vegan, liquid only? Yes, that’s the one. Can I do it for free? No, I need someone to keep me on track and crack the whip!
This is only for this week. Starting December 1 I’m going gluten free except for when I go to parties, but I’ll pregame for the parties by not eating for two days. That should even it out.
+ shapewear + [a shit-ton of filtering on my pictures. No. Faces only. Will I be bloated?] x [My friend just posted one of those list of exercises to do during commercials. Yesterday she posted one about exercises to do while you’re spelling out your name. I could do that for sure.]²
There was a hilarious column by Dear Sugar years ago where she goes through the mathematics of what happens when two women fall for the same guy and one of them sleeps with him. Honestly, it’s the one Dear Sugar column I skimmed rather than read. I got bored (and exhausted) by all the emotional mathematics. I hated it so much I can’t even copy the over-the-top style of mathematics for this post.
Here’s the only line I cared about:
In the math ignorant world of Sugarland, we call this a clusterfuck.
And yet, we all do this. Once that regret starts to creep in, the idea that we made a mistake, or that our actions are permanent, or that people might see some proof of our “wrong” choices, we snap right in to damage control and clusterfuck math.
My facebook feed was full of women allegedly feeling “guilty” about the holidays and gearing up to cleanse on December 1. Come January 1, gyms are full of people ready to atone for a year of indulgence.
Don’t get it twisted: I’m all about gyms, I’m all about cleanses, I’m all about eating healthy.
But you are not a linear equation. You’re not a 2+2=4 and you can make 1 food +3 exercise also equal 4, or 6 food – 2 exercise = 4.
Calories in, calories out is old, outdated science. Your body is so much more complex than that.
Here’s an example exercise.
Close your eyes, and think of a time when you were really sad. A shitty grade on a test. Your pet died. You were in a fight with your friend. You slumped, and hung your head. You frowned and wanted to be alone.
Now think of a time when you had a crush. And they called you! You’re staring at the caller idea, thrilled and nervous to answer.
Think of a time when you made a mistake. A bigtime mistake. And not only were there going to be consequences for what you did, but you had to come clean about it first.
Or a time when you got good news. You were accepted to college! You booked your flights for a vacation! You paid off your student loan debt! You got coffee for free because your barista likes you! Someone gave you a present!
Now think about your Thanksgiving meal again. Under which of those emotional circumstances do you suppose your digestion would be best?
Your digestion and metabolism aren’t just a question of what you eat. How you eat absolutely has an impact. I think how you eat is even more important than what you eat. If you’re eating in guilt and stress and anxiety and fear, you could eat the healthiest meal on the planet and it won’t matter. Your body won’t be able to digest it optimally.
So this holiday season, the best thing you can do for yourself isn’t to figure out which cleanse or new diet will undo all the “damage” you did to yourself.
The best thing you can do for your weight, your metabolism, your calorie-burning potential, and your life is to figure out how to relax around food. How to slow down, enjoy, and savor it.
Not only will you not overeat in a way that makes you feel terrible, you’ll be able to be truly nourished by food and the company and the experience of celebrating holidays.
If you find yourself constantly engaged in this type of metabolic mathematics, join me for Beyond Emotional Eating January 4, 2016!