Thursday, April 15, 2010

Looking Good Or Feeling Good?

Image by memoossa

For me, the battle of the bulge has been raging for most of my adult life. As anyone who reads Reasonably Well knows, and who is probably rolling their eyes right about now thinking, oh geez! There she goes again....

Ah, but for me it's more than a battle. It's a war. And right now I'm not winning.

The forces for the bulge side are pretty powerful. I'm a live-to-eat kind of person, which is probably the biggest ally that my bulges have. Then there's a certain measure of forced inactivity due to autoimmune fatigue, and to be honest - it's augmented by overall lazybutt tendencies. Being on prednisone only adds more fuel to the craving sugar/fat/wheat fire. And even though my TSH is within normal range with medication, I still think that my autoimmune thyroid disease (Hashimoto's Thyroiditis) has slowed my metabolism to some extent.

These are all impressive excuses, aren't they? Huh? Aren't they? Huh?

In my pre-Sjoggie life, my motivation to maintain a normal BMI was first and foremost for appearance's sake, which was probably not a good thing. Because when significant factors - translate autoimmune disease - entered the picture, I cared much less about how I looked. That superficial motivation to look good evaporated when the realities of living with Sjogren's syndrome came along. Makeup? Get real. Manicures and hair styles? Pshaw and chop it all off. Clothing? Bring on the elastic waistbands and oversized sweatshirts.

I promptly shoved looking good to the end of the line of my priorities, and yanked feeling good right up to number one. And that's where it has stayed for about eight years now.

That focus on feeling good can be a treacherous thing, because being a live-to-eat kind of person means that I get enormous amounts of pleasure from food. And in a situation when I'm experiencing overwhelming autoimmune symptoms, I look for something - anything - that negates or at least makes me forget for awhile how awful I feel. Chocolate cake, and lots of it, really fills that need. The minute that first forkful hits my lips, yeeeaaaahhhhh, baby. I feel good.

Read this previous post to get the big chocolate picture.

John tells me that things could be worse. Bless his heart, he has always said that he loves me for who I am, not how I look in a swim suit. What a guy.

But he also correctly pointed out that other people fill that feel good need with things equally as or much more destructive than food. Like cigarettes, or alcohol, or illegal drugs. And probably a whole plethora of other weird stuff about which naive Julia has no clue.

Apple image found here.

I guess what I've concluded is that I need to find other ways to feel good that aren't part of the USDA food pyramid. Specifically, the part of the pyramid that is euphemistically labeled discretionary calories. And ways that don't make me into a drug addict, an alcoholic, or die of lung cancer.

Hm. Other feel good sources. Shopping?

When I have the energy, I love to shop. Like my new rug that I found for only twenty bucks at one of those discount places?

I enjoy shoes. Mostly comfy ones these days. If I shop online for them, I don't have to tell a salesperson out loud what my shoe size is. These are my latest all time favorites.

I suspect that shopping as a therapeutic tool could bring it's own share of problems. Such as bankruptcy. Probably not such a good idea.

Maybe I could try to change my food focus into an interest in healthy food. And really get into making healthy taste delicious.

I'm not sure about this strategy. Obviously, I need to eat healthy foods. But to make it a feel good focus? Way too easy to slather everything in frosting or dunk it in butter.

Lulu thinks that I should just focus on making her feel good.

She's probably right.


Anonymous said...

I know how you feel, I prefer to wear a jeans and a t-shirt, but at work I should do some effort, wear "class clothes" and sometime I just don't feel good enought to make the effort...
But you can feel good when you look good no ? Like : "how pretty I am today", or "this jeans/pull/lipstick" is really great on me".
I don't wear a lot of makeup, because how reactive my skin is, but I do love to wear nailpolish, and funny color !! This way I feel and look good at the same time !! You should have seen my coworker when I came with bright blue nailpolish !!

annie said...

I love your would blend in very well with my living room furniture, and your shoes are the kind I wear on a daily basis. I get you with the comfy clothes...I live in sweats in the winter, and shorts and tees in the summer. Sweats are used to sleep in at times, when I get uncontrollably cold and start layering heavy clothes to warm up. That's the beauty of getting are sure of yourself and just don't care about looks, only about comfort.

stephanie said...

I feel better physically, emotionally & mentally when I look the best I can. I do my daily "extreme makeover," put on jewelry, cute clothes (whether I feel fat or not) & do my hair. Even if its a Saturday & I'm doing chores. If I look sloppy or ready for bed, I feel sloppy & tired. I will fight this til the bitter end! But that's just me! :-)