Thursday, 17 September 2015

Feel the Emotion, Don’t Buy The Chocolate

Eating and training well consistently are easier to do if your life is in a reasonable groove. It doesn’t have to be a dull routine, just stable enough that you know you will be able to make your training sessions, and you’re not going to be exposed to distracting business lunches or trips to places where all the food is heavy and the portions are large. That much is obvious.

The real trip-up isn’t missing a training day or a heavy night on the lager and curry. The real trip-up is from the consequences of interacting with other people, or “emotions” as you earthlings say.

I can only speak for myself, but the experience of rejection is chemical. I feel like someone has injected me with something you wouldn’t want in your system to set you up for a Saturday night. Along with fear, it’s the only emotion I experience that vividly. If that is Argentinian steak, everything else is new potatoes in comparison. If I get to feeling that I have been rejected by the entire human race, or am rejecting all sorts of good things for myself, then I can fall into a slump from in which it’s a really good idea to eat a bar of chocolate every night. And biscuits while watching a couple of episodes of a box set. And some cake for tea. One nasty bout of self-pity and I can add an extra 1,000 calories per day for a week or so. And eat lasagna instead of salad and chicken escalope for lunch. That’s at least four pounds straight on, and it takes a while to get back into managed eating again.

Don’t even think of quoting Buddhism at me. I will dive down the Internet and squirt custard in your face if you do. Anyone who lives a life worth living is going to have mood-altering emotions, and they are going to act out on those emotions. Most people have a drink, others pop out for a cigarette, yet others spend hours talking about it, and I eat because I’m a non-smokng alcoholic with no other resources.

I’ve mentioned before that having something to interrupt the progress from feeling to chocolate is useful. I’m not a believer in managing one’s emotions: managing what I do under the thrall of those emotions is usually a fairly sensible thing to do. But not denying what I’m feeling. Feelings tell us things about ourselves.

Feeling rejection tells me I really do want something; feeling angry tells me that my boundaries have been stepped over; feeling scared tells me I may be about to lose something valuable; feeling frustrated tells me either that I’m stuck in a situation I can’t get out of or that I’m not taking the action I need to take; feeling bored tells me I need to re-think how I spend my time. Not feeling anything tells me I’m where I want to be doing what I want to be doing. (Happiness isn’t a feeling: it’s the absence of bad feelings. The “up” feelings that even I get from time to time are from drugs that the body produces.)

Try to change what we feel and we lose the information. (But maybe that’s why other people try to do that.)

Emotions have to be acknowledged, felt, and their effects managed. The effects, not the emotions. If I want a good jag of self-pity, then I’m going to have one, but what I’m not going to do for a while is let them take me into Asda (?^%$!) when on the way to the car so I can stock up on biscuits and chocolate.

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