Or: How not to binge eat Jelly Belly’s
The Monday before Valentine’s Day, I awoke to an alert that schools in Louisville had been canceled for snow. There had been no talk of impending winter weather, and when I looked out the window expecting to see a magical winter wonderland, there was exactly .0000000001” of snow on the ground*.
I was furious.
My plan for the day was shot: Mondays are my “Get Sh*t Done” (GSD) day. It literally says that on my calendar. I don’t schedule appointments and instead commit to catching up on emails, to-do list items, snail mail, bills, and the other things that pile up as the week goes on. This particular day, I was restarting my running regimen and had scheduled my run for midday when it was going to be in the high 40’s (ON A SNOW DAY).
But now, none of those things would get done. It was suddenly NOT a GSD day. I would be wearing my mommy hat until Sammie’s dad came to pick her up after work.
Just typing that, I can tell I sound like a terrible mother. But the other parents out there will get it: There’s only so much you can accomplish when the children are around–and that’s not much for me. Sometimes you just need some alone time. School gives the gift of that alone time.
So the day began full of anger, resentment, and frustration. I threw my plans and to-do list out the window and embraced the “bonus Sunday” I had been given; took my daughter and my boyfriend’s daughter shopping, out to lunch, and worked on rearranging rooms in the afternoon. It was a fine day. But I still felt that nagging, wound-up, exasperation of having to give up MY day.
And that’s when I started binging on the Jelly Belly’s.
I had recently purchased them on impulse and kept the bag hidden where the girls couldn’t see them. As the day wore on, I found myself sneaking a handful here, a handful there… walking into the other room so no one would see me… trying not to breathe on the girls when I spoke so they wouldn’t catch a whiff of the sweet stuff. It occurred to me that alcoholics do this with booze. I brushed the thought aside and went for another handful.
Why was I doing this to myself? I knew it went against any sort of healthy eating principles I had. Yet some part of me didn’t care and kept going back for more.
After Sammie’s dad picked her up, I crashed on the couch. I felt sad, worn out, and full of shame. My boyfriend encouraged me to take a yoga class. Reluctantly, I agreed (when you’re busy sabotaging yourself, self-care is the last thing you want to do). I checked class schedules and there was a class about to start at another studio where I didn’t know the teacher. It was a sequence I used to practice regularly and it sounded fun to try again. Off I went.
Halfway through the sequence, I noticed something incredible: All of the anger, frustration, and resentment was melting away. Was it the twists, forward folds, or the sweat? Maybe. But more likely, it was that I was taking time for myself to do something that interested me, that challenged me, that was fun. I was curious about my practice and my body in a way I hadn’t in a while. I was a student again.
On the drive home, I reflected on this discovery. What are other things I do just for me? When I practice at my studio, I’m in feedback or studio owner mode, not always able to be a student (an unfortunate side effect of turning what you love into your work). I get massages but it’s an every-other-month splurge. Hiking is wonderful but that isn’t a daily, or even weekly, occurrence. One time I took a bubble bath—that was pretty sweet. It’s been a few months since that happened.
And then I understood why I indulged on the Jelly Belly’s: I was craving something that was just for me. Something that was special and indulgent. I turned to the bag of sweet chewy candies when what I really needed to do was turn within and practice self-love in another way: by taking care of my body and soul on my mat as a student.
So for Valentine’s Day this year, I commit to attending more yoga classes where I can be purely a student. I signed up for an 8-week landscape painting class. I am going to take a bubble bath again in the near future. I’m going to sit for meditation for 15 minutes a day because it’s the cheapest, quickest, and easiest way to get some ME time in on my busy schedule.
I invite you to be in inquiry about these things:
- How do you take care of yourself? What do you do that’s purely indulgent, and for you alone?
- When you don’t take the time for Self Love, how does it affect your mood? Your work? Your diet? Your relationships?
- What can you commit to doing today or this week that will be purely Self Love?
Happy Valentine’s Day, yogis. I hope your day is full of Self Love.
Cat Scott is the owner of 502 Power Yoga and the mommy of 4-year old Sammie.
*For the record, there was a bit of ice on the ground, and I heard the roads were bad in parts of town.