In the last five years or so, I gained a lot of weight. I was blaming it on age (people get rounder as they get older), or on low blood sugar (I don't feel good when I don't eat). But I'm finished with those excuses.
For the last five years, I've been working from my home, with the kitchen nearby, and making enough money to keep food in my fridge.
The problem is that I think I've been trying to treat my bipolar disorder with food. When I don't feel good, I think, “Maybe I need to eat,” and then I eat, and I feel better.
I don't eat junk food or sweets, but rather lots of cheese, milk, bread, and other kinds of normal but high calorie foods.
|Cheese, photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/livinginmonrovia/83604031/|
And the truth is, I feel better after eating. Sometimes when I haven't eaten in awhile, I get symptoms: cold hands, shakiness, headache, anxiety, difficulty with concentration.... Not in that order, and not the same everytime.
But it turns out that it's not low blood sugar. I got a glucose meter and tested myself. I'm normal every time. So now I'm thinking maybe the anxiety and concentration stuff is the Bipolar, and the shakiness is from caffeiene. The cold hands and headache I can't explain, but I'm human and sometimes humans get those things :)
I've been taking chromium for the last year to help even out my blood sugar, and it is working.
So, in general, at least as long as I take the chromium, I don't have low blood sugar. It's all in my head.
I know that I have psychological hang ups with food. And food does make me feel better. I just never recognized that I was eating as treatment before...... I would hear about people eating for comfort, and it didn't exactly fit my situation. Because I'm not eating to make depression better, but rather to treat “that uncomfortable feeling” which is some hard to describe bipolar feeling. And I'm not eating sweets, but just normal food. So there's a lesson I've learned – it can still be comfort eating, even if it doesn't fit the stereotypes.
Maybe part of it is that once upon a time, I didn't have enough money to buy much food, and perhaps that is buried in my psyche somewhere. I remember putting food back at the grocery store because I couldn't pay for it.
I also remember getting really sick feeling when I needed to eat, but ever since I've been taking the chromium, I don't get really sick. But I do get a headache if I go long stretches of time.
So here's my plan of action, most of which I've been trying to do for the last week:
Eat fruit or vegetables for snacks instead of higher calorie food.
Go longer between eating meals. Hunger is an OK feeling. I can be hungry, and it won't be the end of the world.
If I really feel like I have low blood sugar, check my blood sugar with my glucose meter to see if I have low blood sugar. This is to determine if it's just in my head or not.
Don't eat sweets.
Eat smaller meals.
Continue to exercise every day (I try to walk 1 mile.)
Will it work? I don't know but I'm going to give it a try. I've worked on changing my thinking before, and I do seem to have success with it so I'll see if I can work on it in this area of my life too. I've just realized that a lot of the food stuff is IN MY HEAD!
If I stay busy or distracted by doing lots of things, I tend to forget about being hungry, at least for awhile.
I also noticed that when I feel cold, if I get up and do some exercises or even just move around, I stop feeling cold. So that's an alternative to eating.
I know I must not be the only one who has bipolar disorder and food issues.. I hope this helps someone!
The biggest moment of realization for me though has been using the glucose meter. It proves to me whether I'm having a physical or mental issue. I bought a ReliOn glucose meter with 50 test strips from Walmart. Its the best deal I could find.
I might be crazy, but I'm not hypoglycemic!