Thursday, July 7, 2011

Stress and Overeating

A really big thing is happening and I observe myself dealing with the stress of it in my old ways.

I've been asked by an international publisher to author a large (300+ pages), comprehensive book about beading. It will have about 40 projects, each designed to give the reader a chance to practice specific beading techniques, each as artful and attractive as possible given that it has to be at a beginner's level. I will design the projects, write all the instructions, take most of the step-by-step photos and get it all completed by the end of the year.

Mixed emotions right from the start... happy and honored to be asked... doubtful that I can actually pull it off...frightened, but also challenged by the enormity of it... worried about my marriage if I accept the job because of the time it will take... thrilled to have an opportunity to "give back" for the joy I've had beading for the past 25 years... eager to keep my "foot" in the business by writing another book...

After talking to my husband and receiving his support (he said, Go for it!), I decided to do it. Now, while waiting for my contract, I'm working on it, writing the introductory materials, finding a few bead artists to help in the areas where I lack expertise, outlining the topics and projects. I feel nervous all the time, anxiety + excitement... not all bad, just edgy.

Food! Kitchen! Grazing in the refrigerator! Opening cupboards! What's inside? What can I eat? Oh dear, it's not mealtime. Yes, but what can I eat? Chips? Bread? Peanut butter? Apple? No I don't want that. What about crackers and cheese? Let's go out for dinner, honey! Hey, let's go out for breakfast today...

Yep. Old habits.

All my adult life, when I've had to write something difficult, I eat. Used to be M & Ms, chocolate chips, cookies, or sometimes breakfast at the restaurant, eggs, bacon, hash browns, toast. Never carrots or apples or celery. Eat and write, write and eat... Good work, lots of writing done that way.

Now what to do? At least I'm not eating any binge foods. God forbid I should do that... Yikes, I'd be wallowing in chocolate in no time at all. But, I am overeating. Too much food at meals, too many meals out, snacks. I want to find some other way to deal with the stress of writing this book.

I know... talk to my sponsor and other supporters in my OA group, drink lots of water, take time to breathe, exercise, talk to my Dr. about anti-anxiety meds... yeah, but food, ah lovely food singing its siren song...

I'm thinking about adding a second counter on the side bar, one for days in compliance with my food plan. Shall I? Dare I? OK... I will, even if I have to start the count over every single day. I'll publish this post and do it!

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Thanks to the comments made on this post by Doreen and Loretta, I found a ticker to count the days I stick with my food plan (3 meals a day of anything I want to eat, no second helpings, no snacks between meals). I will be honest.

* * * * * * *
Coughing MUCH better. Seem to have 95% energy level now. Hopefully pneumonia is gone. X-ray in two weeks.

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Gratitude for today: garden, neighbors and community, walking buddy, husband (especially his work today on our wood supply), opportunity, OA, blogging and bloggers.


  1. First of all congratulations and, on a very selfish level, woohoo, I can't wait for the book :-D

    I wish I had some good advice to offer. The only thing I can suggest is a glass of water to hand while you work and a fridge stocked with pre cut carrots, celery and apple slices and walks instead of meals out. All stuff you know and easy for me to say, I know!

    I'm sending good vibes to help you through and can't tell you how thrilled I am for you to have this opportunity.

    Be strong. I KNOW you can get through this, you have shown in the past how much will power you have.

  2. first of all how great to be asked to write a book and then the joy of doing the work! fantastic!...enjoy that!...everyone's dream or at least mine.

    Ok, well my thoughts about food are not exactly in line with the strict OA abstinence concept but I respect the need to do that. But there isn't much 'complete' enjoyment and satisfaction from eating carrots,celery, apples. Food in normal everyday life is savored and used for celebration as well as nutrition. So maybe finding the way to do that compliantly so all the extra eating, over eating, grazing isn't needed because you feel satisfaction from what you choose to eat.

    Thank you as always for your support on my blog. ehat a good husband working on the wood pile.

  3. How exciting! I get it. Wish I had the perfect suggestion for how to avoid it but that is just one of many things I still haven't figured out:)

  4. Here are some tickers you can get to chart your progress.

    I am following your journey. Your posts remind me so much of me. I am not a member of OA (but should be). There was a large but short term stress in my life yesterday. After which I ate a half box of Cheese Its and two ice cream bars. Aaaargh. I admire your ability to be so forthright about this topic. It's even hard for me to write a comment about it. Best wishes on your book.

  5. Although I find food to be an excellent accompaniment for ANY emotion or event, anxiety is at the top of my "need to feed" list. Very hard to resist & most annoying.

    I have no doubt that you'll beat it, tho. You already have options listed. :)

    As I read this post,I recognized the feelings all too well. Happens to me all of the time.

    I've let anxiety and self-doubt cause me to shoot myself in the foot more than once. When I opened my own business, it was almost unbearable.

    BUT you are doing excactly the right things to be successful with the book. You've even started before the contract is signed!

    You've developed a master plan, are breaking it down into steps, are gathering the people and tools you'll need to accomplish those steps..and more!

    After the initial 'big picture' panic, you'll be able to take one piece of the project at a time. The felt accomplishment will help with the anxiety.

    Very exciting.


  6. I think you're doing fantastic, PB. Congratulations on the book author - that is truly a dream of mine! Clearly you write beautifully - I can only imagine that your beading is as beautiful and that you're an accomplished artist.

    I'm working up the nerve to email you because I'm struggling a lot with deciding to really get serious about establishing an abstinence that is a realistic and good fit for me, while my ego is screeching about rigidity and how dysfunctional it can be! I just found your blog last week and have been reading your archive when I can - I'm up to 5/16/10.

    I'm already a 12 step gal, having 19 11/12 years sober in AA. I love reading of your experience with a sponsor, and just your honest thoughts and lists. I'll be back. Check out my blog if you get a chance:

  7. It's weird... we tend to associate abusing the food with negatives... but I sooo relate to how you are feeling! I do that, too. The pull to eat can come with any stress, even from good and exciting stuff!

    These old habits are sooo ingrained. But you are aware, and dealing with it with self-honesty and determination. I know you will make progress. We do NOT have to be slaves to our past. We can choose to change. And you are doing just that!

    And I was totally excited for you about the book! :-D

    About the ticker... here is another place to get one: Ticker Factory.

    When you make it up, it will give you the codes. Just copy and paste that into blogger, under Add A Gadget, then pick the gadget called HTML/JavaScript.

    I add mine at the end of each post just by pasting that code at the end. But you can also use it in the sidebar.

    Exciting times for you. I have a big smile for you. If I were a beader, I would be first in line for your book, since I love love love your artful beading!!

  8. Thanks for the support everyone! Your tips and confidence in me help more than anything so far to keep me sane.

    Thanks also to Loretta and Doreen for the ticker links. I found one that works! Yay!

  9. Great news - a book deal!
    One day- one minute - one bite at a time!

  10. Oh, the idea of a big book of beading by YOU! How delightful!

    I believe your strength and determination and honesty will carry you through the anxiety phase of this. Once the book is truly underway and you're into that routine, maybe it will be step by step and day by day, as each part is completed. And of course, you have help to get you through those times, too.

    And once again, your honesty and courage are inspiring to me.


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