April 6, 2014

When Marshmallows Are Our Best Friends. ~ Tiana Dodson

Photo: mamaloco

We’ve all had “just one of those days” where nothing seems to feel right, right?

Nothing is going our way? We have no motivation, no inspiration, no idea what to have for dinner and we feel a little hopeless?

Yeah, I’m sure we all have a good idea of what I’m talking about. These days are days where, when I’ve had them, marshmallows become my best friends.

You see, they understand me in those moments.

They don’t ask stupid questions, they just love me up, make me feel happy, comfort me gently from the inside out.
But, of course, marshmallows aren’t healthy. They’re not good for me. They’re full of sugar and junk.

And when we remember all of that, our temporary moment of warm, glowing acceptance turns into abject self-loathing and emotional abuse.

We start to tell ourselves how much of a loser we are for bingeing on those squishy crap-balls and maybe, we’ll cry.

And then maybe we’ll eat more of them because now we really feel worse and they were oh-so-loving just a short while ago… and it all begins anew.

I know this all too well. I’m a recovering sugar addict. When I was feeling down, I filled myself with things that were sweet, or crunchy, or melt-in-my-mouth.

But, unarguably, all of these things were just bad for me.

No, I’m not saying that the one Twinkie we ate that one day is going to kill us. What I am saying is that habitually eating this way, stuffing our emotions with junk, is definitely not taking us or our health in the right direction.

It is completely natural for us to feel down. Stuff happens. Daily. Sometimes more often than that. But the answer cannot be found by subjecting ourselves to the sugar-laden shame spiral we tend to ride.

So what can we do? We can start from the end and work backwards. Ask yourself a few questions and be honest with your answers:

  • What are the feelings I get when I eat [insert favorite binge food here]?—-Of course, I mean before the bad feelings begin.
  • How was I feeling before I started to eat [insert favorite binge food here]?
  • What was the reason I was feeling this way? (The real one, not the cute, convenient one we tell ourselves).
  • What could I have done differently to change the outcome to be more positive, more to my liking?
  • What can I do better next time?
  • Pay attention to our answers, but don’t beat up on ourselves. We’re not stupid or unworthy. We just made a decision that didn’t work in that moment, and that’s okay. We all do it.

At the end of this self-inquiry we should have learned a few things:

  • What, specifically, triggers a binge
  • What feeling we’re searching for, or chasing after by bingeing
  • How we can be empowered to change our outcomes

Nothing we experience is ever a waste of time or energy if we’ve learned something from it. Every time we learn something we become better.

That’s what we all should aim for: becoming better versions of ourselves.


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Apprentice Editor: Bronwyn Petry/Editor: Catherine Monkman
Photos: \elephant media archives, and courtesy of the author

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Tiana Dodson