Hi there, it’s been a while, hasn’t it? There’s a good reason for it: I’ve had pneumonia. It’s true – me, a pregnant woman, caught pneumonia. And yeah – that was highly shocking for me and I’ll admit it, a little scary too. So here’s what happened:
It started out as a little tickle in the throat on a Friday morning. I gave in on Sunday and let the illness run rampant, ruining all my plans for the day (including attending Connor’s 8th birthday party… very sad about that). I decided on Sunday night to send Sam to daycare on Monday, just to recover some more. Blessedly, I was feeling better that afternoon. My voice was still on the fritz, but I wasn’t as tired as I had been on Saturday & Sunday. In fact, when I tried to take a nap that afternoon, I could not sleep. “I’m on the upswing,” I excitedly told MOMD! On Tuesday morning though… on Tuesday I was worse. And when I woke through the night on Tuesday night/Wednesday morning coughing up blood, I knew it was time to see a doctor.
So it was Wednesday that I got the diagnosis of pneumonia. I’ve been on some pregnancy-approved anti-biotics and I would say that I am much better. The exhaustion is still hanging on, but I’m sure that will pass in the next few days.
Over the last week though, I’ve returned to something I’ve not done in a long time. Comfort eating. Do you know what this is? You feel like garbage, so you think of something to make you feel better, and you come up with food. Sometimes it may be a recipe from my childhood, or it may be fastfood. It might be just something I love. This past week was full of these indulgences. Which, if I’m honest, was okay since I had no apetite and was not eating otherwise. There was Taco Bell on Monday, butter tarts and potato chips on Tuesday, chocolate croissants on Wednesday and pizza on Thursday. I’m sure that if I had felt up to cooking (I couldn’t stand for more than a few minutes at a time last week – bloody exhaustion) there would have been a mac n’cheese casserole in there somewhere.
There has been a lot of research done on comfort eating. The basic findings are that from the time we are born, we are comforted with foods. If an infant is crying, the first thing we think of is, “Is baby hungry?” and we try to feed it. You fall down and scrape your knee, you get a bandaid and a cookie. You bring home a good report card, and you’re rewarded with ice cream. Comfort foods are simply the foods that have been used to help make you feel better. The list of these foods will grow as you do, because as teenagers we often don’t talk to our parents about what’s upsetting us. So we find foods to comfort us: chips, twinkies, pizza, french fries, chocolate bars, DQ Blizzards, and so on.
A friend of mine recently learned that too, a comfort food can be something that you ate when you were profoundly happy. Which makes a lot of sense to me: your brain remembers that moment of utter happiness and associates what you ate at that time with the feeling. Since we had mushroom soup at my wedding reception, mushroom soup is very high on my comfort food list. And now I understand why.
The thing is, comfort eating goes together with mindless eating. And if I’m going to make this weight-loss stick* (I always loose weight when I’m pregnant; I am highly motivated to listen to my body’s wants and needs when I’m caring for my unborn child) I have to analyse these desires, and consciously convert them to mindFUL eating moments.
As I said before, I didn’t worry about too much analysis this week. The point was that I needed to eat something, because a gestating woman cannot subsist on water and Emergen-C alone. Interestingly though, I was really aware of what I was trying to recreate as I put the chocolate croissant in my mouth. I was thinking about the memories that came with that flavour and I wonder if simply honouring them was enough to be mindful.
Have you ever dealt with comfort eating? Did you overcome the tendencies? and if so, how did you beat it?
*Do Not PANIC: I am NOT trying to loose weight while I’m pregnant. I don’t count calories, I don’t exercise, I don’t eat “low fat” options. My OB is very happy with my health (in fact, at my last checkup she said – and I quote – “You are like, the perfect pregnant woman.”) and please don’t fret about me. Okay? Okay.