Sunday, March 15, 2009

A Not-So-Subtle Message

This weekend I came down with a case of the "blahs". I didn't feel like doing much of anything, and I ignored the housework and the rest of my to-do list. Instead, I sat around watching movies on Netflix and sulking about nothing in particular. There was a time in my life when a weekend like this one would escalate into a full-blown bout of depression. Without knowing what brought on the melancholy, I would focus on whatever was currently going wrong in my life and convince myself it was all falling apart. Before long I'd be curled up in a ball crying my eyes out. My husband would pull out the emergency chocolate stash, and, if that didn't work, resorted to telling jokes with a sock puppet until I smiled. (Since he usually used a sock he'd been wearing, the puppet became known as "Mr. Stinky".)

Mr. Stinky is now retired. Years of yoga and other mind-body work have taught me to look to my body whenever my mood slips. This morning I looked back on the past week and thought about what could have brought on yesterday's grumpiness. With my thoughts separated from my emotional state, I could see what was driving it. Last week, and Friday in particular, I drank many cups of chai tea with sugar. Caffeine and sugar are no-nos for me. I can't have the buzz without the crash, and I was crashing.

Three years ago I gave up caffeine. I'm not one of those people who can drink a latte after dinner and sleep afterward. Coffee makes my hands shake. One cup after noon and I will lay awake at night with my body quivering and my thoughts racing. The next day, after not sleeping, I would need more coffee to stay awake. On the weekend, when I could catch up on sleep, I would skip the coffee and suffer instead with a headache. It was a vicious cycle.

Lately, some caffeine has snuck back into my diet. Many of the bars, gels, and other training "nutrition" items have caffeine. By limiting my caffeine consumption to times when I'm actually training, I seemed to be okay, but last week I started craving coffee. One decaf coffee led to a regular coffee, then I switched to the chai. Friday came and I was drinking chai tea, loaded with sugar, all day. In between I was snacking on candy bars supplied by well-meaning co-worker. A sleepless Friday night, a headache, and a really bad mood were the results.

All that sugar is as bad as the caffeine. Increased adrenaline brought on by the sugar put me in stress mode, even with nothing to be stressed out about. On top of everything else, I downed a couple of bags of potato chips last week. More carbs and lots of fat, without anything that my body really needed. Who can blame my body for rebelling?

In addition to the low mood, I gained two pounds and broke out like a teenager. My body is not subtle. It's not happy with the garbage I put in it, and it's letting me know. To be any less subtle would require an investment in neon.

Instead of having a conversation with Mr. Stinky, I listened to the message my body was sending. Today's only snack was multi-grain tortilla chips. I've been drinking glass after glass of water to flush out all the junk. I took a nap. And, refusing to give in to the melancholy, I smiled.

I've been asking my body to work pretty hard lately. I'd better treat it right.

Now, one more glass of water before bed. This week I will do better, body. I promise.
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