Red Herrings and a Mayonnaise Jar

Yesterday,  I woke up in a brighter mood than I had been in a few days. I had my usual cafe au lait on the way to work but because I was in a hurry, I ordered breakfast from the kitchen. The Chef made me a egg and cheese sandwich on wheat toast. I prefer to bring my breakfast and lunch to work but it is great to know that I have a food source only steps away 🙂


For lunch, I had a bowl of black bean soup topped with cheese and sour cream. I pulled the soup out of the freezer and I think it gets better over time.


In the late afternoon, I sipped on a soy latte that The Pro brought me. Lately, my need for coffee has increased and this latte could not have been more on time. Once work was done, I had an appt to get my hair cut and plans to meet the dear husband for dinner. We met at a Mexican place right by my hair salon so that I could get to group therapy in time. The food came out really slow and I was in an insane hurry so I didn’t take any photos but for the record, I had some chips and salsa (probably too many), a spinach burrito that was simply sauteed spinach in a tortilla and a cheese quesadilla.

The group is led by a therapist and a RD that specializes in eating disorders and this week, we met at the RD’s office instead of the therapist’s office. It is WAY on the other side of town and there was mucho traffic. I ended up being a little late but thankfully, I was not the last to arrive. We got started after everyone arrived and the discussion was about chapter 4 of Eating in the Light of the Moon by Dr. Annita Johnston.  The entire session seemed to be exactly what I needed.

First, we talked about eating disorders being the Red Herring , or a smoke screen, for the real issues. This wasn’t really news to me because I am very aware that my ED comes from my lack of coping skills for my past and present hurts. But as the conversation continued, we were given a list, an actual list, of about 200 emotions. The list is to help us identify what we are feeling which is the first step. How can we address our feelings if we don’t even know what they are? This is a situation that I find myself in often. Sure, I can identify happy, mad, sad, frustrated but isolated, not so much. Of course, I have felt isolated but never have I been able to put a word to the feeling. The feeling of not knowing “what’s wrong” often times leads to emotional eating and sometimes binging.

Once the emotion is identified, we have to take action that doesn’t lead to our “behavior”. When we are mad, we can go for a run or when we are happy we could dance or sing. So the question arises, what about those times that the ED takes over and logic is no longer available in our minds? That is where self care, or the mayonnaise jar , comes in. In order to prevent those moments when the cloak of ED covers us, we have to put our self care FIRST. That’s right, self care has to come first. 

For me, self care means spending QUALITY time with my dear husband, practicing yoga, meditating, regular (not excessive) exercise and social time. These things have to take priority over things like overtime at work, gourmet meals everyday and a sparkling clean home. Sure, those things are important to me but I have to take care of myself. I have often viewed self care as selfish but in reality, I can only take care of them less important things if I am well. Being at the bottom of a nutella jar is not well.

Another key aspect to self care is to not let our emotions pile up inside, we need to feel them and then let them go. I have trouble with expressing what I feel because I am a people pleaser. I fear hurting someone’s feelings or looking like an idiot for being too sensitive. What I learned last night is that being a sensitive person is part of being intutive, it means I listen to my emotions. I don’t have all of the skills I need to deal with them sometimes, but at least I am listening and that is a step in the right direction.

Do you put self care first? Are you a people pleaser that fears saying no or telling your REAL emotions?

15 Responses

  1. Sounds like a great session, Beadie.

    I don’t always put myself first, but I’m trying to be better about it when I really need it. I am definitely a people pleaser – I have a hard time saying no even when my head/heart/body are screaming no inside.

  2. Great post. I would say I’m a people pleasr for sure. I hate conflict and will do anything to avoid it! Putting myself first is hard for me as a Mom, but I’m coming to the realization that making myself happy and doing for me will make me a better Mom, not a selfish one…..

  3. I’m a mix of both – I need to learn to put myself first more though.

  4. Oh, I’ll tell you what I’m thinking. :0

    Very freeing.

  5. WOw, this post was so much fun for me to read. You are learning so much, I would love to attend that group. I think it’d be very helpful for me. I love group settings-esp. ED based-they are amazingly helpful for me. Especially with older woman where there isn’t that underlying competition.

    Taking care of myself means BALANCE-social wise! I need to work on that. I am not a shy person, but I get anxious sometimes.

  6. I agree with Krista, that it’s hard to put yourself first when you’re a mom! But I always use the “airplane analogy” to remind me to take care of myself.

    when you’re on an airplane, the flight attendant always says “put your oxygen mask on first before assisting others”. They say that because if you put the oxygen mask on your child (or someone needing help) first, then they may not be able to help you, but if you take care of yourself, then you can help both yourself and the child (person) needing assistance.

    I like to use that in my life when I’m feeling like I need to spend time on the computer catching up with friends instead of folding laundry or cleaning…sometimes I do feel guilty about it, but I have to find a balance.

    I love the mayo jar story!!

  7. I am a people pleaser. I always avoid conflict and never like to make decisions for fear the other person will not agree with me. I need to work on that. Thank you for sharing what you learned. It is very helpful to me since I have never been to therapy for my binge incidents.

  8. What great insights. I love those emotion lists because they really help us think critically about our feelings.
    I have to be honest – I’m really good at putting me first. 🙂

  9. Wow – great post and great QOD. I have no problem letting out my real emotions unless it’s anger. It’s really uncomfortable for me to express my frustration with someone, so usually it gets bottled up or ignored, and very rarely does it explode out. I am a champ at suppressing anger!

  10. I am very similar to you! I am a “people pleaser” and worry about coming across as overly sensitive. I am not good at identifying my feelings in the moment and unfortunately turn to food too often. Thank you for sharing your story, journey and all that you are learning. I found this post very insightful. I appreciate your honesty!

  11. Your soup looks great. I definitely agree that soup gets better over time!

  12. […] Red Herrings and a Mayonnaise Jar […]

  13. The soup looks great. Soup is definitely something that gets much better the next day!

    What a wonderful meeting! I read over and over about how it’s important to identify our emotions and take care of ourselves! I will work on that more.


  14. What a great meeting, and I like the comment about regular, not excessive, exercise. It is something I struggle with because I struggle with balance. And then just stop doing something, weight watcher, yoga, exercise, whatever it is at the moment. It’s good to see that balance can be achieved.

    Thanks for the insight. And the delish food p(orn. Not really, but it all looks so good.

  15. […] Red Herrings and a Mayonnaise Jar […]

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