Colouring In is my New Comfort Eating

Due to a recent diagnosis of several mid-life digestive health issues, I currently find myself having to face up to the seriously negative consequences of my ever-present emotional eating for comfort. At 55 I’m really not finding it easy, because old habits die hard and after a lifetime of swallowing down my disappointments and reducing the bitter taste of quietly taking my doing-what-I-should-be-doing medicine with the proverbial spoonful of sugar, I’m finally facing my food demons and dealing with my past pains instead of always shutting them up with the promise of tasty treats.

Changing my diet so completely inevitably also requires a necessary change in both attitude and lifestyle, and the emotional consequences of such a massive change means that right now I’m constantly craving the comfort I’ve historically found in food, which of course is the very thing I’m trying to relieve myself of in the first place – Aaarrrggghhh..! It’s unbelievably complex for me to delve so deeply into exploring why I’ve developed such bad habits over the years going all the way back to childhood, and although I’m finding it a complete head-fuck at the moment I’m determined to see it through.

So instead of eating for comfort whenever I feel bad, I’ve been concentrating on colouring in – absolutely loads of colouring in. I really enjoy it, it keeps me busy, and it creates a very different kind of distraction from food. I find I have to be physically calm to colour in well – I like smooth lines and soft shapes, not jerky erratic strokes all over the page. So I tend to start off staccato, and focus on stilling my movements until everything starts to flow better from my hand. And you know what? Once the colour flows smoothly, I do actually feel a bit better emotionally too – at least, relaxed enough to have passed beyond that particular point of craving food for comfort, anyway.

And as well as the physical calmness I find in colouring in, the more emotionally relaxed state it brings me to seems to be responsible for creatively opening up a line of communication with a host of other difficult issues that I’ve also struggled to process in the past. I find myself feeling increasingly curious to explore them now, as if the more the pressure is off the more things seem to come to me, naturally and organically. In finally letting it all out instead of swallowing it all down, it feels as if I’m able to deal relatively comfortably with the emotional as well as the physical issues held within my errant digestive system, which surely can only be a good thing?

So while physically I’m getting to grips with a whole new way of eating, emotionally I’m comfort-colouring my way to good health and wellbeing, in the hope that I can build myself new creative habits to help over-ride the familiarity of those old destructive patterns of behaviour, once and for all…

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How to Temper Chocolate?

Don’t look at me, I have absolutely no idea how to temper chocolate – I’ve never done it, and can’t honestly envisage a time when I might feel curious enough to give it a try.

I know you’re supposed to do something clever with slow melting and careful cooling at particular temperatures – different temperatures each for white, milk, and dark chocolate – to make sure the cocoa butter molecules and liquid chocolate crystalise as smoothly as possible, creating shiny chocolate with a good sharp snap rather than dull, crumbly matte stuff with an unsightly ‘bloom’.

Sounds way too convoluted a process for me, I seriously have no patience at all for fiddly things like chocolate thermometers and cold marble slabs and flexible palette knives – so I just buy my favourite chocolates ready made, already shiny and glossy and with just the right amount of ‘bite’ to their thin but perfectly crisp shells 🙂

Fandango’s One Word Challenge: Temper

Stream of Consciousness Saturday: Bug

This morning I decided I wanted to bake – typically it’s hot and sunny today and so the thought of having the oven on wasn’t perfect – but I knew if I didn’t make some kind of sweet treat to eat, it would bug me all day. As my husband would say in his native Louisiana, I had the envie for home-made cake, and nothing less would do.

We have a huge tray of cherries sitting on the kitchen counter, red and ripe and far more than we can possibly eat before they start to spoil, so I decided on making a batch of cherry chocolate muffins – quick to mix and easy to bake… yum!

Perhaps not too pretty to look at but absolutely scrummy to eat, and well worth the half hour or so of extra heat in the kitchen 🙂

Stream of Consciousness Saturday: Bug