Columnist Kristyl Clark writes about her desire to get comfortable with feeling uncomfortable.

Valley Mom: Get comfortable with being uncomfortable

I used to decline anything sweet after a meal, claiming that my wine was my dessert

I used to decline anything sweet after a meal, claiming that my wine was my dessert.

But that was before I began taking an antidepressant to curb my anxiety.

It was also before I decided to cork my evening nightcap habit.

These days, I’m a lot calmer, happier and sober, but not exactly lighter on my feet…. Catch my drift?

After polishing off three, yes I said it, THREE plates of Sheppard’s Pie during last month’s ‘Stormageddon,’ I felt an insatiable craving for something sweet. I scoured the back of the cupboards, hoping to find some stale Girl Guide Cookies or maybe some chocolate chips, but there was nothing but soup, canned beans and broken saltines.

Fortunately, I remembered that we still had an enormous bowl of Halloween candy stashed above the fridge, so I settled on a couple of mini chocolate bars and a bag of M&M’s.

While I was able to satisfy my sweet tooth, the hunger pangs just wouldn’t let up. They were relentless.

My stomach rumbled all night with uncomfortable emptiness, begging me to throw in some more carbs, to toss in a bag of Doritos and wash it all down with chardonnay— I resisted temptation knowing I had already done enough damage for one day…err, make that two weeks.

I convinced myself the number on the scale was just all the water weight, but I’m beginning to realize I can’t give in to every craving as a reward for taking a break from the ‘mommy juice.’

As the self-dubbed ‘queen of extremes,’ I’ve been weary about jumping headfirst into a strict diet or exercise regimen.

After all, it doesn’t take much to lose my head in the pursuit of losing the girth around my waistline.

After doing some digging, I’ve discovered I’m not alone with this troubling problem of medication-induced weight gain.

Experts say that for up to 25 per cent of people, most ‘happy pills’ can cause a weight gain of 10 pounds or more.  I’m up seven pounds and counting. Ugh.

It’s also common to crave sugar when you take a break from drinking.

Now, I’m not airing this to deter anyone from taking a pill to manage their depression and/or anxiety, nor am I trying to push anyone into experiencing a month or two booze-free, although I highly recommend the latter.

You do you.

For myself, the weight gain is more of a minor nuisance — I’m far happier now than I was last February rocking a bikini body, despite the fact that sweatpants are literally all that fits me right now.

I could also blame this insane weather. I felt like I was losing my mind being trapped indoors with two kids and to dogs in a cramped townhouse for a week— going to the gym hasn’t even been an option.

As I struggled to zip up my jeans this morning, I joked to my husband, Jason, that I should go off of the meds so that I can get my ‘old’ body back.

He said he’d rather have me with some more ‘junk in the trunk’ and be happy instead of skinny and struggling any day. I think he’s a keeper.

If I’ve learned anything through this experience, it’s that happiness isn’t found in the bottom of a wine glass, candy bowl, or even in an itty-bitty bikini.

Instead, it’s about learning how to sit with that unsettling void and find healthy ways to nourish one’s soul, rather than starve, feed or numb it.

I think that if I had learned this lesson early on, I wouldn’t have spent years trying to run from ugly feelings, which would later come back to haunt me in the form of anxiety or jeans that have become a size too small.

Let’s face it – children are prone to copying the behavior of their parents, which is why I’m even more determined to get comfortable with being uncomfortable.

Is it going to be easy? Heck no, but nothing worth fighting for truly ever is.

Kristyl Clark is founder of the family blogazine, ValleyMom.ca. Follow her on Twitter @shesavalleymom

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