Saturday, 1 March 2014

"Grief Bacon" ... The Germans have a word for Everything

Photo courtesy Bunchofpants, licensed CC BY-NC-SA

 Kummerspeck = Excess weight gained from emotional overeating.

"Kummerspeck" translates to "grief bacon" in German, and is a word that finally acknowledges that when we are under a crushing weight of sadness or stress, many of us skip booze or drugs in favor of delicious fried foods.  In my case it was nachos, chicken nuggets, hamburgers, french fries, donuts, popcorn, chips...well, you get the idea.  If it was bad for me, I ate it, and if it was really bad for me, I ate it twice. 

I've been going through a period of great uncertainty and very high stress for the past month or so (no health scare or relationship issues, don't worry!).  Combine this with the usual stress at work, and it is a recipe for disaster.  Assuming that disaster is breaded and fried, and also that I just can't stop eating it. 

Photo courtesy xandoru1 licensed CC-BY
In a moment of weakness a couple of weeks ago I broke down and gave myself permission to let go of my usual iron(ish) discipline and just binge.  Then I gave myself permission to take an unplanned rest day, then two...and before you know it, I have gone completely off the rails. 

The work stress is still there (and as stressful as ever), and the other stuff in my life is still going on, but I can't sit back as I have been doing and letting emotions distract me and take over my life.  Sitting by the phone waiting for news is no excuse to go completely off the reservation.  Nope. Now is the time to get things back on track and to stop making excuses, and to keep focused and just do what I need to do.  That's how I was successful before, and that is how I will be successful again.

Because there's no time like the present, this morning began with more-or-less of the usual workout - 30 minutes of weights followed by 45 minutes on the elliptical and 15 minutes on the treadmill.  Not the hardest of workouts, but a good first step back into the pool after not working out for 3 days.  It felt like I had not worked out in forever, though.  Not fun.

As for the food, in one way the past two weeks of eating like a dog have been useful.  I tried some of the foods I was really craving, and while they were tasty in their own way, they were not quite as good as my memory had made them out to be.  This has worked to dramatically reduce my cravings for bad food, and I suspect that it will be easier to stay on track for a while.  At least keeping the decreasing marginal utility of junk food in mind (namely, that the next bite will never be as tasty as the last bite) will help keep me on the straight and narrow until the urge to go off plan disappears.

In the spirit of not getting completely demoralized I am not going to weigh myself until the end of March - - no point in making myself depressed so that I want to emotionally overeat again, after all!

My objectives for this weekend are just to track my food, stick to my plan, and get back into my workout habit.  Baby steps.  Most of all, though, I will try and stay away from the kummerspeck - I've had enough.


  1. While I'm sorry to hear this, I did notice just yesterday that you hadn't posted your usual morning workouts for a few days this week, but my first thought was NOT "she's off the rails," it was actually "She must be away somewhere." So you see: I didn't think the worst immediately!
    I believe the occasional letting go (or letting bacon get in the way) is human and forgivable and it sounds like you're not beating yourself up for it. Stress is a bitch,no doubt about it. I hope that whatever the cause is (other than work stress) resolves itself soon. Meanwhile, I continue to admire your perseverance AND the fact that you got back to the routine, which you might categorize as "light" compared with your usual but is still pretty damned awesome.

  2. :) I am very proud of You. X

  3. Hang in there! I don't comment often but you inspire me and, I'm sure, many many others too. I hope everything is ok and look forward to more blogging soon. It's fine to take a break when life gets in the way.