It’s Half-Time in the Sisyphus Household

Posted on February 12, 2012


Lady Sisyphus is about to embark on a new adventure!

That’s me trying to be positive.

This past week, the Sisyphus family decided to upend the life we’ve known.  In a few short months we will begin a trek to put down roots in another part of the country, one we are unfamiliar with. Lord Sisyphus will leave in a few weeks to begin a new role there. The kids and I will put our home up for sale, cross our fingers in this uncertain market and hopefully follow in the summer.

I’m trying to be positive.

I started this blog as a way to analyze my life with food. In my head I know I should stay away from sugar and processed foods and stick to whole foods. But my impulses are different. I reach for the chocolate and worry about it later. I suppose it’s the same with this move.  In my head it’s a great opportunity – new friends, new experiences, better weather. But my heart is breaking so I reach for the comfortable past and turn my back on the uncertain future.

This is how ridiculous I am. You know the Chrysler commercial with Clint Eastwood that aired during the Superbowl? I cried. I cried when Eastwood grizzled, “Because that’s what we do. We find a way through tough times.” I cried because I know that’s the attitude I should have about moving but I don’t. So, it’s half-time in the Sisyphus household and I need Clint to come slap some sense into me.

I am comfortable here. I like it here. And now that we are moving I want to dig in.

Isn’t that what the Sisyphus myth is all about? The comfort of futility?

What makes this difficult is that there is a prince and princess Sisyphus. They are teens. They have their respective lives here. Like many ladies and lords, I take on their emotions. If they are unhappy, then I am unhappy. I have to figure that one out because that’s futile too.

For now, that’s where I’m at. We are moving. I am scared. I wonder if my kids will hate it (and me) and have permanent scars. I wonder if I will hate it there too. So I wallow in the comfort of futility waiting for Eastwood and his wise words to heal all.

And since this blog is ultimately about my journey with food, I worry I will abandon my healthy eating for the futility of comfort food. To that end, I’ve been reading a bit about stress eating and its effects on health. This article by Jane Schwartz Harrison, RD, has provided some good tips to keep in mind as the months move us closer to our new destination.  Harrison writes that we are wired by way of cortisol to crave high energy foods during times of stress. Sugar, carbs and processed foods are high energy foods that prompt a very temporary calming effect. Unfortunately, the more permanent side effect is weight gain and marginal nutrition. And then we crave more.

The tips for eating during times of stress are simple:

  1. Avoid sugar, caffeine and refined foods like soda, candy, doughnuts, white bread and pasta. The energy surge from these foods is followed by an even worse dip.
  2. Eat regular meals and include a little lean protein. This keeps blood sugar regulated and cravings under control.
  3. Focus on whole foods. Whole foods are nutrient dense and don’t contain chemicals that interfere with hormones or other body systems.

So, it’s half-time in the Sisyphus household. It’s time to regroup and choose to get excited about what’s ahead instead of finding comfort in the same old rock going up the same old hill day after day after day. It’s time to channel my inner-Eastwood. Wish me luck.