Friday, October 19, 2007

Friday Quote Day

Maybe you should take a look at that.
Every therapist I've ever had

Well, of course, you're right [regarding yesterday's post] in saying e-mails and comments lack the human element and can be misunderstood. And we are hard enough on ourselves [although I sometimes dispute that one], so why pile it on? Like some of you, I want to say something helpful and constructive without being confrontational, but I don't want to sound like the bitch I sometimes am, so I back away.

A common theme running through many weight-loss blogs is "Why did I buy those [fill-in-the-blank] in the first place?"

I am sooooo freakin' guilty of this one.

And, at least for me, I think I've figured it out. This was quite a revelation when I started thinking about it.

When we start a weight-loss plan, one of the first pieces of advice is to toss all the goodies. Get rid of trigger foods, dump the sugary snacks, pour coffee grounds over the chips and push the rest of the crap down the garbage disposal.

So what happens next? We buy fruits and vegetables and lean meat and chicken breasts and we begin a lifetime of healthful eating. We sweat a little bit and, as time goes by, a little bit more. Sometimes a lot more. Sometimes we get obsessed with the sweating. [Who, me?]

And a month or two into the plan we find ourselves at the check-out counter with a bag of snack-sized Snickers bars in our cart. Okay, I'll just speak for myself.

Whatever it is, it's usually wrapped in cellophane, claims to have no trans-fats and sugar is the first ingredient. But who's reading the label? I just know it's been two months since I've had a treat and by golly, I deserve it!

Of course it rides in the passenger seat right beside me on the trip home. Now for me, this is a 20- to 30-minute drive, depending on if I'm the lead car or if I'm behind a coal truck. I can do a lot of damage in 20 minutes. After the damage is done, my first wail is, "Why did I keep this in the front seat with me?"

Not, "Why did I buy this in the first place?".

Because, you see, I really wanted it and needed it and craved it.

This sets up a self-destructive pattern where I connect being in the car by myself to eating forbidden fruit. Or chocolate. Or Wheat Thins. Pick your poison.

The food crack substance never makes it home. I always stop somewhere along the way to toss the remainder of the food [if there's any left] or the package [if I've inhaled the contents]. [And I don't litter; I know where the trash cans are.]

Now you may be out there thinking, "Well, no wonder she never loses any weight!" I might be thinking that, as well, if these little forays into the snack aisle resulted in a weight gain. But they don't. I've been the same weight, within five pounds, for a year now.

So where am I going with this? Maybe those experts who recommend not depriving yourself are right. Maybe I – okay, we – really should enjoy a guilt-free whatever every once in a while. The operative modifier there is "guilt-free." And "once in a while." When's the last time you savored a piece of fudge? Or enjoyed a brownie? How about pizza?

Until the Army Ten-Miler, I hadn't had a piece of real pizza in probably three years. [I don't count Lean Cuisine frozen as 'real.'] The night before the race, Mr. Shrinking Knitter and I went to California Pizza Kitchen. Because I had to have carbs, you know. Because I'd given myself permission to have that pizza [I recommend the Thai Chicken], I truly loved eating every bite. It was delicious! CPK serves "personal-sized" pizzas as big as dinner plates, but I didn't feel the need to eat it all; I was satisfied with half. And Mr. Shrinking Knitter was more than satisifed with his pizza and my other half. Heh.

I have stealth brownie and fudge stories, as well, but I'm sure you get the idea.

Obviously I'm still thinking things through. Yesterday was the beginning of the process; it took until the middle of the night to realize that one of the reasons I binge on red-light foods when I'm not at home is because there aren't any red-light foods at home. I'm still afraid that if there were, they'd be gone before the sun sets.

"Normal" people don't have these internal arguments. They buy or make a treat once in a while, they have a serving, and then they forget it's even in the pantry. Next time they put groceries away they find half a package of stale Doritos, which they promptly toss.

And they don't have to throw the coffee grounds on top of them.


MK Stover said...

"Our relationship to food is a perfect reflection of our relationship to life itself." - Geneen Roth

M@rla said...

What's always confusing to me about dieting is comparing myself to what "normal" people do. As you say, normal people have a treat once in a while. Some normal people have a constant stream of treats! We've all known someone who eats junk food and fast food all day long. I know that I eat much better than any other person I know in real life. I eat like the "after" picture. I just don't look like the after picture, and I don't understand why.

I do the same as you, I just don't buy those foods that I can't stop eating. I suppose it's like an alcoholic comparing herself to non-alcoholics: "THEY can have a couple drinks at the restaurant, why can't I?" Unfortunately it doesn't work that way, life's not fair! If I knew why, I'd rule the universe...

M@rla said...

Also, I forgot to post this: the "cheat day" diet. Nothing radically new, it's basically calorie cycling, but it might be helpful to someone. A cheat day is perfectly harmless and possibly even beneficial so long as you actually confine it to just the one day!

Lori said...

I know I think, "Why can't I do this or that like 'normal' people?" Sometimes I can but other times I can't.

Sometimes I buy things in controlled packaging like my 100-calorie cookies.

I call what I'm doing dieting but really, it's how I have to live. I can't live in the world I used to live where I'd eat sausage, scrapple, eggs, toast at my parents' for breakfast (and neither can they either). I can't just go through a drive-through 2 times a week and get the extra value meal. I know it's junk but sometimes I miss it intensely. But I don't miss being as fat as I was -- and that's the price I have to pay. Do I make mistakes? Hell yes! But it's still not as bad as it used to be.

I'll be honest, I probably indulge more than I should and that's probably why the weight's not flying off me. But for now, I'd rather enjoy myself the way it is now more than I want to do other things that will help me lose weight. I accept this. The trick is to keep the balance. Thanks for a really thought-provoking posts for the last couple of days.

ws said...

clearly, I should make a career out of grocery shopping for other people. Though, everyone would be a little miserable because there would never be anything to eat...

PastaQueen said...

I don't believe in the "normal" people. Everyone is screwed up in their own ways. Just because someone appears to eat healthy and have no food issues doesn't mean they aren't silently struggling. I drive through a rich section of town on the way to work and it's easy to assume that everyone living there is doing great financially, but how many of them have loads of credit card debt and are behind on the mortgage? You don't know.

Anyway, I think it's perfectly fine to have a "cheat" day every once in a while. Like Marla said, there are some carb cycling plans that include one. And I know I always eat my own birthday cake and have treats when I'm vacationing. And hell, if you're gaining/maintaining weight anyway when you eat healthy what do you have to lose by eating a chocolate bar from time to time? Only ever eating completely healthy food is as unbalanced in its own way as only eating processed junk food.

Laura N said...

Great post, Debbie. Thank you for articulating what's often so hard to put a finger on.

M@rla said...

Clarification: by "normal" I meant "normal weight." By my observations, normal weight people have TERRIBLE eating patterns.