Move Over Mary Poppins!

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Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Thinking About Thinking About Eating

It's a funny thing... When I get serious about watching my food intake, I always turn back to Weight Watchers, because I was once so very successful there, and I understand and approve of their methods. One of the things I've always appreciated about Weight Watchers is that the program recognizes that for a lot of us, eating is just as strong an addiction as cigarettes or alcohol or pharmaceuticals. It can be just as physically damaging (though in very different, sneaky ways) if left unchecked, but food addiction has one characteristic all its own. You need the object of your addiction to survive. How do you draw the line between eating to fuel your body and eating to satisfy whatever demon is gnawing at you? I struggle with that all the time.

Mark, for instance, smoked for 12 years before he quit (a wheel set in motion largely by me), and for him, cold turkey was the way to go. He just stopped. He can even have a couple of smokes once or twice a year without falling off the wagon. I envy that restraint. I can't just stop eating. The results would be extreme illness or even death, right? So, I have to stay on top of the demons at all time. I have to constantly monitor whether I'm looking for a snack because I'm actually hungry, or because we're celebrating or I'm depressed and chocolate tastes good, or because I'm bored and something crunchy would occupy the time.

You would think, then, that the thing I need to do is stop thinking about food all the time, right? Here's where the funny thing comes in. I actually think about food more when I'm staying on plan. I plan out what I'm going to have for my meals. I mentally juggle points to make the most of a situation. I'm figuring out how many pretzels I can have to go with that midmorning banana and not blow my chance to add a little bite of brownie for dessert later in the day. I play head games with myself. Ok, your tummy is rumbling, so you're really hungry. Wait 20 minutes and then you can reevaluate. Or, knit three more rows and you can get some carrots and hummus to tide you over until dinner. And, drink more water, it'll fool your stomach for five more minutes.

This has all been on my mind since I jumped back onto the wagon on Monday. I got on the scale, and when I came to again, I started planning and journaling and exercising. I've been the eating equivalent of sober for three days. I feel great about it. I'm also exhausted by it. I know I'm capable of losing the extra weight, and even exorcising the demons for a while. I've done it before, but I feel into the classic trap. I thought I was "cured." Then, I met Mark, and got fat and happy. Happy's good, right? Complaceny? Not so good. Still happy in that sense, but a few years of complacency and baby weight are carving away at the core of me. It's hard to wholly happy when you feel a horrible sense of loathing towards an aspect of yourself.

So, I'm trying again. I'll likely fall off again. I'll have to climb back on. But the process gives me back a little of the self respect I've been missing. Hopefully, the little bit will snowball into the willpower and determination that got me through last go 'round.



Anonymous Tara said...

I'm proud of you - and I'm struggling too. We are in this together - never forget that. I'm here anytime.

3/11/09, 3:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And I'm here too, trying, as you are. It's hard. Write if you want to, and we'll talk instead of eating. :) samm

3/11/09, 3:30 PM  
Anonymous LoserInc said...

Great post- I understand, commiserate and wholeheartedly agree with every sentence. It's like you read my mind. And it's nice to know I'm not alone. GOOD LUCK (and we all love you regardless!)

3/21/09, 4:41 PM  

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