Tuesday, April 09, 2013
Did you - DO you - ever hear that? I sure did/do. Especially as a kid I learned that you get along better if you put a lid on it. And I'm good at it. I have enough of a natural analytical mind (Left Brain School Marm) that I can usually find my way around, under, through - issues. Whenever I've taken those quizzes - you know them, the ones that ask "Are An Emotional Eater?" I always click NO. I don't binge - at least not the way I've heard people describe a binge - eating till you're sick, getting up in the middle of the night to find a 7-11 to buy snickers bars, scarfing down a pie and then baking another one and eating a slice so nobody will know you ate a whole pie.
Wait a minute
I did do that once - when I was pregnant but that was nearly 40 years ago.
so no. I didn't think I was an emotional eater. I did know I was a boredom eater.
I'm almost never bored.
So how come I got all the way up to 199 lbs back in 1996? For that matter, how come I've bounced back up pretty high so many other times.
What I didn't realize is that I have a powerful but stealthy Wild Child Right Brain who will make herself known. If I'm not paying attention to her - she will just get bigger so I can't miss her! No - she won't binge. No - she doesn't grab the box of chocolates like Andrea McCardle did in the movie Three Weddings and a Funeral after winning the pity party story. But she will nibble and snick and snack and whisper "Just this once" and "We can start tomorrow" so sweetly my somewhat lazy School Marm Left Brain will go along.
I've recently had an opportunity to look back over my weight history and I realized that everytime my life hit rough patch, I got fat. At 10 I had the world's most evil school teacher who so tormented me and terrified me that I grew to 100 lbs. At 14 my parents put me in a school I didn't want to go to (that Left Brain Wild Child really did get in with a wild crowd) and I got all the way to 180. In both of those cases I just grew taller but I also grew happier as time went on and I finished high school with a cute figure ... although I didn't know it. I can only tell you so because I've looked at photographs of me back then. At the time I still thought I was fat. But that's another story.
In my 30's, 40',s and 50's I've had my share of troubles - quite like anybody else - and each time I donned fat to protect me. Still, I never thought of myself as an emotional eater. I figured I was a victim of genetics, advertising, weak will, indulgent Left Brain. Well. A victim I am not, but all of those things did contribute to my weight issues. It's just that, another major component in my struggle with weight has been EMOTIONAL EATING!
There. I've said it. I know the enemy and she's mine, holding a bag of M&Ms. It's my dear little Right Brain Wild Child who's feeling unacknowledged. So she acts out. And when she feels like her needs are being met, she cooperates with the weight loss effort and here we are - right where we wanted to be - at goal.
The important thing to remember now is ... to not forget her. To check in regularly and see
that she feels like she's being listened to - acknowledged - getting her needs met. It's all about playing fair with both sides.
And the next time I see the question "Are you an emotional eater?" I'll say "You Betcha!"
Friday, April 05, 2013
I love it when I get that lightbulb moment -
that ah-ha sensation as a new idea, a new way of looking at an old issue, reveals itself to me in perfect clarity. This morning Spark People sent me one of those treasures in Dean Anderson's article "How to Use Rewards to Get the Results You Want"
Rewards have always been one of my struggle issues. I find it conflicting to refuse to give myself something I can afford and somewhat neurotic to deny myself something because I have decided I am bad or a failure. The "bad" and "failure" designations are ... well, not me.
Of course, I find the idea of "giving" myself something I can't afford sets up a conflict of such proportions in my head that I see it sort of explodes and becomes an impossibility. (Love me some money management, you see.)
When all is said and done, I am more like Ruskin who said, "The highest reward for a man's toil is not what he gets for it but what he becomes by it."
So how do rewards fit into a weight loss/weight management life? Ahhh - by not tying it to a scale. Not tying it to numbers. At least, not tying it ONLY to the number on the scale. Tie the reward to actions needed to live a healthy life - in other words .... get this ... Reward Those Healthy Choices!
Okay I know. You already got this. But for me this message was like a firework display, shedding colorful light on an issue that has eluded me.
And it's particularly apropos in light of the work I'm doing to get stronger. Working with my personal trainer yesterday I pushed through some amazing physical barriers. There was a moment when I began a lift and hit a feeling of added resistance and then pushed through without any pain at all - though it took additional mental and physical effort I didn't realize I had. It was a magnificent experience - a Lifter's Push akin to the Runner's High.
As I read Dean Anderson's article I thought - Oh. Yes. That's the sort of thing that deserves a reward. A magnificent action chosen by me that took 100% of my abilities - and ... I did it! And best of all is that - having made that extra effort I am walking around, 24 hours later, still feeling so proud of myself.
And I think THAT is the greatest reward I could give myself.
Monday, April 01, 2013
I'm starting a new streak of living each day as healthily as I possibly can. I started one 37 days ago and though there have been some days when I knew the entire day was not a perfectly healthy day, I'd always made more healthy choices than UNhealthy ones. This weekend I really can't make that claim. It was a birthday weekend that fell on a holiday weekend so excessive dining opportunities abounded. I knew this and had prepared some strategies, but not enough. So what went wrong this weekend? And what went right?
WRONG - On Saturday I really did want to go to that all-you-can-eat restaurant and Himself is always good for one and it was the day before his birthday anyway and it was going to rain on Sunday so who wants to drive away from Paradise in the rain? But I knew the dessert table was going to tempt me beyond resistance. In fact - I was intending to indulge in some sweet goodness. But I also knew that the desserts, while looking varied, were actually going to taste sort of ... commercial - and maybe even bland and a little metallic - although sweet. I knew that - but conveniently forgot it. I also knew that one slice of carrot cake from an all you can eat buffet would equal 12 points or 600 calories. And I could have remembered that their ice cream is always watery - and Ice Cream is an important food group. So I chose and chose and chose all those high calorie things and durn. None of them really tasted good enough to give me that 'I HAVE BEEN REWARDED AND INDULGED" feeling.
And when that's what you've been wanting - that's what you've been planning for - that's what you actually gave yourself permission to enjoy ... and you don't get it? BAAAAAD NEWS.
And now, feeling deprived and let down, along came Easter Sunday with all it's memories of candy laden baskets (Yes I know - there is a deeper meaning to this day but I am talking about my heathen wild child right brain with memories of chocolate bunnies and unlimited malted milk robin eggs and BLACK JELLYBEANS!!!) And so along came another
WRONG - I didn't purchase enough of the right kinds junk food to make me feel festive!
I had plenty of healthy choices in the kitchen - fruit, whole grain breads, low fat cheese, crispy vegetables. But it was a Holiday and a Birthday. There was no exciting treat candy goodie around. Nothing to feel special and rewarded and 9 years old. I spent a good bit of time indoors on a rainy Sunday afternoon looking for that candytreatgoodyyummy sensation.
And what happens when you are craving something and it's not there. You know, don't you? You wander around eating everything and anything that might slake that sugar-lustful thirst. I gnawed my way through the kitchen eating mostly fruit. But what I wanted was Chocolate Bunny.
(Oh chocolate bunny - come to me)
Now - 2 Russel Stover chocolate bunnies are 600 calories. 60 robin egg malted milk candies would have equaled 600 calories. I can eat a lot of robin eggs but I don't think I could have eaten 60. I think 20 of them would have satisfied my sugar lust. But there was no amount of bananas or oranges that would hit the spot. I know. I tried them both. Lots of them.
Obviously I am going to indulge myself with sweet treats - which is my illusive holy grail. But I owe it to myself to indulge in the treats I really like, the ones that are really good, the ones that will actually satisfy my longing. The second rate sorta stuff - even if the quantity appears to offer me endless options - will always disappoint me and even too much healthy food is too much. If she doesn't get at least a little bit of what she wants, my inner brat will always throw a tantrum in the kitchen.
Ah well. That was then. This is now. And there were RIGHTS, as in:
RIGHT - packed a healthy lunch on Saturday
RIGHT - walked all over creation
RIGHT - took the dog for a second walk on Sunday
RIGHT - did my 11 pushups. (today it is 12)
It wasn't a total wreck of a weekend - but it was not a healthy choice weekend. The best thing I've done so far - the healthiest choice I've made in the aftermath of the debacle is to analyze the situation, figure out what I really wanted and store the wisdom I've gleaned from this thoughtful process for next time. Because next time I will go ahead and have the chocolate bunny and quit looking for it in my empty kitchen. Yes. Next time I will buy More Candy!
Besides, what could be more fun than starting a New Streak on April Fool's Day?
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