Tuesday, December 01, 2009
I approached the holiday season this year feeling pretty confident. This year was certainly going to be different from last year when I put on 15 pounds between Thanksgiving and new years day! For one thing I RUN now. I'm a RUNNER. Everybody knows that RUNNERS can eat more calories because they burn so many RUNNING. Right?
Oh, and throughout the past year I've made a lot of progress in self-discovery. I've learned a lot about my self and why my eating habits led me to be overweight. I was SWIMMING IN THE RIVER DENIAL, I am a PERFECTIONIST, I succumbed to PEER PRESSURE. Just read my blogs...
Will I never learn? Why do I always have to learn the hard way?
It seemed like everybody I talked to early last week asked me what my plans were for Thanksgiving. Friends, co-workers, store clerks. I shared my plans to travel to my son's home just outside of Chicago. He has a lovely wife who is a fabulous cook and two beautiful little girls - one of whom turned one year old on Thanksgiving day. My daughter-in-law is a stay at home mom who is so organized and efficient. She assured me that I didn't have to bring a thing. Just come and relax and enjoy the kids. I've been so tied up with elderly parents, I really looked forward to doing just that!
One of my Spark friends asked me the same question about my plans and I recited my whole spiel via Spark mail and she replied back saying "No, I mean what are your PLANS to keep your eating under control and continue your exercise?"
What? I'm going to run - um sometime. I'm going to exercise my self-control. I can do it. I do it everyday - mostly. And I'm going to run sometime...
We were to set out for my son's after my husband got off work Wednesday at 4 p.m. I made a quick last minute trip to the store to get some sandwich making materials so we could eat a healthy sandwich on the road and not have to stop for fast food. While at the store I thought I'd just grab a few snacks also to take in the car. My husband loves chocolate so I bought a few candy bars. He likes chips and chex mix so I found some reduced fat Pringles and a bag of Chex Mix that proclaimed right on the label 65% less fat than -- whatever else I was thinking of buying. Me? I didn't plan to snack. The turkey on whole wheat and low-fat cheese would more than satisfy me. Especially coupled with all the bottled water I brought to drink.
So we ate our sandwiches and my husband was full. I, however, continued to polish off 3/4 of a can of Pringles, 1/2 a bag of Chex Mix -- 3 servings according to the package, and a candy bar. Washed down with the Diet Coke I bought at the rest stop.
Feeling bloated, nauseated, and full of gas, we rolled into my son's house about 10 o'clock.
What on earth got into me I wondered. I felt immediately remorseful, especially since the first words practically out of my mouth when I saw my son were "Do you have any Alka-Seltzer or Tums"?
I lay in bed that night obsessing out loud to my husband who reminded me tomorrow would be a new day. Tired the next morning I lay in bed feeling even more guilty as a heard my husband, who was long since up and at 'em, tell my granddaughter to let Grandma sleep because she didn't feel well last night. I dragged out of bed and vowed that I was back in control. No beating myself up. It's over.
And for most of the day it was. My daughter-in-law has healthy things to eat. She bakes her own whole grain bread. She has fresh fruit in a bowl. Her kitchen smelled wonderful as only a kitchen on the day of Thanksgiving can smell. The fragrance of the sage in stuffing mingling with the nutmeg in pumpkin pies. No frozen whipped topping for this woman -- everything was homemade right down to hand whipped whipped cream.
Gracious people, my son and his wife had invited several different couples and their children from the university where he teaches to dinner. "Strays" whose own families were too far away to travel to. Interesting, enjoyable company.
My daughter-in-law had laid out a counter full of "munchies" for the guests to enjoy while the last minute dinner preparations were underway.
Now you would have thought that I learned a lesson the night before when I overdosed on sodium and sugar in the car. So how was it that I found myself perched on a stool at the counter dipping my hand into a bowl of sugared nuts and raisins repeatedly? To the point that I later thought reminded me exactly of the scene from Pride and Prejudiced when Mr. Bennet gently draws his daughter Mary away from the piano admonishing her "That's enough now, Mary. It's time to let the other girls have a turn". Only here it was my son gently lifting my hand out of the bowl and quietly saying "Mom, save some for the other guests". Embarrassed, I was so loaded up on nuts and humus and cranberry goat cheese, I wasn't even really hungry for the lean turkey, fresh steamed green beans, sweet potatoes, and quinoa for the actual meal.
BUT I managed and followed it up with pecan pie with whipped cream on top.
Like the Jim Carey character in "The Mask", I felt like saying " Sommmmebody stop me"!!
The next morning I did get up and head out for a nice long run to explore the new neighborhood. It felt great to run and it seemed to snap some sense back into me.
While running I kept replaying my day and a half of disastrous eating over and over in my head. What caused it? Was it peer pressure? Not this time. My daughter-in-law cooks terrific but certainly wouldn't have felt hurt if I declined her pie. I wasn't trying to fit in with the new group of people either.
I felt like the first man who climbed Mt. Everest when he was asked why he felt the need to climb it and he responded "Because it was there".
I ate because it was there. I ate on impulse. I genuinely started feeling depressed about it. Maybe I am an impulsive person. I started thinking over every impulsive action I ever did in my whole life. Pretty soon, I had magnified them to astronomical proportions. I lacked will power, self control. I was obsessive. I was compulsive. I was one sugared nut away from a straight jacket and committal. I could feel my eyes watering even as I ran. Whoops!
"Wait a minute, Drama Queen -- where are you?" I suddenly asked myself.
I wasn't paying attention to the songs on my i-pod -- my usual gage of how far I had ran. I wasn't paying attention to street signs. I think I had ran about two miles when I came to a busy road and a red light. Stopping, I looked around and thought:
"Ok. Where the hell am I"?
No cell phone to call my son, I found myself in the middle of traffic in a neighborhood that's businesses seemed to have a lot of signs in Spanish. Slowly it dawned on me that my son had said that east of their block about 1 1/2 - 2 miles the area became more ethnic where a lot of Hispanics lived. That was reassuring because that meant I was east of his house. I thought I'd just pop into a business and ask exactly how to get back to Brook street. When I turned around it was as if divine intervention brought me to that destination because a large sign proclaimed in English and Spanish, "Plan for the unexpected"! I had stopped right in front of an insurance agency. A nice gentleman stepped outside and pointed me in the proper direction. Straight down to Lovett and turn right 6 blocks to Brook street. Essentially I had ran two sides of a big square.
I took a nice cool down walk the other two sides of the square to my son's house and reflected on the words on that sign:
Plan for the unexpected.
Somehow encouraged, I thought, Hey! Maybe I didn't need a straight jacket after all! I JUST NEEDED TO PLAN! Like the old saying -- Failure to plan is planning to fail, and that's exactly what had happened to me. I failed to plan. I impulsively bought snacks last minute for the car - and ate them all. I failed to check with my daughter-in-law about the menu and plan what I was going to eat ahead of time. I didn't plan to take my water into the living room and visit out there instead of in the kitchen by the food.
Now planning is not my strong suit. I gave birth to three children in four years if that tells you anything. But I'm going to try.
I'm off to a pretty good start. We took my son's family out to a Mexican restaurant for dinner Saturday night. It was a chain restaurant and I was familiar with their menu so I knew in advance what I was going to order from their light selections. I didn't even open my menu. I sat on the end so I could move the chips down by the others. I took some clementine oranges in the car for snacks while driving home. I asked my hubby to stop in a town that had a Subway for lunch.
Maybe I can do this after all!
I got home and got on line and e-mailed my Spark friend. The one who had asked me what my PLAN was for Thanksgiving, and told her my tale. Confession is good for the soul as they say. But more than just a confession. I wanted her to know that I think I finally get it:
Knowing why you eat out of control is important, but it's how you use that knowledge that counts the most. How can you use it to plan ahead BEFORE you lose control.
First thing I did tonight is get on Sparkpeople and start scrolling through their recipes and learning to use the menu planner. I read some articles. One thing I know for sure -- no 15 pound gain this year. I'm not leaving Christmas up to chance. I'm going to be a planning fool. I'll make plans to make plans.
AND -- I'll keep you posted...