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holy junk food, Batman!

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

I took a road trip recently, with my 9 year old son. We went to visit my husband's sister and her husband and their 12 year old son. My husband did not join us, which is not unusual. My husband is a workaholic which is a whole 'nother blog topic. Anywhooooo.....for several days before I left on this little journey, I had been marveling at the fact that I seemed to have switched out of "fat and getting fatter" mode, and into "fat but getting fitter" mode. Over a 6 month period, I regained most of the weight I had lost when I joined Spark initially. I felt some despair about this, but mostly I felt disappointed in myself, and lacking in any willingness to do the work required to turn the situation around, and I felt some hopelessness. For me, I truly know that desperation and publicly shaming myself or making elaborate diet&exercise plans simply does not work. For me, because my eating issues goes beyond bad habits and into eating disorder territory, I always know I have to dig deeper and wrestle with emotional and spiritual problems in order to effect any real change. I prayed for willingness and for some help. Sparkpeople, and especially Sparkfriends, are so important to me, but I knew I needed some additional help and I allowed myself to admit that I really did not know where to turn. Help came from where I least expected it.

On the 5 hour road trip, I did not engage in any of the usual road-trip fat-traps that are so easy to justify. When I stopped for gasoline, I did not purchase any junk food. When we needed a restroom, we went to a rest area, not a fast food joint. Even Starbucks, which is the hardest for me to pass up (those #@$% cake pops!) yielded only an 8 ounce soy chai latte, for the caffeine, and no sweets to go with it. I had packed a few healthy snacks for myself and my son (much to his dismay, truth be told) and that is what we stuck to. I explained to him that his auntie kept plenty of junkfood around so he certainly didn't need to load up on the way over. Boy, was that an understatement! My husband and his sister and their younger brothers were raised with the idea that food, particularly candy, equals love. They have fond memories of being given cash to buy as much candy as they wanted. They were given large quantities of candy for every occasion, any occasion, and no occasion. Nutrition of any sort was not discussed and was certainly not taught. Now, I have my own issues with sweets, as my Sparkfriends know. I don't have a sophisticated palate. My palate is about 10 years old, half the time. I don't crave foie gras and truffles, liquer flavored desserts or fine dark chocolate. Nope - give me your jelly beans, your malted milk balls, your cheap milk chocolate and your gummy animals. What do you suppose greeted us when we arrived at my S.I.L.'s? Easter candy in bowls on the coffee table, in a big basket on the counter. Sugary cereals in the pantry, pop in the laundry room, ice cream in the freezer, Girl Scout cookies stacked next to Oreos, pastries in the cupboard, and one entire kitchen drawer filled with nothing, and I mean nothing, other than about five pounds of assorted candy. How do I know all this? Was I snoopy? Nope, I was helpful - I helped with the dishes and with meal preparation. At one point, when I opened the drawer where it looked like the Easter Bunny, the Great Pumpkin, and Santa's elves had all off-loaded their excess goodies, I blurted out "SERIOUSLY?!" It was literally everywhere I turned, including the basket of candy in the room where I slept. Sheesh! What is a sugar addict to do?! Don't take the first bite. I pictured myself taking a handful of jelly beans and I could clearly see, in my mind's eye, the sugary carnage to come. I ate lots of protein, I focused on spending time with the people amidst all that sugary ridiculousness, I prayed, and I talked myself out of being weak in the face of all that temptation. So, do you know how much of that junky food that I ate? None. Zero. Zilch. Nada. And I felt, and still feel, good about that. One of the things I lose when I gain weight, is my integrity around food. It causes me to feel badly about myself, when I cannot trust my behavior around food. And, my s.i.l. who buys all this sugary silliness? She has begun eating really well. She told me that she was inspired to pay attention to her nutrition by watching the Biggest Loser, and by ME! So, we started talking about our weight struggles and we shopped and prepared nutritious meals together, and we exchanged tips. I asked her about all the junk and she said "this stuff doesn't tempt me". Okay, since pretty much every junk food group was well represented, I am at a loss to imagine what does tempt her, but actually, she did name a few things that call her name, that she does not keep around.. Her husband and son are both slender and not particularly food-driven so they aren't overly tempted by it either. It was fascinating, in a way. I did ask her why she keeps SO much of it around, since none of them seem to really want it and she told me she keeps it for visitors. Well, this is one visitor that did not partake and, I am very happy to say, my eager-eater boy did not go food-wild, either. The soda pop and juice were tough ones for him since I just don't keep that around and that is his big weakness. As my husband once told P., when he was little and tantruming because we said no to him having more pop, "It's just a beverage, dude." I have repeated that bit of wisdom to him on more than one occasion. Thank goodness, he does drink lots and lots of water, of his own accord.

I have been taking much better care of myself, nutritionally, for the past 10 days or so, and I am already reaping the rewards. I am tracking on SP again, not to monitor my every calorie but to know, at a glance, that I am getting the nutrients my body needs and deserves, and to hold myself more accountable because I was back to the "whatever, whenever" style of eating and that just does not do my body any favors. I hope I lose weight, because I am truly physically uncomfortable at this weight, but mostly I am focused on feeling healthier, more energetic, and freed from the hold of excess food.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    For a moment I thought you were going to say they keep candy in the bathroom, too! lol
    Sounds like you dealt with it very well! Kudos.
    1766 days ago
    You are AMAZING! emoticon emoticon emoticon
    1775 days ago
  • DAISY443
    Can I go visit your sil for one day and then get back on track???? I would really, really like that! Sometimes, I get so tired of trying to be good and not having the bad stuff in my house! Good for you!
    1780 days ago
    Wow! What a great blog-and what an inspiration you are. You followed a road map all the way there and all the way back. And it put you in such a strong place. Way to plan and way to execute. You deserve a medal. Well done.
    1780 days ago
    Good job Carole Ann!! For some reason, I do NOT have much self-discipline when I visit at other people's houses and there is junk food available. Fortunately last week at my brother and sister-in- law's house, all that was available was fruit and water and diet beverages--Hooray! They are big wine drinkers however, but that's okay by me. I do NOT like wine at all. Actually there isn't much alcohol that appeals to me--and I decided long ago not to drink my calories anyway. I really prefer to save them for food! However this week at Cancer Treatment Center, there's lots of healthy snacks available free for the taking and that includes fig newtons and Lorna Doones. They might be healthy cookies but they're still cookies! I'm trying to limit my consumption but as I said when I'm at somebody else's house and the food is available--I really struggle.
    1780 days ago
    Good for you!! I'm not a super candy fan (more the pastry type), but that would have tough for me! And how cool is that to have influenced your SIL also! I cannot imagine having that much candy/junk around the house. Well, in my family we are all tempted by different things, so it would be gone. Maybe one of these days you'll go there and she won't have it anymore - you never know!

    Kudos to you!! emoticon
    1780 days ago
    With that stuff, for me, one is too many and a thousand never enough!
    1781 days ago
    Congratulations!! that is an amazing feat, to resist all that temptation. I share your 10-year-old palate unfortunately. not so much for sweets (as in candy) but chocolates and stuff. so i'm really impressed.

    you can do it!!!! :-)
    1781 days ago
    very impressive, and i'm really glad to hear it. you deserve it. hugs from Paris.
    1781 days ago
    You should be proud of yourself not only for making the right choices and saying no to junk food but also for inspiring another family to think about their nutrition and take action! I think this was a really rewarding trip in many ways.
    Day by day, choice by choice. We won't be perfect every day and not all our choices will be wise. But the more we try and the longer we practice, the better we'll become at it. And no matter what kind of help we may need at times, always remember that it can sometimes be found where we least expect it. We just have to ask for it and be really willing to accept it.
    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
    1781 days ago
    Yowie! I can hardly imagine a home filled with cheap candy and cookies like that. It seems completely insane. But the amazing thing is that you didn't take that first bite, that you didn't succumb to fast food while traveling, and that you lived to tell us all about it.

    You have so much empathy. You really understand and accept where I'm coming from and you are supportive to me and so many others. I'm proud to have you as my Spark kid-sister. You have a heart as big as the ocean. Now I want you to have as much empathy for yourself as you do for everyone else. I think your inner ten-year-old needs some attention and love.
    1781 days ago
    I agree that food can hold you prisoner... and you are freed for the hold! That is the best feeling to know that YOU are in control.

    Spark on and congrats on the great choices you made while on your trip.

    1781 days ago
  • DOODIE59
    My palate is about 10 years old:)! I like that line - thanks:)
    Glad to hear you did well, and that good came out of it. Losing your integrity around food -- I hear ya. That's a very painful bit of self discovery, but good to know ... knowledge is power.
    1781 days ago
    This is great. I am proud of you, you inspired ME, and look at how you impacted your SIL! WOW!
    1781 days ago
    You have always told me not to take the first bite or I would chase it the rest of the are so wise and while I know its true, I'm not always able to say no. I had a horrible food week and I'm still struggling to get back on track. 2 steps forward 3 steps back.

    This blog is just one of the reasons you're my hero. And I'm going to use your husbands voice,....its just candy, dude....or its just. Cookie dude. seriously. Not the end of the world or the last time I will ever have the opportunity to eat that.

    Man I need a good ass kicking!

    I'm really proud of you!
    1781 days ago
    Your SIL's house must be at the end of the sugar rainbow! You done good! I know when I quite smoking (any of the number of times I quit smoking) That each time I was tempted and rejected that temptation, I felt stronger. As long as I remembered that I felt stronger, I could keep myself from sliding. I had a little run in with malt balls myself on Easter, I had one, a dozen, several .......I lost count, or wouldn't let myself remember, how many I ate. My wife's family always equate food with love. I always get "rewarded" with a fantastic pie, great cookies, or some other equally tasty but nutritionally deficient food!

    As always your blog gets me to think and it motivates to keep in mind what is important. I was running above my target weight for several month and just finally got very close to being where I should be.

    Thanks for helping me stay on the right path!
    1781 days ago
    Wow, that sounds like the sugar junkie's crack den! Glad you resisted and made it through! You deserve to be proud of yourself for not indulging!!!!

    I do love your comment about have the palate of a 10 yr old, LOL!
    1781 days ago
    What a great blog! You have achieved a real milestone and deserve to be very very proud of yourself! It's amazing where inspiration comes from . . . I just can't imagine being surrounded by all that excess and not caving. AWESOME!
    1781 days ago
  • OOLALA53
    It is absolutely worth the effort it took to stand firm in that situation.

    What often motivates me is thinking of the French, who love food, but don't overeat it and don't keep heaps of it around, or didn't until the last few years. But I think only of them as they were. No French woman would feel deprived by not eating that extra available food. She would feel deprived if she had eaten it and ruined her appetite for a good meal. It really is mostly a habit, so it feels weird at first to hold back.I won't say it wouldn't be possible for me to still go crazy in that circumstance; I can say it would definitely feel weirder than it used to, and not morally. I just feel a visceral resistance to overdoing it as I did before. It's not torture anymore, though I do exercise some judgement.

    What may have started as emotional eating may just now be a habit, food having been paired hundreds of times with myriad elements that become stimuli. Unhooking them doesn't depend on always knowing the source, just on not closing the circuit multiple times. Plenty of opportunities for practice!
    1781 days ago
    Sparkies are the best support system I know. We can be honest and know someone out there has already fought that battle. Each time we gain a victory or a defeat we have a bit more experience to draw on for the next encounter, for there will always be a next encounter.
    Sending huge congratulations for your victory. Don't beat yourself up for spending 6 months getting fitter, it's more than a lot of people have done.
    1781 days ago
    You are amazing, my dear! I've given into lesser temptations before, and am not sure I could have done it if I were in your shoes. You should absolutely be proud of yourself for facing down the wicked sweets and conquering that mountain!!! I'm so glad to hear you've been an inspiration to others close to you, too. It certainly made mealtimes easier during your visit to know everyone was relatively on-board with the healthier eats. AWESOME!
    1781 days ago
    OMg I know I would have had a handful of jelly beans, I just would have and no I wouldn't have stopped at one. GOOD FOR YOU!!!!! and yea why does she have it there, her visitors don't need it either and if she is into healthy eating now, then help her visitors toolol
    1781 days ago
    "What is a sugar addict to do?! Don't take the first bite" That's the truth ain't it?! You did an AMAZING job there - perhaps it was the absolute mountain of sweet stuff that helped you see it as ridiculous and obscenely unhealthy! Well done for not relapsing into 'rewarding' yourself for being 'good' (that's my downfall!)
    1781 days ago
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