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.