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if you can't beat 'em, join 'em

Monday, October 28, 2013

When I was a teenager, I had a good friend named Margaret. She was one of the scrappiest girls I ever met which was probably what attracted me to her. I was very afflicted by the disorder of "people pleasing" at that time in my life, and to be around someone who would say anything to anyone at anytime, no matter how much it annoyed or angered them, was kind of fascinating to me. Anyway, the first time I visited Margaret's home, her mother was drunk. In the middle of the day. Margaret explained to me that her father was also a drunk, and that for years her mother had argued with her father to stop drinking. They had six kids, and she needed and wanted a sober husband and father for their family. She did not win any of those endless arguments. The father kept drinking. The kids, as they approached or became teenagers, began drinking. Margaret's mother announced to the family one day, "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em" and she began drinking. Her drinking quickly escalated from revenge drinking, to heavy drinking, to full blown alcoholism. Margaret married an alcoholic who dabbled in heroin and, unable to get clean and sober, he eventually killed himself. Both of Margaret's parents were dead of alcohol related causes before they were 60. Alcohol took a horrible toll, and affected all members of the family, and the next generation of the family. I tell you this sad tale because it occurred to me yesterday, after I ate a ridiculously heavy meal, that I have adopted a "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em" attitude with my husband, in my family, but it does not involve alcohol. Gratefully, both my husband and I have been clean and sober for many years. No, I have tired of the food wars and have surrendered to my husband's stubborn insistence on eating whatever tastes good, with no thought to nutrition. I tell him he eats like a 12 year a slumber for a triathlon. We have two sons at home and they enthusiastically join in - one is 21 and has the forgiving metabolism of a 21 year old male who has a full time job that keeps him on the move. The other is a rapidly growing 9 year old who just wrapped up a football season and is moving into basketball. Then there is me. I am 54 with a history of disorderly eating, a bad thyroid that does not respond well to medication (despite numerous blood tests and medication adjustments over the past two years). I exercise but certainly not enough to eat the amount and type of foods we have been indulging in. In short, it is ridiculous. I don't intend to sit my husband down and have a talk with him. I don't intend to lecture my sons on proper nutrition. I don't intend to ask any of them for support. Words are words and words don't work in this situation. Action is the only recourse I have. Although it is akin to "getting sober while living in a bar", I have successfully done this before - eaten sensibly while surrounded by excess. I can lead by example or I can collapse in defeat. My choice. My CHOICES - many, many choices that require I be uncomfortable while re-building my strength in this area. I am not posting this blog because I am a good example to anyone, or because I have anything to report in terms of successful weight loss, or because I am hoping someone has some ideas for solving this, or even because I feel ashamed and feel the need to 'fess up to other Sparklers. The only reason I am posting this is to come clean with myself and basically call myself out on my bad attitude, and stay connected to people I like feeling connected to. Plus, I did not get clean and sober all those years ago, and stay clean and sober for all these years, so that I could wake up feeling ashamed and discouraged about myself day after day. This $h!t needs to stop and it starts and stops with me.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    I loved reading this blog, even though it is sad. It's the point of the blog ... the point you were making that everyone here can surely relate to. I understand what you're saying there at the end. So, no praise and no advice ... just saying that I know that my own Sh*T stops and starts with me and this blog is like a wake-up call. Now if I will only wake-up.
    1653 days ago
    Powerfully inspiring blog.
    Thank you.
    1654 days ago
    Thank you Lord for Cannie!!

    Oh my how I know, I lie to myself that I can est the crap my teenagers do. One of my daughters is built EXACTLY as I was at that age and I can still feel my hip bones when look at her. I remember causally eating pizza in my skinny jeans and the illusion is too much. I wake up fatter and bloated with a terribly upset GI, taking my thyroid and remembering I am a quarter century older and worn than that. Those days are over. Thanks for the reminder that the choices for me NOW, are mine alone. I am also reminded that at that time in my life I would have never believed anyone if they told me I'd end up 100lbs heavier and if I'm not careful I may be the person in twenty years another 100lbs heavier.

    1660 days ago
  • DOODIE59
    Hi Carole,
    I had to take a few days to think about this blog. That is a very powerfully told, terribly sad story with an important lesson in it. Being a living example of who you want to be is the only way to go. Your pleasure in exercise is your easy blessing; it is the food arena where you are going to have to be your own good example:) In fact, because you probably cook most of the dinners in your home, you do have control -- some of the time -- of what goes into other family members' mouths. You can serve up good food on those days, but what they CHOOSE to put in their mouths other times is out of your control. This does go back to only being able to control yourself, and to making good personal choices. Remember, progress, not perfection, and focusing on what you ARE in control of. In a perfect world, we would not have to think before preparing (and desiring!) whole, healthy food. In the real world, you do your best.
    And embrace your easy blessing!
    w is your ankle coming along?
    1666 days ago
    Great blog. Love your honesty!
    1667 days ago
    Way to GO. You can do this. You are WORTH IT.

    Thank you so much for your blog post. I will probably refer to it several times again. It is so great to read something I relate to so much. You have helped me tonight.

    Happy Halloween!

    1668 days ago
    Great job on calling yourself out Cannie. You've always been a fighter my friend, you'll knock this out as well. As you say, the choice is yours! I know it is a struggle but you are so worth it!

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    1669 days ago
    You are a strong, strong woman! Great blog.

    1670 days ago
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    1670 days ago
    Well said and so true.
    It seems that more than a few of us not only struggle with what we bring home for food, but also with what those who live in our home want to eat - and too often do not feel the same desire to keep healthy food stocked at all times. Of course it's not their fault per say, but in that perfect world we all hope to be enveloped within, we would not have to come up against so much protesting when we voice our desires and needs. And food is a biggie for us.

    You know I have tried pretty much every tactic I could think of to keep myself in check: locked tool boxes to keep the junk food limited, trying to force my husband to stop buying the junk food, hiding the junk food so it would be out of my sight (but never out of my mind), etc. etc.
    It is exhausting!!! Yes, this battle is mine, but this sort of unconscious sabotage from the DH is not fair either. And still, I do not want to just throw in the towel and let all of my hard work disappear. I guess that means that he and I will be butting heads on this topic more often then, eh? Eeks : (

    I guess I am trying to say that I'm glad that there is still a fight within you to keep getting back up and pushing toward your eating healthy daily, despite what the rest of the family is consuming. Keep moving forward dear Cannie. They might not see it immediately, but they will see the change again, and flock to it. : ))

    1670 days ago
    Amen!!! emoticon
    1670 days ago
  • UNICORN212
    I am not sure what thyroid med you are on, but if it is T4 only, maybe you can talk your doctor into giving porcine thyroid a try. Many women stop converting T4 to T3. I did - T4 does nothing for me - I might as well take an Advil!

    On the food front, you might cook what you want, since you are the one in the kitchen. Start working healthier meals into the rotation, or add something you can eat and let them have the unhealthy stuff.

    Otherwise, you have identified the problem, understand the situation, and need to step forward in the direction you are to go. That is the only way to get there, one step at a time.

    1671 days ago
    Food is a unique thing in our lives. Alcohol, cigarettes, drugs all can be dropped (not easily of course) and it is possible to never again use them if you never have a single drink, puff, snort or whatever. Food we must still eat and we need all components, sugars, fats, protein, etc. so while I sometimes struggle to not smoke a cigarette, if I don't give in, I know I will be okay. Food is socially acceptable and readily available. Often it is served in huge portions, and we are programed to eat it, just in case the famine starts tomorrow! In many regards I think stopping smoking was easier than eating healthy, although I don't become a grouch eating healthy!

    I have learned to weigh much of my food so I eat the portion that I log. It was a pain for awhile, but so natural and easy now! I put up with criticism for awhile, but I just kept going and lo and behold, those same people are Spark People now! Hang in there, eventually, maybe, they will see the light and join you. In my case I found when I quit asking them to join, quit telling them that they could et healthier too, they came around on their own! You are an inspiration to your family, they may not realize it, you may not realize it, but sooner or will see it in their actions. They will be the ones that say if I can't beat 'em, join 'em!
    1671 days ago
    Acceptance is the first step, I think. Accepting that you've made bad choices is the first step in going forward. I'm happy for you.

    1671 days ago
    Ooooohhhh; you said it like it is and said it well. I have been on pretty much a "free for all" the last week while I had family visiting. Just because the junk is in the house and everyone is chowing down and drinking doesn't mean that I should. The last week has been a disaster for my body. Okay... this S*it stops today. I'm standing right beside you.

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    1671 days ago
    I can really relate to your situation. Putting it out there as a blog is a good tool, and as we say in recovery, take it one day at a time! I'm doing well using that idea as a 14 month sober person, but for some reason expanding that concept to eating hasn't yet taken hold. Thanks for your blog. It helps me to remember we ALL have problematic situation's, that although we cannot always control them , we can choose how we react.
    1671 days ago
    I know just where you're coming from. My husband is a terrible eater and loves to sabotage my good intentions. I have to take responsibility for my own actions and stop this now. Good Luck!
    1671 days ago
    Excellent blog and insight. You're right that the best path is to lead the path yourself. And, if any of your family wish to follow they will.
    1671 days ago
    Well I dont want to be margarets mom. Or margaret either.

    I want to be Healthy Jan. I started back today tracking my food. All of it. As I ate it. That is step one. Thank you for the note with the goodie.

    How about every day this week, we tell each other, what GOOD STEPS we took for ourselves.

    Today, mine is I have tracked my food.
    I have made a dinner menu.
    I didnt eat any fast food.

    Hey, I feel better already! Now, about those You know I love ya and I know you will get things sorted out. I will too. It does become so tiresome sometimes doesnt it?
    1671 days ago
    Oh my dear, you have hit on such important principles for dealing with addiction!!!

    Putting it "out there", writing it . . . that's always the first step. Then it is all about working on it. It is very, very difficult to deal with non-support from the family BUT BUT BUT . . . you hit the nail on the head. You have to want it for yourself. And that matters more than anything.

    So, you KNOW where to come for support! That's so important as well! Many journeys require us to find support outside of the family, unfortunately.

    HUGS, sweetie. You can do it.
    1671 days ago
    I am surrounded by my family that eat whatever they want to. I don't preach. I just do my thing: I plan ahead and track every week'; batch cooking and shopping is afterwards. I eat "mostly" what is in the planned menu only.
    Now, my husband and sons are paying attention to what I do, after noticing the changes in my weight, complexion, body, etc. My husbands is drinking some of my daily green smoothies and is walking daily. My older son wants some of my salads in a jar, and my youngest son is having high fiber, non high-fructose corn syrup cereals.

    My new mantra, when I feel low: "It is harder to quit when preaching by example, than when preaching with words."
    1671 days ago
    I am a food addict and in remission right now.I take it one day at a time.It feels good to wake each day and know I'm in charge of what I eat or drink.I can't blame nobody else.Im proud that you can see and know what YOU have to do from here on.Many Blessings sparkie!!! emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
    1671 days ago

    Comment edited on: 10/28/2013 5:25:15 PM
    Good for you!!! Wishing you much success on your journey.
    1671 days ago
    I have done as Sue's Mom & you both. Now I take care of me for me. I don't nag my family to eat better. I cook healthier for them.
    1671 days ago
    1671 days ago
    Amen. You have to do what's right for you. Hopefully they catch on to your good example.
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    1671 days ago
  • PICKIE98
    That is right,If you do what you've always done, you'll get what you've always gotten.
    1671 days ago
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