I do care, and it does matter!
I recently read "Bright Line Eating, The science of living happy, thin and free", by Susan Pierce Thompson. I had caught a vlog about the bright lines and it sparked something in me.
In 2011, under very different circumstances, I lost 63 pounds over seven months here on Spark through clean eating. I ate lean protein and healthy fats, one serving of fruit and lots of fresh vegetables each day. I proved to myself that it's all about the food. Eat a healthy and mostly clean diet, with plenty of vegetables, and magic happens. Those fresh vegetables in my life sure felt like magic, as the benefits and weight loss seemed to snowball into an easy, crazing (crazy cravings!) free rhythm.
I maintained for 2.5 years, until life's circumstances significantly changed. My father died, my mom required more assistance and companionship, and I returned to an engineering job where I sat all day long. I dropped the reigns. I looked for "comfort". My habits were negotiable, it turned out.
From 2014 through 2017, there were a whole lot of *crickets*, intermixed with half-hearted "This is it!" plans that would quickly fall to the wayside as I would "allow a treat, just this once" to take over. Once the sugar/flour/bad fats took over my brain, I struggled with the voice on my shoulder constantly. Familiar pattern, repeated over and over.
As Susan Pierce Thompson says, we really start to NOT trust ourselves. I can't truly believe my own commitment because I know I don't keep commitments about healthy eating. This set me up to "listen" to myself, believing the voice that ultimately talked myself out each plan. "To heck with it" eating soon followed. Then the whole ugly avalanche. She describes "The Saboteur", that insidious voice, that little devil on the shoulder. She UNMASKs that voice, as a powerful by-product of the effects of sugar in the brain, and the various parts of the brain actually crying out for sugar like a drug.
She suggested that eliminating sugar and flour (any kind, it's the processing and refining to the most potent form of the plant) allows the brain to heal and simmer down. She advocates three meals a day, no snacks. And weighing food is imperative to know how much is being consumed. Well, to be honest, these were the principles I was unknowingly living by when I reached goal over those seven months back in 2011. I didn't mind them at all, I loved it in fact!
So what happened? I was "following" these principles, wasn't I? Well, there was an important piece to the puzzle that was missing. I was not considering them as Bright Lines that cannot be crossed, ever, if I wanted to not only succeed at getting back to goal but wanted to STAY there! It's all about the "freedom". I had to figure out how to be "free" of those voices, talking me off the path.
I've made the commitment to myself that I must stay off sugar, flour and refined/processed foods for good. I have faced the fact that I cannot reintroduce any of it. It has to stay Not My Food. It's the only true way for the insidious behaviors to stay buried. Because I understand that they are not gone from my brain. I've been "pickled" and I cannot go back to being a cucumber, if I ever was one. Those tracks and channels are etched in my brain but I can keep them inactive if I stay off sugar/flour and follow three planned/weighed meals a day. I have to allow my hormones to rebalance and become effective once again. And I can't ever go back.
There's no point in mourning that fact. Honestly, it's just those other "pickled" parts of the brain whispering these things to me. There is no "after I reach goal weight", it's for life. There is no "this little thing doesn't matter", or "I'll get back on track tomorrow". That kind of thinking can't be able to take hold, and eliminating the sugar/refined stuff ALL THE TIME will allow them to quiet for good.
Automaticity - that's the goal. Allowing it to take hold, there is no discussion, no negotiation. I will repeat these things each day until it's just part of life. No crossing the line.
I'm keeping it clean, fresh and whole. Day #18 today. I feel 100% better, have dropped an initial 6.5 lbs, my sleep and mood have improved and the crazings are gone. I can honestly say I am looking forward to each meal, and it tastes delicious. As I continue to read and educate myself, delving into the science behind the brain and relevant hormones, I am working to keep any long-range thoughts out of my head.
Automaticity!! One day at a time, I can do anything for today and do not need to lament about "forever". Today matters. Build up the habits, then DO NOT STRAY.