Saturday, December 11, 2010

Reaching Out

Back in September, I wrote about my struggle with my weight and that I was ready to do something about it. I'm happy to report that 2 1/3 months has seen me drop 24.5 pounds and 2 sizes.  I strive to keep my caloric intake around 1700 and work out several times a week and I'm seeing good results.  It's hard, but I'm working at it.  Last night, for whatever reason, it was extra hard.

I went to my fave supermarket to pick up the organic milk that wasn't in at my last shopping trip and, while I was there, I was just overcome by the desire to E-A-T.  I wasn't hungry; I'd just ran almost 2 miles in 28 degree weather and had eaten a delicious meal of gumbo.  I wasn't hungry at all.  I just wanted to buy some milk and odds & ends.  But in the middle of the store, I felt like I absolutely NEEDED chocolate or sugar or something- anything- sweet.  I found myself standing in front of the candy.  Picking it up.  Putting it back.  Picking it up.  No one would ever know, the little voice in my head said.  By a few bars... You've been working so hard- you deserve it.  It would be a reward, not a failure!

How I wanted to listen.  Pick it up.  Put it back.  Pick it up.  Finally, I started reading the calories on them and doing the math in my head.  Looking at the calories... multiplying by the servings... O-M-G-that-is-freaking-insane.  Put it back.  Pick it up.  I dont know how long I was there.  Finally, I checked out with my six gallons of milk and got in the car.  My palms were sweating. My heart was throbbing in my throat.

EAT, the voice yelled.  FAST FOOD.  ANY FOOD.  SWEET.  SALTY.  JUST. E.A.T!!!  It took every ounce of willpower in me to drive passed the drive-through.  I started talking to myself outloud.  "You just ran.  In freezing weather.  You dont want to throw that away on a candy bar or a milk shake.  You've been dropping weight steadily.  You have a goal by Nicholas's birthday.  You dont want to ruin all the hardwork."

But it wasnt working.  I could feel my willpower wavering.  I could find the little demon on my shoulder mentally pointing out all of the possible stops between where I was and home... All the ways I could binge on sugar and salt and more sugar and never get caught (as if anyone other than me looks at my food journaling).  I felt defeated, even though I was fighting the urge.  Finally, I picked up the phone.

Peter answered on the fifth ring, just as I was about to fall apart.  I could hear the babies in the background, echoing his question of where I was.  After I told him my in-route location, I confessed.  "I want to eat.  I'm not hungry, but I just want to eat."  My words stumbled out; tears started to fall.

Shortened to the point, he talked me off the edge.  And, when he needed to hang up, Sarah called me.  (She was at our house, post run, hanging with the babies until my return.)  Before I knew it, I was turning into the driveway.  The urge was still there and how the candy dish beckoned (M&Ms have 11 calories each... I keep that in mind every time I walk by the dish and tell the little demon who assures me that the calories would be balanced by the dark chocolate antioxidants to back the hell off).  I was so jittery that I couldnt sit still.  I felt like a junky in detox.

Sarah reminded me that I keep snacks around for moments such as these.  100 calorie Skinny Cow bars or 60 calorie pudding cups for the sweet needs, 90 or 100 calorie snack packs for the salty needs.  "Have an ice cream bar," she suggested.  "It might help."

And it did.  That first taste was like sweet relief.  Chocolate... Sweet... Ah...

On one hand, I felt like I had failed because I gave in to the desire to eat when I wasn't hungry and when I didn't need another hundred calories to tally.  On the other hand, I was happy that I didnt eat the entire candy section of the supermarket and every gas station I passed in between there and home.  Maybe it's the fact that I'm on CD34 and expecting a visit from AF any day now.  Maybe it's because it was cold and I just wanted a pick me up.  I dont know what it was.  But today, I'm left feeling blah...

I'm disappointed, I think.  I let the desire get the best of me.  10 weeks in this new lifestyle of retraining my body to eat when hungry and not eat just for the hell of it, to take stock of everything I do eat in the hopes that I dont overeat and just nosh until satiated, and I almost lost it.  Over what?  A piece of chocolate?

It's important, I think, to keep snacks around in order to have lower calorie options available, but trying to make sure that they aren't a crutch for my lack of willpower may become a new challenge.  Given, it's only been this one time and (fingers crossed) hopefully it's a passing hormone fluctuation.  But it gave me a lot of food for thought, as I ran 3 miles on the track at my gym tonight.

As insane as it sounds, this entire experience is giving me such a new appreciation of the life cycle of food and how it gets from farm to plate, but also just how lucky we are to have access to so much.  I look back on the years of binging and crash dieting and overeating, and, more than anything else, I find myself being convicted of my selfishness.  So many people struggle for enough to survive; while perhaps my overeating didnt kill anyone, I cant help but wonder how my wastefulness- all for the sake of me-me-me- has impacted the small picture of the world in my life.  Savoring each bite now (because there are so fewer that there used to be), I am reminded constantly of the gratefulness of having them... How many people dont have them.

Losing weight.  Gaining perspective.

**In February, I plan on integrating my weight loss blog, which is currently set to private, into this one, as a page tab.  Honestly, the idea of sharing my weight high is just too much for me right now, but I've promised myself that, once I hit my first BIG goal, it's an important part of the healing process that I share.**


Aisha said...

Michelle, I am so proud of you. That is so hard and you did it. our relationship with food is an addiciton and you really did all the steps you needed to, to get down from the ledge.

Today its so weird I had the SAME issue- I was at the store to get milk too and had the urge to eat sweets- was hungry- forced myself to get an apple, pay for it, and then eat it. It was ahrd. I didn't want to, but I'm glad.

I'm taking each of these moments, moment by moment and day by day.

You're doing great!

Anonymous said...

I fight those urges all the time ..
good job at picking a "healthier" option and sicking with your goal!

I cant wait to see the weight loss blog. Ive been struggling with my baby weight and have decided to fianlly get SERIOUS (like I was after having Aly) to lose it and keep it off!

Anonymous said...

Good for you, for being so self-aware, so aware that you weren't hungry, you just wanted the pleasure of eating. Remember, though, that even if you had slipped up, you wouldn't have undone all the good work you've done to date. (And, please, do cut yourself some emotional slack - humans are wired to jones for fat & sugar, and when it's easy to come by - as it is in this society - it's REALLY hard to say no to it consistently.

Instead of being down on yourself, try being pleased with yourself that you know what triggers your animal self to overeat, and you know how to calm that aspect of your appetite.

I'm using you as my good example, as I begin my post-IVF, post-IF weight loss journey. And this post? It just makes you more - not less - inspiring.

(And you keep dishes of M&Ms around? You're astonishing. Such a thing would NOT be a good idea in my house...)

good enough said...

Delurking to say I think you're being too hard on yourself! It's normal to occasionally eat when you're not truly hungry - true, you don't want to binge, but having a sweet treat once in awhile, just because it tastes good is okay. It sounds like your weight loss efforts are going great! My personal soapbox is that we women attach way too much guilt to food and our eating habits. Congratulations on your great success!!

Terri Jones said...

You are doing absolutely wonderful! I am so proud of you! Look forward, not back.Love you!

Reba said...

you did such a good job not to grab a candy bar in the store. i know i would have. can't wait to read more about your continuing adventures when you integrate everything. maybe it will inspire me to make more attempts to be healthy.

trennia said...

You Go Girl!!!
That is awesome work!