Thursday, October 11, 2007

Excuses, excuses, excuses

Today and yesterday were bad days as far as diet is concerned--and exercise, too, but I've got an injury to explain that. Anyway, I spent most of the day(s) frustrated and feeling defeated and thinking that I just wanted to quit, when it occurred to me that what I was thinking was nothing but a bunch of excuses that would allow me to eat what I want, when I want. Which means all the time.

Here are some of the defeatist attitudes that I need to get rid of if I'm ever going to succeed.

1. I'll start tomorrow/I screwed up so I can eat what I want for the rest of the day. Any good dieting article or book should include the advice that when you screw up, you get back on the horse right away. Not tomorrow, not the next day, not next Monday. This very minute. I cannot tell you how many days I've eaten something "forbidden" (a term I really don't like, because that just means you want it all the more) and decided that meant that I had messed up, so I could eat want I wanted for the rest of the day and start again tomorrow. For me, and I suspect many other people with similar problems with food, this translates to "eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die."

2. I don't really care if I'm fat/This is how I'm meant to be. Some days I really wish I could make myself believe this one. Life would be so much easier if I could accept myself the way that I am: fat and addicted to food. I would be happy. But I would also be happy to be "normal," with food having no control over me.

I once had a professor mention in a lecture that if he could he would rather not have to eat, that food for him was an annoyance, something he had to stop working to do. He didn't like to eat, he didn't care what his food tasted like. To me, this was a shocking thing to say for many reason. First of all, how could you not like food or not care what it tasted like? Second of all, how could you have something more important than food that you would be annoyed to have stopped so that you could eat? Didn't everyone look forward to each mealtime from the moment they woke up, planning what they would eat, how they would prepare it, what order they would eat it in?

I want to be like that. That is my fantasy of normal. I don't think it will ever happen for me so completely--I was raised to love food and eat beyond full, and I don't know if I'll ever be able to fully overcome that--but I would like to get to the point where every day, every meal, every bite, is a struggle. I would like to be able to eat and stop when I'm full without having to sit and stare down the remaining food for twenty minutes. But maybe I'll never get to that point. I think if I got to the point where I at least won the staring contest I'd be happy. Or happier.

I actually tried to convince myself the other day that my dad's history of diabetes wasn't that big of a deal. It may be, it may not be. I have never had a problem with blood sugar, including during my two pregnancies, so it may be that I am not going to have a problem with diabetes. None of the women on my dad's side do, after all.

It may be, though, that it just hasn't happened yet. My dad's diabetes came on when he was in his late forties, and I'm pretty sure that's when my uncle's came on, too. I'm in my mid-twenties, so it may be twenty years before I have to face the diabetes monster. I'd rather have things under control long before that time comes around. And, to be frank, I have been struggling with food and weight for over half my life now--my first diet was when I was twelve. When I think of doing the same thing for the next twenty years or more, I want to cry or hit something. (Or have some pasta.)

3. I can eat a TV dinner if it's under X calories. While this may be true for some people, it's not for me. In fact, processed food should be removed from my diet as much as humanly possible. I am way too sensitive to sodium to be eating most of it. I'm tired of having fingers swollen up twice their normal size in the morning and not being able to wear my engagement ring for fear I won't be able to get it off.

Also, even if I didn't have a problem with sodium, there is a lot more satisfaction available in 500 calories of homemade food and 500 calories of TV dinner food. Usually you can get a lot more bang for your buck by making it yourself, and in more ways than one. Homemade food is cheaper and you'll get more food for your 500 calories. And the absence of a plasticky or chemical-y flavor is nice, too.

4. I'm hungry, so I should eat. If I've just eaten a big meal and I'm still hungry, I should not eat. If I just ate an hour ago and I'm hungry I shouldn't eat. If I'm getting ready to go to bed I shouldn't eat. This is a hard one for me, because everyone keeps saying things along the line of "if you only eat when you're hungry, you'll be fine." Well, my body is used to running on a lot more calories than it needs. If I cut it off, it's going to protest and think that it needs that extra food. It doesn't. The thing is, I have to convince myself not to eat when my stomach's growling and I feel hollow. I have, to some degree or another, been able to do all the other things on my list at some point in the past, when I had been doing really well with my eating and exercise. I don't know that I've ever done this one. It's so contrary to what I've been taught and what I myself believe. I think this is going to be one of the most difficult attitudes/habits for me to break.

That's it for now, although I'm sure I have a bunch more that are so ingrained that I don't even recognize them for what they are.

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