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Weight Loss Journal, Day 1

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The Misadventures of Mrs. B: Weight Loss Journal, Day 1

Cook. Writer. Wife. Daughter. Sister. Friend. Klutz.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Weight Loss Journal, Day 1

I know I said I would post yesterday, but yesterday wound up being a very different day than the one I had planned.  I guess that's a lesson along with everything else - sometimes you can't plan.  You never know what the next day will bring.  My mom reminded me of that and it's definitely something worth keeping in mind. 

So this will be the first post in my weight loss journal.  I figure I won't post my weight until I know it has settled down - in other words, until I'm no longer eating leftovers from New Years in an effort to save money and not waste food.  The middle of this coming week sounds good - heck, maybe I'll call it "Wednesday Weigh-In".

What I can do is get some thoughts off my chest about my weight and my struggles thusfar.  I don't expect it to be easy, laying it all out on the table like this for everyone to see.  Up to this point I have done my best to get my thoughts out in a place no one can see them but me.  Because of that I know the benefit of putting things down on paper, either real or virtual.  But here, in this public forum...maybe I can help someone else, too.  So here we go...

First, I am a compulsive eater.  I should get that out of the way right off the bat.  I eat for many reasons other than hunger.  Now, I know many if not most people do this - eating in celebration, out of boredom, sadness, loneliness, even women who eat more at a certain time of the month because that's what they crave.  Whatever.  So in that respect, I know I'm not unlike others and I'm not trying to punish myself for it. 

Where I diverge from that is that once I get started it is very difficult for me to stop.  Oftentimes I do this in secret.  I try not to eat a lot in front of others but I cram as much food as I can into my mouth when I'm alone.  There are days when I will simply graze all day long.  There are days when I will eat breakfast at home and then again when I get to work, or eat the lunch I packed and then go get something else to eat as well.  And I'm not talking snacks here, people.  I thought I had broken myself of that last action but evidently these things come back when you're not being diligent - I started that again right before I left work for the holidays.  (Wow, it's really scary, admitting to this!) 

Why do I do it? Probably out of boredom and a sense of being unfulfilled in what I do - food makes the workday more interesting, it comforts me, and the act of eating brings me purpose.  Anyway, that's over now and I'm letting go of it.

How to let go of this compulsive eating though? Well, there were a couple of books I read a few months back that started me on what I know was a positive path.  Both were by Geneen Roth and both spoke about compulsive eating and how to move beyond it.  I highly recommend Geneen Roth's books to anyone working through the same issues I'm starting to work on. 

Everything was going well and then my father-in-law had a stroke mid-November and stress eating reared its ungly head once again.  I know it's not an excuse but that's just the way it happened.  I used the situation as an opportunity to fall back into all of the habits I'd been working on breaking.  Now I weigh more than I did when I went to see the doctor in October (and I'm seeing him again in three weeks - wonderful!).  I back to where I started.  What to do?

Well, I'm definitely going to revisit Geneen's books (both are short and easy for me to go through quickly, if only to refresh myself) and I plan to do the work she suggests in them right here in terms of journaling.  It won't be pretty but then again, what about this process is pretty?

Don't ask me when I started with compulsive eating because I couldn't name a specific situation or moment when it began.  It wasn't an overnight thing.  Like most thoughtless actions, it grew over time.  I became very talented at switching my brain off when it came time to eat.  And that's the best parallel I can draw.  It's like turning off the phone so you won't be disturbed - same thing here.  My brain knows better but I choose to not listen so as to be able to enjoy my food.

Thing is - I don't enjoy it! How can you truly be said to enjoy something that you don't take the time to enjoy? And after a while, when you're getting full and still eating, it's not as if the food is being tasted anymore either.  There is no enjoyment, only the act of eating.  There's also the intoxicating anticipation of eating, which I know also plays a huge part.  On bad days (or even some good days) I will spend inordinate amounts of time thinking about what I'm going to eat later, how it will be prepared, and how much I'm going to love it.  And always, when it comes down to the act of eating, nothing is ever as good as it is in my head.  So what do I do? I eat more to compensate.  And more.  And more.  Until there's nothing left and I feel sick.  Until I'm so full it's impossible for me to get a good night's sleep. 

I spend my days feeling sleepy, sluggish, slow and unhappy with myself.  As much as I can't stand women who obsess over every last bite of food and who make a big deal out of splitting a treat with someone so everyone around them knows they would never eat the entire treat themselves, I compare myself to them on a constant basis.  Without even thinking about it.  I see me and I see them and I always come up short.  I punish myself mentally even as I put more food into my mouth, and then justify it by telling myself that at least I enjoy my food and am not afraid to do so.  But I don't really enjoy it, do I?

What it's all about is setting a goal and then asking yourself if your actions are in line with that goal, even if it's on a minute-to-minute basis.  I want to be healthy, and is that donut going to help me get to that goal? Well, one donut wouldn't hurt, but in my case I know that one donut and the sugar therein will start a chain reaction and I'll do nothing but crave more and more.  So no donut.  I want to be healthy, and is skipping my walk or workout and choosing to sit at my desk during my lunch break going to help me? No. 

The key is choosing that which will bring me closer to my goals more often than I choose that which will not.  CHOICE, not acting from reflex or long-standing habits.  CHOICE, not shutting off my brain so I can't hear my conscious self crying out to be heard.  CHOICE.  And if I choose to take a misstep, at least I can claim that choice as my own.  There is a choice here, and I've not been giving myself that choice.  Well, that's over now because I say so.

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