Thursday, February 2, 2012
Life Preserver, Please
We've been in this thing for about a month now, and it has gone surprisingly smoothly. For me, that usually means the crap is about to hit the fan, because I do nothing the easy way. No. Thing. You're looking at a woman who touched her mother's iron forty million times as a child, just because I had to 'see if it was hot'. I spent many an afternoon tearfully holding a burnt finger in a cup of ice water to ease my pain. Couldn't do anything for the stupidity, though. Suffice it to say, I learn lessons the hard way. Last week, I learned two.
First, while the paleo/primal way of eating (I will not call it a diet, because it implies that this is a 'quick fix' weight loss plan, and not a lifestyle) is extremely healthy, you can still overdo it on food. This explains why there are fat vegetarians. While I don't have the cravings I did while still addicted to carbs and sugar, there are dozens of yummy things I adore still on the food list. One such delicious treat is sweet potatoes. Fried, baked, stuffed, or mashed, I am in love with that spud. It borders on ridiculousness. Why is this bad, you may ask? Sweet potatoes are loaded with vitamins and are good for you! See, this was my thinking, too. And if a little is good, a boat load of them must be excellent, right? Sweet potatoes every day! Sometimes twice! In portions large enough to satisfy an NFL team! Yeah......this did not end well. At the end of the week, standing on the scale, those numbers glared up at me in bright orange. How ironic. The digital readout mocked me, as it flashed that extra pound and a half up at me. I came to a screeching halt, and really, I wanted to be upset. I wanted to get mad and go all Drama Queen about how unfair it was, because I'd been working so hard! Satan and his workouts were kicking my ass three times a week, and I'd walked...a little. But a still, small voice in the back of my head was laughing loudly enough to drown out my little pity party. That little know-it-all reminded me that overeating is overeating, and hadn't I done plenty of that this week? I was lucky the scale didn't read three or more pounds gained. Satan had saved me from inflicting more damage upon myself. Again, I feel slightly guilty for calling him Satan, but it's too late to change now. Anyway, this little fiasco reminded me that there is more to getting my weight under control than just the food. Which brings me to my next lesson.
If you've read my About Me page, you know that I am an emotional eater. "Stressed" is just "desserts" spelled backwards, you know. In the past, a tough day could be buried in enough Ben and Jerry's ice cream to numb me, heart and soul. Anger dove into a pizza and didn't come up for air until it had dwindled to overstuffed lethargy. Rejection could be soothed by the balm of double cheeseburgers and chocolate malts. Stuff those emotions down your throat with a huge helping of Denial and a side of onion rings. Let's face it, most overweight people have other reasons for being that way other than just unhealthy foods. I definitely have mine. So this week, when life began to get a little hectic and worry began knocking at the door like Dr. Sheldon Cooper from Big Bang Theory("Penny.* knock* Penny. *knock* Penny. *knock* Penny. *knock* Penny.") my first thought was to find something yummy to take my mind of the things that were bothering me.
Driving alone in my car used to be the worst time for me. It was too easy to swing through a drive through and get something before picking up a kid from wherever it was I had dropped them off earlier. Me and Sonic were really tight, yo. They always had my back when I needed a little somethin' somethin'. Kinda like a dealer. So it was at Sonic I sat one evening, stressed and worried about some things that were going on, contemplating what terrible thing I was going to order to help me cope. Of course, I hadn't thought about the reasons why at that moment. I was just following old routines. The thought of me using food like a drug to escape my emotions had not even occurred to me. "What's she on, she's so out of it? "Oh, no. It looks bad. I think she's hopped up on tater tots and chili cheese dogs. We need an intervention." But as I sat there looking at all the things I no longer eat, I began to wonder what the hell I was doing.
I haven't eaten a grain or anything with more sugar in it than some fruit and balsamic vinegar in a month. Why was I sitting in the car at Sonic, preparing to poison myself? I began to unpack the week in little boxes. Work issues. Kid issues. Worry. Fear. The heat had been turned up a bit on the burner of life, and I was beginning to feel it. I gave my negative emotions the power to control my actions. So I took a step back to, as the Sassy Gay Friend says, 'look at my life, look at my choices'. I was choosing to fall into old habits. Well, how had that been working out for me? Obviously, not so well. When the voice came on the intercom to take my order, I choked out, "large unsweetened iced tea", and reached for the tissues stuffed in the glove box. It may be uncomfortable to deal with the crap in my life, but I won't use food to avoid it anymore.
I found this on that huge black hole of time suckage, Pinterest, the other day. I pinned it with the note, "I am rescuing myself." It's now about a hell of a lot more than just my health.