Iíve been working to lose weight since the beginning of July. Thereís no graceful phrase for the task, is there? Itís not a diet but a change in mindset and action. And weight loss isnít the only goal but itís the most concrete one. Itís a convenient shorthand but one that implies Iím in it for the short term Ė lose weight, be done with the thing, go back to pigging out. Iíll be damned if I know what to call it. Getting in shape, getting fit? That sounds so politically correct, sugar-coating (aspartame-coating?) the true intent. So losing weight will have to do for now.
Anyway. Iíve been working on this project of self and body (better? not so much? worse, even? damn) for four months now. Iíve had some hiccups along the way, some ďI canít do it!Ē moments, some ďI hate this!Ē pissy fits, some ďpoor fat old me, my body doesnít do what I wantĒ pity fests. But mostly itís been going well. Bit by bit I get more fit, have more stamina, more endorphins and healthier skin, my clothes fit better and smaller clothes fit again. All that good stuff. And Iíve stayed on the eating plan: counting my Weight Watchers points, measuring portion sizes, writing everything down, eating more veggies and a lot more fruit, switching to whole grain, changing my snack habits and even enjoying (pared down) expansive weekend dinners, inordinately proud of myself and my wondrous self-control. I was obnoxiously smug, in fact.
Until last week.
I donít know what triggered it. A combination of stress and exhaustion, I think. And no, it wasnít PMS. But I wanted to eat everything in sight. I felt like I absolutely had to put things in my mouth whether or not I was hungry, even if Iíd eaten ten minutes earlier, had to stuff my mouth my throat coat my stomach with FOOD. Comforting starchy sweet crunchy salty FOOD.
At least I was careful about it. I chose Pria bars, Asian pears, melon, lowfat chocolate cookies (4 small ones for a single WW point), nonfat chocolate sorbet bars (2 points apiece), Wasa crackers and rice cakes out the wazoo. And I wrote every single thing down in my food journal, wincing as I did, adding up the count and wincing again. And every night, Iíd say to myself, ďWhat the hell was that about?Ē And ďShit, my flex points are almost gone.Ē And ďI refuse to do that again tomorrow.Ē But every day I did it again. Compulsively.
I hated the way it made me feel, like I was waterlogged and squishing with it. Hated what it was doing to my self-confidence, my heretofore absolute knowledge that I was going to get to my goal weight and be so deliriously happy with it. For the first time this go-round, I thought I might fall off the weight loss wagon, lose my willpower and give in to whatever demon inside me craved more-more-ever-more. Iíve had this kind of insane-craving binge week before but since I wasnít working consciously to be healthy/lose weight, it just made me feel fat and slothful instead of precipitating the kind of flat-out fear I felt last week.
I had to change something. So I did. I talked out my stress with Dan and he helped me feel better about life stuff. So did my mom. I took naps and got to bed a bit earlier. I wrote some on my novel but let myself off the hook regarding page counts and forward progress. I took an entire morning off to read a good book and take a bath in Epsom salts. I brought the boom box into the bathroom, put on a plinky plunky New Age CD, and made the water as hot as I could stand. I canít remember the last time I did that. It felt amazing. Such luxury. A stolen morning.
That one bath broke the binge cycle.
The first day I ate normally Ė breakfast, a single snack when I got hungry, a sensible lunch and no snack till I got hungry againÖ that sort of a day Ė a wait until you feel your stomach talk back to you before heading to the fridge day, the first day that happened, I felt like crying. I was finally back in control.
I didnít know how much this mattered to me until I almost lost my way. I still donít even know why it happened. But I do know now that I can stumble and get back up. That insane cravings, so-called emotional eating episodes, can last days but they do end. That I have the tools to make it so.
This is a good thing to know.Posted by Tamar at October 30, 2003 09:28 PM