Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Name It and Claim It

I promise I won't only talk about food, or lack of food as the case may be, all the time. 

But at the moment it's all I can think about.   Because, of course, I'm trying to lose weight and it turns out in order to do that you can't eat everything that isn't nailed to the cupboards.   

I'm having one of those times when my version of me and my reality collide.    Had you asked me a few months ago, "Ellie, do you eat too much?"    I would have said "No, I'm not that into food," and then I might have punched you in the face.   In my mind.

Oh, denial, you sneaky bastard.    Turns out I eat more often than I realize.  The chipper Jenny Craig consultant has a whole term for it.  I'm an unconscious eater.

I'm one of those people who doesn't pay much attention to food at all.   One would think that is enough to not develop a weight problem, but that isn't accurate.    I don't pay any attention to what I'm eating.    So much so that throughout the day and evening I'm eating more than I realize - little bits here and there that all add up.  

Throughout the day, without really being aware of it, I'm reaching for pretzels, fruit, cheese, the odd piece of candy.    Did I mention the cheese?   I love cheese.    Cheese should be it's own food group, as far as I'm concerned.   Don't like broccoli?   Put a little cheese on it.  Or better yet - melt a little cheese on it.    Now you have yourself an edible treat.

With further inspection, it turns out that I have a little justification problem.    As in - I'll work out for an hour, and then use this as a reason to justify snacking whenever I feel the slightest bit hungry.   Add this to a portion control issue (I worked out this week!  I can have more!) , and it's a perfect storm.

So one day I get brave enough to actually see how much I weigh, and I'm about twenty pounds heavier than I thought I was.   You know, cause I don't eat very much.    Riiiiiiight.

I've been here before.   When I finally faced the truth of my drinking, I was horrified by how bad things had gotten.   Even though I was the one doing the drinking, I have a startling ability to shut my brain down when it's convenient for me.   I have a wonderful way of just not looking.    Or, perhaps more accurately, every now and then I'd have a lucid glimpse of my drinking, and I'd justify it.   Problem solved.

Just like when I got sober, I'm feeling a hole in my life.   It's not as bad - not nearly as bad - but it's an emotional gap.   I feel a bit like someone has chopped off a limb.    I go to reach for something and realize:  oh yeah, I can't do that anymore.  No arm.    I unconsciously went to the pantry and the fridge several times today, gazing at the food without thinking.   Unconscious eater, indeed.

I even blogged about this habit, for crying out loud.   I wrote that I gaze into my fridge several times a day, but I rarely reach for anything to eat.   LIAR.    I was, obviously, eating more than I wanted to acknowledge.    Over New Year's I wrote about how I don't want to set resolutions, how I'd rather be able to ask myself:  what is it about myself that I don't want to face.  It took a few months, but I'm facing it.

Just like with getting sober, though, it's freeing to face up to it.    There is a moment of mourning, too - the food party train is over.    Now that I'm aware of it - now that I'm a conscious eater (take THAT you little Jenny Craig consultant, you) I'm back in control of my actions, and it's up to me to choose wisely.    Like getting sober, I'm not doing it alone.   I'm talking to people, getting support, not getting upset when people cheer me on instead of saying "You?  You don't need to lose weight!"     Because I do.   And it's okay.

Besides, they are smart, these weight loss program consultants.   She handed me a list of "unlimited foods" - foods I can eat all I want, as much as I want.    She had a huge smile on her face, like I'd won the lottery.    The freaking carrot stick lottery.    But I like the idea of being told I can have as much as I want of anything.  

So you may want to take out stock in vegetable futures, cause they're gonna go up.

7 comments:

  1. I started my WW program again about 6 weeks ago. I think all of these things (for you the drinking, the food...for me the smoking, the food the mindless web surfing) are ways of actually shutting off, you know? When life gets overwhelming you can tune it out one way (the preferred way AKA drug of choice) or another. And with the food thing I hit that panic finally, that "I have to face myself and I don't WANNA!" panic. The last four days seriously sucked. But it somehow seems brighter today.

    P.S. I don't know how JC works anymore - I did it about eleventymillion years ago when you bought all your food from them. I don't know if they still do that. But if not, check out HungryGirl.com. Her stuff is seriously wonderful...

    ReplyDelete
  2. I've read your blog for months (and even ordered some jewelry back then too!) and usually relate your posts regarding sobriety/alcoholism/denial to my own addiction = overeating. I commend you for tackling this subject. It is HARD to deal with but you have overcome so much already...I know you can do it!

    ReplyDelete
  3. A couple of years ago I lost about 20 lbs just by dieting. I put them back on after several months. Fast forward to this Christmas when my parents got me a 3 mth membership to a health club. Score! I was going to lose weight and look great. Um, no. Because I started eating huge amounts of food. I even justified that since I was burning more calories, it was my body's way of telling me I needed to eat more. So I know exactly where you are coming from. Good luck and know that we are out here supporting you and drawing strength from you!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Wow. I waited until the health scare to get real about my 'other' coping skill. When I put down alcohol, good Lord willin', food moved from secondary to first place! And I've gained 110# in 15 years of sobriety. I've often asked myself am I really sober? Had my blood pressure checked 13 days ago - 159/102. Didn't even know what that meant but she kept taking it hoping it was a bad read and talking to me about heart doctors. It was a nurse where I work, a YMCA for goodness sake, who was checking. The blood work results came back yesterday. I'm great other than blood pressure. But the weight is coming off anyway. I'm tired of this prison too. Using low glycemic info to make different choices and I lost 3 #'s the first week! 'It works if we work it'. Looking forward to future post. Thanks for the giggle :)

    ReplyDelete
  5. I seriously *think* about every bit of food I eat. Is it good or bad? (taste or health wise). Do I need it? Will it give me energy? And yet, I still eat things I shouldn't. Sigh. I'm an eater! GAH!

    I see over there ---> that you're losing, so that's good!

    ReplyDelete
  6. "the freaking carrot stick lottery" ahhh funny. But seriously, I can relate. I have moderation issues with everything. Everything. One of my life goals is to eat better, all the time. I am good for a week or two then back to carb grazing and ice cream.

    The good news is once the weight falls off, and as I see from the ticker it already is, that will be the thing that drives you, not the food habits.

    You stopped drinking. Drinking. This is just food. You can do it!!!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Wow. I waited until the health scare to get real about my 'other' coping skill. When I put down alcohol, good Lord willin', food moved from secondary to first place! And I've gained 110# in 15 years of sobriety. I've often asked myself am I really sober? Had my blood pressure checked 13 days ago - 159/102. Didn't even know what that meant but she kept taking it hoping it was a bad read and talking to me about heart doctors. It was a nurse where I work, a YMCA for goodness sake, who was checking. The blood work results came back yesterday. I'm great other than blood pressure. But the weight is coming off anyway. I'm tired of this prison too. Using low glycemic info to make different choices and I lost 3 #'s the first week! 'It works if we work it'. Looking forward to future post. Thanks for the giggle :)

    ReplyDelete