Wednesday, September 10, 2008

New Goal

When it comes to food, my husband has the willpower of a....something that has an incredible amount of willpower. Once he decided to eat well, he simply wasn't interested in any bad-for-you foods anymore. He happily crunches through piles of raw vegetables, downs fat free plain yogurt without so much as a flinch, and chugs gallons of water every day. He boldly marches into lunch meetings where people are scarfing down cookies and candy and sandwiches with creamy salads and fixes himself a plate consisting of a couple slices of lunchmeat with some lettuce and tomato, or else brings his own food and cheerfully declines any offers of heart-clogging deliciousness.

Then there's me. If the thought of cheesecake, or ice cream, or doughnuts, or pretty much anything I'm not SUPPOSED to eat crosses my mind, it haunts me. I obsess about it until I break down and have it. In the worst times, I try to eat other things to satisfy my cravings first, and then end up eating the thing I'm craving after all. I've tried keeping a list of things I am craving so that after a week of eating virtuously I can reward myself with something from the list, but then an angry little voice inside my head screams "Eat it all right now and just restart tomorrow". The solution, for me, is to just cut out sugar, cut back on the volume of food I eat, and pretty much stick to the straight and narrow for 2-3 miserable days until it becomes much easier and I can continue eating that way for an extended period of time.

Will is a wonderful, supportive guy, who has learned over the years to tread carefully when discussing food with me. He wants to help so much, but it's difficult for a person who doesn't have food issues to understand what motivates someone who does, and it's VERY difficult for me to tell someone else how they can help me when I don't know how to help myself. It has to be very confusing for him to come home one night to a wife who eagerly hops over and says "Guess how many points I have left for the day!?", and then the next night to a trash can full of cookie wrappers and a wife who is sugar-crashing and over-reacts to any food-related comment with a warning flash of the eyes. He has learned to veil any comments about food or dieting, but I can usually tell what he means (mostly because it's in the forefront of my mind because of my guilty conscience).

So this morning, when he casually said "So you reached your goal of getting back to what you weighed right after you delivered Emily, what is your next goal going to be?" I knew that he had been looking at the weight chart I hung in the bathroom where I log my weight every day. What it shows right now is that I did indeed hit that weight goal last week, but I have been steadily gaining since then, and the last day or so I haven't even been able to bring myself to look at my weight so the slots on the chart remain blank. So what he really meant was "I KNOW you want to lose weight and it looks like you're starting to lose control, how do I help?".

Of course, as I always do, I felt a pang of guilt and answered by reciting my ultimate goal of getting back to what I weighed before Emily was born. We had a little conversation, and I was determined to eat well today (as I have been every day this week) and right about lunch time, as soon as the thought of a cookie crossed my mind, I ate one. And not just a little no-harm-done cookie, but a whole 300-some calorie monster (although it WAS 100% whole wheat and has no processed sugars). Emily saw me and recognized the wrapper, and asked for a bite. I gave her a bite, and then realized my goal. I am NOT going to eat any food that I would not want to share with Emily, at a time I would not want Emily to have said food. She is old enough now to realize what I am doing, and I need to stop.

So I can eat those cookies, but only at night after dinner when I wouldn't mind her having cookies. I will give up diet soda, because when she sees me drinking it she wants some. I will eat only things that are 100% whole wheat, and I will only eat things that are good for me. The exceptions will be tea with caffeine, coffee/espresso, and the occasional glass of wine. I won't feed those things to Emily, but I think they're still ok for me to have :-) It's not just about me anymore, I need to set an example for my daughter so she doesn't grow up with the same screwed up food issues that I have.

So three cheers for Will, who did his job and got me re-motivated without offending me. THAT my friends, is incredibly hard to do.

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