Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Ramblings from brain in diet mode

Just some thoughts that came to me when I really should have been sleeping. I thought I'd share them here and start a discussion of sorts. So here goes nothing...

Weight loss isn't really that hard.

Ok, before you decide to string me up with licorice whips and pelt me with potato chips, let me explain.

Once you discover what makes your body work efficiently, it's really just a matter of putting he plan in action. I know that eating processed carbs is bad for me and causes weight gain. I know if I restrict those carbs and eat meats, veggies and the occasional low-gylcemic berries, I will lose weight and feel amazing.

Doesn't sound that hard does it?

So why are doing these things so difficult for so many?

It's because of our mindset. We can't wrap our brains around the idea of denying ourselves anything. Sure I hate Twizzlers... but what if someday I don't! What if I discover I really do want some of that. The world will end if I have to give it up!!!

Yeah. Keep working that.

So in our minds the battle rages and we find ourselves fighting to make the right choices. We KNOW what the right choice is, and yet we struggle. Why can't it be as easy as making a choice on stealing. We all know stealing is wrong. Normal people don't think "Hmm.. I really would like to have that, and I know stealing is wrong, but what if??? This one time won't hurt!" We KNOW the smart answer to that, so most people chose not to steal. (Don't ask me about those that do. I have no clue what rationalization is going on in that mind and I don't think that's a journey I want to take.)

So one day we make the choice to eat right. We are rewarded with a feeling of health, excitement, hope... maybe even a loss on the scale or looser clothing. We might do well for several days, weeks or even months. As in my case a few year ago, we might even reach our goal! So what happens? Some people make the choice to continue on with what they are doing and enjoy their new healthy lifestyle to the fullest. Then you have me. I obviously have some defective thinking. What did I do after reaching goal? I spent 6 months working to stay there, then got lazy and started very slowly allowing myself some "indulgences" here and there. Wanna know where that got me? C'mon, take a wild guess. I know you already have it figured out. So once again I fight the mental battle of weight loss.

Over the years I've come to the very disturbing realization that I have an unhealthy relationship with food. My whole attitude towards food is wrong. It's not a joy. It's not a reward. It's not even my friend. It's just food. It sustains my life, nothing more. I'm not saying it can't be enjoyable, but it certainly shouldn't be the highlight of our day.

(Before I make this next statement, let me just say something. I am no where near perfect. I am not a model for all to emulate. I'm a dork with a blog who happens to have learned some things here and there. I battle this stuff just like you...)

I now find myself thinking that food is my enemy. Anyone ever have these thoughts? I want to hate food. I wish I didn't have to ever eat. Now don't go getting all freaked out. I'm not going anorexic on you. I still eat. I've never been good at being hungry and probably never will be. I still like to eat, I just wish I didn't. Make sense? Going cold turkey on any addiction is hard, but sometimes that's the best way. Alcoholics, drug addicts, cigarettes... sometimes you have to just avoid those temptations completely to keep from going back to them. But we can't do that with food. We have to eat, we have to be around it. Some of us are around it a lot more than others due to jobs or our family situation (ie your the one who cooks all the meals).

So I guess my real question is, how do you beat the addiction of food when you can't avoid it? It's always there to tempt you.

So far my only working strategy has been to assure I have nothing in my house that is not healthy. That is much easier said than done, but I still try. It's not THE answer though. I know myself too well. I'll overeat on the healthy stuff too if I'm not careful. (Although I've yet to binge on a salad... someone explain why THAT seems to be impossible? LOL)

Again I think it's more mental for me than anything. I need to change my mindset and attitude about food. Give myself a chance to realize that I don't need food for comfort or rewards. I also don't need to punish myself with food. There are some of you that know what I mean. We get into this whole self-depreciating attitude and start stuffing our faces because "we don't deserve to be slim or healthy. We are getting just what we have coming by being obese." It's crazy how the mind works.

So, how do YOU deal with your mental battles over food. I'm interested in hearing your thoughts on the subject.


nonegiven said...

Maybe when you say 'hate food' you're confusing 'food' with 'food-like substances' that aren't really food.

jan said...

Interesting concept. I believe that as you get older, you have a hard time finding things you do enjoy, and eating is the one thing that everyone around you (your family or your circle of friends) can agree upon to enjoy together. I don't think food has to be your enemy, but you do need to pay more attention to what you eat and how you eat.

Jackie said...

Hi Amy,
I agree with every word.

I remember once reading about someone who had successfully kicked the addictions of drugs, drink, cigarettes and finally addressed his overeating.

He said the hardest one of all was the food because, just as you say, we cannot avoid food. We still HAVE to eat.

Like you, I have no answers, and following the tradition in the UK of celebrating Easter with chocolate eggs am trying desperately to clamber back up onto the wagon this week. It's taking a while!

Best wishes,


DAR said...

What keeps me in line is my glucose meter. I test myself 2 hours after every meal and knowing any deviation from low carb will spike my BGL makes me stop and think, "Is the taste of that food worth permanent damage to my body?" As my good friend, Gracie, says, "I may like ___, but I like my toes better!"

There are things that don't spike my BGL, but cause me to gain weight. Sometimes I will indulge in them, but I try to get right back on track so it comes back off and doesn't snowball into permanent weight gain.

I think it is very important to have a large variety of safe things we can eat so we aren't tempted to go back to carbage, so I spend a lot of time dreaming up recipes that satisfy my BGL, weight, and tastebuds. Sharing them with others keeps me motivated to keep experimenting and not get into dangerous ruts.

And reading blogs like yours keeps me encouraged and inspired to keep at it. We can do this together! 8+)