Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Where's The Harm?

I'm trying to get the house presentable this week since we're having our first big "gathering" this weekend. If I haven't mentioned it before, my daughter is Vietnamese (I adopted her at 7 months old in 1999), so every year we celebrate Asian New Year (Tet in Vietnam) with a dinner for friends and family.

In Vietnam, Tet is a combination of New Year's, Christmas, Fourth of July, and it's when everyone celebrates turning a year older (which isn't a bad idea -- no forgetting some one's birthday!) Everyone gets new clothes, the house is thoroughly cleaned, the kids get gifts, everyone eats indulgent food, and often there are fireworks and parades.

I'll admit I do not prepare an authentic Tet meal, nor do we celebrate all the traditional Vietnamese customs of preparing food for our departed ancestors, asking the Kitchen God to bless us, etc. I know about them, though, and as Mabel gets older I plan on incorporating more cultural things into our celebrations. But for now it gets treated like most of our holidays-- a time for family and friends to get together.

Technically, Asian New Year began last weekend, but so many of my friends had late Valentine's Day plans, us included, so we pushed it back a week. Tet is actually a two-week event in Vietnam, so I didn't feel too bad about doing this.

In the beginning I was still in full martyr mode and made everything from scratch. While it was nice to expose my friends and family to Vietnamese dishes, it was a heck of a lot of work, as well as stress. Over the years I've incorporated a more laid-back approach, and now I cook a few things, but the rest is either frozen (egg rolls, dumplings) or Chinese takeout. My guests usually bring something, too. It's a compromise I'm comfortable with, and my guests have never complained.

I guess this could be related to my weight loss saga. Once I let go of my all-or-nothing, perfectionist thinking when it came to losing weight, I took a lot of stress off myself to do everything "right." While I've made some compromises (giving myself "free" days, which means taking longer to lose), in the end I'm still satisfied with the results.

Maybe it's the stress of cleaning the house and preparing for this big party/meal that has me full of overeating urges today. Miss Rational is reminding me that overeating is a no-no on a weekday, while Miss Unreasonable is scoffing and saying, "Aw, come on! Where's the harm in a couple Oreos?"

Sure, two Oreos aren't a big deal. Twenty are. And then I hit the rest of the pantry...and the freezer...and run to the convenience store before Hubby and Mabel get home...

I don't think I have the urge to go to that extreme today. But I'm leery when I get that "where's the harm" attitude in the middle of the week. I'm far enough in my journey to know there's something emotional behind it, and I feel like I'm letting myself down if I don't at least try to dig out what's pushing me towards the cookies.

The good news is, I got a second day of treadmill under my belt this morning, which makes me feel positive about myself. While I haven't weighed myself, I can tell I was expelling a lot of water retention yesterday, which always makes me feel better, too! I'm having a lot of TTOM headaches, though, which isn't so good.

More non-scale victories? I ordered shirts from the church and they arrived yesterday. I got a large sweatshirt, and when I looked at it I wondered if I misjudged my size and it would be too tight. Happily, I'm wearing it today and there's plenty of room to swim around in it.

When I worked at the paper in West Virginia there would be events and promotions when the staff would get T-shirts, and I remember the embarrassment and shame when I'd get the biggest shirt they ordered -- 2x -- and it would be tight and uncomfortable. I'm so glad those days are behind me.

The problem is, and maybe this is part of today's cravings to eat, how come I still feel the same? Now, when I look in the mirror I don't cringe in horror at my reflection, but I don't feel 130 pounds lighter. Shouldn't I be feeling different, somehow? The thing is, that was three or four years ago, so maybe I'm starting to forget how being 300+ pounds used to feel. Perhaps I had numbed myself to such an extreme that I didn't feel anything at all.

And right now it's winter and I'm bogged down with heavy, bulky sweaters, coats and boots. Not to mention TTOM! So I suppose it's no wonder I'm not feeling particularly svelte and lithe today.

A lot of the wanting food thing could have to do with simple procrastination. I know there's work I need to do around the house, but wouldn't it be more fun to distract myself with eating? Not a great habit, although it doesn't hit me as much as it used to. Hey, look, another NSV!

I'll explore this some more as I'm doing housework -- enough of using the blog as a distraction, too!

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