Thursday, May 10, 2007

Scale Back

I've been exploring the 'net and finding new resources and blogs about Intuitive Eating. A reoccurring theme I'm finding from a lot of people is having trouble letting go of the diet mentality.

I know I'm one of them. The scale, for one thing. I'm still weighing in a lot, and although the news has been good -- great, even -- I'm starting to fully realize how much of a compulsive habit it's become. It's become an anxiety-reducing measure I've adopted, because when I don't do it I start getting nervous, and I start thinking, "I don't know where I am!"

Very telling. The scale has become my Global Positioning System, and the numbers on it are different locations in my life. Life was very different when I lived at 310, and it's a location I really don't want to move back into. The scenery was pretty bleak gloomy. While life in the 210s has been very satisfying, you know the old saying: "the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence." I can't help but drive by that exclusive neighborhood called the One Hundreds, admiring the landscape and dreaming of moving in permanently. Even though I'm living right on the border of that Promised Land, I'm still looking in from the outside.

That's the mentality I have to get rid of. Almost, but not quite good enough. It doesn't do me any good to think that way, when there's really absolutely nothing wrong with where I am. I'm like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz, who needs to be taught "there's no place like home." That magical land of Onederful may be all alluring in brilliant Technicolor from where I stand, but if my house lands smack in the middle of it one day, will it feel hollow and empty? There are no happy endings there; you still have to deal with the wicked witches, con man wizards and those freaky flying monkeys. (Those things scared the bejesus out of me when I was little!)

Yesterday I felt myself teetering on the edge of the IE/dieting fence. One good thing has been a lessening of my fear of certain foods and a renewed interest in cooking. It's helped that Hubby has been at baseball games every night this week, forcing me back into the kitchen.

Last night I dragged out one of my favorite recipes that I revamped -- it's called Texas Caviar and is basically a cold bean salsa/salad that includes balsamic vinegar and cilantro. I haven't made it in ages because beans became one of my no-no foods. Even though I knew beans were full of protein and fiber and other good nutrients, I stayed away because of the calories. So it was with great pleasure that I opened up those cans of black beans and put it together. My mom came over for supper to help me eat it (she is a huge balsamic fan and a semi-vegetarian), and I told her we could either serve it over a salad, put it in a tortilla wrap or eat it with some of my Trader Joe's veggie flax seed tortilla chips. Mom opted for the chips, so we got out the bag and I took out the recommended serving to eat with my beans.

I ate that, then sat there and realized I wanted more. Here came the anxiety. Chips are pretty much a universal trigger food; what if I can't stop? But I shook those thoughts off and took out three more chips (they're big), ate those, then stopped and checked in again. And I felt good, satisfied, so I stopped.

Later I started thinking about those snack cakes I bought on Tuesday. They kept floating through my mind, and each time I checked in with my body. Since I wasn't hungry, I kept shooing the thought away, saying to myself, "Let's revisit this in half an hour." Finally, at 7:45, I got one out -- leaving the box in the pantry -- then sat down and slowly ate one of the snack cakes. I had to tell myself to enjoy it and push out the guilt of eating "bad" foods or the fear of bingeing. I did savor it, and when I was done I wasn't driven to go attack the rest of the box. I didn't feel terrible, I didn't want to overeat, and I wasn't worrying about the scale the next morning. I was okay.

So here I am where I started -- the scale. I know in the back of my mind this object has become a crutch to me, and there are times that its reading will definitely alter my mood, which means I am giving it too much power. While I realize I eventually need to start scaling back on weighing myself, giving myself grief about it is falling right back into that all-or-nothing, perfectionist mentality. So I'll get there when I'm good and ready. Because I am discovering the easier I am on myself, the better I feel, and I wind up taking better care of myself than when I'm "shoulding" all over the place.


Beula said...

Arrrgh! I tried the IE this last night. I ate almost a whole bag of fried potato things I had bought for Mark. I also ate two pieces of fried chicken. I SHOULD have eaten none of it and had a chicken salad. We were running late so I bought fast food. I was hungry. I also knew when I was full, and I kept eating those darn potatoes. I think intuitive eating is still a ways in my future. Darn.

lowincomelady said...

Hi, I have been reading your IE posts with interest. I am about 245 pounds and I know I eat when I am not hungry. I used to weigh 358 pounds. I have reserved that intuitive eating book from the library and in the meantime I am trying not to eat when I am not hungry. It is very hard though. I have been at the same weight for a year and maybe IE is the way to go to break through it! Thanks for the inspiration!

Andrea K said...

You know, I've been reading books on intuitive eating since the early 90s when I picked up some of Geneen Roth's books. And throughout my weight loss I kept picking up these books about "ending your food obsession" and nondieting approaches.

Throughout all those years I kept nodding my head, thinking it was a great idea, but I could never get myself to actually do it, whether it was because I wasn't ready to give up the food for emotional reasons, or later because I wanted to lose more weight before I tried it.

Right now it's all falling together for me, but that doesn't mean in a week (or hour!) that I don't fall right into a bucket of fried chicken! The whole point of the IE method is to quit beating yourself up, quit trying to be perfect, and just listen to your body.

You may have not been ready last night, but that doesn't mean you never will. Just be patient and kind to yourself. The fact that you were knew you were full -- even if you didn't stop -- is progress, because at least you're beginning to listen. And there are lots of people out there who we would consider "normal" eaters that occasionally eat too many fried potatoes. It's not the end of the world, and we're not "bad" if we do it. So hang in there, ok?

Tree Lover said...

I am impressed with how you aren't giving into the all or nothing mentality. It took me a LONG time to do that. While it is important to stay away from the scale, it is MUCH more important to break free from that all or nothing thing.

Shauna said...

kindness. I am striving to treat myself with kindness, even when I eat when I am not hungry or binge. to let go of the all or nothing. I think I'm inching towards the idea that its more important to talk to myself nicely and begin to heal the obsession than to hurry up and lose the rest of the weight. I'm really enjoying your posts on this!

Cindy174 said...

Those flying monkeys still scare me. I am enjoying the IE readings, too.