Thursday, November 22, 2007

0 Weigh-In: No Turkey For Me & Some Minor Setbacks


On the weight management front, I've (unfortunately) gained a few pounds (2.4 lbs.) from last weekend's unintended food fest, which was a combination of eating trunk show goodies, dining out with my family, & some caloric, carb-loaded road-trip snacking, which, among other things, included - the horror! - a bag of gourmet, salt & vinegar potato chips (consumed over multiple days).

Of course, I'm only slightly kidding about that last part. However, I do think it was slightly premature to be "rewarding" myself with such a large quantity of fattening treats, especially since I'm supposed to be on the path to weight loss.

Now, while I subscribe to the idea that I can still have a treat now & then (otherwise, I'd go completely batty!), I know I kinda overdid it in the treat department last week. OK, let's be honest: No, not "kinda." Make that a "definitely"!!!

"To err is human," and let's just say that I'm feeling very human right about now. ;-)

So, as I cannot seem to contain the nature of my "food sins" much longer, let me disclose the entire gory, overly caloric story:

On the way to the trunk show, we stopped at a supermarket to get a quick "meal." In addition to snacking on salt & vinegar potato chips, I also had about half of a Granny Smith & some low-fat buttermilk, which aren't bad in & of themselves. However, the real kicker was the brie! I was craving it, & thought that I "deserved" to eat it after all of my hard work, so I tried to find the smallest wedge they had. While it was a rather small wedge, 3-4 oz. of brie -- while being a typical serving size of protein -- can still do a lot of damage in the body fat department!

Why, oh, why, did I further compound the damage with that wedge of brie! Quel horreur!

Of course I already know the answer to my own question. You can just chalk it up to the ever-mounting craving inside. I really should've given myself more "treats" along the way, especially over the past few weeks. In my busy-ness, I forgot to satisfy, and thus tame, the little craving "beastie" inside me. Yes, I'd been on the verge of bursting like a dam, and I wasn't going to hold back those cravings any longer. The funny thing I wasn't even conscious that I'd felt that way until it was too late. I need to start paying attention to those signs, instead of getting caught up in the daily bustle of life & my work.

But of course, this wasn't all. The potato chips & brie were only the starting point to my wild, gleeful night of "nefarious" food consumption, which merely preceded the next day's "lunch" of 6 cookies, 4-5 pretzels, 2 cheese sticks, & several cups of non-alcoholic cider which I consumed while working at this past Saturday's trunk show. And there were more horrors to follow that evening..... We continued our calorie-consumption well into the night: First there was dinner. I had a fairly healthy dinner that night after the show, save the pizza wedge my mother repeatedly tried to foist on my plate (until finally succeeding by wearing down my resistance!) & a small bite of a shared dessert. Then afterward, when we got home to my parents' house, we munched on snack of pretzels & buttermilk while we watched an old black & white movie on TV ("Born Yesterday," which I'd already seen before, many years ago). I lost count of how many pretzels, but it was enough to do some serious "caloric damage." Notwithstanding the calorie overload, we did have quite a fun evening both during & following the trunk show.

Geez, this sounds like a confessional. Forgive me waist-line, for I have sinned! ;-)


While I might've only slightly overeaten, I think what did the most damage was the overall fat & high-calorie food consumption accumulated over the weekend & following few days. As the old proverb goes, "the devil's in the details." ;-)

The only thing I can say to defend myself is that, while the majority of my snacking was a tad bit out of control, the only difference was that atleast I didn't continue to compound the damage once the weekend was over. I put an end to it right then & there. Also, while it's true that I ate cookies & chips as rather unhealthy "meal-replacements," I did consume many healthy foods (lots of vegetables & other whole foods, etc.) that weekend as well.

The only explanation I can offer for the weekend's "chip & cookie explosion" is that it was stress-related eating. Having just revealed that, I'm sure you won't find it surprisingly in the least to learn that I was, indeed, fairly stressed out, having left for the trunk show rather late, full-well knowing it would mean I'd have to get up super-early the next day to do the set-up. Sigh.

Setting off this chain-reaction was my ill-timed run that evening: I should've run a lot earlier in the day last Friday, well before the trip's start, but at the time, was struggling to get everything done beforehand (i.e., packing clothes & then the car, taking care of last-minute details, doing various business-related tasks, etc.)

Of course, in the end, everything was fine & the show went off without a hitch, but I'm definitely not going to squeeze in my runs like that again. Way too stressful & it threw my whole schedule off.

While it's important to squeeze in runs, I realize that it can't be at the expense of other major events. I really, really want to be sure I get my three runs in, so I'm going to have to juggle my schedule around & make some other sacrifices (i.e., perhaps go running a bit earlier in the day when it's much, much colder, etc.).


But back to the eating issues at hand. I can take some comfort knowing the following: While it doesn't make the situation any better, I know that most of the unhealthy snacking was really done as "meal replacements" versus extraneous, non-stop snacking. Of course, this type of eating was due to poor planning (i.e., I should've packed meals in advance for the car trip) & the rushed nature of my attempt to get on the road, but quite frankly, there's no excuse. I know I could've made better choices.

And I'm not trying to absolve myself of responsibility for my actions either: I very consciously knew what I was doing: I wanted to eat that food, & my brain & body were responding like I'd just been let out of cage!

Atleast I didn't break into the bag of potato chips like I was committing some deeply disturbing criminal act, but nonetheless, it's not like I brought the bag into my parents' house upon arrival & immediately showed it off to my mom or rest of the family either. ;-) At first, the only one who was knew was Erik, since he happened to be in the car with me at the time of our road trip.

I eventually did let my family know about the potato chips, as if to say, "See, I can eat this stuff too, so don't think that I'm trying to be irritatingly perfect!"

And then the other reason I let them know was this: While I'm in my thirties & very much an adult, I wanted to shout my potato-chip eating to the skies to show them I still wasn't going to let their opinions affect my behavior of eating the occasional treat, regardless of whether I was thin or not. You see, while they didn't seem to particularly care that I ate the potato chips now that I'm thinner, I do recall they certainly seemed a bit more controlling about me eating "hash browns" several months ago at Perkins, when I was twenty pounds heavier. Now of course, at the time, that didn't stop me from eating the hashbrowns, but I was VERY irritated (no scratch that, "pissed off"!) at their behavior.

What they were basically saying at the time via their behavior, whether they were conscious of it or not, was that "overweight people don't deserve to eat treats." Just because a person's overweight doesn't mean they got there from eating one plate of hash browns. Any normal, sane person will tell you that. Plus, that sort of thinking is ridiculous! What really irked me about their behavior is that it was irrational & driven/motivated by fear. Plus, it also bothered me that they didn't even realize or acknowledge was that I actually eat fairly healthfully on the whole; that had never been the problem. It was the portion-sizes & stress-triggered eating that were my downfall.

Anyhow, while I don't give a rat's ass what most people think, it used to bother me to no end that my family were being so completely unreasonable & unfair in their thinking. While my family professes that moderation is important, it's actually not something that's very well understood -- or often experienced (!) -- by them. Being irrational & jumping to conclusions before collecting all of the facts often seems to be more what they are used to doing. ;-)

OK, that might seem a bit harsh to say that, but they aren't exactly known for being "reasonable" about food-related issues. To be painfully honest, I'm surprised I didn't end up bulimic or anorexic with the various "food control" issues that seem to plague my family.

While I take full responsibility for my actions, I will acknowledge that it hasn't always been easy growing up around people who's first instinct is to tell you not to eat something because they think you're a few pounds overweight, & then at the next moment, turn around & shove food in your face repeatedly even after you've expressed multiple times that don't want to eat whatever it is that they're offering. Talk about mixed signals.

Of course, as most child psychologists & many other humans already know, if you want to reinforce a message to your children, consistency is key, not only in your words, but also in your behavior.

And I know that I wasn't the only person affected by these food-related attitudes either. All kidding aside, it's not exactly normal when your little sister feels the need to hide her chocolate pudding bowl & spoon underneath the family room couch. Why would she feel the need to hide what she perceived as "unacceptable" food from the parental units, particularly my mother, unless she felt that there would've been negative repercussions (facing judgment & possible punishment, being berated, etc.) for her eating "transgressions"? Past history speaks for itself, & is often a strong indicator of future behavior. I know we joke about it now, & the fact that she could've picked a better hiding spot (!), but I know that she was affected by this sort of thinking as well. In the past she's internalized it & even reproduced it at times, but I think she's well aware of it now, so she doesn't propel this sort of thinking forward or subject others to the same sorts of mental torture. ;-)

It's so important not to unconsciously repeat the scripts of the past that don't work for you anymore. Get rid of those toxic things & free your mind from the chains of past habits!

And, speaking of which: As I said before, the one positive thing I was able to do rather early on in my development as an adult was to conquer my fear of parental or familial disapproval, and do what I want to do anyhow, instead of being influenced by their food-related comments one way or the other.

Of course, that's part of what it means to to be a mature, self-possessed adult. I'm proud to say that I have inner strength & courage, & can boldly assert myself & posit my own opinions, regardless of whether people agree with them or not. And it's not just limited to the sphere of my family or food issues.

Now, this certainly doesn't mean that, after all of these years, that their comments don't still sting or that it's not still hard for me to stand up to their sometimes rather forceful commentary, which can sometimes border on emotional bullying, while I continue to fight for self-preservation.

But I do it all the same, in spite of how difficult or painful it is. I frankly don't expect that my parents will change their behaviors & thoughts as they relate to food, weight, & body image anytime soon in the near future, as they are now at an age & mode of being/thinking which isn't conducive to an altered outcome. And yes, a certain part of me still holds out hope, despite all the odds, that in time, that my parents can, & will, learn to be less "insane" about food, weight, & exercise, & not be so "reactive" about these issues. I would certainly rejoice if this would happen. However, regardless of such an unlikely outcome, I do still think my sister has possibly worked past their "tentacles of influence" when it comes to this particularly damaging attitude.

Of course, after those last few, rather caustic-sounding paragraphs, I will say that I do love my family very much & they do possess many wonderful qualities, which I've lauded in many a previous post.

While I might seem unrelentingly & unflinchingly honest at time, let me just say that it is not my intention to demonize or punish anyone in my family. Ironically, this post is not really even about them. It's about me, & my need to gain clarity about the past & move forward. It's only by being honest about my thoughts & feelings in relation to my experiences that enables me to do this. And if that helps someone else along the way who's facing the same issues, then I've achieved something more.

Might I remind others that just because you love your family doesn't mean that you don't drive each other nuts at times. And while I realize this, I still can, all the same, try to mitigate exposure to unhealthy familial influences & consciously control my reactions to these influences as best I can. That still doesn't change the fact that I love them. People don't have to be perfect for you to love them either. They rarely are! We can & should still love each other, flaws & all.

And while we're on the topic of "perfection" & the expectations of others, my main point here is this: I don't think that we should have to be "perfect" in our eating habits, & any such familial expectations like these are frankly, unreasonable & unrealistic. I won't drone on about it anymore, but the last thing I'll say is that, for my parents, I often feel like this sort of thinking wasn't just limited to food. It pervades their attitude about many other topics. I truly feel sad for them that they haven't evolved past this limited sort of thinking, but I'm certainly not going to let it affect how I personally conduct my life.

One thing that's nice about having Erik in my life is that he serves as a wonderful re-affirming force of reason and balance. He not only understands the importance of balance & moderation, but actually practices it on a daily basis too. As I haven't had a parental model for moderation & balance, he's basically one of the first role models I've ever had for these concepts. He's definitely been like an anchor to me, in helping me "normalize" my life balance & incorporate moderation into my every day living.


Anyhow, the irony of this entire food-related discussion is that, after all of the weekend's excessive consumption, I won't be eating a huge Thanksgiving day feast this year. Not because I don't want to do this, but because I was supposed to go to visit family for the holidays & plans changed at the last minute.

Erik unfortunately came down with the flu & has been bed-ridden for the past couple of days. Of course, I'm staying home to take care of him, & so, will instead be spending the Thanksgiving Day with Erik. Since I didn't have a back-up meal prepared, it looks like neither of us will be eating turkey this year.

And speaking of the Thanksgiving holiday, food, & eating, you're welcome to read the related post ("Of Thanksgivings Past + A Turkey Confessional") on my foodie blog.

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