Well I Talk About It

So I had that caramel shortcake yesterday. I don’t know whether to laugh or cry. You know in those magazines, the Top Diet Tip articles? Right after they give you earth-shattering revelations like Drink Water and Do Not Eat Whole Blocks Of Butter, they always suggest you can avoid temptation from Foods of Satan™ by having alternative, healthy food on hand. So I’d armed myself against the Dark Prince with a banana and some walnuts, which are both delicious and healthy — even more delicious if you break off a chunk of nana and squish a walnut into it and enjoy the gooey nutty mess in one bite with a cup-of-tea chaser.

BUT as soon as 3 o’clock rolled round and I heard the pitter patter of cellophane ripping open, and noted that yes indeed it was THE Marks & Spencer Caramel Shortcake, well I just wandered over to the table, with the logic that, "Well how often does someone buy the quality M&S ones?". Ahh, so easily you can justify these things to yourself. It would have been reasonably reasonable thinking too,  if I had not done the same thing at the Cakes session the day before. With a three-Chocolate-Mini-Bites chaser.

But you gotta move on (on on on on) as Pseudo Echo said in their 1980s classic cover of ‘Funky Town’. I knew I had to move to a town that’s right for me, and keep and moving and grooving with some energy. So I went to my Body Jam class.

Ahh what a shmozzle. I couldn’t help sinking into a blue mood due to my continued inability to grasp the concept of "just this once". If you say "just this once" or "one won’t hurt" twelve times a week, that quickly adds up to added pounds. My dance moves were 100 times more crap than usual as I was trying to learn some very complex new steps while simultaneously trying to analyse my issues with food. It seemed so stupid to be flinging myself around the gym, my Enell sports bra all slick and icky with sweat, if I was just going to negate that effort by eating so much rubbish.

I have said this time and time again – my great periods of success have been when I went cold turkey on the crap. Not to long ago was on this streak of about two weeks sans junk food and had eradicated those wild sugar cravings when I thought, "Well I have been doing well, things are under control, and I am bored with fruit and seeds for my afternoon snack. I reckon I might buy a Fry’s Turkish Delight, it’s only 3 grams of fat" (or whatever it is). This would have been fine if it had not led to another chocolate and a pile of buttered toast that evening.

I am tired of writing the same entry over and bloody over again, but it’s been three and a half years, people! I am so sick of myself! I have changed a lot of things but I cannot seem to change this fundamental problem. IF I am not obsessing about being healthy (religious journalling, exercising, COMPLETELY banning cakes and choccies), I will just obsess about food instead. And not good food either. One bit of chocolate makes me think, righto chaps, where can I get my next bit? What shop will I go to? What magazine will I read while I mindlessly scoff?

It’s not as if I don’t have other things in my life, it’s not like food is the only thing I am passionate about.  It’s not like 1999 when I was alone, unemployed, sitting on the kitchen floor in a sobbing depressed heap, eating because I quite literally had nothing else to occupy me. Now I stuff my days with travel and work work work and friends and the gym and my sister and the Scottish Companion.

I just seem to have these slightly extreme tendencies whereby if I am not 110% cold turkey devoted to the Fat Fighting Cause, I will instead be heartily energetic about eating rubbish. This entry is not me moaning about that one wee caramel shortcake I ate yesterday. It’s just me trying to come to terms with a pattern of a lifetime. I’m confused, I tells ya.

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27 thoughts on “Well I Talk About It

  1. I think this is a battle we *all* fight. I just lost those ‘last ten pounds’ – and yet as soon as I got there I immediately returned to my eating habits of old – a Lindt truffle here, a Lindt truffle there… a Twix bar at work, some fudge at home, oh – and while we’re at it, let’s throw in some taffy and a couple of cups of hot chocolate. All the time, I’m thinking “what the hell am I doing? I don’t NEED any of this crap”. Yet somehow the monster inside that WANTS it seems to win out. I’ve found that I CANNOT stop writing down every little thing that I eat – it holds me accountable. As soon as I stop, it’s all over. Why is this SO hard???

  2. First I want to thank you for your sweet comment. Second I want to tell you that this is so normal. What is happening to you I mean. You have changed so many things in your life. I have too. Let me tell you how it is for me. I have been changing things for the few years aiming in a better health and appearance. But if you look at the periods of time, you will see that the period of time I was eating bad and lots is so much longer than the period of time I was eating moderately and well. It takes time to completely kill the devils. When after loosing tons of weight I feel “normal” though I don’t actually look the part, I tend to act like my normal hubby or normal friends do. It makes me feel I am just like them, not someone with a problem. Also, the feeling of failure nests in my heart when I have a cookie or two in the office and then dinner choises become poor too. This is something I have to work on more. Here, a novel again 🙂

  3. You’re not alone in this, trust me. It took us all years to learn to eat this badly, it literally is the habit of a lifetime. We can’t expect to quit cold-turkey overnight.

    What we can do is not beat ourselves up too much when we succumb, but just to (cliche, cliche, cliche) get back on the horse.

    Part of me suspects I’ll always be the girl who can schlork down a family bag of Doritos without batting an eyelash, what I’m aiming for is to be the girl who chooses NOT to schlork more than she chooses to schlork.

  4. Sometimes I think the “eat eat eat because it may not be here tomorrow” philosophy is hammered into us by commericals (for a LIMITED TIME ONLY) and fast food signs.

    I work on telling myself that I don’t have to eat it all because I can have more later. Usually later, I don’t think about it. I also tell myself that I can have these chips another time, or that those Cheese and Bacon Shapes aren’t going anywhere.

    I don’t really deprive myself, but if I’m getting full and yet there is food on my plate, I can stop myself from eating it all.

  5. Oh, man. I know exactly how you feel. But you shouldn’t be too down on yourself. You DID manage to not have the sweets today, and that is a big step. You’ve come so far in these three and a half years – not just in weight loss, but in your whole mindset. The fact that you know and recognise both your cravings and the ability to get beyond them? That’s phenomenal. Give yourself credit for that.

  6. I know how you feel we are many more in the same situation. But at the same time I think you are too hard on yourself.

    If you truely think back there is a big difference. You do not eat as much anymore as you did before (Im guessing here). Before you would eat more of the cake.

    The other thing is that you dont gain weight. You have changed your lifestyle so much so you can now eat cake and so now and then and still dont gain weight. Yes I know you want to loose it but that you can do but as long as you are not gaining it is just a waiting phase *S*.

    I think the trick is also to get back to the feeling of liking being “hungry” or having a craving. When Im doing good I feel better when Im abit hungry and not stuffed. That makes me feel good and abit high. Have to watch that feeling too cause it can be dangerous but in some small potions it is good

    but dont be so hard on yourself and dont hate yourself cause despite the small off tracks you are doing so well

  7. Sweets.I ahve the same probelm.But I go thru boughts of being okay.Have you read Dr.Phils’ book “The Ultimat Weight Loss Solution” ?It may be worth a try.Its common sense but in a sit down-sut up-and do it sort of way.

  8. I feel like I am an ‘all or nothing’ sorta girl, too. Either I’m squeaky-clean and write down my food, work out, ban sugar, journaling, researching nutritional info online, making BINDER books for chrissakes OR I’m eating nothing but fast food and sugary junk while reading celebrity gossip and lying in a pile of self-loathing.

    I always say I’m spiraling UP or spiraling DOWN…but what I’d like is a balance…I’d like to take care of myself without the pressure to be a perfect angel so I don’t need to rebel with the “poor choices”. I have a long way to go.

    Thanks for your honesty, it makes me feel less alone!!

  9. It’s the “just this once” that gets me too! I realized that after loosing 40lb, I was maintaining rather than loosing because I’d have “just one beer” one night, then “just one small piece of chocolate” the next night, then “just one THOUSAND CALORIE burrito” on the weekend…

    So when I heard about the new WW “core” plan I decided to join online, the flex-points give me a weekly limit and make me pay more attention to how many “just this once” episodes I have in a week. The thing that helps me is that I’m no longer thinking in terms of “today”, I’m thinking of “this week”, so it’s harder to fool myself into thinking that it’s really a one-off indulgence.

    Of course, I STILL had a slice of pizza and about 6 liquer choccies on top of my healthy dinner on Sunday, but that’s the fault of the Sake I was also shamelessly pretending was calorie-free…right? The calories you eat while too tipsy to remember clearly still don’t count you know, that’s one of my biggest BS-calorie things.

    The point is: you have undeniably made progress, you’re hovering around 200-ish lb, instead of being 300+ and climbing! That’s a HUGE difference. Have you read Linda over at “loosing the cow”? Her entry about locating the dude at the other end of the rope you’re pulling at is faboo.

  10. Ohhh…other people also have the “all or nothing” mentality!!! My sister always tells me that it’s part of my personality because my astrology sign is Aries…I don’t buy this though…or are all of you Aries too? MAYBE WE COULD BLAME THE STARS!

  11. DG, my hugest problem used to be chocolate. And I gave it up cold turkey for 12 weeks, nothing with cocoa in it even entered my mouth for 12 weeks. And you know what – it made me realise that half the time I eat it out of habit – because I am a chocoholic, I should be eating chocolate. But I was only a chocoholic because I kept telling myself I was. Now I very rarely eat chocolate. Once a fortnight max, and even then it’s a Freddo Frog or a single Ferrero Rocher. All it took was to break the habit and the mindset. We also have cakes at morning tea at work all the time, and I eat them occasionally if it’s something that looks really nice, but you know what – I never enjoy it. Because I’ve cut food like that out of my daily or even weekly routine, my tastes have changed, and I get more pleasure out of fruit or nuts now. Half the time when I do have a piece of cake, I take 2 bites, and then throw the rest in the bin and go and grab my banana. I constantly get told my people “but I don’t have your discipline” – but I never used to have this discipline until I worked really hard at it.

  12. This is so tricky and it’s kind of like learning a language or a new trick. You have to keep practising the art of choosing.

    I’m a big girl but I play a lot of sport because I love it. So when I was at school and playing competitive hockey we had this coach who made us visualise at every training session. I’m digressing but there is a point! Lie back on the grass, close our eyes and picture how the game in the weekend was going to go. I was defence so the defence players would visualise stopping the other team getting goals, the penalty corners, how our attack would score goals at the other end. The image would be really detailed like, what we would be feeling, the team uniform, the cheering on the sideline- you get the drift.

    So what the hell does this have to do with weightloss? The power of imagery is very real. Those days we visualised at hockey, we had the best results ever. And now I use it for my weightloss particularly in situations like this. It goes like this, when I wake up or maybe just as I’m turning off the light I think about the day’s appointments and challenges I’m going to face. Cake at morning tea, catered lunches and work drinks are major challenges for me too! So I take 5 minutes and I mentally see myself choosing the best options. I rehearse what I’ll say on the offer of the best things. I see the glass of water in my hand to keep my hands busy. I stand away from the food! And you know what? Just like the days in hockey, when I visualise prior I make better choices and away I go. It’s not a ‘miracle’ but I promise you active visualisation is another tool in the challenge. Love your website, so many posts articulate the weightloss challenge perfectly. And your success so far, amazing. Stick at it.

  13. I hate to see such a bright, vibrant woman as yourself get caught in this body-obsession trap, maybe because you remind me of myself ten years ago. There is a whole school of thought on food issues that I’ve never heard you mention. Have you read any of the Geneen Roth, Hirshmann/Munter, or Susie Orbach books? Their philosophy is that you can lose the food issues by giving control for your eating back to your body and taking it away from your mind. The whole “what to eat/how much to work out/how thin is thin enough” mind game is a smokescreen caused by the media and our diet-crazy culture. YOUR BODY KNOWS WHAT TO EAT (AND IN WHAT QUANTITIES) AND HOW IT WANTS TO MOVE. It also knows what size it wants to be. Just listen to it. You may be perfectly healthy exactly as you are!!

  14. Honey, I don’t have any advice for you. All I can say is that I totally empathise with you, because I continue to struggle with exactly the same things. You are not alone!

    Remember you CAN do this. You’ve come so far already. So please, whatever you do, don’t get sick of yourself! None of us are sick of you! In fact you’re one of my heroes, I think you’re fantastic. *mwah*

  15. I totally feel you…I absolutely have no grasp of the “just this once” concept…it starts me on a downward spiral that ends with me sitting on the floor with a ring of Hostess products encircling wondering what I’m doing….Just hang in there, you’re doing great!

  16. I recently signed up for Weight Watchers, and I’m trying the “cold turkey” thing, too, by opting for Core instead of Flex Points. I think it’s easier to resist temptation if I just plain cut it out of my life — at least for now. I obviously might go to Flex Points on some weeks that I just need something that’s not on the Core list. But, for now, this seems like it really could work.

    Thanks for the inspiration!

  17. I so wish I knew what to tell you to fix this. Because that would mean I could fix it for myself, too. One thing I can tell you for free: you can eat quite a bit and not *gain* weight, but you have to be pretty much *perfect* to *lose* weight. And that is so exhausting. Weeks of “perfect” can be undone in a few days of “bugger it”. Hang in there. I’ve been reading your blog, and rooting for you, for a long long time!
    -Mia

  18. Yeah it sucks doesn’t it. You’ll spend years losing this weight, get to your goal (and I’m sure you’ll achieve this) and then spend many more years to come fighting to maintain. And unless you set some boundaries (eg junk food only 1 day a week etc) it’ll be up and down like the proverbial yo yo. Welcome to my life.

    It’s taken years to get it through my thick skull that I’m not like my mate who can have one bit of choccy and leave the rest of the bar. I want it all dammit…so have set some rules for myself. I love Fridays, its the one day I let myself have free reign to eat whatever I want, no restrictions. The first few Fridays, I ate like a damn hog and enjoyed being able to do so without guilt. After that…not so much. Just didn’t feel the cravings so much anymore. The rest of the week I eat fresh, healthy food. As a result, I’ve finally been able to maintain without beating myself up on a daily basis.

    Let the guilt go. Good luck DG.

  19. I understand exactly where you are coming from. Dealing with cravings and temptation are difficult. A friend I had hooked up with on one of those Friends Reunited sites has lost more than 2 stones and was being very evangelical about her weightloss. In the same period I put on weight while attending a slimming club. She told me I didn’t have a reason to focus on losing weight. She was wrong though. I have plenty of reasons but couldn’t resist the temptation of yummy food. You know when they say nothing tastes as good as being slim feels, I always thought that was total BS!
    Thankfully I’ve had some success in the last 3 weeks since I joined a new club – Slimming World. Because you can eat a lot of food, I never feel hungry and the craving for sweet things has gone. I’ve lost 9 pounds in the last three weeks and feel positive that I can do it for the first time in years.
    I’m not saying this is what you should do because you’ve been very successful doing your own thing and motivating yourself. I’m just saying I’ve found something that works for me. Portion control has been really hard for me in the past because I’ve been overeating most of my life. And when you’re hungry the temptation to snack is hard to resist.
    Good luck with working on this!

  20. I don’t have any words of inspirational advice. I just really related to this entry. The people at my office bring homemade treats constantly and, while I would never eat them (because, omg, they might think that I consume food!), I’m so tired of being hungry. I’m tired of wanting to have a cookie and saying “no.” I’m tired of watching other people eating and not feeling the least bit guilty about it. And I’m tired of hearing about people who claim to be dieting and losing weight, but are eating things that I could never eat. So, yeah. I relate. A lot. I can only wish that your head will learn to work better than mine does…and just know, for all of this, for 800 calories a day for 8 months with few slips, I’m still not under 150. I think you’re beautiful as you are and if I could stop you from ending up where I am with regard to food, I would. It’s only food and, having read you for years, I would much rather that you be happy and healthy than miserable and skinny.

  21. Lots of interesting stuff up there.

    I did buy into the whole Susie Orbach “listen to your body” for quite a while. Unfortunately my body is a bit dumb. It’s quite happy eating crisps and biscuits and not moving very much at all. But my brain isn’t happy being carried around in that body.

  22. Wow… evidently your blog is pretty popular but I’ve never stumbled across it until now! I’m in awe of your loss of 144 pounds… that is just awesome; I hope you’re proud of yourself because you should be! May you continue on the path of success you’ve been on.

  23. Good to know I’m not alone, that other intelligent women find themselves at the mercy of a cookie or bit of chocolate or whatever…who’d have thought that the Ruler of the Universe would be a piece of cake?

    Anyhoo, I once lost a lot of weight by keeping a log of all the things I had to “give up” on my diet, promising myself that I could have them when I’d reached goal. One day I came across the list and thought, “I don’t want this crap!” and threw the list away. In other words, writing it down like that 1) makes you realize that you’re not giving up the treat _forever_ and makes it easiesr to pass it by (instead of thinking, “My God! If I don’t eat this chocolate I will never, ever get the opportunity again!”) and 2) it forces you to wait, not get caught up in the moment’s craving, and chances are that later you won’t even want it.

    Thank you always for your generosity and honest, dg!

  24. I also am a sister in solidarity! But please don’t beat yourself up so much – you’re only human and M&S is an entire industry that has spent years figuring out how to tempt you with their goodies.

    When I’m feeling low about my lack of weightloss will power, I just remind myself how far I have come!