Tuesday, February 26, 2008


A lot of what I'm doing to deal with changing my eating habits also includes trying to examine why I do what I do. Food journals help with that--to find the patterns that reveal the blind spots. My food journal has shown me a few valuable insights, and some painful ones.

Valuable and painful insight #1: I eat for recreation. Not for health. I noticed that when I'm crunched for time and had to choose between stopping at a drive through or making myself something simple and healthy at home, the drive through wins every time. Although through Weight Watchers, I'm supposed to learn how to make better choices, it still is much more healthier to make my own food. But it isn't as fun as when I go to the "mom and pop" place down the road that makes excellent gyros or getting a "black and blue" salad at Quizno's. When I cook, I like cooking real food but that takes time. If I have to cook or prepare something mundane like canned low fat soup or a tuna sandwich, it bores me. Or eat the same thing every day (oatmeal every morning no matter what). So, I'm trying to not make food my entertainment, but my routine for taking care of myself.

Valuable and painful insight #2: I eat emotionally. When I'm agitated, it feels good to have something that is crunchy, like popcorn or taco chips. When I am sad or depressed, I comfort myself with ice cream. When my emotions are intense, no healthy substitutions really appeal to me. But I've been learning that cookies don't solve my problems. So, I talk more and journal more and pray more.

Valuable and painful insight #3: I don't like feeling "empty" or "light", which is how I feel when I don't eat as often or as much as I used to. It makes me feel worried. When I first started out with Weight Watchers at my sister's house last fall, I had a hard time with an anxious feeling that had nothing to do with hunger, but I had to eat. I don't feel anxious when my stomach is empty anymore, and I have learned to like that feeling. Especially as I see my belly shrinking in size and I'm more aware of how my body is functioning. I don't know why I started to panic when I cut down my portion sizes or eat less, but getting over it is less of a struggle than I thought. I had to replace thinking about food with thinking about other things.

Valuable and painful insight #4: If I don't eat on time, I get really quarrelsome and unpleasant, which makes me eat too much when I finally get my food out of guilt for the grouchiness I feel. Hence, my "emergency" apple in my purse or my bag of almonds if I have to wait a little longer for my meal because of work or tiredness. It doesn't spoil my appetite, but if meal times aren't regular or out of my control, I have to step up and do what it takes to take care of myself in a healthy way. It's a blood sugar thing and I'm diabetic but the world doesn't revolve me but I still have to plan to meet my own needs whether I have a regular schedule or not.

Valuable and painful insight #5: I hate routine. But I need routine in order to take care of myself as a diabetic and to deal with my obesity. I have to adjust my mental attitude towards routine in order to free myself towards being healthy. So, I must check my blood sugar, exercise, plan my menus and take my meds. And routine doesn't mean boring. It means good health for me. I can find excitement in setting goals for my life and challenging myself.

That's what I'm having to process, with God's help.

I'm also trying to remember how I felt when I was at a lower weight, what I did, how I dressed, how I felt. And trying to visualize myself being back at that weight again. I'm not doing it in some weird wacked out "voo doo" sort of way, and most of the time I'm not even aware that I'm doing it. But I'm longing for it, and am ready to move forward to making the changes neccessary for it. The question is, what do I really want--the cookie or being smaller? What am I doing all this Weight Watcher stuff for anyway? I'm trying to hold on to what my purpose in losing weight is--which is, to make the lifestyle changes neccessary to take it off and keep it off.

Here's an excerpt from a "Entertainment Weekly" 2003 interview with Adrien Brody, of The Pianist:

"Who says getting a Golden Globe nomination is easy? To earn his, Adrien Brody had to drop to an anemic 130 pounds (from his normal 160) to play real-life concert pianist and Holocaust survivor Wladyslaw Szpilman in Roman Polanski's acclaimed film ''The Pianist.'' Brody, 26, tells EW.com about the sudden weight loss, working with Polanski (a Holocaust survivor himself), and more.

How on earth did you get so skinny? "A very specific diet: I had only small amounts of protein, a couple boiled eggs, a small piece of fish or chicken, a couple steamed vegetables -- that was it. In 6 weeks, I lost 30 pounds. It affected me very deeply. I was cranky, definitely."

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