Tuesday, November 23, 2010
In three weeks, I've dropped 5.5 pounds on Weight Watchers. (8 more to go.) Week one was hard. By the second week, I was shopping and planning and into the groove. This week, week four, I can see the gremlin that is usually my undoing sitting on the curb just up the road, waiting to trip me up as I pass by.
That gremlin? It goes by the name of, "I just want to eat like a normal person!" In other words, I don't want to have to plan every meal, pack containers of raw veggies for snacks, keep track of every bite. I get tired of the effort that it takes for my body to achieve and maintain a weight that by modern standards would be just shy of pudgy.
(Flashback: toward the end of my first year of college, sitting on the floor in the hall outside of the lecture room before my Inorganic Chemistry 101 class. Two slender women sitting across from me are planning a birthday dinner for a friend. One says "should I make spaghetti, or lasagna?" The other one says "ooh, make the lasagna; I love lasagna!" They go on to plan the menu without any talk of calories or how "bad" they will be for eating lasagna, with no apparent trace of the crippling guilt I feel at every bite that isn't comprised of cottage cheese or naked lettuce. To my ears, it's like they're speaking a foreign language. I marvel, and wonder what it must be like to have a relationship with food that's so easy and natural. I take another sip of my black coffee, try to ignore my growling stomach, and shift my focus to a paragraph in the textbook describing electron valences.)
After struggling with eating disorders for years beginning in my early teens and lasting into my early 30's, it's been a hard-fought battle to achieve what I consider to be a normal, healthy relationship with food. I know I won't stuff myself on Thanksgiving just because I'm in the same room with a lot of food that isn't available during the rest of the year. I can go to dinner at a friend's house and not agonize for days beforehand about what will be served. I leave food on my plate in restaurants. I pass up pizza without a second thought because it gives me heartburn. I can't remember the last time I ate to the point of discomfort. And I treasure this sense of normalcy around food, which is somewhat disrupted by having to plan and count and restrict.
I'm not giving up, though. I'm determined to adjust my normal if need be to incorporate the habits and discipline that a slimmer self requires without adopting the all-or-nothing mentality that used to throw me into a pit of despair and binging if I eat something unplanned, or go over my points here and there. As le monsieur is fond of saying about various endeavors, "it's a marathon, not a sprint." We're always balancing between conflicting desires, between short-term pleasures and long-term accomplishments. To avoid being tripped up by my "normal" gremlin, I need to be mindful of that long term goal, and keep my focus and actions aligned.
When working on long term goals or projects, do you tend to get sidetracked or bogged down? Do you have strategies that help keep you focused and moving toward your goal?