Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Easters Past

Yesterday was a good day. I ate healthy foods, I stayed within my calories, and I rode my exercise bike for 18 minutes. This morning, 237 pounds. A very good thing, considering the pizza problem of the day before. But this journey is not always a straight path. It is a zig-zag dirt road going up the mountain, and every so often I slip back, then dart forward, then trip over a root in the dirt. But I never just lay there and wait for the bears to eat me. I get up and keep going.

Anyway, today was rough. I went to the store to get stuff for Easter, which is this Sunday. I always get my kids each an Easter basket. I put candy in it. Since we don't keep candy and treats in the house, it is a pretty big deal to the kids. In the past I have done things like put granola bars, toys, and boxes of raisins in their baskets, but nothing really thrills them like the real, once-a-year Easter candy: jelly beans, marshmallow Peeps, chocolate bunnies. So, I let them indulge a bit. And every year prior to this one, I ate about half of the candy I bought. I would buy a ton, eat a half ton, and put the rest in their baskets. But this year I determined I would just skip the candy for myself. Then I started thinking about the coconut eggs, the Reece's eggs, the Cadbury Creme eggs. I couldn't STAND it. So I told myself that I would get myself a few little candies, give myself a little basket this year, and plan the candy into my calories. But the sensibility in me KNEW this was a really, really bad idea. Candy makes me want to binge. It's hard to stop. I don't need it. I want to lose weight. So no. I would not have any candy this year.

And so it was that I went to the store today and very calmly started placing bags of candy into my cart. All the while, I was thinking, "this is for the kids. Not for me. This is for them. Not me." I put in things I don't like: Nerds eggs and other yucky junk. Then I grabbed a bag of mini Reece's (because my son loves them the best) and a chocolate bunny for each child (for tradition). I got some Snicker's eggs. Some marshmallow bunnies. Some cherry eggs. Then something just snapped. I saw all those individual Russell Stover eggs in a million flavors. I WANTED THEM. I wanted them ALL. You have to understand, in the past, if I wanted it, I bought it. When I went Easter shopping I bought what *I* liked. I literally bought 10 different flavors of Russell Stover eggs, FOR ME. Any candy that looked yummy, I bought it, FOR ME, and I ate it. You see how I got to morbid obesity???

While in the midst of this chaos, I told myself I would go ahead and choose a few things and be moderate. So yeah, I bought myself a Cadbury Creme Egg, a Marshmallow Bunny, a Reece's Egg, and two Russel Stover eggs (coconut and caramel marshmallow). I know you are going, MODERATE??? How is that MODERATE???? Well it is moderate compared to the literally 25-35 chocolate eggs and candies I USED to get myself and eat in one day. Not counting the candy I would sneak in and STEAL out of my own kids' Easter baskets later. I got to the car. I sat there and stared at the candy. I read all the nutrition labels: 180, 170, 45, 110, 130. That's 635 calories. Plus the cup of skim milk I bought to drink with it, makes over 700... and I already had breakfast and lunch. Ahhh! What to do, what to do... suddenly I got the biggest urge for a Wendy's bacon double cheeseburger and fries and a Coke. I was really, truly losing it. But I was fighting it. In all these years I never really fought it before. If I wanted it, I got it, period. So now I found myself sitting in a parking lot, my lap strewn with Easter candy and a Wendy's Value Meal stuck in my head.

I set the candy on the seat next to me. I thought about it. I was hungry... I only had a salad for lunch. I decided to get a single Wendy's bacon cheeseburger. No fries, no Coke. I drove over there with a battle still going on in my head. I ate the marshmallow bunny on the way over. When I got to the window to pay for my burger, the man taking my money hollered out, "Eating all the Easter candy before Easter??? BAAAD GIRL!" and laughed. I glanced over at the candy and empty wrapper on the seat... turned 6 shades of red... and stammered, "uh... haha, yeah... gotta get some before the kids eat it all..." and he guffawed and said, "riiight, make sure it isn't poison!" and slammed his window shut. Mortified, I pulled to the second window, grabbed my burger, and drove to the park. I sat in my car, eating my burger, tears welling up in my eyes. Why is it so hard? Why such a struggle? Why am I the laughing stock of the Universe?

I finished the burger and glanced over at the remaining candies. I would only eat HALF, I told myself. And I sat there, slowly savoring the candy, tasting each one, deciding they were really not all that good (except for the Reece's egg, oh my god, it is like pure ecstasy). I ate half of each candy and threw the rest away. Then I went home and acted like nothing happened.

As I sat and added up my calories, I realized that if I wanted to stay within my 1500 guideline, I could only have about 80 calories for dinner. Um, yeah. That's not likely. I sat thinking about the whole situation. It made me really sad. And then suddenly the Easter candy in the closet started calling me. "Lyyyyyyynnnnnnnn. Lyyyyyyyyyynnnnn. We are in your closet. No one knows what you bought. Eat us, eat us... " I almost started crying. THIS was one huge internal battle. I have never, ever had such a fight in my head (and I am still fighting). I poured myself some iced green tea and sat down to think about it.

I had been able to say no to Halloween candy. I said no to a lot of junk over the last few months. What is it about Easter candy that is SO HARD? I mean, if you asked me to pick one kind of candy I liked best, it would be Easter candy. WHY? What's the deal here? Think... think... remember....

And then it hit me.

This goes way back in my childhood. It's very personal and kind of deep in a way, but let me give you a brief peek into my childhood. Imagine an only child of 4 years old. Her life is carefree, she has all the attentions of her Mommy and Daddy, and she is innocent and happy. Imagine now, that her Mommy decides to join a religion that forbids celebrating holidays. Can you imagine that little blonde-haired, blue-eyed girl excitedly coming home from playing with her neighborhood friends, who have all been dying Easter eggs, and asking her mother, "Mommy! Can we dye eggs now?" She is so excited. Her favorite holiday was always Easter. And her Mommy says, "No, we can't do that any more. That is a pagan celebration." So the little girl goes away sad, and disappointed, not understanding. She comes back later and asks, "Mommy, can we dye eggs next week when it is NOT Easter? Just for fun?" And her Mommy says, "No, that would still be an Easter tradition, and God would not like that."

It was HARD for me as a little girl. Giving up Valentine's Day, birthdays, Thanksgiving, and even Christmas was easier for me than giving up Easter. I LOVED Easter. When I was about 5, my parents took me to a nice place for dinner. It happened to be Easter weekend. The restaurant had a guy dressed as the Easter bunny, and he was walking around hugging the children. He had a basket full of gifts he was giving to the kids. I was on my way back to my table from the rest room when the Easter Bunny came up and hugged me. I grinned. I was so excited (even though I knew I was not supposed to be). The Easter bunny patted my head and handed me a gift. It was a real egg shell, hollowed out and painted with clear varnish. Inside the eggshell was a little scene with grass and a bunny. It was exquisite. I was beaming as I ran back to our table to show my parents the beautiful gift. But my mother told me it was for Easter, and I had to give it back. I vividly remember walking back up to the Easter bunny with tears in my eyes and trying to give it back to him. He kept shaking his head no, and pointing from the egg to me, telling me it was mine to keep. Finally, in tears, I just laid the egg back in his basket and ran back to my table and buried my head in my arms, crying.

Of course over time I got used to not having holidays. In school when they had the Easter party (with cupcakes and candy), I would sit on a chair in the hallway outside the class, alone, while the party went on. When they did art projects with bunnies and eggs, I couldn't do them. When our teacher handed out chocolate bunnies or eggs, I said no thank you. It got easier. I was doing it for God, after all. By the time I was 10, I had no desire to celebrate any holidays and I was content with my lot in life.

Obviously, I have chosen not to continue this religious practice with my own children. I celebrate Easter with them every year. We dye eggs. I fill baskets. Everyone gets chocolate bunnies. And until now, I never saw any connection between my intense emotional draw towards Easter candy and my childhood sadness.

Now that I see it, I understand. I can comfort my inner child. Not having Easter candy is not a punishment. I don't have to be sad anymore. But I still want to reach out and hug that little blonde-haired blue-eyed girl.

It's going to be okay.


Heather said...

it will be ok, trust me. god easter is hard for me too. I thought the same thing about cadbury eggs, but nope, cant have them around because I will overeat, no matter what. its funny because easter itself is an easier holiday for me, but only if I stay awya from the candy aisle. hang in there!

Trisha J. said...

I HEAR you! The inner struggle. The tug-of-war. The brain fighting against itself. The addiction calling. The internal battle that leaves you bloodied and bruised where no one can see! I know it well! I like it everyday, every hour. Please, don't give up. Move forward. Not backward. Don't let the addiction win. You are stronger. You control your weight, it does not control you! (Now can you repeat all of that back to me????)lol Hang in there. I am rooting for you.

Karen aka Deadbudgee said...

Oh Lyn,
What an amazing entry!!! You truly have come a long way...and that gives me such hope.


Sarah said...

I know that struggle. Keep plugging away. The voices from the past will get quieter.

Yogi Wannabe said...

I just want to give you a hug! I am so proud of you. You truly are an inspiration.

Keep going girl, keep going.

The Lassie & Laddie said...

Reading this makes me so incredibly sad!! I hope things will get easier for you with time...

Twix said...! Thanks for sharing this. :) (((hugs)))

I'm nervous purchasing the kiddos treats ths year! I can do this! And a Wendy's burger to boot, lol. I would have wanted the burger too.

Vickie said...

"I've learned you get to your goals in a zigzag manner, and you have to enjoy the zigzag."


"All the little pieces of myself came together. I no longer think in terms of black and white: extremes don't interest me anymore." (Lorie Marino, Model/Designer in February 2008 issue of MORE magazine)

Dottie said...

Now that you've identified it, you can heal from it. I understand the struggles too. Mine isn't with candy...more with salty snacks like chips/dips. I'm sorry, I know we are all trying to lose weight, but this is life and we are allowed to indulge in small treats now and then. We just need to count them and cut back on something else. (((HUGS))) I commend you for eating only half of the candy and I'm sorry you had to go through hearing that drive-thru workers stupid remarks.

Hanlie said...

What an incredible breakthrough for you! Great post!

barbra brusk said...

yeah. heather said the same about cadbury eggs and i felt like eating them even thought i don`t know what they are. lol.

here in brazil easter is celebrated with lots of food. we have a tradicional lunch and friday (like tomorrow) is a holiday. nobody works, everybody spend all day friday, saturday and sunday eating a lot of greasy food and LOTS of chocolate.
the tradition is chocolate here. no marshmallow candies (i don't even know what it it too) and other stuff.
we got big big big eggs of chocolate, full of small chocolate candies wrapped one by one.

and now i am gonna google reese`s eggs to know what it it. i was so curious about this little piece of paradise.

happy easter to you all!!!!

Zeusmeatball said...

Hi Lyn,
I just wanted to say hello and have to say this was a good post. getting to the root of some issues and sharing that is probably a good thing for your journey. I can relate with the Cadbury eggs, they are tiny colorfully foil wrapped pieces of evil as far as I am concerned, harder to resist that many things that should be harder to resist I say! I promised myself that I was below 479lbs by easter that I could have 4 eggs to be spread over a 4 week period. I believe moderation is key and giving things up forever will make a hard situation harder. I have been reading through your blog here and there, trying to catch up with some of your posts, i am unure where I found it, I believe 3FC. either way good story.

As Ever

Trisha said...

Wow, you have such a wonderful way of expressing yourself. Really, you should write a book or something. That story was riveting, and so sad.

It makes me want to hug that little blonde haired girl too, but since that's not possible, sending cyber (((hugs))) your way.

Hang in there, you're doing great.