Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Break the Bonds

Are you ready to break the bonds that tie you down?

For many of us, our cravings and food desires are what keeps us from happiness. We WANT to be healthy. We WANT to be thinner so we can enjoy life, play with our kids, fit on amusement park rides, paint our toenails. Do you think that being obese is fun? Is there something about having an extra 50, 60, 100 pounds on your body that makes you shriek with glee every time you look in a mirror or have to walk up a flight of stairs? So then why do we stay fat when we *could* change our lives by losing weight?

The habits we have and the urge to eat unhealthy types and amounts of food are very much like handcuffs. They keep us in one place. We "try" and "try" and "try" to lose weight, but after a few days or weeks or even months, we flip out and go back to the old habits. We turn back to food for comfort, for enjoyment, for whatever else is missing from our lives. And even though we don't really find it, we do fill the hole for a little while. Isn't that what it's like? When you are eating 8 donuts and a pint of Ben & Jerry's, you are literally and figuratively filling a hole. Shoveling all that junk into your mouth, down your throat, "filling" you... but in reality the hole is something much deeper than your digestive tract. You have to learn to fill the hole with something other than food.

I know all too well the cycle of yo-yo dieting. One day you get up and are in so much pain, so sad, so frustrated with your body that you muster up the resolve to start a diet. You get all ready by bingeing on all your favorite foods over the weekend and gaining 10 pounds. Then on Monday morning you get up, weigh in, and have a Slim Fast shake or whatever "healthy" breakfast you have decided on. Then, at some point, all hell breaks loose. It may be at 10am when you see leftover pizza in your fridge, or it may be 6 months later when you have lost 40 pounds and are feeling burned out and tired of the restriction. Or it may be at any point in between. But the thing about giving in to your old cravings is, it can lead you right back to those handcuffs you worked so hard to break free from. You end up back in your fat jail cell, 50 pounds heavier, with your cellmate companions: a bucket of fried chicken and a bag of Oreos.

Don't be that person. There is a way to take control of those seemingly overpowering feelings of desperation for food. Hey, I still get those feelings. Last night I wanted to order pizza SO BAD. I wanted to eat a brick of cheese. I wanted to go to the Indian buffet and gorge on creamy curries and buttered naan. It's like longing for an ex-boyfriend. You miss him, you want him, you remember the good times and the tender embrace. But what you must remember is that you broke up with him for a reason. He was not good for you. Neither was that food. Look what it did to your body.

Food is not bad in and of itself. It's what we do with it. You can get just as fat on low fat veggie pizza with a whole wheat crust and sugar free ice cream as you can on Pizza Hut and Haagen-Dazs. You gotta learn moderation as well as making better choices.

If you really want to live a life unfettered by crazy food thoughts, you have to stop giving in to them. When I go ahead and have a piece of cake, I want more cake. I want it for days after. When I eat deep fried mushrooms, I suffer the consequences for DAYS. I keep thinking... obsessing... about fried foods, hamburgers, potato chips. In the book The Beck Diet Solution, Dr. Beck explains that you have two figurative muscles: your "resistance muscle" and your "giving-in muscle." Whenever you make a choice, you are exercising one of these muscles. If you give in to a craving and binge, it strengthens your giving-in muscle and makes it easier and easier to give in each time. Do you really want to do that? Instead, strengthen your resistance muscle by saying NO to those foods that are not going to help your body be healthy. Eventually, it gets much, much easier to stay on track.

I have heard many people say that they eat all kinds of junk foods "in moderation." They buy chips and only eat them in single serving portions. Okay, if that works for you, so be it. But I really believe we do not need that junk in our lives... at least not on a regular basis. What's the point of having all those sugary, processed, dye-filled 100-calorie packs in the house? (I know I am not the only one who has eaten a whole box of these...) It's really not good for you. Sure, we have unhealthy stuff on occasion, but if you are making those things part of your daily/weekly intake, perhaps it is time to consider having a bowl of raspberries instead. I am not saying I NEVER eat junk. I do, but I try and make it pretty rare. I don't justify eating junk daily because it is in a teeny bag. Besides, that stuff just makes me want more sugar.

So if you are struggling (and we all do), maybe it is time to revamp your eating. Be stricter with yourself. Say NO to junk. Yeah I KNOW you want cookies, but you do have the ability to say no. I KNOW you want a bacon cheeseburger, but if you turn it down you will be stronger, healthier AND will reach your goal sooner. It's tough sometimes, but do you give your child candy bars for dinner just because they insist they WANT them? Treat yourself at least as well as you would your child. Make better choices. Stop giving in... because when your resistance muscle is strong enough, you can finally break those bonds that keep you fat, once and for all. And that will be a wonderful freedom.

18 comments:

RunningNan said...

I dont really crave that stuff. My weaknesses are fruits, salads, and dairy. I eat a clean diet with healthy fats. I think its all about your tastes. They will change

deanna said...

great read! I am 16 pounds down, and ready to take on the clean eating as opposed to 100-calorie-packing myself to death approach for my plan. Thanks for the much needed and extra encouragement!

Arielguard said...

I just found your blog the other day and I am so glad I did. I have a lot to lose and have lost a lot in the past and what you are saying is so true when I think back through my weightloss past. I love this post. I am going to remember it. I do crave the junk more when I have it. Your blog is inspiring me to start my own and get to the losing of all this weight.

Thank you so much.

lisa said...

I can't believe that this is your choice for today's entry! I read you every day (that you blog) & I was doing very very well on my diet.....until last night. I decided that instead of measuring my food & having a reasonable plate of MY MOST FAVORITE DINNER, that I should just eat as much as my little heart desired. I figured that "I've been good" & "I deserve it" & what could one meal hurt. Well...I had 2 heaping plates, which is not impossible to overcome, but those 2 plates led me to binge all night long. I told myself not to freak out. Hey, tomorrow is Monday - the famous start over day for millions of people - so I'll just restart then & get right back on track. NOT! I have been eating nonstop since this morning. I surely gained seven pounds by now. So, I am actually sitting here eating & I came upon this entry! YOU ARE RIGHT. I do not have to continue destroying my own happiness. I will stop this now. I will eat a normal dinner & try to recover. Thank you, for snapping me out of it. (Sorry for the novel!) You are the best!

Teale said...

You are such a stinker. You always write an entry like this just when I need it! You have this crazy ESP or something;)

Stephanie said...

Great post! As usual, I can totally relate. Isn't that crazy how when we do "give in" then we crave it more and more? I, too, don't see the point of the 100 calorie packs, but I guess they are helpful for some people. I just discovered yesterday (an amazing discovery for myself, a total chip and cracker whore) that a cup of blueberries in a baggie is a great snack. Who knew? :-) Anyway - thanks for sharing.

Dinah Soar said...

Great post!

Love this analogy: "It's like longing for an ex-boyfriend. You miss him, you want him, you remember the good times and the tender embrace. But what you must remember is that you broke up with him for a reason. He was not good for you. Neither was that food. Look what it did to your body."

Just as the emotional aspect of love relationships interfere with good judgement, so it does with food choices.

Breaking free from the bondage is the hardest part. I've never understood how/why it is so easy for people to have sympathy for the anorexic who "can't" eat...as in poor thing...but when it comes to the obese one who can't "not eat" the judgement is harsh...as in "you big fat cow". Those of who who labor, and it is hard work, at losing our excess weight deserve better.

If the emotional issue was not part of the equation it would be so much easier. Realizing how much of our desire for food is an emotional desire is the first step to being free of the bondage.

Honi said...

ROCKIN GOOD POST.. I am so anti those 100 cal packs for the very reasons you said. Treats are for out of the house and every now and then. However I do have my WW ice cream most evenings and I do have my fiber one bar for my work afternoon snack.. as well as some fresh fruit. We go out to dinner on the weekends and always try and go places that have a variety of healthier choices.. i.e. mediteranian style and this wonderful Southwestern place we recently discovered that makes wonderful talipia and fresh veggies with out OVER SERVING or OVER pricing you... eating healthy can be done.. and eating healthy can be fun.. thats what I have learned..

Heather said...

great post! I like what yo usaid about "junk food in moderation". I used to do that with WW and learned nothing about how to eat well. I am like you now, I rarely eat it and feel so much better for it. Not for everyone, but I know it has aided me in my weight loss journey and I am so much healthier as a result.

Trisha J. said...

I SOOOOOO needed that tonight! Thanks

MB said...

Great Post!

I've been cuffed, bound and gagged for so many years. I've escaped a few times only to go right back to that fat prison.

It is so hard to get out of the binge pattern but I'm ready to break the bonds that hold me back from living a healthy life.

Let freedom ring.

Mehler Family Blog said...

WOW WOW WOW!!! AGAIN, you have spoken into my heart! Thanks you for yet another amazing post!

Anonymous said...

lynn, you are rockin'! you have a gift and your writing ALWAYS speaks to me. it truly takes my breath away . lol. please keep posting! YOUR LIFE is such an inspiration TO ME! THANK YOU.

your blog is a true gem, really valuable, all of your experience are. you're so insightful and keep rocking on' and losin' those pounds.

-cindy

Lynne said...

Thanks Lynn - I am trying to remember that I DON'T need JUNK and that I really do love the good stuff.If my husband would only jump on my wagon and stop bringing it into the house I would be more inclined to exercise the right mind muscle...

Anonymous said...

This is a bit off-topic, but has to do with fruits and veggies, and since I know you are a farmer's market devotee, and I know the farmer's market can get expensive, I thought (for those of you who have enough outdoor space, unlike me) this was a very interesting article in the NY Times Food Section this morning: http://www.nytimes.com
/2008/06/11/dining/11garden.html?ref=style

Shanna said...

Do you even realize how inspiring your written word is? Thank you! You just gave me an "aha moment". Keep them coming! =)

TB--Milwaukee said...

The one thing that I do miss about being obese is being able to poke fun at myself and my weight. Somehow, a guy at a healthy weight just doesn't seem as funny as a "fat guy."

Thanks for the inspiring words.

Poonie said...

Really fantastic post, it totally hit the right spots. I was having a similar discussion with a friend of mine just the other day and she described it as lacking "an adult relationship with food" and I thought that put it pretty well.

It's absolutely true what you said about eating junk food, we do stop craving it. It's basically like any addiction. You lose the need for it after the crazy withdrawal period, but if you fight it and eat clean for a while you don't miss the dirty stuff and eventually most of it is repulsive. But I do believe in allowing yourself some when you want it occasionally, it's about controlling it after that.