Sunday, May 24, 2009

Dichotomy

Sometimes it feels like there's two different people living in this body: a healthy, fit girl and a lazy, fat girl. Sometimes they have talks with each other, like when I see a brownie in the store:

Fat Girl: oohhhh, that looks gooood. Look at the frosting! I want that.
Fit Girl: No, you don't want that. It'll make you ill.
Fat Girl: No it won't! It's only one brownie. It won't hurt anything and you can make a salad later.
Fit Girl: One brownie got you where you are now.
Fat Girl: Oh come on, I really really want it. And wouldn't a bottle of chocolate milk taste sooo good with it? You can eat it in the car... mmmm.
Fit Girl: Shut up.

Sometimes they have little spats when I am getting ready to exercise, too:

Fat Girl: Ugh, I don't want to bike.
Fit Girl: We are biking.
Fat Girl: I'm too tired!
Fit Girl: That's the point.
Fat Girl: We could make a plate of fettuccine and watch TV instead.
Fit Girl: Nope.

And their behaviors come out in interesting ways, too:

Fat Girl circles the parking lot for 10 minutes waiting for someone to pull out so she can park really close to the store, because heaven forbid she should walk farther than she absolutely has to. She sees a close parking space as some kind of victory. It's like winning the lottery. "Yay! I got the closest parking spot! Yess! I beat everyone to it!"

Fit Girl just drives up and takes whatever spot is open, because that is the logical thing to do if you don't have a handicapping condition that forces you to park closer. She leaves the closer spots for the elderly, the sick, those with small children, and other people who really need them. She understands that walking a little farther to the store is no hardship and actually contributes to her overall well being.

Fat Girl sees cookies, brownies, or pieces of cake and eyeballs them down to the last millimeter to see which one is the biggest before taking her serving. If a cheesecake is cut into 8 slices, and she is in public (where she knows she is only going to get one piece and not be able to eat the whole cheesecake herself), she carefully looks at the width of each slice to get herself the biggest one. Again, some kind of victory, like a child who gets more than their playmates and dances around singing, "I got more than youuuuuuuu! I got more than youuuuu!"

Fit Girl takes whatever piece she gets, or goes for the smallest serving because she does not *need* a huge piece to feel satisfied. She is happy to savor a half slice or even just a taste of someone else's dessert, because having dessert is not the pinnacle of her existence.

As you can see, Fat Girl is pretty juvenile in her actions. She is pretty selfish. It's all about winning, getting, having. She wants to sit around, ignore her responsibilities, and eat everything she *wants* to whenever she *wants* to in whatever manner she *wants* to. And heaven help anyone who gets in her way when she is trying to binge. GET AWAY FROM MY M&M's, BUSTER, OR I WILL BITE YOUR ARM OFF.

Fit Girl is more concerned about being healthy, being responsible, and taking care of herself. She is more mature, and doesn't have to have her every whim catered to. In fact, she is pleasant to be around and she enjoys life, unlike her bratty Fat Girl counterpart.

I wonder if these two essences of myself can peacefully coexist. I don't think they can. Someone's gotta go... or at least go far into the background in order to have some peace. It's the conflict between Fit Girl and Fat Girl that drives the sadness, guilt, and anguish that comes from feeling like a failure when trying to lose weight and struggling. Maybe that's why some people try to kill the Fit Girl by "accepting" that they do not want to diet, do not like exercise, and are "okay" with staying fat. Once Fit Girl is drowned in a vat of milkshakes, it's much easier to smile and eat pastries and not feel bad about *not* walking or eating vegetables or whatever. By embracing Fat Girl, one can be rid of the dichotomy that causes inner conflict.

But I don't want to do that. I want to embrace Fit Girl, and let Fat Girl melt away into the background. I want to walk and hike and be healthy and fit. I want to give up the inner brat... or rather, give her time outs until she learns how *not* to be so bratty.

Fit Girl took a walk this morning. She had a healthy breakfast of Egg Beaters with light cheese, watermelon, raspberries, and iced green tea. She had grilled chicken/veggie kabobs for dinner last night, with a side of broccoli salad and fresh mangoes, and tonight she is having grilled vegetables with feta on focaccia bread. She might even lift weights this afternoon.

I'll let Fat Girl sleep for now. She can slumber away, dreaming of cupcakes and lasagna while I live the life I've always wanted. When she awakens, I'll teach her to be civil. I can love her until she learns that it's safe to let herself become one with Fit Girl. And then there will be peace.

38 comments:

Anonymous said...

Amazing. We are one.

Hanlie said...

I think we all share the same Fat Girl! Mine is like that too! Or at least she used to be, but I recently had her "taken care of" and she's "sleepin' with da fishes" now. Bye, bye Fat Girl!

Twix said...

I love the part of how Fit Girl parks. I am so going to teach that to my kiddos! Never looked at parking that way. I've usually have to park in the back because it's the only way to get my large vehicle settled. Now if only the rest of the world would embrace Fit Girl's parking attitude. I would have loved to many a time when my children were small and in the triplet stroller to have been able to park a little closer!

Oh and my Fat Girl whines; why not he's getting one! Dang it! Where's the duct tape!! :D

Tony said...

lol. I can so relate to this.

South Beach Steve said...

I think you have verbalized something many of us struggle with. We empower one of those characters inside of us to be the strong one - we just have to choose which one it is. Unfortunately, it takes more to keep "fit girl" (or fit guy in my case) at the top, but every positive thing we do strengthens the fit girl/guy's position. We just gotta keep it up.

Good post!

Erin said...

This kinda reminds me of that saying
"Inside me lives a skinny woman crying to get out. But I can usually shut her up with cookies."

Keep up the good work

byebyebigguy said...

Thats funny! Tell me though does the fit girl always when the argument?

http://byebyebigguy.wordpress.com/

seesaraheat said...

This is such a great post, it reminds me of how I have to "talk" to myself everyday. Well actually its more like having the angel and devil on your shoulders (only fit girl and fat girl). I feel crazy sometimes having those conversations in my head at the grocery store so its good to know I'm not alone, haha.

Keep up the positive attitude, that will get you very far! :)

Barefoot Pixie said...

You are so right. As I read this post I thought about all the times I've acted like a spoiled brat trying to get my way in everything. My inner fat girl is very, very selfish in more ways than just relate to food and exercise. When I am giving in to those bad behaviors I also tend to spend less time with my children and think less of the needs of others in every aspect of my life. I really love this reminder. Thank you!

liz said...

i ssoooo hear ya! and when i listen to fit-girl, i am so much happier later, as opposed to when i let fat-girl win, and later have to talk myself out of the regret and just learn from it and move on...

Val said...

Oh I can so relate to this post. Right now my Fit girl is tiny...minuscule even, and my Fat Girl is the big kahuna. But times they are a-changing, and I'm hoping one day for my Fit girl behaviors to be the norm instead of an aberration...Keep up the good work chicky :)

Slim said...

Your blog is AMAZING!!! I love your writing style & the fact that you struggle with the same issues as me just makes it even better. You are an inspiration!!!! I am just starting my weight loss journey & plan to read your blog on a regular basis. I did my "before" pictures today & posting them (along with weight & measurements) made me sick to my stomach. I'm sure I'll feel better about doing it once I start reaching goals along the way.
Thanks for blogging! I wish you great success in everytihng you do!

Cathy said...

Terrific! I couldn't express it better in my own words. Unfortunately so far Fat Girl wins most of the discussions, but I'm on my way to find some compromise with her ;-)

Fat[free]Me said...

LOL, looks like so many can relate - my inner fat girl is currently tied up and gagged, but I have a feeling she is planning her escape and will exact her revenge. Help!

Mike579 said...

Sometimes a memory of fat foods can sustain me enough to ignore the fat boy inside my head. It's only when I am sleepy that fit boy tends to be weakened and fat boy takes the wheel. Beyond that, fat boy is just a Bytch and should be slapped and ignored accordingly!

Lisa said...

Oh yes... I have had this very same conversations in my mind too! Sometimes the fat girl wins and the fit girl becomes withdrawn and depressed. The fat girl will chug down 4 reese cups WITH a real coke in no time flat AND brag about it.

The fit girl will sit in the background watching the self destruction again.... but Fit girl does show her face and gets out and walks fat girl.. and fat girl submits becasue the guilt is too much to bear.

Yep.... it is a battle between good an evil,,, fit and fat.

Lynn said...

Seems like we all so understand this constant battle. My hope is that fit girl wins more than she loses right now as I know in time she will be come more powerful and be able to "beat" fat girl down.

Great post.

Vickie said...

when I finally heard the term to describe this - impulse control - it was actually on a dog training show. they were talking about exactly the same thing - not doing it just because one wants to - only with dogs. I have written about the parallel between dogs and husbands many times (telling them what you want instead of what you don't want, being clear, keeping a calm voice, etc). But I wonder if it is even more base level than that - things that everyone needs to learn in childhood - and because of the odd thinking or perhaps disorded minds around us - we didn't - ???

Terri said...

I really, really, really love this post. I couldn't have said it better myself. Good job.

45 and Aspiring said...

Nice essay. I love how you ended it.

Are you a Gemini too? ;)

Jack Sh*t, Gettin' Fit said...

I'm betting on Fit Girl to kick Fat girl's ass.

Kerri said...

What an awesome post that I think soo soo soo many of us who are struggling to get rid of th weight can relate to. Its my second visit by and I know I'll be back!

bbubblyb said...

As lynn said on her post the other day "lock her in the basement" lol. Good post and so true.

Honib1 said...

ohhh man .. I can so relate.. only I do not have a fit girl yet.. I have a wanna get healthy girl.. and she fights with fat girl all the time .. you should hear the arguing since I started WW last Wednesday.. it wears me out.. boy thanks for that timely post..

Mama Bear June said...

Kick that Fat girl to the curb! Fit girl is much more sensible.
Path to Health

olivia said...

way to go!

Jenn said...

Great post and SO TRUE!!!
My Fat Girl just wants what everyone else is having.

Anonymous said...

After reading everybody's comments, I had a thought: What if we all looked at this differently? Instead of two girls, both struggling for power, what about fat child and fit adult? Fit adult could deal with fat child with firm boundaries and compassion. The fit adult doesn't have to capitulate to the whims of a three-year old manipulating to get her way.

Trish said...

I thought about your post yesterday when I was fixing my daughter some Eggo pancakes and REALLY wanted some.

I was having a stressful day, and had a ton of things to do around the house, and I realized I just wanted to bury my troubles in some buttery, syrupy goodness then take a nap, (because eating crap like that always makes me very sleepy.)

I just wanted to escape, and avoid my responsibilities.

Your words helped me to think through the momentary temptation and make a better choice instead. Thanks.

Ria said...

Great post - my "fat girl" is a lot like yours - really bratty :)

Mary said...

I may have posted this before, but it's so appropriate to your post and may help explain some of what you're feeling.

http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/200811/multiple-personalities

Keep it up and before you know it, the fit girl will be your default position!

PatriciaW said...

You always manage to hit the dieting nail right on the head! I'm with everyone else -- tie Fat Girl up, lock her up, and throw away the key!

crabby said...

One brownie got you where you are now.


That's what is really sticking with me. That statement is going to help me.

Meg said...

I most definately have the same two voices in my head. I can't count how many times I've had the argument about the brownie (or cupcake or ice cream or mochalattewithwhipcreamandsprinklesontop)

I call it a victory if my FitGirl wins more of those battles than she looses.

Fatty Cake Heather said...

You are HILARIOUS!!!
How true it is. Fat girl is very loud and obnoxious in my ear. And because the squeakey wheel gets the grease...well, she gets more grease than she should. I am printing this out and putting it on my fridge so that Fat girl can read it next time she squawks...and maybe she'll shut up for a change.

Lolly said...

Great blog post!! I love it and oh, isn't it the truth? :)

Leisia said...

Amazing post!!! Wow, I love reading these posts, especially when it feels like it came straight out of my own head. So many people with the same feelings and obstacles to deal with.

Stay srong...the fit girl wins:)

Susan said...

What a great post! I particularly like the way you wrote about the childish nature of the Fat Girl.

A while ago, I read an online discussion about the psychology of overweight people and a psychologist who dealt a with addictions came online and said (and I'm paraphrasing here) that people with addictive personalities have a strong component of childlike or infantile behaviour in that they want immediate gratification.

On that point, I think Vickie's comment is spot-on:

But I wonder if it is even more base level than that - things that everyone needs to learn in childhood - and because of the odd thinking or perhaps disorded minds around us - we didn't - ???The more I remember my childhood, the more I think that's true. Food for thought (pun intended!)