Tuesday, June 30, 2009


Yesterday, I spent 5 hours on the road driving my child to a medical appointment. I've become accustomed to such trips; I've been making them for about 12 years now, and it looks like this is going to be part of my life for many more years to come.

In the past, when I made this trip, I looked at it as an excuse to eat a lot of crap. I'd go out and buy "car snacks" for my kids (junk foods they'd rarely get, like little packs of cookies and crackers, bottles of Gatorade, and candy) and for myself (bottled sugary coffees, candy bars, more cookie packs) to "sustain" us on the road. And then of course we had to stop for at least one meal, sometimes two... and guess what our main stop was? McDonalds. Nothing like a Big Mac meal chased down by candy and cookies to make a road trip exciting! Sometimes though, we'd stop at a Denny's or something, because you can't get onions rings at McDonald's.

Yesterday, I did some planning. I chilled some bottles of water in the fridge and made peanut butter sandwiches on whole wheat for the kids. I packed a little cooler with the water, sandwiches, fresh cherries, whole grain crackers. I brought a little 80-calorie cup of tuna salad for myself with All Bran crackers. And we brought some goldfish crackers for the kids because, hey, a little fun is good!

Unfortunately I got only 4 hours of sleep the night before the trip, and I woke up feeling pretty awful. I made my tea, had my breakfast and we hit the road. About an hour and a half into the trip I was feeling like pulling over and going to sleep on the side of the road; instead, I pulled in to a rest stop for some free coffee. But the usual stand was closed up. I hit the next Starbucks for a latte, and off we went.

When we got near our destination, we decided to stop at a rather large park to eat our picnic lunch. We walked around in the sunshine, and ate beside a river. The kids fed bread crumbs to the geese and ran around the playground. It was glorious! We all wanted to stay longer. There were walking trails and paths everywhere. Why have I never noticed this before?? In TWELVE YEARS and at *least* 20 trips to this doctor, we never came to this lovely park to play and have a picnic. Why?? I was too focused on french fries and M&M's to notice it.

The park was the highlight of the trip and the kids are already asking to go back, but it's not a trip we will make again (probably) for another year. You can bet when we do go, there will be a picnic lunch, playing, and a lot of walking the trails. What a lovely visit we had. I can't believe I missed it ALL those years. It was there for the taking, yet my carload of kids and I were at McDonald's instead. NO more.

On the way home, we snacked on bran crackers and the kids napped for a couple of hours. When we got within an hour of home it was dinnertime. Back at home, contractors were *finally* working on my gutted, flooded main bathroom and my house was a mess. Exhausted, I decided to stop for dinner. But no fast food.

We stopped at a restaurant. I scanned the menu. I should have gotten a salad, but I was feeling this big need for something *warm* and full of protein, so I ordered a turkey sandwich. Not just deli turkey; REAL, slow roasted turkey... in big, warm, falling-apart pieces. Oh it was divine. The problem is that it said "on sourdough" but in fact when it arrives, the bread was *buttered* and grilled. Not happy about that. Should have asked more questions.... but I ate it and left part of the bread. Boy the turkey was great though. I also had a choice of fries of potato salad... and went with the potato salad. I ate about 3 bites of that. Trying not to eat fried foods anymore. I had some bean/vegetable soup as well, about half a cup.

At the end of dinner we decided to share one dessert. We got a little "lava cake" with ice cream and I got about 4 bites of that.

When I got home, it took me a long, long time to get the kids to bed. Sleeping in the car isn't always helpful. When I finally got them all down, I sat down in the silence and all I wanted to do was BINGE. It was 10pm, my stomach was growling, and I just wanted to eat, and eat, and eat. I took a moment and checked in with myself:

Me: what's going on?
Self: I wanna eat.
Me: Why? You ate enough today.
Self: I just wanna. Gimme ice cream.
Me: You'll get heartburn eating this late. Bad idea.
Self: So what. Gimme cheese.
Me: I can see you're just *very* tired. You only got four hours of sleep last night, and had a long day. I think you should go to bed now and not eat anything.
Self: *yawn* but I wanna eaaaaaaat...
Me: (hauls self to bed)

So I did get to bed by 10:30, my daughter woke me up at 12:30, and then we were up at 7. I feel better going to bed earlier. I need to do it more often.

Oh, and the doctor appointment? Went wonderfully! One more area of concern is nearly eliminated, with a follow-up appointment in one year to be sure. Relief!

Now I know I didn't have an ideal day yesterday. It was an improvement over what I used to do, but I am starting to become more critical of myself lately because even with improvement, the weight just is not coming off. At the time when I am sitting in a restaurant after avoiding fast food all day and not letting myself have onion rings, it *seems* like I am doing GREAT when I decide to share one dessert with my kids instead of getting the huge dessert I really want all for myself (and then getting some cookies "to go" for later). It *seems* in the moment like I made a good choice, and it *feels* in the moment like I am being strict with myself and making a good compromise. But then I look back and think, "do you really expect to lose weight eating lava cake and ice cream?!?"

The critical self and the accepting self have to come to some kind of agreement, I guess. There is acceptance, and there is excuse-making. Am I successful because I have made (and kept) enough changes to keep me *out* of morbid obesity for over a year now? Am I a failure because I am not losing weight? On any given day I waver. Happy because I have changed and eliminated 99% of my binge behavior. Sad because I am still fat. Happy because I am able to live life more fully now. Sad because I am not living life as fully as I could be.

I'm choosing to be the glass-half-full kinda girl. I'll embrace the changes I've made and be proud of the weight loss I have maintained. I accept that I am going to take awhile to get the rest of the pounds off, because for me, it's not just a matter of "oh, I'll just eat salad and chicken, and jog 6 miles a day, and the weight will fall off." It's complicated. And only I can discover the intimate details of what made me fat, and change them. Yet I have to hold myself accountable and not just excuse the mistakes I make. I have to examine my actions on a regular basis so I can keep adjusting my course, bit by bit, to get where I want to be.

Little adjustments. Big efforts. Learning. And time.

I'll get there.


beerab said...

I know how you feel- last week I ate out FOUR times! We had our four year anniversary last Thursday, then on Saturday I didn't want to cook lunch, on Sunday we saw his aunt from Alaska who came to visit so while we went out I ate out TWICE on Sunday! I tried to make the best choices and today I'm back to my weight before all that- but I was just so hard on myself! My DH was like focus on the positives- you wear a medium shirt now and a size 16- that's two shirt sizes down and a pant size down!

We just have to learn to not be so hard on ourselves *hugz* Anytime we make an effort IMO it's a victory :)

Megan said...

That park/ McDonalds thing was really poignant. I've been noticing how much I focus on food on a day to day basis and wondering what else I may be missing out on. What a great discovery.

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

Long-haul car snacking is one of my last bad habits to conquer. Thankfully, I'm not on the road very often.

Kudos to you for fighting your inner demons to at least a draw; some days, that's the best we can hope for.

Tammy said...

I know it's rough Lyn, I'm in the same boat you are. But you SHOULD be proud of your accomplishments thus far....just don't be content with them. Press on, and you WILL get to where you want to be. I believe in you. :)

"Let me tell you the secret that has led me to my goal. My strength lies solely in my tenacity." -Louis Pasteur

HugeMD said...

Lyn--I think you've got it totally right!

herewegoagain said...

I can't tell you how much I enjoy your writing. It doesn't matter that you're not making PERFECT choices. What does matter is that you're making BETTER choices. And you're acknowledging it.

you should be proud. the going to bed instead of feeding that "voice" is something huge and you should focus on that strength. For me, that's one of the hardest things.

NewMe said...

I think you're making the BEST choices because any choice you make has to be sustainable...for the rest of your life.

Anyone can decide to be "good" and never waver from the plan, but that only lasts a few days, weeks or months. Almost no one can sustain perfection or near-perfection for a lifetime. That's why dieting is not a permanent solution for the vast, vast majority of people. Staying perfectly on plan forever is downright impossible, unless you were a Buddhist monk in a past life.

It might take you twice or three times as long to shed the weight while making the choices you're making now. But in doing so, you are developing the habits that will enable you to reach and more importantly keep a healthy weight.

Hats off to the diet divas. If they can live that way forever, more power to them. You've found your way, though, and I think it's fantastic.

Keep it up.

P.S. Always love your writing. I've got you on my blog roll.

Andra said...

Frequent self-examination (not critical examination but often) is definitely a great strategy in fostering and KEEPING healthy habits. A healthy life doesn't exist in a vacuum, we're always growing, changing and so our healthy habits have to keep up. And because I can't resist based on the title of the post..."Don't stop believing!"

Tina said...

Good for you!

I have two small boys (4 and 2). My hubby and I have started packing a cooler with healthy stuff when we head out of town, and using our gps to find parks in the area. We usually scout out 2 or 3 each trip. The boys don't throw a fit to leave one, because they are excited to see another new one...and none of us miss the fast food. :o)

Anonymous said...

Well, I have to say, this truely a personal journey. I too, was not one of those that had an 'aha' moment and then followed the straight and narrow to thinness. For me, I can't restict myself (only makes things more enticing) so I started making better choices, with bad choices woven in, and that's what workd for me. Eventually the good outweighs the bad, and I don't stress over 'never' having treat xyz again. Its been a long journey (about 3 years on my non-diet diet) but its working and I feel comfortable with all my choices, good and bad.
Anyway, the point is, its the overall accumulation of good choices that lead us in the right direction.
Good luck.

Lolly said...

Yay to making better choices and making time for fun! It's the memories, not the food, that the kids will remember! Congrats on a good day!!

Stephanie said...

Great job on the McDonalds vs. picnic and park. I, too, am a road snack junkie. It is important to examine those habits we have and see if we can make improvements. I will utilize your idea on our next trip!

Excuse-making is so easy for us. I see it all the time when I read women's blogs and also, when I visit my own damned head! It is easier to take the easier, softer path than it is to work hard and be disciplined about our self-care. Exercise really makes a difference for me - if I am actively exercising every day, I am way more inclined to make better food choices. I know you have problematic knees and all but you should try just really stepping up your exercise. It's positive mental effect may surprise you! Best regards.

NewMe said...

Message to Stephanie re: exercise and bad knees.

I realize that you are only trying to be helpful and supportive in suggesting that Lynn that she keep up the exercise despite her knees, but unless you've suffered yourself from debilitating pain, just suggesting that someone get over it and exercise more is simply not fair.

I am extremely limited in the kind of exercise that I can do due to arthritis in several joints. In my case, it's hereditary and set in when I was quite young.

I am fighting an uphill battle to do the kinds of exercises that help with weight loss. Yoga is my best exercise. It's been extremely helpful in helping to keep me walking, but let me tell you, the kind of yoga that I can do is no help with losing weight.

I recently met with a sports medicine doctor to get fitted for a knee brace so that I can use the elliptical trainer. I am now up to a grand 15 minutes, a couple of times a week. Again, little help with weight loss. So far, the stationary bike is too much for my knee to take.

So please, be careful about blithely recommending exercise to those of us who are trying our best with bodies that don't always want to cooperate!

Jenn said...

I think you made great choices considering the situation. You planned ahead and ate in moderation - what more could you ask for?
This is a way of life - there will be days when life gets in the way, but if you make these kinds of choices, you will win!

Lyn said...


very true about the knees. It's very risky to do even moderate increases in exercise. There have been times I have upped it 10 minutes and then could hardly walk for 3 weeks. Limping around in agony is bad news.

I do need to be more regular in what I *can* do... but I can't increase it. I am already beyond my ortho surgeon's recommendations. I am told I need total knee replacements, but I don't have insurance so I just do the best I can, for now.

Some pain is ok to push through, but this kind is not. I could end up doing a lot of damage and needing surgery *now* to even be mobile, so I have to be extra careful.

Honib1 said...

GIve yourself a lot more credit.. it was a world different from the person that did that in years past.. all you can do in your life is do the best you can do with the moment you have.. sometimes you are wonderful.. and sometimes.. not so wonderful.. all you can do is live by the moment and simply give it what you can.. and you my dear.. can DO a hell of a lot that is good for yourself... YAY

Barefoot Pixie said...

Why is that every time I read your blog I have to say, "YES! Exactly!That's how I feel, too!"

The critical self and the accepting self are having a war over here and today the critical self is winning. Hopefully it's just the battle and not the war, though. My accepting self feels more empowered to make even better changes but my critical self constantly argues that without PAIN there is no GAIN!

You'r choices were so much better. Especially with no sleep the night before. That is when I am the most vulnerable.

Doripink said...

Just found your blog! I love it!
I love the conversation you had with yourself...I have those ALL the time!
Good luck! Dori


Hide those cookies said...

Wow! Great job breaking bad habits and planning your success!

You should be really proud that you were able to talk yourself out of the binge. After such a long, stressful day, it must have been very hard.

Anonymous said...


Seeing the comments about your knees, I was wondering if you were still able to ride your stationary bike? I hope so, I remember how much you used to enjoy it.

Lyn said...


I can ride it, but I have to turn the tension down some. I was doing GREAT when I had worked up to 30 min daily... it was strengthening the muscles around the knee and stabilizing them. But then I didn't ride regularly for a couple of months. I can ride about 25 min on a lower resistance every other day and am hoping to work back up to my previous levels.... gotta get those muscles strong again!

Bev P aka Hockeygal4ever said...

Each day is another step, some days forward, some days back but either way you're on the road to being healthy & making healthier choices! THAT is what matters!

Glad the trip & dr visit went well too!

NewMe said...


Have you tried riding your bike wearing a tensor-type band with flexible metal stays? Sizing can be a problem, but if you can find one that fits properly it will keep your knee tracking correctly.

anne h said...

I am thinking of you by a river, eating a picnic lunch, feeding geese and playing....very nice visual...good blog!

VeeGettingHealthy said...

**I** think you did a great job! Look at all of the major changes you did for that trip. The planning. The picnic. The chilled water. You did great and you should be patting yourself on the back instead of kicking yourself. Could you maybe acknowledge that allowing yourself those few bites of lava cake was better than eating a whole one, and that you give yourself permission to do it from time to time? Praise yourself. I'd be tickled with a day like that.

Vee at http://www.veegettinghealthy.blogspot.com

Crys said...

Okay, seriously... "So what. Gimme cheese" made me laugh for an entire 5 minutes! It's 2 AM, past my bed time and I'm having the same coversation. Looking forward to following your journey!

Hanlie said...

I agree with the others! You are doing great! You did very well. We need to remember that every step counts... You are making progress!

I've recently realized how to eliminate one of my pitfalls. My husband and I often visit my parents on Sunday afternoons. We go out for a healthy brunch mid-morning and then at about 2pm we set out to their farm, where he can shoot his rifles. We specifically don't go for lunch, because we don't want the whole Sunday roast and dessert thing. But this means that we get home in the early evening, starving! By then I'm in no mood to cook, so I always want to get something quick on the way home. This is so unnecessary! My new plan is to make a large salad before we go to my parents', so that when we get home, we can just eat. It's all about planning!

Anonymous said...

thats the extra wonderful thing about this, incorporating this healthy lifestyle into your children. parks and healthy snacks,,its a win/win!

Anonymous said...

Lyn, wonderful and insightful post, as always!

Perhaps you could get your two selves to agree on a goal if you changed it a bit? Right now you're struggling with your goal of weight LOSS. What if you changed your goal to weight maintenance? You're honest enough to admit that you're not ready to do what it takes to lose weight right now and that's cool! Hurray for knowing yourself!

But your stats say that you've gained about 24 pounds in the last ten months and that's something you probably want to halt before you gain all the weight back. So maybe setting your sights on keeping your weight right where it is would be enough of a goal for now?

Maybe the fight between the accepting and critical selves is the result of an overly ambitious goal? Maybe changing your goal and setting the bar a little lower will help integrate your two selves into a person focused on one goal?

There's no shame in maintenance! Most people who lose weight end up putting it all back on, sooner or later. Don't let yourself go down that road! How about trying to halt the regain now and worry about weight loss later?

Anonymous said...

you are an inspiration!

flyingwoman said...

I'm trying to choose to be the glass-half-full kinda girl too, and it's proving almost (and un-coincidently) as hard as the weight loss itself.

I'm closer to where you started than where you are now, and recovering from a badly neglected body. Getting back into exercise is brutal on me emotionally even more than physically and though I'm doing it it all seems like such baby steps.

That chump, the pouty "Gimme Cheese" voice is used to being in charge, and it whispers in my ear that my inner chearleader is ridiculous and short-lived, and that my best efforts are laughable.

But I'm out here on the borderland, trying to fake it until I make it.