Monday, August 17, 2009

Mushy Mindset

It's funny how I vacillate from moment to moment from, "I don't care, I want cookies" to "losing weight is the most important thing right now, and I will do anything to get there." I mean, literally. One minute I am seriously considering buying cookie dough, and the next I am thinking I should eat an egg and some broccoli for dinner and do an hour of exercise. Today in the grocery store, I was happily going along buying my fiber-rich, low sugar cereal when suddenly I really, *really* wanted chocolate chip cookies. I stood there at the dairy case, looking at the cookie dough and thinking, "yeah. It's worth it. I want some." Then my brain sort of flicked to another channel and I didn't especially care anymore, so I went on and bought my skim milk and came home.

I waver, minute to minute, between the edge of a binge and being firmly entrenched in healthy living.

It doesn't bother me like it used to. I used to beat myself up, fight myself over the *wanting.* And that would lead to actually EATING those foods, because I already felt so guilty about the thoughts that I figured I may as well go on and eat it.

Ridiculous? Maybe. But similar to a religious precept I was taught growing up: a thought is as much a sin as an action is. If you lust after a woman, you already committed adultery with her in your heart. I remember praying for forgiveness constantly as a child because I was afraid I would be condemned for the things that casually passed through my mind, or things I considered doing but never did. And that mindset passed to my eating disorder: if you lust after a food, you already binged on it in your heart. You're just as guilty thinking about it... wanting it... as if you had eaten ten thousand calories of that food. And so, in the past, when I'd start the terrible wanting, lusting, crazy desiring, I'd become so overwhelmed by feelings of guilt and shame that I didn't think it would be any worse to actually *eat* the stuff.

No more.

I am in a constant state of flux (as constant as flux can be) between the binge eating desires and the healthy behaviors desires. ALL the time... well, 95% of the time... I *do* care what I eat. I *do* want to eat healthy, move, be fit, get healthy, lose weight. I want it with all of my being. But then there's that 5% of the time when I just don't care about that stuff. All I want, all that consumes my entire consciousness in those moments is the next fix of junk food: the Oreos, the pizza, how much candy and cake and cheese can I eat before I am too stuffed to manage another bite? Sometimes, seriously, that is *all* that matters to me. And those are the moments of decision... the moments that make this journey or break it.

I won't lie. It's been hard. Sometimes I've given in, and then I regret it later. But you know what? The times when I feel so urgently overwhelmed by food desires have lessened *so much* over the past 2 years that it is, in itself, quite remarkable. I'd say that 2 years ago, 90% of the time I was in that food mindset, and 10% of the time I cared what I ate and wanted to be healthy. And now, it's down to only about 5% food insanity. That's amazing. And great. Because when you are in that state of food obsession, you really can't focus on much else: not your health, not your home, not your family. And that sucks.

So today when I got that brief urge for cookie dough, I didn't become guilt-ridden and start hating myself and labeling myself a glutton or a failure or a sinner.I just smiled, thought about cookies and how yummy they are, and walked away. Sure, sometimes I'll give in. Sometimes I even overindulge at a super-delicious meal. But that doesn't make me bad, or weak. It makes me human. If I do it too often, it makes me fat.

I told a friend today that I wish I didn't vacillate in my mind like that. I feel like a split personality sometimes with the little kid screaming in the background "I want caaaake!" and the grown-up me saying "not right now." I still battle myself sometimes, but far less often than I used to. And I like that.

My friend told me that over time, she believed I would develop a "firmer mindset," meaning less vacillation and less uncertainty. That's true. It gets easier with time. The more healthy choices we make, the less mushy our mindset becomes.

I wish the weight would just fall off, but I realise that I am not just changing the way I eat. I am changing the way I live, the way I think. I am changing the very core of my behaviors, and that takes time. And *that* will be time well spent.

30 comments:

kelly said...

Excellent, excellent post. You are so insightful! I really enjoy reading your blog, you are inspiring.

South Beach Steve said...

Lyn, it is great to read of your victory over the food. While you still struggle with it some, the change you have made over the last two years is amazing. Keep improving - you are doing great!

Amy H. said...

Realizing that I have no control over those impulses popping into my head has helped me tremendously. I can try to control how I respond to them, but I will never be able to control when & where & why they come up. They just do.

Deb said...

VERY interesting post. I had never thought of things this way before.

Ashley said...

I feel the same way. Honestly today I gave in. I feel really guilt right now.
Can I post this on my blog? I will credit you of course, but this post was completely inspiring.
My blog is
adailydoseofdieting.blogspot.com
Please let me know if I can repost it and credit you-
adailydoseofdieting@gmail.com
LOVE your blog. You are an inspiration.

Anonymous said...

Lyn, I think you would enjoy reading the book, "The Gabriel Method." It's helped me more than words can say and I think it may help you as well.

flyingwoman said...

I never put that together before. Sins of thoughts and sins of deeds and how those things translate into the slippery slope of "well, I'm already a terrible failure, I might was well binge."

Thanks for the insight.

My inner toddler screams for cake all the time too.

Lyn said...

Ashley~

feel free to repost with credit! I always welcome the great compliment of having my posts published or referenced on other people's blogs, as long as they link back to my site! Thanks for asking :)

justjuliebean said...

You and I are somewhat similar in how we handle our indulgences, in the thinking that we're human and they're going to happen, and it's okay, but too often and it makes us fat. Even my indulgences are not that unhealthy or huge these days, and I don't begrudge myself a treat now and again, and hardly even stress about it any more.

Weight loss is slow, if you want to keep your sanity along the way.

screwdestiny said...

Nothing worth doing is easy. Good for you for keeping at it.

Jason & Tami said...

That's a great post!

One thing to encourage you- the idea of something occurring is not sin. Dwelling on it to feed the desire in thought is sin. So, for a man to see a woman, think she's attractive, and have the idea flit through the mind that he'd like to have sex with her, that is not sin. But to dwell in that, and to imagine carrying out the acts his heart desires, that is sin.

So, to have the idea of desiring cookie dough isn't sinful. The set your heart on it, to imagine stuffing your face and longing for that, to desire it more than you desire to worship Jesus, that is sin. That's what sin is- making anything (even being healthy!) other than Jesus your God, that which you worship (commit yourself to).

The good news is that we're sinners- no matter what, we're always going to find moments where we worship things/thoughts/people/ideas/desires/etc more than Jesus- BUT there is grace! God gives those who believe on Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior the Holy Spirit, and the Holy Spirit convicts us when we sin and then helps us repent and worship Jesus. It's pretty beautiful, grace :)

Thank you for sharing, and I hope you are encouraged!

coolred38 said...

Nice post. I tend to feel that since I thought it I might as well do it...cause Im half way there anyhow. A slippery slope indeed...one I fight to avoid every moment of every day. Somedays I steer clear...other days I free fall...

Its never ever easy. Count yourself one step ahead when you can turn yourself away from the cookie dough without having given in...that time...lol.

NOTWBTRFLY said...

So very insightful... Thank you for sharing.

Vickie said...

really good post

sarahbb said...

I was JUST thinking about this stuff today ... the battle. I completely understand where you're coming from. Sometimes it gets tiring, sometimes I feel helpless, sometimes I feel guilt. I mostly feel content, though, knowing I'm at least trying.

Leslie said...

You stated in this post what I've been aware of in myself over and over. Every morning I am ready and wanting to be healthy and do what it takes to get there. I'm full of determination and sureness of mind that I really do want to lose weight. And then, later, for some reason or no reason (or one I can't identify) I begin to fixate on wanting something that isn't in my best interest to eat. And the struggle within my obsessive mind exhausting! Thanks for saying so well what I've known for so long but couldn't quite put into words. The endless thinking about eating and trying not to would make me begin to feel like I'd already done it, or that it was inevitable that I would. But it's not inevitable, and as a self declared food addict, why wouldn't my mind often drift to food? But I don't have to believe every thought I have, nor do I have to act on every impulse.

You sound great!

Trula said...

yup, I get those 'I don't care' moments all the time. it's hard to understand, really. It's like another person inside of me wants me to be fat.

Lyn said...

Jason & Tami~

Thank you for the beautiful sentiment. While I appreciate the good thoughts, I do want to say that I personally no longer subscribe to the "thinking = sin" belief. Sometimes I do dwell on the food... even fantasize about it for a long time... but I don't believe I need to 'repent' of that. If I don't eat it, I feel *very* proud of myself and successful and strong. For me, food obsession is just gonna be there and it doesn't make me any less of a person or a sinner or bad in *any* way. Nor does slipping up occasionally... but the main point being, *eating* it makes me fat. Not *thinking* about eating it. We have to separate reality from fantasty and detach from any guilt feelings and misguided sense of failure over desires and thoughts.

Just wanted to clarify that for those reading :)

Hanlie said...

What an amazing insight! Thank you so much for this post! You've helped me a great deal!

Winderdoodle said...

Wow, this is a great post and really hit home with me. I do the same thing with wavering back and forth. I find though that if I can just give my "craving" time, it passes. It's easier said than done though.

Michelle said...

Excellent post! My sentiments exactly! Do we all think the same?

Back for Round Two said...

My new strategy is to drink a big drink of water every time I have a craving and then stop and listen to my body... am I actually hungry? I'm working on making that the deciding factor on whether or not I eat, before I even consider WHAT I'm going to eat. I had no concept of the volume of food I've been eating!

Thank you for another great post, I love your blog :)

Insunlite said...

Very truthful and moving post...feels good to be able to observe your inner and outer transformation. Very inspirational!

Steelers6 said...

SHE WALKED AWAY FROM THE COOKIE DOUGH!!! Wooo hoo! That is a victory!

Also, love the switched mindset:

Today:

you care what you eat 95%of the time, and don't care 5% of the time...

VS

In the past:

you cared what you ate 10% of the time, & didn't care 90% of the time.

Yahooo!! Wonderful new mindset! Soo headed in the right direction! It all matters and counts! Go Lyn, ChrissyS

Paula said...

I can totally relate to your post. I too am always on that edge--eat healthy vs. chocolate cake. I wonder sometimes if I have a food addition. Obviously we're not giving into the temptations all the time. Its all we can do--make good choices as best we can. Hang in there.

Ria said...

Another great, very insightful post, Lyn. That switch from 90% to 5% of the time is such a victory for your new way of living & thinking!

seattlerunnergirl said...

Thanks for the insightful post. As is often the case, I can see myself in your thought process and struggle - and, this time, victory! I also love the depth of thought and respect that go into peoples' comments to your posts, and your replies to them, too. Keep it comin'!

Janis said...

Wow, so true.

Tammy said...

I totally get that sinner mindset...doing it in your mind, so you're already guilty and condemned. I was raised the exact same way. I, too, have been consumed with food thoughts lately...like ALL WEEK. I've been on the edge of a binge for the last 4 days. Some days are REALLY hard to get through. But we both know if we restrain that crazy thinking and stay on the straight and narrow that we will eventually overcome. When we get to our goal, and look back at how dang hard it was to get there, I think we will say it was worth it, and thus make the victory all the sweeter. :)

Val said...

I'm bookmarking this to come back. This post is *EXACTLY* what I need right now. I am struggling so bad with binge behavior right now. So thank you for this awesome post :)