Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Different Steps

When I was a kid, I don't remember ever eating breakfast on a school day. I'd pry myself out of bed to a blaring alarm, stagger to the shower, sit down in the tub and promptly fall back asleep in there for 45 minutes until the water going ice cold woke me up. I'd jump out, realize I was about to miss my bus, and race to get dressed. I didn't have time to dry my hair all the time, so even in winter I'd be running to the bus stop with icicles forming on my head. Breakfast? Forget it. No time for that.

This went on from the time I was in middle school through high school. I think when I was 15 or so, I got my act together enough to get up, not fall asleep in the shower, and dry and style my hair before school. And I got a car so I didn't have to rely on that bus. But I still didn't eat breakfast. I remember telling my friends that I was *never* hungry in the morning, and if I tried to eat anything it made me feel nauseous. I didn't even drink so much as a glass of water until lunchtime back then. However, on weekends I occasionally indulged in a couple of bowls of Cocoa Pebbles.

At school, I ate the standard school lunch. We only had a couple of palatable choices, and I would go in spurts between eating french bread pizza every day or getting lunch at the potato bar. The pizza was a huge french bread loaf, split in half and then sliced into giant hunks, doused in sauce and smothered in cheese and sometimes pepperoni. And the potato bar was one where you got a baked potato, placed it in a plastic dish, and then could add as many toppings as would fit without spilling over the edges of the bowl. The object here was to pick the smallest possible baked potato, press it open into a volcano shape but make it tall enough not to take up much bowl space, and then top it with butter, bacon, sometimes chili, and as much fake orange cheese sauce as you could fit inside the potato and in the bowl. It was basically a cup and a half of buttery cheese bacon sauce with a small side of potato. Oh, my arteries!! On weekends, lunch was Ramen, hot dogs, or Kraft Mac n Cheese.

When I'd get home from school it was time for a snack: potato chips and dip, a bagel with cream cheese, or just a big bowl of cheese. Dinner was varied. My Dad made amazing tempura (deep fried, battered stuff) or we'd have meat and mashed potatoes and gravy, or hot dogs. We often went out to dinner and I'd get deep fried butterfly shrimp or a filet mignon wrapped in bacon or a cheesy lasagna, with lots of rolls and butter or garlic bread on the side and often a dessert of cheesecake. Heck, when I think about it, my whole life was a giant bowl of cheese during those formative years. I bet 90% of my cells were full of cheese.

Fast food was an integral part of my diet, too. My mom would take me for lunch on weekends or during the summer to Hardee's for a Hot Ham 'n' cheese, fries and a milkshake. Or we'd go to McDonald's for a Big Mac meal. When I started working and driving myself around, I'd hit Burger King for dinner or for lunch on weekends. I'd have a big ol' Whopper with cheese, with the mayo just dripping off it, and fries and a Coke. We'd go to Pizza Hut and have that greasy pan pizza for dinner. And I thought all this was just "normal" food. I didn't really know that other people ate differently. And I wasn't fat. Despite eating all that junk, not exercising, not playing any sports or going to dance classes, and spending my afternoons watching The Flintstones and playing Atari, I didn't get fat.

It caught up with me, obviously. I was in my 20's and had a couple of children before I got really fat. I've spent a lot of time educating myself on nutrition and trying to break old habits. Oddly enough, now if I skip breakfast (or any meal) I get a headache. I get grumpy and start feeling like I will eat anything in sight. I crave carbs, and I definitely crave cheese. I miss the fast food and junk food and salty greasy fried stuff. I tell myself I do not want it and that I hate what it has done to my body, but really in the back of my mind I still would eat it if it didn't make me fat.

This morning I woke up feeling like my body is slowing down and getting ready to hibernate. The chilly morning air and the shortening days make me want to sleep and eat and not do much else. I sat here with my coffee, trying to wake up. I wanted to go to McDonald's for breakfast. I kept dismissing it from my mind but the brain persisted. I'd seen a commercial yesterday showing their "breakfast" of eggs, sausage, hash browns, pancakes, syrup, OJ... and I *wanted* it. I was getting really annoyed arguing with myself for awhile, and then I just got up and made my scrambled Egg Beaters, 2 lean sausage links, and a reduced fat Bisquick pancake from the freezer. That with a 6oz glass of OJ made me feel better with about 1/3 (or less) of the calories that McDonald's would have offered. It's progress.

Yesterday I wanted to sit on the couch all day. I knew I needed to get out and get some exercise. I drove myself to the park, got out, and just walked. Motivation to walk? Zero. I didn't want to, I didn't care. As I walked, the motivation got to maybe a 1, because it *was* a nice day out, but I really wanted to be home zoning out from reality with my computer and a bag of chips. But I just kept walking, grumbling the whole way, until my legs hurt. I walked for a half hour, then came home. No chips, either.

It's little decisions that will determine my weight and fitness level in the future. The past formed my patterns but the present is far more important. I do not have to keep travelling the path that got me fat. I can take different steps. And I am.


{ALL} for a Better Life said...

Girl you can do this! We can do this! GOOD JOB at making yourself breakfast and getting out there for a walk!

Friend of the Bear said...

Hi Lyn. I really admire you making that low calorie version for your beakfast. It takes effort and thought to do that - and it's definitely worth it.

And I admire you walking in the park when you really didn't feel like it.

Yes reality is much harder work and takes much more effort, but in the end it will make your reality a lot happier and healthier.

I hope I manage to engage with reality in a positive way some time soon. Thanks for the inspiration.

Best wishes,
Bearfriend xx

Vickie said...

I absolutely can't watch commercials either.

Georgia Mist said...

Yes, it can be difficult to get motivated to walk or workout, but it is SO worth it at the end of the day!
Best of success to you!

Tiffany said...

Good for you. sometimes making the small changes are the hardest....especially when we are so used to doing things a certain way. Keep it up!

Leslie said...

Victory over the mind wooing you to Mcdonald's! That's a biggie. One day at a time...one choice at a time. Sometimes I just have to keep "putting it off" (the call of the food) and tell myself, "Later, if you really still want to eat that." If I tell myself that until late enough in the day, it's time for bed!
Way to walk against you desire, also. The mind tells us things, like "I don't want to walk today." We don't have to believe everything our minds tell us.

Diane, Fit to the Finish said...

You are strong enough to do this! Congratulations on the walk and the breakfast. Sometimes, when I'd get discouraged, I just made myself do the right things. It wasn't easy, but I was always glad when I did.

Take care.

flyingwoman said...

My brain, that evil, snivelling little portion of my brain that loves to undermine me had a full out tantrum last night. I've gotten accustomed to working from home and a big meeting in the office was causing me some social anxiety. i did fine while out, but at home that evening, a piss fit went on in my head.

In the fridge were lovely, easy leftovers for dinner: healthy home-made turkey barley soup, south-west stew, stuffed peppers. Two minutes is all it would have taken to heat it up and go. Usually that works.

Not last night. I wanted greasy greek gyros and pork sticks. I wanted carby, greasy pizza. I saw a Kelsey's commercial and wanted fish and chips RIGHT NOW. I wanted bad, and no amount of reasoning with myself was working.

I ended up toasting a bit of spaghetti sauce, some low fat turkey pepperoni and part skim mozza on a high fibre pita. Not perfect, but it's progress.

Melissa Venable said...

you totally rock! & i'm so so glad i found your blog. I struggle w/ the same things. daily. i'm definitely making myself do this. i pray that ONE DAY it's not such a struggle.

Kristin from the NW said...

Hahaha--you must have grown up during the 70's like me! I just was telling my daughter how I remember never having fresh fruit or veggies in the house growing up--only canned green beans and pears, and usually everything coated in cream of mushroom soup and tater tots! We can (and will) overcome our 70's heritage!

Twix said...

One little positive change at a time!

Isn't that how we got to big to begin with? That's how I know we will eventually end up at our goal. :)

Tammy said...

The fact that you ate better and exercised when you REALLY didn't want to proves that you have made some serious mental strides Lyn...I'm proud of you for that...and I love following your blog. I'm always rooting for you girl...:)

Name: Lynise said...

Lyn, I read this post and one thing springs to mind, (well a couple actually) but the main one is I'm wondering if the problem is really food, or if its a lack of purpose.

Psychologists will tell us that the number 1 factor contributing to how a person feels about their life, is directionaly proportional to how much purpose they have.

I'm not just talking about things we have to do, or places we have to be, but rather a sense of purpose that forfills us. (really forfills us).

When you say all you felt like doing was sitting at the computer with chips I hear "I have no purpose that forfils me".

I could be way wrong here (and I don't mean this to sound critical) as I've been in this very spot myself, where I've trotted to a job I didn't enjoy, had a relationship that was shite (on a good day) and the weeks just blurred into each other without any real sense that I was alive or LOVED my life.

Thankfully a decade has past and the toxic relationship is long over, I have a job I LOVE, my daughter is healthy, happy and I love being her mother, but the biggest change is my sense of purpose. To have a sense of purpose and forfillment as opposed to how things were in the past was the key to unlocking my own happiness.