Saturday, January 22, 2011

Self Respect vs Deprivation

So, after that last post I got to thinking about the whole "last time" bit, the fear of "nevers" and how it relates to food. I thought about how last year I basically promised myself I would not eat any form of fried potatoes ever again. I failed miserably at that, because after several months of success I gave in and had some fried potato skins and chips. I thought about how back in 1996, my best friend and I went on a diet where we gave up chocolate in any form because it was so addictive to us. I lost 35 pounds or so that time, not eating a lick of chocolate or cocoa-flavored *anything* for months and feeling quite accomplished about it. I remember on my birthday, someone gave me a pound of M&M's in church as a gift and I took them into the bathroom, thought about eating them all right in the stall, but in a fit of sanity went out and gave them to my husband, telling him I *never* wanted to see them again. I gave up chocolate for months, and I was successful.

What was the breaking point where I turned to chocolate again? Well, it was this. I called up my best friend and she had gone off her diet and had eaten chocolate. I felt betrayed... devastated. We had a pact! We BOTH had lost about 35 pounds and were in this together! But once she ate that chocolate, I felt so alone. I remember when I decided to eat chocolate again shortly after that. I didn't feel happy about it and I didn't enjoy the taste. I ate it to "get back at her" or to make it "fair" or something like that. I ate chocolate because she backed out of our pact, and I was mad.

But the point is, I am capable of actually *not eating* specific things I like for months at a time. Check it out: for over 3 months when I started Medifast, I did not eat one single off-plan thing. No candy, sugar, crackers, rice, nothing. ONLY on plan food. And in fact, I am capable of not only calling it quits on a specific food long term, but of following through AND LIKING IT.

Think about Big Macs. I have written before how I was pretty much obsessed with McDonald's for years. Big Macs were the ultimate food for me... Big Macs, just like my mother used to eat all the time. And fries, and a Coke, back when you could get "supersized" and I was 278 pounds. There were some days I ate not one, but TWO Big Macs. Not both at once, of course, but maybe one for lunch and one for dinner. Or I'd go there for my 3pm snack and eat my Big Mac meal in the parking lot and then drive to the other McDonald's across town and get another one for dinner at 6. Happy Meals for the kids, of course. Or chicken sandwiches from the dollar menu. Yet almost a year and a half ago I SWORE to myself I would NEVER, NEVER, NEVER go to McDonald's again. And I have stuck to that. And I never even *want* to have it again. This is crazy! I used to love, adore, dream about Big Macs and fries, I kid you not, but you could not PAY ME to go eat one now. If you'd have told me that 2 years ago I'd have never believed it. I could not imagine life without Big Macs, and just thinking about giving them up gave me anxiety. How could I *live* without Big Macs????

But I lived. I endured a couple weeks of my daughter tantruming for chicken nuggets every time she saw golden arches. I survived smelling the fries every day when I drove home. I made it through a summer without a McCoffee iced beverage and do you know what? I do not miss it. I cannot imagine ever putting that filth into my body again.

And that gives me HOPE. Because as frantic as I sometimes feel about giving up sweets or chips or junk... as horrid as I imagine it to be to live without certain foods... I felt that way about McDonalds, and it is nothing short of a miracle to me that not only do I avoid Big Macs now, but the thought of them turns my stomach. Same for Taco Bell, Burger King, Wendy's... never again. NEVER. And not a problem. No emotional reaction whatsoever.

Maybe, just maybe, I will someday not want all the crap that is capable of ruining my life. If I can give up Big Macs, love of my prior life, I can probably give up just about anything.

The difference? Self respect. I had an epiphany in which I realized TRULY how I was disrespecting my body with fast food. Now I just need a similar breakthrough with brownies. Maybe I just had it.


://: Héni ://: said...

New to your blog.

I have the same deal ... I say I will not any potaotes or sweets ... but in the end painfully disrespect my body in other ways.

Anonymous said...

I completely understand what you mean about McDonalds! I work on a high street right opposite one and I used to go there for breakfast, then I'd go back for lunch and sometimes when I finished work I'd go and get some nuggets or a cheeseburger for on the way home. MAD! But I'm on week three of my diet and I've not gone back in over that time and I have not missed it at all! So to see you can go that long without it and lose so much weight is inspriring! Keep it up!

Mavra xx

The Rocky Creek Scotties said...

I know where you are coming from - it is simpler to just give up a food we love that it is to try to eat it in moderation.

Laura I. (G.G.) said...

Great post!

Anonymous said...

I'm the exact opposite. I like to tell myself that I can have anything I long as I really want it. I've been low-carbing it for about 6 months (and don't like to weigh either, am waiting for a doctor's appt next month) and haven't succumbed to potatoes, chips, cookies, brownies, etc. I did make my husband and I a low carb (not low fat) pumpkin cheesecake for Christmas. I need the freedom that it's there. I respect your "never" adage, it just wouldn't work for me.

Jane Cartelli said...

Happy for your breakthrough. I can only speak from my own experience with food addiction and losing (and keeping off) over 200 pounds:

It is possible to live a sane and happy life without the insanity of eating binge foods and obsession over the foods I cannot eat - whatever those foods are for each individual. It takes rigorous honesty and a dependance on a power greater than myself - whatever I choose that power to be. I will always return to food (or find a new addiction) without both of these things in my life - no matter what.

I wish you all the success with your weight loss but more than that I wish you the peace of mind that comes with freedom from the obsession of the mind and the allergy of the body in relation to food.

Whereas I was once their best customer, I have not had McD's, BK, Wendy, Arbys - or anybody's for years. There are moments I want to - because it is fast or convenient or cheap or because I am just hungry - but I know if I can stay away from it just for today that is all I need to deal with. Tomorrow is not the problem. Never is not the problem. I just need to not have it today.

Keep sharing!


The Motivational Girl said...

That's awesome that you've come to realize you don't need McDonalds or any of those Fast Food places. Those were tough for me as well, but once I decided I have never looked back either.

Great job! said...

That's fantastic that you don't have any want/need for the Big Mac any longer. I'm a long ways from that - still have those cravings. Cheers, Rick

Alison Jenkins @ said...

I really identify with the chocolate thing. I was severly addicted to it and then stopped only to restart. For me once I eat it once, I can't stop again until the pain of it gets bad enough. For me it's not the stopping that's the problem - it's the staying stopped!


Anne H said...

It's the edge of thought that is pure fluid - and changes every time.... for me....sometimes, never..... sometimes yes..... sometimes no....
What ever doesn't work is what I'll try.
Until I realized I was my own worst enemy!
No I try the gentler path!

Desert Singer said...

Love your post -- and for me it is about creating the new habit... going to McD's for a sausage burrito and "fluffy coffee" beverage was a habit... now eating/drinking my oatmeal on the way to work is the habit.

Eating a bowl of cereal, or grits full of butter, salt & pepper and sometimes cheese was a habit... now I save my MF goodies for that night time craving -- and I am thinking in a couple years, when the weight is gone and I'm maintaining, what am I going to have to satisfy that habit? IDK now, but I'm thinking about those decisions now, in order to be able to know that this is a new life for me.

I like what Jane said... today's the only day I have to worry about. If I truly just am worrying about today... and when the urge for a trigger comes up, if I can say, "not now" -- I can live like that.

As always, love reading your stuff, and thank you for putting it all out there. :-)

Hanlie said...

This is huge! What a breakthrough. Ultimately it's so not about the food, but about respect.

Diana said...

I just read this post and your last one. We're so alike in so many ways that it's freaky.

The religion I grew up was Baptist. Scary Baptist. Hell and brimstone Baptist. I knew for sure at the young age of 8 or 9 that I was going to hell because I was an evil, wicked child. I wasn't of course, I was a sweet innocent mother told me so. Yet after hearing the sermons I knew I wasn't good enough. I use to dream that I was in hell, with the fire and the devil running after me. I'd wake up screaming and crying. It was horrible.

I'm the same with any diet plan, I can go months and months eating perfectly on plan, whether it's Jenny Craig, NutriSystem or even Weight Watchers. I lost 60 pounds in seven months on WW my first go around three years ago because I tracked every single bite and stayed within my Points limit Then I go off and the rest is history.

I've also totally given up fast food. I haven't eaten it for three years. And I use to do the same as you. Except my choice was a Quarter Pounder, fries and a Coke. I'd eat it in the parking lot, then drive to another McDonalds and order another one for later (with fries, Coke and cherry pie, or a milkshake). I haven't touched it in three years and don't think I'll ever touch it again, or any fast food.

Lately, I've been thinking about how much I disrepect myself with food. How much I must really not like myself when I eat cookies and candy, the two things that lately I can't seem to resist.

Maybe someday we'll find the answer. I sure hope it's soon. :)

Anonymous said...

Maybe it's the fear of losing whatever food it is. What I mean is, you're afraid that "something" will take it away from you, even if that something is yourself. You said you have had years of poverty, where you didn't know if you'd be able to afford the food you wanted. Maybe, now that you aren't poor anymore, those anxieties linger. You have to tell yourself that no one will take this away from you; food isn't going anywhere. You can always have it tomorrow. I think that, instead of trying to banish "bad" foods forever, will help.

Anonymous said...

I really liked the oatmeal comment, because I think a lot of our favorite foods are surprisingly bland and smooth. End of Overeating talks about how little chewing most of them involve, so they look like adult food but are actually closer to baby food. I think tea and hot cocoa have similar effects for me.

Anonymous said...

Thank you always for sharing your thoughts. I had been doing South Beach and lost 32 pounds - then got sick, had to take steroids in high doses and got off plan. 20 pounds gained back now and I am starting over. Ugh. Like you, it appears I am better sticking 100%. Once I allow myself small 'cheats' I seem to lose control. What is crazy is that like you on Medifast 100% - I was not feeling deprived or tempted. But once I allowed myself the fried potatoes or the chips and salsa, I did not want to give them up again.

I am getting it back together and thank you for your help in my journey through this.