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Tuesday, January 3, 2012

The Black and the White of It

My problems with food and weight have traditionally fallen to one extreme or the other along the spectrum of eating behaviors.  I was either "being good" with food or "being bad".  When I was good, I was oh so good, but when I was bad, well, you know.

Ah, but the "good" is so sweet!  I perfectly count every calorie.  Every food I eat is carefully planned.  I think, "This is EASY!" and wonder, "Why don't I always eat like this?".  In time, I become a bit smug.  I wonder why everyone doesn't do what I'm doing?  I feel in control.  I exercise like a mad-woman, getting up at 5:00 AM and sweating in the gym. 

But of course it doesn't last.  This type of rigid-perfectionism is unsustainable in the long-term.  Something happens - it's someone's birthday at work or I overeat a restaurant meal or my fella does something that pisses me off and I eat my feelings.  There's no "gray" when I'm being good.  There's no room for bad food choices.  Suddenly everything shifts.  I'm no longer "good".  I'm horrible, stupid, fat, ugly, hopeless.  I'll be fat forever.  Everything will always be they way it's always been.  There's no sense in trying.  I'll just fail.  Again.

Somehow having Lap-band surgery changed everything for me.  I began living in a place of moderation.  I was successful even when I made less-than stellar choices.  Slowly I began to do things differently.  I questioned the long-held beliefs.  I didn't start another diet, slipping into the "good" zone.  I didn't make foods off-limits.  I allowed them for the first time, in moderation.  I began to trust myself with food.  I was okay for the first time in my life.  It was freeing, unbelievably so.

But lately I've seen a bit of those old black and white thoughts creep back in.  It started around Halloween when I had several candy-binges.  I ate candy I didn't even particularly like.  I just shoved it in my face without enjoying it.  It wasn't moderation.  It was "bad".  I was bad.  I didn't start gaining weight for awhile, but around the first part of December I noticed I was up about three pounds.  I've struggled with that all month.  I've had weeks where I did pretty well with food, but I've also had some colossal failures.  Last week was hard because I was off work and my house was filled with Christmas goodies.  My weigh-in on Wednesday after Christmas was good - I was down a bit, but since then I haven't done such a great job of holding it together.

Now I'm afraid of the scale.  I'm afraid that my pants feel tight.  I don't want to fail.  I'm ashamed.  I'm "bad".  My eating has been okay, but I'm afraid, perhaps irrationally so.  The number on the scale tells me if I'm okay or not.  It defines me.  It evaluates me.

And I know that I have lost my moderate living, at least for the moment.  I'm back in the black and white of it.   

Me and my dad on New Year's


Linda said...

You and I have always had similar moderation styles. I know I don't do well with all or nothing diets. I've been bingeing a bit lately too. I know going on a "diet" isn't going to help - I'm just going to focus on band rules.
Don't be afraid of the scale, just find what you need to do get back in the moderation space. Don't obsess about it, just remember how far you've come.

Cat said...

I have always loved reading about your journey. You are the one who has taught me about "all things in moderation". I completely understand the black and white mentality though. It creeps in on me too. I jut thought it was because I'm less than a year out on my journey still and that with practice I could get the good/bad out for good. Thank you for sharing that it may always be a struggle.

My recommendation to you would simply be to try getting back in your groove of limiting the treats to your weekends only. Get on the scale to face the music then only weigh in once a week. See if these simple changes help you. Just a thought. I hope it helps to know that you have been a serious part of my weight loss and getting to where I am. You are an inspiration to me, and even posts like this where you are struggling, makes it more real and more inspiring. Thank you!

MandaPanda said...

My advice: Step on the scale. Face the music, bite the bullet, do whatever you want to call it but try doing it with the mentality of..."I can't change what I don't know. I'm stepping on this scale to know what needs to be done, not to punish myself for anything and regardless of what it says, it doesn't define me." Then start doing what you know how to do...moderate. :)

Amy W. said...

hmmm...this kinda lit a little bulb in my head. i think you put it perfectly with the term moderation in reference to the band. Bc it does moderate me for the most part, even now that I have a little looser restriction level. I think that when you get farther and farther out, we forget what normal eating was. Like, I often say "the band isnt doing much for me right now, I can eat like a normal person"...but then I will actually pay attention to how much a normal person can and will eat and I realize...nope...I still cant eat like THAT.

Stephanie said...

You are better than any number on a scale. You have worked too hard to let this number define you. I was eating Peanut Butter cups like nobody's business after Halloween and I had to accept the gain that came with it, but the fact is that we KNOW how to deal with these small stumbling blocks, where before we would just quit and say screw it and go eat a whole pizza. Moderation, not deprivation, is the key. And you, my friend are the Key Master! :)

JRD said...

Amanda, you are one of my Heros in band land. I feel like you have just perfectly articulated my exact feeling about this issue. In fact, my word for 2012 is moderation. I slipped a bit into this black and white thinking over the last week with the holidays, and the notion that I've already been "bad" so why not just have that little bite of this or that. I just remind myself that once I say no a few times I am usually back on track. But i feel u lady. Hugs.

trisha said...

like you always tell me - don't beat yourself up too much about it! you KNOW deep down that this is not forever. it's just a slip. and you're going to change it, and you're going to get back to what you know is right for you.

Rain Howard said...

Woman go look in the mirror! Look at you. You look fabulous. You're beautiful. Amazing, And and inspiration to many. (see the other comments).

I don't know if you do already, but have you ever considered seeing a therapist? Changing the body without changing the mind only leads to frustration. If you don't learn why you have the negative thoughts towards food you won't be able to change them.

And throw your scale away. Those things are evil.