Sunday, March 13, 2011

I'm not Catholic, but I'm giving up overeating for Lent...I hope

I like to feel full after a meal. I really like it! It's comforting to me, insulating, helps me regulate my emotions, dampens the highs and lows...keeps me from feeling the extremes I experience on a daily basis. It's a good thing I only keep healthy food choices in the house!

My average caloric intake over the past seven days was 1732. That's low, for me. If left to my own easily-distracted devices, I'd easily eat 2300 to 3000 calories a day. That's three balanced and healthy meals, two healthy snacks, and a handful of something here and an extra serving there, plus a run through adds up! How was I able to keep my calories lower than usual? I ate a good balance of protein, carbs from vegetable sources (plus one slice of the Julian Bakery Smart Carb #1 bread) and healthy fats. PLUS I white knuckled through the afternoons/evenings and ignored my "hunger". That was really difficult, but got a little easier later in the week. I was really angry about how hard it was for me to stay out of the kitchen a good portion of the evening, so I wasted some of my evenings watching a lot of mindless TV. And then there's always something to clean!

I've been rewarded for my efforts with the loss of three more pounds. This morning I weighed in at 315 lbs. That's two days in a row! So I'm happy with that. It convinces me to stick with the white-knuckling efforts. It's a real effort to give up the overeating. I have to be really conscious about what I eat, when I eat. I have to be smart about how I serve myself, because I know that I'm an esteemed member of the Clean-Your-Plate Club.I have to make sure I eat the veggies and protein first, and take my time eating them. Only then will I allow myself to have the starchy carbs, even if they are the healthy wholegrain kind. And no more than 120 g.

I was reading a recent entry of a blog I follow. She made a great observation...there are foods and eating patterns that no longer hold any charm for her. I've come to accept the same thing about a lot of foods - pastries and ice cream, doughnuts and those Hostess lemon fruit pies, milk shakes, burgers and fries...even big cuts of meat, cheeses and salty snack foods. None of it sounds very appetizing to me. My food choices have changed so much! And that's what has helped me keep off the initial 40+ lbs I lost three years ago.

But what's been keeping me from progressing is cutting back on how much food I eat. That's my big battle to overcome. I don't yet know what it'll take before overeating will lose it's charm for me. At this moment, I just finished dinner. I'm satisfied. Actually, I'm a little on the full side. I had (and this may not sound very appetizing to you all, but it's what I wanted) a sandwich made with two slices Julian Bakery Wonderful Bread, a tin of New Brunswick No Salt Sardines in water, a cup of homemade Greek split pea soup and a handful of roasted macadamia nuts. Close to 800 calories! But for the day, I only made it to 1555 calories. It's just after 8 p.m. There's a tempting cantaloupe in the fridge. I've got around 20 g each of protein, carbs and fat left on the books for the day. Do I just stay out of the kitchen? Do I just go to bed early? Did I really record everything I ate? But the cantaloupe is definitely healthy choice. One cup is just 54 calories. It would taste so good. But I'm so full. In fact, if I eat one more thing, I'll have heartburn and I'll have to stay up a few extra hours just to finish digesting before I go to bed...

...and what is it that's eating me tonight, that I should want to stuff it down with even more food? That's the real question here. I'm sitting at the computer writing, watching Les Miserable in Concert on PBS, two of my favorite distractions, and I'm still entertaining thoughts of eating more.

  • I'm uncomfortable from eating too much and I'm angry with myself for not stopping sooner.
  • There's a mountainous pile of laundry on my bed that needs to be folded and put away and I'm avoiding it.
  • One of my mother's very bossy friends called me this evening to tell me how much she did for my mother today and gave me further instructions on how to better care for her, and this woman only shows up once a month!
  • I feel guilty for not having spoken to my mother today, even though I spent time with her every day over the last seven days.
  • I'm angry because this week marks the first anniversary of my divorce and X is celebrating the first anniversary of his marriage to his new wife, just a week after what would have been our 27th anniversary.
  • And I want to CRUSH those memories and scour the anger and sadness that all that makes me feel!
Yes, that's a lot of what I'm trying to stuff here. I don't want to have these feelings. I want them to go away, because they block my creativity, they kill my compassion, they cripple my self-confidence. I don't have any solutions on the situation yet. I'm not sure what to do about it all. The laundry represents the mountain of things I need to do just to manage my daily life, my home, my children. My mother's friend represents the weight of expectation I feel every day, to care for my mother and her endless complexity of daily needs that I can't do all by myself and she can't seem to do at all for herself. And the anniversaries represent all the emotions I grapple with post-divorce, still. It all overwhelms me at times, and when I'm feeling like a deer caught in headlights, my go-to is overeating.

I learned from my EBT training that when I'm in a level-five state, there are three things to keep in mind:
  1. With a nurturing voice, I need to refrain from judging myself as well as other. At the moment, that's tough.
  2. Minimize harm. Okay, so stop eating...
  3. Know it will pass. Realistically, I know this to be true. But it seems to be a reoccurring theme lately, and it wears at me.
In order to keep these points to live by, maybe I'll do a needlepoint of these three points, frame and hang it on the wall of my bedroom, or paint the points on the cabinets above my kitchen sink instead of the "Give us this day our daily bread" that's up there right now.

Writing this blog entry has taken me about three hours total. In between feeling, thinking and writing, I finished watching Les Miserable. I also watched the latest episode of Ruby. OMG! That was moving! She's getting very close to discovering what's eating her. It made me realize how much I judged myself, even the very young me. Like Ruby, I have a hard time honoring myself as a child. I just want to be so far away from who I was back then. I don't identify at all with that little girl! Obviously I have more deep work to do.

The craving for the cantaloupe went away, briefly. Just over two-and-a-half hours after dinner was done, I'm feeling noshy again. And thirsty. Maybe I'm just thirsty. What if I didn't eat that bit of melon tonight? I wouldn't die. But I'm feeling anxiety rising. I'm sleepy as well. Maybe a cup of herbal tea is a better choice. And then I HAVE TO put away the laundry!

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