I was reading an article the other day written by a woman who has lost about 80 pounds by eliminating just 4 foods from her diet. She didn't count calories, or do more exercise, she just begain by ridding her diet of her four worst foods. I found this to be an interesting approach. I have been struggling lately with every aspect of diet and nutrition. I was feeling that maybe it was time to take a break from all of it, and start again when I was feeling more enthusiastic. Instead, I decided to try this approach on a much smaller scale. I would eliminate one thing, candy. How hard could that be? At first I basically substituted my candy treat with another equally poor choice. However, every time I made this swap, I had to think about it. I began to realize how many small pieces of candy I had been eating in a day. A peppermint after lunch, a root beer barrel or two in the afternoon. When I got home, I would have a few mini chocolate bars. They are only an inch big, how bad can it be? I realized that I had been treating myself for hard work, for exercise, for dealing with a stressful situation, for a bad meeting, or even a success. Food was the treat of choice when I was growing up. If we did our chores, we could have some pop. If we did a bigger job, it was ice cream upon completion. My mom always rewarded us with food. I do it to myself everyday. If I love you, I will try to feed you. My father was an alcoholic. I did not inherit that addiction, but I do feel that I have an addictive personality. My addiction is sugar. I have known this for a long time, but I didn't do a good job of dealing with it. Having just one bite of something is never enough. One mini candy bar leads to several. One scoop of ice cream leads to 3 or four. So I go cold turkey. For the first while, this is actually fairly easy for me. After awhile though, my body is screaming for its treat. Eventually, I always crack. Always. Then I binge. I eat every food that I have been denying myself. There is an immediate release of all these good feelings. I really can't explain it, except that it is deep within the heart of me. I hate it, I really do. It makes me feel weak, worthless, undisciplined, irresponsible, all the things that I can never be in my daily life. That was my a-ha moment. I spend every minute of every day doings things that I have to do, things that I feel compelled to do. I leave all of myself behind every day, but never really do anything just for me. I am rebelling against myself like a 12 year old. You can't do that. You can't want that. You can't have that. Oh yeah, just watch me!!
Now that I have had this great epiphany, that I am rebelling against my way-too-strict self, I have to figure out what to do with that information. How do I say no to things that do not need to be on my list. How do I say yes to finding time to do things that are just for me? I am thinking hard about that. I am feeling more at peace with myself, and I have been doing a good job of eating to fuel my body, not my emotions. I realize that I am in the honeymoon phase of this new chapter, but I am hopeful. I have been asking myself for the last several years, "what is wrong with you", "why can't you do this"... Now that I feel that I know the answer to that question, I am hoping I can love myself better, and that I can make some positive changes. I am hoping that one small change will lead me on a great path.