Thursday, March 25, 2010

The Mental Process - Part Two

I feel like I have developed the ability to eat intuitively. I know that is basically an oxymoron, but that doesn’t negate the validity of my statement. Just like trying out for dragon boating and discovering that I have some talent for it, I finally found out that I am pretty good at making proper eating choices. Yet that does not mean that it is an innate mechanism. If I had never tried the sport I would have gone my whole life without knowing I could row, and – likewise – had I not focused on working towards my weight loss goals I would never have cultivated my aptitude for making healthy decisions about food.

I don’t think, however, that this scenario is the same for everyone. It seems that there are a lot of people who are fortunate enough to have more of a built-in disposition – something that comes very naturally to them – to never really overeat. Without getting into a debate on nature versus nurture, I believe that some of us have always had a harder time accessing those good habits when it comes to our food intake.

This is at the crux of one of my biggest frustrations and is the second half of why I think I binged the other day. When my mental stores are depleted I have a really hard time not wanting to return to my own natural state. For over thirty years I shoved whatever I wanted to in my gullet and didn’t worry about the consequences. That’s obviously oversimplifying things since I expended a lot of time, effort, and money on all sorts of different weight loss programs in the past, but it speaks honestly of my most basic behaviours when it came to food.

And that’s where a certain, twisted comfort lies. Wanting to do what comes naturally feels very uncomplicated. This? Being on this journey and relearning a lifetime of behaviors – while extremely rewarding and generally easier than I ever dreamed it might be – is still really hard. So in those few weakened moments, when I feel like the fight has completely gone out of me and my mind drifts to the ‘why bothers?’, I just want to feel normal.

What it boils down to is that I don’t want to have to think about it. I don’t need the stress or worry and I can certainly do without the self-admonishments if I find myself tempted to overindulge. So should I just give up?

It could be nice to retreat to my old ways. I think I might actually find some comfort still in eating mindlessly. It would be lovely to sit for days on end without worrying about exercise.

The one element that really gives me the answer to my question, though, is how I chuckled inside my own head when I wrote it out. There is no turning back. It’s not even an option. This is for life and there is no requirement of perfection nor for purity of thoughts. I will not be sent back to my obese cage just because of a little slip-up or for merely internally reminiscing about the numbing freedom that I imagined myself to previously have.

So, I will continue. It may not always be the clearest path – and, indeed, some obstacles may be harder to find my way around than others – but it is the right one. I know many people have used this trail before me, and countless more will tread it yet. Some travellers seem to navigate all the twists and turns without batting an eye and others veer off the main avenue and wander aimlessly for a time through the forest, either finding their way back eventually, discovering some other route to explore, or simply becoming lost amid the growth. For me, I hope to follow this road home. I may take a detour now and then, or perhaps just curl up and have a break before forging on, but ultimately I know that this is the path that will get me to where I need to go.


  1. Self-reflection is a very useful tool, re-evalutation, where you are and where you want to go, etc.

    Don't lose hope, one or two bad days don't cancel out all your good days. You've come so far and we're all so pround of you! I totally understand that exercise is hard some days, but then I think about how good it will feel when I'm healthier and have more energy, maybe the day will come when it's not as difficult to get my big butt out the door! LOL! I'm still starting my weight loss journey (it seems like the 100th time I've started) and all I can do is hope that I'll feel better than I do. I've never been at a healthy weight in my life.

    Keep fighting the good fight, like you know you should. Not for any of us, but for yourself! (It may sound totally chiché, but true)

    I look forward, so much, to reading your up-and-coming blogs! ~Much Love

  2. This might sound harsh...please take it for what it is.

    I look at everything you eat, and your activity level, and your weight loss stats, and I want to cry.


    You have made AMAZING progress. Your photos are incredible. When I see how far you've come in such a short time, it makes me wonder how much you used to eat. (Damn, that sounds really rude. I'm sorry. You deserve applause and encouragement, not envy.)

    I eat less than you, exercise more, and lose about a 1.5 #%@&$&$ lbs a month. Yeah, yeah, I know that is 18 lbs in a year, but I still need to lose 100. At this rate...

    Just know this: you are smart to be making this journey now. I wish I had done it at your age.

    Okay. Rant over.

    Please give yourself a big hug.

  3. Anonymous, I don't know how old you are, but I'm sure that you know it is more difficult to lose weight as you get older. Also, maybe get a professional opinion, but you could be overtraining. If you eat little and exercise a lot your body will think that it is under seige and will resist burning calories to the point that it could stop all together and just cause you to gain weight. As contrary to popular belief as it is, if you eat more, your metabolism can burn more while you are exercising, just make sure that you are eating the right kind of calories. I hope that you can get through this and reach your goals! Good luck and much love.

    (I know this is my second post on the same entry, ,266, I just really like reading your blog :) )

  4. You ARE on the right path. Loved this self reflection.

  5. Sarina, you are sweet beyond words! Thank you for all of your encouragement - it really means a lot!

    Anonymous, I didn't think that was harsh at all! I totally get the frustration of having a harder time than others on our radar, and I know how very fortunate I am that I have had the success that I have (and that I am doing it at this age before time slows the progress as I know it eventually will). I think my eating before was a twofold problem - I would binge quite a bit, but I also just had really awful eating habits (high carbs, sugar, and fat plus only eating a couple of times a day and with no water). I have definitely changed my habits drastically! I hope you give yourself a big hug too, because the fact that you are even trying to make progress on this journey (slow though it may be) speaks volumes about your character. I wish you all the best!

    Thanks, Tricia! I am so glad I have finally found the way!

  6. Thank you for that post. It almost made me cry. I feel the same. I feel like slipping backwards would make me feel more normal. More in control cause those habits were so ingrained. But I know I've turned a corner cause a night on the couch makes me feel pissed off now (while I enjoy it at the time!!) The next day I am pissed and mad and frustrated and annoyed... you get the idea. At me. So you are right. No turning back now. And good for us to make that decision.

    Here's to both of us finding solice in our new habits, our new eating habits and our new bodies. To when THIS is our norm. Our comfortable place. I can't wait to get there!

  7. Extremely helpful, insightful post. I know it will be one I will want to come back to at various points in the journey. Thanks.

  8. Thank you... it felt good to work through these thoughts.