breaking free from six decades of tyranny

Archive for May, 2012

Balancing the Guilt Factor

We are on a working vacation. So it’s not really a vacation. I’m away from my routine, my Vitamix, my Crossfit gym, and many of my go to foods. And currently watching slender Giada on the Today Show making sorbets and ice cream treats. Does she REALLY eat what she cooks? Unbelievable!

Last night after a day of running, walking, packing, cleaning and eating reasonably, we went to dinner. Here in California, every item on the menu lists its calories. So I chose well and had a great Paleo meal. But, hungry and tired, I gave into bread and wine.

Now that’s not a grave sin. But My Bratty Taste Buds are gloating a little. It feels like they won a little tug of war and I don’t like giving them even that at this point on my journey. If I had gone into the restaurant with a PLAN to have bread and wine, I’d be OK. But they snuck one in on me.

So I’m dealing with some guilt over this.

Tough Love for Taste Buds Pays Off

Bratty Taste Buds, you know I love you. It’s just that you have run me ragged over the years, and frankly it wasn’t working any more. So I had to get tough.

I appreciate the fact that you are being so understanding lately, and actually enjoying almond butter and coconut milk and chia seeds and vegetables all sorts of ways including blended up into a gooey drink.

It was very nice to be able to take you out for dinner and give you some coconut shrimp and Chilean Sea Bass with a great sauce. I know you appreciated the Key Lime pie, but I was truly impressed when you only wanted half the portion and waited until the next day for the rest.

Is it possible we can both be happy? I’m keeping my fingers crossed.

The Weight Watchers Years

If you want to see how something can grow and change over time, study Weight Watchers.

My first introduction was via a work friend’s roly-poly aunt. I was 18 and thinking I was plump. I worked at a typesetting job (sitting) for eight hours a day, with breaks to amble next door to the Jack in the Box [the original building that was indeed a box with a Jack coming out of the top]. After I started the Weight Watcher’s plan, I ordered my hamburger with mustard only and choked it down with a diet soda. Oh, and there was tuna salad with mustard only on cold lunch days. And, I believe, lots of carrots, celery and meat with no condiments, perhaps half-slices of bread, and very, very little fruit. I could be wrong about what the actual plan was, but that’s what I remember eating. I did not go to any meetings, and I dropped the (maybe) 15 pounds I wanted to lose pretty quickly. Whew! That was easy!

Fast forward to birth of first daughter. NOW I am not just thinking I am plump, I AM plump. Very plump. And I’m here to tell you that breastfeeding had the opposite effect on me than it apparently had on every other nursing mother I knew, read about, or imagined. I stayed plump. So when the baby was 15 months old [and well-weaned] I ambled back to Weight Watchers … but the right way: meetings, booklets, weigh-ins, pep talks, hints, sharing, cheering, food plans, can’t eats, must eats, should eats, food logs …

And I lost weight. And kept it off. Until daughter #2, when the whole thing repeated. Back to Weight Watchers and now there were Points, and a different food plan, with more can eats and a few less can’t eats, the same should eats, and a better organized exercise component. And I lost weight. And I kept it off.

Until son #1. A big strapping ninepoundfiveounce chunka boy that made me a chunka mom. I gave it the usual 15 months to see if the breastfeeding myth would reverse itself for me, sighed and headed back to WW [by now we were on nickname basis]. I already knew the drill: there would be new booklets, a new food plan, I’d have to relearn Points [got a special WW Points calculator this time], learn the new can eats, get out the food scale, weigh and measure, get weighed, get cheered on … and exercise.

Which I did. And I lost weight. And I kept it off. Until my final “baby”. I became a teacher. With three children at home, 25 more at school … and no time to weigh and measure and exercise.

I put on about 5 pounds per year while teaching. I taught for 22 years. If you do the math, you will see how I got to the very precipice of 200 pounds. H…E…double you know what … I WAS the freakin’ precipice!

My Bratty Taste Buds School ME!

I have offended my taste buds. Seems they don’t love being called bratty. They sat me down and told me a thing or two. Here’s how it went:

MBTBs: You are hurting our feelings. We don’t like being called bratty.

Me: (Didn’t I just say that?)

MBTBs: If we’re bratty, it’s because you’re a wimp.

Me: I get it. You don’t like to be called names. I don’t either. Truce?

MBTBs: No. You started this war and we think you need to hear some things before there can be a truce.

Me: Well …. Okay … does it have anything to do with me being a so-called wimp?

MBTBs: It has a LOT to do with you being a wimp. You remember the days when you just SAT AROUND all day?

Me: I NEVER sat around all day! I was a working mom of three! Not only that, I was a teacher! I worked looooong hours and had to be in the car for hours each week getting to and from work, and when I got home I had to grade papers, and prepare new lessons, and make phone calls to parents, and do report cards AND cook dinner for the family, and help my own children with homework and drive them to events, AND do work for my online master’s classes, AND —

MBTBs: Whoa! We didn’t say you weren’t busy! We applaud your work ethic and all, but …

Me: But WHAT?!

MBTBs: But … while you were so busy taking care of everyone and everything else, we were taking advantage of you.

Me: But why? Why would you do that?

MBTBs: Hey. You’re forgetting that YOU are the one with the brain! We’re just little sensory organs. Your big, powerful brain LET us take advantage! That brain you think is so evolved … is a WIMP!

Me: OK, you’re going to have to explain that one.

MBTBs: As we started to say … remember those days when you just sat around all day? We know you were busy, but your body was basically a blob being moved around by mechanical devices and sitting in front of electronic devices …

Me: Hmmmm. My car. My computer. My TV.

MBTBs: Aha! When you were ranting about all your hard work, you forgot to mention your favorite pastime … watching TV!

Me: Well, it was so handy, and I could do some of my schoolwork in front of it and it gave my mind a little break from more stressful thoughts, and sometimes it made me laugh … and these aren’t BAD things, are they?

MBTBs: Hey, we don’t judge. We’re just here to tell you the facts, ma’am. Fact is: we, your so-called bratty taste buds, were only doing what you asked us to do.

Me: Really? I was asking you to stuff my face with so much food that I came very close to hitting the 200 pound mark? I was asking you to scream and cry until I gave in and gobbled cake and cookies and doughnuts and second helpings of everything? I was asking you to make me think of food when I wasn’t even hungry? I was asking you to take one little sniff of freshly baking bread and go bonkers on me? I was asking you to ——

MBTBs: Yes.

Me: (Blank stare)

MBTBs: We can see by your blank stare that you don’t get it.

Me: (Blank stare)

MBTBs: OK, breathe girl! And listen. Add this up: body sitting around all day + relatively unlimited supply of tantalizing food = (pause, pause, pause) …?

Me: (Blank stare and furrowed brow)

MBTBs: Equals?

Me: (furrowed brow)

MBTBs: OMG! No wonder we’ve been in control for so long. The part of your brain that regulates health is apparently dormant.

Me: Hey!

MBTBs: OK, let’s try this. You’re familiar with the Law of Inertia, right?

Me: A body at rest will remain at rest unless acted upon by an outside force.

MBTBs: Bingo!

Me: Are you saying that because I was “resting” my body so much, it just wanted to keep on sitting around?

MBTBs: And eating. To make sure that it could just keep resting. Because moving around got harder and harder. That’s when you became a total wimp.

Me: Hmmmmmm. When I started having lots of back problems. And knee problems. And hip pain. And I just wanted to keep sitting because it hurt to move.

MBTBs: Don’t think we aren’t sympathetic … we are human after all. But we just don’t want to be blamed for stuff that you caused.

Me: OK. I’m starting to get it. You thought that since I was just “sitting around” so much of the time that’s what I wanted. So you *encouraged* me to eat. So I could keep sitting. You were just trying to make me happy. I guess I owe you an apology.

MBTBs: Apology accepted. But don’t forget … there is another part to the inertia thing.

Me: Oh, yeah. A body in motion will remain in motion unless acted upon by an outside force.

MBTBs: And you HAVE been getting a lot more motion in your life. Those Crossfit workouts are impressive. At least, the fact that you do your best in them is impressive. Ever since you have been moving your body more, we have been behaving better, don’t you think?

Me: Wow. I’m not sure. We’ve been at war for so long, I don’t know that I can really trust you. There have been so many times you have led me to food when my body didn’t really need it that I am not sure I know yet when I’m hungry or just trying to please you.

MBTBs: (Blushing a little)

Me: So you kind of enjoy taunting me a little, right?

MBTBs: (Blushing a lot)

Me: OK, here are my terms for a truce. Term 1: I don’t have to change the name of my blog. Term 2: Henceforth, the term “bratty” is used with complete respect, in light of all I have put you through. Term 3: Try to work on your brattiness.

MBTBs: Agreed. Now, how long has your body been at rest in front of this electronic device?

Me: Right. I’d better get moving! But first, can I get you a snack?

MBTBs: Thanks for asking! We’d like a Krispy Kreme original doughnut please! Or two …

Me: How about some fresh spinach sautéed in a slight amount of olive oil, a scrambled egg, and some Ezekiel cinnamon bread topped with almond butter, all washed down with a glass of almond/coconut milk infused with chia seeds?

MBTBs: (Humbled). Actually … that sounds better! Maybe we can be trained …

(To be continued)

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