Wrappers

In my work garbage can are 5 wrappers for big Chocolate Covered Marshmallows.  I love marshmallow – I really do.  I love how it squishes in my teeth.  I love the chewiness.  I love it when it’s covered in chocolate.  What I am wondering is why did it take 5 for me to feel like I had had enough?

I think I was only giving myself pseudo permission to have them at all.  Afterall – it is just sugar and I know how it will make me feel.  First it’s the flavor rush.  The sweetness. The divine ecstasy as the flavor and sugar jolt hit my bloodstream at that same instance.  Ahhh . . . sweet oblivion for the next 15 seconds.   Yes I know what it’s like to have that sugary deliciousness. And I want it – now.  But I shouldn’t!  After the rush is the feeling like crap.  It’s the sugar-low.  It’s the shame.

I’m trying to be more mindful with my food.  I said to myself I could have one – and I did.  I ate it slowly and mindfully.  But I believe the Farc (the mental voice that is like a Narc only with food) was talking to me.  Interestingly the Farc talks in a low quiet voice.  It’s not comforting soft voice, but more the type of voice women use when they are talking  smack about a mutual acquaintance that is just out of listening distance.  Anyway, the first thing that Farc whispers is “you shouldn’t” followed by “why don’t you look up the weight watchers points or the calories for each one?”  I think about that — but I know if I do look up the calories or the points I will still eat it – perhaps the whole bag (so they will be gone,) I will just have the points values to go with them.  Hmmm how many shame-points are in a big chocolate covered marshmallow?

So I remind myself that I am in charge and that if I want a marshmallow I will give myself permission.  So I have one.  I eat it fairly slowly and I taste it.  I enjoy it.  Then Farc says, in barely a whisper, “you know you will eat more because you just flipped the sugar-craving-switch.”  Farc wasn’t being helpful like the voice of Wisdom, would have been, had she said the same thing.  Farc was mocking me in that knowing way. Wisdom does win out for a bit and I wait awhile.  But I want another one.  Farc says “see you are weak and fat and always will be.”  I have another one.  I try eating it slowly – but less mindfully than the first one.  I feel like I’m sneaking them, although I’m alone and there is no one to hide from.  Farc gets louder and throws down the flag and shouts “what the hell . . .”  I eat another, and another, and another.  Finally on the 5th one I ask myself — is this the one that I’m going to really allow myself to have – completely and without judgement?  I decide that yes — it is.  I will eat that ONE.  It’s mine and I can HAVE it.  As I take the last bite I realize that it really is enough.  Farc takes a shot at my worth with “you know everyone can see how fat you are.”  I try to ignore it.  Then I choose to ignore it.  I think to myself “what can I learn from these marshmallows.”  I start to question.  Why was one not enough?  I realize I gave myself “permission” for the first one. But I felt like I was sneaking, cheating, and rebelling.  I said I could have it but I ate it with shame and not joy. I realize that even giving myself “permission” to eat puts my mind in a position that makes me feel like a whiny child and that my mother just gave in so I would stop whining.  What if I really felt like I was choosing to eat it because I really just wanted it?  Would one have been enough?  Maybe not.  But isn’t that okay?

Would I have eaten five?  Maybe.  Maybe not.  Wisdom would have said “perhaps you should have some cheese or some milk with that so you don’t feel gross in a half hour.”  (Narc would have piped up “you know that is only more calories.”)  But Wisdom knows better.  Wisdom doesn’t judge. Wisdom only cares about my total well-being.

There are so many messages about food and eating.  Some internal and some external.  Some of these voices are helpful and some are not.  But what I learned today from the 5 wrappers in the garbage can is that I no longer need to give myself permission to eat something.  I no longer need to forbid myself either.   I AM THE CHOOSER.  I choose to eat or I choose not to eat.  I AM THE CHOOSER

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What Desirest Thou?

As I am reading in the Book of Mormon, I am reading the part of the Nephi about to be shown Lehi’s vision of the Tree of Life.  But before he receives that remarkable vision the Lord asks this question “What desirest thou?”  I’ve been thinking about this for days.

What if the Lord were asking me that question – “DeAnn what do you really desire?”  How would I answer?  Am I prepared to mean the answers I want to give?  My first answer would be to be free from this eating addiction.  To eat when I’m hungry and stop when I’m satisfied.   To return to a normal body size that is good for me.

I then have to ask myself if I really truly mean that – it would mean that I would not turn to food to cope.  That crutch – that I have relied on for years – would be gone.  Am I ready for that?  Really?  Have I been going through the motions for so long acting as if that is what I want?  What I wonder – is if the Lord is there with the gift of healing and I just haven’t been willing – truly willing to accept it?  Have I not had that miraculous change of heart because I have been truly at my very depths been unwilling to allow my heart to be changed?

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Thoughts on Primary Children . . . and Chocolate.

For the last few months I’ve been teaching the 4 & 5 year olds in Primary.  I have loved it.  They have the best prayers and some of them are a little OCDish “and bless that we will be good, and bless that we will be good, and bless that we will be good.”  I totally get it!   And sometimes I know they try so hard to “be good” but when Sharing Time seems to be long it’s so hard to keep that butt on the chair.

A few weeks ago I got an addition to my class when a new family moved in.  A 4-year old girl and a 5-year old boy joined us.  They were equally as adorable as the rest of the class.  I did, however, learn quickly that the little boy, who I’ll call “M”, had some extra challenges.  Half way through class he told me I was fat.  I refuse to be offended by children who are only pointing out the obvious so I just matter of factly told him that I already knew.  In Sharing Time he starting pinching my butt and poking my belly.  Removing his hand and telling him that he needed to keep his hands to himself didn’t help.  I realized something wasn’t quite the same as the other kids.  A little talk with his parents confirmed that he did have some behavior challenges.

As “M” has become more comfortable his behavior has escalated.  He likes to poke my boobs – only because he knows it’s “not a good choice”.  He disobeys, runs around, pokes, says inappropriate things, and tries to get the other kids to laugh.  But the other kids don’t laugh.  And once after a particularly exhausting round — he came to me and sighed and said “was I good today?”  And I knew he meant it.  I knew it was extra hard for him to control that little body and mind of his.  I smiled and said “you made some really good choices today and I’m going to let your mom know that you did.”  I did recall a couple moments when he sat still and a moment when he shared.  I didn’t even add a “but” to the statement.  I’m sure he gets enough of “you did good, but . . . ”

Tonight I was thinking over my day.  I want and need to improve my health and today I had some struggles when it came to my food choices.  I did make some great choices today and I made some not so great choices.  As I knelt down to pray I was just so frustrated with myself.  Why is it so HARD to do what is good for me?  Immediately my little primary child, “M”, came to my mind.  I thought about how hard he tries to control that little body of his and how often those impulses are just too overwhelming for him and he has to poke something or say “booby booby booby” – when he knows darn well that they aren’t good choices.  When he knows he’ll have consequences.  Sometimes it’s just so hard.  And I thought about the adults in his life who love him — his parents, his grandparents, and even is primary teacher.  We want him to control himself because we know that life will be so much easier for him.  We know he’ll have better opportunities and less pain.  We want him to control his body and not just because he’s disruptive  – but because we know it will be better for him.

I realize how much I am like him.  Too often I WANT and I NEED that 3rd piece of chocolate RIGHT NOW.  But Heavenly Father knows that if I can learn to control my little body and impulses that things will be easier for me.  My body will be healthier and stronger.  I will be able to enjoy more things.  It will be better for me.

So my little primary child . . . tonight I pray for us both.

 

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Denial

Today I avoided all refined sugar.  It’s a choice I made last night.   This evening I could feel the rationalizations start in my head as I saw some candy on the kitchen table (that I didn’t buy just for the record) “one isn’t a big deal” and “you really shouldn’t forbid yourself from having something you want”.  But the truth is – did I really want it – or was it just a physical reaction to an emotional feeling?  Or was it just that my body simply craves sugar?  I am pretty sure it’s a bit of both.  If I’m honest with myself, today it was a craving for the feeling that binging on sugar gives me initially (not the bloated depression and self loathing that comes later.) I had already chosen that today I was not going to eat refined sugar so I didn’t have a piece of candy or the Rice Krispy treat sitting on the counter.  So matter how I wanted to rationalize it – I knew it wasn’t something I would sit and savor and enjoy.  I wanted to use it as a drug for a “high” and an escape.  I know it’s not this way for everyone, but I have to own up to some things that are different about my mind and my body.  For one thing – my body craves sugar and carbohydrates and one big rush of sugar opens the flood-gates for cravings.  These are things that I will own up to and stop hiding my head in the sand:

  • I have metabolic syndrome.   My doctor last time told me that if I was not taking the diabetes medication my blood tests would show me as diabetic.
  • I have taken SSRI’s for over 15 years.  Studies now show that long term use leads to obesity and cravings for carbohydrates and for some the cravings are intense and overwhelming..
  • I have sleep apnea – and my cpap hasn’t been working right and so I think I’ve been lacking oxygen when I sleep.  I’m sure this is why I have been gradually been more and more tired over the last couple of months.   In my reading, people with sleep apnea crave carb’s too.  I’m making the call tomorrow morning to get my cpap fixed.

It’s been a triple whammy!  But — part of changing is to stop living in denial.  Whether I like it or not – my body does not process simple carbs like others.  Wishing it was different will not change it.  Being resentful will not change it.

It’s time to just play the hand I’ve been dealt!  I’ve been very harsh on myself for my weakness.  Instead of seeing myself as someone who is morally flawed for my lack of self control, I need look at this plainly and develop strategies that will work for me.  Being overly critical of myself hasn’t worked so it’s not a helpful strategy and one I need to let go.  One strategy that does work is to ask myself how I will feel in 30 minutes before I put it in my mouth.  There are no moral judgements, just a simple moment for me to face the facts before I act.

It’s not realistic to think I’ll never have treats or sweets again.  But I know that I can diminish the effects by being smart about what I choose and when, and also paring it with protein.  When I choose to have a treat it needs to be something I really want and know that I can slowly enjoy and savor.

It’s not just about losing weight.  That will come naturally as I learn to honor my body.  It’s about being honest with myself and working with what I have.

So this Cleopatra is taking off her crown and exiting denial.

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And She Stamped Her Foot and Said . . .

Hey you!  Food!

You are NOT the Boss of ME!

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