When I am hard on myself for my choices, I find myself wanting to self-medicate (or punish) with more food, not less. When I own what I eat, when I refuse shame, then it's not hard for me to see the very next choice as an opportunity to nourish instead of punish. For me, shame leads to disordered eating (or the temptation of disordered eating.) Acceptance leads to moderation and genuine nourishment.
I told Alexa that, following a few generally-too-caloric days last week, I decided not to talk much about it here. That malignant voice of shame was bubbling up inside of me, using words like "bad" and "stupid," even as I was working on patience and acceptance. So I figured I'd put some distance between me and the choices I made, in order to fully embrace acceptance and stave off the shame. And you know what? It helped.
So today I'm sharing a few choices I struggled with recently. I'm feeling proud that despite which challenges I bested (and which challenges bested me), I'm still making great strides.
- Over Memorial Day, we spent 24 consecutive hours at a two-day barbecue, during which I had about three drinks, three ribs, three cookies, and three chocolate/peanut butter/bacon truffles (plus a grilled sausage and a chocolate Zinger.) I also made some nourishing choices. We brought fresh market fruit, which I enjoyed in moderation. I snacked mostly on grilled veg and crunchy veg. I had a slice of scrumptious veg-filled and parmesan-laced frittata. We grilled some fruit which I enjoyed with a touch of vanilla ice cream. Sure, we could have skipped the party or attended for a shorter time. Sure, I could have brought my own food. But I am not ashamed that I didn't. And I'm not ashamed about what I ate. I had a lovely time with friends, I didn't agonize over the food, and when I found myself feeling less energetic for the few days after the party, I remembered how much I appreciate the kinds of food I typically eat, in the amounts I typically eat them.
- At Disneyland two days after the party, I found myself surrounded again by food that was less than ideal for me. There are healthy options available at the park, and we were able to seek them out, although my portion sizes were larger than usual. After you've been walking around in the sun for a few hours, it's awfully hard not to eat everything on your plate. But the real challenge for me was walking past sweet treat after sweet treat. On our way out, we were walking through the stores to avoid the parade crowd. Right through the candy and ice cream shops. I stood between the two (with a foot in each as though I was at the Four Corners monument) and thought long and hard about whether I wanted to eat something. Finally, Tom told me outright, "you don't really want this." And I knew he was right, so I stomped out of the store, and out of the park, like I was angry at him or at the world. I wasn't. I was angry at my food addiction. But over the last week, I've tried to be patient with myself about it. So my portions were a little too big. I struggled with making a healthy choice, and I'm not ashamed.
- In preparation for our dinner party on Saturday, I tried a new flavor for Cake Pop Quest. I'll have the recipe for you tomorrow, but I've already told my friends that if they want this flavor again, they will have to make it. Not because it was bad... but because it was so good, I don't think I could keep them in my house. So far, I've had one or two of each of the pop attempts, and that's that. But this new flavor? As I mixed the frosting into the cake crumbs, I realized I made a little too much of it. And before I realized what I was doing, that little-too-much frosting was gone. Yep, I ate it. It was delicious. And that's when I knew: coconut cake pops? Not for me. Too tempting to make, unless I'm able enjoy them in moderation. And I'm not ashamed to say so.
These are the challenges, folks. Sometimes they bite me in the ass. Sometimes I bite them in the ass. But what matters is that every day, I commit myself to this life-long process of taking good care of myself.
And that commitment pays off. The scale this morning? It's down another 3.2, bringing my total to...
55 pounds lost.
Thanks to all of you for your support. It is much easier to do this, knowing you're here. I hope that you'll take good care of yourselves today, and that you won't be hard on yourselves despite your mistakes. We all make them. And we shouldn't be ashamed.