Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Are You In Control of What You Eat?

There are very few things an adult person can have 100% control over in their life. Isn't it funny that food is one of them?
Because it is. And it doesn't feel always feel that way.
In a black and white world it would appear that to have control over one's weight and to eat perfectly every day the only things you'd need are knowledge, money and willpower.  Knowledge of what foods are healthy and how many calories you need each day to lose or maintain weight.  Money to spend on purchasing higher quality and/or lower calorie foods and the willpower to eat only those things that are determined good for you. It seems so simple. Yet I know plenty of people (myself included) who have all three of those things- and still struggle and often fail at controlling their eating.
I know how to eat healthy- what food to eat, when to eat it, etc but that doesn't mean I do it. And sometimes it can feel like the part of my life over which I have the least control.  But in reality- I am the only person determining exactly what goes in my mouth every single day.
These thoughts came up after last night when I was home by myself organizing the pantry. I'd had a really good day of eating and was actually thinking about today's blog and considering putting my food journal from the day on the blog.  And then in the back of the cabinet I saw an open bag of potato chips. Regular Ruffles Lays (note- these are NOT usually in my pantry! Chris... ). I don't even love potato chips but in that moment- all thoughts of blogging and calories went directly out of my head. I reached in and grabbed a big handful. My mind was blank. I ate them quickly and once they were gone, the thoughts came rushing back.
"Why did I just do that? Those weren't even good. My hands are all greasy! Guess that ruins tomorrow's blog about my day of great eating...  How many calories was that? Should I throw the rest away? Why can't I control myself?  I kind of want more- maybe just another handful.."
I was able to stop myself from a second handful- but it really got me thinking about WHY I would make the choice to eat them in the first place. There was NOTHING even enjoyable for me about cramming those chips into my mouth. It was a compulsion- almost like an automatic reflex. But at the end of the day the only person accountable for that is me. And it's my goals I'm sabotaging. And for what?   Let me tell you- my rational brain KNOWS that I'll get much more extended pleasure from having my jeans feel loose than mere seconds of potato chip crunching.
Maybe you'd think it's willpower I lacked in that situation. Maybe it was (I never said I had all the answers :) but I think stopping myself from the second handful was willpower.  The first handful felt out of my control- but it wasn't.  I think it was that crazy senseless urge that can overtake even the best intensions and is what kills many typical diets.  Doing perfectly until BAM- something trips you up and then you give up entirely. Those setbacks can make you think you're not good enough or strong enough to maintain a diet- because you don't really have any idea WHY you ate that bagel in the meeting or pulled into the drive thru at lunch. And that's when eating starts to feel completely out of your control and you figure you might as well give up.  I spent a lot of my life angry at myself for not being "strong" enough to diet and hating myself each time I failed.
Which is why I'm done dieting. This is a lifestyle change.  It's permanent.  It's not going away- even if I had eaten the whole bag of chips.  Nothing is ever ruined, I just have to keep trying, waking up each day and making as many good choices as I can. Even when you let yourself down, the ability to forgive yesterday's mistakes and move on what is going to help you maintain a healthy weight and lifestyle.  I don't think there's a magic "something" that will give me 100% control and stop me from ever giving in to a craving, or mindless eating or an occasional binge. I believe the key to weight loss is perseverance. Accepting your mistakes and moving on- committed to doing better the next day.
Live in the moment and try to make each choice a good one.  Not for a week, not for a month, but for the rest of your life. I'll leave you with a quote I liked out of my bootcamp journal. "Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending."- Maria Robinson
Good luck! Make good choices today!

No comments:

Post a Comment