Friday, June 18, 2010

Enjoyment vs. Endurance

*Remember the deadline for the felted bag and PB2 giveaway is tonight (Friday) at midnight.  If you haven't entered and would like to, there is still time!!!*  You can comment on today's post or the original giveaway post.  Winners will be announced Sunday, June 20th!!*

Weekly weigh in today is 204.1.  Last week was 204.  Give me a break, you bastard scale.  Sure, you were reading a couple pounds higher yesterday because of the Chinese food and other er, indiscretions, earlier in the week.  But prior I was 203 plus change on Tuesday and better than perfect with food yesterday plus a superior workout.  Don't give me your cheeky smack talk about how I ought to be on my knees thanking you for an essential maintain this week.  I'M SICK OF YOUR CRAP.  Okay, maybe I'm sick of my own crap.  I'm ready to get back into Onederland and never ever again leave it.  If I had an old-fashioned dial scale, I could at least set it 5 pounds below zero (to make up for the curvature of the floor, or sunspots or something) and see a Onederland number.

This is going out on a limb, and maybe I can't do it, but with God as my witness (call me Scarlet) I will be at 200.0 next Friday.  That seems a little extreme, but I know my body and if I toe the line, stay on course, and have only healthy clean eating days with exercise of 30 minutes daily, it can and WILL happen.  Let me add (listen up, scale) that a tenth of a pound below 200 is acceptable.  But not above.  Yes, dammit, I KNOW it's up to me.  But you have to not pull any shit like a battery malfunction in the meantime.

There.  I feel better.  And truly I am okay with no loss this week.  It really could have been a gain.  Also, I had a fantastic workout yesterday that included 30 minutes on the treadmill and 30 minutes in the pool swimming laps.  I felt like a million bucks when I walked out of the gym, and so very righteous!

A little while ago I read Katie J's post for today.  In it she talked about several things, including seeing her trainer, weekend plans, and that she will be going to PF Chang's for the first time next week.  She said she would review the menu and make her choices accordingly as she plans to have dessert with the meal.  In commenting, I found myself saying that her choosing her entree accordingly to accomodate dessert was a way of enjoying her "lifestyle" (the journey to weightloss and fitness) rather than enduring it.  When I read the words my fingers had typed, I was surprised at what they said, and realized I'd heard something at my meeting this morning that likely influenced my thoughts.  Somewhere in the AA literature, there is a little nugget of wisdom that states, "Life is to be neither mastered nor endured".  This sounds like it may also be a  Buddhist concept.  Wherever it originated, it's a beautiful phrase..

I've read in blogs about how the journey to health and fitness needs to be a lifestyle rather than a "diet".  Many of my most successful weight loss efforts have been the result of "dieting" in the strictest sense of the word meaning restriction of intake.  I've spoken before about the rigid 12 step program (Food Addcits in Recovery) I did a few summers back where the only food I was "allowed" to have was from a food plan given to me by a sponsor.  Literally every bite was weighed, measured, reported and carefully selected.  The only variety of food on this plan was my choice of the one fruit I was allowed per day (excluding bananas and cherries), and my choice of what uncooked veggies to put in my 2 daily 8 oz salads and what vegetables to cook for the 2 daily 6 oz servings.  The philosophy of the program is "We keep the food black and white so we can *live our lives in color*."  And let me say right here I'm not criticizing this program.  It works, and works great for many people who have never been able to lose weight or maintain loss once they've achieved it.  With booze, it's all black and white for me.  If I have one drink, there is no telling what will happen next.  But one thing for sure - the *quality of my life* (*living it in color*) will diminish.  People I cherish may slip away.  But food is not so sharply silhouetted against the background of life as is booze for an alcoholic.

From day 1 of working that program, I knew that I didn't want to do it over the long haul.  The absolute rigidity of the food plan worked - and fast - while I followed it, even with my few modifications I didn't tell to my sponsor, like putting skim milk in my coffee.  I dropped weight like a snake sloughing scales.  But this way of eating wasn't sustainable for me.  Today when I wrote the comment on Katie's blog about her being able to enjoy her journey to fitness and health, a light bulb went on as I realized that living that rigid food plan removed the aspect of enjoyment of eating and food.  It was something I was enduring.  For some folks, it's great and provides the first relief ever from the vicious cycle of overeating, gaining weight and hating the prison of food addiction.

I'm fortunate that while I did have great success with that plan for the 6 weeks I was able to endure it, I also have plenty of examples in my life where I've been able to eat a more normal array of foods and still lose weight, or maintain it.  Within that, I also know full well that certain "foods" (are junk food, cake, chips, fries... really food?) are extremely likely to trigger cravings for more and lead to binge eating.  But not everyday.  I'm pretty self aware, and when I have a day where I'm thinking about bingeing all day long but trying to abstain from it, a handful of nuts or chips WILL inevitably lead to epic overeating.  I know that when I take the first compulsive bite, even if I'm telling myself that "it'll be different this time".  I know it.  And recently when I've encountered this exact scenario, I've forced myself to acknowledge the DECISION before I ingest the "handful".  At least be honest with myself.

But there are also times when I can have a piece of cake, or an extra serving of mac'n'cheese or whatever, and not get triggered to eat more.  Rigidity for me breeds dysfunction and sets me up for FAILURE.  I have both an emotional component to my eating and a physiological one that is beyond my metabolic needs for nutrition.  The whole high carb/insulin malfunction that Drs. Atkins, Agaston and others have explored is definitely a piece for me.  Yes, I'm a food addict.  But I also am sensitive to sugar and other high carb items.  I know it and can work with it when I'm exercising honesty and prudence with myself and my "appetites".  Sometimes I will screw up and eat too much or binge...yet I can get back on track right away without the punitive measures offered me by a rigid plan because I've "relapsed",  lost my "time" and now have to start all over, even losing my privilege of sharing at meetings.

The old bartender's line, "what'll you have with that?"  applies here.  I can ask myself that question before I opt for a "handful" of something I know damned well will lead me to epic overeating.  On a vulnerable day, the choice to go ahead and have that handful that becomes a gut full will fill make me feel sick.  I'll awaken the next day with regret, remorse and shame.  I'll think, "Shit, I did it again" just like I did with the booze.  All that is "what I'll get with that" to answer the bartender's question.  Maybe I don't really want it.

I do want freedom to think, choose, and grow emotionally in a way that unfolds into more good choices.  If my progress has been slow and seemingly non-existent at times, it's by the scale's verdict only.  Because I'm getting deeper and deeper along this journey to my best Leslie and her truth.  I can acknowledge that the handful is going to turn into a bellyful and for a moment pause and decide if it's what I want.  I don't have to have all those negative things mentioned in the above paragraph.  I'm making more better choices now, lying less about my eating to self and others.  Kind of weird NSVs, but given that this is the last "diet" I'm ever going on, I better own every bit of progress I can. 

Life is to be neither mastered nor endured.  It's to be enjoyed.  And Lived.  That's what I'm looking for.  Peace with food, peace with eating, peace with self.  It's coming.  I'm feeling it more everyday.  Each day is a new beginning, and if necessary, I can start my day over at any time.  And endurance does fit into the picture as we keep on getting back up after falling, moving ahead when we're maintaining, and staying motivated when we're winning.


  1. First I wanted to say that it is NOT cheating to get family involved in your blogging success. I'm disappointed my family won't follow me. They want me to remain anonymous so they can remain so. Oh well.

    Congrats on your 101! Do you feel different?

    Okay, enough of that. My favorite thing you said today was that "Life is to be neither mastered nor endured. It's to be enjoyed. And Lived." So so true. I hope that your angst burns out, the scale returns to normal functioning, and you find a way to be peaceful.


  2. I agree with death to the scale. I wonder if they could absorb oil...then we could organize a mass movement to toss em all in the Gulf where they will do some good ?? Either that or gather them up, string them up and treat em like pinatia's at a birthday party ?? Not logical but it could be fun for a while ! I face mine tomorrow, and I fear from the way I feel it is going to be another "DEATH TO SNOOCHY" kind of weigh in.

  3. What a great post. And yes, Life is to be enjoyed! Have a great weekend. I know you can hit 200 by next weigh in. Kick some butt!

  4. Anonymous18 June, 2010

    I really think we are long lost sisters or something. We think so much alike is crazy. I love this post. LOVE it!! You have such great insightful posts.

    OK...we are almost the identical same weight. So...we are kicking this extra baggage to the curb. WE can do this!!

    Congrats on follower're not our campaigning are you? Just kidding :)

  5. I actually enjoy my weight loss journey it is sometimes the rest of my life I seem to be enduring.

  6. This is really an enlightening post.

    We all can lose weight on any fad diets. All diets work to get weight off. What they don't do is help you keep it off. It's all about learning to deal with food in the real world and controlling it instead of letting it control you.

  7. Hi Leslie. Wonderful post!

    Bearfriend xx

  8. First of all, I like the way you gave your scale a smackdown!

    Secondly, what you wrote about acknowledging that certain foods are likely to trigger a binge is huge, and something that I try to remember. I may be taking the easy way out, but most of the time I'd rather not have that bite (or three) of a brownie - the struggle I end up going through to not dive headfirst into a sugar frenzy is to me. I guess knowing my addictive personality helps me accept it (a little, anyway).

    Your bartender's line is perfect - perfect! This is a brilliant post, Leslie...thanks so much for sharing your thoughts!

  9. Something brilliant is here. Great post, Leslie. All the insights regarding enduring and enjoyment, rigidity and sustainability are spot on and thought provoking. The binge stuff is so very true for me, too. I've got all those same issues and it's not over. I'm getting a little more peaceful a little more of the time and I'll take it.

    Thanks for the great post. Still have my fingers crossed for a great bag! Have a great weekend....

  10. Thank you for this awesome post! Your speaking my language.

  11. Anonymous18 June, 2010

    Loved this post. As we used to say a few decades ago, "It resonated with me." Well, it did!

    God gave me a phrase at the beginning of this most recent trek down the Highway to Thin. Some probably think I over use it, but each time I type it, it just quickens my heart.

    This post made me think of it: "JOY ARISES"

    Indeed it does, Leslie. As we decide to enjoy life rather than to conquer it or endure it or make efficient use of it--joy arises.

    Here's to joy on the journey, girlfriend!


  12. I think for some of us, the strict dieting works, while for others of us, a more loose program works. The key is to find something that you can do for the rest of your life. With that comes success. Like you, I am in this thing for the long haul!

  13. Anonymous19 June, 2010

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  14. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  15. Great post. Thought provoking. I especially liked the concept of "owning every bit of progress." This is my first time here, but I'll be back. Good luck on crashing through 200 this week! You can do it.

  16. I LOVE this post. LOVE it! "enjoying her "lifestyle" (the journey to weightloss and fitness) rather than enduring it." - I had never thought of it like that. And you said so much that hit home for me, especially on top of my recent vacation and my confirmation that I am indeed very sensitive to certain foods (like sweets and breads). I hope to someday figure out how to handle moderation successfully, but for now, it is still a struggle most of the time.

  17. Loved that saying "Life is to be neither mastered nor endured. It's to be enjoyed. And Lived."

    I hope I can remember it and repeat it to myself often.