Thursday, September 2, 2010

Cunning, baffling, powerful

Before I start my blathering today, I have to say I loved how many commenters knew their Myers Briggs type yesterday!  I didn't put mine in because I didn't know if many people generally had awareness of their result, but since so many of you said what you are, I will say I'm an ENFP.  I kind of forget some of what they all refer to, other than the fact that I'm and emotionally driven extrovert.

Okay.  I just read the first 7 posts on my blog roll, and they are all great.  Funny, inspiring, honest.  Great way to start the work day when I have time.  By the time I finish this, there will be others up that I'll get to then.  Continual good stuff!

I have so many things swimming around the vast cavity that is my head I don't know where to begin.  A lot of my "material" has been inspired by others' posts I've read over the last few days; a lot has generated from the aforementioned vast cavity above my neck and of course much of it comes from stuff I hear in AA.

First - someone said this at my morning meeting today...I've heard it before and think it's great.  It also feels relevant for me to include here today: 
 "Say what you mean.  Mean what you say.  Don't say it mean."
This is important for me to remember always.  It's only in the last 10-12 years I've become comfortable saying what I really mean in given situations.  It's always been a challenge because I was born with more than my share of the DNA that is labelled "People Pleaser".  In so many arenas in my life over 57 years, I'd be present at conversations or even problem solving sessions where I fundamentally disagreed with aspects of the material being presented, but it was virtually impossible for me to speak up because I didn't want people to not like me.  Also I was afraid that my input would not be valued or welcomed; so I sat in silence nodding my head while feeling like shit about myself both for not speaking my truth and for how oppressive the people-pleasing characteristic felt.

Getting sober in AA, working on myself, therapy and simply growing older have all contributed to my ability today to respectfully offer my thoughts and opinions in most settings.  I can now usually speak up at work, home, with friends and family, and even in blog comments; striving to be kind but also not compromising my message...hence "don't say it mean".  This is growth and change for me.

As I took baby steps toward being able to offer up my opinions and thoughts and became more comfortable in my own skin, I felt empowered.  But then I went through a period of time where my as yet undeveloped appropriate interaction filter would allow me to come across blunt or hurtful.  Thank heavens I was learning about making amends for my behaviors in my 12 step program.  Too often I had to go to someone and apologize for being out of line.  But continued work and self awareness enabled continued fine-tuning of my interactive skills, and I gradually had fewer amends to make because I stopped acting in ways that needed amending!  Think long slow process, here.  I tell you, it's taken a few villages to raise this blogger into a good human being. 
The other thing I'll talk about (have more but this is already getting loooong) is how cunning, baffling and powerful food addiction is.  Anyone who has ever attended an AA meeting or other 12 step programs has heard those adjectives as they apply to our "drug" of choice.  In AA, obviously, it's alcohol that chunning, baffling and powerful.  They say that now matter how long you're sober, your disease of addiction is off in the next room doing push ups so to be ready to take you out in vulnerable moments.

I find the same to be true of food and food addiction.  Yesterday I had what can only be called a near-perfect day.  I wrote every thing down I ate with calories (that came to just below 1400); did a 2 mile brisk dog walk in 97 degree dry heat, had delicious, healthy and on-plan meals and one snack.  And at no time did I want to binge or even overeat.  Virtually no temptation.  In the afternoon I thought for one minute (while on the phone, of all things) about having some butter on bread.  Nice thick ice cold butter.  (Bread is but a vehicle to get butter into my body.) But I shook the idea out of my head, literally, and never felt the desire again. 

Now most days, once that thought comes, it bore-asses into my consciousness in such a manner that the only way to shut it up is to eat something.  (I KNOW that is an excuse, so please don't tell me that.)  It's the old feeding of the compulsion, which strengthens it for then next time.  But for some reason the obsessive thought didn't take hold and didn't torture me.  I'm grateful.  And I'm baffled.  Why some days, not others?  And by the way, which came first, the chicken or the egg?  Anyway, my food addiction definitely feels cunning, baffling and powerful and I'm not able to handle it alone.  I need help from many sources, and my blog friends provide me with as much as I need, if only I can receive it.


  1. I LOVE that saying. Sometimes, when a person is blunt (errrr like me) it comes across as mean. I have worked very hard to temper that because usually I'm really not trying to be mean.

    I think that food thing happens to us all, whether we feel we're addicted or not. It just seems like sometimes the only way to get it out of my head is to eat some of whatever I keep thinking about. Other times, whatever. So no answers from me.

    I enjoyed your imagery about the bread being a vehicle to get butter into your body. I actually pictured a little car made of bread chugging it's way into your mouth - lol!

  2. Food addiction's been on my mind recently, too. I've really started watching other folks more closely, how they eat, what's in their shopping carts... and relate it to their appearance and well-being.

    Good post.

  3. Hey! I pictured that same little bread car!!! lol

    And yes, food addiction is all 3 of those nasty little a few more of my own choice words ;)

  4. I've never heard that saying but I love it! Writing it down so I'll remember it.

    As far as the butter thing, I heard someone say once, when a thought came to them about "wouldn't a nice cold beer be good?" - they shushed it with "I don't do that anymore" - wonder if it would help with butter and other thoughts?

  5. I haven't heard of that either, but love that saying. I too was a people pleaser, except I really never noticed!

    My husband was the first one to point it out to me when we first started dating - showing me which of my friends were taking advantage of me - I never realized!

    My husband's greatest attribute is being an excellent communicator - not only him communicating to me, but getting me to open up to what's really wrong - I thank goodness for him every day!

    Okay, now I want a piece of toasted bread with butter :D

  6. Part of my problem is seeing one of my trigger foods. I really have to work to keep the roasted pine nut container behind the spaghetti container. The peanut butter lives in the baking cupboard so it doesn't mug me every time I open the pantry door. I'm also much more susceptible if I'm hungry, or tired, or stressed, or angry. re butter--The first time I ever had any sense at all that I had a "problem" with food was when my grandmother said something when I put my third (generous) pat of butter on a dinner roll. I was about 9.

  7. I have asked the same thing - why some days and not others. Drives me crazy. But I know that the longer I go without certain foods (that trigger overeating) and the longer I go without a little binge (or a big binge) the easier it gets to just stay on track with no food calling to me.

  8. I think I will have to dig out mine. I am extroverted and artistic that is all I recall.

    I am going to make that my new mantra!

  9. Great post, leslie, as usual! I like the added sentence about not saying it mean. I hadn't heard that addition before.

    re: butter. It's soooo funny. Bill and I ate out for a late lunch today and he got a baked potato. When we were almost done, I spied this tiny plastic cup thing that was about half full. I pointed to it and asked what was in that.

    He said, "butter" I felt my face look surprised and said, "You left good butter?!" and then "You know, for me, the potato is just what I use as an excuse to eat the butter." We both laughed.

    sigh. Sadly, it's true, tho. And that 2 Tablespoons of butter he left is a glaring example of why I call him "the thin man". Even with his expanded waist (He wears a 36 now.) he still doesn't think/eat like a fat person. Never will.

    What do you think, Leslie? Will we ever think like thin people? :}


  10. Hi Leslie, Well you know in my program (and yours) that's the "obsession of craving." Thought gets in my head and next thing I know my feet are walking to the fridge, the pantry, driving in the car to buy something. Thank God (and I do mean Thank God) I haven't had to do that for 10 years! (Celebrated 10 years of abstinence on Aug. 19th!) Here's the simplest lifeline I know to get that voice out of your head: say "Help." No one has to live this way. I know what it's like and I never live one day without being amazed that I don't live that way anymore - without my obsession that was a daily companion.

  11. hey!! you have a wonderful blog. thanks for sharing your weight lost progress here. keep it up and never give up. you can do it.

  12. I love those words and have to chime in that for me, most days, LIFE feels cunning powerful and baffling and I need my pitcrew of peeps :) to get me though.


  13. Leslie, I loved the picture of your weakness, your addiction, working out in the very next room. :)

    Good post. I used to be the one who'd never upset the apple cart. I agreed, was amenable, always pleasant even if inside I had thoughts of my own which were different. I am still pleasant (mostly) but I have thankfully grown into a more confident, self-assured woman over the years. The only think giving my confidence the odd nudge these days is my weight and I can do something about that.

  14. Wow: Love this:
    "Say what you mean. Mean what you say. Don't say it mean."

    You inspire us each time you post. We all have our addictions, together we are move forward. You rock! Michele

  15. Love that saying. You always have something good to say Leslie. I am sure glad I found your blog!

  16. Love your thoughts on food addiction. Yep...agree agree...

    My binge monster always is there...sometimes so quiet I think it's gone....but it's not and the booming voice returns too often.