Monday, August 15, 2011

Pickle anyone?

I had a really nice weekend.  I took a sick day Friday and spent much of it with my almost 23 (at the end of this month) year old son - having lunch out, then hitting the local going-out-of-business Borders (so sad to see that company have to fold after 40+ years) to see if the REAL markdowns have started happening (they have!), and then a romp through Tar-ghay for countless items we didn't need but couldn't live without. 

Saturday I got lots of exercise - in the form of a 5 mile walk and then some CD led Pilates in my den.  By Sunday, my abs and other assorted core parts were achy in the best way - I really felt like I'd done something constructive for my body, and that made me more determined to keep it up and get back on a regular exercise schedule NMW (no matter what).

Saturday afternoon I went with some girl friends and saw The Help, which was wonderful.  Such a great story - only slightly altered from the book.  It was a movie that included laughing and crying - my favorite kind.  Wonderful performances, great period costuming and sets (cars and buses from the early 60s).  Highly recommended.

Yesterday we had torrential rain all day long, to the point where our back yard had so much water that it was looking like the Everglades, minus the gators.  It was a perfect day for watching mindless Lifetime and Hallmark movie channel movies and reading, which is what I did.  Sometimes days like that can make me want to graze all day, but I did pretty well staying on track with good food choices.   I did end up have 2 ears of fantastic corn on the cob with dinner rather than the one I'd planned, but that wasn't too heinous.  It was the bicolor corn from a local farm and it was like candy - sweet, succulent and delish.

I want to talk about something that I think I may have posted about a couple years ago.  As is often the case on my blog, this notion is inspired by something I learned about in AA, which I'll get to in a minute.

There are many of us in the blog community striving to either lose weight or maintain weight loss, as well as to get as healthy and fit as possible.  Many folks have lost weight and done great maintaining for years, and find they can successfully adopt the intuitive method of eating once they reach their goal weight and strike a good balance of eating and exercising.  Then there are others who've found weight loss and fitness but quick to say  that they will always have to work at staying in their desired range - that the tendencies to turn to food in times of emotional turmoil or other stresses remain long after the weight has vanished.  In other words - for some, the fight is over once they "learn" how to eat healthfully and move enough to burn fat and tone muscles.  For others (most?), maintaining will always be a fight challenge.

In that 2nd category there is a sub group that are true food addicts...a tribe of which I'm unfortunately a member.  (Hey, I'm not complaining, just stating fact - I could have a lot more serious, limiting or life-threatening diseases!)  And this leads me to the aforementioned nugget of wisdom I learned many years ago when I first started going to AA, which is this:  Once a cucumber is pickled, it can't go back to being a cucumber.  

In AA this relevant because once a person's drinking has become alcoholic in nature, it won't go back to being "normal"  - ever.  I recently shared with you guys that I celebrated 20 years of sobriety.  That's a shitload of sober time.  But it isn't enough, nor will any amount of time be enough, to enable me to successfully drink alcohol again.  Not a civilized glass of merlot with dinner.  Not a shared pitcher of beer with a few friends.  Maybe I could have one glass once or twice, but dollars to donuts, once I put alcohol in my body, it's a matter of time before I'll be back to the races again.  I'm pickled - and no amount of time out of the pickle jar will render me a simple cucumber again - or a simple normal drinker.

The same is true with food.  I've proven this to myself about a quintillion times.  Lose weight.  Feel great.  Add back in certain foods that have ALWAYS sent me back for more - and off to the races goeth I.  Sad but true.  I KNOW THIS.  Maybe that's why I'm so resistant to ultimately power through my cravings and food thoughts and get this weight off once and for all.  Because there is no once and for all.  There's only one day at a time and I will never be able to totally relax and eat the way I'm hard wired to eat.  Knowing that is helpful, I think.  But not helpful for losing the weight.  It's helpful in that it cuts through my denial, and my wishing I was not this way.  It convicts me with responsibility for my own well being.  I know how to live without one of my substances a day at a time.  And I know that if I can do the one, the other is within my grasp IF I REALLY WANT IT.

These are just thoughts - triggered by a couple of blogs I've read lately where people with similar issues to mine are pondering how to proceed on their respective journeys.  I'm just realizing that if I want to get on down the scale and actually get there, it won't be the end.  It will be the beginning of more one days at a time.


  1. Hi Leslie - as soon as I read corn on the .... that's all it took & my mouth started watering!LOL!

    Good point on the pickling. It's so admirable how you know so well what you can, or rather, can't have (concerning the alcohol). You've done what countless of others have only dreamed of doing.

    Thumbs UP!

  2. Fab. U. Lous. Post.

    I don't know if I am truly an addict or not. But this seems to sum up how I feel, most days. That I am pickled. I am not sure that I will ever again just be able to eat food normally, if you know what I mean. And I think you do. I had a little bingefest (pre-roadtrip, long story) that brought it home for me.

    BTW -typing from Utah! We have a way to get the internet in the car, off and on:)

  3. I really relate to what you say, Leslie.

    I do remember a time in my life in college when I used to binge on a little bag of about 10 Brachs pick-a-mix once a week and feel nearly like barfing from it and not want sweets again until a whole week later. << That was before I was pickled.

    I've been watching Catherine Cookson movies off of Netflix, which is almost like Hallmark movies except the jealous husband kills off the wife's lover and there is no forensic evidence to prove it in that time period. :D

    I also fail to understand why bookstores can't thrive with 300 million(?) people in this country. Very sad.

    :-) Marion

  4. So well said, Leslie. I know that I belong to the same category of food addicts as you. I agree that the reason it's so hard to get going is because I have proven time and time again that once I am thin, there is no reprieve. It just goes on and on. Thanks for describing this situation so well.

  5. I nodded thru your post. Well, you already knew that I'd be nodding thru your post if I read it, didn't you. :}

    And I wanted to type a very serious and,I'm sure, profound comment on the denial, the struggle, and the despair of once again snatching defeat out of the jaws of victory...but words fail me.

    I am left gasping for air as I marinate in my pickle jar, wondering how it is that I can have 30 near perfect and effortless days then, seemingly all of a sudden, I can't string even 30 sort of okay hours in a row.

    As surprised as I was by the string of stellar days, I am now equally bewildered by the sudden crash. The answer lies far beyond the pat food/emotion/habit/event/trigger quasi-enlightened psycho crap. My life was was not sunshine during those good days and it is no worse or better now.

    Oh, great. I can't manage profound so I just slide into being...well, you know what I just slid into being.

    Hugs, Leslie. If you have it figured out, do tell. I'm running out of the ability to even pretend that I'll start again tomorrow.


    Man. Can I be tragic, or what?

  6. There is always such substance in your posts. Thank you!

  7. Maybe the trick for you would be to NOT see this as a never ending battle/fight/journey whatever you want to call it. But to see that when you get to "goal" it will be the next leg of your journey. I truly don't believe that weight loss days and maintenance days are the same, even for food addicts. Yes, there will be more one days at a time, but I believe the days will have a different flavor.

    I loved The Help too and I was part of a great movie audience who oohed and ahhhed and laughed and cried in all the right places!

  8. "Many folks have lost weight and done great maintaining for years, and find they can successfully adopt the intuitive method of eating once they reach their goal weight and strike a good balance of eating and exercising."

    In my opinion, there are not MANY of these people.

    There are a lot of people who think they are this way, think this way will work. But bottom line, when you look at whether or not they are actually maintaining, there are VERY FEW.

    It/this is an illusion which hits many people when they get to goal.

    I think part of it is because they do not gain all their weight back immediately. IT creeps. So they think it is working, because they want it to work so badly. They want to hit goal and be done and 'go back' to 'normal' life.

    If you look at the true maintainers, my opinion is, we have to work for it, we have to be just as careful.

    There is no magic. There is no lottery. We can't suddenly eat whatever we want. The slope stays just as slippery.

    It gets much easier, in my opinion, because we know our triggers and we know where the slope is. That part of 'intuitive' might be true.

    I guess one could say an alcoholic in recovery is intuitive about alcohol in the way they know they can't even do one drink.

  9. I agree with this post Leslie - I can't tell you how many people I know who think "once I lose all the weight everything will be great!" It's best just to make each day the best we can.

    Hope you have a wonderful weekend!