Since December 29, 2009, when I vowed to get myself in shape, I have been "caught" several times. The first was in front of the Girls Scout cookie table just beyond the sliding doors of the local grocery store. I was undressing two boxes of Samoas, with my eyes, when a female acquaintance said, "Oh Christina, you really don't need that!" I looked up, shrugged, gave an awkward squint-smile, and said, "Yeah, you're right." I took the walk of sheepish-shame to my car feeling very silly and a little humiliated. And as is usually the case, I came up with some incredible come-backs about five minutes after the encounter. "From what I can see, you don't need them either, yet here you are, standing right next to me in front of the cookies!" Or, "Oh, it's nice to see you too, jerk!" And "Hey, you're not the boss of me!!" I drove home daydreaming of this playground confrontation and how it should have panned out. Then I parked the car and said to myself, "Hey, wait a minute, don't be mad at her for saying that--you ASKED for it--literally." Just a week after starting this blog I emailed many people asking for their "Support" in my weight-loss goals. I also publicize the blog heavily on Facebook. The woman, in her own way, was trying to offer support.
I was also "caught" three weeks ago at Chick-Fil-A with a hefty (fried) chicken sandwich and an EXTRA-LARGE carton of fries. This person was lovely and polite and asked how I was doing and didn't say a thing about what I was eating. But for some reason I felt that I had to "Confess" before I was comfortable moving on with the conversation, "Oh, (cheesy grin) It's French Fry day--I let myself have fries once every two-weeks or else I'd just go crazy!!" She looked at me reassuringly as if to say, "It's ok, really, I don't care." And we moved on with our conversation. So here is my problem with this: Somehow I have felt accountable to others for my exercise and eating--I've made my problem their problem. I mean, I know my friends and acquaintances don't sit home thinking about how much I currently weigh or how I "Cheated" today, but somehow my insecure self convinces me this is true.
I am officially declaring myself OFF A DIET. "Gasp!" "NO, It can't be!!" Well, it is, and I am still losing weight. I'm not a big fan of diets anyway, but now, I am completely letting go of the feelings of restriction, burden, and shame. From reading "Women, Food, and God," I have learned that my body actually tells me when I should stop eating--guess what, it was made to do that--I just haven't been listening to it for a while. The author, Geneen Roth, says to do an experiment: eat whatever it is you want to eat and listen to your belly. "To my belly??" "You mean I must listen to that awful, stretched-out monster...THING that has ruined my life? The floppy mess of lipids that REFUSES to scrunch into a suitable pair of jeans--the belly that makes young children ask (and adults wonder) if I am 'With child?'" Yes, yes, and yes, I must listen to my belly.
I have put the experiment to the test--I've eaten pizza, cake, and of course, Chick-Fil-A. Part of the experiment is to listen to my body's response to each bite and describe my hunger on a scale from one-to-ten. Here is one example of how this has actually worked, two nights ago: I eat one slice of pepperoni pizza--my belly isn't growling anymore, but I am still a little hungry, maybe a 4 or 5 on a 10 scale. Another slice: bite one, two, three...and my stomach feels HEAVY, and I stop after 1 and 1/2 slices, with something to drink, and that completes dinner. Can you believe it--only 1 and 1/2 slices of PIZZA!? I can hardly believe it myself. Of course a diet of pizza, fried chicken, and cake is not healthy even if I only have small amounts. I still need the nutrients from good, whole, foods. The purpose of this method is not to necessarily "Eat whatever I want," but to eat whatever my BODY wants. And today, guess what? It wanted a glass of water instead of a diet coke, and yesterday, some apple slices. Over time I compare how my belly feels after eating certain foods and really LISTEN. The feelings after an apple compared to a large order of fries are very different--and paying attention to this difference is the key. My body "wants" to eat healthy foods, I've just been giving it whatever my HEAD thought it needed. So if you see me in Barnes and Noble with a huge frothy cup of hot cocoa topped with a mountain of whipped-cream, don't worry, because I am listening. Now I just need to figure out which body part tells me to stop placing bids on eBay...