Friday, December 30, 2011
Small victories. That’s what I’m about today. I know it’s cliché, but there you are. Not only that, but my small victories are incredibly self-centered and boring (I feel like someone who tweets about having taken a poop), but I am writing them down for posterity. Remember that you were warned when you roll your eyes at what a navel-gazing boob I am.
Most of today’s victories are, at least superficially, about food. To wit: I left 3 fantastic, enormous ravioli on my plate last night because I thought I might be full and that perhaps I could wait and find out. And I waited. And there was fullness. And it was good.
And when I whined about how oh it's only three more and besides, the ravioli were so GOOD and TASTY, I reminded myself that eating beyond fullness makes me feel bloaty and gross instead of totally satisfied. I pointed out how if I chose not to eat the tiny bits of ricotta-cheese-filled heaven, I would not, in fact, feel gross for eating too much or even guilty for wasting food (sorry, Nana).
I was somewhat mollified by this explanation—kind of like a kid who on impulse begs to stay up late and is told that there won’t be any time for Morning Battles with Dinosaurs and Monster Trucks if he doesn’t get enough sleep tonight.
When you are that kid, the explanation is logical and at the same time vaguely unsatisfying, but BOY are you glad you went to bed early the next morning when you’re having an epic standoff between ancient reptiles and jacked-up 4x4s.
Of course, I DID have to immediately throw the tiny pillows of pasta-y goodness directly into the garbage disposal before I changed my mind, but that’s something I can obsess about another day, I think.
Also, I ate a few spoonfuls of ice cream when I was getting D some last night, but I do not regret it one bit. AND I recorded it so I couldn’t pretend I didn’t eat it.
Then later I decided I wanted some cinnamon almonds, and I managed to get ¼ cup and NO MORE. As in, I said “no” and meant it instead of doing it anyway and feeling crappy about it for the rest of the night, which is my usual MO. I tried instead to look encouragingly at myself and say “Oh, Self, that’s okay! Look how well you did in only eating a quarter cup! Bring out the pom-poms and the big foam finger!”
So for once, I did not attack myself for doing things I thought were sub-optimal choices (and to me, “not attacking” is NOT the same thing as saying “oh, I just don’t care. I’ll never fit into my clothes or eat healthy or blah blah pity blah blah.” Because THAT kind of thinking is also a repeat-offender). I just decided to give an “atta girl” for portion control rather than a punch in the bracket for eating sweets in the first place.
It was remarkably more effective than hours of self-loathing. Imagine that.
Part of this approach came from a food journal idea I saw on SP. Honestly, I thought the advice I read about keeping a “food reaction journal” was laaaame. I mean, recording my thoughts on why I want a particular food, then whether or not I ate it and then how I felt after I ate/didn’t eat it seemed on par with the “suggestions” for distracting oneself from eating I see in Every. Single. Article. About. Weight. Loss.
You know the ones I’m talking about. If I read another article that suggests I “take a bath” or “phone a friend” instead of eating a sundae the size of Manhattan, I will assume the fetal position and sob for several hours.
My Helpful Suggestions are more like “fantasize about gluing all of your snotty co-worker’s paper clips together” or “clean your nasty kitchen” or “bang your head ever so gently against a nearby brick wall.” Those seem INFINITELY more realistic, at least to me. And they are far more effective to me than, say, “taking a stroll around the office” or “drinking a glass of water.” (I’m not saying the typical suggestions don’t help people—I know they do. I’m just too sardonic to be one of them).
But the food reaction journal—even though I only did it in my head—helped me take a step back. It let me look at the situation as if from the outside and then be all nice and forgiving for some things and then feel all rockstar-awesome for my finer moments of Mindful Self-Control. That made it a lot less lame. Maybe I’ll even do it again today.