Friday, August 19, 2011

I Won't, I Can't, I Will ~

I wanted to be someone who could lose all my excess weight and never have to give weight any more blood, sweat or tears. I wanted to drop that pounds, eat whatever I wanted and never gain any of it back because I was too smart for that. I wanted to have the occasional day of indulgent recreational eating. I wanted to enjoy the Easter candy basket, Christmas cookies, Halloween candy, and the Thanksgiving Feast of excess food. I wanted to be elevated to a higher plane of Nirvana where I was no longer susceptible to the base cravings of lesser humans. I wanted to be slim, sane, sexy and tour the fifty states passionately searching for the best ice cream in America. 

What I DIDN'T want was to become one of  “those People.” The People who weigh and measure their food and write down everything they eat. People who read every label and refrain from things like all added sugars, flour or other ingredients that tempt food addiction. Those People who bring food to an event where food it being served just in case the food is not on their plan. People who turn down dessert and extra helpings every time, attend support meetings and have accountability for their food and their behaviors. I started out by saying I won’t: 

I won’t weigh and measure my food 
I won’t write down my meals each day 
I won’t be structured 
I won’t ask for help 
I won’t follow suggestions 
I won’t 
I won’t 

How did that work for me? Not too well. My weight went up and down like a yo-yo. I was having insane binges and often felt the unhealthy effects of my choices and ‘I won’t attitude.’ Then I moved into an ‘I can’t’ phase. This phrase always had a silent second part: 

I can’t weigh and measure my food – I’m afraid it will not be enough 
I can’t write down my meals each day – I am afraid of what I will see 
I can’t be structured - It might change who I am
I can’t ask for help – I might have to take it 
I can’t take suggestions – if you are right, that means I could be wrong
I can’t 
I can’t  

Okay, that did not work out too much better but at least I had exchanged the definitive use of “won’t” for the subjective use of ‘can’t.’ It opened a door. I accepted that those methods/activities could help some people but I did not think I was one of them. I had a pretty strong case of terminal uniqueness

Then came the day that it was suggested I explore a change in my daily chant. Instead of the I won’t or I can’t, perhaps I could try a new mantra. Enter “Today, I'll explore . . ..” 

Today I'll explore weighing and measuring my food and accept the truth 
Today I'll explore writing down my food and see what I learn 
Today I'll explore adding structure to my life and learn who I am 
Today I'll explore asking for help and listen to the answers 
Today I'll explore follow a suggestion and see where it leads me

It is not necessary that I like everything that I do in keeping the pounds off. It is only necessary that I do everything. A cancer patient does not like having surgery or chemo but it is saving a life and they do it. A diabetic does not like pricking their finger numerous times daily and then giving themselves injections but it is saving a life and they do it. I do things today that are saving me from a life full of obesity-related infirmities, including regaining my weight and an early death. Even if I do not like every action I need to take, I am willing to take each one because it is saving a life. 

Don't let won't and can't take away your life. Is there something you might need to do to save your life that you are NOT willing to do today? 



Melanie said...

Hi Jane,

I really enjoy your posts. They are so helpful! I greatly appreciate your reflectiveness and your insight.

David C. said...

Exploring can be fun! Wear sensible shoes :)

bbubblyb said...

Good post Jane! You know that's what I attribute starting my journey with "willingness" and putting the "I won't" and "I can't" away and making it "I'll try".

Vickie said...

I absolutely relate to this post.

Everything was a chore and hard and painful in the beginning. And it wasn't that the tasks (weighing measuring, etc) were difficult. It was my attitude about them.

I had to get out of my own way.

I had to change my perspective, as you wrote so well.

my measuring cups, now, are simply my spoons. It does not seem weird at all to me to use them. what seems weird is when I see someone else with a spoon. that just seems plain odd.

Anonymous said...

Hi Jane,

What an AWESOME post!

I really like the mention that people with diabetes, cancer, etc. do what they HAVE to so they can live, and this is a GREAT 'line of thinking' to take when it comes to food addiction.

I have to remember that I have a REAL disease, and I am NOT willing to let thoughts of "what will other people think of me and how/what I eat?" cloud my judgement and decision that I have (kicking and screaming...!) made to eat the way I know how which will help keep MY disease controlled.

Thanks for a FANTASTIC post!

Heather ~~~

Cenandra said...

I can't agree more Jane! I don't "like" to log my food or weigh it, but it has to be!

Jane Cartelli said...

Welcome back home. I am always happy to read your insightful comments. I think of my travel scale as a natural extension of me now.

Heather - Letting go of what other people think of me and how I am eating was a huge hurdle and I still have to watch myself that I do not seek anyone else's approval for not over eating and not having the addictive foods.

Sheri - I cannot believe how much easier it becomes to do everything I have to do once I just accepted it as the life or death decision it really is. When I stop accepting I know I am in trouble.


Julie said...

This reminds me of saying to a very fit, strong female friend recently that I just loathe doing lunges. She looked at me in puzzlement and said `no one LIKES doing them'. It was a real epiphany for me - she did them because they are necessary (for the result she/I am after) not because she enjoyed doing them. I thought people I regard as really fit (ie more than me haha) enjoyed what they did - apparently not! I was frustrated because not matter how hard I worked I didn't like some of the things I was doing. I am willing to eat what I need to, measure my food, skip the things that upset my equilibrium, whether I feel like it or not. I treat those choices as I would essential medical advice to control a disease or illness. If I do not follow these instructions it is potentially life threatening for me. It will certainly rob my life of most of the joy and enjoyment I have today. Ultimately it could rob me of my life and/or limbs thanks to diabetes, heart failure or potentially cancer. I don't like it everyday but I do it everyday. I don't like the results if I fail to follow my personal `prescription'.

Anonymous said...

Oh I love this post. There is power in accountability and acceptance my friend!

Jane Cartelli said...

Julie - I was thinking of your comment today while doing my lunges -which I hate. No one likes doing them. Oh that made my workout happier. Thank you!

Much power!