Much Obliged

When life is peachy, sticking to the diets on my 12 in 12 journey has been a piece of [fat-free] cake. If it’s not, I’m drawn to the fridge like Winnie-the-Pooh is to honey. This week, life was especially tough, and before I knew it, I was swan-diving head first into a reservoir of fat, salt, and sugar laden foods.

Nathan, my daughter’s common-law partner, got into a serious biking accident on Thursday, breaking his right shoulder, and left wrist. He’s scheduled for surgery on Tuesday and has been told he cannot use both his hands for the next two months.

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That’s hard news for anyone to take, but Nathan makes his living as a barista at Starbucks, and as an illustrator (he’s the talented artist behind all the artwork on my blog, including the awesome banner!), so his hands are his money makers. The same day as Nathan’s accident, we got word that my cousin’s 30 year-old son died in his sleep – the cause is still unknown.

While I know binging won’t change anything, I found myself jonesing for an edible hit… chocolate, chips, cookies, heck I would have eaten mayonnaise straight out of the jar if I had any in the house! Food is my go-to drug – I don’t stop eating until whatever is eating me is buried under an avalanche of calories. I used to eat until the physical pain of a full stomach hurt more than the emotional pain I was feeling.

Since I don’t keep junk food in the house anymore, I made a pit stop at the grocery store after driving Chantal and Nathan home from Emerg. I grabbed a large bag of chips and nommed my way through half the bag before I came up for air. But something was different… they weren’t hitting the spot like they used to. I rolled up the bag, put it in the pantry, and went to bed. I tossed and turned for over an hour. I couldn’t stop thinking about Chantal and Nathan. I couldn’t stop thinking about my cousin living every parent’s worst nightmare. And I couldn’t stop thinking about those freaking chips in the pantry. I got out of bed and head to the kitchen. I got the chips and contemplated what it would really cost me if I ate them. After a few moment of playing the staring game with the bag, I dumped the chips in the trash and poured Comet over them just in case. Victory? Nope.

Then on Saturday, my mom and I went to visit the kids and dropped off a meal and a few groceries. Poor sweeties – Nathan, double-slinged was doped up on painkillers. Chantal, was running herself ragged, doing all the household chores and playing nursemaid. On my way home, I got that familiar urge. This time my drug of choice was a pint of Häagen-Dazs. I needed to shoot 20 CCs of the creamy, icy goodness into me STAT. Again, I got half way through, stopped, and eventually poured dishwashing liquid on the remainder.

I thought about my foiled binge attempts and wondered why I couldn’t ‘finish the job.’ Then I realized it was YOUR presence that helped me stop. If I succumbed to a full on binge, I would have to record it in my food journal, and therefore, I wouldn’t be honouring my commitment to the experiment, and to those of you following my blog. Victory? Nope… Awareness, and that’s just as good as a victory!

A few months ago, I heard Gretchen Rubin, author of Better Than Before, Mastering the Habits of Our Everyday Lives, speak at The Art of Leadership for Women event in Toronto. She talked about the tendencies that influence our habits and claimed we fall into one of the following categories:

  1. Upholders respond readily to outer and inner expectations
  2. Questioners question all expectations; they’ll meet an expectation if they think it makes sense
  3. Rebels resist all expectations, outer and inner alike
  4. Obligers meet outer expectations, but struggle to meet expectations they impose on themselves

I am a textbook obliger – I keep my promises to other, but not always to myself, so thank you for obliging this obliger! You’ve made an honest woman of me – I’ve been tempted to go back to my cheatin’ ways, but being accountable to you has kept me on the straight and narrow. You’ve saved me from countless empty calories and hours of agonising self-flagellation.   My unhealthy habit has become my unhealthy coping mechanism, but the good news is there are strategies in place once you’re ready to deal with them.

For my Week 32 food journal, click here.

2 thoughts on “Much Obliged

  1. Tried to comment on the blog but it didn’t seem to work. So sorry about Nathan — and your cousin’s child! Very sad news. You are doing SO well, Mare, and we are all pulling for you. Hugs, Donna

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  2. Brava Marilina!!!!!! All victories. I’m am so happy for your successes. They are all of our successes who choose to numb pain in many different ways.

    I am speechless of the “difficulties” faced by Nathan and your poor cousin. God protect us all. I love you, Ellen oxox

    Sent from my iPad

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