It’s all about today

Friday, February 3, 2012 Permalink

Despite having said I was an anti-mantra kinda gal…. I have to confess I’ve been repeating something to myself over the last couple of days. (And, no… I don’t mean my current favourite expletives, ‘FFS’, which pops into my head and occasionally out of my mouth every 5 minutes!)

As you know, I restarted my ‘healthy eating plan’ on Monday of this week, having jumped ship for a couple of weeks (well, a bit of the time anyway). So, after weeks of the occasional naughty mini-binge and wine most nights, my life was suddenly to be devoid of ANYTHING vaguely fun or interesting (when it came to food, anyway).

Time Travel: We Leave For New Zealand Today.Now, I know this overly-rigid approach is part of my problem. But when eating cleanly or healthily, I tend to NOT partake in any food-related treats (aka fun stuff). I would not DREAM of eating cake or biscuits or chocolate or corn chips or hot chips – all of which remain in the ‘no-go’ territory.

I suspect – for long-term sustainability – one SHOULD incorporate some fun stuff into their diets; but I’m such an all-or-nothing person I worry it’s akin to opening the floodgates and ONE caramello koala (at 100 calories) will lead to an entire bag of caramello koalas (which, as a one-off would be not-good, but once I start – as you know – I cannot stop, so there would days of bags of caramello koalas!). I’m obviously still not great at picking myself up off the ground, dusting myself off and getting back on the straight and narrow. Once I’ve slipped off the wagon, I stay off… for days, or weeks – consuming everything I haven’t allowed myself over the preceding period of time.

And now, I’ve restarted my attempt to lose weight (that I won’t call a diet). I’m tracking the number of calories I eat (aiming for 1400-1500/day), plus exercising at least five times a week. Because I recognise the importance of being vaguely healthy I’m attempting to choose wisely, the food that will comprise the 1400 calories (ie. not eating only 800 calories in food to budget for alcohol!).

As I’m already 20+kg (44+lbs) less than I was in May 2011, the amount I need to lose isn’t as overwhelming as it once was, although I could still afford to lose a similar amount. But as I’ve been writing this I’ve realised that my confidence in my appearance has improved because I’m not focussed on needing to lose A LOT of weight to look presentable in public (or even normal). I’m closer to that than I used to be and am still receiving a lot of comments from people who (erroneously) think I’ve still been losing weight over recent months.

(As I’ve said before) the thing that IS overwhelming is the concept of deprivation: the no chocolate, no corn chips, no hot chips, no wine and so forth.

one day at a time Now of course I realise there should NOT be a ‘never again’ notion; yet another a symptom of my black/white thinking. Just last week I referred to an article suggesting that overly stringent ‘dieting’ can lead to binge-eating. But… it’s one thing knowing this stuff and another thing actually bloody well doing it. So, while I like to think one day I can incorporate them into my diet without going crazy; I’m not there yet, so I’d best avoid them.

All of that being said (and aren’t you glad I took most of the blog to get to the point?!), as I’ve left work (or the gym) each day this week I’ve been struck by the familiar sense of panic mixed with melancholy over the pointlessness of living if one can’t eat / do what they want (etc). The notion of a night ahead of me devoid of ‘fun stuff’ feels overwhelming. But as I can’t go to bed at 7pm each night, waiting for morning to appear I’ve had to find other ways to cope.

And, although I’m not saying it’s the panacea which will solve all of my problems and keep me on the straight and narrow for weeks ahead (until routine kicks in, which I know it will), help arrived in the least likely of places.

Early this week I had just finished watching something I’d recorded and was about to delete the program, when I got sidetracked. Before I knew it I was accidentally 5 minutes into the next show – one of those cookie-cutter police or lawyer type shows. As is often the case, the intro started by giving us a bit of insight into the person who was about to be killed or attacked and the poor victim in question was at an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting talking to a potential recruitee.

“I don’t like the idea of NEVER being able to drink EVER again,” said the newbie.
“Don’t think of it like that,” said our unsuspecting victim, “just focus on today; focus on not drinking today.”

One Day at a Time NecklaceI know the motto of AA is ‘just one day at a time’ but (possibly because of my state of mind) something about the words on the show hit home. A mini ‘a-ha’ moment if you like.

I DO try to focus on small goals and attainable targets; but it sometimes remains overwhelming – that ‘never again’ notion.

So over the past few days I’ve been trying to take a leaf out of our poor TV victim’s book and focus on today. I tell myself that SURELY I can get through ‘today’ without eating or drinking anything I shouldn’t. Surely. And you know what… so far so good.

33 Comments
  • Marion
    February 3, 2012

    Hi Deb! I think I was 27 when I realized that I would have to carefully watch my eating for the rest of my life!!<<And I burst into tears over that. Melodramatic, I know.

    I too have had many moments of grieving about junk food treats. When people say, "Nothing tastes as good as thin feels," well, they haven't been eating what I ate!!! I know all sorts of food that tastes far better than thin feels.

    However…I've, lately, been learning to enjoy other types of healthy food much more. No–to veggies that taste bad. I've really spent time learning how to make healthy food in a way my mother wouldn't recognize. (My mom cooked vegetables horribly!!) Honestly, I enjoy healthy food much more than just 2 years ago. I think time has to be invested in re-exploring food–in a brand new way.

    The focusing on today–is the way I survived law school, just one day at a time.

    🙂 Marion

    • rockafellaskank
      February 3, 2012

      I loved your response to the ‘nothing tastes as good as thin feels’ comment. I agree. (Living in the moment as I do!)

      The first time I remember thinking about ‘my eating future’ was when I was anorexic at 45kg (99lbs). Before I became thin, I just ate whatever and wasn’t too overweight (way under my goal weight now!). So it wasn’t until I reduced my food intake that I became obsessed with it; and obsessed with WHEN my diet finished (which was WHEN I was thin enough). At that point I seriously believed I’d one day be able to eat normally (with minimal thought) again. It wasn’t until years later that I realised that ‘never again’ might come into play and that this would be an issue which would plague me all (hopefully just MOST) of my life.

      If only I could go back to when I was 15yrs of age and avoid that obsessiveness. Though it may have happened anyway! *Sigh*

      Meanwhile – just one day at a time… as you say.

  • janinejackson
    February 3, 2012

    I like that mantra. What helps me with my ‘eating plan for life’ (not diet) is having one treat meal and one other small treat a week. It keeps me sane. I know that once a week I can have a piece of cake or something and then also a meal where I don’t think about the calories and just enjoy.

    Seems to be the only thing that works for my sanity!

    • rockafellaskank
      February 3, 2012

      I once tried something similar Janine, but then the meal became a day, and the day became a weekend and suddenly I’d gained half of what I’d lost the previous week and spend half of the next week getting back to what I had been before trying to lose more, then the whole thing would repeat itself. Hmmm…. willpower is obviously a big issue!

  • Amy
    February 3, 2012

    I had some mindset coaching from a lovely lady, Sandy last year (www.mindwisebodywise.com.au/) and have found it’s really helped with my attitude towards food in general, and especially with regards to categorising food into good/bad (or fun/boring as the case may be!). I still have a long way to go but feel that I learned a lot and am in a much better place, psychologically than I was a few months ago. I recommend her to anyone I can 🙂

    • rockafellaskank
      February 3, 2012

      Amy, I just had a quick look and notice that she does online courses. Will suss it out. Thanks for that.

      Deb

  • Kristy @PampersandPinot
    February 3, 2012

    I am an all or nothing kind of gal as well. I do find that as I get older I am able to dabble in the moderation thing here and there. The rest I hold onto is hope. 🙂

    • rockafellaskank
      February 3, 2012

      Hi Kristy and thanks for your comment. ‘Hope’ is something I need as well!

      Deb

  • Miz
    February 3, 2012

    Im not normally a mantra misft —BUT I am really loving having made one for 2012.
    it’s working for me.
    xo

    • rockafellaskank
      February 4, 2012

      Glad you’ve found one you like Miz. I was initially thinking ‘this isn’t a mantra, this is a concept’…. then I realised that’s probably what many mantras actually are! D’oh!

  • Nikki
    February 3, 2012

    I could do well to remember the one day thing. It’s a good one x

    • rockafellaskank
      February 4, 2012

      Very true Nikki. I just need to stick with it for a while until it becomes ingrained!

  • Karen@WaistingTime
    February 3, 2012

    I can soooooo identify with this topic. And I’ve ran many internal debates about it, but have yet to open that up on my blog. Probably because I’m still trying to figure it out for myself. What seems to hold true for me is that I do best when I do totally abstain from certain foods that I cannot moderate. But maybe that very act of abstaining is what leads me to binge when I do have a bite?! I can say that since I cut out peanut butter almost 1.5 years ago, don’t crave it or miss it at all anymore. So why can’t I do that with cereal, damn it! My long term vision has always been that I’d be able to enjoy treats in moderation. I still think that. But the reality is that right now I am happier when I don’t eat them. Eating them typically leads to overeating of something and guilt and the stuff I eat is never satisfying. I could go on… sorry to ramble.

    • rockafellaskank
      February 4, 2012

      Feel free to ramble any time Karen. (And you weren’t!) Obviously I am there with you. I hate the idea of ‘never again’, but…. at the moment I know for a fact that certain foods are triggers for me. I wasn’t even eating bloody caramello koalas early last year. My binge food was something completely different then!!! I also often try to be (seriously) conscious of how I’m feeling when I’m eating something or drinking something. Perhaps thinking, ‘You know, I didn’t really enjoy that all that much.’ Or, ‘I feel like crap the next morning if I have too much wine.’ BUT… for some reason selective memory kicks in and next time the notion pops into my head, the same danger food will tempt me (despite me not having enjoyed it previously!). Grrr….

      Deb

  • Carol Hess
    February 3, 2012

    Deb, I think you’ve stumbled (or tv-watched!) your way to a very important concept — one day at a time. When I stopped drinking 13 years ago, I could never imagine in a million years not eventually picking up a drink. I mean, how could I get through holidays, funerals, weddings (the list was endless) without a drink?

    But I did stop drinking for just one day at a time. Just 24 hours at a time (and, yes, there were days went I went to bed VERY early). And 4,745 days (113,880 hours) later, it is still working. And — dare I say it? — it’s effortless. I don’t miss the booze. I don’t feel like life is no fun any more. No deprivation button being pushed.

    This gives me hope that one day at a time will work on the food too. Because when I get into the deprivation, I can’t ever eat such-and-such again mode, it is a path that leads directing to the fridge.

    • rockafellaskank
      February 4, 2012

      Wow Carol! Congratulations! Your success also gives ME hope that it will work with food… and it has to a limited extent previously. When I successfully lost weight last year, for the first part I didn’t drink and didn’t have ANY junk food etc and I was okay for a couple of months and just got used to it. IT wasn’t quite effortless, but had I managed to stick with it, it might have eventually become so.

      Again, 13 years (4745 days) is AMAZING. You should be so proud of yourself.

      As for me, I’ll continue on… one day at a time!

      Deb

  • Kek
    February 3, 2012

    One day at a time is a great way to approach anything that seems overwhelming – my mantra is “the only way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time”. I’m still chewing through a few elephants…

    Two things that helped me with long-term change:

    1. Realising that constant internal whining along the lines of “it’s not fair” is not only unhelpful, but actually likely to lead to making stupid choices. I reminded myself that being at the gym at 5:00am in the middle of a cold Melbourne winter was MY CHOICE. I could stay at home in my warm bed, but that wasn’t going to get me to where I wanted to be. Same deal with food. When I was confronted with chocolate bars at the supermarket register and bloody Edna started telling me that I “needed” one, hell, that I DESERVED it, I would tell her that yes, they were attractive, but I could have one tomorrow, or on the weekend, or any time I liked, and right now I was choosing not to. It’s not that I CAN’T, it’s that I CHOOSE NOT TO RIGHT NOW.

    Never tell me “can’t”. It’s like a red rag to a bull…. I wiped that word out of my mental vocabulary.

    2. Planning a weekly treat into my meals. Of course I make my normal meals as tasty and varied as possible, which is important too. But having a decadent treat meal to look forward to can keep you going through a tough week. Mine was usually on Thursday night and it was almost always chocolate. I’d buy my favourite (single serve) chocolate dream cake from the bakery at lunchtime and carefully carry my precious home, where it would sit on the bench till after dinner. Then I’d warm it up and eat it slo-o-o-owly and savour every mouthful. There was no guilt, because it was in the plan, and I’d be good to go for another week.

    Going cold turkey can work for a while, but long-term you have to find a way to fit fun foods into your life.

    • rockafellaskank
      February 4, 2012

      Kerryn, isn’t it funny, as I read about the weekly treat, I was thinking that I tend to do that… though realised that I don’t include my danger (ie. favourite) foods in that treat (it’s usually a steak dinner with sauce and lots of potatoes! And red wine!). And the thing that struck me is that I always have mine on the weekend – BUT previously it’s started spreading and went from a dinner, to a day, to all weekend. Bizarrely I’ve never considered doing it during the week. When I just asked myself why I realised it’s cos ‘during the week isn’t for fun’. What a weird concept that is for me to have. (“The week is for work and the weekend is for me” kinda thinking!)

      Hmmm… I also noticed I’m okay with your point 1 (only play the victim when it comes to having to restrict my food; NOT for having to exercise).

      Food for thought. (I might skip the elephant though!!!)

      Deb

  • snowangel12wbt
    February 3, 2012

    Your post was just what I needed Deb! I’m sure that if I just focus on one day at a time I will get my eating under control. Thankyou xx

    • rockafellaskank
      February 4, 2012

      No worries G. Bizarrely it has really helped me this week (and I think I’m down a couple of kilos!).

      Deb

  • Vicki
    February 3, 2012

    Love your idea of one day at a time. Stick at those small goals because they will add up to your big goal later on.
    And definitely don’t deprive yourself .. as we know that doesn’t turn out too well either for any of us! X

    • rockafellaskank
      February 4, 2012

      Thanks Vicki. I need to work on the non-deprivation thing!

  • Julia
    February 4, 2012

    One day at a time sounds good to me! We are doing this in 2012, Deb!

  • beanfruit
    February 5, 2012

    I go back and forth on this topic. There is the part of me that agrees that you shouldn’t deprive yourself of things, otherwise you’re more likely to binge. But there’s the other part of me that feels as you do…once I have a slight indulgence, it can lead to another, and another, etc. Regardless, the concept of one day at a time is a solid one and a good reminder!

    • Debbish
      February 5, 2012

      I’m hoping it will help me through the first few weeks until ‘habits’ start to kick in!

  • Runa Martinson
    February 5, 2012

    I love this blog. As I funish off the chocolate I just bought yesterday. It was supposed to last fo two weeks. It didn’t last 24 hours even!! Oh, I just hate myself about right now!! I thought I could handle having it around, but obviously NOT! It must be taken out of the shopping list and I’ll have to let myself go through withdrawal of not having it. Thanks for being so raw and real 🙂 I love it!!

    • Debbish
      February 5, 2012

      Thanks Runa. Tomorrow is ANOTHER day.

  • Sela Toki
    February 5, 2012

    Right now I’m actually contemplating writing up a highly motivating quote as a ritual that i can rehearse every morning when I wake up to keep me staying positive and focused. Like you, I’ve fallen off the bandwagon so many times this year that it’s pathetic. It’s only February by all means. I’d like to think skinny but when I see food, all skinny thoughts fly out the window and yet I still haven’t come up with a motivational quote to recite. I think I’ll spent all day to-day writing one. May be something like “Take a deep breath, breath in, breath out. Imagine yourself, so very skinny and thin. Don’t eat too much. Food is so overrated. You can do it. You can be skinny……..” LOL.

    • Debbish
      February 5, 2012

      Hi Sela, as you know from the post, I’m not generally big on the quotes… but, am going to ‘try’ to think the: ‘I won’t have anything I shouldn’t TODAY’ notion which almost promises that I ‘will’ get to have it again sometime….

      Deb

  • KCLAnderson (Karen)
    February 6, 2012

    I’m really late to the party, but I do want to say that not saying “never again” is one of my go-to tools. Giving myself permission bypasses that strict parent/rebellious child paradigm inside of me…

    • Debbish
      February 7, 2012

      I can’t help but think that would be the ‘way to go’ long term Karen. You also bypassed the scales from memory, didn’t you?

I'd love to hear your thoughts