Thursday, September 23, 2010

Tempted by the fruit of another...

After a week or two where my healthy eating seemed so EASY, I'm back to feeling like things are hard again.

And it's frustrating.

Sometimes I feel like screaming, "This should be easy!"  I look at myself - at how I'm tempted and how it takes constant effort to turn down junk food these days and wonder what is wrong with me.

On the way home last night, I started listening to one of my favorite podcasts - Dan Savage's Lovecast.  It's a sex podcast by a gay probably not kid friendly - but I find it interesting and helpful.  Not just because his advice is entertaining and because I hear about things that are completely strange to me, but because I get advice that is applicable to other parts of my life.

Like the time I realized that my weight holds me back from fully enjoying relationships.

So last night, I heard Dan say what I've heard him say countless times before... and I had another A-HA moment.

Work with me here.

See, this guy called in - saying that he was engaged to a lady, but that when he went to bars, he still WANTED to make out with other girls - even though he loves his fiance.  He felt like crap.  It made him wonder if this girl at home was really the girl for him - because he wanted to be with other girls (at the bars) if only to just make out.  He felt bad about himself.

Dan pipes in and explains that being monogamous does not mean that you'll never want to have sex with or kiss someone else.  It means that you promise not to.  It doesn't mean that you don't have urges to do something different, it means that you refrain from acting on those urges.

For instance, look at Tiger Woods.  I think we can all agree that his ex-wife was/is hot.  As in SMOKIN' Swedish I-used-to-be-a-supermodel hot.  And he still cheated on her - with waitresses from Denny's.  We can all say that he's a pig and a jerk, but no one looks at his ex-wife and says "She just wasn't hot enough."  Why he thought the skanky ladies were tempting in the first place is beyond me, but what he probably should've done was realize that he wanted to stray and STILL not done it.

(sigh) and (source)

I love Joe. He is wonderful, sexy, and fantastic. Being with him makes me happy.  But when I see a picture of Matthew McConaughey with his shirt off on the cover of some magazine, I definitely linger before letting my eyes drift to something else in the check out line at a supermarket.

Even if I was faced with the baby steps before cheating on Joe, I can still choose to veer from the cheating. Just because I'm tempted doesn't mean I have to do it.

Whether you believe in Dan's definition of what monogamy is or not, I think it might be true in terms of dieting.

Having a healthy relationship with food doesn't mean that you never want to binge or that you never want to deviate. It means that you refrain from it anyway. It means that you choose long term health and happiness over the instant gratification.

We know that when we're eating, exercising, and being healthier, we love it.  It feels good.  It feels right.  And if we're expecting ourselves to never stop and do a double take when our go-to binge food is around - to at least THINK about eating it (even if we're not hungry), we might be setting ourselves up for failure.

Furthermore, it occurred to me, that I was expecting to be "fixed" some day.  That at some point, I would be able to be thin, lithe, and harmonious with my food.  And at that time, no matter what someone would offer me, I'd be able to turn it down with ease!

Going with that expectation, every time I see something that I know I shouldn't indulge in (because I'm not hungry or because it's not a healthy option) and I salivate or think about it, I consider myself having failed in that moment.  

"I'm not fixed" I tell myself.  Maybe next time. Maybe another diet. I heap guilt on top of myself.

Somehow looking at it through my Dan Savage glasses, I am able to see that it's not logical to think that I'm never going to want another bagel, blizzard, or fried chicken again.  It's not logical to think that I'm never going to have that gut reaction to binge when things go wrong in my life. 

A part of me will probably always wish that I could super size at each drive thru, finish everything on my plate, and have a fatty/chocolaty dessert after every meal. 

When faced with cheating on my healthy self, what I need to do is to remember my commitment.  I need to remember that *I* am worth this new vow of health.  I need to remember that life with me (when I'm practicing my healthy relationship to food) is worth more than the five minutes of pleasure of a blizzard and the hour long headache afterwards.

With this new realization, the guilt can fade. The fact that I'm tempted to over-indulge doesn't make my diet untrue or invalid. I can look at a food, acknowledge that I crave it or am tempted, and still CHOOSE an option that is healthy. 

That I am enticed doesn't make me "wrong" or "bad" or "a failure."  It makes me a human.

Disclaimer: Although I'm making the loose connection here between a marriage vow and a healthy living vow, I understand that even if I do eat when I'm not hungry it's doesn't have to be this huge deal.  I won't beat myself up for eating a wonderful slice of cake or getting an ice cream cone, if I feel like that's what I'd like to do.  My point was really that WANTING to be able to binge, have "cheat days", to stuff myself full, and to order everything I've ever desired is normal.  Choosing NOT do to it anyway is key. 


Anonymous said...

Good observation!

Its human nature to want what you can't have especially if we are lacking validation somewhere in life.

Never expect yourself to never be tempted by certain foods. Advertisers pay HUGE amounts of money to make sure you stay tempted.

One thing you can look forward to as you love yourself more is the INTUITVE need to keep your body healthy because you truly love yourself. When you get there, temptation will still be there but YOU will choose to honor your health instead because the payoff is greater.

Its also important that you give yourself permission to eat tempting foods, or even binge! Restriction does not work and the main thing is that you follow your intuition MOST of the time :)

Happy Fun Pants said...

Great point, Val!

I don't want to indicate that binge eating is akin to cheating on your spouse.

It happens. And when it does, it's a way to look at it (with gentleness) and figure out how to do it differently next time.

Mandy said...

I read someone say that by going off your diet commitment is like cheating on your marriage. That by eating something not on plan is like sleeping with the post man. Then I realize that whole analogy is lost on me because I slept with the mailman last month, but he's only a part time mail man. Then I realized I also slept with the paper boy, but it's a once a week paper, and he only delivers on Wednesdays, so that should be okay, too.

Wow, I'm a harlot! (okay, so my hubby is a part time mail man and works for the paper full time.) Another weird thing? My word is "ingestra" Is that like a new cheer!

Big Clyde said...

Great post. Very insightful and helpful to me now. Thanks.

Meg said...

Great post! I think another key to a healthy relationship with food is to not dwell on those desires to overindulge. Recognize that they are there, acknowledge where those desires come from and then let them pass.

Like in a romantic relationship, stressing and fretting over not being able to indulge and the associated guilt leads down a path of no good!

Janell said...

You will never be "thin, lithe, and harmonious with my food" until you have a fling with Matthew McConaughey and his dog running on the beach.

Also, I don't know what's with men liking skanky women but they will give up a long term, seemingly healthy love for a skanky "Dairy Queen" from S. Carolina as long as she works on cars, decorates with plastic flowers, eats tons of ice cream and drinks sweet tea. Oh, and dresses in white polyester pants suits on special occasions.

Did I say skanky or did I mean trashy?

Lesia said...

well said. Good luck in your continued success! smile

Karen said...

I get the analogy. The important part, I guess, is that you are choosing not to "cheat" even though you are feeling the temptation. Right? Does the day ever come when we just don't think about all that food that we should not be eating?

Happy Fun Pants said...

Oh Janell, how I hope you are correct. Except for the fact that I've heard he stinks and is kind of a turd. But he sure is pretty to look at.

And Karen? Personally, I think the answer is no. I think that if we restrict ourselves and say that we shouldn't, that it just builds up to the point where it's so much to think about (sort of like what Meg wrote).

I think that when thinking about it (not dwelling on it necessarily) becomes okay it becomes less of an event too - to where maybe thinking about it just doesn't phase us.

Sort of like when I see a hot guy somewhere in my brain it resonates that that's a hot guy...but I don't dwell on it or obsess about it/him.

Anonymous said...

Great post. You don't need to feel horrible because you wanted something off your healthy plan - yippee. We are all human and our minds jump from thought to thought. Just try not to act on the bad thoughts (about food) but if you do, you are right back on program again.

I do want to get to the point where I don't binge, however, because I feel it's unhealthy and I don't like food "controlling" me. Having a cookie or two without eating a dozen would be nice. Sometimes it happens, sometimes it doesn't, so for now staying away from cookies altogether works for me.

PS - I have a hottie hubby - at least I think so - lol

Mrs. D said...

I loved this analogy! We have a local cupcake shop called Muddy's, and it's my "blizzard." I'm on Weight Watchers and I save my extra 35 points every single week for a trip to Muddy's. Most weeks, having my "cheat" already planned out really helps me avoid any other temptations or any binge eating the rest of the week. I work in a large medical office, so we have lunch catered daily- dessert included- so I've really had to learn to ignore the temptations. It's so much easier staying away from the brownie tray when I know a Mocha cupcake is waiting for me later that week.

Katy said...

I love love loved this post. Great connection you made between the two.

Polar's Mom said...

Love the correlation...and I agree that being overweight has limited me in my relationships-in all areas I think. Looking forward to following your progress in the Hot 100.

Polar's Mom

Results Not Typical Girl said...

I love this analogy. Poifect! And I'm getting ready to change themes so I can have the whole thing show up on reader? I'm short-bus bloghead so if there's an easy way to do it so you don't get busted at work, let me know. smooches!!!

TinaM said...

I never would have thought of it that way, and it makes perfect sense.
Great post!

Lala said...

I love Savage Love! I think this is a great way to put it. I think it's really important to remember that we are hard wired to crave sugar and fat. It's survival! Just like men (more than women) are hard wired to search for multiple partners (I think I have that stat right...?). We have to honor that fact. If you haven't read it it yet, I really really recommend reading "The End of Overeating"--it does a great job of explaining why we crave things and how eating certain things causes us to actually crave more of those things. Sugar in particular.

Lor said...

excellent post <3

Lanie Painie said...

I just love the way you think. i can't wait until you and Mandy and I can all grow old together with Mandy's mom and be like the Golden Girls.

Yeah, that's right - Mandy is Bea Arthur. You can choose between Betty White and Rue McClanahan, I think I'd fit well in either role.

Charlotte said...

Found you through the Hot 100, and I'm so glad I did! I loved this analogy too. I never thought of it in those terms, but it's a good one. Having been with the same guy for 15 years (married for 12) and overweight for more than that, it makes sense to me. I'm looking forward to following your blog. You seem to have some good insights. Plus you live in Denver? Love that city!

Charlotte -

Christina said...

I love this post and will definitely be reading more of what you have wrote. I found your name on the Hot 100 Challenge list and thought I would pop in and say hi. Hope you don't mind me adding you to my favorite blog list. Good luck with your weight loss and I'll be checking back later.

Mimi said...

i don't know if you'll read a comment this far back but I think you should read this book called slim for life. it's not a diet book per se but it does go a lot into what you are talking about here and I think it's great for perspective shifts.