Sunday, January 6, 2013

End Goal or End God? A Slip of the Brain with a Lesson; also, Weigh-in and Controlling Appetite Beasts; Finally-- Seeking and Finding the Glorious on the Feast of the Epiphany , 'Cause The Journey is HARD! (Warning: ridiculously long post)

Note: Thanks to those who chimed in with suggestions in my previous post regarding the devotional project. I appreciate it. :D  Please feel free to add more suggestions. On to our regularly scheduled post...

Sunday is my normal weigh-in day for this blog (or Saturday or Monday when I forget). And it's Sunday, the 6th. Three Kings Day. Dia de Los Reyes. The Feast of the Epiphany. It's the 12th Day of Christmas, as well. With this, Christmas is officially over and the trees can come down.

But we'll get to that later. First, the weigh-in:


The right direction. It was 183.2 New Year's Day.

So close to my goal decade.

Interestingly, when I went to log the weight on my sidebar weight journal (see left sidebar), I wrote in "God" instead of "Goal" when I added the note about 2013: "End Goal for Year = 170 lbs"  I had first typed: "End God for the Year."

That slip of the brain made me think about how some of us make weight, our bodies, our "look" and size--we make those our God. Our diet becomes our God. It consumes us and defines us and we create an idol. It reminded me to keep this in perspective. It's something that requries attention, energy, study, work. But it should never become my idol. I've seen more than a few bloggers who turn food and exercise into their idol--that's what creates and directs them in such an obssessive way that it's a bit worrisome.

And in the other extreme, there's those times we and other folks don't give a damn about what we/they eat, don't care about our health and just act immaturely or apathetically and refuse to listen to wise counsel, not our own internal wise voice or the sage words of loved ones or the helpful direction from a professional only interested in our well-being.

Both apathy and idolization about our health and food issues are sick extremes.

I just want to normalize.

I don't aim to be cut/buff/perfect. I don't aim for a size 2 or 4.  Orthorexia isn't my goal. I don't want to freak if I have a deviation now and then from my plan. Only if it's a pattern, if the deviation begins to become the norm.

Normality about eating and better health from lifestyle changes--that's what I want. Not to obsess about food. Not to not care about food. Not to self-destruct. Not to idolize my body.

It may be an epiphany for you to accept that it's easy to make food a god--either worship it eating too much or thinking about it too much. Yes, you can make your body a temple or an idol--one is good, one is not.

Treating it with respect and making it work well for your life purposes: good. Valuable.

Treating it like the end-all, be-all of your self-esteem, feeding vanity along with perfect meals, feeling superior to others because you look "like this" and not "like that": not good. Bad.

I'm looking for the good path between extremes. How about you?

Anyway, on the personal front: I've had trouble bringing my calories down and getting back into the eating format/pattern/manner that I ate in my main losing phase in 2011.

This is normal.

After increasing intake, after allowing those treats and caloric foods--things like chocolate truffles, mousse made with real sugar, fried New Year's empanadillas, fried stuffed potatoes on Christmas--the body wants more of that. The brain has been brought into those old habits of pleasure and stimulation and it wants more.

What did you let yourself indulge in that made you have a hard time with appetite? Holiday pies? Fried foods? Junk drive-thru foods? Now, you will have to pay the price.

Like junkies, there's gonna be a bit of withdrawal. The brain does want the "fix."

Control is harder. There it is. I have to get through the "pulling in the reins" phase, and it's gonna be hard and hurt a bit, but I remember that the easier phase comes after. When the brain calms down, the body adjusts, the stomach shrinks, the habit of control reasserts.

It will come. If you're going through this same adjustment phase, just hold on. It will come.

Like I did in 2010 when I began, I'm gradually decreasing intake. I'm not in strongly restricted zone yet. I found for me, stages works best.

In fact, some dietitians advise slowly readjusting. Instead of slashing calories radically--say 2500 or 3000 or 4000 to 1400 or 1200 or 900--some do better just to ease off the problem foods and higher calories down to better eating and lower calories in steps. Steps. Bit by bit. Not from feast to starve, which can be jarring or lead to a binge. No, rather, it may help to go from overeating or bad eating to more normal eating, then from more normal eating to moderate  caloric restriction or deficit, then consider dipping into stricter calorie-deficit dieting levels.

Granted, there are exeptions. There are folks who do great slashing away and feel totally in control right off with tiny portions.

Given the blowback of binges I see round about when some folks try to do that, I say give the 'steps system' a go. Bit by bit. Cut back, change, refine, bit by bit.

On the matter of epiphanies, revelations: One of those books that delivered an epiphany for me in 2010 and made it possible for me to get a grip on my binges (I haven't binged since May 2010) was THE END OF OVEREATING, which opened my eyes to how hyperpalatable foods can send folks into chronic overeating. Those types of foods do set me off. can literally make me go into this frantic thing where I shovel, shovel, shovel food. If I eat them again daily, consistently, that will happen again. I know it.

I don't allow that. (Or haven't yet.) The daily indulgence in the hyperpalatable.

But I have allowed intrusions more often than is healthful for ME.

During my illness and holiday weeks late in 2012, I allowed some of those hyperpalatable foods (ie, some salted olive oil potato chips, sugary treats, fried and salted foods with carbs--the triumvirate of overeating (fat with starch with sugar.) Not every day. Not every meal. But enough that it's done something to my brain and tongue and desires again.

I felt my appetite increase. I felt the monster begin to return.

How's your appetite beast? What are you doing to manage it?

For me, managing that beast involves refusing to eat hyperpalatable foods, cooking more at home, keeping tons of fresh produce in the house, drinking lots of fluids, increasing protein (even using whey between meals), and moderating carbs/starches (for me, that moderation of carbs/starches means, ideally, 80 to 120 carbs a day, and definitley no more than 150. I don't do well on VLC--my thyroid rebels--but I don't do well on higher carb/starch--my appetite wakes up like mad).

I also do better with two good-sized meals than many  mini-meals. My stomach stretching some to contain fluids and food, sending those signals for satiety, that system sets me up for happy hours of non-food-thinking.

During the last two months of last year, I went back to snacking. I was sick. Often couldn't bother to get up and fix meals while hubby was at work. Didn't wanna do delivery and set myself up for some bad food mojo.

Well, snacking, yeah, that didn't work so well. It does not satisfy. Just makes me want to snack more. Doesn't matter if it was a small 140 calorie bag of olive oil tater chips or nuts and fruit or a wedge of cheese or a boiled egg. I just wanted MORE.

This month, I'm cutting back number of times eating. I want no more than two meals and one snack. That's the goal. Two meals, each 600 to 700 cals, and a snack only if appetite is out of bounds and I can keep to no more than 1500-1600 calories.

For some of you, what works to control appetite is a bit different, cause we're different. Though, in general, protein is the most satiating macronutrient. It really is.

BUT..for you, maybe it's high fiber that controls your appetite. Or fiber with lots of water. Or Several small meals. Or keeping out starches altogether. Or keeping out fruit altogether. Or eating more fat. Or having a lot of liquid protein. Or nuts between meals. Or hypnosis. Or meditation. Or prayer. Or a walk. Or singing. Or chatting on the phone with friends. Or sex. (That one actually worked really well in my faster losing phase. If I wanted to eat, I'd jump hubby. Voila. No more cravings.)

Whatever works that's not immoral or illegal--go for it. :D

Today, after worship service, we meet with family to celebrate Three King's Day (as it's commonly referred to down here), the Feast of the Epiphany, when the wise men from the east finally located the Christ Child (not baby, child) and presented homage and gifts. The Bible never mentions how many there were, but tradition counts three--Balthasar, Melchior, Caspar--to match the three gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.

They traveled a long way. They were dedicated to the journey. When they found their goal, they surely went off rejoicing, a lot lighter in baggage and a lot lighter in heart.

It was worth following the star, being away from home, being exhausted from a long day's ride, day after day. It was worth bad weather and the threat of robbers. It was worth risking the wrath of a jealous, murderous Herod.

Because what awaited the end of that search was AMAZING. Miraculous. Life-changing. Eye-opening. Empowering. Satisfying to the soul.

If you're reading this long, long post, you're on a journey like mine, right? We each have that guiding star--look for it.

We each need to sustain ourselves, cause we might traverse some perilous places and it may take YEARS. YEARS AND YEARS. It may not be as easy or quick as you imagine. But it's going to be amazing.

You'll see great things, in yourself and in others. You'll experience epiphanies. It may not involve gold or myrrh or frankincense--or it might, as I often had my hubby anoint me with scented oil and pray over me on those hard, hard days--but it will involve finding treasures. You learn a lot about yourself when you overcome stuff

And setbacks? You just climb back on that camel, adjust your robes, and keep looking at and moving toward that star.

God bless on this feast day. Great things await the true seeker willing to move and change...

 Be well...


Beth said...

What a lovely post. Congrats on the loss, I know it was hard won.

How I long to normalise. I fear that I am stuck in the apathy and not listening to wise counsel. Although right now I have little to no discernment and I just have to bear with that for the time being, this will pass. But it's a poignant reminder to me to seek balance. Balance balance balance. In my food I am woefully lacking balance.

And yes, the hyperpalatability stuff, yes, yes, yes. That is some of why I am focusing on not eating "real" food - I have overconsumed on hyperpalatable crap and crave it and healthy food just doesn't taste very good to me. It used to. I used to even like spirulina, YUCK.

Anyway, what a lovely post and a healthy, hopeful start to the New Year.

May you reach your goals. xoxo

Caron said...

I can say for sure that I don't have tiny portions. I can eat a big plateful of veggies with a bit of meat or some beans for protein. Last week we had three vegetarian dinners. It wasn't planned and I'm not going to that way of eating, but it was one of the reasons I got back down so quickly. Lucky for me, my husband is very happy with a plate of vegetables.

One reason I keep a pretty tight rein on my eating of carbs and sweets is because I have such a hard time switching gears and getting back to healthy eating. Even so, I do have setbacks and would never say that maintaining is easy.

Nanette said...

I'm right there with you. the fried foods, the little holiday treats... SNACKING! ugh.

Thanks for writing this and writing it so well. You're saying things I can't put into words right now. That monstrous apathy is killin' me. But I'm ready to fight back.

Let's ride those camels!

Traveling Light said...

You described the journey and needed process well. The warning about not making a thin body your god, but seeking balance, instead, was also right on.

I enjoyed the read.

And, yes, the wise men did have a long, arduous journey to find something amazing. They found their God, and fortunately for them, He was also their goal.

Me and the wise men are

Traveling Light now. :D


Kari said...

Wonderful post! I'm so glad I found your blog! I'm currently reading "The End of Overeating" myself. It's a huge eye opener!

Julie said...

I love your writings Mir. You are such a great writer, thinker, teacher and sharer.
Smaller sizer are so hard to do. I get so hungry between meals. I know we're suppose to eat 5 mini meals but trying to find time for that is hard too. That sounds stupid, hard to find time to eat 5 times. I think maybe it's the planning part.
Oh well learning. This will be the year to get it right. Gotta, it's just time.
Take care and have a blessed week. Can't wait to read these devotions you will be sharing, I hope sharing.

Fair Enough said...

Just wanted to add in that Christmas isn't over for everyone. Orthodox Christians celebrate it tomorrow. My grandparents would surely still have their tree up if they were still around! ;)