My title could remind someone of a common phrase regarding something entirely different. But I’m thinking of it in terms of food. Especially certain foods. Trigger foods and more subtle foods. In my case, it’s sugar in various forms and grazing. Mindless eating (I just opened that bag of Skinny Pop I got at Sam’s Club. Where did all the popcorn go?) Eating without awareness. Eating to waken a sugar addiction. Losing impulse controls. Not feeling able to stop because sugar is in control. A trainwreck waiting to happen.
I once wrote a poem that I think of often. It’s in my first book and I’ll quote it here. (I have the author’s permission. The I’m Possible Journey: Learning to Live with Sugar Addiction by Maureen Aliprandi)
She who hesitates has gained
A tiny bit of wait.
Just enough time to think again—
A helpful weight-loss trait!
I gain so much when I count the cost
Of a mouthful or morsel or bite.
And lose the thought of eat right now
That makes the clothes grow tight.
The wisdom in the second thought
The time it takes to do what I ought
To win the battle that must be fought
Over sugar’s wiles and what it has wrought.
There’s full-scale value
In counting the cost.
For she who hesitates enough
Can find that she has lost!
It think it’s a little amusing and a lot thought provoking. I’m glad I have it in my tool kit of Sugar Addiction Management. It helps me to pause and consider what the aftertaste will be and if it’s worth it.
It has been almost five years since I had my first colonoscopy. I used the prep of that test to start my withdrawal from sugar. It’s not recommended (by the author of the book I read that woke me up to my sugar addiction) to quit sugar cold turkey. But I was convinced that sugar was my problem. It was the week of Thanksgiving. It all made perfect sense to me to do it this way. No more senseless gobbling of sweets. (I wish it had been that easy. It has been a learning experience that has involved many slip ups, but not quitting my quest.)
I had lived with EATing IN HASTE for years. And I had lived with REP(eating) that to the ENTH degree–not blinking AT the LIE: SURE, I’ll do better tomorrow. Not only had I climbed over 250 pounds on the scale, I had the aches and pains and mood swings that went along with my obesity. I didn’t know if I could lose weight, I just was desperate to feel better.
I wanted to get out of bed and keep moving instead of having to creak to a stand and hoping it didn’t hurt too much to walk. I wanted to be able to climb a half flight of stairs without being out of breath and energy. I wanted to be happy inside and out. I wanted to be thankful for simple things as well as the great. And I wanted to be able to stop eating when I wasn’t hungry and when I was uncomfortably full. I didn’t want the sugar high and then the wonder where the next hit was going to come from before I swallowed the current sweet. I wanted mental clarity. Control over my impulses. And peace with food. Not more pieces of candy. I wanted Maureen (me) again. And sugar had to go for that to happen.
Fast forward to now. (Read my book if you want more details of what I did.) I just scheduled my follow up colonoscopy and was able to register with a healthy weight–over eighty pounds lighter than my highest high.
I’ve worked hard to not be so hasty when it comes to eating. I’m aware of what I’m eating. I beware of certain foods and between meals. I care about my health. Mentally and physically. And that helps me overall.
I’ve gotten a little hastier in my running. I started running 5Ks in 2012 not having run more than a mile ever in my life. The first 5K I did took me 41 minutes. In 2013, I ran my first half marathon in 2 hours 42 minutes. My second half marathon was in 2 hours 35 minutes. My third half marathon, last Saturday, was the first race that I chose to walk through water stations and I finished in 2 hours and 25 minutes. I had been aiming for two hours and a half (for my half). There’s a little lesson there about running in haste and not giving the body a chance to know you’re not trying to kill it.
I trained well for this last race. I’m pretty sure the hesitation every so often was a big part of me beating my personal record. I didn’t believe the LIE: SURE you can walk, but it will keep you from getting a good finish time. I trusted the advice of a seasoned runner whose training program I used. I’m not just a 54 year old grandmother, I’m a hot flash! (Notes to self: Move the sweatband off the ears once you warm up. Shorter sleeves are better in warmer weather.)
I’m in a very busy time of my life. My November calendar includes a colonoscopy and the weddings of my two daughters. Many things are out of my control. As they are meant to be. They are not my weddings. I am purposed I will not allow food to take control of me. That means guarding my mouth and mind. Hesitating. Savoring. Experiencing. Being aware. Accepting help. Adapting as I need to.
I’ve been trying to use the Weight Watchers Connect app to satisfy some of my creative needs for writing and interacting with people in a weight loss/maintain setting. As I’ve said before, processed thoughts are better for me than processed foods. It helps my quest to stay in control of my eating and my moods. The app has its limitations, though, and that’s why I’m here today. It has been good for me to sit at my computer and type without fear of autocorrect and its whims.
I’m not sure if my thoughts are clear to anyone else, but they’re clearer to me now. I’m not grazing like a cow. And this is how. I do it. (Not a diet.)