You wanna hear about a slice of madness?
Last Sunday morning at 9 a.m. on the day before Canadian Thanksgiving, my husband Marty and I joined Weight Watchers – again.
And right now, I'm hungry. I have nine points left for the rest of the day. It's 4:20 p.m. I'm filled with vegetables. Cooked, fresh, in soup, on egg white omelettes. Filling Foods they're called on the new Momentum program of WW – but they don't fill my emotional hunger – the void that's been my nemesis for as long as I can remember.
I'm munching on fat-free popcorn and my fingers are slathering the sleek keyboard of my iMac with the chemicals that go into the stuff to make it pop in the microwave. (I'm afraid to read the label to find out exactly what those chemicals are. They may do me in faster than the extra weight I must lose.)
The popcorn is now gone, except for a few unpopped kernels in the bottom of the bowl and the ones I carelessly dropped whilst stuffing my mouth. So Riley, my Dandie Dinmont Terrier, is happily crunching beneath my feet. Like me, he is always hungry, too. But he's slim. Not me.
Why am I hungry? It's all in my head. I had a huge lunch but I'm in a bad mood. That's been my pattern for years. When I'm upset emotionally for any reason, I eat. Or talk. Or both. At the same time.
Very common, too. Emotional Eating.
Right now, I'm having a rather turbulent time. Nothing serious. I can handle it, but whenever something goes awry, I seem to fall back on my old favourite. The Fridge.
And hey, I'm a Weight Watcher Lifetime Member who's fallen off the wagon. I think I stayed at my goal of 128 lbs for two minutes.
Then Marty got really sick and I fell back on my old favourites – bread, chocolate, cookies, more bread – to help me emotionally weather the storm. They are addictive.
So, now we're working at this together – Marty and me – as the 2009 party season begins. I know, it's craziness to commit to Sunday morning WW meetings, but they keep us on the straight and narrow since we know we'll have to face that daunting scale after every Saturday night revel.
According to the Mayo Clinic list of tips for How to stop emotional eating, I do almost everything right – except I don't exercise or get enough sleep. That's a big deal. That's why I've gained and lost literally thousands of pounds in my lifetime. In the past, I've run 10K races and done weight training. I go in spurts. Either all or nothing. Feast or Famine.
Now I try to walk fast and avoid elevators. But I just love to eat. I love it. I love the feeling of food in my mouth. All the tastes and textures. I love feeling satisfied, but not stuffed.
I love all the wrong stuff and in the wrong amounts.
And you know what? I actually even like the way I look. All of me.
But it's not healthy. My doctor isn't happy. Nor is Marty's.
So here we are once more – counting our calories, tracking out points, measuring out portions, drinking gallons of water.
My psychiatrist really tries to discourage me from dieting. Of any kind. Dr. Bob thinks I look great. He can't understand why I won't simply accept that I'm good enough, just the way I am. The psychology here is that in self-acceptance, the weight will just naturally fall away.
That never happens with me.
Meanwhile, my kidney transplant doctor isn't happy. Or my GP. Her mantra is "Get off your ass."
So now, on top of the Weight Watching, Marty and I and our two dogs have taken to walking most evenings. And curiously, those little walks, I have to admit, do make me feel better. So, I think I'll just slip out for a quick little ramble around the block right now, while Marty barbecues skinless, boneless chicken for dinner.
My little stroll even might be as fulfilling as all those filling foods.
But who am I kidding? It's all a mind game, in the end.