So why is it that, when I decide to change my eating habits for the better, because all the logical signs point to doing so, I start out with the best of intentions, and end up with this:
What is this, you ask?
It's a plate that used to hold the rest of my fourteen-year-old son's birthday cake. I ate the rest of the cake last night. After my best-laid plans changed, and we ended up taking the fourteen year old out to dinner (to celebrate his report card - all A's and B's for the first time since kindergarten!) where I tried to be "good" but ended up eating fries and a burger. Then, we picked up the seventeen-year-old and went out for "dessert" at McDonald's, so she could hang out and play with the Prince and Princess in the playplace. I didn't intend to get anything. But somehow ended up with a Reese's McFlurry in my hands.
Then, when we got home, I felt sick. So what did I do? I followed my inner Marie Antoinette all the way to the kitchen and decided to eat cake. Except "decided" isn't really the word. It's more like I was possessed. Like the girl in the Exorcist. I wasn't myself. Ask Harley - my head was spinning, and I looked like I could spew pea soup at any minute. Really. So what happened was, my inner Linda Blair followed my inner Marie Antoinette and they had a little celebrity pig-out party at my expense...
And this morning, I'm feeling sick and guilty and ashamed and disappointed and defeated. Again. Again. Again. How does this keep happening? How can I be so smart and so stupid all at the same time? Logic seems to say, if I was a normal person, I could do this. I could set goals and accomplish them. That I can't seem to do something so incredibly simple makes me wonder. Is it me? Is it something else? Is something in me just... broken?
I know I'm a food addict. And "addiction" has a huge relapse rate, no matter what the substance. In fact, relapse seems to be part of the process of what they call "recovery." I tried doing OA (Overeaters Anonymous) for a while. You know - meetings, the Big Book, the Twelve Steps, getting a sponsor. The whole kit and kaboodle. I threw myself into it as hard as I ever did at Weight Watchers or Jenny Craig or Medical Weight Loss or the Cabbage Diet. I lost (like I always do!) 10-20 pounds. And then I started "cheating." And gaining again.
But something from that particular program stuck with me. The first three steps of the twelve. (That was as far as I got... step three!)
1. We admitted we were powerless over food — that our lives had become unmanageable.
2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
Now, I have to tell you... I struggled with these three steps. I struggled with the concept that these three steps even existed in a world of medical and biological "cures" to our every ailment. But something else in me, something deeper than my inner Marie Antoinette and Linda Blair - something in me said, "Hey, stupid! Pay attention!"
I could argue with these steps from now until the cows come home (or until I die, 500 lbs and still eating cake, of a heart attack.) I've even given it a shot. The first step makes me wince. What do you mean I'm 'powerless' over food? I can stop any time I want! )Why does that sound so familiar? Hmmm) It goes straight to the heart of willpower and control. Of which, I clearly have none. My will has gotten me absolutely nowhere. Or, more to the point, it's gotten me straight into the cookie jar.
Step two introduces the concept of a "higher power." Eek! I've never been a big "God" person. I have sisters who are extremely, fundamentally religious, and the concept has always been
shoved down my throat strongly proselytized in my family. However, over the years, I've come slowly to my own version of spirituality. It doesn't involve a big, scary parental God, but it does acknowledge something greater than myself. So step 2 finally became do-able for me.
Step three, on the other hand. *sigh* I get rather stuck there, I admit. Turn my life over... to someone else? Ack! Where's that cake?
Back to step one. Admit you have a problem. Okay, it's true. I'm a food addict. I
seem to have no control over that. I have no control over food, and my life has become almost three hundred pounds high cholesterol thyroid disease very unmanageable. I need help. If I'm not going to resort to weight loss surgery, I'm going to have to go even higher. Hello, God, Are You Out There, It's Me, Queen B!
Now it's just the matter of turning my will over... How does a control freak let go of control? *sigh* Good question. Anyone have an answer? I told myself I was going to keep blogging, even if I slipped. Even if I was ashamed, even if I
f---ed up failed. I was going to keep blogging. I read all sorts of blogs about people doing it, succeeding, and I desperately want to be one of them... but I know I have to find my way. This process has to be useful to someone. Somehow.
It's a matter of life and death for me. I have to find a way. Maybe the answer really is to stop looking for a way and let go. Surrender my "will" to something greater than myself. Because my will seems to get me into nothing but trouble. Stop trying to lead and just follow. Follow the yellow brick road. Follow, follow, follow.
Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain...
Here we go again.