Weighty Matters

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Just Say No

on October 24, 2012

For those of us who remember the Reagan presidency, First Lady Nancy Reagan championed a “Just Say No to Drugs” campaign.  It means something different to me these days, but there are correlations.

Undergoing weight loss surgery did not “cure” me of an eating disorder.  I’m still a compulsive overeater with a binge eating disorder.  A surgically altered stomach is a tool, not a be-all/end-all solution.  I still get the urge to overeat, but am physically limited in the amount which, thankfully, puts the kabosh on binge eating.  Can’t binge when I can’t fit a lot of food in my stomach.

The compulsive eating behavior is still something that I have to guard against all of the time.  The urge to eat something not on my food plan can hit me at any time.  It doesn’t matter if I’m not physically hungry.  Compulsion is not logical.  It’s also a split second reaction as in:  See food, grab and eat it.

There are also times when I get cravings for a variety of reasons — boredom, stress, tiredness or any emotion.  Honestly, the cravings aren’t always stimulated by emotions.  I might smell something really good cooking or my taste buds or I might merely be in the mood for something crunchy or salty, sweet or savory.  I’m human.  Today, I would have loved nothing better at lunch time than extra crispy, greasy, salted french fries.  Thank goodness nobody walked by with a plate of them or I might have ambushed them from my office.  I could have walked down to the lunch truck and ordered some, even a half portion.  Thankfully, I successfully talked myself out of doing so.

I am at my best when I’m able to mentally fight the compulsion and put on the brakes between “Want” and “EAT NOW”.   If I have enough time, I frequently can just say no, stick to my planned food or find an appropriate alternate choice that won’t throw me off for the day.  It’s the split second need to interrupt the eating behavior before the wrong food can be taken and swallowed that presents the biggest challenges.  I give myself mental pep talks in the morning and frequently remind myself during the day to “Just say no”.  Might sound silly, but it helps.

Most days I bring whatever I’m going to eat for lunch with me to work in the morning.  I realized this week that I should consider giving myself options to help battle cravings and compulsion.  For example, today I grabbed a blueberry Greek yogurt from the fridge to eat for lunch.  By the time noon rolled around I was in the midst of the french fry desire.  Blueberry yogurt is neither crunchy nor salty.  This did not make me happy.  Fortunately, I remembered that I had some rare roast beef in the fridge at the office that I hadn’t eaten yesterday.  Still not crunchy nor particularly salty, but it provided a non-sweet flavor with more chewing and texture.  I ate that instead of the yogurt and was more emotionally satisfied.  Honestly, any food in a four ounce quantity will physically satisfy my hunger.  The issues are 90% mental.

So, I just said no to french fries and other crunchy/salty/greasy choices for the day.  I have leftover meat sauce with some whole grain spaghetti ready to heat up for dinner.  If I can get through to dinner without some other inappropriate cravings, I should be all right.

If I’m tempted, I’ll channel Nancy Reagan and Just. Say. No.


3 responses to “Just Say No

  1. BarbN says:

    ^ what skye said ^ 🙂

  2. Nan says:

    I’m coming along, Mary. Today, I made the choice to have lunch at Stir Crazy–a fresh veggie buffet where you can have a chef stir-fry your choices for you in a super-hot-wok. Picked out a bunch of great choices, added 2 oz of chicken and some seasoning and 1/4 cup brown rice and I had 150-calorie lunch. Very satisfying and I resisted the Italian place that my friend suggested. She loved Stir Crazy and had fried rice, which served her craving for carbs. It’s all about choices and not giving in to the cravings.

  3. Skye says:

    How you walk and talk your way past your cravings and how aware you are of your cravings and your eating disorders and the actions that can come from them are very interesting to me; I love to read it all. You are an inspiration to me to stay even more aware of not only my eating choices, but my behavior and mental choices as well. Mindfulness and managing our emotions are such powerful tools for change.

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