It kind of amazes me now that I got through My Perfect Season of Weight Loss with only amateur-level eating skills.
I could stop on a dime sometimes, but only if I was really dialed in, and only if I had a Weight Watchers weigh-in coming at the end of the week.
I couldn’t stop eating something that triggered my “finish it off” tendencies, which is why I wound up consuming so many boxes of Fiber One bars, back when each bar was counted as just one Weight Watchers point.
Most of all I could not stop eating just because I was full. My interior fuel gauge got busted very early in childhood. (I have some theories on that now, as I watch my youngest niece and nephew, ages 2 and 1, developing a much more natural, sane approach to eating, but I’ll broach that topic another time.)
The question is, can I fix my busted fuel gauge now that it’s been messing me up for half a century? Can I learn to avoid eating until I become uncomfortably full?
When I think of getting there in a conventional way, employing the willpower I see in my dad or my sister or some friends, I cringe at what feels like an uncomfortable, unpleasant, police state process.
But here are two things I can do:
First, I can work on building another winning streak – in this case, starting my fifth straight day of not allowing myself to get uncomfortably full. That may not sound like much, but considering that it includes a weekend in which we hosted a big family birthday party as well as a birthday dinner a couple of days later, that’s really quite an accomplishment, at least for me. Having this goal in mind, building something positive rather than just trying to avoid a negative, seems to be making a huge difference.
With pizza, for instance, for years I was consumed by my Inner Child’s urge to run off with the pizza and have it all to myself, so I could eat as much as I wanted without having to share. Once I actually allowed myself to indulge in that fantasy (not dragging off my family’s dinner but buying myself a Little Ceasar’s pepperoni pizza for “lunch” one day), I came away feeling so miserable that I no longer visualize wanting a whole pie, no matter how good it looks and tastes.
With pizza, two slices seems like a pretty good place to set up a rest stop. One serving of whatever we’re having for dinner. One handful of nuts. One donut. And so on.
Establishing the location of these rest stops is hardly rocket science. The difference is, perceiving them in my mind not as border crossings guarded by punishment-oriented, head-cracking security guards but as … well, rest stops. A place to stop and catch my breath. To recover from the eating process, to appreciate this act that apparently means so much to me.
It’s my choice if I want to continue on to the next rest stop. Nobody’s going to yell at me if I have another slice of pizza or a second serving of lasagna. But if I do go there, I want the journey to be a pleasant one, not the furtive frantic dash of a food fugitive.