October 30, 2010

The devil in disguise

The other night, after spending a couple of hours at the gym, I headed to Target. I needed to pick up a few things for around the house, plus I had decided to get some Halloween candy for my students since they all had exams yesterday. I knew it would be a personal challenge for me - in the past, I've bought bags of Halloween candy and devoured them all myself over a period of a day or so, kurt halsey dot comand even though now I am trying to do right by my body, the temptation can still be strong. I can usually control it, but every now and then, the little devil on my shoulder seems to make sense...

It's only one piece, right? One piece, eighty calories. That's less than seven minutes on the elliptical! COME ON!!! It's fun size! You deserve a little fun!

I start bargaining in my head, and it feels like even the little angel on the other side can put a positive spin on it.

He'skurt halsey dot com right, you know! Eighty calories, that's not that many, right? You'll work extra at the gym tonight! And if you eat one, you'll be fine, you'll be satisfied.

Except that it never works that way. I have made a lot of progress, but I can honestly say that I don't think I can handle "just one" yet. Even though I know how good my body feels these days, how good I feel because of eating well ... I can still feel very tempted in these situations. In the moment, I remember how good the high of a binge felt - I never recall the bad feelings afterwards or all the related physical aches.

There's a great quote by Mark Twain about how a man who chooses not to do something has no advantage over a man who is unable to do it. He was talking about reading, but I think we can apply the concepts here, too. Knowing what I ought to do and not doing it is just as bad as not knowing what to do in the first place. I've been taking so much time and investing it in my physical and mental health, and I'm finally gaining the self-confidence I've dreamed of my whole life. kurt halsey dot comWill one little Snickers bar put me back to 345 pounds? No. But I don't want to try until I am absolutely certain that I will be able to control myself.

I'm finally gaining some strength over the little devil - in the past, I would surrender, but now, I can recognize that a craving for sweets is usually me misreading general hunger. I don't crave the candy right after breakfast or lunch, I want it right before I leave work - about an hour after my afternoon snack but an hour or so before dinner. So I plan ahead to combat these things: I have been bringing a piece of fruit (apple or banana usually) to have towards the end of my work day, and I've been drinking even more water than usual. Both a big apple and a medium banana have more calories than one fun size Snickers bar, but they're whole foods that provide real nutritional benefits, so I end up feeling satisfied. I very rarely eat a banana and then think about going back for four or five more. (In fact, I'm sure that has never happened.)

So, after getting one bag of candy and the few things I needed for my place, I went to the fitness apparel area, and I got myself a new pair of grey/blue workout pants. Seemingly trivial, but actually a pretty big deal: they may be the biggest ladies' size that Target sells, but they fit me. My old workout pants are too big: they're about seven years old and from the men's department since I was too big for ladies' pants. It was such a big moment for me, and it was profoundly more enjoyable than chocolate any day!


Life as a Caterpillar said...

This is wonderful, i am so proud of you. Unfortunately i fougth that demon on my shoulder myself last night, and he won, but today is another day and i'm ready to start again!

Have a great day

Anonymous said...

The candy has started pouring into our house already, with the two little boys (holiday packages from grandparents and great aunt, goody bags from school). Tomorrow night is going to be Candy Mountain. I'm feeling very anxious about it all. I know I can't do the "just one" thing. AT ALL. I feel like it's so silly that I have anxiety about this. Stupid candy. Should not have any power over my emotions. I need to decide to have NONE. NONE. NONE. Otherwise it's going to be bad. I can get through one Halloween without candy, right? Oops, sorry I'm writing a novel here. Should just put it on my own blog.

Congrats on the NSV with the workout pants! Awesome.

Ann (-50 lbs in -60 lb challenge) said...

Fantastic insights!

You bought pants at a regular store? I'm jealous ... I dream of that day. That is really neat! Congratulations!!

And my favorite quote of the day came from you ...

"...it was profoundly more enjoyable than chocolate any day!"

Great job on passing up the candy, and what a fun NSV to have in return!! I loved this post!!

Keep up the good work!

Anonymous said...

Good for you for recognizing your temptations! <3