The Gift that Keeps Giving

Well, I’m full of turkey, stuffing, mashed and sweet potatoes, a myriad of appetizers, lasagna, and slices of ricotta, pecan, and Boston cream pie. My goal was not to eat too much on Thanksgiving Day, and I didn’t, since my attention was on cooking and serving my guests. However, all promises to myself about being moderate went bye, bye, the next day. It was as if I had an internal “pac man” that needed to be fed over and over. I also could not quell the internal dialogue that kept focusing on telling me to try the leftovers. I found myself walking in the direction of the refrigerator as if I had become part of a zombie cult.

I awoke Saturday, the day after my glutenous noshing to over-eaters guilt and a body that felt somewhat analogous to a hot air balloon! Where did all my good intentions go? Obviously they were plucked out of my conscious mind leaving me hypnotized by the contents of the refrigerator.

This is not the first time I have gone down this path. I have struggled with my weight for the greater part of my life. Ten pounds up, ten pounds down, fifteen pounds up, fifteen pounds down, twenty pounds up, twenty pounds down. The cycle keeps repeating itself according to where I am in life. I’ve actually achieved a good weight at times through being incredibly vigilant. I’ve done all the things that the weight-loss police have advocated, portion control, exercise, food diaries, etc. There’s no doubt that they work, but then something happens, like the birth of my children, divorce, being a care-taker for an elderly parent, earning a living, or having health problems. It doesn’t have to be a serious problem that precipitates over-eating. It could be going on a vacation, or celebrating a holiday.

I’ve tried a plethora of diets, and a lot of them work. However, I really want to have an entourage of individuals that makes sure I don’t deviate from my goals. After all why can’t I lose twenty pounds in three weeks like the movie stars that are showcased as models for the rest of us. They have babies and fit into clothes they wore as toddlers right after the baby is born. I look like I never gave birth.

I know some of you are thinking,”you can do it”, just write you affirmations, stop eating gluten, eat less, and walk more. And believe me I haven’t given up. But I do accept a certain reality. I will never be “sylph like”. I have gained and lost a tribe of people, so there are more of me around that you might recognize. By the way, enjoy your leftovers!

It takes courage to become more evolved beings, guilt giving is for the irrational!

I grew up in a family where the women had PhD’s in giving guilt. My grandmother could be heard sighing for miles. Sometimes it would go on for hours. It was her way of showing how unhappy she was over not getting  acknowledgment over something she did for the family that went unappreciated. Every time I asked her why she was sighing she would reply “ I suffer”. It took me years to realize that she was incapable of making herself heard  in a way that was not dysfunctional. My mother exhibited a different behavior. She would simply not talk until you went into severe begging, trying to get her to tell you what offense you might have committed. I not only inherited some of these behaviors but came up with some of my own. I was exceptional at pouting. When someone displeased me, I would sit in a chair with a look of complete despair. This technique takes patience because someone has to notice that you’re unhappy. Then they have to embark on a major inquisition to get you to reveal your angst. If they are preoccupied, they are not going to want to put in the effort, which leaves you without an enabler. If they finally do engage, it’s often with the same phrase. “What’s wrong, are you okay” Then comes your classic response, “If you loved me you’d know”. Over the years I learned that trying to impose guilt on family, friends or co-workers is merely another way to try to manipulate people. We develop these behaviors by imitating our family of origin and they are fairly unconscious. Becoming conscience can take years and some people simply never “get it”. It’s unfortunate that becoming proficient in communication skills is not a top priority for us as a society. We spend so much time not “saying what we mean” and “not meaning what we say.” The energy we spend on this kind of irrational dialogue is exhausting. It also creates a lot of unhappiness for all concerned. Why not spend a little time becoming more aware of what you’re saying and how it’s interpreted by those around you. Call a trusted friend and ask her/him if you are a perpetual guilt giver. It takes courage to become more evolved beings, but the end result can make all your relationships healthier, happier and more fruitful