Monday, October 26, 2009

why i'm not a screw-up (and neither are you.)

Friday night I slipped.

I’m not sure how it happened. I was very delighted because I had just discovered that Ally McBeal was finally out on DVD (!!!), so I picked up the first season at HMV. I had a bottle of wine uncorked and breathing. I decided to throw a frozen pizza in the oven. It was going to be a good night.

The frozen pizza I buy is the Irresistibles brand from Metro. It’s about the same size as a regular frozen pizza, but it’s thin crust and has a bit less cheese (I think) and it works out to be 20 pts for the whole pizza, versus about 36 for a ‘regular’ one. Good deal, right? Shaun and I always split it, and I love it because I still get to feel like I’m indulging in eating HALF A PIZZA, but at 10 pts, that’s not too painful.

But Shaun had to work late on Friday so I was home alone. When the pizza was cooked, I cut it into quarters, took my two pieces into the living room and left the other two on the stove, ostensibly for Shaun to have when he got home. But within five minutes of finishing my two slices, I started rationalizing with myself that I could have another slice. Only five points! What the heck! Go for it!

So I had a third slice. And then: yes. Before I knew it, I had eaten the fourth as well.

I ate an entire frozen pizza. I felt sick.

I immediately hid the evidence so Shaun wouldn’t know, but then I realized how stupid that was. So when he got home I announced, “I am an idiot and ate an entire frozen pizza!” He just kind of laughed at me.

Later, though, in bed, I found myself tearfully telling him about how much I still struggle with food. How there were times in the past (pre-WW) when I’d actually eaten pizza OUT OF THE GARBAGE because I had this COMPULSION to eat it, like a tidal wave in my brain. I felt the same way then as I did that night, I explained, eating that whole pizza. Then I cried a little, felt sorry for myself, worried I’d never be successful at this, and then fell asleep.

And then the next morning I got up and promptly GOT THE HELL OVER MYSELF.

You know what? I screwed up. I ate a whole pizza, oink oink oink. But it fit into my weekly points, it wasn’t a super-high point pizza anyway (I won’t even buy those), and I made the rest of my weekend stellar. Ate light, drank lots of water, walked six miles on Saturday and went to the gym on Sunday.

Here’s the thing: I think the more we think of ourselves as failures, the more we fail. The more we think of ourselves as someone who can’t control themselves around food, the more we stop controlling ourselves. The more power you give your weaknesses, well … the more power they have.

I screwed up on Friday, and I’ve screwed up in the past. I’m sure I’ll continue to screw up in the future. But I choose not to dwell on those screw-ups because I don’t want them to be part of the reality I’m creating for myself. I don’t even usually blog about them, for the same reason, but I am this time because I’ve seen quite a few blog posts from other people who have had the same screw ups and who beat themselves up in a way that just breaks my heart.

So I’m here to tell you that on Friday, I ate an entire frozen pizza, and I’m still okay.

Am I proud that I ate a whole pizza? Well, not particularly. Am I going to put any leftover pizza immediately in to the fridge next time? Yeah, that’s probably a good idea. Am I going to start thinking of myself as someone who can’t control themselves around food, someone who’s too weak to overcome a craving, someone who will never be able to lose weight? No way. Cause do you know how many times I DO control myself around food? Do you know how many cravings I ignore over the course of a day? And I bet you do too. I bet you control yourself a lot more than you think you do.

My leader once suggested, if you’re struggling, to keep TWO food logs: one for what you actually ate, and one for everything you wanted to eat/could have eaten. If you need proof of how well you’re doing, that’s the fastest way to see it.

We all just a need a better story -- one where we’re not the comedic side-kick, but the real hero.