Friday, May 3, 2013

"D" is for donuts.

I will always love you, little bags of Hostess Donettes.

"D" is for donuts. I miss them. I do.

If I shared that with my Weight Watchers leader, she'd say, "Well, have one!" And if I did, I'm sure the world wouldn't end. But here's why I just can't take the chance.

Before I started losing weight, I'd frequently buy those little bags of Hostess chocolate donuts, the waxy ones, under the guise of having them on hand for my 16-year-old stepson, Logan.  In all reality, half the bag would be gone before Logan even became aware they were in the kitchen.  And all too often, I'd wake up in the middle of the night to let the dog out, then finish the bag before I went back to bed.

It wasn't just donuts; I'd make pasta and have three helpings of it.  Pizza?  I'd eat half a large, easily. Pop? Gummy worms?  Yes, and yes. And don't even get me started on pancakes.

I equate my lack of control to this: I know a young man who has an alcohol problem.  He's battled his demons for a long time; he'll stay sober for a while, but then he'll start drinking again because "I can handle it now." Before you know it, he's getting into bar fights and jeopardizing even partial custody of his child.

My eating wasn't dangerous, but it was just about that insane; I'd eat cleanly for a while, then go back to the donuts. Every time. So just as I wouldn't tell the young man with the drinking problem to "have just one beer," I don't feel it's healthy for me to have just one donut.

Just as many smokers wake up one day and decide to quit smoking cold-turkey, I made the decision one day in March that enough was enough. But I'm still vulnerable. Why? Unlike cigarettes, alcohol, drugs, and anything else that's addicting, food is everywhere. To stay on track with my weight loss, I need boundaries, and I place imaginary ones between myself and everything that's not on my plan.

I've been told what I'm doing is not sustainable in the long term. With all due respect, I disagree. The food I eat amounts to about 1,200 calories a day. I'm not starving; in fact, I'm healthier than I've been in years, and my physician is totally on board. I simply eat the points I'm allotted, and no extra, ever. When I get to my goal weight, I'll add more points. And for now, I'm doing just fine.

My friend/cousin who is doing Weight Watchers with me told our last meeting that the word that comes to mind when she thinks about her weight-loss success is "obsessed," and I agreed that I feel similarly. That may sound worrisome, but if you know me, you're aware I'm often laser-focused on, or obsessed with, different things -- projects at work. Articles I'm working on. Elements of my kids' lives. If I care about something, I'm very serious about it. So to me, "obsession" in this sense isn't pathological. It's a focus that helps ensure I'll do what I need to do.

In the wise words of Yoda, "Do, or do not.  There is no 'try'."

Each of us knows what we have to do to reach a goal, and for me, deviation is not an option. Discipline is. Will I ever eat a donut again?  I'm sure I will, but my goal is to have developed the inner "tools" by that time to leave a few in the bag for somebody else.

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