Just. Do. One. Thing.

This was supposed to be the year of making powerful strides toward my goals.

It’s turning out to be more like the year of bumbling along, staring at my shoes, making forward progress in increments so small that snails pass me gleefully, puffing out their sticky little chests.

For instance, I was going to purify my diet, slim down, and purge my closets of clothing in double-digit sizes.

Bwahahaha! *Pounds floor, wipes tears of merriment.* Hoo boy, THAT hasn’t happened!

I really, really thought that blogging about my goal would have a positive effect. It’s the digital equivalent of shouting your intentions through a megaphone. Who wouldn’t be too embarrassed to follow up on a goal after shouting it out to the world?

Me, that’s who. I forgot to allow for my innate stubborn streak.

Actually, I forgot the stubborn streak existed. Gretchen Rubin of The Happiness Project wrote a great blog post: http://www.happiness-project.com/happiness_project/2013/04/take-this-poll-are-you-an-upholder-questioner-rebel-or-obliger/ on what type of personality you have.  The idea behind her post: you can be one of four kinds of people: the kind of person who 1. obeys all the rules, 2. disobeys all the rules, 3. questions the rules & adopts them only if they fit, or 4. obeys others’ rules & disobeys self-imposed rules.

Well, I’ll dot every “i” and cross every “t” when it comes to outside rules…like obeying the law. But if I decide to do something good for myself, I’ll fight like a hormone-crazed baboon against my self-imposed rules.

If I decide that I shouldn’t eat sugar, for example, then sugar is all I can think about. All my friends’ Facebook posts seem to be filled with delectable items that begin with the magic words:  “mix two cups of sugar into one softened stick of butter” and end with “bake at 350 for 30 minutes or until toothpick inserted near center comes out clean”. O.o  And, of course, mouth-watering photos are included!

I go through all the types and variations of sugar, trying to reason away my own rules. If white sugar is bad, then brown sugar is not so bad, right? And if I bake something with honey, I’m practically Gandhi on a hunger strike.  Little bees will dance around my hair and I will grow strong and lean and allergy-free from all the wonderfulness I am consuming if it’s honey-sweetened, right? Right? Rightrightright?

If the recipe includes some items like a boxed cake mix or Cool Whip or pie filling, then I can pretend that no sugar is actually involved since the “s” word never actually appeared in the recipe.

Right?

Okay. Wrong. I know. I’m not stupid, just…stubborn. And maybe a little addicted.

I read an article the other day comparing refined white carbs to crack cocaine. There’s probably no one on earth who would say that crack is good for you…but it’s simply a refined product of the coca leaf, which makes (so I’m told,) a fine beverage when steeped.

Ditto with beets or corn or sugar cane: they are fine as vegetation, but when distilled down into the pure powdery essence of sugar or high fructose corn syrup, they become as addictive as any drug.

Well call me a crack addict and preheat the oven, ’cause there are more delicious recipes to be baked!

Ahem.

No, really…I continue to experiment with my diet and my own afflicted psychology. If announcing my intentions doesn’t work, I’ll try something else, and keep trying until something works.

One good thing in the last couple of months:  I’m off diet sodas. I’ve seen some positive effects from this…but weight loss is not one of them.

Just one thing. I’ve managed just one thing. *Reaches behind head to pat self on back.*

Now for the next dozen…

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Gluttony for the Downtrodden

The second reason my diet’s not working: The whole world is a hot mess.

It’s not just MY troubles that worry me, it’s everyone else’s. And the world is full of troubles. I worry about my children, my family, and my friends. I know people dealing with severely injured children, financial problems so severe the future looks bleak, illness that saps the colors out of life. I know caregivers caring for terminally ill loved ones, whose days are filled with adult diapers and repeating the same explanations over and over. And over.

I have friends with marital problems so severe they don’t know if they can stay married and sane at the same time. I have friends dealing with old age, watching their formerly strong selves bend and weaken, their bones crumble, eyesight fade and their minds slip.

And I feel the pain of every last one of them, because I don’t know how to look at pain and not feel it too.

And it’s enough to drive me to…well, cookies, apparently. The maple cream-filled kind. And chocolate lava cake. And peanut butter cups…let’s not forget those.

Ah yes. Gluttony. It’s going to do wonders to help my sick friends, the exhausted caregivers, the poor and desperate, the elderly and fragile.

What makes me think indulgence will be the antidote to misery? No, really…I can laugh at myself for being a moron or I can think about what it is I really feel when I choose to eat something phenomenally bad for me.

I think it goes something like this: Woe. Despair. Awfulness.

“Ahhhhh!!!!” (That’s very high-pitched, by the way…angels singing here.)

“Ray of sunshine! Oh joy! Delight will be minnnnne!!!”

Chomp. Chomp. chompchompchompchomp.

Here’s the deal: Bliss is mine for about…10 seconds. That first bite is wonderful, the following bites…not so much. And about 15 minutes later…

Oh agony. Oh my tummy. Why did I do that?

Hm. That was helpful.

A quick googling of depression & overeating shows that overeating has a drug-like effect. We actually do get a little “high” from snarfing down heavy foods…but then the let-down afterward (like a blood sugar drop!) can lead to further depression. (And further overeating.)

Okay, so I need to change. I’ve got to find fun (inexpensive!) things to do other than eat when I need a pick-me-up.

Here’s my ideas: have a hot cup of unsweetened tea, read a book, take a walk, give myself a library break, ten minutes of exercise, give myself the awesome pleasure of finally cleaning out that downstairs closet, ummmm….

Anyone have suggestions? What do you do when you’re trying not to stress-eat?

 

 

Why My Diet isn’t Working, Part 1

I promised I’d tell you about the diet. It’s not vegan, it’s not gluten-free, and the candida diet thing isn’t going so well, either.

What I would like to do is hide myself in a corner and pretend I never mentioned the word “diet,” let alone outlined an eating plan. But I did announce my intentions publicly.

Ah. How dumb was that?

So here’s the thing: I’m gonna lay it all out there. Here’s why my diet isn’t working:

1. Life stinks right now. No, really, it does! It’s winter. The sky is grey most of the time. It’s cold and miserable and I live in the woods, which means there is virtually no sunlight and no greenery. (If you plant the right kind of grass and shrubs, you can have greenery year-round…but that doesn’t work in the woods!) The greyness, the cold, the short days and the grim, bare trees, have me rather DOWN.

Ok, let’s tackle reason Number One:

1. Life stinks because it’s winter and cold and grey.

Yeah…but is the sun gonna shine BECAUSE I OVEREAT?

No. It’s still grey, dark and cold. And I’m looking at the grey, dark and cold feeling more “down” than ever because my stomach is bloated and my jeans are tight.

What could I change?

1. Here’s the thing: I crave greenery, and I can put it on my plate. Beautiful salads evoke SPRINGTIME. I may not be able to plant a beautiful garden out here in the woods, but I CAN buy one and eat it.

It can be springtime in my kitchen. Eat green. (And orange, and blue…all those bright, colorful fruits and vegetables will brighten up my mood and feed my cells!)

What else can I do?

2. Anything possible to soak up sunshine and greenery. Take every opportunity to get outside and enjoy a little sunshine. Schedule walks into the day if necessary. Take a walk to see the neighborhood goats, horses and cows. Stop…even for fifteen seconds, to really feel the sunshine on my face.

3. Try scattering my houseplants throughout the house. (I presently have them in one “jungle room” fighting over the little bit of available light.) Seeing greenery as I go about my day might help make a difference. (If nothing else, it will be a reminder that I am TRYING to make a difference!)

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4. Plant a moss garden. Planting moss would embrace my woodland home, but give me some green for cheer! There’s enough moss in my woods to harvest and plant…I can do this cost-free. And a moss garden won’t vie with the other plants for the available window space!

5. Bright, light-therapy lamps are available for people with SAD…Seasonal Affective Disorder. They are a little pricey and take up space, so this isn’t something I’m going to do right now…but I’ll keep it in mind for the future. (I just get a little down; it’s not debilitating.) In the meantime, I may choose to shell out $5 or so for a session with a tanning bed. A tanning bed’s bright lights can help set off a cycle of cheer…just gotta be sure to make it brief. A sunburn in January is a foolish, foolish thing!

Anyone else out there fight with the winter blahs?

What do you do that helps you deal with the season?