Sunday, June 10, 2012

What you do most of the time...matters most

We had company yesterday, and I ate way too much.  I always do.  I find it stressful to host people, the stress triggers urges to overeat or to binge, and feeling overwhelmed/tired/not in touch with myself, I give in to the urges without even trying in earnest to fight them off.

It's really common for me to sit down and polish off a bunch of leftovers once guests leave my home.  Last night it was chocolate pudding.  I don't like that I do this, and I will work on changing it.  The good news, however, is that we don't host people very often.  So this particular problem doesn't present itself very often.

More and more, I'm seeing scenarios I used to worry about don't matter that much, because they don't occur that often.  I used to sit down and try to come up with grand plans and sets of rules, or maybe just one magical secret principle, that could cover ALL problematic scenarios for me.  Hosting people.  The holidays.  Traveling to my hometown and eating a bunch of meals with family, who eat very differently than I do.  Ravenous PMS days.  When I couldn't come up with solutions for everything, and when I kept tripping up at predictable times, I would get so discouraged and let my day-to-day efforts slide.  I was all-or-nothing.

That's starting to change.  Perfectionism and my all-or-nothingness is fading, finally.  I understand that what I do on a typical day--something like 300 days out of the year--is what matters most and deserves my closest attention.  And when a not-so-great eating day comes along, like yesterday, it doesn't have to lead to an out-of-control week.  Yesterday I had company and ate stupidly.  I probably won't have company for another month.  Hopefully I can do better next time, but there's likely 25 or 30 normal, non-company days between now and then to attend to.  So on some level, I'm thinking: who cares?  Let's move on.

I don't even think about balancing out the previous day's excesses.  What's done is done.  Letting go of yesterday helps me make better choices today because I'm not burdened with feelings of regret, shame, anxiety, and so on.  It's very freeing. 

This attitudinal change may be happening because I'm not trying to lose weight right now, just maintain my current weight. (Next week, I will wrap up my first trimester without having gained anything, as per my ob/gyn's instructions to gain 0-5 pounds during this period of time.)  So now when I eat too much, I don't think "I blew it.  There's no way I will have lost anything by the end of this week" because my focus isn't on losing.  It's on staying steady as much as possible, scale-wise and eating-wise.  And with less dramatic thinking in the picture, there are less dramatic behavioral swings too.

I want my new relaxed attitude to stick, though, despite the weight gain that is sure to come later and the desire for weight loss that will kick in post-pregnancy!  After fixating on individual trees for so long, it's nice to see the forest. 

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