Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Confessions, Consumption & Counterfeits

I have been having a week long epiphany. This is probably one of those entries that should go in my journal to burn...but I have decided to put it here. I have to start out with a confession or two.


This will surprise some of you but before I was LDS I use to smoke. Both Jim and I fell into smoking almost as a natural matter of course as we grew up. 3 of our 4 parents smoked, Jim's grandmother did, and lots of the adults we loved and admired were smokers. There wasn't much of a stigma attached to it then and very little about it being a health hazard. Although really, how could anyone deny that it had to be bad for you? No, Dah! I think there was a smoking epidemic that got part of its surge to prominence from the war years when smoking was so popular. Anyway, we were not privy to Joseph Smith's views nor did we know of the Word of Wisdom at that time in our lives.

Many times during the time that we did smoke we tried to quit. It was seemingly impossible so we would try to cut back. We would just smoke a few cigarettes per day and that backfired because~the cigarette became the reward. You were just counting the minutes until you could light up. How dumb is that when you think about it? Using your poison as your reward?? It modified your behavior all right in exactly the wrong direction.

Long story short, we did quit on the same day and never smoked again. Why did it work when we went cold turkey? Because we sacrificed something we wanted for something we wanted more. We changed our behaviors by eliminating smoking altogether. We just said NO! We didn't get candy cigarettes, we didn't switch to a pipe or chew tobacco~we just quit. It was not easy but it was worth it. Divine intervention was most assuredly a huge component.

The epiphany that I have been having is in relationship to losing weight and being physically fit and healthy. This may be hard to believe but I am an expert at losing weight. I have lost the same 25 to 40 pounds about a hundred times. What has always baffled me is why I stop doing what I am doing after I get to a certain point in the weight lose journey. This is what led me to my thoughts on consumption.


As Americans we all consume far too many refined, processed, sugary, salty, fat-filled products. I hesitate to even call it food. This occurs for all the reasons we are well aware of. Convenience, stress, boredom, being over committed, great tasting junk food, happiness and celebrations, sadness, depression, just about everything in life brings us to the table literally and figuratively. So this is old news and we are all aware of it. I think that most dieting fails because in reality we do not want to give this stuff up. Some of you are probably thinking~well now, there is brilliance for ya! But really think about it. When we continuously consume the empty calories it is like putting chocolate pudding in our gas tank. It might fill it up but it sure isn't going to get you to your desired destination. And this is what got me to thinking about the counterfeits and this for me was one real key into why I have always stopped in the process of losing the weight.

When we are dieting we want to somehow continue liking and eating the stuff that makes us fat while actually getting thinner. We essentially want to have our cake and eat it too. So even from the very beginning when slimfast came out...what did it taste like? A Milkshake! I see the correlation between that and having a cigarette for your reward when trying to quit smoking. The kicker is that you can actually lose some weight with that stuff and still think "Milkshake" while doing it.

Think about so many of the diet pills out there. Eat whatever you want and still lose weight. We love something for nothing, so OK then. This is something I have never done but I think I understand it. Do you think people that take diet pills are eating carrots and drinking fat free milk while on the pills? Probably not. It is like you haven't learned to love new things that are healthy, but unfortunately for you, you lose a few pounds. You get a little positive reinforcement for your negative behavior. So when you quit the pills...you keep eating the incorrect, high calorie food choices and on comes the weight again. We even try to kid ourselves into believing if we rock back on the scale and the needle bounces down a little that the weight gain isn't real. Hello! The mind games are the never ending story.


So this is the thing I came to realize this week. When I would lose the weight I still wanted to eat the same things I just wanted to have a counterfeit version of it. Like the low fat, sugar free whatevers. The hundred calorie packs of the Oreo thingies or wheat thins would work. I wanted the baked chips, the fake ice cream, etc. I was trying to succeed without doing the work. Because I was losing the weight I didn't try to change my tastes, cleanse my palate and try to incorporate better, more nutritious food into my food planning. So when I would tire of the specialty foods and the stresses of life would come back...so would the weight.

I hadn't learned to change. What I have learned now is that if I want my life to change I have to change something. Brilliant, huh? Just like I couldn't keep smoking and quit at the same time. Just like I had to say NO to the cigarettes, I have to say NO to those foods that are not good for me. I had to sacrifice the pleasures (?) of smoking for what I wanted more. And now I will have to sacrifice what I like for what I want more. That thing that I want more is authentic good health. (Just like my grandson, Spencer, doesn't eat peanuts because they can kill him..I have to stop eating the things that can kill me!!!) I will not just be a counterfeit thinner person without good health..because I have learned you can actually do that. But I will be truly healthy from the inside out from better choices made day by day one by one!

I have also learned with the help of a very great bunch of friends that I am a good person no matter what the scale says. Some bad habits do not = a bad character or =a weak person. They are just an indication of a person who is still learning new habits and that is not only OK~ but actually good!

Today I was looking in my grocery cart and consciously noting all the healthy choices in the cart as I emptied it. One by one I was giving myself a bravo sticker with each thing I lifted out of it. Today I was eating those little"cutie" tangerines whenever I wanted something sweet or a little snack. They are delicious...who knew? It made me feel so good that I am re-gifting myself with the flowers that Jim gave me for Valentine's Day right here on the blog at the top of this post. They are wilting now but through the camera's eye they can live on!

I know that this weight lose issue is a complicated one. I also know that what works for me may not work for you. Some of you may be able to have those things that I do not think will be working for me for the long haul. Carry on knowing you are loved no matter what! Each day is a new beginning and I am never going to give up on myself in this department! I have to believe it is not too late. Slow learner, yes; quitter, no way!

If this is something you struggle with, I invite you to view Lanette's Healthy Life Blog listed in my favorite clicks!


The Christensons said...

now how can i do that for my children? my mom did it for me, i grew up in a very healthy house, but i remember always binging at friends houses because they had the sweets and junk i wasnt allowed, and i think that i've "used" that as an excuse that i want my kids to have some junk in their lives so i buy some of it, but now i'm fighting with them to eat more healthier things, and am thinking i need to go back to my mom's approach? i need to find a balance somehow for them!

The Christensons said...

oh and yes! i ALMOST forgot, thank you for the email that jen sent me from you! those things matter a lot to me! thank you!

Miss Jen said...

Awesome mom! This is all so true!

laura.elizabeth said...

I love it Mom- thanks for sharing. I find the same things are true for me- not surprising, hu? I grateful for those kinds of spiritual insights, I feel like I have had a lot lately. I am always amazed at the truths we discovered about ourselves when we take a few minutes to get very quite and very still. For all the running around and working out we do, I think the quite moments are the most beneficial. Thanks for sharing what you are learning.

Lanette said...

You are brilliant Bon - this is so true. You have to give up something you want for something you want more. Don't you feel the Lord leading you along? The spirit speaks of things that are true and these insights are excellent. I love this quote: "Discipline is remembering what you want."

Laura said...

That is my problem. I am not evolved enough to be seeking good choices, I am all over the counterfeit choices; but they just lead to more cravings of the "real" bad choices. I want to make better healthy living choices for me and my family and need to figure out how to do it. I just don't know that I am that evolved yet---we shall see. But, I couldn't agree with you more, it definately gives me something to think about when I reach for the 100 calorie doritos. They are not helping me get to my goal in the long run. They are a short cut, that often doesn't make it on the long haul of weight loss permanence.

Deanna Munoz said...

This blog was AWESOME. There is a reason you were in the room when I was born...maybe it was so I can learn from you! LOL! It is so true, THAT is why I continue to fail at my weight loss endeavors. It is so hard for me because I STILL want my cake even when I KNOW that it will not allow me to get to my final goal!!! I think you are right, food is an addiction, a fierce one because with smoking, you can stop smoking, and never pick up a cigarette, but with eating, you HAVE to eat your addiction to survive, so its that much more tantalizing. I think maybe the answer is a cold turkey walk away from the sweets and starches. I am really going to try that this week....Thank you SO Much for your insight, it was awesome and SUPER helpful!~!! Can I chew gum though?? LOL!!!
Love ya

The Gatchell Crew said...

Bonnie, you ROCK! What a massive amount of truth right where we need it. I love it, never stop sharing. I think when we share, we realize we are not alone in this. I love that. I also love that we are loved just how we are by each other. But we want the happiness of being healthy for all of us. Thanks Bonnie! Marianne