Sunday, February 3, 2013

My team lost, so now I must cry

I'm a lot sadder about the 49ers losing the Super Bowl than I expected to be given that I kind of had a feeling they would lose. I also expected them to start off a little slow as every game I've watched this season has been like that. (Maybe it's me -- I don't think they are like that when I'm not watching.) But they sure took a very long time to find their groove. To the point where I almost gave up on them. Then again, the entire game was very strange -- full of weird mistakes, questionable calls, and a power outage. At the Super Bowl. Crazy.

What does this have to do with weight loss and health and all that stuff that I normally write about? Well, football is definitely exercise, but really what I say has more to do with food. Namely:

Super Bowl Parties!

Something I hate about this time of year is that people are at war with food. By "this time of year," I mean from just before Halloween until just after Valentine's Day. During that time, my inbox and Facebook and message boards are blowing up with "helpful hints" for how to "get through" this time.

Now think about this... late October through mid February is almost four months. That means, judging by what I see around me, some people are at war with themselves for about four months out of the year. That's one third of the year. That is a really long time to be fighting with yourself.

To be worrying. To be lurching between abstinence and over-indulgence. To be beating ourself up for for what we do and don't eat and for how much we do and don't exercise. To be making resolutions we don't keep. To be going on a diet and falling off the wagon. Over and over.

I used to participate in this "magic" time of year with enthusiasm. I did all these things. But now it just seems kind of sad to me and not how I want to live my life. But I don't want to be fat either. So what to do? what to do?

I think part of why I want off the Holiday War Merry-go-round might be because I hang out with a lot of what I think of as "normies" now. These people aren't perfect. They sometimes eat too much. They don't always exercise. But mostly they don't have weight problems and they mostly eat healthy and they mostly workout. They also mostly don't obsess over what they eat and mostly -- and this is a big one with me -- they don't play a lot of mental games with themselves to justify bad behavior.

Watching them live for the past four years has been enlightening. I definitely want to be like them when I grow up!

Before today's Super Bowl, I read my weight loss and weight loss surgery message boards and saw a lot of messages about how to "survive" today and also Valentine's Day which is coming up. I've seen suggestions such as losing a few pounds before the big day so you can "eat whatever you want" that day. I've seen suggestions for making special versions of your "favorite" foods, many of which sound kind of disgusting. I've seen suggestions of just ignoring these special days altogether -- hiding out at home and pretending they don't exist.

I have to admit that I've done all these things in the past. Well, okay, I didn't do the "lose 2 pounds ahead of time" thing. I did the "eat whatever you want and not do anything to counter-balance it" variation!

But now I kind of don't get it. At my Super Bowl party today, I brought Cake Pops. Yes, mine have less sugar than the ones at Starbucks. But they are still cake covered in chocolate. There were other baked goods and also chips. But there were also home-made pizzas that were full of vegetables and turkey chili and a veggie plate and fruit salad and even a regular salad. Most of the people were eating mostly healthy, but they all had at least one piece of dessert too.

So I just did what they did. I was faking it a bit. Part of me wanted to eat every kind of baked good even the ones I didn't really like just because they were there. Part of me wanted to eat chips because you are supposed to eat chips when you watch football. Except I'm not really fond of chips and definitely not of any of the kinds that there there. And I ate a lot more baby carrots than I probably should have because I felt an overwhelming urge to munch at various times.

But mostly I watched the game and talked to people and only went and got food when I was hungry instead of hanging by the food table, nibbling away non-stop like I used to do.

I also made myself not log and not count calories and just try to eat to my hunger and not sweat it. That part was really, really hard. But I forced myself to do it.

I logged when I got home. The damage wasn't bad at all. I was a little light on protein but I didn't go over my calories (as far as I could tell -- that kind of food is hard to count as it's two corn chips here and  a dab of sour cream there and did I eat 15 baby carrots or 13 and where they medium or large?)

I would love to get to a point where all of this was more natural. Where I didn't have to do the logging. Where I didn't have to work so hard at the party to reign myself in. But I was kind of proud of myself too. I didn't feel at war with myself and I'm not going to wake up tomorrow hating myself for what I ate.

Sometimes I wonder how many of my normie friends are secretly fighting to be normies like I am. I bet some of them are. I know most of them aren't though and I'm a little bit jealous. But mostly, knowing they are out there, gives me something to aspire to.

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