Tuesday, April 28, 2009
You can't play on broken strings...
I borrowed the title of my blog post today from James Morrison. He has a great new song out called "Broken Strings" which features Nelly Furtado. (Sean, stop gagging at my musical taste, I happen to enjoy the song despite the lack of heavy death metal in it.) In the song, they are talking about not being able to play a guitar when the strings are broken. Of course playing on broken strings is a metaphor for not being able to make a relationship work when something in it is broken. Now I'm sure you're wondering where I'm headed with this, but if you've been around long enough you should know that eventually I'll get to my point. Sometimes I just like to take the long way to it.
Playing on broken strings can be a metaphor for a lot of different things besides just broken relationships. Since I'm very CF oriented, I like to think that the metaphor can be applied to CF. If you have "broken strings" or a broken diet, it's going to be impossible for you to get better at CF. But if the strings, or diet, are broken, what do you do? Where do you go? How do you fix it? You can replace broken guitar strings. Can you replace your diet?
After putting practically my entire life story on the internet last year, a lot of people read about my personal demons. I've had issues with my weight and food for a very long time. After great success last spring with the Zone, I wanted to tell the world how great I felt, how awesome it was. What I wasn't anticipating was the backlash, the back slap if you will. I did so well for so long, and then... all those things I used to love, drove me nuts. I fell, nay tumbled, head over heels down a slippery slope and I have to admit that I fell completely off the Zone wagon. Seeing the scale register 7 pounds more than I did 7 months ago was, and still is depressing. I felt like the worst possible version of myself. I had done so well, just to piddle all the good stuff away. I wanted those pounds gone, and I wanted them gone 5 days ago.
My attempt to try to step back into the Zone and not go cold turkey is not having the success that I would like. By stepping in, I've been allowing myself too much leeway, and that leeway I thought would be helpful, has become destructive once again. I tried to let myself step in slowly and eventually get back within the constraints of the Zone, but instead I wound up with a half-assed Zone and a lot of negative thoughts. I feel awful for drinking coffee even though I love it. I feel horrible if I eat bread because I love it. Despite the fact that most of my meals are pretty Zone friendly, I have had those thoughts that it wasn't Zone enough or it should have been better. When I eat, it's not food that I'm full of. It's guilt.
The Zone has become what I like to call a "frenemy". I know that when used correctly the Zone can be my friend. But, at the same time, it messes with my head big time. So, where does that leave me? I love reading Melissa Byer's Blog (Byers Gets Diesel) because girlfriend keeps it straight up REAL. She says of her own experience with food that she has experimented, tried a lot of stuff, had a lot of bad experiences, but she's continued to try new things until she found things that work FOR HER. Every person is different. Every person's dietary needs are therefore different. Things like the Zone and Paleo work pretty well, but they need to be tailored to each person, their needs, and also their personal factors (ie work/schedule/avaiability of a fridge). For someone who has some eating demons, like me, such rigid structured eating may not be the best route, but we'll see. I don't have all the answers, but as these weeks have progressed, I am more determined to find them.
First stop on the answer express has to be cutting myself some slack. I'm notorious for being a driven maniac at times, and being incessantly hard on myself. If I'm going to find what works for me, I need to give myself room to fail. Fail? Why you ask? Because it means I'm putting myself out there and I'm trying. It means what I tried didn't work, but it means I gave it a good go. If something isn't working, but you don't bother to change it, then really, you have no chance of success because you didn't even try to BE successful. Failure for many is the first stop on the way to success, and I have got to learn to be ok with that.
The second stop on this crazy train (thank you Ozzy for that one) is learning that I don't look as terrible as I think I do. I was having a conversation with Martha today while getting ready for work in the locker room (down boys it was PG), and I was sharing my weight concerns with her. As soon as I shared my concerns though, I also admitted that I need to be thankful. There are people who would kill to be the size and in the shape I am, who don't have the tools to get started on this journey at all. I need to be proud of what I did accomplish and have maintained, and I need to proud of the fact that I'm taking steps in the right direction to figure out what will continue to work for me. I may only be down 14 of my original 21 pounds, but you know what, I'm still down 14 from where I started last year. I'm still small than I was, and the funny thing is, that I'm stronger now too. I could never do HALF the things last year at my old weight that I can do now. I need to keep that in mind.
The next few stops for my train will be success and failure. I am sure I will find successes temporarily that will work for me, which will lead to failure and frustration, but hopefully will ultimately lead me to my last stop on this eating train.
The end of my line will be finding a food solution that works for me, a zen of eating if you will. I'm not sure what that will be exactly, but I know that the only way to find it is to keep looking. Paleo, Zone, just eating? Who knows. But that's got to be the final stop. Believe me, I fully expect it to take a long time. With my schedule and my issues, I don't anticipate this being easy. I anticipate this being hard, long work. But you know what helps to know? That there are people out there just like me. There are people who have had great success and then suddenly found that success maker, not so helpful anymore. People who have fallen off, but have found a path to better health through better eating that is right for them. So for me, I just need to find the same.
To help me, I have all but stopped measuring my food. I eat Paleo and Zone friendly things, but eat until I'm full. If I'm hungry, I eat again, and try to keep things in a relative balance. As Byers says, no more counting almonds. If I'm out to eat, or at work, I do the best I can, and stick with the idea that at least I'm trying. I didn't give in and have the fried chicken with bacon, cheese, bbq sauce and french fries. But I did the salad and did the best I could with carbs, fats, and proteins.
Our eating habits are something that can both harm us, and help us. I for one would like to be in the latter category. My "strings" right now are broken, but I've ordered some replacements. I can't wait until they get here.