Dietary Derailment: Getting Back On Track

Pure Evil

This instrument of the devil is going back in the hall closet where it belongs.

The best way to describe my eating habits of late would be COMPLETELY OFF THE RAILS.

Every once in a while this happens. One day I’m having a little of this, a little of that, and before you know it I’m having as much as I want of whatever decadent, artery-clogging gut filler that sounds good to my deranged taste receptors. I’ve never really taken note of how it starts, but I imagine it’s brought on by my occasional bouts of bummage (I don’t want to go so far as to call it depression, because I’m pretty sure that’s what I had for most of the 90s, and believe me, this is not even close). The problem is that the bad habits seem to stick around even after the bummage abates. The wake-up call is usually when I begin to hate all my clothes and find myself swallowing a Zantac every night before bed to fend off the inevitable heartburn.

I don’t even want to talk about my vegetarian/vegan experimentation right now, because that has gone almost completely by the wayside of late. I’m not going out of my way to eat meat, but I’m certainly not doing much to avoid it either. And dairy, well, don’t even get me started. I have probably eaten more ice cream in the past week than I’d had in the previous 6 months. My husband was gone all weekend for a softball tournament and, having no real schedule, I mostly adhered to a coffee-ice-cream-and-potato-chips-at-will kind of regimen. (Also an NCIS marathon, but I’ve gotta be honest with myself–Agent Dinozzo would never look twice at me in my current state.) I think the last remotely healthful thing I ate was half a cantaloupe on Friday.

The best thing I can say for my lifestyle over the past month or two is that I’ve been doing a hell of a lot of dog-walking, sometimes with short intervals of dog-running sprinkled here and there (although ouch! I think I’m currently too fat to run). Thank goodness for those three little monsters, always nagging me with their cute little eyes until I’m guilted into getting my shoes on.

I want to be a healthy, fit, energetic, attractive person. Mostly, I want to avoid type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease, because those are the Big Ones in my family. I transcribe tons of medical reports for work that chronicle the damage people do to themselves through not taking responsibility for their own health, which makes it doubly stupid that I continue to put things in my body that will make it fat, sluggish, uncomfortable, dysfunctional, and old before its time. Yet my commitment to taking care of myself seems to be trapped on one of those pirate-ship carnival rides, swinging from one extreme to the other, never establishing any consistency. I have good intentions–maybe too good–that always turn out to be disappointingly hard to keep sight of, so I end up saying, like Joel Goodson’s creepy little friend Miles in Risky Business, “what the f*ck.”

The key, obviously, is to find middle ground that I’m able to stick with instead of swerving drunkenly down the health highway. As my blog title indicates, I am going to, once again, “Start Today.” I’m not going to join Weight Watchers again, even though I took a lot of weight off with it a few years ago, because I refuse to count every calorie (or point) I put into my body for the rest of my life. That may work, but unfortunately it also makes life totally miserable. I’m not going overboard or getting so fanatical that I can’t eat anything that everyone else is having. What I am going to do includes the following:

  • Keep on walking those doggies at least an hour a day, adding a little jogging whenever EJ goads me into it. Get him to play Frisbee with me.
  • Walk myself once in a while, adding a little jogging whenever I goad myself into it. Stop in the park and do some push-ups and walking lunges and stuff. Glare at anyone who looks at me funny.
  • Put vegetables and/or fruit in every meal. I find that if they’re there, there’s less room for everything else.
  • Not get envious or resentful because “everybody else gets to have it.” Remember that I am not everybody else, and that’s just the way it is. Lots of people “get” to have cigarettes, or methamphetamine, or chemotherapy, but do I envy them? Not a bit.
  • Here’s the gem: AVOID depression and boredom at all costs! This is tough for me because I have a tendency to mope and navel-gaze quite a bit, but I really believe the key to preventing emotional/entertainment eating is to keep busy, preferably doing things with your hands, so you not only forget about food, but you’re physically prevented from getting at it anyway because your damn hands are full! So even if all I’m doing is doodling in a sketch pad or obsessively checking my phone while watching TV, I’m going to try to stay occupied.

That’s about all I have included in my new health plan for now. Any more and I might lose it, get bummed out because I feel too restricted, say WTF again, and find myself at the bottom of a pint of Haagen-Dazs Chocolate Peanut Butter.




2 thoughts on “Dietary Derailment: Getting Back On Track

  1. What works for me is eating whatever I like (especially ice cream), but sizing down the portions. (I’m vegetarian so I can still eat huge portions.) To keep the weight off, add exercise with that–walking the dog is great! Keep it up.

  2. Thanks! I also should have mentioned whole grains and beans, because they are magical appetite suppressants for me. They fill me up fast and keep me full for hours.

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