Monday, June 7, 2010

Mind Games

I have always known that this process wasn't going to be easy.  I am fighting 25 years of bad habits and less than ideal genetics.  I did hope some things would get easier, and truth be told some things have.  Having lost as much weight as I have has made exercising so much easier, and therefore more likely to happen.  My stomach has shrunk, so I can't eat as much as I used to.  The one thing that has not gotten easier has been the mental aspect of my diet.  I crave, get tempted, occasionally give in, and then regret.  I find myself thinking about food so much.  Some of that is about planning and doing the preparation that keeps me out of trouble, but the rest, and the majority, is the darker stuff.  It may be my imagination playing tricks on me, but I am so jealous of the people who seem to enjoy food, but over whom food has no hold.  It may be that there is no one like that, but it certainly seems like all those skinny bastards out there have no trouble with, say, a sudden, visceral urge to eat an entire movie theater bag of sour patch kids.  It strikes me that it is as unhealthy to worry and fret over food as much as I seem to at times as to have the sort of emotional connection I have had for years.  It may be that I always have to fight urges like this.  I am extremely lucky to have not known true hunger in my life.  I have been hungry in the "it is time for the next of my three meals today" kind of way, but not the way so many of the less fortunate around us are.  That opened the door for my relationship with food to become what it was for me: a purely hedonistic one.  If that kind of relationship doesn't work between people, imagine how harmful it can be between a person and the thing that keeps them alive.  I am also a very logical guy, and when I make mistakes or struggle with temptation I find it especially galling because it is not a logical thing.  I cannot explain many of those things, so I find them very hard to combat.  Part of me is reluctant to write about this because I don't control it.  However, it just occurred to me that it is logical, in a perverse sort of way, that for such a cerebral person the mental aspect of this journey is proving the hardest.  I don't know what to expect from this posting.  I know I cannot be the only person in this boat.  I suppose that by naming the problem, and sharing it with you, I hope to gain control over it.  It certainly won't happen overnight, but  as Lao-tzu said "the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step".  If nothing else I have proven that over the last four months.


  1. I totally get what you're saying ... the mental part is a huge part of the battle. But, something you're doing must be working for you to have been so successful so far! I admire your work and you are inspiring me on my own health journey.

    - Gwen

  2. This is something I have been struggling with for awhile. Like, sometimes it is real anger and frustration! The thought I think most frequently involves the unfairness of being an actor who is not super skinny. Sigh. You are not alone.

  3. I think the issue is the illusion of control. You can't control the "desire" for food any more than you can control the next idea that will hit you. All you can control is your response. All that you can EVER control is your response. You were about 7 when we did "Dream a Little Dream" for dinner theatre at Chapelwood and you may not remember it (when I had the Hannibal Lecter moment and panicked Chelsea) - but, one character says, "Destiny isn't what happens to you - your destiny is how you respond to what happens." Bob Johnson found that profound and said so - out loud in the performance from the audience! "Wow. That's profound." We had to let him know that, grateful as we were, that was probably not the time to express his approval. ANYWAY... the message is to prepare your responses and EXPECT the temptations and cravings and sneak attacks to come. Whatever you chose, then, chose it FULLY. If you decide to gorge - gorge without guilt. There is no "VALUE" to your decision beyond the consequences and your acceptance of your responsibility to live in those consequences.

    What I'm so proud of is that you've looked at your life and decided to have different outcomes and you are. There is no clock on this. It is a minute to minute, NOW kind of thing. Which you are mostly clear on. But, don't expect 25 years of habit to vanish. That part of you thinks it is protecting you from some form of pain and won't disappear until it KNOWS you are happy and okay.


  4. I go through this as well. I feel like I'm constantly focusing on the wrong thing. I'm focusing on what I can't eat and how I'm not hungry so I SHOULDN'T eat instead of thinking about food as simply a source of fuel--it's so much more to me! A dumb little saying I say to myself: "Nothing tastes as good as being thin makes me feel." I know thin isn't your goal, but it's mine--you could substitute "thin" with "healthy." I also try to do this: before I make a bad decision, I imagine my body the way I want it, and think--will this decision help me get to the Future Amy any faster? But, I'm right there with you!