A look back on my Friday-Monday. A step-by-step look at how failure is created.
Friday: After coming in with a 6 pound weight loss for the last week, I choose to eat a little more carelessly - not binge - but allow myself a little more freedom than usual. I choose not to work-out. I am not mindful enough in general to remember to write down food & water intake. I don't read as many blogs in the evening as I normally do.
Saturday: I choose, a little less mindfully/consciously than the day before, to continue the relaxed eating. I choose, again a little less mindfully/consciously, to not work out. I remember to write down food and water for the day before, but do not remain mindful enough to write down anything for the actual Saturday itself besides breakfast. I don't stay nearly as active and read nearly as many blogs as I normally do.
Sunday: I eat a big breakfast and eat almost nothing for the remainder of the day. I am mindful enough to write down breakfast, but not anymore food choices or water intake. I work out briefly in the afternoon, doing 30 wall push-ups. I don't think I read any blogs. Late at night I am famished and get the urge to binge. I give in to the urge extremely fast without giving it a second thought. The binge consists of McDonald's: 2 double cheeseburgers w/mayo, 1 spicy chicken sandwich w/extra mayo; Taco Bell: 2 cheesy double beef burritos, 3 cheese roll-ups, 1 cheese quesadilla, 1 side of nacho cheese; Jack in the Box; 1 ultimate cheeseburger w/extra mayo, 1 breakfast sandwich w/mayo. Local fast food Mexican place: 1 cheese quesadilla.
Monday: I wake up with the desire and urge to binge. By 2:00pm I have eaten three enormous meals consisting, in total, of: 3 servings of potato curry, roughly 6 servings of frosted shredded wheat, 4 hard boiled eggs made into egg salad with 2 1/2 heaping tablespoons of mayonnaise, 1 can of beef tamales heated and mixed with 3 heaping tablespoons of mayonnaise, 10 flour tortillas. I do not write down what I eat or my water intake. I do not exercise. By nightfall I am incredibly miserable. I read no blogs.
(FYI: Tuesday I didn't eat anything all day and was out for the count because around 9:00pm Monday night I came down with food poisoning - instant karma? ;) - which went strong through Tuesday night.)
Here is what I feel there is to be learned from the experience of Fri-Mon: I largely attribute the slide into complete chaos to a number of choices that slowly increased and created a less mindful, more disconnected self. As the days went on I slowly started removing all the daily elements that serve both as important structure in my days, as well as the conscious reminders of my goals (short and long term).
I think the lessons to be learned here are far from shocking, but still a perpetually important reminder to me: I must stay in the moment. I am much better served to live my days with a high level of awareness of the choices I am making. I am much more likely to succeed when I actively work to maintain the various structure-creating elements in my day (blogging, reading blogs, commenting on blogs, writing down what I eat throughout the day, keeping track of and writing down my water intake, exercising)
I think a success here to be noted is this: While I did come down hard on myself Monday for the binging and gave myself some hateful self talk, it didn't last as long as it used to. In the past a cluster of binges such as this coming on the heels of a month of success would've likely thrown me into 2 months to 2 years of more binging, emotional/mental shutdown, and on the off occasion I wasn't shut down - extreme depression and self hatred.
In this case however, by Monday night I was able to share the reality of my actions and my feelings around them with a supportive loved one and was able to deal with my unhealthy choices via healthy guilt.
As Brennan Manning writes in his excellent book A Glimpse of Jesus:
"Unhealthy guilt is self-centered; it stirs our emotions to churn in self-destructive ways, leads to depression and despair, closes us in upon ourselves...Healthy guilt adds not a single paragraph to the script for self-hatred. To the contrary, (it) leads to realistic confrontation, ruthless honesty, and self-knowledge; it stimulates compunction, contrition, the desire for reconciliation and inner peace."
Beautifully, though I am still a ways off, I feel that with every misstep, failure and struggle, I come a litter bit closer to having healthy guilt replace unhealthy guilt as my "gut reaction" attitude.
I accept my choices this week - I have processed them, dealt with them, felt the myriad of feelings that came with them. So now, simply, I choose to move on.
One action and One day at a time.
I will do all that I can: make my next choice a good one.