Learning (Again) To Just Say "No!"

So I was at Target yesterday with Claire. She was in the cart, pointing at and wanting everything on every shelf. Finally, I dug out a box of raisins from my purse, thinking eating them would keep her happily distracted.

“Claire, do you want some raisins?” I asked and held out the box.

“No!” she replied emphatically (emphasis on emphatic) and pushed my hand away.

‘Damn,’ I thought. ‘I wish food was that easy for me to refuse.’

Back at my daughter’s house, Claire and I sat on the deck and blew bubbles and colored and she put Hello Kitty stickers up and down my arm and on my face. It was getting close to lunchtime so I asked her, “Do you want applesauce?” Claire nodded her head yes.

I loved those summer afternoons when my mom would make my brother and me peanut butter sandwiches, fruit cocktail (making sure each serving had the same number of cherries), and Kool-Aid and we’d eat at the picnic table. Usually we had lunch at the kitchen table and watched Casey Jones and Wonderdog cartoons, which was fun, too, but eating outside was always a treat.

In the spirit of my outdoor childhood lunches, I made Claire a peanut butter sandwich and poured Juicy Juice in her sippy cup. I fed her pieces of sandwich instead of letting her feed herself because: A) she was being a monkey and tipping herself upside down in the chair and laughing; and B) peanut butter is difficult to clean off crayons. What I didn’t do, and am very proud of myself for, is lick the peanut butter off my fingers or take “just a bite” of the white bread/peanutty goodness that I love so much. I forced myself to be content to live with the memories of my outdoor picnics.

I thought my resolve was all “I can handle any food temptation today!” until Cassie came home and brought out the homemade chocolate chip cookies she made on Father’s Day. Oy. They looked so good. I know, I know…food is fun and eating the things we love once in awhile is OK. That’s not where I’m going with this. I’m not opposed to a chocolate chip cookie once in awhile, just not when my food mood is “Go ahead…eat whatever…” I’ve been in this food mood all week and it’s been hell to fight, thanks to what I call the “unholy trinity”: stress, pain and hormones.

I’ve done well, for the most part, but an extra carb here and Hershey Kiss there have found their way into my mouth more than once, and all the determination and positive self-talk wasn’t going to stop them until finally yesterday, I found my “stop” button. It’s always there, I just lose sight of it sometimes.

As I drove home from Pittsburgh, I separated the food mood from the emotional mood and waded through the muck. The unholy trinity is still here today, but remembering for the 1 millionth time that I am in control of what I put in my mouth, I’ve got a cleaner playing field on which to live. My strategy is this: when I think about food and I’m not hungry, I think more deeply and try to pinpoint the source of that desire. What I’ve come up with so far is mostly fear and uncertainty spurred by very specific life events and self-expectations as of late. I put a lot of pressure on myself sometimes and instead of see when I’ve gone too far, I see chocolate chip cookies in my head. Go figure.

So here’s to hoping the next time I hear, “Lynn, do you want to eat ________?” I’ll be like Claire and say, emphatically, “No!”


Best stress reliever ever? Holding Baby Luca.

9 thoughts on “Learning (Again) To Just Say "No!"

  1. my youngest is now 11 – and babies are starting to all look very tiny to me – like long ago and far away.

    Love the pictures.

    Identify with having to watch out that the bits and bites don't find their way into my mouth . . .I have one extra kid here for two weeks (13 year old nephew) and the kids all made chocolate chip cookies. They divided up the batch and took their individual stashes to their rooms so that I don't have to look at them. It is amazing how long each kid can make their share last (I think there were 8-10 per bag) – they do not gobble them all in a day (like I would have).

  2. Last week, when my friend and her daughter were visiting, the daughter wanted a snack before dinner (which we were taking TOO LONG to make) – gave her a Lara bar…she ate half and handed it back, saying she was full. WHAT?!? Gotta love kids and their intuitive eating!

  3. It amazes me that both my son and stepson are intuitive eaters. They eat until satisfied, I've never seen them stuff themselves silly, no second helpings requests, I regularly hear them say to others when they are offered food “No thank you, I'm not hungry.” They inspire me.

    And Lynn, once again you inspire me to continue the hard work of separating feelings from food. For the first time I'm learning what my triggers are and dealing with them. Outcomes are not always what I would like, but at least I feel like I'm on the 'right' path!

  4. It's heartening and disheartening to hear that you still deal with food temptations. I guess I haven't completely rid myself of the idea that I will be able to eat whatever I want once I reach my goal weight. The truth is, NO ONE should eat as much as I want, no matter who they are. I hope that someday I WON'T want to eat it all. However, for now, its nice to know that even someone as successful as you still deals with the temptation on a regular basis. You really are a huge inspiration to me.

  5. My niece and nephew still have candy from their Easter Baskets in their rooms! Its amazing how much longer they can ration things like that than we can. It is a good lesson, for sure.

  6. I love how so many of us have children or know of children who listen to their bodies when they've had enough and don't eat just because it's there. I hope Claire continues this path. Her mother did (and still does) so I feel like I did something right that way!

    dkaz…yeah…sorry to say that temptations and food-related stress hasn't gonen away. I doubt it ever will. BUT…you can learn to deal with it. I used to hate this saying, but it's become true in my life: no food is worth not being thin. Best to you on your journey!

  7. This post took me back to 1990. I wasn't yet obese, but I was laying the foundations for it… This was the year I worked as an au pair in France. I literally ate more when feeding the kids than they ate! Talk about taking candy from a baby! I was like a garbage disposal – everything they left, I gobbled up!

    I'm actually appalled by it now…

  8. Lyn,
    Great post and pictures as always. After twelve years of large weight loss maintenance, I don't have the feelings of fear and frustration when it comes to food anymore. Over time I realized that all my hard work wasn't going to rewind itself, and I had really made a change in my relationship with food – just like you have.

    Your grandchildren are absolutely precious. And like your granddaughter, my children eat when they are hungry and stop when they are full! (Even the 20 month old, except he just starts throwing food off his tray!)

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