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!”