Crazy. Busy. Avoiding the Second Arrow

I don’t get too busy too often, and when I do, it’s usually not for more than a day, maybe two. This last week, though, has been non-stop busy, and it’s given me a huge appreciation for those of you who’ve told me how hard it is to plan your menu for a day, let alone a week, because your schedules are so hectic. I kind of get that now.

I forgot to eat dinner on Thursday night and ate a bowl of Grape-Nuts when I woke up very hungry at 2 a.m. I slammed down a Subway Veggie Delite on my way home from Pittsburgh late Friday night and it sat in my stomach like a lead balloon. (For the record, I love Subway’s veggie sandwich, but the bread was overkill after a day saturated with simple carbs.)

Saturday I was up early, went to a bridal shower, had lunch with my daughter, came home, showered and went out again…another missed dinner. When I got home at midnight, I had a PB2 sandwich and a Hershey Bliss. Granted, that’s a far cry from the days of grilled Spam and Velvetta sandwiches or 3-egg ham and cheese omelets, but still…chocolate and peanut butter at midnight?

It’s not easy to be prepared for everything and all circumstances, but I had advanced warning for several of the things that made me busy. But rather than plan my food like I usually do, I flew by the seat of my pants. Not my most stellar move.

The crazy business of the week involves many things: Mathilda’s death (we put her down last Tuesday, poor girl’s legs just weren’t going to work anymore), my knee, the lack of hard-core aerobic exercise, and, without boring you with details, a kinda sorta messy personal life. When it rains it pours.

It’s rained like this before when I’ve lost weight and…surprise, surprise…I was unable to maintain my weight loss. The culprit was always eating whatever whenever and not giving any thought to my body and what it needed. The things that were falling apart around me superseded that and I sought comfort in food rather than a fully alive and functioning body.

I can see how this could happen again, but I’ve got a rock solid maintenance mentality on my side. I trust that all I’ve learned in the last four years will keep me from straying too far.

I also trust the guidance of the Buddhist teaching of the second arrow, that when we encounter pain (when we’re shot with the first arrow), we have the choice of how we handle that pain. We can blame or whine or indulge (hello chocolate cake!), trying to run away from the pain (thus shooting ourselves with the second arrow), or we can experience the pain of the original arrow and live from within that pain and work out the best course of action that will not further our suffering.

Sometimes it sucks to feel that first arrow. OK, who am I kidding? It usually ALWAYS sucks to feel the pain of the first arrow. But in maintenance, I’m going to do all I can to not further my suffering by piling on a few or 20 pounds.

This week I will do my best to stay mindful, to treat myself and my body kindly. Not eating, carbohydrate shock – these are second arrows. And god knows I’ve got enough to deal with with that first arrow than work around the emotional complications of that second one.

In terms of food and taking care of yourself, how do you deal with that first arrow?

10 thoughts on “Crazy. Busy. Avoiding the Second Arrow

  1. That first arrow can be a doozy, and not letting it lead to a food-overdose is hard. Mostly I'm trying to FEEL my feelings, which is difficult as I don't like doing that. Crying helps (only partially kidding). Just being aware of how hard I worked to lose the weight helps to not turn to food in times of stress, although it still tends to be my reward. Hope things can calm down for you – and really, although your eating was out of the norm for YOU, it wasn't bad at all.

  2. Wow- Lynn I sure hope I can keep that vision in my head of the second arrow. Hope things settle down now so you can get back to healing after your surgery. Read you all the time on Facebook.

  3. I borrow wisdom from many sources, and maybe this quote from Ken Kesey that I have up on my fridge will help you: “Always stay in your own movie.”

    Also, to check out how well I'm doing with consistently working out, I not only mark my workout days on my calendar, but I check my “success rate” in terms of percentages. It's been improving steadily over the months. So, percentage-wise, you're probably doing better with food and workouts than you think you are, if you took the days you stayed on track divided by all the days (per week, per month, etc.), including the hectic ones.

    The important lesson you've learned through maintenance is that you've put the brakes on two days of random eating and are planning ahead again. What more can you ask of yourself? — CK

  4. Lynn, first, so sorry about Mathilda. It's little consolation right now, but she surely appreciated that you loved her enough to let her go.

    As for dealing with arrows, I try to stay mainly focused on the matter at hand (wretched as it may be) but be mindful of myself enough to prohibit the sinister, opportunistic vultures of my own undoing to distract or prey, because doing so will only add to the misery.

    I'm new at weight loss, so I've little practical application yet, but I feel my experience when I quit smoking a few years ago is similar: I had smoked for half my life when I decided to quit and I was doing great when a humungous tragedy struck at the end of my first month of not smoking. I was completely blind-sided by the tragedy, just nearly leveled emotionally, though had to keep getting up every day and living life, even if it seemed to be in a fog.

    In a surprising and embarrassing — but, in retrospect, ultimately triumphant — moment, one of the first clear thoughts to emerge in the haze of all my grief was that this would be the perfect time to start smoking again. Given the terrible circumstances, it would be absolutely understandable and no one could really blame me, especially since I hadn't been a non-smoker for very long. I could just go back to smoking until I got through this bad time and then quit again in earnest when I felt better.

    And then I laughed at just how sneaky and ridiculous my former vice was — it was suddenly a cartoon villain with an oversized mustache and a maniacal cackle — and I put the thought right out of my brain so I could use what little clarity I was gaining to process the legitimately important stuff.

    After all, I had smoked for years through good times and bad times, and had no proof that anything had ever turned out any better/any less worse because I indulged. (And, of course, there were countless worse consequences because I did smoke.)

    And I had always thought I needed smoking to help me cope, to comfort me, but realized the act of smoking a cigarette hadn't comforted me so much as it gave me a time to stop and center myself for a few minutes.

    As for food and taking care of myself in that arena, I'm still learning to identify the siren call of “reward” or “comfort” eating (which we all know is rarely either but is also very wiley) and trying to figure out what healthier habit/process it may be masking.

    But I try to remind myself that, like smoking, eating crap or too much isn't going to keep bad things from happening or make things that do happen any less bad in the long run. And as I have the power, will, and obligation to treat myself right in good times, I have the same — even more! — in bad times, no question.

    I hope the pain of your first arrow quickly eases. You are an inspiration and source of strenghth to more folks than you can ever know. I mention that not so you'll keep succeeding for us, but so that you may gain strength from our support, no matter what happens. 🙂

  5. I'm so sorry about Mathilda. Even though we let them go because we love them and don't want them to suffer, it is still so hard.

    About the second arrow: I've never heard it put that way before. Wow… I really needed to hear that this week. I don't really have an answer to your question… just still processing the concept. It is a very visual idea, and one that I think will be very useful to me. Thank you so much for sharing it.

  6. I can relate to this and it is hard to feel so scattered for more than a day, I agree.

    subway hint – have them pluck the soft part of the bread. Particularly if you like the bread toasted, this leaves a lovely, crunchy crust. I think they toast first, pluck second, but you might experiment.

    This hint was actually featured in one of their own biggest loser “commercials”. It cuts the carbs dramatically and makes way for lots more veggies.

    so sorry for the loss of your dog.

  7. M, thank you for all of your comment (and I'm very sorry for the tragedy you mentioned). I thank you most of all for this: “…but so that you may gain strength from our support, no matter what happens.” That means the world to me.

    Thank you all of you, and Vickie, thanks for the Subway suggestion! I'll give it a try. It IS the crust I love the most.

  8. I'm behind with my reading (as usual), I'm so sorry to hear about Mathilda. I know how tough losing our pet is.

    I still find myself eating out of emotion but I also find that now I face the problems head on and move forward. It seems once I get out what I need to then I can get back to working on things at hand. I hope you can find resolution to your first arrow. You are a tough cookie so I know you'll be just fine. *hugs*

  9. Lynn,

    So sorry about Mathilda. So many emotions go along with letting a beloved pet go, even though we know it is what needs to be done. Take care of yourself as you manage your busy life.

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