I fell off the wagon and landed in a donut.
It’s been three weeks since the beginning of Mission X-20, my attempt to publicly shame myself by blogging about my weight loss or the lack thereof. I did ok for the first week and even managed to lose a pound, Alhamdulillah! But then, the house-hunting picked up, and I was driving down to Dubai from Abu Dhabi every other day, having breakfast, lunch, and dinner on the road, drinking less-than-gourmet coffee with cream and sugar from those machines in the petrol stations, bolstering my resolve with emergency chocolate pick-me-ups, and then Alhamdulillah we found a house, and then the packing began with limited home cooking and lots of junk eaten amidst cardboard boxes ensured.
We’ve spent the last four days moving ourselves from Abu Dhabi to Dubai, one truckload at a time- breakfast, lunch, and dinner on the road with munchies in between- boxes of greasy biryani from the public cooks, roasted chickens from the cafeteria up the road, Burger King, McDonalds and Blah.
Today was the first time in three or four days that I’ve cooked food at home. Alhamdulillah, I made daal. Lentils. Red lentils. Then I accidentally left the stove on and went to the mall, and when I came back, it was remarkably charcoal-like on the bottom but extra thick and -kapow- on top. So I made really good dinner, I just made most of it inedible.
I digress. Also, I get sad. I gained my one pound back, and it’s been three weeks. I was supposed to have lost three pounds. Not lost one and found it again. But hey, I re-learned some old lessons! I am becoming better at spotting the common obstacles and outright enemies of eating according to the Sunnah- and they are:
Portion Sizes: You buy one burger from a fast food joint, and it’s so big you could use it to stave off starvation for the winter during hibernation. And you didn’t even order the double. A single portion size at a restaurant is enough for two people if you have Sunnah Eating Buddy, which is fitting really, because Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him said- “The food of one person will be sufficient for two, and the food of two people will be sufficient for four, and the food of four will be sufficient for eight”. (Muslim)
Sometimes I miss the good ole days when Owlie and I used to split one meal and one dessert and be more than content. We were in control, we were superfly, we lost over fifty pounds together. That was amazing, Alhamdulillah. HF used to make fun of me when we were first married because all I needed for dinner was half of a shawarma. Not two. Or even one. Just half. But then kids came, and life changes, and good habits were lost and ground once gained was so badly lost that Cindy, the housekeeper, came across an old photo album of mine and exclaimed “Oh! You really were thin!” as if this whole time I had been bemoaning my previously more streamlined state I had been making it up, because someone *this* plump being *that* thin seemed unbelievable.
Good Friends, Bad Choices- “Come on, have some fries with me!” It’s simple, you love your friends and your friends love fries. But what is more important, pleasing your friends for the ten minutes (or less) that the fries are there, or making a permanent change in your life towards good health and amazing self-discipline? Mona, I blame you for those cupcakes. Those yummy, yummy cupcakes…Ok, it was my mistake for accepting them, and my repeated stupidity for eating one and then another and then another over the course of a few days so that eight cupcakes became zero. And willpower needs momentum too. Every day you do something right, you become stronger, more committed- you pick up the forward motion from each day that comes before, and you can think things like “Eight cupcakes? No way, I’ve lost five pounds and I don’t feel like gaining them back!” In my case though, I was thinking “Eight cupcakes? With adorable nonpariel decorations of flowers and ladybugs and grass? Can I get an order of fries with that?”
Stress: Stress eating is my achilles heel. In fact, it’s both of my heels. When I am angry, frustrated, upset, or depressed, I overeat to feel better. And then I feel worse. In fact, overeating makes me feel angry, frustrated, upset and depressed. I used to channel my anger into ice cream so frequently that I had a personal Baskin Robbins guy. When I finally realized- consciously- what I was doing, I had to stop. But it was hard, because I had to make the decision that I did not deserve to be sabotaged, especially by myself. And if other people made me mad, then they should be the ones to get fat as a consequence. Ha!
I still stress-eat though, and it’s a very hard habit for me to break. Ice cream is not involved as often- it’s usually just an extra portion after I know I really don’t need any more food. It’s just enough to jab myself in the slightly achy gut and think things like “Take that.” I must have a streak of masochism, because when I’m angry or upset, I settle on hurting myself rather than addressing the issue at the risk of hurting someone else. But please don’t call me passive-aggressive, there’s a Baskin Robbins up the street from my new house too and I might have a double sundae just to show you what’s what.
Poor Planning: If you pack yourself a lunch, or wake up ten minutes early so you can make yourself breakfast instead of inhaling junk to tide you over until lunch, then you’ll have saved yourself the extra calories that lack of foresight tends to bring on. Keep an apple in your purse. Or a granola bar in the glove compartment. It’s not a meal, but it can be enough nourishment to keep you from making a bad choice out of desperation. Like that box if greasy biryani at ten o-clock last night.
Lack of Willingness Due to Loss of Hope: I gained my one pound back, what’s the point of trying? I was honestly thinking that yesterday over that aforementioned box of biryani. That and ‘this is so spicy I bet there’s smoke coming out of my ears’. I had fattening food, and too much of it, and I went to sleep, woke up, and had a donut for breakfast, not because I couldn’t have had a bowl of cereal, but because I had thrown in the towel after a series of failures on my own part. I was *trying* to eat responsibly, but I was also moving and packing and had no time to cook, and the smallest things I could buy outside were still too big, and well-wishers brought us junk food and friends met us in malls, and one slip up after led to stop trying because I was just going to slip up again anyway.
[Note: Friends don’t buy friends donuts. Next time I’m moving, come over with a fruit salad or suffer my flabby, donut-powered wrath!]
Yesterday I wasn’t even trying. As of now, I am trying again. Public humiliation can be a good thing sometimes. And that’s why I swallowed my pride and admitted that I had 20+ pounds to lose.
I could stand to lose forty, actually, but I figure 20 would be pretty amazing start. Provided I climb out of this donut and get back on the wagon. So I am trying again, InshaAllah. Which will be a challenge, because tomorrow we go back to the old house for the last time to pack the last boxes and load up the last truck, and there is no stove, no food, and no refrigerator for me to keep pre-packed lunches in during this 100+ heat. Please make dua for me, cuz I really, really need it!