I've discovered that most, if not all, of my episodes in which I compulsively overeat in a social situation, binge eat alone or fall "off the wagon" after a prolonged period of progress involve one the the following situations:
1) A planned or unplanned restaurant eating experience.
2) A planned or unplanned social setting in someone else's home.
3) An event in the future (immediate or far away) where I know food will be a problem.
4) Any event involving food that catches me totally off-guard.
Here are some of those "quirks" I kept talking about yesterday:
1) Technically, I am a very simple eater. Truth be told, I'd rather have Triscuits, Laughing Cow Cheese and grapes for dinner as any gourmet meal that could possibly be prepared. ( Problem is, I want the whole box of Triscuits, the whole round of cheese and 4 pounds of grapes!) Do I LIKE the fancy stuff - of course, who doesn't. But the point is, given my first choice, I'll always choose the simple stuff.
2) I am rarely interested in restaurant dining (fancy restaurant or McDonald's). There are exceptions of course, but generally speaking, I want simple food in a simple place that is clean and uncrowded.
3) I am the world's worst chit-chatter. I just don't do small talk! Don't get me wrong - I love meeting new people and getting to know them, but my idea of getting to know you is to say, "hi, I'm Sharon - do you agree with Pavlov's theory about slobbering dogs?" I don't want to discuss the weather, I want to know what makes you tick.
4) This introvert just does better out in wide open spaces with one or two friends enjoying life at its simplest.
5) I am horribly claustrophobic. Remember, claustrophobia can be internal as well as external.
6) Back me into a corner with no escape(choice) and I'll come out swinging.
Couple these "quirks" with those things from yesterday's post which I have to change before I'll ever be a "normal" eater and you have a collision of major proportions!
But here's some good news, I think!
Isn't recognition the first sign of progress? Maybe if I'm recognizing the "where did this come from" part of an out-of-control eating experience, I can then use the control tendencies in a productive rather than destructive way. Courage to say, "thanks, but no thanks" when invited to do something I really don't want to do. No explanation needed, just "thanks, but no thanks." Courage to suggest an alternative that meets my needs. Not in a selfish or self-serving way, but in a way that asks the other people involved to meet me halfway. Isn't that a part of a healthy relationship with another person? Courage to have a "come to Jesus" meeting with Mr. B about his role in some of the problems and courage to ASK for what I need from him. Remember, for every introverted tendency I possess, he is the polar opposite. The more, the merrier. (I think I just invented tomorrow's post!!) Courage to do all these things without fear of whether or not I'll be liked. Courage to move forward in becoming the me I want to be. The me I think I am. The me I'm afraid for you to know. The me food loves unconditionally. The me food will always be right there to comfort and soothe when Ms. Quirky finds herself somewhere she really doesn't want to be or becomes afraid she's just too weird for anyone to really like. Hmmmmmm!
Following recognition comes action. Well, guys, this isn't something I can resolve in a tidy little blog post. But here are a couple of starters:
1) Stop manipulating circumstances in hopes of maintaining control. Wait for invitations to come to me and practice using the word, "no."
2) When someone tries to force me into making a decision, be patient and wait them out.
3) Use the familiar tactics when in a social setting that is unavoidable i.e. a function related to Mr. B's work. (There has only been one of these and I honestly believe if I hadn't already been so angry about all the other things, I'd have probably done just fine with this one.)
4) Do not hesitate (EVER!!) to take my own food to a restaurant. I have wanted to do this hundreds of times over the years, but was always afraid of offending someone or being "tacky." Folks, if done in a quiet way that does not draw attention to yourself and if an appropriate tip is left for the server as if you had eaten a meal, this is NOT tacky. People are on "special" diets all the time and bring their own food. It is NOT tacky. Sharon, do you hear this? It is NOT tacky.
5) Have that "come to Jesus"** meeting with Mr. B.
**For those who might not know, a "come to Jesus" meeting is southern slang for one of those conversations between husband and wife where the woman starts out with a list of things to discuss that has been building for a long time, and after about 10 seconds, the man adopts that glassy-eyed stare that the woman never notices.
Well, I'll have to say there's been some heavy stuff these last two days. Thanks for sticking with me and please tell me what you think. Please tell me you still like me. On second thought, I hope you still like me, but I'm pretty happy with myself right now and just for today, that's more important.
I'm reminded of the Serenity Prayer which we all know, but seems fitting to end with........
accept the things I cannot change;
COURAGE to change the things I can;
and WISDOM to know the difference.