A chip is just a chip

In an attempt to find some words… I thought I’d share this tonight.

Today I made a quick trip to the grocery store, and while I was wandering the aisles, I passed by a young girl standing by the refrigerators, declaring happily to her mother, “We need milk!” She was so joyous about it that I laughed a little.

Her mother was bent over by an end-of-aisle shelf, grabbing a few containers of I’m not even sure what but I think it was kind of junk food related. She looked up at me from her contorted position and I was still smiling about her daughter, but for some reason I think she thought I was chuckling about what she was buying (or how much of it). She did this kind of sheepish half-laugh and said quickly, “It’s for a cookout!

And she said it as if she needed to apologize or explain to me why she was buying chips.

I smiled and nodded and kept on going, but as I walked away, all I could feel was sad. Because here was this slender, attractive middle-aged woman, dressed in a very well put together fashion; yet she still somehow felt like she had to explain herself and her food choices to me, a complete stranger. As if there was something to be ashamed of. As if she needed to say, “I don’t eat all of this myself. Really. I swear. Please don’t think of me as a pig. Or someone with bulimia.”

Now, I am certainly not one to judge about buying junk food for any reason, but I know what it feels like to worry about what other people think when they see me grabbing something like that off a shelf. There’s a self-consciousness that floods over me, like I need to hide my choices, like I’m going to be judged or ridiculed or shamed for what’s in my cart.

It’s so silly, when you think about it. Who gives a damn what you buy? It’s YOUR CHOICE. Whether it’s an excessive amount of fruit, frozen broccoli, doughnuts or potato chips, it’s no one’s business but your own. And you certainly don’t have to explain yourself or apologize for it.

Maybe you’re having a party. Maybe you just like potato chips on occasion. How would I know? IT DOESN’T MATTER. Or, it shouldn’t matter.

It makes me so weary that women feel this way, that they have to apologize for having any sort of appetite for anything. Like having a healthy appetite says you’re unladylike or gross or overindulgent or gluttonous.

Why can’t putting chips into your cart simply mean, “Sometimes I like potato chips”? What’s wrong with that?

It just makes me tired and sad.

Not the kind of retreat I had planned

This entry was going to come a good few months ago. I had it all outlined, talking about the latest progress in my workout experiment, what I’d achieved so far, and what would happen next.

If you’ve read any of my entries, you know the workout was to be done backwards (DVD months 9, 8 and 7, then months 1 through 6). Though I only wrote about months 9, 8, 7 and 1, I actually made it through up to part of month 3.

A few notes from that time:

I incorporated some cardio (not much, just started small, about 10 minutes each day). I struggled with some neck and lower back issues (which I blame on stress and an uncomfortable, crooked mattress). I also noticed a difference in my temperament when I didn’t get to work out, when internship and life ‘stuff’ got in the way and I made the choice not to exercise — I felt like the stresses got to me easier, I felt crabby, and my body wouldn’t loosen up.

I recognize that I will always need to work out because it lifts my mood and gives me energy. Food issues are a whole other topic and I have so much more work to do in order to fix that part of my life, but over the last 10 years or so I have come to need workouts. They are a constant in my life now. Even when I have to take some days off from it, unless I’m physically incapable I know I will always go back to it.

Despite my revelations about exercise, I continue to struggle with the emotional eating aspect. As the summer went on and the stresses increased, it felt like my brain shut down and the anxiety kicked in. I ate terribly. Too much, and not healthy foods. We’re talking fast food, here. Greasy, bad-for-you fast food.

And that is my huge issue. When I’m stressed, or upset, or super-anxious, my first thought is not, “How can I handle this stress and work through it in a smart, healthy manner?” I’m not sure my mind ever goes to that kind of thought process (though I need it to).

Instead, my brain’s immediate impulse is “What can I eat?” and the choices I run to are not always good. And it doesn’t matter if it makes me feel lousy — and that I know it makes me feel lousy — because my brain doesn’t stop to think about it; I just go there like autopilot.

Some days I don’t know how I’ll ever be free of that. Is it too fully ingrained in me? I don’t know. I sure the hell hope not! But it’s my biggest struggle.

The only positive thing I can say about it is that after the bad stuff, I go right back to my healthier patterns. The next day is a new day and I start out healthy again.

But the problem is, it’s not good to go back and forth like that. It doesn’t make for a balanced life, healthy body or mind.

Anyway, by that point I had made it halfway through month 3. I had 3 1/2 more months to go in my experiment, and lots I wanted to achieve.

And then it all fell apart.

Struggles, Realizations and Decisions (click to read more)

Choices are everything

This was not going to be the subject of my next post.

I was going to be all organized and talk about the workout I’m doing and give a breakdown of each DVD and what it contains, and then have a post talking about ‘month 9’ and how it went and how I’m now on ‘month 8,’ all setting up the stage (so to speak) for semi-regular posting about my progress with all of that. I clung to that plan, making time to write it all up. It was going to be so structured and… blah blah blah.

But then today happened.

Actually, this week happened, and all of those plans went right out the window. (For now.)

What happened today?

I decided NOT TO WORK OUT.

*gasp*

*cue record coming to a screeching halt*

What?

I’m on a journey to lose weight and get in better shape and I deliberately chose not to work out? How is that possible? That’s not how this works! I have to get off my butt and get moving! I’m such a lazy bum!

No.

As with most things in life, it’s more complicated than what it seems on surface level. Since I’m all about digging past the surface level, I’m going to talk about why it’s more complicated. At least, why it’s more complicated today.

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