Wednesday, August 11, 2010

My post-war recovery begins

So the diet war is over. I declared an end to hostilities on Saturday morning. I neither won nor lost. I just decided I was tired of war and stopped fighting.

Later that same day I informed my trainer I would no longer let him weigh and measure me. We had been doing this almost every month for over two years. When he brought up the subject, I simply said "nope, we're not going to do that anymore". We will measure my fitness improvements in other ways. Let's say one of the terms of my peace treaty was now established.

On Sunday, I had a delayed euphoric reaction. I found myself literally dancing in my seat while driving to church. If anyone on Higgins Road saw me bopping up and down and side to side, and wondered what I was dancing to, it was to "ABC" by the Jackson Five. I was experiencing the overwhelming joy of living in a peaceful world after decades of war. Of course I felt like dancing!

It was going to be a fun day...our church picnic. It's always a good time - lots of fun but also lots of work. And the food - the delicious fattening food - that in years past would be stubbornly resisted for a time then completely succumbed to, causing massive guilt.

This year was different. I did eat a lot...more than my hunger called for. Over the course of the day I ate kielbasa and kapusta and potato dumplings and a cheeseburger and ice cream, and washed it all down with two kinds of beer. The weather was rainy, then sunny then oppressively humid. By the end of the day we were all exhausted. But it was a great day.

On Monday morning, instead of waking up with dread wondering how much weight I must have gained and thinking I need to start another diet and oh man I got up too late to hit the gym, my first thought was "eggs and apples". Yes, I thought of food, but in an entirely different context than I would during wartime. When I went to sleep the previous night I was doing a mental review of what was in the frig cause I knew I had to go grocery shopping. Lucky me...I had leftovers from the picnic so all I needed was some fresh raw food and some eggs, cause I love me some eggs for breakfast.

And that's how "normal" eaters generally think. They think of food as fuel and something to be enjoyed. When you're fighting the diet wars, food can sometimes be your worst enemy and other times be your best friend. Sometimes it's a weapon and sometimes it's medicine. When you are at war, food is never just "food".

When a war ends, and you get past that dancing-in-the-streets surge of happiness, you then have a period of recovery before you can get back to "normal" (or more likely your new "normal"). You never quite know how long recovery will take. It depends on how long and damaging the war was.

My war lasted almost forty years. The damage it caused to my physical, mental and emotional health is not easy to quantify. My physical recovery actually started when I walked into that gym two years ago.

As for the rest, I'll just have to see.

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