Another week, another loss! Let’s start with the positive. I lost 4.8 pounds this week! I feel like I have really turned a corner as far as the emotional eating goes. I had a couple of really bad days this past week, and I managed to stay on my diet.
I found that by immersing myself in supportive people, I had a hard time staying depressed or stressed. Popping into a video game and laughing with my friends was a lot more satisfying than eating and drinking myself silly.
Doing Chores and Staying Out of the Man Cave
I also found that just doing some chores helped out when I was stressed. We recently painted and redecorated my daughter’s room. There were some finishing touches that needed done, shelves that needed hung, things like that. I had a really bad day, was feeling under the weather and just wanted to sink into my man cave and blot out the world. I told myself that because I was sick, I should just forget about the diet and get some good soup and a loaf of bread. Again, using food to comfort myself. Instead of giving in to that thinking, though, I made myself get up and start gathering tools.
I undertook the task of hanging an older TV on the wall (my daughter’s first). By the time I was done measuring, marking, stud locating, leveling, drilling, bolting, and hanging, I was feeling worn out. A good kind of worn out though. After I was done running cables, hooking up her gaming consoles, programming remotes, and cleaning up the trash, I was exhausted. I realized not only did I not feel like eating, but I felt less stressed. I sat on the floor and watched LaLaLoopsy with my daughter and really felt good about my choices that day.
Thank God for Temptation Intervention
The weekend was a little tougher. We had a family function to go to and, of course, food was a big part of it.
It was a full-court press of temptation. Pizza, wings, pasta salad – you know, the works. The pizza place even sent those little tubs of melted garlic butter. I immediately started sweating bullets but thank God for temptation intervention; he used my sister as an instrument of grace. Just as my daughter decided she didn’t like the boneless wings and placed the plate in front of me, my sister swooped in and picked up the plate, moved it away and replaced it with a bottle of flavored water slushie.
In the end, everyone munched on forbidden goodness, and I had a great conversation with my grandfather while consuming this:
Grace and Mercy Go Hand in Hand
Isn’t it amazing how things work out? I try not involve my spirituality too much in my writing here, but I would like to share an important lesson I have learned. You can choose to think of the following in terms God, a higher power as you know it, or just good friends or loved ones.
Grace is the act of someone showing you kindness that you don’t deserve. I know I could have been a better brother over the years. In fact, as kids, I once “accidentally” shot my sister with a bow and arrow. While no serious injuries were sustained, I wouldn’t blame her for holding that against me. Despite all my transgressions, though, she showed me an act of kindness, a measure of grace this weekend, that I had not necessarily earned. She just did it because she cares about me. Think about how many people in our lives touch us with these acts of grace every day. If you really try to take an inventory, I think most people would be shocked at the amount of grace they experience every day.
Grace and its partner, mercy, hold hands. Mercy is when we are spared consequences that we rightfully deserve. I started OPTIFAST at 439 pounds. I didn’t have diabetes. My blood pressure was under control. My cholesterol was pretty good. In short, I was a pretty healthy fat man. How is that possible? Mercy. God has shown me mercy. More importantly, just like grace, think about how much mercy we are shown every day. Have you ever done something you know is wrong, and a spouse or a parent spares you what you have coming? I know I do it with my own kids frequently. They make a bad decision and try to parent them appropriately. But I don’t always get as mad as I rightfully should because I love them. Try this at home: take an inventory of all the times you are shown grace or mercy in one day. I was stunned at mine.
It is easy for us to lose sight of how truly loved we are each and every day. I think the number-one obstacle to experiencing this love is ourselves. I’m not sure if it is because we feel we don’t deserve it, or because we don’t want to let go of our own self pity. I think even depression, in specific cases, can be like a blanket – warm and familiar enough that we don’t want to release it.
The Drive to Dunkin’ Donuts Inner Strength
I was contemplating all this one morning this past week. I woke up a little before 4 am and could not go back to sleep. I had a lot on my mind and felt that if I sat in the living room, I would end up talking to leftover pizza from the party. I got in the car armed with bottled water and just decided to go for a drive. I had the window rolled down with the radio on, and I just drove in the darkness.
I cruised around thinking about when my daughter was a baby. She had severe colic for almost seven months. It was a nightmare. She would wake up at 3 am and, even after being fed, would just scream. The only thing that would calm her was riding in the car – the fewer red lights the better. So, I would pack her in the car at 3 am and start driving. I live in a Canal Fulton, and I had a circuit of country roads that would take me to Massillon, Canton, up I-77 to Belden Village, and then down Portage Street back to Canal Fulton.
I would drive this circuit several times, sometimes for three hours or more. My daughter slept, my wife and son got some sleep, and I became good friends with the people at Dunkin’ Donuts. You see, the Dunkin’ Donuts on Portage Street is open 24 hours. So, stopping by at approximately 3:15 am on one of those road trips with my little daughter was a necessity.
So, last week, I was driving around in the middle of the night, remembering all this and thinking on grace and mercy. The idea that I was going to conquer weight loss was becoming more entrenched in my mind.
That’s when I decided to go to Dunkin’ Donuts.
No, it’s not as bad as it sounds. I went in and picked out my family’s favorites and figured I would surprise them. Dunkin’ Donuts showed me no grace or mercy that morning, though. You see, I am a pumpkin freak. I love fall, and I love food. Fall food is as close to a substance abuse problem as I have ever come.
So, when I saw that Dunkin had three kinds of pumpkin donuts I started sweating and rubbing my arms. I tried to avert my eyes, but I ended up staring at a standee announcing they now carried hot spiced cider.
This, my friends, was an emergency. I ordered a large iced coffee and, since it was the season, asked for their pumpkin spice flavoring. I almost knocked the door off the hinges fleeing from the place and returned to the safety of my car.
I had my precious cargo in place, and the nostalgia began to creep back into my ride home. By this time, it was 5:30 am, and I was driving into just the hint of a sunrise like I did with my baby daughter all those years ago. As I drove and sipped my pumpkin coffee, I realized it tasted too sweet. I didn’t ask for cream or sugar, but I know their pumpkin flavoring always makes the coffee look lighter. I checked the web for nutritional info and, sure enough, without cream or sugar added, the pumpkin spiced coffee had over 250 calories.
I quietly wept as I poured my large, iced, pumpkin-spiced coffee down the drain. I made a cup of regular coffee, put it over fresh ice in the same cup, and sat down to catch the news before my family started their day.
So, I missed out on some of my favorite foods. I didn’t get my favorite coffee. I ended up tired all day.
I gained some quiet time to contemplate my choices, saw probably the last beautiful summer sunrise of the season, and got to see my daughter’s face light up as she came down in her pajamas on a school morning to find Dunkin’ Donuts waiting on the table.
I don’t recommend eating donuts all the time. Like many other foods, they are appropriate as an occasional treat. This particular morning, though, I was very happy with life and enjoyed a new-found strength and attitude – brought to you by grace, mercy and Dunkin’ Donuts.
This is the 11th blog post by guest blogger Eric Buwala. Just joining us for this series? Read his complete collection of archived posts. If you live in or near Stark County, Ohio, and need help losing weight for better health, contact Mercy Weight Management for more information.