This has been a mostly good week. First, the great news: I lost over three pounds this week! Hopefully, this means the struggle with the water weight from stopping the blood pressure meds is over. In addition, the new exercise program is starting to stabilize, and my body is recovering more quickly. Yay! I am looking forward to getting back to seeing big results each week.
Now for a spot of bad news. I had an emotional eating episode. Let’s get the glaring responsibility portion out of the way. I was dealing with a lot of stress and it came at me from all angles. Work was bad. I had an argument with my wife and kids. I had an argument with a close gaming friend. My birthday came and went without me getting the break I wanted. In short, it was the perfect storm for my bad behavior. I was in a tough situation, took time to carefully consider my options, and chose poorly.
Now for a little positive spin so I don’t lose my mind. I have made progress with OPTIFAST. It may not be the amount I was expecting, but I have done it nonetheless. I am now able to take my family on weekend adventures. I am now able to move about and do simple tasks I struggled with before. I am closer to my goal then when I started. Lastly, a “really bad” emotional eating episode now is having a sandwich and a piece of pizza, when previously it was eating a whole pizza and three sandwiches.
I don’t know if that last bit is positive or not, but I am trying to inventory any progress I possibly can.
I Dream of Donuts, a Gas Cap & Other Strange Stuff
Now for a bit of weirdness. I woke up from a dream this morning, and I thought long and hard about whether I wanted to share it. In the end, I am hoping some wayward dream therapist reads this blog and offers an interpretation. The dream is as follows: ‘
I am me in the dream, but a younger me. I have my 40-year-old mind, but I am in the 18-year-old-me body. I am on the way to a graduation party. I stop on the way to the party to pick up some dessert items for the host.
I stop at a little Italian bakery where I know they make the best donuts in town. (I don’t know which bakery or town, but in my dream I was sure this was the best bakery around.) I buy several dozen maple cream-filled donuts. These donuts are huge, easily twice the size of regular donuts, and you can tell just from the smell that they are going to be the best donuts you ever tasted.
After the bakery, I stop to put gas in the car, which is the same one I drive now in real life. I am aware in the dream that this does not make sense, but somehow it also seems right. After filling the gas tank to the brim, I close the fuel door and stand holding the gas cap in my hand. I remember thinking I should put the gas cap on, but instead I decided to take it with me into the car and lay it on the front seat. My car is one of the new kind that doesn’t actually have a gas cap. It has an interlocking little flap that will open when you put a gas nozzle in it. The fact that my car doesn’t have a gas cap – but I placed one on the seat next to me – registers with me, but I am unperturbed by it.
When I arrive at the party, I present the host with the donuts, and they are received with great fanfare. Much ado is made about the size, quality and great lengths to which I went to obtain these special donuts.
I don’t really recognize anyone at the party except for two of my gaming friends. They are there, and also appear as 18-year-old versions of themselves. We entertain ourselves with some light talk and then join a badminton game. I realize my wife is on my team during the game but keeps knocking into me every time I try to return a volley. Eventually, I become frustrated and quit the game.
My two friends are following me, each of them trying desperately to engage me in a conversation that to them, is of the utmost importance. I am walking away from them, because I am overwhelmed with the idea that I must, must, must replace the gas cap on my car. I realize the gas cap is in my pocket; I just need to get to my car.
William Shatner with a Giant Donut on His Shoulder
My friends are still talking, pleading with me to engage them in conversation, but I am obsessed with the idea that I must get the gas cap back on the car. I know in my mind that the car doesn’t have a gas cap, but somehow I must put it back or something bad is going to happen. As I reach the driveway, I realize my car isn’t there. I retrace my steps and walk around the house, but my car is gone.
At this point, I have that sick feeling you experience in a dream where you are desperately searching for something just out of reach. A general feeling of unease and growing desperation begins to overtake me. Finally, I go back in the house in a panic to ask the hosts if they know what happened to my car. They do not. In a complete and total manic state, I decide the only thing left to do is walk the neighborhood and see if somebody moved the car.
I walk out the front door and notice someone approaching the house. My gaze is down, I am walking with a purpose, and I don’t want to engage anyone in conversation. As I start down the porch steps, this other person starts up. I raise my eyes to make eye contact and offer a polite nod.
I realize the person coming up the stairs and grinning at me is William Shatner. As my brain processes this information, I realize that on his left shoulder is a four-foot-long, maple-frosted, cream-filled donut, which is so huge it droops over the front and back of his shoulder. He is carrying it as if it was coil of large, heavy rope. There is a very thin piece of wax paper under it, preventing the donut from messing up his sport coat. I know when I see the donut that everyone is going to forget about the ones that I brought. I know just by looking at it that his donut is better.
All this races through my brain as my mouth says, “Hello.”
I keep walking. William Shatner takes my elbow and says, “Hello yourself, sir! Why the long face? Is something wrong?”
Now, I’m not a Star Trek fan, nor am I a fan of Mr. Shatner’s work. The last thing I need when I am on a quest to replace a gas cap is to get stuck in a conversation with an aging actor.
I say, “I’m fine. Thanks for asking.”
Mr. Shatner doesn’t take no for an answer. He sits me down in a chair on the porch, lays the wax paper on a table and places the huge donut on top. He begins to probe why I am upset and, after hearing everything, he says, “Listen. You worry too much! You know your car doesn’t have a gas cap! Just let it go. If the car is here, great. If it’s not here, great. You have insurance, and you will get a new car. Life goes on. Just relax, come back inside, and we can have some donut and play badminton.”
At this point I wake up screaming and begin searching the house for either Bill Shatner or donuts. The search came up empty. Luckily, my kids had already left for school. I explained this dream to my wife, and she just left the room shaking her head.
‘Mr. Shatner’ Strengthens My Weight-loss Resolve
I don’t often dream, so when I do, it is usually memorable. That being said, this is among the weirdest I have ever had. I wracked my brain for hours trying to figure out what my subconscious was trying to tell me.
In the end, I decided to interpret it as a warning to myself. I think, in the dream, I am the car. Much like I put fuel in the car to make it go, I put food into my own tank to me go. The younger representation of “me” in the dream is my ego, acting as my navigator of the world. (I say ego here in the Freudian way, as in id, ego, Superego, etc. Just google it if you, unlike me, found psych class terribly boring.)
Basically, the logical part of me knows that I have to put a cap on my fuel tank. My eating was out of control. I need to put the cap on so fuel can be controlled. I think the car being gone is a sign that time is running out. If I don’t get the cap on soon, there may not be a car left to worry about.
Again, in keeping with Freud, I think William Shatner represented my id – that primal part of ourselves that wants things that make us feel good. While I found some really delicious and probably pretty bad-for-your-health donuts to bring to the party, old Bill took it a step further. He takes a good thing and goes overboard with it. Additionally, his attitude is to not worry about the consequences. Live for the moment and disregard the result of your actions. His personality is so over-the-top, it makes me cringe. In a way, I can see how he represents the least favorite parts of me.
I’m not sure about what my wife and friends were doing in the dream. Maybe it means I could ask my wife to support my diet more. My friends trying to distract me from putting on the gas cap is also puzzling, as they generally encourage my efforts to lose weight. Maybe it was just a warning to not let things with my gaming friends interfere with doing the right thing in the moment.
Anyway, this is really what dieting comes down to, doesn’t it? A huge inner struggle between what we want, what we feel we deserve to make ourselves feel better, and what we actually need to function.
The Shatner in me saying, “That food is good! You’ve earned it! Do you know what you went through today? Not everyone could have done that and you paid a price. This is your reward!”
Meanwhile, the conscious side of me realizes that my weight and eating impacts my health and limits my abilities. I understand logically all that is at play and all the consequences. Still, when that inner Shatner speaks, it is with a big presence.
Now, let me close by saying, I have nothing against William Shatner. He just had the unfortunate luck to represent the worst parts of me in a dream. In a way, I should thank him because after this dream, my spirit was renewed and my determination to make it a good diet week was firmly set.
As an added bonus, whenever I find myself in a frustrating emotional or food situation, I picture myself spreading my arms, looking at the sky and yelling, “Khaaaaaaaaan!” The stress leaves, a smile affixing itself to my face, and I open an OPTIFAST bar.
This is week #17 in guest blogger Eric Buwala’s story about his personal weight-loss journey. All of his updates are available in our blog archive.
If you’d like to learn more about how Mercy Weight Management can help you get started on your weightloss journey, contact us for more information. Our office is conveniently located just off I-77 in Canton, Ohio.