Monday, August 4, 2008

Emergency Chocolate and Other Depreciated Resourses

Back when I was first starting this whole Weight Watcher's/Healthy Lifestyle thing, I was trying to think of something else to motivate me. Knowing myself as well as I did, I knew that the numbers on the scale were just not going to cut it.

It doesn't even matter what the numbers are; I'm seldom happy with them. I can lose .6 pounds, I can lose 2.6 pounds... I can gain .6 pounds and my general feeling about it tends to range from extreme disappointment to not quite satisfied. It's enormously frustrating for me, everyone who's read here for any length of time will know this as well as I do: I have an enormous attitude problem. This should not come as a shock for anyone.

So, I was sitting around thinking... I should pay myself for my weight loss. Why not? I'd always meant to put away the money I was saving when I quit smoking, but it never quite worked out that way. I'm terrible with money, I'll admit that. If I have it, I'll spend over saving any day of the week. Even when I try to save money up, I'm not very good at it. Last year, I did however manage to put away almost $500 for Christmas cash. I did it this way: Every time we got money out of the ATM for things like Laundry Quarters or day-trips, I would withdraw an extra $20 - $40 and I put the cash in this hollow book I have. At the end of the year, I had somewhere around $500 and I used that money to buy Christmas presents and whatnot... it worked out fairly well.

And I thought I could do that again this year. Put away some cash for every pound I lost. Originally, I thought I'd go with $1 per pound, but honestly, even with as much weight as I have to lose, that's what, $94? What could I possibly buy for $94 that I wouldn't just GO OUT AND BUY? So, I decided that $10 a pound would work out well. At the end of my weight loss journey, I'd have $900 and that would be money well worth rewarding myself with. Right?

You know what they say about the plans of mice and men, right?

Yeah. So a few months back, we had to buy a new (used) car. (There really ought to be a better way to phrase that. It's not a new car, it's a shoddy piece of crap, and the only advantage it has is that it passed inspection in April, so I don't have to worry about inspection for almost a year... so it's not a new car. And it's not another car either, since that implies that we have more than one car. Whatever. It's like the air conditioning... do you turn the AC up or down when you want to make it less cold in the house? Turning the knob, you're turning it up, but that makes it warmer, therefore, turning the AC down... confusion abounds! Does anyone else worry about stuff like this, or is it just me?) In order to afford the new (used) car, I had to dip into my weight money. I took $200 out of what was, at the time, about $260... with the clear understanding that I would replace this money as soon as possible.

Oh, the plans of mice and men....

There's about $94 in there at the moment. There should be $446. And now, since there's such a big gap between where it should be and where it is, I don't know if I can POSSIBLY replace that... I mean, we literally do not have $350 to spare. (This would have, partially, to do with the fact that my house has a wild gremlin in it. Again. The car breaks and we have to get a new one. The vacuum cleaner had to be replaced. The DVD player went on the fritz. And now my digital camera is acting up. Will stuff PLEASE stop BREAKING? Please?)

And even if I was to replace the money, it seems like such a bigger deal - more financially taxing - than it did at the beginning of the year when I was day-dreaming about a 1k shopping spree... now, if I put the $350 back, it's being selfish and greedy and putting us at financial risk... and it seems silly to start over now, even though I have another 50 pounds or so to lose before I reach goal... I don't know why it seems this way, since you know, a $500 shopping spree is still a lot of money. And it's not likely that I'm going to hit my weight goal any time soon...

So I have the time to replenish that cash pool.

But it's like that all the time... once I get off track, it seems so damn hard, or useless, to get back ON TRACK.

I know, it's not logical... it's like getting a ding in your car, and deciding while your car has some scratched paint you may as well slam the hood in, back into a dump truck, and take a baseball bat to the windshield. All in the same afternoon. And yet, I keep doing it. I stumble on the stairs, and yes, I do contemplate throwing myself down the rest of the flight just out of spite. May as well fuck up really well, as long as I'm going to feel like a fuck up.

It's not an uncommon failing. I see it all the time on these weight loss/healthy lifestyle blogs... "Oh, I went off plan for lunch, so I may as well start over tomorrow. Pass the potato chips. And some of that ranch dressing. Not the low-fat kind, either. May as well be hung for a dragon as the egg."

Then... we come to my other motivational mishap...

My emergency chocolate.

I have a weakness for very expensive chocolate. And it's a weakness in two ways. The first is, I really, really want to eat it. At the same time, my "we never have enough money" self doesn't want to eat it, because then it's gone and I don't have it anymore. The whole "can't have your cake and eat it" problem... Drove my husband nuts. He'd buy me chocolates for Valentines Day and come November, I've still got half a box stashed in my drawer somewhere. One year, for Christmas, getting sick of my weirdness with chocolate, he bought me something like 12 boxes of chocolate covered cherries. (yes, this might be why I gained so much extra weight the second year we were married.)

And no, this weirdness doesn't apply to cheap chocolate. I'll happily scarf five or ten fun-sized twix bars in a single sitting. (because, you know, those fun sized bars have less calories, so I can eat 10 and be fine, whereas I'd consider myself to be pigging out if I ate 2 full sized candy bars.)


I have a small packet of very expensive chocolate. It's that really dark stuff, 85% cocoa... I got three tiny bars of it in a little box. The whole deal is about the size of a two matchboxes. Cost me $5...

And I've been carrying them around in my purse since January with the idea that, should my willpower ever flag badly, and I really wanted to go off the reservation and have a triple chocolate cake with the little chips on top of it, or something else horrendously off-plan... I'd have one of these little chocolate bars instead...

Since we started Weight Watchers in January, I have not had to eat a single bar.

While I have had "bad" food, I have not actually gone off-plan at all. Which is not to say that I haven't had a slice of triple chocolate cake, because I have... just that I've planned for it, accounted for it, and always been within my alloted flex points.

(Sorry, had to leave and go make lunch, as it's almost 2pm and I haven't eaten today... doing my typical stupid weigh-in day thing where I always seem to avoid eating much... )

Anyway, I don't know if I've mentioned this before, but Thomas is hypoglycemic. Essentially, it means that his blood sugar dips from time to time, he gets dizzy and irritable, sometime to the point of being angry and irrational. Sometimes this accompanied by near-fainting spells, trembling in the hands, and blurred vision.

Because he is an ass (which is to say that he jumps all over my case for avoiding a doctor, not liking to take medication if I need it, and otherwise preferring to just complain about an illness rather than doing something about it, and yet, does exactly the same thing himself) he doesn't take medication for this condition, nor do we monitor it in any meaningful way. Generally speaking, it's not a very severe condition. As long as he eats regularly, he doesn't suffer from a low-blood sugar episode. As a side-effect of us going on Weight Watchers, he's had only two of these attacks since the beginning of the year, which is much better than last year, where he was having them at least once every two weeks.

The solution, when he starts getting shaky and irrational, is to feed him. Usually something with a high sugar content, easily digestible; juice, chocolate, a full-sugar soda. Something to equalize his blood sugar quickly. He'll still feel bad for a few hours after we get him stabilized (and I usually take this time when I know he has a headache and feels sick to lecture him about how he ought to eat more regularly, and that I'm sure he knows that if he actually passes out that there's no way in hell I can carry him, and really, you'd think he'd learn better by now... etc etc) but at least we get past the crises stage easily.

The last time he had an episode, we were out. On the top of Mount Trashmore, as a further matter of fact, with no food within easy reach.

I sacrificed one of my emergency chocolate bars to him, so that I could get him off the mountain and down to a 7-11 where we could get him better equalized.

I've been really proud of myself for having those little candy bars, untouched, in my purse. A symbol, as you will, of my success. I haven't gone off-plan. I've splurged, but I've planned my splurges. The unopened box of chocolate was a trophy of my willpower. An icon to my dedication...

And now it's open.

And for some reason, being open... makes it more tempting. I mean, it's open now. It doesn't mean as much as it used to. I could, without a problem, just eat the other two bars.


This is me... throwing myself down the stairs. (Except I still haven't eaten them. And Thomas had to "borrow" my chocolate three weeks ago, at this point... so they've been in my purse, still uneaten by me... maybe I'm doing better than I think I am.)




Lynn said...

You are just too funny. Your post is just perfect for me at the moment. I am having a crappy day, so I figured I would just screw it and give in to all my cravings for the rest of the day. But it makes absolutely no sense after reading your bit about trashing your car because it has a wee scratch. Hilarious. I will always think of this entry when I want to finish off a bad day. THANKS!

And about the chocolate...I do the same thing. I hid some chocolate (the Lindt truffle balls YUM) on top of my fridge and planned to ration them. But, they were so good I wanted to save them. I ended up throwing the whole stinking bag out because they bloomed (turned white) after sitting up there for nine months. DORK. I was also the child that saved their Easter basket for a rainy day. Why do we do these things?

Please don't make that cake. I will have to come and eat it. :)

Chanda (aka Bea) said...

Yah know, the darker and more pure the chocolate the better it is for you, and the bigger effect it has on mood. Just sayin. :)

Obviously I just outed my stash of Dark chocolate nibs I have tucked away for just those emergencies.

Cammy@TippyToeDiet said...

If we're voting, then I vote YES, you are doing better than you will allow yourself to believe. :)

Anonymous said...

You are doing WAY better than you think. :-) Because, you know, WANTING to throw yourself down the stairs is just a personality quirk. Whether or not you actually DO it is what determines how well you're doing.

I have the same personality quirk, though. In for a penny, in for a pound is the way I phrase it...and it makes just as little sense. I've gotten better about it over the past two years, but definitely haven't completely reformed. I think it's one of those things you just have to be constantly vigilant about...

I love the car analogy too, I will keep that one in mind for next time I stumble on the stairs. :-)


Anonymous said...

I always had chocolate nuggets in the house, at least up unitl anout 2 weeks ago. My "emergency" chocolate, started becoming my daily snack! Not good!

You have awesome willpower! To go that long & not touch the chocolate is nothing short of a miracle! Keep up the great work, no matter what your cynical (yet hilarious) side tells you to do! =)