All or Nothing

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I’m an all or nothing sort of girl. Either it’s all or nothing with me. There is simply no in-between. Sigh. This causes great angst for me in many areas.

First and foremost, of course is the chocolate area. When there is an all or nothing mentality, EVERY bag of M & M’s has to be finished. Nothing can be eaten halfway. It simply kills me if there is a half-full container of Ben and Jerry’s Chocolate Brownie frozen yogurt in my freezer. Those pints are meant to be one serving, I swear!

I have no understanding of moderation. I recently ran into a friend at The Gap whom I hadn’t seen in a good five months. She looked amazing and I told her so. She said she had lost some weight by running and really watching what she ate. “Yes,” I said, “some people understand moderation.”

I don’t. I have to finish. I simply have to finish anything yummy. I can’t have just ONE piece of chocolate, brownies, cookies… you get the picture. In many cases, I’ve just told myself that I cannot even start. Many years ago I gave up doughnuts. They don’t even interest me at this point. I guess I COULD do the same with all desserts…but then that would eliminate quite a bit of yummy experiences.

I began thinking about moderation. Is this a characteristic I need to develop? Something I need to nurture in myself?

I have a friend who has at least 20 white t-shirts and jeans all from The Gap or Banana Republic. His theory was that you just simply could not have enough. I remember looking into his closet and thinking could half this amount do the trick? (Of course don’t ask me that question when it has to do with chocolate!)

When I get “caught” on something, I carry it through to the bitter end. One year I was on a mission to find “the perfect little black dress.” I almost drove my sister crazy and ended up finding three. I still have one, the other two simply wore out with age and then of course, they were really OUT of style. Recently I’ve been trying to find jeans that not only fit, but fit really well. You can imagine the amount of hours I’ve put into this quest.

This being a new year, a new start, I thought I would try something new to me. I would try…moderation.

Honestly, moderation does NOT run in my blood. My father didn’t get this concept at all. How do people get moderation? How do they learn to live that way? Is this a developmental stage I missed? Was I behind the door when this lecture was going on?

If I am at a meeting and there are dishes of chocolate around, I either have to say NO completely or I end up eating pretty much the entire offering. Last Tuesday I was at P.T.O. and there were those cute little Reese’s popables and I knew, just knew, if I started there was NO going back. I looked around and there were people actually eating just one or two. They weren’t consumed with eating all of them. Just enjoying the one or two they tried.

This morning I was at the gym doing my usual cardio workout, thinking in my head about the calories I was burning. I am going out with girlfriends tonight for dinner and I want to be able to enjoy dinner AND dessert. So, I’m figuring if I burn THIS many calories this morning and I am very disciplined ALL day, then tonight, I am home free!

Well, beside me on the cardio machine was Denise, a competitive body-builder who works out hard. Her muscles have muscles. We began talking about “cleaning up” our eating. She commented that she knew what to do, but wasn’t. I know what to do as well. I’ve even had help figuring out what sort of food plan works for my body type and what foods I can tolerate and still wear my jeans.

She looked at me and asked, “how much leaner do you want to get?” I was floored by the question.

Again, my motivation for working out (which I don’t do in moderation either!) is to be healthy and strong and to be able to indulge in chocolate and desserts.

“You know, my goal is to be healthy and strong,” I commented.

“Isn’t that everyone’s goal?” she asked.

Yes. I guess. I mean, shapely legs, a flat tummy, bulging biceps, those are all in the back of my mind too. I actually don’t ask myself each time when I’m tempted by those Junior Mints, “do I want these or do I want to fit in my jeans?” Maybe I don’t need to.

Maybe I am finally reaching an understanding of moderation after all. I only go to the gym three times a week. I am working on eating sweets, well, not everyday. I am not longer on my quest for the most perfect jeans; I like the ones I’m currently in. This is a long road, however, and just like everything else worthwhile in our worlds, the struggle might really be the ultimate prize for me.

I’ll always be an all-or-nothing sort of girl. I’ve never been happy in the gray zone, and yet, often I am finding myself there. And I’m not unhappy to be there anymore. It feels…well, it feels foreign, but not as bad as I originally thought. There’s still chocolate here…just not as much.


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