The Quest for Moderation, Contentment, and a Twenty-Four-Inch Waist

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Oh, I just I love sudden epiphanies.

The kind that feels like a brick just fell on your head while you were chilling by the pool.

The out of the blue, what-the-heck kind, that makes you feel like complete idiot for not getting it before, because hello, it was staring at you right in the face.

The other day, while emptying out yet another box of books, I was assessing my work with a critical eye, when I suddenly stopped, frozen in my tracks, my eyes staring at the shelf where all my diet and nutrition books sit pretty. crash! went the brick.

And attached to the brick, a note: Whoa, that’s a lot of diet books. And yet, you are at your heaviest EVER. Connection, Sherlock?

Let me backtrack a little. I’m a fairly open-minded, tolerant person. (hmmm … ok, with a few exceptions.) Among other things, I firmly believe in religious freedom and have generally moderate politics.

However, that seems to be where my moderation ends. On many other things, I am decidedly un-moderate. I’m an either/or, one-extreme-or-the-other, black-or-white person.
My house is either really clean or a complete mess. (To be honest, the second is much more frequent thank the first.)
My CDs and spices are either perfectly labeled and alphabetized or a confusing, jumbled mess.
And when it comes to nutrition and exercise, I am either dieting and exercising regularly or eating whatever I want and letting my elliptical trainer, numerous workout DVDs and Wii Fit gather dust.

Don’t get me wrong, I know what I should do. And yet, I don’t feel inspired to do it unless it’s part of a perfectly structured program, with a well-designed workout schedule and an impeccable meal plan. I know I would be much better off dieting a little, watching my food and calorie intake a little, working out a little, instead going from being a stickler for a perfect diet and a comprehensive workout schedule to a couch potato. In theory, I know that some is better than none.

But some isn’t inspiring.
is inspiring.

Except awesome requires more energy, more time, more work, better organization.
Some is easier to handle, especially now, post-move, when I’m in a slump with a lot of things.

I have a hard time doing things half-way. I don’t get excited at the thought of doing something that is “good enough”. And then I end up not doing it at all. In other words, I am moderation-challenged.

Some will undoubtedly say that the obsession with structured plans and schedules comes from being a Virgo, while my mom just says I need to realize that some things just need to be done whether we like them or not. Whatever. I just know that if I could apply moderation to more things, I would probably be happier. But that might be the issue, I equal moderation with contentment, rather than happiness. Still, that beats my current mood, so I shouldn’t diss contentment.

The solution? I have no idea.
Throw away all my diet books? Impossible. I don’t believe in throwing any book away, no matter how bad. And many of these actually have some good info and decent recipes.
I can hear someone say How about Weight Watchers? I thought about it, except the idea of participating to meetings in German makes me want to bang my head against the wall repeatedly.
Anyone else? Yeah, you in the back, with your hand up! Hey genius, how about getting off your butt for starters? Oh, you mean just forget the diet and start exercising instead? Hmm… I did just get the EAS Sport Active, maybe I can give it a spin.

But I’m leaving on Sunday for five days, so maybe I should just start then I get back.

And that’s how it happens. There is always a good reason not to start today, because I will interrupt my schedule and then… what? What will happen? What could possibly be the tragedy that will occur if you make a schedule or a meal plan and you go slightly off it? Nothing much I guess, as long as I get back on. Exactly. So stop being such a neurotic control freak, it’s annoying. But also kind of charming, right? No, not really. Just annoying. Ask your husband, I’m pretty sure he’d back me up on this. Hmmmm… I think he knows better.

What’s that? I’m talking to myself and that’s not a good sign? Hey, as long as I’m talking myself into actually doing stuff. Whatever works.

Now all I need is a mantra. Something I can tell myself when I’m losing my nerve. Something I can repeat over and over in my head when watching Bones sounds way more appealing than working out.

Any suggestions? Nothing with negative connotations like “If you don’t do this you’ll always be a pathetic fat ass” or things of the sort – I don’t find that motivating, I find it depressing and that drives me to overload on carbs. Because in addition to being Moderation-challenged I’m also an emotional eater (like most Italians.) And here you were thinking I was perfect.


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