I can tell the difference between willpower and just genuinely not wanting the food. The way I can tell is how much time I spend thinking about it.

When I genuinely don’t want the food I tend to forget about it entirely. There seems to be a category in my brain where I can stash these items and they become the equivalent of, say, dog food to me. Most of my children’s snack food lands in that category. Yes, it might be tasty, but I don’t want it. I can pack it in their lunch boxes, or serve it to them at home, or keep it in the house and not be bothered by it at all.

Then there is the food I’m using willpower to stay away from. This food I spend a lot of time thinking about. Picturing it in my head sitting in the fridge or cabinet. When I open the door it’s the first thing I see even if it’s not the first thing in my sight line. I have to tell myself over and over again that I’m not going to eat it.

I do well with this “I’m not going to eat that” mantra for a few days, but like any muscle that’s being used too much for too long, it eventually gives out and I wind up eating the thing.

This morning there were still two pieces of cake left in the fridge. While cleaning up the breakfast dishes and baking a couple batches of my on-plan oat bran muffins I must have looked at those two pieces of cake 20 times. Finally, while washing dishes I realized that it was only a matter of time before the muscle of my willpower gave out and I ate the darn cake.

I’m not willing to do that.

So, while I was washing those dishes I quickly grabbed the cake and stuffed it down the garbage disposal while I consciously repeated to myself, “You will not lick your fingers!”. (The days before I had a garbage disposal were filled with food destroyed by massive amounts of cayenne pepper, hot sauce, and Comet.)

There is a sense of panic I feel about getting rid of the food. It’s almost as though my disease tries to tell me that something bad will happen if I get rid of it. Or that I’ll be missing out on some greater sense of pride in being able to muscle my way through having it there. There is a flailing to the panic as though the disease knows that if I throw it away it’s lost that round.

I know I’m supposed to feel proud of myself for putting the cake down the garbage disposal, but I don’t think I actually do. I should because it’s really hard to do and that feeling of panic is hard to fight against (obviously, it took me three days to get rid of it). In the end, after the cake is gone, there is a sense of relief that is immense. It’s like putting down a heavy weight after carrying it around for three days. At that point it feels as though stuffing the cake down the garbage disposal the equivalent of having stepped out of the way of an oncoming truck. That’s scary too, but do you get a pat on the back for saving yourself?

Maybe. Maybe.

At the moment there are only two other things in the house that are calling to me. But their siren song is much much fainter and losing ground all the time. My husband told me to hell with him and the kids; anything I need to throw away I should.

Maybe. Maybe.

Now all that’s left is to decide how long I’m going to stay on pure protein (PP) and when I’m going to switch back to alternating days of PP and protein and vegetables (P+V). I think I’m going to give it at least today and tomorrow. If my husband and I wind up going out on Friday night I’ll probably go with P+V for dinner so I can get a salad.

But, for today, pure protein (plus the anti-depressant!) is helping me regain my sanity and I don’t plan to mess with that.

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