By Ginger Costen
Generally when I sit down to write my column I know what I am going to say and why I want to say it. However, sometimes what comes across to the key board is not always what was on my mind. Today is one of those days.
I had planned to offer a hypothetical interview between Presidents Washington and Lincoln asking them if our country had met their individual expectations since leaving office. Without fully understanding the directions my thought processes travel, I am forced to relinquish the battle of will power and give in to what seems to be the more important topic of the day. Here is what developed along the way…
I was asked several times this past week how the dieting was going and if I was any closer to making my decision about having the Bariatric surgery. So in keeping with the myth of George Washington cutting down the cherry tree (by the way, he didn’t cut down the tree) and not telling a lie, I will not lie and admit my commitment to the program has lost some of its focus or importance in my life.
Perhaps it was the changing seasons from fall to winter since gardening is my favorite form of exercise as well as relaxation. When I’m knee deep in dirt and alive with the anticipation of how a plant of flowerbed will look, I could care less about eating. It’s easier to become bored and feel a sense of despondency when the world outside my window is covered with snow and the temperature is a warm and toasty two degrees.
Maybe it was the holidays with all the good food, friends and memories of a simpler life and times when children weren’t murdered for any other reason but that they were innocently sitting in their classrooms listening to their teacher.
So I’m embarrassed to admit that in the past three months I’ve gained back 12 pounds. I’m still attending my monthly group sessions and found the January meeting amusingly predictable when the size of the class tripled from all of the New Year’s dieting resolutions. Of course by the February meeting several of the participants had slipped back into the darkness of obesity.
I’ve continued with therapy and have learned that my obsession with food began as a small child right after we moved from the Los Angeles area to a small town in Eastern California along the Nevada border in the Sierra Nevada Mountains.
Bridgeport, California, had a huge population of 350 people and was supported by seasonal summer camping, fishing or hunting visitors. Funny though, as I mention the cold and snow in Massachusetts, I remembered walking to our one-room school house in January, 1956, with ten foot snow plow pilings along the edge of the road. We were the 7th snowiest location in America that winter.
To this day I struggle with not having enough food stored in my pantry or having more than enough to feed our guests. I’m ashamed to admit to the amount of food that is wasted in our home by my fear that anyone will go away from my house hungry. This fear became a career driven passion while working for the American Red Cross and providing emergency food supplies or meals during a disaster.
Talk about grocery shopping! Once I left a market in Gilbert, Arizona, with 18 shopping carts filled to the top. I’ve had 35 eighteen-wheelers parked in an empty car lot serving as my food pantry in Santa Cruz, California. My food order was delivered by barges to the island of Kauai, Hawaii. Although the stories are numerous, the end result was always the same. No one ever left hungry from a Red Cross shelter or meal truck.
So where am I in this decision? I have decided this morning to call my doctor and tell them I am ready for surgery and to schedule me for a pre-op visit. I can’t do it by myself and need a permanent solution to help remind me that sensible eating and making healthy choices isn’t just a necessity, it’s a way of life that I need to follow even when my mind can’t seem to stay connected to what my hands are doing.
My second decision is to add another aspect to this weight loss journey. I am admitting that I have a food addiction and so want to attend Overeaters Anonymous meetings for help.
It’s not that I don’t have will power; it’s my won’t power that is my problem! I won’t stop buying chocolate peanut butter cups and Dr. Pepper.
Oh, having read numerous articles on both George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, I feel a a column wouldn’t do justice to these interesting and influential Americans and would like to offer a more in- depth article next President’s Day.