The Haunting

This weekend we are going to my mom’s lake house with family.  I am a little scared of the ghost who lives there.  The Ghost of Derailed Diets Past.

To understand why that phantasm maintains her presence, I need to give you some history.  I grew up spending summers with my family at a lake in New Hampshire.  Several years ago, after relocating to the Midwest, my mother built a beautiful lake home nearby in hopes that her grown children would spend time there together and build memories for the next generation.  Family time at the lake always included lots of food.  Some lake treats were things we didn’t have at home – like smores and pumpkin bread and popovers and cinnamon rolls.  We ate and we had fun.  I ate and I had fun.  All throughout the yo-yo years.  I don’t ever remember dieting at the lake.

Last summer was different.  Last summer I was at my goal weight after dieting yet again and I was still mostly committed to the South Beach lifestyle and intended to stay on plan at the family Fourth of July lake weekend.  The first evening there, my sister-in-law brought homemade brownies out onto the porch.  I resisted and instead ate some of the sugar free pudding I had brought for myself.  The next day she had homemade zucchini bread.  I decided I could handle a taste.  Yum.  And later there was the smell of bagels toasting.  I love bagels.  Surely I could eat one at the lake and get back on track the moment I hit home.  Next I succumbed to the brownies that I had so easily resisted previously.  And dump cake.  A la mode.  And so it began.  And, contrary to my intent, I never really got back on track again.  The slippery slope had begun at the lake house and the ghost began to haunt me.  The following months saw the scale slowly edging higher and higher.  And it all began July 4th weekend last year.

Last weekend I was at the lake house again.  I was not very worried because I thought the ghost might only show her spectral self on the anniversary of her initial haunting.  But I quickly discovered that my willpower and self-control do not come with me to the lake.  There are foods there that are not to be found at home – that I should not eat and have trouble resisting.  And there is not the same variety and abundance of healthy foods that I would normally eat at home.  And there is lots of book reading at the lake – a big trigger for snacking for me.  I felt the ghost standing behind me as I stuck my hand into a bag of chips.  I heard her laughing when I ate a cinnamon roll the size of a dinner plate.

I am bound and determined to exorcise my demon!  I am going to learn from my mistake last summer and last weekend and history will NOT repeat itself.  I am setting goals and I want you to hold me accountable.  There is no internet at the lake, so no way to reach out to my blog community for support while I am gone.  But just knowing you are here, waiting for me to report back, should help keep me on track and the ghost at bay.  And maybe, just maybe, an exorcism will take place by virtue of me remaining in control.

My goals for this long weekend:

  • Eat only on plan foods at all meals and for all snacks except…
  • Allow myself one small treat each day if I really, really want it and if it is truly delicious and if it is a shared dessert that everyone is having.  But only after dinner so I won’t have time to let the one treat spiral into a whole day of treats.
  • Eat no bread or crackers because they are just not special enough for a holiday treat and all too likely to cause cravings and start me overeating.  And no bagels.  Zero, zip, nada.
  • Write down everything I eat.  And try not to lose the little paper this time!

I will return to you here on Tuesday.  (Or maybe Wednesday if my creative juices take a while to catch up with being back.)  I will bare my soul and tell you how I did.  It may be a long story; it may be a short report.  With any luck a little willpower, motivation and self-control, I will write a happy conclusion to my ghost story.

Any ghosts in your life?  Weekend plans that you are looking forward to or dreading?  Words of advice?



Filed under cheating/overeating, dieting, emotions/emotional issues, goals, history (my past), vacation

58 responses to “The Haunting

  1. I wish you the best of luck. I think you can do it. Just think of how proud of yourself you will be, and how you can come back here and tell us all the GOOD news that you stuck to your goals for the weekend. This could be a very important fork in the road for you! I also think that it’s wrong that people bring so much junk food to these family gatherings! It happens here too and it’s so annoying.

    • Karen

      I don’t know what it is about the lake house that has people bringing crap. My SIL (of the brownies and zucchini bread) does not allow her kids to eat that stuff at home very often.

      And my mom will bring tons and tons of fruit but also went to Costco to pick up little snack bags for the kids. And would make garlic bread. And is the popover baker. Sigh.

  2. Why is it that the closer you get to the water, the easier it is to eat too much?!! My appetite always increased when we visited my in-laws house on a lake.

    One thing I didn’t notice in your post-is it possible to bring your own snacks to the lake to help a little? I ask because an not-to-be-mentioned relative of mine once came to visit and complained the whole time under her breath that I wasn’t serving anything that fit her diet. Had I known I would have but I wouldn’t have been insulted if she’d brought a few things from home. LOL!

    • Karen

      I will be bringing lots of snacks for myself:) And I have told myself I can overeat those healthy things if it keeps me from eating the other stuff. Unfortunately, some are less easy to pack or prepare away from home – like the roasted veggies I eat most afternoons here. Last weekend I kept staring at brownies on the kitchen counter for hours before I succumbed. So maybe I need to also find a way to graciously move other people’s temptations to a place where I can’t see them.

  3. The only way to get past a ghost is to make friends with it. You can choose to let the ghost win or not. It is amazing how circumstances of love and fun often revolve around food. Take yourself and the ghost for a walk or take a journal to write…Give the ghost some positive attention. That’s all she wants!

    • Karen

      That is an interesting perspective and my husband, who watches all sorts of paranormal shows, might really enjoy the notion. Maybe I should take my laptop, even though I have no internet, so I can journal (or write future blog posts) on there. I think I should also try to spend more time on the dock instead of in the house because then if I want to eat it is an uphill and up two flights of stairs walk to get to food. Unfortunately rain is predicted:(

    • Oh, good thought!!! I very much like this and will visit your blog to see what else you have to say, Ms Wise Woman!

  4. sunnydaze

    I would like to tell you to enjoy some “bad” foods in moderation, but it’s weird how just one little bite of “junk” starts the cravings spiral. Spend as much time outdoors as you can and try to focus on the end result. I know, I know…easier said than done. Good luck to you and enjoy your weekend! 🙂

    • Karen

      I think that I may need to practice moderation some other time when I am not around temptation for three solid days with no scale. I seem to be very sensitive to stuff – is it all physical or is it all mental or some combination?

  5. good luck…really, having a plan is half the battle. Sending you good vibes for a great success this year!

  6. Words of advice, hmmm – try and keep the stuff that drives you over the edge at a distance. Knowing that this particular place is full of land/food mines, I think it’s OK to set some things completely off limits. Even enlist some of your family and friends’ help if that is appropriate – at least ask them not to offer you things as you head to your thong bikini size 🙂

    Write or do just about anything else that will distract you when food is sitting around. (I find writing by hand during emotional times to be much more effective at dispersing my internal crap than typing on a keyboard.)

    Most of all – have fun at the lake! We are all with you in our thoughts.

    • Karen

      I got a good laugh out of the thong image. I suspect my hubby will too:) This reminded me that I have a big book of puzzles and that may be good because I have to sit with a pencil in my hand to work on them.

  7. Genie@dietof51

    I have a hard time understanding that the freedom of the 4th of July does not include food freedom! Darn it! It should mean that all metabolisms and willpowers are created equal, and we should all be thin!

    At least you know your enemy and have a battle plan. You can do it, and we are behind you, even if you are unplugged. GOOD LUCK! Have a fabulous, phantom-free 4th!

    • Ha ha! I like this comment about freedoms. However, I’m trying to change my idea of freedom about food… rather than the freedom to eat as much as I want of whatever I want, I’m trying to embrace the freedom to leave the dark shadow of food adiction and overeating!

  8. Okay. Just kidding that’s not my only advice. Here’s what I do. (when I’m good)

    I eat one plateful of whatever I want in those situations. It can’t be overflowing, and I can’t go back for seconds. When it’s over I don’t pick up my utensils again. I stay and chat, trying to concentrate on conversation.

    If I have a hard time I go brush my teeth. It’s important to do the whole nine yards. Flossing, rinse, 2 full minutes of brushing. I brush my teeth after every single meal. If I mess up I have to brush my teeth. You’d be surprised how many tastes clash with toothpaste.

    My best times have been when I have to use Hubbend’s yucky baking soda paste. Then I really don’t want to do that again.

    I chew sugarfree gum if I have a problem between meals.

    I usually allow myself at least one portion of my favorite treat because I crash and burn later. But, you decide what is best for you now. 🙂 Good luck.

  9. I always find your posts interesting because it reminds me of how my brain used to work – I associated good times, bad times and vacation times with food. It’s a cycle that’s really hard to break.

    That said, I finally did break the pattern, even though I still love food.

    Particularly on vacation, I let myself eat (and drink) more. But I try to exercise more, too, since I have more free time. And I also don’t let vacation turn into a free-for-all with junk food.

    I think by writing things down, staying outside (if weather allows) and pouring your energies into activities beyond the kitchen, you area headed in the right direction. Don’t be so hard on yourself if you slip once or twice and eat that bagel.

    • Karen

      Unfortunately for me it is harder to exercise at the lake. I will drag my husband out for a walk early but later in the day it is just too hot. And there is no good place to bike down there which is my biggest calorie burn at home. No elliptical either. Maybe I can do some flutter kicks while hanging out in the water:)

      I am glad to hear that there is hope my brain may not always work this way!

  10. I doubt there is any tip or suggestion that you haven’t already thought about and embraced as helpful or discarded as useless. But I do agree that having a plan, writing down the plan and knowing you are being held accountable to the plan is HUGE. I have two challenges this weekend in the form of cook-outs and even as new as I am to this blog community, it is making a big difference in my outlook just knowing all of us are dealing with something out of the ordinary this weekend and we will all be “reporting” back on Tuesday. Enjoy your time at the lake house. We love New Hampshire and even though yours may be nowhere close, I am visualizing you in one of the lake houses we saw in the Lake Winnipesaukee area.

    • Karen

      That is the lake we were on last, before moving to Kansas. So beautiful up there. Years before we were on Lake Sunapee. And another, much smaller lake. I do miss the lakes of NH.

  11. Isn’t it interesting that your SIL feeds you and her kids stuff she wouldn’t normally serve them because it is vacation? Your mother goes out to Costco and buys “goodies” for the kids for the cabin.

    That is exactly how the problems you are struggling with as an adult start! They are likely to be setting up some poor kid to have the issues you are having by making fattening, unhealthy food the centerpiece, the treat the reward offered up on these trips/occasions!

    As the lucky types who can take it and leave it they might not realize the impact – so you might need to have a heart to heart talk with them about the reality of how that food can effect some people and how hard it is not only to resist, but then to stop eating it once you have started. And that one or more of those beloved children could have the same problem.

    • Karen

      One of my three little nephews told us that they refer to our house (home, not lake) as the sugar house! Because every time he came over we served some sort of dessert after the meal. But then I explained to him that we get those special for them and don’t usually have cake and brownies after every meal! But here I was, spoiling my nephews with food myself. Sigh.

  12. Do what I do… You have no idea how clean the baker/cooks hands were. You have no idea how fresh the ingredients were before cooking. Just imagine stomach problems from unsafe food handleing. Works for me! Brownies and zuc bread give me heartburn from h***. I could pass on those 2 items. Bagels aren’t evil if you eat half with protein. By themselves, major trigger though.

    This is one time calorie counting is benificial. You can have your cake and eat it too. But and this is a huge BUT is a dessert/empty calories worth it knowing you will be even hungrier afterwards and no calories left. You can also work out more to offset those additional calories. I know you said rain, but you won’t melt. I don’t recomend it if lightning though. :). Good luck!

    • Karen

      Oh you have no idea how you just hit home for me!!! As my husband can attest, I am a bit of a germaphobe. And one of the worst parts of family lake time is watching the other people do stuff in the kitchen that makes me cringe at how unsanitary it is. Really cringe. I need to remember that:)

  13. I agree with all your comments but I like Genies the best. I can’t wait to hear the rest of the story. Remember we are watching you!smile.

  14. Good luck… for me dieting and vacations never mix!!

  15. Enjoy your time at the lake, and good luck!!!

  16. It is funny how we love the same things Karen.. or many of them.. bagels, sweets, breads, friggin cinnamon rolls!

    Being Jewish, every get together with my family was based around food & enough for an army, not just the people in attendance!

    Since I lost my weight, I had to learn to get thru these. I PLANNED for them. Yes, a learning experience BUT I did it. I eat healthy on every little thing except what I truly want to splurge on which is usually a sweet & the bread (well, if it is worth it). I never eat anything unless it is like pure taste ecstasy to me.. really! It can’t just be good or OK.

    I think you are going in with some great plans! YOU CAN DO THIS!!!! Yes you can! Enjoy your “choices” & then back to it when you get home.

    I know some like to just enjoy totally on these holidays but some people know that once they are totally off, it can spell danger so we have to respect that people know their limitations.

  17. Really like the blog. First time here. Jumped over from mizfits blog. Sounds like a fun challenge this weekend to control your food intake during traditionally difficult weekends. I think a plan is very important.

  18. Take some holy water just in case. You know- in case someone insists you eat something you can toss it on them and scream “begone DEMON!” lol.

    That ought to make for interesting conversation at least! lol.

  19. What a hilarious post! If you can’t hire the guys from Ghostbusters to remove any signs of ghostly eating temptation, then your plan sounds really smart to me. Eating one treat after dinner if you really want it will keep you from feeling deprived and you won’t get the crazy blood sugar spike and drop that comes from eating baked goods by themselves. We are rooting for you!!!

    • Karen

      Oh no way! I actually had a mention of Ghostbusters in my post but took it out! Great minds thinking alike.

  20. “But only after dinner so I won’t have time to let the one treat spiral into a whole day of treats.”

    *ding!ding!ding!* You’ve uncovered one of my secrets. 🙂

    Vacations, for me, are now like Christmas–full splurge ahead! (within reason, of course) But over the past few years I seem to have instinctively latched on to the treat-a-day thing. It’s really kind of sad, in that I almost interrogate the foods: Are YOU splurge-worthy? (I take their silence to be a ‘no’.:))

    What the heck, it works! Have an awesome weekend!

    • Karen

      That is a great plan. I can’t remember how many times I said “This isn’t really even that good but I’m still eating it.”

  21. Karen — we are SO living parallel lives. 🙂 That is the problem with summer and family … so many things that I only have at that time. I’m still working on my strategy … anything from avoiding it all to limiting it to drinking 16 oz of water before I eat anything off plan. I think (hope, will try really hard) to get in at least an hour of exercise every day so at the minimum I maintain.

    • Karen

      More than you know… I keep thinking of you and the running and all that you are going through with that and there is a post coming there that you will relate to as well.

  22. I think your Lake House ghost transformed into my backyard BBQ ghost! Omg it’s really scary to be in new surroundings where you will power succomes to desire! I really likes this post and that you are starting to prep for battle already. Good on ya! Happy Sits Sharefest!!!! I’ve just subscribed in reader!

  23. 1st of all: my family is from NH (near Lake Winnepesauke) so hello NH SITS girl! I’ve struggled with eating disorders and poor body image most of my life, and as a high school teacher, watched hundreds & hundreds of my girls suffer the same thing. So I began writing and drawing about it. Here is a 4th of July blog post about food

  24. I totally “get” this. I’ve noticed there are (unfortunately) too many places where my will turns to jelly and I end up eating all the things I shouldn’t. And its places I can’t avoid.

    I wish you lots of luck in fortifying your resolve!

    I found you on the Lady Bloggers Tea Party and added your feed 🙂

  25. That’s tough. Most of the battle is not having the stuff around to eat in the first place. Good luck this weekend, I hope you have fun and will power.

  26. Wow! How funny! I am at a mountain cabin with all the family and wouldn’t you know that smores were on the menu last night!!!!!! I am going to try to hike today to burn off some calories!!!

  27. Great plan. You’ve already read my plan. I already started eating clean and drinking water and soon I’ll grilled the fruit and on and on through my list.

    Good luck with yours. I won’t have to resist bread this weekend. Thank goodness. I’d struggle.

  28. OH to have such will power!!! Popping in from Lady Bloggers tea party social, I’ll be back! 🙂

  29. no advice – just enjoy your trip!

  30. Best of luck eating on plan while you are away. I know that’s tough. Have a great 4th! 🙂

  31. Just dropping by from the Lady Blogger Tea Party. Good luck this weekend. I have been having a hard time lately eating way too many treats. I need to get back on track. My plan, no snacking in evenings.

  32. Good luck to you. I just found out that my DD is not planning to have any s’mores this week because she’s “off” sugar for the summer. That will really help me. Maybe you can find an ally, too. I sure know that if I could reverse all my off plan eating and be the weight I was eighteen months ago today, I’d do it in a heartbeat.

  33. hi from LBS! glad to have discovered your blog and i’m following now!

    as for advice: go vegan :p okay, i’m partial… 🙂

  34. Of course there are ghosts in my life. I too just had a visitation and have had to set my abstinence counter back to zero after 72 days of success. One of my ghosts is all about having ice cream at a certain place where they make the most delicious home-made ice cream in the world… a place we visit once or twice a year… a place that has in the past spiraled me down into serious chocolate addiction… a place where the ghost says, “It’s OK here. You’ll only have ice cream here, once or twice a year. You deserve it!” But now I’m back on track, day 2. Hope you are too. I look forward to hearing how you managed. And congrats on the “no bagels” decision!

    • Karen

      Oh no! I am guessing you wrote about it and I will learn more when I get time to catch up on your blog. Hugs.

  35. By the time you read my comment you will have had your one on one with your ghostie. I hope it went well and you are the victor. I’m of the camp that believes you have the treats, but only the things that are THE absolute best things. Don’t waste your calories on the things that are just so so or everyday. Home made baked goods would be my kryptonite–sure to slay me. (now there were times when my method of dealing with this would be to not go to the lake and that would be a bummer)

    Incidentally, I saw a small clip of a hoarders tv show and the hoarder realized she needed help and had a professional organizer in her home helping her go through piles. The organizer placed a blanket over parts of the piles, so they could only focus on a few of the things and so the hoarder wouldn’t get distracted. Maybe for future lake trips you can put the temptor foods in one area and either cover it or just avoid that area entirely and ask your family for understanding.

    We’ll have to tell for real ghost stories when Autumn comes.

  36. Pingback: Waisting Time , Archive » Hasta La Vista, Baby

  37. Pingback: Waisting Time , Archive » Odds and Ends

I love comments!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s