Snakes

October 7, 2014 in Uncategorized

The other day Charlotte found a snake in the garage.   All the kids started screaming for me to come out there.

I am actually scared of snakes. I’m scared of other things too.

Bugs.

Rats.

Any type of creature that gets in the house really.

But since I’m the Mom and the one in charge, I have to deal with it. So I put on my big girl panties and went off to the garage to save the day.

I’d love to say I pulled it together and handled it smoothly but that’s the exact opposite of what happened.

First, I ran around the garage screaming.  Then I hit the garage door opener 300 times in a row frantically which only resulted in the garage going up and down over and over again.

Meanwhile the kids were screaming at me to do something.

But I was doing something!

Not something productive but if freaking out was an art form–-nailed it!

Finally, I got the broom and we pushed it out to the driveway which still bothered me but made me suddenly feel much better.

At least it wasn’t IN the house anymore.

It settled into some place on the driveway and then it  just hung out.

Since it wasn’t moving I became a little less upset.  And then I realized that the snake probably couldn’t harm me.

Probably

I wasn’t totally convinced but I felt that I was mostly safe.

So that’s when I got brave and started to really move in closer.

At one point, I actually got down close enough to see it sticking its tongue out of its mouth and moving its head around.

I even got a picture.

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The kids kept telling me to just kill it because it might get back into the house but instead I decided to watch it.

I felt less intimidated now that we were outside.  And I was even proud of myself for having gotten it out of the garage.

I had conquered my fear and won.  I was fairly positive that it couldn’t do anything to me either so I was no longer scared.

But then it started moving again.

And it may not have been big but that thing could move FAST!

Once it started slithering around so quickly though, my screaming recommenced.

By now we were outside so I’m sure the neighbors could hear me.

Let’s just say I didn’t handle this scenario with the most grace.

It startled me how quickly it could go.  Off it went into the grass and once that happened I couldn’t even see it anymore.

It just blended right in.

That’s when the fear set in.  Why didn’t I take it out when I had the chance?

Now I have to worry about it getting back in the garage !

I’m sure it won’t …..but you know….paranoia is a part of me.

Later I was thinking about how this is really the perfect analogy for weight loss.

Like when I finally get control of my eating.

I’ve kicked the bad habits out just the same way I got the snake out of the garage.

But instead of finishing the job, I let it hang out in the driveway.

Not only that—-I got cocky.

Bending down to look it over and snap a picture.

It’s the same with food.

I think I can handle it.  That it can’t get back in. So I hang out with it for awhile.

Until suddenly there it is.  On the move again.

And now I have to worry about it getting back in.

How many times have I done this with food?  How many more times until I learn?

I have a problem with food.  And I have to stop playing with it. Stop pretending that it isn’t a problem.

I can’t entertain it.  Or hang out with it.  Or pretend that it’s not a threat.

The problem is that I want to be normal.  I want to be that person that can handle it.

But I’m not

And I never will be.

Of course we have to eat.  But I’m not that person that can handle a buffet and survive.

I keep thinking that I can. But I’m not. So I play with fire.

That’s why I’ve regained weight.  That’s why I’m off track.

I need to wake up.  I need to stop acting like I don’t have a problem

That’s when I’ll start losing again.

When I finally wake up and see a snake for what it is.

I guess I just want to believe SO BAD that I can win.

That I can tame the snake and keep it as a pet.

But I can’t. And when I learn that—maybe I’ll be the winner.

But not until I stop playing with fire.  Not until I am willing to kill it.

How about you?

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{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

Michelle Liggett October 7, 2014 at 12:58 am

Totally agree Holly. I wish I could get it into my head that I only need to eat to fuel my body, not soothe my broken spirit. In the end, the food causes more pain than pleasure. Wish it were like other addictions that you can just stop “cold turkey.” But, we can’t just stop eating.

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Christine October 7, 2014 at 1:20 am

I’m a big believer in live and let live, so I’m glad to read that you let the snake go instead of killing it. I am sure it is long gone and never wants to end up in another garage! There are certain foods that once I *detox* from, I can not have even one taste of or it becomes a huge problem!
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Natalie October 7, 2014 at 5:10 am

You should see me trying to kill a spider. You’d think I was trying to dance with it. Approach, retreat, approach, wave the shoe, jump back, doe-see-doe.

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LHA October 7, 2014 at 10:14 am

Good analogy. I would have reacted just like you did, by the way….yuck, snakes! It is true that some foods are just dangerous and poisonous and cannot be a part of my life but it so hard to get rid of them entirely. Sugar is the big enemy. Wow, what a struggle it is some days. Thank you for pointing out the obvious. We can’t tame the addictions we have and think we can coexist peacefully with using any substance that we can’t control.

Thanks for taking the time to write this blog. You are helping people with your insights.

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Lori October 7, 2014 at 2:08 pm

great analogy – you are so good with those
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Alison C. October 7, 2014 at 4:23 pm

Good thinking! For me, acceptance is the key! I have accepted that I canNOT eat like everybody else. I canNOT snack between meals, or eat junk food. I have a large list of foods that I canNOT handle, and I just accept that and refuse to eat them under any circumstance. This list includes cookies and cakes, but also things like saltines and nut butters. I know that for me, these are poisonous snakes! I also have a fringe list of things that I must be VERY CAREFUL with. Like almonds. I was fine with having a serving of them each day, but then I was having 2 servings, and then the servings were increasing, so I had to cut them out (at least for a while). White bread is also on this list. Sometimes I can just make a sandwich with it, sometimes I eat the whole loaf! These are snakes that I’m not sure if they are poisonous or not, but my best course of action is to avoid them unless they are in a very controlled atmosphere (for example, a sandwich at a restaurant where I can’t eat any more bread than what they made the sandwich with). So I love your analogy, and I too, sometimes play with snakes, but everyday I accept and turn over to God that I cannot handle those poisonous snakes and through His strength alone can I avoid them. Thanks for another great post today!

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John (Daddy Runs a Lot) October 7, 2014 at 6:58 pm

Ok, snake & nailed it had me thinking of Harry Potter & the Half-Blood Prince and now I think you’re a parselmouth who nails snakes to her door.

🙂

As far as how you handled the snake . . . I think you did the right thing by not killing it. The snake vanished in the grass — sure, you could have killed it, but that wouldn’t affect any of the other snakes that are lying in the grass . . . this one just *up* and disappeared, meaning that there could have been any number just sitting there (this isn’t meant to freak you out, I promise, I’m going somewhere with this) . . . the fire that you chose not to play with is everywhere. Some of it, we need to actively reject, some of it we need to let go . . .

Keeping it as a pet? Yeah, doing that, you’re going to get burned . . . but if you extinguish EVERY fire, you’re asking for trouble – there are some wildfires that need to burn, they clear the brush and make it so that, if a big fire comes through, they do FAR LESS damage. Putting out every fire is as dangerous as trying to tame the fire. We need something in the middle, where you’re protecting yourself and your sanity.
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Sam of TipsOfTheScale.com October 7, 2014 at 10:37 pm

While the on-or-off approach doesn’t work for everyone, your self-awareness about this aspect of yourself and your relationship with food is a HUGE deal.

Good on you for being honest with yourself (and us) about it, and now you’re armed with that knowledge for how to plan.
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KD October 8, 2014 at 5:31 am

I get your analogy between the snake and your troubles with food. But I think the more important thing this ‘snake incident’ illustrates is, as you said, your ability to face your fears. It might not be pretty but you get it done and in the process showed your kids that although you may not be thrilled with a situation you are capable and willing to deal with whatever life throws at you. And show curiosity and willingness to learn about stuff even if it’s icky and wiggles fast!

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AM October 8, 2014 at 12:14 pm

I hope you do not kill the snake, literally or figuratively. The problem isn’t the snake (or the food); it’s our reaction to it – so what needs to change is us.

The snake was doing something natural and good for the snake – either finding shelter or out on an adventure. No reason to get killed.

Food is neither good nor bad. It’s just food. How we use it, abuse it, love it and deny it are all about us.

When I started my weight loss journey I had to fix so many things inside me first. I needed to figure out why I abused food. I needed to like myself. So I did some emotional healing (not fun, but thank goodness for therapists and the health care system – I suffer from depression). While that was going on, I did learn about food – the nutritional aspects and what I needed for fuel. The hard work came when I had to figure out what I would use in place of food when things got tough. Again, a good therapist helps. Learning how to sleep properly went a long way to healing my body.

So 150 pounds off later, I’m still me – still have depression, still have stress, and still eat food everyday. And I have other ways now to handle the emotions that food used to feed. Not all days are perfect. It took a year to get the weight off. I’m only 2 months into maintaining it.

Most days I can look at chocolate, sugar and other triggers and not need them. Most days when I go seeking comfort in food, I can stop myself first and figure out what I really need and find something else to smooth the rough edges – love of family goes a long way here. Love of self is paramount.

And being smart helps – I don’t keep certain foods around that I shouldn’t be eating. This is no different than editing friendships and relationships that are no longer healthy. I try to make my food environment work for me – good options in the house; meals prepared in advance; just enough variety to keep me satisfied without being tempted. I weigh and measure my food and log what I eat.

Chocolate is not evil. When I need (or think I need) food to comfort, it’s time to look at me. I didn’t kill my snake – I can now live with it without fear.

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Cindy R October 9, 2014 at 2:42 pm

I loved this post and laughed so hard when I read it. A couple if weeks ago I went to open the back door there was a HUGE snack sprawled right where I would have put my foot on it. After screaming I determined it was not a rattle snake, which are common here in New Mexico. I opened and closed the screen door several times until it slithered off.

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Holly from 300 Pounds Down October 9, 2014 at 8:10 pm

I used to live in New Mexico!! We sometimes got tarantulas in our house. I cannot say I ever stopped being completely scared of them but I did learn to sweep them out of the house and move on. We also had a coyote in the neighborhood a few times, a huge snake in our tire, a scorpion in the bed, nuclear sized cockroaches and something called a vinegaroon. Honestly when I think back on all the things I had to deal with there, I wonder why I was so scared of a little snake?!!! I guess all that city living made me weak! hahahaha

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Tess October 13, 2014 at 3:00 pm

Funny you say this! One of my dear friends lost a bunch of weight, over 100 pounds, then gained it all back. I was talking to her and she said “I just got cocky.” I didn’t get it at first, but I do now. That was a few years ago, and nowadays every time I feel like I got this, I warn myself “don’t get cocky!” 🙂

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Danna October 14, 2014 at 12:57 am

You are a straight up superhero! I mean if there was a snake in my garage, I’d pull the kids in the house, lock the door, call a realtor and put the house up for sale. I’d have to hire movers because I’d never go in that garage again.

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