Stop Violating the Terms of Your “Probation”

January 4, 2016 in Uncategorized

Probation is defined as:

A sentence whereby a convict is released from confinement

But is still under court supervision.

A testing or a trial period.”

The word “probation” is actually derived from probatum which is Latin for “The act of proving”

If you are released from prison on probation, then you are free within limits.   But you have to prove that you can follow the rules.

The same can be said for those of us who struggle with food issues.  You may get control over them.  You may even feel free of those issues.

But you are only as free as your ability to live within the terms of your probation.

If you violate those terms, you may find yourself back in handcuffs

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As the New Year has approached, I’ve asked myself….WHY???

Why have I struggled for so long to pull it together?

What happened to get me on the path to regaining weight and losing control?  And why have I struggled so much with my various attempts to get back on track?

The answer is simple.  But I wish it wasn’t.

I’d rather it be complex.  Because that is the only thing that would justify losing 250 pounds and gaining back 100.

It’s the only thing that could validate leaving hell and then willingly going back to it.

You see it NEEDS to be complicated.

It needs to be a labyrinth! A maze!! A perplexing entanglement that I could not ever have have avoided.

Because if it’s not—if it’s just simple—then there IS no excuse.  No credible reason for me to have let it happen.

And then I simply am left with the reality.

The very simple reality that I stepped into a big pile of you know what ON PURPOSE.  Like someone who runs a red light.

Some reckless individual who steps into traffic for the fun of it.  A fool playing chicken with the train.

And I’m that fool.  That reckless individual.

Like a prisoner condemned to a life sentence who was given a reprieve.  But a reprieve doesn’t always mean a pardon.

It means your imprisonment has been put on hold.

PAUSED

And you’re allowed freedom so long as you follow the rules of your probation!!

I’m that prisoner who walked out into freedom and then forgot she was just on a reprieve.

I violated  every single rule of my probation on purpose.  Landing me back into the cell once again.

You simply cannot do that if you want to be free.

You can’t violate the rules of your probation! And for me that is what my freedom is like.  Because I’m only free as long as I follow the plan.

You must be relentless.  

You must know your boundaries and not waiver.

I cannot eat sugar.  I’m addicted to it.  I have been from my earliest memories.  I didn’t always know sugar was the culprit.  But once I did there was no denying it.  And once I consume it—game over.  I have lost years of my life playing with fire.  YEARS.

Cheat days.  Free days.  Those don’t work for me.  They do for some but never for me.  Give an alcoholic a free day.  And see what happens.

It’s no different for me with sugar.

And then there are my trigger foods.  Things that aren’t particularly SUGAR-Y but still give me problems.  Like chips.  Tacos.  Pizza.

Even if you make an alternative version of these foods (which I have recently done) they trigger me.  Even horribly tastelesss alternative versions still lead me back eventually to the real thing.

People often believe that totally eliminating the foods you have identified as problems for you is ultimately too unrealistic.

That it’s too strict.  Too much trouble.  And that by refusing to eat them, you will only go back with a vengeance one day.  That it’s because you eliminate them, that you end up going back to them.  But for me that’s not true.

I never went back to sugar or my trigger foods because it finally just became too much being without them.  I never went back to them because I tried to avoid them and it became all too much.   Like someone who daily is obsessing over it and just can’t take it anymore.

Once eliminated, they were gone from my mind.  The switch was turned off.  I no longer even cared.  I could watch someone eat them and have little interest at all.  It almost never entered my thoughts.

And that is actually where the problem began.  Because I COULD sit there and watch someone else eat ice cream with no temptations.

And that made me feel AMAZING.  That made me feel powerful.

And I mistakenly attributed that to ME.  To some kind of willpower I had suddenly achieved.

But it wasn’t willpower.   It was just the very simple fact that sugar wasn’t in my system anymore.  And because it wasn’t in my system anymore,  I no longer felt the addictive effects of it.  And because of THAT, I didn’t need it, want it or crave it.  So I could sit there and watch someone else eat things that I used to be unable to avoid–only now I had absolutely no desire to join them.  But NOT because I was no longer a sugar addict.

My ability to eat “normally” was directly tied to my relentless dedication to not eating refined sugar.  Not getting it in me to begin with.

But then I decided….NOPE…it’s ALL ME!

“I GOT THIS”-—I’m sure you’ve heard that phrase.  And for awhile there I thought I was in charge.

I stopped viewing myself as someone with a serious food addiction.  As someone with issues.  And I decided I was FIXED. Normal.

I was stronger now.

I stopped attributing my success to my well laid plans.  To a careful adherence to routines.  And I stopped seeing those plans and routines as sacred.

I never drive my car around when the gas light comes on.  Because I’ve run out of gas and it’s no fun.  So even if it means I’m late to wherever it is I’m going—I stop to put gas in the car.  Because I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that when the light comes on–its nonnegotiable.

I used to drive a car that had a gas light which came on when I still had a few days in the tank.  Even on Monday, I knew I could go until Wednesday.  It was risky of course but I knew the car.  And I knew I had time.  It wasn’t urgent.  But not this car.  This car doesn’t play.  When the light comes on—it’s DIRE.  I better get there soon or I’m going to be empty.

I know my car is that way so now I don’t mess around.  I don’t even let it get close.  When I even see it getting close, I pull over.  I fill it up.  I’m not interesting in getting stranded.

And I used to view my body that way.  I used to understand that.  And I had a healthy ‘fear’ of it if you want to call it that.  Because I knew that if I ate certain things there was no guarantee that I wouldn’t get sucked back into that pit.  So like someone who doesn’t want to get burned, I ran like hell from that threat.  And I handled my food plan like a guard dedicated to standing watch.  There was NO comprimise.  Not for any reason.

I was the same with exercise.  I had a plan and I adhered to it.  Even sick or in the rain, I was there.  I didn’t care if it was 5 minutes.  I did what I could because I understood the inner workings of my mind.  I knew I was only one missed workout away from quitting.  Because when I start getting lazy…making excuses….one day turns into a week.  A month.  Or a year.

That’s why I have to show up even if it’s for 5 minutes.   Even if I don’t get much done.

Because the minute I tell myself, it’s ok “just this once”…-I’ve already lost.

Something is always better than nothing.  And in my world that something can be 30 seconds– but it has to exist.  Otherwise, I quit.

It boils down to compromise.  And with some things in life you simply just can’t compromise.

The mortgage bill can’t be ignored.  The light bill can’t be shoved in a drawer.  And sugar can’t be eaten by me.  Not even because it’s someone’s wedding.  Or because it’s their birthday.

And especially not because I’ve lost 250 pounds and can fit into normal clothes so now I think I’m a wizard.  Or a superhero.  Or I’m some kind of bad ass that doesn’t need restrictions anymore.

I’m no bad ass (forgive my language).  I’m not special.  I don’t have super powers.  I had success in weight loss for one simple reason.

I knew I was nothing more than a prisoner out on probation.

Someone who was only free if she stuck to the boundaries within which her freedom was sustained.

And I stuck to my plan with a relentless dedication.

I viewed wavering from that plan in the same way I would view someone who walks to the edge of a cliff and leans over it  just for fun.

But then I did it anyway. I walked to the edge.  I leaned over the railing.   I violated the terms of my probation.  And justice was served.

I got exactly what I asked for.

I fell in.

There is no mystery here.  No reason to reach my hands to the heavens and scream WHY??

I fell back in the pit because I chose to compromise.  I knew what worked for me and then I decided not to follow it.

We aren’t all made in the same way.  Not all of us have addictive qualities.  We don’t all have to eliminate sugar.  We don’t all have to eliminate flour, grains, alcohol or whatever else it might be that causes you problems.  But for those of us who DO have those issues–there really can be no compromise.

For far too long, I’ve been the fool with that cupcake in her hand talking about my glory days.

Back when I had lost 250 pounds and had control.  How I wish I could get it back like it’s some mystery as to why I can’t.

I fell back into the pit because I jumped the railing.   And now it’s time to shut up already and  just start climbing out.

Because there really is no other way to get out other than to start climbing.  And that means following the ‘rules’ of what works for YOU.

That means not violating your probation.

As the definition states, probation is a “testing period”.  It’s  a trial run.  And after I gained freedom, I was tested.  And failed miserably.

But that alone does not spell the end.   Not if you still wake up alive and have another 24 hours in front of you.

So now–I have to just start climbing out of that pit.

It does help if someone grabs your hand and says “Let’s go”.  And I’ve had a few people in my life doing that lately.   And it’s helping A LOT

So if you need that then grab my hand.  Because I’m tired of this pit.  And it’s getting old.

Let’s GO!

 

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{ 24 comments… read them below or add one }

Lori January 4, 2016 at 3:27 pm

I too am a sugar addict. I lost weight fast and “easy” on Atkins. What happened after that is that I tried a little of this and a little of that and I gained it all back and then some. I can not just have a taste. Just one. That doesn’t work for me. It’s always been all or nothing. But, what I realize now is that my mind set had not changed. Only my eating habits. Once I got my head and food joined together, I didn’t binge. I could actually have a little of the “good stuff” and not go over board. Everyone is different but we all feel the same way. Failure isn’t the hard part, getting control back is. I’m with you on this. My hand is reaching out and pulling you up and onward!
Lori recently posted..A New Year, A New MeMy Profile

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Holly from 300 Pounds Down January 4, 2016 at 5:11 pm

Thank you Lori!!! I agree that the head has to get on board!! So true!

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Pam January 4, 2016 at 4:11 pm

Holly, so glad you’re back. I too, fell off. 2015 was a year of bad eating and gaining almost 50 lbs. I got back on track momentarily late this Fall, until Christmas. I had lost 12 lbs., but regained 6 of those over the holidays. How quickly it comes back on. But my son is getting married in October, and he fights his weight too, so together we joined Chris & Heidi Powell’s latest Diet Bet, (I lost a smaller regain in 2014 with several Diet Bets) and we are both determined to get back on the wagon and be svelte by Wedding Day! I’m headed to the grocery store now to stock up on healthy food and hubs threw out all the Christmas goodies this morning. I’ve got some cashew (easy on the cashews) chicken in the crockpot for supper. I’m back. I like what you said:
“You must be relentless.
You must know your boundaries and not waiver.”
As far as I’m concerned, you need to be obsessed with the whole process. I was like that for 5 years before losing my way. I’m excited to feel that obsession again and get that control back. Let’s Do This HOLLY! Can’t wait to follow your journey to success as I work on my own!
Pam recently posted..Still Plugging AwayMy Profile

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Holly from 300 Pounds Down January 4, 2016 at 5:10 pm

Pam–I love you. You have been an inspiration to me for a long time. Not just with weight loss but in the challenges you have faced with cancer and the amazing dedication to Du (spelling?) that you have shown. I really admire you so much and your support means a lot to me. I have to agree with you. We are going to be obsessed with something! Why not have it be what helps us instead of what hurts us? I’m already pretty OCD as it is. When it is focused on the right things it is a blessing. Otherwise…not so much! I agree…Lets do this!! And I will be following that link to your spark page!

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ErinK January 4, 2016 at 5:21 pm

Amen sister! My “just this one day” on Thanksgiving turned into everyday through Christmas. Why? Sugar and carbs! Even the supposedly “good” kind of carbs. I love the phrase “violating the terms of your probation”. I am a sugar/carb addict – it does horrible things to me physically, mentally and emotionally. I just have to eliminate it to stay healthy, and lose the weight I’ve gained back the last two years. It’s so cliche, but I committed to starting over and eating clean on Jan. 1st, and I’m in the sweet, peaceful place of ketosis. Where I intend to stay!
P.S.: I’m so glad you’re writing again! I’ve read your whole story from the very beginning, and you’ve been a huge source of inspiration the last few years. Let’s do this!! : )

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16blessingsmom January 4, 2016 at 5:31 pm

I HAVE to be obsessed with my health, and my eating. And that involves keeping my eyes on ME. Just because someone else can eat a cookie does not mean that I can eat a cookie. Because when I eat a cookie, the monster in me takes over…and COOKIES!!!!! Yay, we’re eating cookies! May as well eat some chocolate, too! Yay! Sugar and I don’t get along at all. I thought I could sneak through the holidays and enjoy some treats, but it was miserable. I didn’t eat a tenth of what I really wanted, because when I have a little, I want it all…yet pounds came back. I feel WAY better when I just avoid it all, keep it at bay, eat ONLY good stuff. It has been so difficult to get back out of the clutches of sugar. I never want to go there again. Holly, I am thankful for you, thankful for the age we live in, that we can connect and help each other. Keep on the straight and narrow, and know that you are not alone!

Della

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Anna January 4, 2016 at 6:24 pm

Proverbs 24;16….Just keep getting up, Holly!!! You can! Its a stronghold from a dark place that says “can’t”. I love your blog. You inspire me!!!!

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Jennifer January 4, 2016 at 7:09 pm

I’ve got two words for you. Thirty. Seconds. You said this and you did this. You only have to do it for thirty seconds. I’ve been reading you since I’ve started my own weight loss journey and I’ve used this analogy over and over. No matter how hard it is you only have to do it for thirty seconds.

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Lori January 4, 2016 at 7:52 pm

I am so glad you’re back! Let’s go together.
Lori

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Mickie Gibbs January 4, 2016 at 9:36 pm

I love this post. Having lost 50 pounds and regained 30 of it, I get it.

I, too, violated my probation. I broke laws I knew I couldn’t break and get away with it. I, too, started with “a little of this, a little of that.”

I, too, am climbing out of the pit.

A couple of things I’ve learned:
Don’t beat yourself up. Acknowledge the problems but focus on the solutions.

Just do it. Use what you know works for YOU – not anyone else – and just do it.
For me, that’s paying attention to carb levels.
And eliminating French fries. I’ve identified them as the main food keeping me from reaching my goals, and as of last week, I no longer eat them. They are not on the menu. I am free from fries. (and I need to never forget that they part of the terms of my probation that cannot be violated)

Today was my first “official” weigh-in of 2016. I lost 3 pounds last year.

Big whoop, right? But, given that each of the previous 3 years had seen a 10 pound gain or so, I’m happy. I’m winning. I’m learning.

I continue to refine my food template and will focus on what works for ME!

Thanks for sharing your heart. And here’s another hand.

Let’s Go!

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Laura January 4, 2016 at 9:48 pm

Holly , am so happy you’re writing again. You’re my sister in this thing and I need you. My story is similar although with some nasty little twists. Forgive my language , mom started calling me a little fat slut at the age of 5 . Right ?!?! I wish I was making it up and it haunts me to this day , 50 years later.. She also used bulimia as a ” weight control ” mechanism while shoving something sweet into our ( her children ) faces . All 3 of us ( two sisters ) have food issues amongst other issues. So where am I going with this ?? I just want to encourage you to press on and run the race that is set before us …. I deeply appreciate your fight , words , ministry , etc … Thank you and bless you in 2016

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Keranna January 5, 2016 at 12:04 am

I’m with you! Thank you for the out stretched hand. I’m praying for you Holly- I’m so glad you are writing again. All the Best…

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Robbie February 10, 2016 at 7:23 am

Imsrispeve brain power at work! Great answer!

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TheAgonyOfBeingFat January 5, 2016 at 1:26 am

It’s so easy to lose control and hard to gain it. You’re not alone in this struggle!
TheAgonyOfBeingFat recently posted..Unhappy New YearMy Profile

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LHA January 5, 2016 at 2:19 am

You are inspiring! I am grabbing your hand and extending my own to be grabbed as well. There are many of us pulling each other up and out and on to better health. What a wonderful post!

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Dawn W January 5, 2016 at 5:11 am

Simple Carbs are my downfall and once they are in my system, I start to crave more of them. I even cut out a lot of fruit because the sugars just made me want more. I’ve had to make some serious adjustments to my diet but more in the way I view my meals. Rather than focusing on what I can’t have, I started to eat to reflect what my fitness goals are, including actually eating more calories to properly fuel my tank so I don’t burn my muscle instead of fat. It’s been a huge learning curve for me this time around but I am motivated and focused. I am happy that you have discovered your trigger. It makes a huge difference when we know how to avoid the pitfall. Let’s go because we got this!!
Dawn W recently posted..For Better or Worse…Unless you Gain Weight???My Profile

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Beth M January 5, 2016 at 11:16 pm

Wow – great analogy! I’m grabbing your hand and climbing out with you. I’m taking a really interesting class talking about the Sugar — Fat — Salt trifecta or hyper-palatable foods, and it’s really opened my eyes to the salt issue. I hadn’t thought much about salt until now, mostly because researchers I trust have indicated the science on the health risks of salt isn’t really that well supported. But I’m realizing that when it comes to food addiction, salt can play a huge role as well. And it doesn’t take all three (fat, salt, and sugar), really – any two will suffice to light up those brain chemicals and send us down a bad road. Sigh… farewell popcorn, I loved you so….
But being super careful with all three and retraining my taste buds to appreciate more simple, healthy, unprocessed food are part of the terms of my parole, and it’s SO WORTH IT, right? Feeling healthy, and happy, having the energy to be active, participating in life and achieving goals, it’s all well worth the sacrifices required. Let’s do this!

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Kath January 6, 2016 at 7:48 am

I am so pleased to read this
So pleased that you are willing to fight again
I am joining you …. this year we are getting out lives back
Here if you ever need it

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Wendy @ Wholistic Woman January 7, 2016 at 5:26 pm

Thank you for sharing, the struggle is real! I have learned that for ME, I can’t have rigid rules and off limit foods, or I rebel and crave them way more than giving myself permission to have them occasionally. It’s such a head trip and personal journey, this weight thing.
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Tara January 8, 2016 at 10:17 pm

So glad to see this post, Holly. You are truly an inspiration to me, not just because of your successes but because you are so honest about both the successes and the failures. You write beautifully, truly. (I think about your post with the bus waiting for you and your kids all the time. :)) And being able to own up to what went wrong is tough. I lost about 50 pounds two years ago, then gained back 65 (for what seemed like the fifth time) over the next two years. This year I lost 50 and I know I have to have this same attitude–you don’t just get free days and cheat days and a little taste here and there without it coming back to bite you. I too got overconfident. And now it’s back to the start.

Best of luck to you in 2016. Looking forward to our successes. 🙂

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robin January 12, 2016 at 11:27 am

I wish I could admit to this addiction and be done and I just haven’t been able to do it. I know for a fact it’s there. For some crazy Ass reason I can’t let go. Can’t really even go for a period of time to see if it works for me. When I quit smoking 14 years ago, a 20 year habit, 2 packs a day I did it cold turkey. I knew it was killing me, and I knew never ever would I be allowed even one drag off a cigarette again. Because if I did take that one puff I’d be right back at it. I never have tested this nor will I. So why can’t I make myself try this whole sugar thing?? What’s to fear maybe it would finally be freedom.

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Amanda January 14, 2016 at 7:58 pm

Me too. Here. I’ve spent the last year and a half regaining 100 of a 210 pound loss, because I was in denial. Trying to create a new reality where there is a middle ground between total sugar sobriety and abject gluttony. I don’t want to have to choose. I got cocky. Confident. Tired of the fight. I basically had a grown-up tantrum because I don’t like my two options. I hate that I don’t get to choose to moderately enjoy sugar. I despise that I’m “all or nothing”, so I convinced myself that I wasn’t. Ha!! Hello failure! I love your analogy of probation, it puts things in perspective. It never goes away. I can choose fat-jail or ACCEPT and FOLLOW the terms of release. That’s all. No middle ground or third option. It sucks and I hate it! But that’s reality and I can either work with what I’ve got, or give up and eat myself to death. At least I’m not alone!!!

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Wendy January 16, 2016 at 9:11 pm

Thank you SO much for your honesty. I find myself in the same boat, having lost a lot of weight and seeing the scale inch back up first 40 pounds, now 50. I’m scared to death that it will just keep going up. But, as you said, it’s not complex and I need to do what I know works. Thanks for the inspiration and honesty. I will definitely be checking back in for encouragement. You go girl!

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Sue March 13, 2016 at 3:46 pm

I can so relate to what you are saying…only my prison sentence is debilitating knee pain. You see I was scheduled for total knee replacement surgery 3 weeks ago…but 2 days before they decided my blood sugar was too high and this surgery has a high risk for infection. I am not quite in the pre-diabetic range, but it needed to be lower for surgery. So they gave me 1 month to get it in the normal range and put me on diabetes medication. First meds made me so sick I couldn’t take them, second one brought it way too low and I would have to eat something sweet to bring it up, and had a side effect of weight gain. I already am a sugar addict with over a hundred pounds to lose, so that being said I stopped taking it. I was so afraid I wouldn’t be able to have the surgery that I started eating very clean and stopped all sugar. Well miracles of all miracles the cravings went away, blood sugar went down, and almost all the pain went away. The pain was caused from all the inflamation and swelling from the sugar. Never knew food was that powerful…So I had 3 weeks of clean eating, cancelled the surgery and felt on top of the world. Then thought I could get my fix from sugar free things, which just set up a craving for real sugar and sweets. Needless to say, after 2 days of binging I can’t walk again, and am in tremendous pain. But through all this realized sugar is the real culprit and eating clean is the key to no pain. Now I just have to fight my way clean again and do everything in my power to stay there. Very hard….I know what you are going through.

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