Wednesday, April 16, 2014
When you're the person who lives with a sneaker, you walk that delicate line of ignoring the signs and letting them know you know stuff is missing. For example, he buys a package of light swiss cheese for his sandwiches that he packs for work. There are ten servings in that package meaning that if he used one slice of cheese every single day for lunch, he'd have enough to last the entire two weeks until we made it back to Trader Joe's for big haul grocery day. He doesn't have sandwiches every single day that require cheese (ie-PB&J) so technically he should've had two slices leftover at the end of the two week period if he didn't put them on eggs or something like that. Sometimes a day into the second week, his cheese would be gone. I'd see the wrapper in the trash and know that the times I saw his jaw chewing in the kitchen, that's what he was eating while he was making his lunch. A baby carrot is one thing, a few calories but this was a 50 calorie slice of cheese, which doesn't sound like much but when it's not being recorded, it all adds up. Just like every lick off of our fingers or spoon. I would on occasion say "the cheese is gone already?" and he'd say "yeah" and change the subject or not answer me. I'm not his mama and I didn't want to shame him into going into a worse cycle. I know that feeling of spite bingeing from back in the day but also wanted to give him an opening if he wanted to talk about it.
The night I asked the Mr about the cookie butter, I knew the answer. He could deny it all he wanted but the last time I used that, there was half a jar left and when I opened it that morning, I could barely scrape together the tablespoon to spread on my banana. Measuring condiments is second nature to me and I have tried to stress its importance to him as well. I knew that he didn't measure mayo and I would see the jar going down at a rapid rate and given I only use 3 tbsp per week, I knew it wasn't me draining it. But again, I'm not his mother and nagging him to death about it could only exacerbate the issue so I would ask if he measured, he'd give me the deer in headlights look or get defensive and I'd drop it.
When he finally came clean to me before our workout a few days after asking about the cookie butter, I could tell he was ashamed. We've had this conversation many times over the years so it was nothing new but then he told me about how much he was sneaking at work. How he would wait until people were gone and then raid the candy dish for Special Darks and Krackels. One time he got caught by his co-worker who frequently raided the candy dish and he said "hey did you ask permission first?" (This was something the owner of said dish would apparently say. You could eat from her candy dish but only if you asked permission first. Uh okay, power trip. She also would pick out some Special Darks for the Mr and give them to him but then if he would get in the candy dish on his own, she'd say "is that on your DIET!?" Oh, is that the drug dealer calling the junkie an addict? Wow lady) Oh yeah, so the co-worker asked if he asked permission and he said no but offered up one of his favorites, Mr Goodbar as a distraction method for getting caught. For once, the co-worker was trying to be good that week and declined it. So the Mr only did it when the guy was out or he was sure he wouldn't be back any time soon. This wasn't an all the time occurrence but he said that there was no "thrill" for him if people were around but it was "can I get away with this?" The previous week, he had 5 mini Reese eggs at 90 calories a piece. When I went up to shower, he apparently figured "f**k it, I already blew my day" and scooped out a few tablespoons of Nutella and cookie butter netting him almost 1000 extra calories total for that day in sneaks.
As he continued to pour his heart out and tell me how ashamed he was and how tired he was of it all, I hugged him and told him we didn't have to buy those things anymore. He said that wasn't fair to me because I knew how to eat them responsibly but if I could hide them from him, it would help. So we began to formulate a plan on how we could get this under control. We agreed that after every use, we would weigh things that needed to be measured...
|All Natural peanut butter...yummy but a quick 200 calories for 2 tbsp|
|The light Miracle Whip is a biggie. After every use, the weight is crossed off and re-recorded|
|Nutella...temptress in a jar.|
|Crunchy cookie butter...delicious with a tablespoon on a banana...dangerous when not in the right mindset.|
Another big change we made? Our after workout routine. He usually made his lunch while I was in the shower, giving him free reign if he was in the mood to sneak. Now? We both go upstairs and I get in the shower and he gets to properly unwind from the day by reading "The End is Nigh (The Apocalypse Triptych)" on his Kindle. Then when he gets in the shower, I get to focus on doing my ankle massages so my legs don't make me regret skipping the next day. This has forced me to take care of a big part of my physical therapy that I wasn't so good at maintaining before so the change in routine has benefitted both of us. Also, he now makes his lunch while I'm preparing dinner so that we're both in the kitchen together and he can't sneak anything. I prepare our snacks at night too.
This new routine actually allows us to focus more on our mental health and doing those little rituals for ourselves (like actually using the anti-hag face cream I bought) that we might otherwise skip. We've been doing this for just over a month and it has really been helpful. He knows when he's tempted at work, that he can either chat me and I can talk him down (ie-when two boxes of Thin Mint girl scout cookies arrived from a client and I told him they were full of maggots. When he was somewhat silent, I told him God was watching to appeal to the inner choir boy of his youth. He gave them to the candy dish girl who also makes treats for the office and makes a Thin Mint cheesecake. So proud!) Or if the Special Darks start calling his name, I made him a picture that kills his appetite...
I'm about to show it...
If bugs make you queasy, skip it...
I'm so proud of the progress he's made this past month and I know that he knows he can tell me about the hard days and the temptation he passed up. If we keep up this routine, I think it can go a long way in helping to deal with it for the long term. There will always be temptation and there will always be days where you mentally fight with yourself to step away from the candy dish or the Nutella jar but each victory is one to be celebrated!
A funny side note, the Mr said that Monday he was thinking about checking the candy dish since it had been a month since he saw it, you know, "just to check" to see what was in there. That is when my chat popped up asking if he wanted to write the story about his struggle and progress. HA! That took care of getting his mind off of the candy dish pretty quick!
Do you put a plan of action into place when dealing with your food demons or try to wing it and hope it'll get better on its own?
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