Saboteurs and Stuffing Waffles

I had the telly tuned in to Guy Fierri’s Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives last night for some background noise while finishing up a deadline, when my ears caught hold of a recipe from a joint he was visiting called Funk-N-Waffles. I looked up to see the restaurant’s owner prepping a specialty of their house, a complete turkey dinner perched atop a ginormous waffle that’s made of stuffing. Yup. Everything that comprises holiday stuffing – breadcrumbs, celery, onion, eggs, savory – is blended and shoved into a waffle iron and, five minutes later, it’s the base for a massive feast of turkey, mashed potatoes and cranberry sauce that’s drowned in a ridiculous amount of gravy. No shit, I think I actually heard the sound of my own arteries hardening. But sinful and excessive as this spectacle was, I drooled the entire time I watched it.

Curse you, Food Channel.
Actually, curse you, ME.

I am currently on a food plan (read: DIET) because for the past few years, I’ve become pretty overweight. Wait: I’m lying for having just used the term pretty overweight in that last sentence. The truth is that I’m fat.

There. I’ve written it.

How this happened isn’t so important as what needs to be done about it, but in short the downward spiral began when I quit smoking. Because I knew the process would be difficult and mess with my metabolism, I granted myself some leniency regarding any resulting weight gain (leniency being the understatement of the century). My rationale was that I could take care of the weight once I got over the hump of quitting. And just to make matters worse, I was hardly thin to begin with…

But the plan went horribly wrong when I a) abused it by eating whatever I wanted without any second thought and b) continued to use that excuse without any imposed limit (time, weight or otherwise).  I never fully realized this (or at least acknowledged it) until I recently found myself in two situations, the first being when a friend asked when I’d stopped smoking and I heard myself respond, ‘three years ago this week.’

WAIT – Three years ago?

I’ve been using this pathetic excuse for THREE YEARS?

What kind of cruel fucking joke have I been playing on myself??

The second situation occurred last month at the end of a brief holiday with Rick in California when, during one my of return flights, I required the use of a seatbelt extender for the first time in my life.*

Holy shit.

Now, I could rationalize away this moment by explaining that it was a very small plane with really tiny seats and tell you how the flight attendant assured me that lots of people need those extenders on this particular aircraft – but while all of this is true, I’m frankly out of rationalizations. This moment was intensely sobering. That extender made me realize that I’d been extending my excuses (and waistline) to the very brink of my health.

My denial was no longer deniable.

So when I returned home, I tossed the bad food, filled the fridge with myriad veggies and low-fat items and leapt head-first into a great food plan I found online. My timing was less than perfect, as the holidays were right around the corner, but I decided to take the plan out for a test drive that first week and then – while being more mindful of my food choices  – hold off on going full in until the new year began.

Which is right about… oh, NOW, by the way.

The good news: the plan is officially in full swing and I’m eating better. I won’t be able to attest to any measure (pun intended) of success for some time, but the food’s yummy and I’m off to a great start.

The bad news: old habits die hard. After having copied down the coronary bypass stuffing waffle recipe last night, I found myself halfway through the online purchase of a new waffle iron before I realized the absurdity of this action.

Two days into the freaking plan!!!!! What the…??

Why is self sabotage so much a part of who we are? Why is our number-one enemy always ourselves?

If I’m going to win, I need to get the bitch in my head to come on board and stop trying to buy waffle irons – or watching The Food Channel.

I need her to realize not only the importance of this plan, but the crucial role she plays in the success of it.

I need her to see that this is not a temporary measure, but a series of lifetime, lifestyle changes. New habits to forge, new ways of thinking.

I need her to work with me and not against me. I need her to know that I cannot do this without her.

So because I know she needs visual reminders, I hung the seatbelt extender (which I – ahem, temporarily borrowed from United Airlines) on my wall this morning. It’s our new talisman… the perfect flag for us to carry arm in arm into battle. I am hopeful that this – along with other tactics, will prevent any further acts of self sabotage.

I’m far from happy to be in this situation, but I alone created it, and I know that only I can change it. And I will. It’s the next of several moves I’ve already made toward being a better me. This time when I’ve succeeded, there will be less of me. Which is better.

(Perhaps in the meantime, someone will revise the stuffing waffle recipe so that it doesn’t exceed the USDA’s daily fat intake for a family of seven.)

And to any United Airlines officials (or tattlers) out there reading this post, I promise to return the extender. Soon as I no longer need it. Both off the plane, and on.


* My sincerest, deepest thanks to the flight attendants at UAL: personally upsetting as it was, their kindness and discretion prevented this event from morphing into a public horror.