Don't Let's Call It a Diet, Lent

Turn these scones into bread

Petite vanilla bean scone I was standing in the local coffee shop in Yarmouth this morning, waiting for two cups of coffee to go, one for my colleague, K, and one for me. I was waiting and looking at the baked goods in the glass case.

There were raspberry muffins (I've seen him eat one before) and lovely, enormous scones, scones nearly as big as my head.

Scones beyond reckoning. 

Maybe not that big, but you get the idea. 

And the tiny little bird on one shoulder said, "Oh, why not?" "You can take a muffin for K and a scone for yourself. They look delicious!"

And the tiny little bird on the other said, but only after a long moment of hesitation, "Nope."

It's not because of Lent that I've returned to the discipline of following Weight Watchers, but the Lenten themes of fasting and sacrifice certainly seem appropriate, even if we're hoping to do something that will be a life change instead of a "diet."

Don't Let's Call It a Diet. That's the category I assigned to posts about my weight loss journey when I began it in earnest in 2007. I reached a point in my life where my doctor threatened blood pressure medication unless I got myself in hand, and as those of you who've known me or been reading along for a long time know, I spent the next year following the program pretty faithfully, despite running into the roadblock of Rheumatoid Arthritis in the second part of the year.

Illness was one thing. I continued to lose weight when I first got sick. Maybe that's *why* I did, at least in part, lose as much weight as I did. Prednisone put a stop to weight loss, in the short term, but mostly feeling sorry for myself did. I spent the fall of 2008 feeling sorry for myself and eating. Around Christmas I decided it had to stop, went back to a Weight Watchers meeting in January, and got back on track. I wrote about it. I followed the program. But I didn't successfully change my life.

I didn't.

I can see it in the Weight Loss graph and chart on the WW website by looking at the last date I weighed in (March 26, 2009) and then looking at the number I had to chart in January of 2010. In between there's a vast empty place in my memory, a sort of blind willfulness about what I put into my mouth. Work was stressful, my husband's absence for work stressful, whatever whatever whatever was…stressful.


I'm trying again, and I've been reluctant to blog about it, because, seriously, we've been down this road before, and why should this time be any different? I can't promise it will be, but I'm trying. I'd like to get back to a point I reached almost two years ago. That's my goal for now, but my real goal is to relearn eating and to have a conscious relationship with food.

It's embarrassing to think of the number of times I've read books on the topic. How many attempts are we allowed in this life before there are no more chances? 

I believe in redemption, that we can change, that where there is life, there is hope. But I know it's hard. I know the source of hunger for scones instead of bread is not some external tempter, but an inner condition. 

I know the devil that tempts me looks less like a serpent and more like me.

13 thoughts on “Turn these scones into bread”

  1. You’ve been down the road before, yes and no. Think about how much self-knowledge you’ve generated on the paths you’ve trod, how many different sorts of stressors you’ve met and dealt with, how many different sorts of challenges are still there. The road isn’t exactly the same b/c you’re never exactly the same (none of us are). Be gentle with yourself, and let your friends walk this road with you, and break bread with you, and keep you company.

  2. My story is so similar and yet different. Time and time again I try to lose weight and it always is frustrating resolving to start all over again and having to face how much I’ve denied about my poor food behavior. But that’s not what I wanted to say… what I wanted to respond to was your question about “how many attempts are we allowed?” And I can only think of Jesus’ promise that we will be forgiven (allowed another chance) seventy times seven times–innumerable, more than we could possibly use up. That keeps me going every time I stumble and get off the “d” word yet again and gives me the hope and resolve to give it another go. My prayers are with you as you walk this road.

  3. I recently learned that wheat is addictive, in part, because it contains opiates. My thinking is gradually shifting from “avoid that food because it might be an allergic reaction trigger” to “avoid that addictive drug thinly disguised as food.” None of this changes how loudly a scone calls to me, of course… but if I can engage a different way of thinking–and perhaps some different synapses–when I encounter such foods, I suspect it might sidestep older, less-helpful patterns of response.
    I also like to mentally re-cast all the “bread of life” imagery, in much the same way an inclusive-language-aware person might respond to exclusive language by silently thinking an alternative term. I try to think about other cultures where Bread of Life can be coconut or rice or a corncake or something else that’s nourishing without being on a do-not-eat list.

  4. “It’s embarrassing to think of the number of times I’ve read books on the topic. How many attempts are we allowed in this life before there are no more chances?”
    well, songbird, I feel you on this one! consistent follow-through on all of the inspiring and informative and insightful books i’ve read is frustratingly difficult to maintain. is life one big journey or a series of smaller trips? it’s normal to sit down and rest along the side of the road, but it’s important to keep getting up again to resume the journey. (or at least that’s what i’m telling myself this week.) you’re back on the path, and that is what matters.
    p.s. that scone *does* look killer good. (drool)

  5. Songbird,thanks for being so honest and vulnerable here.
    This is one of the Great Struggles of My Life.
    I’m with MaineCelt, believing that sugar is addictive. I seem to be able to tolerate flour without it totally blowing me to oblivion. Sugar, is truly an opiate for me, and the only solution is to let it go.
    For today.
    Love to you.

  6. Oh goodness, losing weight. Last year I lost 10 of the 20 which was my goal. In about a month I put more than half of that back on and as of Feb 1 I was almost 4 pounds above where I’d started last year. My glucose keeps rising (my excuse is that I really think it’s from chemo, but no matter) and my doctor tells me to lose 20 pounds. And so, I’m dieting again. I have probably lost 300 pounds in my life. I lose, gain, lose, gain, lose, gain.
    My trap is that I eat without thinking. I can manage generally at home, but anywhere else, I seem to go on auto pilot. So, I’m trying to figure out how to eat with intention everywhere.
    I’m sitting here with a tired body. I ran yesterday and need to lift weights this morning (at least) and I hope to go swimming this afternoon.
    It seems to never end. Anyway, I wanted to let you know that you are not alone. I struggle with the same thing.

  7. That particular scone is really not such a bad thing. It’s a Petite Vanilla Bean Scone from Starbucks, and on Weight Watchers, you can have one scone for 3 points. They’re quite delicious. But when you’re on 21 points a day, that’s a lot of points compared to a cup of whole grain pasta or a piece of chicken or…you get the picture.

  8. Hi Songbird….a post I can identify with.
    Best wishes on trying again….in our culture, so many of us are there with you. We do learn new things about ourselves as long as we pay attention on the journey. And we are able to consciously change our bodies and ourselves through that journey. But sometimes it really does feel more like a maze than a labyrinth.
    Curious how many of the comments refer to food categories as opiates and addictions. Simply put: simple sugars, fats, and salt stimulate appetite. A fact that food manufacturers and chain restaurants know well. Food is food, given to us as nourishment which is its only power. Assigning other powers to food is abdicating our responsibility for making choices. It’s what we choose to do with it that makes the difference. (Pretty much what you say in your last sentence.)
    I’ve had a lot of success (down 35lbs. & counting) in the 8-9 months using the website:
    Not a sponsor, just a happy loser after years of failing and paying for online access to ww.
    So, sparkpeople along with planning meals based on the Mediterranean/FlatBelly diet principles of watching the simple sugars and highly processed foods, and including healthy, monosaturated fats in each meal (yay!…dark chocolate!)
    So…best wishes on your journey to honor your body and manage your health. BTW….so how’d you get the picture of the scone? Curious minds want to know. :^)

  9. Lifestyle changes are difficult. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve made resolutions … and broken them about a week later. It’s tough when I focus on all the little failures. But if I look back ten years or so, then I can see that I’ve made progress in many areas of my life.

  10. Just entered “Nutrition Therapy” and didn’t know it existed. My assignments for next two weeks —
    clear off table, then add centerpiece, placemat and napkin
    choose one dining location and eat every bit sitting at that location
    only distraction allowed while eating is music (yikes! no reading??)
    and spend time pondering four questions —
    (1) How hospitable are you to yourself?
    (2) How do you care for yourself?
    (3) What simple pleasures do you provide to yourself regularly?
    (4) What would your life look like if it were balanced?
    Prayers for all of us and blessings along the way.

  11. “I know the devil that tempts me looks less like a serpent and more like me.”
    Ah, so well said and so resembles me. That’s a tricksy devil, no? I think Susan’s comment is especially important… daily life is a practice. If you ever got it perfect you might have to quit forever!

  12. Oh yes… we all have been there, and it’s never about the scone, now is it? I have to remind myself of this principle all the time. It’s only food and it has no control. I am in control. I choose what I put into my body. I too have had to make myself stop and ask, “So what is is about this? What is it making me FEEL and why am I responding to that feeling by reaching my hand out?”
    Here for you as always my friend. You know. I love you.

  13. Been there, done that. All you can do is start over again. Hopefully this will be the time, but don’t ever stop starting over when you know you need to do it.

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