Tuesday, August 11, 2009

#57 Dharma Schmarma

Sometimes kids say the smartest things...

During the 3 hour car ride to camp visiting day, I usually sleep and/or read. However, this year, we had company. One of Erica's friends, 15 year old Sam was hitching a ride to visit with his old camp mates, and another mom (visiting her daughter) were with us. Because I had a captive audience, I decided to read the babble that I was working on (#56 Smart Vaginas don't Cut Through Dark Alleys). Sam, other mom, and my husband all had some interesting things to say, but it was 15 year old Sam that made me stop and do a double think.

As we approached the noon hour, we talked about stopping for lunch. Sam told us that he's a healthy eater. I asked him if he eats this way because his parents are healthy eaters or because this is what he chooses. He told us that when he eats healthy, he feels good and looks good. Then he said to me, it's kinda like your babble. He was referring to the part about using the analytical side of the brain and not the emotional side. He continued by explaining that in choosing what to eat, he uses the analytical side of his brain because if he let the emotional side make his choices, he'd probably make a lot of unhealthy ones.

All righty then. Since this conversation took place around noon on Friday, I decided I had all weekend to test his method, or in other words, to see if I could make non-emotionally based eating decisions. I'll tell you right now, I failed. At every meal I started out with the best intentions, but sooner or later, I made non-analytical ones when I saw something that I wanted. I mean, who can pass up institution-style vanilla pudding? Obviously, not me!!

Each morning, I started out with my usual breakfast - my homemade quinoa muffin, PBII peanut butter (only 53 calories per 2 tbs) and a cup of decaf with a little half and half. By lunch, I was dipping my fingers into the bowl of potato chips, drooling over the assortment of peanut butter and jellies, and with something akin to lust, eyeing the amazing looking and smelling bouquet of breads. Oy, so many why nots, what ifs, and what the hells were silently argued in my head. If this was a real battle, and not one of my weak willpower, I'd be Bobbie Sue black and blue.

Recently, I read in a blog (http://www.refusetoregain.com/) that the little voice in our head that says, I really want that chocolate cake, or I can't run another mile, is really the emotional side of the brain trying to take care of you, protect you, feed you. The blogger, a doctor who treats overweight people said, if you can push that voice away and tell yourself something that makes you think logically, non-emotionally, then you are a step closer to getting what you really want... that thin healthy body or another mile under your belt. Martha Beck, a well known life coach and author, says the fight between your cyber brain (analytic) and your beastie brain (emotion) will always be won by the more primitive beastie brain. She says you need to stop fighting your body's nature (wanting to stay nourished when it feels like your depriving it) and instead, develop a "normal relationship" with food. From her mouth to my brain.

Reading my Yoga ezine the other day, I learned about dharma. Dharma is "the path you follow towards the highest expression of your own nature - and towards the fulfillment of your responsibilities to yourself, to others, to your society, and to the planet". Although this word can actually have many meanings, the writer says that for most people, your personal dharma really asks, "What is the right thing for me to do now?". She also writes that conflicts we experience with our dharma can sometimes be the clash between our desires and competing responsibilities. Pertaining to this blog, I see this clash as me wanting something sweet and carby vs being responsible to my body by choosing something healthy. Needles to say, the emotional side of my brain says: Dharma schmarma.

Sunday morning arrives and visiting weekend is over. We check out of our hotel and head back to camp to bring Erica home. Once there, we load the car, collect Sam from the boy's camp, prod Erica and Sam along as they hug, kiss and cry their way to the parking lot, and finally off we drive. Around noon, we pass through this quaint little town and decide to stop for lunch. We find the town diner and as we walk in, I smell pancakes, or maybe it's waffles. Sam orders first and I hear him ask for an egg white omelet with cheese, mushrooms and wheat toast. I can't order waffles or pancakes now, so I decide to let my analytical brain do the ordering.... until the waitress asks, "do you want toast or a bagel with your scrambled egg whites?". The emotional side took over and the calculator that lives in my head added 250 more calories to my weekend's tally.

Sometimes adults do the stupidest things...

Quote of the Day: "No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted"
Aesop (620 BC - 560 BC), The Lion and the Mouse

1 comment:

Jeve (aka John and Steve) said...

Wow! I never heard of a kid so healthy. Kudos! How about a combo of analytical and emotional eating...so you get what you want, but only eat small portions. Does that speak to you (or your tummy I should say)?