Restrictor's Plate

Those of you who know me in real life and maybe even some of you who know me via social media probably also know this: I have a food issue.

Today my inbox presented the gift of a Geneen Roth post titled Good Girls and Rebels that speaks to me in a special way. Please read the whole thing. It deserves that full read. For the foundation of my post explaining its specialness to me, I'll quote just this part:

"...I’d done a lot of research and discovered that most women who are concerned about their weight fall into one of two eating types: Permitters and Restrictors...
"About half of us, I told them – the Restrictors – do very well on diets (at least for a while).  We find rules, tips, and lists comforting.  When calories counted most, Restrictors knew how many were in a small apple, a baked potato, a Krispy Kreme donut.  When the au courante measurement became the glycemic index, we knew how many grams of fat, protein, and carbohydrate were in a serving of string beans, a hamburger the size of your palm, a pat of butter.  Restrictors like regulations because they provide a sense of control over the uncertainty and unpredictability of being alive.
"Permitters, on the other hand, abhor rules.  We find them oppressive and suffocating.  Although we know we could stand to lose a pound or 50, we’re suspicious of programs and food lists.  Permitters are the type of emotional eaters who say, “Gee, I can’t understand how I gained 10 pounds in the past two months.  I thought I was doing so well.”  Whereas Restrictors maintain hyper vigilance about food, Permitters prefer denial.  Our (usually unconscious) logic:  If I’m not aware of it, it can’t hurt me. If I give up trying, I won’t be disappointed when I fail. Like Restrictors, Permitters crave safety, but unlike Restrictors, we see no point in trying to control the uncontrollable; we prefer to join the party and have a good time…"

In the past (like two weeks ago) I would have tried to convince you I am both a Restrictor and a Permitter. But you know, if I'm honest with myself, using Geneen's framework I'm a Restrictor with sometimes very wild and long binges that feel like the Permitter's rebellion. I work so hard at following the rules that I finally snap, throw up my hands, cry "Uncle!" and go face first into everything, especially all the things that I had put on the B-A-D list.

More important than the precise Restrictor or Permitter label, I am scratching my head about the near maniacal logging and tracking I do using LoseIt!

I'm beginning to doubt the rules that I've collected, fully supported by and co-created with my doctor. I question my sanity when I hear myself preloading guilt for anything I'm about to eat unless it fits exactly in the rules and is a punishing less-than-desirable-in-taste-and-appearance. And I wonder if there are only a few if any, genuinely health-related rules and the rest are just the latest nutrition fads.

Would I be better off throwing out the rules and the tracking? What would happen if I simply practiced deep listening to my body? Would it be so bad? Would my genetics win some self-conceived battle I'm waging?

I had already been wading in that pool of thoughts as I've been recovering from the latest 11-week binge. Now I find myself paddling closer to the deep end of the pool.

But first, I need to log my dinner. And oh, I that dessert was just a treat. Just a one-time thing. I'll go back to the plan tomorrow.