February 2nd. 2012
Dear Indulgence Pastry Shop and Café,
I am writing to let you know the effect your bakery has had on me over the past few weeks. You are very conveniently located right across the street from where I practice yoga, and your bright red sign catches my eye while driving to work as well. I have enjoyed every minute of walking through your front doors while the scent of cinnamon, yeast and chocolate overwhelm my senses. Exiting your store however, has left me silently comparing myself to a recovering alcoholic walking into a local bar.
I was first introduced to your establishment when my employer was gifted a box of your oatmeal raisin cookies. She loved them so much, she recently began asking me to drive to your store so that I can pick up some of those ‘wonderfully crunchy on the outside yet chewy on the inside bundles of love’. Giving her order to one of your staff members is easy. The girls are always pleasant. However, I have issues when I am asked the question that always follows: ‘Will there be anything else?’ That is when the proverbial cookie begins to crumble.
Lately, I have been unable to say, ‘No thank you, that will be all.’ Instead, my eyes fixate on the soft and buttery sugar cookies that look like they’ve just stepped out of Martha Stewart’s kitchen. They are always in the window casing, sitting pretty with pale yellow, blue and pink icings just waiting for me to call their name. My eyes then shift to the large white boxes of Day Old Breakfast Sweets that never taste like their a day old; they simply taste like More. When I ask to peek inside one of the boxes (which has a sign marked $6.95 per box) I gaze upon a loaf of Monkey Bread drizzled with a cinnamon sugar glaze, 2 blueberry muffins, 2 blackberry Danish, and three chocolate cream cheese croissants.
I am ashamed to admit it, but the box came home with me. I knew better. I know better. But I talked myself into believing that I had a plan: I would simply divide each pastry in half, then into separate baggies and put them all into the freezer which happens to be inconveniently located in my garage. I could then indulge myself a bit at a time like a normal person. That didn’t happen, however. I found myself walking to and from the freezer so often I think I wore a path in the floor. Before long my stash had vanished, leaving me feeling embarrassed, a bit humiliated, and a lot heavier than I was just 3 weeks ago. I should have stopped as soon as I began hiding your goods so that my husband couldn’t see what I was doing to myself. Instead, I went back to your café for more.
Being an emotional eater with stress being my biggest trigger, the past few weeks have brought on a massive nutritional breakdown. I went completely out- of-control and used your desserts as a form of mind-numbing medication. Mr. Baker, I love your pastry shop and café. Too much. Which is why I can no longer afford to give you my business. In my years of maintenance I’ve managed to say no to countless desserts and second helpings literally hundreds of times. I’ve gained the knowledge of what it means to exercise as much as I consume so that I can maintain my weight. But sadly, I haven’t been doing that lately. Instead, I’ve been feeding my anxiety with your decadent foods which could quickly ruin all my years of hard work.
No worries to you Mr. Baker; you’ll never lay eyes upon this letter. I am instead writing it for myself because I have a certain responsibility to fight for my body and my health, even though I’ve been doing a very good job at ignoring that. Secrets can be dangerous things, which is why I’m posting this letter on my blog. Now that my secret is open to all who read it, I can no longer pretend that things are fine when clearly, they are not.
Keep doing what you do, Mr. Baker. Keep serving to those who can sit back satisfied after one cookie and a cup of coffee. I, on the other hand will be marking a red X on my calendar at day’s end, serving as my visual reminder that I have survived my second day of being back in control. Tomorrow when my head is clearer still, I hope to be the slightest bit stronger than I am today, learn something from my recent bender, and once again, work on finding other ways to calm my nerves.
Ellen, a fat girl wearing thin.
Three bloggers were at work this past week, helping me in ways they don’t even realize. It was because of these three that I didn’t head back to that damnable bakery for another box of day-olds.
The first: on January 27th I told someone what I was doing. Munchberry (for better or for worse) happened to be on the receiving end of my confession. Her response, being both kind yet firm, was exactly what I needed to hear at that moment.
Then, on January 30th I came across Karen’s blog, where the following words hit me square on top of the head. I have since copied them so that I can refer back to them:
- The words you choose create your reality.
- You only need enough guilt to prevent you from torturing and killing other people.
- Dieting is a Band-Aid for a deep wound.
- Change occurs in the moment.
- Abusing food cuts our heads off from our bodies.
- Criticism (from others or from oneself) never motivates.
- It’s not the food that hurts you, it’s the self-loathing.
- If you keep saying, “I can’t eat ________” or “If I eat ________, I’ll never stop” or “I can’t have ________ in the house or I’ll eat it all” those things will be true.
- Once you label yourself, you look for experiences that will prove it.
- In order to protect ourselves from outside criticism, we start doing it to ourselves.
Finally, on January 31st I read this post, written by Cammy. It served as my reminder that I will never be perfect, and allowed me the freedom to write today’s ‘letter’ without shame. I will always have failures both big and small, but thanks to Cammy’s post I am learning that I can Fail Better.