We All Have Our Struggles

Just a wee Robyn enjoying some ice cream.

Several years ago over a summer, I dated a guy I met through a mutual friend. Even before we started dating, I found out that my friend met my soon-to-be beau through AA. In getting to know him, Beau, we’ll call him, revealed had been sober about 18 months. He was very open about his sobriety, which I found comforting. After all, I wouldn’t want to start a relationship with a lie, especially one as important to him as that was.

Turns out, because I rarely drink, it worked out well. It wasn’t that he minded if I drank, but I’ve always been the type to either take it or leave it when it comes to alcohol, and, most times I’d leave it. He found this fascinating, as it was so foreign to him that someone wouldn’t want to drink when they weren’t an alcoholic. “I mean,” he’d say, “…but…but you can HAVE it! Why wouldn’t you?” My response would usually include something like, “Eh. Don’t really care for it, to be honest.” Seeing the look on his face upon hearing my response was a sight to see and was usually followed by him shaking his head in disbelief.

We’d have many conversations about his struggles in the past and how he felt then compared to now. He introduced me to Topo Chico and sparkling water, which I still drink to this day. He said he liked the “burn” he’d get from the carbonation, and he felt it was a decent replacement. He attended AA meetings several nights a week and even led one. During our entire relationship, I never witnessed him drink a single drop of alcohol, although I’m sure it was a daily or moment-by-moment choice not to. We got along really well, and then one day he did something that flipped the tables on me, and I found myself making that same face I’d seen him make many times.

We went out to eat for dinner one night, and he ordered a small salad or something healthy along those lines. Now, keep in mind, he was about 5’8” and had a somewhat small frame, so what he ordered was just fine. I honestly don’t remember what I’d ordered, but it was on the verge of healthy with a large mix of naughty…not on the side. It was then that I looked at him and said, “Don’t you want a burger & fries or something?” He responded with something like, “Eh. Don’t really care for it to be honest.”

Insert disbelieving look here.

I mean, SERIOUSLY?! “But…but you can HAVE it!” I said. He just shrugged and took another Beau bite of his food. That’s when it hit me! I looked up at him and said, “I just realized that if you replace the word alcohol with food, that applies to me when it comes to addiction.” Now, I don’t want to underscore alcoholism by any means. I am forever grateful that that is a disease I’m not inflicted with. It really is the furthest thing from my mind all the time. I just don’t care for the stuff and never had. It’s a complete non-issue for me. Now…food…well, that’s another story.

To give you a better idea, I’m the type who doesn’t want to have just one cookie – I want them all! I eat when even when I’m not hungry, and, usually, if I have a choice of something healthy versus something naughty, well…naughty wins hands down. Plus, it’s not just a little naughty, it’s Red Room marathon, 50 Shades of Grey, naughty. It boggles my mind to see people leave food on their plate. Why would you leave a perfectly good bite? Seriously, why did you just put your fork down? Don’t you see what’s left on your plate?! I often wonder if they’re judging me for always needing to be a member of the “Clean Plate Club.”

This epiphany I had upon seeing him mirror my response to him in regards to alcohol has stayed with me even years later. I mean, it’s not like I can just never eat again. Well…I can…I just won’t like the outcome of that fasting experiment, and I’ve done the whole intermittent fasting thing. Programs work for me for a time, but so far nothing has stuck.

Think back to how many times you’ve started a new diet or “lifestyle change.” You start by learning something new about food that you didn’t know previously, such as why carbs are good or why carbs are bad. Maybe it’s why eating all your calories in one hour is the bee’s knees or how juicing truly flushes your system and rebalances your gut. It could be that vegan or vegetarian is the way to go or you’re immersing yourself into the world of a ketogenic way of eating. Every diet has a different set of “experts” that have every book that you need to buy and read telling you why their way is what made the difference for them and for so many others. You start talking to friends and family about your new “journey” and without you even realizing it, they start avoiding the possibility of a conversation with you because they KNOW it will be about the new “thing” you’re doing. You’re so wrapped up in your new life that you can’t see the forest for the trees. You’ve become that annoying person even you want to steer clear of.

You don’t realize that it’s not necessarily what kind of food or how much food you’re eating or even when you’re eating it but just the fact that you been fed, for lack of a better term, so much bullshit data over the years that you have no idea what to do anymore. Each expert has contradicted each prior diet or food group you’d consumed on a regular basis. One week eggs, or dairy, or lean meat, or *enter food here* are the miracle item and next week you’re told to avoid them because they’ll cause your bloodwork to skyrocket or they’re loaded with shit that’ll ruin your gut for the foreseeable future. It’s no wonder I’m so damn confused when it comes to food. This dietary ping pong match is never ending.

Just like Beau, I struggle daily and, many times, on a moment-by-moment basis, with food. Even willpower seems to be a myth, yet I’ve had long stretches where it never waned. Why is that? I’ve often told my friends that I know exactly what I need to do to lose weight, but looking back on all the data I’ve tried to decipher over the years, I honestly don’t think I do anymore. Maybe I never really did now that I think about it. I just kept finding new ways not be bored with the weight loss process, which, let’s be honest, is a pain in the ass! I’ll tell ya…I can gain weight in record time, but losing it…well…that goes about as fast as a turtle running through peanut butter.

Oooh! Peanut butter!!!

So, where does my dietary dilemma take me next? I honestly don’t know, but I know for a fact that the status quo is not ideal and is leading in the absolute wrong direction. I recently asked several people if exercise was the catalyst to eating better or if eating better was the catalyst to exercising. Of course, I got mixed responses. I guess maybe I’m now in search of that elusive, permanent, long-term fix, but truthfully, thanks to my life experience, I’m really just scared I’m going to end up finding “the next new thing”…yet again.

About robynthorn

Robyn Thorn is just a girl learning that she’s perfectly normal after all these years. She has been blogging for several years and can often be found singing the night away at her local karaoke establishments. Although she has no children of her own, she is Aunt Bobbyn to many. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology and Communications and finds that this fits her personality perfectly. She is a certified Zumba® instructor, an ACE certified Group Fitness Instructor, and holds a Texas Secondary Teaching Certificate in Speech Communications. Robyn has also been a mentor with the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Texas since 2011. She is the author and publisher of "We're All Rubber Bands: Finding happiness with who you are."
This entry was posted in Dating, Life Lessons, Weight Loss and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to We All Have Our Struggles

  1. rbass7862 says:

    Hi Robyn… Another entertaining and thoughtful article. I *love *the ice cream pic at the top, and I roared when I read “Oooh! Peanut butter!!!” ILY // RAB


  2. Jason Kabakoff says:

    Hi Robyn. I think I have the same relationship with food and alcohol that you do, though from a vegetarians perspective. I’m not a big fan of alcohol but I do love my food. Love you Sis, your brother from from another mother. J.


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