I am a very lucky man – I’ve got an amazing wife and am the father to three wonderful kids. Lylli was born on Halloween in 2008, Gracie was born November 2010 and although she only lived for 17 months, she will remain as much a part of this family as the rest of us, and Mickey Gray, our first son, was born in June of 2012. I’m not going to say that life has gone exactly as I would have wanted, but it is a good life and I am determined to make the best of it.

This blog is an attempt to document my quest to become a dad that my family can be proud of.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

There is Power in Restraint

I've been talking a lot lately to a friend of mine about his relationship with booze – Always over-analyzing everything these days, the conversations that we've had have really made me think about where I'm at in my life.  I've got similar problems and I think it's in my best interest to accept it and approach the same way – I'm not saying that I need to stop drinking (Although maybe not as much sometimes)  -- but there are just too many great beers out there that I haven't tried yet – of course, I do need to understand that they do contain calories and will need to drink them cautiously if I want to achieve my goals of becoming healthy.  What I am saying is that my weight issues are similar in a lot of ways – it's about control and restraint – it's about having that ridiculous need for instant gratification.  I don't know where it comes from, but something happens when I get around food – if 1 bite is good, then I better shove as much as I can in my mouth before its either gone or taken away. 


I don't even realize that I think that way most of the time.  We were in Boston in the cafeteria at the hospital while Gracie was napping upstairs – My wife asked if I wanted to share a pudding.  She has the ability to enjoy small portions of desserts, etc – a few pieces or bites of something are enough for her.  That is why she, despite having a treat of some kind every day, remains at a healthy weight.  For some reason, I'm not wired that way – She told me she was almost done and told me to eat some  – so I took a huge heaping bite – she shook her head and said – "You see?  That's the problem – you are incapable of understanding that if you would have split that giant bite up into 3 or 4 human sized bites – you would have enjoyed your pudding that much more."  Don't tell her I said this, but I think she might be onto something.


Back to the conversations with my friend – There is power in restraint – I think the key is to take pride in it.  To remember when your screwed up insides say "Damn, that small piece was good – I better shove a whole bunch of that in my face and in a hurry, because when I do it fast, it doesn't count"  -- instead say to yourself – "You know what?  Even though I really want to indulge (or over-indulge in my case) – I am strong enough to stop"  and then I need to learn to take pride in the fact that I did it – I know I won't regret it. 


But just like with booze for my friend, when I stop, I need to realize that this is what I need to do for me – others may not need to stop, but I do because that's where I am on my journey.  When I'm eating really clean, etc – I'll find cookies in the car or hidden in a far away cabinet because my wife often comments how she feels guilty eating her treats in front of me, etc (probably also because she knows I've been incapable of allowing said treats to last long if I know they're there) – but I need to realize that I've made my bed – Let's compare it to Halloween candy – I'd be the kid that eats everything right away and especially the good things first – so when I wake up on November 1st, I feel like crap and am full of regret and left with a number 2 pencil, a couple quarters and an apple in my plastic pumpkin and if I'm lucky maybe one of those nougatty orange wax paper wrapped peanut butter things.  On the other hand, Carrie is eating Milky Way's and Reece's peanut butter cups for months and enjoys every one of them – There is no reason that she should feel bad for that.  We both had the same amount of candy – she just chose to eat them in a much smarter way than I did. 


I think what I need to work on in everything I do is to make decisions based on how I'll feel when the act is done, not based on what I want at that very moment.   I would guess if I could learn to think "how will I feel about this in an hour,  12 hours, or even a day from now?" before I do something, I would make a lot better decisions in every aspect of my life.  Most of the time when I eat something that I shouldn't or way too much of something, it only takes a few minutes until I regret the decision – usually the moment I swallow my last bite  (now that I think of it, often during my first bite, but at that point I think to myself, Oh well, it's too late – I better eat the hell out this now, because I won't eat it again for a long time – Yeah Right! – that's worked). 


Taking that extra moment to think about how I'll feel when it's over will help me in most aspects of my life – I know my wife would appreciate it.   So many times I get into arguments and then later find myself confessing to her that I was not really even mad at her at all, but caught up in the moment, angry at myself, and redirecting at the most important person to me.   If I could take a second before I blow something out of proportion to think about how I'll feel about what I'm about to say after things settle down, I'm sure her life would be a lot better.  Same goes for drinking too much or eating too much. 


That said -- it's not all about ignoring my insane need for instant gratification when it comes to consumption either – How many times do you not go for a run or do that workout because you don't feel like it at that moment?  I guess the word in this case wouldn't be showing restraint – Maybe strength is the word I'd use – Whatever word describes what I'm lacking at that moment when I make the wrong choice.  But really how many times have you ever said to yourself once it's over that you wish you didn't go for that run? 


So out of all of that rambling – here are a couple things I am going to work on:


1.        I will try to make decisions based on how I will feel after I complete what I'm about to do instead of only concentrating on how bad I want to do it at that moment


2.        I am going to take pride in restraint when restraint is the right thing to do and maybe someday I'll get to a point where I can sit with my wife at night and enjoy a small treat and get more enjoyment out of a small portion of something instead of how it is today when what's in front of me is never enough – instead of subconsciously thinking maybe the next bite will make me satisfied and never finding that point, I hope to be some day satisfied when I give myself the well earned permission to enjoy the first bite - And I know that will come with learning to take pride in restraint.        


  1. Great post, and it sounds like the difference between you and your wife could be what Gretchen at The Happiness Project calls Moderators and Abstainers: http://www.happiness-project.com/happiness_project/2011/04/quiz-are-you-a-moderator-or-an-abstainer-when-trying-to-give-something-up.html
    My husband THINKS he can indulge in things as a Moderator, but I know I am an Abstainer, so I do much better when there's no beer/wine/desserts in the house at all. Period. Same goes for candy and cookies in the house with our two kids.

    1. I totally could have written this post. I very rarely keep sweets in the house because I still have that issue with "MUST EAT ALL NOW!" I've gotten better at it, but still need to work on it. My biggest accomplishment in that area was the week I went to 2 Mexican restaurants & didn't eat a SINGLE tortilla chip or an queso.

      I can only think of maybe 1 or 2 times where I regretting doing a workout & that was usually because I was injured to begin with & did the workout out of guilt, then ended up getting more injured. Thankfully I've learned to listen to my body more.

      Good luck to you! :)

  2. You're an inspirational writer and everything you said in this post, is the exact reason I suffer inside myself as well the outside appearance, because one bite of something good leads to over indulging (unhealthily). I hope I too one day get to the realization that I truly need to eat healthy and mean and stick with it, and someday be a positive result of my own unhealthy doing.

    (Goodwin's fabulous employee)