24 March 2011

Saboteur Brain

The NECRWA conference is in a few weeks. When I decided to attend, I made a preliminary list of things to do: get a more mature laptop bag (no graffiti and skulls); buy clothes made of material other than velour; find that list of things to bring to a writer's conference; and this:

My weight has been steady for the past two years, but I really want to lose just a little more. I think I have a reasonable expectation for what my weight should be, based on my height and age. I'm not shooting for some crazy, pre-babies goal. I don't even want a toned body. That would require a level of ambition and commitment that has escaped me for...well, my entire life. I just want to schlep less flab when I'm dragging the garbage cans up the driveway.

So, this is a pretty straight-forward message, don't you think? I taped it to the door of the primitive cabinet that serves as my pantry. Pantry is such an inclusive word. This is, more specifically, the cereal and snacks cabinet. It  houses everything salty or sweet. Chips, cookies, crackers, fruit snacks, popcorn-if it tastes good, and requires no refrigeration, it lives in here.

The pantry is the first stop after school for my children and their friends, my father-in-law when he has a chocolate craving, and my brother, whenever he visits.

"We don't have anything like this at our house," he mumbles through a mouth full of cookies.
I don't mind sharing. But I drew the line at the Thin Mints.

So, I posted the sign where it would do the most good. But my brain got confused.  It read the numbers, but misunderstood the required action.

"5 pounds, 10 weeks," it thought. "What does that mean? She practically lives in the kitchen, typing away on her computer. She must want to be closer to the food. Plus, it's winter, and she's always cold. She must want more fat to keep her warm! She wants to GAIN five pounds! No problem!"

Now, to be fair, my brain has some previous experience with compulsive behavior. More than once I've vowed to do the right thing, only to be led down a path of ill-repute, or in this case, high-caloric content. So, I've decided to be more direct, and talk to my brain the same way I talk to the boys.

The fact that it looks like I handled it with greasy hands isn't helping the message. But I'm going to give it a few days and see if it works. Because my next step involves duct tape, and I really don't want to go there.

Is your brain being uncooperative?


  1. I can't believe that I forgot that Firefox eats my posts to blogspot blogs. Again.I'll try to recreate my brilliance.

    Uncooperative? My brain?

    The other night I ate so much ice cream that I made myself almost physically sick. I knew I needed to stop, each time I opened the freezer door. But I kept doing it, all night long, until I went to bed very late at night. I refused to see how many calories it added up to.

    If it weren't for that, I'd probably be 20 pounds thinner, easy.

    I'm so envious that you are going to NECRWA. I hope you meet lots of Betties, and maybe even some other people! Take pictures and share them.

    You can lose the poundage. I'm rooting for you!

  2. Anonymous24.3.11

    My sign would say 'Are you really hungry? Really?' because so often I go to get something out of the cupboard and then realise i'm not even hungry.
    Shaking my pom-poms for you :-)
    You can totally do this.

  3. Anonymous24.3.11

    I've read that it's best to form these into a positive phrase, but this (second) one is so direct and exacting that it really delivers. In doing my own "Change The Brain" projcts I have to STOP and then THINK. Which is hard. But if I (a VERY mindless eater) can make some progress I know you (a VERY smart woman) can too. Going to get the pom poms now....
    Oh right, the question. No, my brain is pretty much broken, it rarely cooperates.

  4. Well, my brain is just too old to try and trick anymore but a wise man once said to me "You should just ask yourself (whenever you are at a conundrum point) How important is this? Life threatening? Change the behavior!"
    I think you also have to consider genetics and even though it might scare you, you should take a look at your mother.
    Do I think you can accomplish this goal? ABSOLUTELY! I know who you are and you can do it. I would also encourage you to set realistic goals. ILY

  5. I had two donuts for breakfast today. My flab and I, we take care of each other.

    Also, I have a feeling that your laptop bag with skulls would go over better than you think.

  6. @Delia: I just discovered a "Sign Loophole." If the cookies are left on the counter after assembling five lunchboxes, then the sign is very far away. Just had two Spring Oreos. Putting cookies back in cabinet.

    I am a little conflicted about what signals I want to send out at the conference. I'm not submitting, so it shouldn't really matter. So, perhaps I will bring along my skull bag. It makes me happy.

  7. Yesterday my doc told me to STOP losing weight. Now, in all fairness, my dear friend who gave birth last year is 5'9 and weighed less at full term pregnancy than I do in month three...i had plenty of extra to burn. Still, was delighted to be slightly less nauseated this afternoon.

    I ate broth and noodles! I feel like I did something amazing! (PS WHY do I always type "amazine" instead of "amazing"?)

    You're gorgeous. Now go write your book.

  8. PS I like the sound of your current laptop bag. Maturity's ass. My laptop has a diva sticker on it and a minnie mouse. :)

  9. @Lora: Yay!! Broth and noodles! I'm very excited! Can you tell by my many exclamation points?! Fingers crossed for more brothiness, and less weight loss.

    @Julie: I like the idea of the positive message. Perhaps I will amend.

    @Skye: I intend to take lots of photos, hopefully with other people in the picture with me!

    @Norma: The goal is realistic. And I don't mind sharing your genes.

  10. I believe in the power of the skull bag. Leaving the skull bag behind concerns me more than this weight loss business. In fact, the skull bag should be sitting in the kitchen next to the writing implements--it might scare off the cookies.

  11. @Mabel: I think the bag in the kitchen is a good idea! It might also scare me into writing the book.


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