Confessions of an Ideal Protein Coach: There's a Hole in my Sidewalk

Hi Everyone -

I got myself into a very difficult personal situation last weekend and ended up turning to carbs for comfort.  I'd been stressed over this situation for a couple of weeks and it came to a head in an unexpected way.  I messed up.  I said yes to something I didn't want to.  I started 'people-pleasing' and crossed all of my own boundaries.  I abandoned myself. I ignored my gut feelings. I let myself down and then ate to soothe the ache I created in my own heart. 

Here's the thing though…

This situation and my habitual response to it are both very old.  Familiar.  I've messed up in this way a hundred times. And my eating has always suffered for it.  BUT, because I'm so much healthier in general now, relapsing with carbs shocked me and jolted me awake to the fact that something was really wrong.  Like a canary in a mine, my carb binge signaled a poisonous but undetectable issue in need of immediate resolution.  Unchecked, this kind of problem used to keep me off balance and deep in my addictive behaviors for years at a time. 

I saw what was happening after just a couple of days.  The realization was so clear it felt like a flashbulb in my mind.  I saw my mistake. I saw my own pain and my misguided attempt to feel better.  I saw my own responsibility and the solution.  All at once.  I finally got it. Finally.

Have you seen this poem before?

There’s A Hole In My Sidewalk
– by Portia Nelson

Chapter One
walk down the street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I fall in.
I am lost… I am helpless.
It isn’t my fault.
It takes forever to find a way out.
Chapter Two
I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I pretend I don’t see it.
I fall in again.
I can’t believe I am in the same place.
But it isn’t my fault.
It still takes a long time to get out.
Chapter Three
I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I see it is there.
I still fall in… it’s a habit.
My eyes are open.
I know where I am.
It is my fault… I get out immediately.
Chapter Four
I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I walk around it.
Chapter Five
I walk down another street.

I'm in Chapter 3. 

This problem with carbs helped me open my eyes and SEE.  It was a gift.  My old habit of beating myself up seems frivolous and silly right now because my binge propelled me from unconsciousness to consciousness.  I was able to correct the situation as soon as I recognized it, and I've been fine since then.  It always takes a few days after I eat carbs for me to feel peaceful about food again, but I'm on Day 2 and I'm on my way. 

And another thing... In my 12-step work, I acknowledge that I'm powerless over my addictive behavior and I need a power greater than myself to relieve me of my struggle.  I commit to seeking God's will for me in all things, great and small, using prayer and meditation. But I haven't been doing much of that lately.  I've been coasting. I've been "busy." And distracted.

If I'm truly powerless, then there is no place for shame when I fall back to my old ways.  Without God's help, that's exactly what I should expect.  Shame in this case is not only useless, it's arrogant and self-centered.  It implies that I should have and could have been able to stop myself with my own willpower.  If I could've stopped this behavior on my own, I would've a long time ago!  The only correct feeling in these circumstances is to realize (again) that without the help of my higher power, I turn to food.  It's been true all of my life and it's still true.  The only correct conclusion is that I need to renew my spiritual focus if I want to be free from compulsive eating. It's that simple. No shame, no equivocation… Just my truth.

Also, I see now the reason I'm instructed to turn to my Higher Power in ALL of my affairs is that I'm not good at living on my own, any more than I'm good at eating on my own. If I'd have asked in thoughtful meditation for help with my difficult situation, I am sure I'd have found a different path than the one I took without thinking.  Poor life choices lead to poor food choices lead to poor life choices… And so on and so on.  I need God at the beginning, the middle and the end of each situation for them to work out.  So this slip helped me see *that* in a deeper way, as well.

All in all, I received more from this series of mistakes than I lost. My pride took a tumble but that's a good thing when it comes to a spiritual life.  With daily practice and if it's God's will, I'll move from Chapter 3 to Chapter 4 or 5 in this particular situation in my life.  With daily practice, I'll find more and more ways to be useful and helpful to my fellow human beings - but not at the expense of my own spiritual core.  I'm actually never happier than when I am dialed in and connected to God as my source, so I'm not sure why I ever turn away...  But the beautiful thing is that I can always just dial right back in again, no shame, no punishment, no guilt... No matter where I am or what's going on.

Happy Holidays, everyone!

Thanks for listening.