Saturday, January 24, 2009

The elephant in the room

There's an old saying that goes, "How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time." It's supposed to be good advice for conquering a large task, but what if your issue is that you never did have a problem eating the whole darn elephant in the first place???

I think it's still the same solution, "one bite at a time," but with far fewer bites. I would love to tell you that since the start of this project I can walk by the cookie isle without a second glance, and that the thought of adding sour cream to my burrito fills me with new-found horror. We're not quite there yet. I think I am able to keep Ben & Jerry off my favorites list for now, but I have grazed at the pastures of Pepperidge Farm a few times. I just try to get off the feed bag sooner each time.

I am still going to the gym, though this week was a bust. School started, and followed the historical pattern of derailing my whole life. But I am still trotting behind the wagon with the intention of catching back up to it this next week. I will find the time. I don't know how much fat I have lost, but I have found some new muscles, so there is a bit of hope in that.

This is not so much a goal with an ending destination, for me it's more of a way to enjoy the ride wherever I end up going. Much of my relationship with food has been about trying not to see/hear/feel things that I didn't want to acknowledge; my work now is to set down my fork so that my gaze can go beyond my plate. One bite at a time, I will get there. Maybe then I won't need to eat a whole elephant to feel full.


  1. Oh Harley, I completely understand the second glance, and the excuse 'just this one time cause next time I will be better'
    I still wonder what your elephant is....way to keep a reader in suspense...

  2. there are so many things that, as "Americans" we take too quickly and often in quick succession. When I was learning yoga, I thought to myself, "AFTER I perfect this pose, THEN I will be doing yoga." Look at what Bobbinoggin was missing out on. I was missing out on the PROCESS which is the very center of experiencing and doing yoga.

    The same thing goes with parenting. Happiness doesn't arrive after my child has perfected a behavior and no longer gives me flack. If I think that way... it will never come!

    And as you have so eloquently shared, the beauty of the process of meals and the atmosphere around eating/dining must also be enjoyed--instead of simply the feeling one has after a meal's completion. Good for you in realizing this.

    One idea I have for you is to go out of your way to take a Saturday or Sunday evening and prepare a meal in many different parts. Put a table cloth over the table. Light some candles. Pull out the pretty plates and cups if you have them. And serve your meal in courses. Start with an appetizer. Drink some wine. Don't let yourself get up immediately after the last bite is finished. Talk and enjoy the music. Serve a soup. Then a side. Then a SMALL main dish. Maybe a salad following the main dish. And then a small dessert. You WILL be full at the end AND you will have experienced an affordable and wonderful date night.

    Bon Appetit!