We all have bad habits. Right?
I have a lifelong habit of biting my nails. Lest you think I’m a freak – only fingernails, and only my own. And more specifically, I’m really just chewing off ragged cuticles and evening out chips.
But still, I know it’s kinda gross. It’s unsanitary (dude, hands touch EVERYTHING.) Plus, I had braces not once, but TWICE as a kid – and I’m sure the gnawing and chipping does nothing for proper tooth alignment. And, most importantly, try as I might, I can’t seem to find nutritional information for fingernails. (Most likely because I haven’t looked. Because if I look, I might find out that fingernails actually HAVE calories. And if this is true, I’ll have to log it on my food tracker. And heaven knows I don’t need one more thing to obsess over in the eating department. I can totally see me looking at my hands at day’s end, going, “I bit off FOUR nails today!” and proceeding to run maniacally around the block and frantically doing 50 jumping jacks to burn it off. Or saying “eff it” and diving headfirst into a bag of popcorn and hating both myself and the fat sad sack I have become. Yeah, probably the latter, since it’s bikini season.)
The hubs has noticed. He knows better than to complain about it (Obviously, I bite.) But one day, we were wandering through a drugstore, and he hands me something and says, “Look, honey – snack chips!”
Har dee har har. <eyeroll>
Part of the problem was that my nails just wouldn’t grow all that much before they made like fashion denim and ripped, chipped, and tore. Once you have an uneven nail, or a ripped cuticle, you sort of have to address it, right? I mean, it’s like having your slip showing, except on your hands, and it’s a ratty, tatted slip that really SHOULD have gone in the garbage, but you forgot (read: fell asleep in front of the TV) to do laundry, so….Easiest answer is to bite it off. <snap> <ptoo>
Over the years, I’ve made several attempts at ending the phalangical feast. And I am proud to say I am doing better:
See that ONE ragged cuticle there? I DIDN’T BITE IT OFF. yet GO ME!
(On a side note – I had some stomach/malabsorption issues a few years ago; I was pretty low on a lot of vitamins, iron, etc. After over a year of testing, poking, prodding, and biopsying, my doctor threw up her hands and said “Try giving up wheat.” And after about six months of a wheat-free diet, the above pic is how much the whites of my nails have grown in about eight days. So, while medically, I very clearly didn’t have celiac….something was glitched up in glutenville.)
As I work toward recovery for a lifetime of food issues, I have come to realize that I have a ton of really unproductive food habits. I’m going to list them here – one, for self-awareness; two, to hold myself accountable…to some of them, anyway. (I’m not freaking Mother Teresa – give me a C for effort here.)
1. Eating in front of a screen. Yes, I know what all the studies say – if you eat while you’re doing something else, you won’t “notice” your level of satiety. But, darn it, I LIKE entertaining my mouth when my brain is pigging out on the televised version of junk food.
Plus, during the week, I eat my lunch while I’m working – I can get out of the office a little sooner that way. Since I often have to work until 7, every minute of daylight counts. So, in the spirit of full disclosure, I won’t be working too hard on this one.
However…when we bought our house, we actually built an addition on it to make sure we had ROOM for a dining table. The construction loan’s paid off, so maybe I should use the space for more than storing Kohl’s coupons and scrapbooking supplies.
I don’t cook every evening, but on the evenings I DO make dinner, I’m sure it wouldn’t kill me to sit at an actual table with the hubs and eat, undistracted, and chat about our day. Heck, it might even nourish our marriage a bit.
So how about I shoot for two dinners a week at the table?
2. Eating out of a giant bag. Curse you, Costco, and your ginormous sacks of salty and sweet munchable deliciousness. Some of your snacks are packaged in such a way that one bag has- wait, lemme look….
HOW IS THIS EVEN LEGAL. Didn’t Obama pass something addressing this with the Affordable Care Act? I mean these suckers are larger than most airlines allow for a carryon (and NO, I will NOT be checking my popcorn, thankyouverymuch.)
Give me a standard, grocery-store bag of popcorn, and I can EASILY chomp my way through it in a single sitting. NOT EVEN A CHALLENGE. Chip clips are for QUITTERS, yo! This means I can do some SERIOUS damage on Costco’s monster face-troughs that I swear I am NOT BUYING THIS TIME but somehow inexplicably make it into my house anyway.
While I haven’t plowed through an entire bag in one sitting yet, I can certainly polish it off in two sessions, and I think the only reason I HAVEN’T finished one in one swoop is because I’m mortified that I actually COULD. (Plus, here’s what happens when I get dangerously close to doing so.)
So what I’m trying to do is not sit down with one of these things, because that’d be like sitting on the sofa next to Adam Levine and promising to look, but don’t touch.
(Adam Levine…mmmm….did I mention I bite?)
<cough> Sorry. BUT HE’S SO PRETTY.
Anyway, I’ll measure out a reasonable portion and sit down with that. One day, maybe I’ll just haphazardly pour out a bowl WITHOUT measuring it….but that will be after the genie grants me three wishes (a billion dollars, the ability to fly, and the ability to cancel out calories on any foods I wish.)
3. It’s all or nothing. Ladies? You’ve done this, right? Meticulously followed the diet for several days, and then dared to sample a Hershey’s Kiss or a peanut butter cup, and the entire dam broke, flooding your gut with whatever you could rapid-fire throw down your pie hole?
Why do we do this? I mean, when I get a flat tire, the smart thing to do is call AAA. The stupid thing to do is pull over, get out my gun, and shoot out the other three tires, the headlights, and the windshield.
BUT WE ALL DO THIS.
While I think AAA has had stranger calls, I won’t plan to bother them with my tales of unharnessed gluttony. But I do need to find a way to interrupt the broadcast. I can:
- Go for a walk, a run, a bike ride.
- Drink water (see below.)
- Plan out the next day’s healthy food.
- Go pull weeds. (There’s ALWAYS something to rip out of the ground….)
- Do my nails (hard to eat with wet nails!)
- Whine about it here. 🙂
4. Drink enough water. During the week, I’m pretty good about this. I drink two twelve-ounce glasses in the morning, adding a third if I went for a run. I drink 20 oz of herbal tea and 20 oz of hot water (because I’m chronically freezing) while at work. I’ll try to get 1-2 more glasses at home in the evenings. Also, I need to keep up the fluids on weekends (besides wine. WHY CAN’T THAT COUNT <sobs>)
It’s been said that it takes 21 days to break a habit. Frankly, I call BS on that (and so does this article, which states it can be upwards of 245 days or more.) And I’ve been trapped in this food funhouse since I was ten years old, so maybe it’s me, and not the habit, that needs breaking.
But if I can do just one thing a tiny bit healthier than how I did it before? That’s progress. Some days, I might be hanging by a fingertip from the edge of a cliff – but as long as I don’t let go – as long as I keep hanging on – I have a shot at getting two (well-manicured) fingers up there tomorrow.
I’ll get there one finger at a time.
So here’s what’s worked for me..I just play one personal fault against the other. I love junk food, esp at night..but I am also ultra tired and lazy, esp at night.
SOOO, I brush my teeth early and get all snuggled up in my bed to watch TV or go online. I may be craving something in the kitchen, but I am way too comfy to get it ..and way too lazy to brush my teeth again. 👍
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But…the kitchen is closer than the bathroom…so…. 😉
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You are a hoot! I used to bit my nails too! Then I got acrylics and wore them for years. That helped until I took them off. OMG what a mess. Now I use OPI Nail Envy. I highly recommend it!
As far as the diet goes, you are on the right track with water and tea. I do the same thing. That’s very important. I’m a huge night time eater and I eat in front of the TV. I have to keep veggies or fruit onhand for that. Also, I use the Weight Watchers online tracker which has always been my anchor in the “calorie storm”. 🙂
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Another fabulous post, ma dear. I struggle with every single thing you mentioned. Even the biting of fingernails and gnawing of cuticles. Until…I saw a 20/20 special on what lives under your nails. My OCD beat out my desire to satiate myself with nails. As far as the all or nothing issue, I’m a criminal of the worst degree. If I end up making a small mistake by eating a mini cupcake, or something, I figure it’s a lost cause and I go full balls to the wall. I’m disgusting, really.
I hear ya. Getting a sunburn doesn’t make me light my hair on fire- WHY DO I DO THIS.
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I think we are the same person. Yes to everything you said and here’s a high five through the Internet! BTW, I love the flat tire analogy!
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I forgot to add that, after shooting out the windshield, I usually douse the car with gasoline and throw a match on it….GO BIG OR GO HOME
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