There’s a Child in My Refrigerator

Posted on February 25, 2014. Filed under: Cancer, diet |

Just when most people are trying to forget they made any New Year’s resolutions, I have committed to losing 50 pounds this year. This is not a foreign concept to me. I’ve written so many articles on nutrition, exercise and weight loss. At a few high points in my adult life, I’ve even reached a reasonable weight, so it’s not like I don’t know how it’s done. The trick is not achieving the weight loss, but maintaining it without feeling tortured.

Myfitnesspal.com is a good site/app to help keep it real. You enter your goal and it gives you a calorie limit. Then, each day, you log in and enter what you’ve consumed. Along with that, I taped a very unflattering photo of myself to the shelf inside our refrigerator. I put it inside because I knew that within a week, I’d ignore it if it was on the outside. However, rather than letting repulsion reset my desires, it sparked the rebel within. I’d open the door, see the photo and think, “Yeah, Yeah, go ahead and stop me. Now, where did I put that cheesecake?” The photo was clearly not helping.

About a week later, I was scanning some old photos and came across one of me at age 10-ish. It was taken at my grandparent’s home. I looked straight at the camera, with a “What are you gonna do, now?” expression on my face. When I scanneOldies 1_0001-004d it, the blue eyes stood out and seemed to accentuate the question. I thought about all the bullshit that was ahead for this child all the disappointments and struggles.  I thought about how great it would be for her to live out the rest of her life with the gusto and wonder a 10-year old expects life to be. It occurred to me that this photo might be an excellent replacement for the old fat lady in the refrigerator.

Within 24 hours, the little girl in the refrigerator was shifting something in my core. Opening the refrigerator and making questionable choices became akin to child abuse. Even when I was out and contemplating a drive-thru, she came to mind. My younger self was in my care and what was I going to do with her? Neglect her? Be a bad example? Or help her to live her dreams? Duh.

This does NOT mean that she can’t have the things she likes. It means those choices are made mindfully. There is still cheesecake in our refrigerator.  She eats about 1500 calories a day with an increasing proportion of vegetables. One day a week, she does not  log in to myfitnesspal.com to calculate intake. Her presence has inspired me to return to the pool, so last week I completed 40 minutes of laps. I also used my yoga DVD for 30 minutes. I lost nine pounds in the past five weeks without feeling tortured.

I think this might work with almost any goal. If you’re trying to change careers let your 10-year old self haunt your choices–and let’s see where this goes.

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9 Responses to “There’s a Child in My Refrigerator”

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Oh, Emily, what a present to yourself and to us 🙂

I love it! Great way to inspire and reflect on the past. I just talked to a lady last night who lost 25 pounds by eating health and drinking oolong tea. She swears by it! Might be a nice warm addition to your day. Go Emily go!

Tea is great. I’ve been drinking more.

Emily – you inspire with everything you do !
Thank You.

I love this ! I’m going to try it. I’ll let you know if it works. Love. Claudie From France.

Let me know if it works, Claudie. It would be interesting to know if it’s valid for others. Thanks for the reply.

Dear Emily, you are beautiful as you are. I loved the picture of you at 10 years. Recently I went through all my family photos and considered those childhood pictures of mine. I believe the majority of women in America struggle with weight in some form. I grew up loving to watch my mother cook, loving to learn to cook, and I still love food and cooking! and I hate the scales. but I also feel blessed that I live in a world where I have food choices in abundance. And like many, I have to find a way to balance those choices. I loved your picture of 10 years old. I recently found one of me at age 10. Interesting.. Congratulations on your 9 #. I celebrate with you as I am working to lose some pounds too.

[…] And, I don’t feel like I’m suffering. I still eat chocolate, but portion control is king. The girl in the refrigerator still works and she’s expanded her influence to other behaviors, like procrastination, exercise […]


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    A writer and cancer survivor chronicles her renewed dedication to art and words..

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