About Me

Hello and welcome to my new blog, Hello Hoobubby! Hoobubby comes from the name of the character in a children's picture book I have played with on and off for some time. My name is Alexandra and I am a therapist and writer here in Portland, Oregon. I'm not exactly sure quite yet what this blog will be all about- books? writing? love? decorating? art? travels? yodeling bats in traveling Chinese circuses? food? Definitely food! Have a wonderful day and by the way, you look very scrumptious today so watch yourself! (You can also find me at my private practice blog at http://leapbrightly.blogspot.com and at my business site at http://www.alexandrasaperstein.com )

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Magical Monday Post One: TRUCE

Every Monday, I'm going to try and post something on weight related issues, maybe with some journal questions attached at each post's end. A few years ago, I lost over sixty pounds and I remember all too well the struggles. Of course, the worst part is the dumb and mean judgments of others, as if our beauty, worth, and value could ever be measured in inches anyway. It cannot. Still, the judgments stung. Between Weight Watchers and some of my own created steps, I did manage to reach a healthy weight again but its an ongoing challenge to be managed because I have a bottomless sweet tooth and a bottomless salt tooth. And then, behind my front set of teeth that are displayed to the world, I have another set of 32 teeth, hidden behind the trapdoor which is my tongue. This second set must have a regular feed of cupcakes and buttered movie popcorn or it will destroy everything in its wake. Anyway, hopefully sharing some of what has helped me can help others too if managing weight stuff for those whom it is also a challenge.

Magical Monday #1: CREATING A TRUCE
(Please note that if you like this "Truce" image, there are prints of it for sale right here!)
Have you ever been a victim of what I like to call "Magical Monday Syndrome?" or "Magical First Day of Next Month I Will Begin My Weight Loss Program?" or "Magical After I Get Back From Vacation Syndrome I Will....(fill in the blank)?" What all of these have in common is the belief that there is some day out there, just beyond the moment we are in, where it is okay to eat a gigantic bowl of gelato because “Monday I am starting a diet and it is going to go perfectly and somehow all will snap into place. The weight will be "ready" to march off my buttocks just like obedient soldiers, all while grabbing bushels of cellulite with them on their march out!"How many times did I shoo away my long term health goals for some short term dessert booty all the while convincing myself that it was "okay" because Magical Monday was coming?

...(Sidebar: Not that we shouldn't indulge or that a bowl full of gelato doesn't have its place in life! You are reading the words of someone who plans to use 20- nearly half- of her Weight Watchers flex points allowance every Saturday each time she reaches WW goal of the week. For more on that!, read this!)(Swiping cake evidence from that post to prove that I definitely don't believe in deprivation as a habit!)

So often we can be misguided into thinking that if we can just be a little bit harsher with ourselves, we'll somehow "snap into line" like good little children. We tell ourselves we are "misbehaving" when we indulge in something that isn't in our best interest. Do you ever catch yourself saying things like "I'm being so bad right now!” as you wolf down a pack of fries or half a dozen slices of cheesecake? And then underneath it you feel a mountain of sludgy guilt slowly creep your way before long? As the binge-induced bliss subsides, it is replaced by an avalanche of verbal assaults meant to punish us for our "bad behavior."

My experience is that when I treat myself like a little child, this has a tendency to promote even more acting out. When I was a child, I use to hide a small candy canteen under my bed. If you'd reached your hand underneath the mattress, a secret wonderland of "forbidden" snacks awaited you- Twinkies, Cheetos, Whatchamacalits, Nerds, Dots, Bit-o-Honey's, Nacho Cheese Doritos, Ding Dongs. I was raising an entire Hostess family all on my own. Now, if my parents had known about it, I would have been "in trouble." And, sadly, a rich opportunity would have been lost. In that same vein, when we judge and condemn our own health habits, or narrowly define our food patterns as "good" or "bad," we miss out on unveiling the deeper reasons why we are choosing food for comfort instead of something more soul and body sustaining. More importantly, it becomes a cutting way in which we withhold love and compassion from ourselves.

If you are anything like I was when I started my own first successful weight loss process, you might feel fear or even anger at this suggestion of calling a truce with your body. Or you might feel disappointed, or cheated, or that you can't "trust" yourself enough to have a truce. "I need to be tougher on myself," you might be thinking. "Not less tough." How is it that we get to a place in our lives where we have one set of standards for others and another for ourselves? Why is it okay- or necessary- for one to be mean to oneself in order to lose weight? How often does that work out well?

Personally, I really like the idea of inviting ourselves to take a "temporary respite" from our habitual ways, and seeing what might happen. How much more energy might we have when it is not being siphoned off to whip ourselves into dietary submission? or guilted into a depressing state of mind?

We can create our healthiest bodies yet and be kind to ourselves in the process. Its not an “either/or” deal. Most importantly, we have the right to be whatever size we are. Period. Losing weight to have more energy and feel healthier in various ways is one thing. Feeling we have to lose weight because it is "not okay" or "not acceptable" to be the weight we are is a different story.

(Art Credit: Artist Cori Dantini- "TRUCE" print can be purchased on her Etsy site, along with many other wonderful prints of hers. She also has a great blog here. She is one of my very favorite Northwest artists.)


1) A truce means a truce across the board on multiple levels. It means that when you catch yourself saying anything demeaning about your body or personhood, you are going to notice it, catch yourself, and aim to replace your inner self talk with something more respectful. Therapist/author, Terry Real, often talks with couples about having the functional adult within ourselves "grab the greasy wheel" out of the hands of our reactive, inner child. There will be more on that subject later, but for now, the idea might help as you create healthier, kinder, and more respectful ways of supporting your health habits. When you find yourself saying something harsh towards yourself, consider a mantra such as "I am enough and worthy exactly as I am," or "My value is not dependent on the size of my pants or the number on a scale."Take a few moments to consider what your mantra might be. Feel free to share it here. You can use the one above or create your own. Then write it in BIG letters in your notebook AND on a separate sheet of paper in large letters and place it somewhere you will definitely read it every morning. (i.e....on your dresser top, beside the toilet paper roll in your bathroom taped to the wall, in your calendar...Where will it be easy for you to see it every day?) Keep in mind it might sound phony because what has become okay and natural is to put yourself down around your size and/or food choices.

2) How can you support yourself best through the process? (Example: Is there a best time of day to usually commit your time to this process? Waking up earlier or getting away during a lunch break?

3) What are the pros of calling a truce with yourself? For one, it might allow you to experience gratitude more fully towards your body for all it does to support you through each day. Can you consider three ways right now your body takes care of you each and every moment in ways you never or rarely pause to say thank you for?


  1. Hmmm. I wasn't even aware that I was doing the childish bad/punishment thing. But I definitely feel horrible if I've eaten an entire cake. (Which I am capable of. With cake, I have no limits). For me, eating sugar and fat is mostly about 'little rewards'. As in 'I've been so clever/productive today. I've earned a treat'. Or sometimes it's about comforting myself. 'I have a cold. I deserve some chocolate.'

    If I'm busy and about, I eat less than if I'm at home writing. I work in the kitchen. My hand reaches out for something all the time. Tea or coffee, sure, but I really would rather have something sweet to go with. I have to pace myself so I don't get up and make a sandwhich every hour, hee hee.

    Anyway. I don't think I've ever actually been on a diet. But I have periods where the mirror and my jeans tell me it's time to cut back on the cake for a while. Like now. I'll try the note, and I know exactly where it must go: To the right of my computer.

  2. Hi Tone,
    It seems like, in general, Americans have much more neurotic and/or painful relationships with our bodies and food. Your attitude seems so healthy, laid back, and balanced. I also noticed when I was in Europe that I was filled much more quickly with desserts when I did eat them, perhaps because they were made with more real ingredients and less artificial ones.

    I definitely don't believe in deprivation. Life is so short, and cake is too important! I guess the key is moderation, and not using food as habit to self-soothe for other needs. In the US, obesity is an epidemic now with more than half of children seriously overweight and the real concern is the long term health impact on these kids. I'm one of those who genuinely thinks people look beautiful at every weight. My mom has been significantly overweight all her life and she is so beautiful to me. For me, the main motivators are one, health/energy, and two, purely vanity because the clothes I like in my wardrobe are of a particular size.

    I still can't get over your comment.."Anyway I don't think I've ever actually been on a diet." You may be the only person I know who never has been- really!