I Have No Filter…

My mom said something to me over the phone this weekend that truly hit home. She said, “Lis, I think your biggest problem is you have no inner filter.”

I’ve always know this, but she verified it for me in the loving, genuine way only a mother could.

Of course, her comment didn’t come out of nowhere. We were talking about my blog, the subsequent confession to my family, and various related topics including the things I was vowing to work on.

After praising me for taking this head-on and really embracing my decision to come clean and make strides, she said that the *only* thing about my personality that she wishes I could improve upon would be my filters about food and exercise…or, I should say, lack there of.

Essentially, I (admittedly) have no filters when it comes to these two things; I’m excessive. I say whatever I am thinking, almost like a constant stream of consciousness and I don’t even realize I am doing it.

Whereas most people would maybe debate, in their heads, the merits of granola vs. All-Bran, or ponder the impact of the decision to eat carrot cake for dessert, I have no filter and just say stuff out loud. I publicly justify my decision to run in the morning … or my hesitance to have a glass of wine with dinner based on what I’d eaten earlier.

I guess you could say I am exessively, blatantly vocal about my obsessions. To a fault. I don’t do it deliberately or even with any forethought; I just do it.

And it’s not normal.

Moreover, I realize now that this is probably obnoxious behavior and likely makes me tough to be around, especially for those close to me who possibly think similar thoughts — but keep them tucked in the confines of their minds.

As my mom said, “It makes us uncomfortable to hear you hemming and hawing, analyzing and discussing out loud. We wish you could just BE. Eat the cookie, and just not discuss it.”

But what woman doesn’t give thought to the second helping of pasta or when choosing the fish-and-chips vs. the healthier tilapia and rice entree at a restaurant? Unlike men, most women do tend to qualify their food choices, even if they don’t say them out loud. My mom agreed that women are almost programmed to think first–even if we still indulge.

Like my sister wisely said, “All women are disordered eaters in some way, Lis.” Clearly, the SELF survey on disordered eating showed that at least 60% of us admit it; my sister’s point being that the other 40% probably just don’t acknowledge it.

So to make progress here, I need to find balance and curb my inner filter. This means even if I can’t stop the constant analyzing in my head, to keep it to myself at the very least.

I’ll be honest, though I am willing to give it a shot, I don’t think it’ll be easy; it’s not my nature.

Case in point: When I was seven, I humilated the living hell out of my dad at my cousin’s Bar Mitzvah. While scanning the dessert choices, he introduced me to this lovely couple and told me how they owned lots and lots of Burger Kings.

As a 7-yr old, I thought this was super-cool, but instead I said, “MY daddy calls it ‘Burger Swine!'” grinning ear-to-ear.

The couple chuckled politely while my dad turned about twelve shades of red. That was the first time of many that my inner filter didn’t work.

Over the years, I got better–much better–about being politically correct. Living in D.C. will do that to you; working in the energy industry and later with political appointees during this Republican administration meant I needed to watch every word I said! (My tongue is still sore from biting it so often.) But I digress.

Anyway, though I still had some slip-ups over the years, for the most part, I’ve found a way to keep certain thoughts private. Yet somehow when it comes to food and exercise, I’ve been a flop.

And so that is my goal this week, to focus on my inner filter.

Between that and not obsessively journaling, I have two big goals, but I am confident I can do both. Again, awareness is half the battle. Wish me luck!

How about you? Do you think you drive those around you nuts with your constant chatter about food and exercise, or do you keep it to yourself?


9 thoughts on “I Have No Filter…

  1. I’ve been known to start a sentence with….”I know you’re tired of hearing about this, but indulge me for a minute….” and that’s followed by some talk about WW or weightloss. I have some good friends who are WW’ers as well, so sometimes I try to limit the talk to just them b/c they like to talk about it as well. I consider it a hobby, honestly. Nutrition and health are just things that interest me, just like any other hobby. I’ve started a huge three ring binder with all my articles and handouts from WW etc that are on the topic. Since my future is to teach it, I’m always wanting to learn more. In a way – I think it’s ok. If you are like me, talking about it outloud is just confirmation of your goals.

  2. Thanks, Laurie. Nutrition and health and fitness are surely hobbies of mine, but surely no one likes to hear me debate about if I should get this or that healthy option when they’re eating greasy fries and a cheeseburger; it makes others feel bad about themselves even though it’s not my intent. I also tend to talk about food stuff mostly with WW friends, but it’s hard to filter myself.

    I agree talking out loud can be a confirmation of your goals–but it can also annoy the heck out of those around us, esp. when it’s obsessive–as my mom pointed out as gently as she could.

  3. I definitely make a big deal out of my food choices. I lost 50 pounds 6 years ago, and have maintained that loss. Unfortunately, along with the loss comes an obsession with eating. What I ate, what I “can’t” eat. It’s annoying to me and others, I know. But it’s hard to fight.

  4. I think it’s hard to not make a big deal out of them, especially when we (subsconsciously) seek validity from others for our “virtuous choices” or when we “splurge’–the truth is, no one cares what others eat and we put the emphasis unnecessarily. I am very guilty of this, as you can see!

  5. I don’t have an inner filter either, on a lot of things. I try. I’ve been trying for sometime now, but sometimes what I am thinking just jumps out of my mouth before I can trap it.

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