When teaching my students about the planet Earth, I teach them about something called the Goldilocks zone.
First, because three-quarters of them have never even heard about Goldilocks, I actually read the book to them. They find it amusing, a few think its a bit childish but secretly, they love it. I also have to explain that porridge is really similar to oatmeal. Goldilocks was looking for that perfect zone. Porridge that was not too hot or too cold, a bed that was not too soft or too hard, even a chair that fit her just right. This is the Goldilocks zone.
Our planet’s orbit is in the Goldilocks zone. We are not too far from the sun to be super cold and not to close to be way too hot. Our orbit is ‘just right’. Most people strive to reach this Goldilocks Zone every day of their lives.
Just like Goldilocks, we do want the bed that’s not too soft but not too hard. We want our food to be at a certain temperature. We often try to make that perfect cup of coffee without too much cream and or sugar. We may try to eat our cereal before it gets soggy. We try to keep the temperature of our house, not too cold, but not to hot. We might drive faster than the speed limit but not too fast to avoid being caught. That bath we take can’t be too hot or too cold. That medication that you take just enough to do its job. Too little too much than it doesn’t work. This Goldilock zone is where we are most comfortable, where we find homeostasis in our life. When we can’t reach this zone for any reason, we become uncomfortable maybe even anxious. Think about how disappointed you are when you get that drive-through coffee that is not sweet enough. The irritation that you feel when you get stuck behind someone going under the speed limit. The annoyance of tipping a delivery driver when your food is cold. This is why we have sweaters, microwaves, temperature dials on our faucets, it’s all to aid us in keeping our lives as comfortable as possible.
Sounds simple, right? But for me, not so much. Yes, I can get that perfect temperature in my shower but I can’t find that in my diet. A little thing to some but something that plagues my mind all day long. No matter if I’m driving, watching TV, or visiting friends, the thought of my diet, is always there.
I’m driving myself crazy trying to find that Goldilock Zone. How many calories are too little or too much. How much exercise is too little or too much. When you ask me why I’m so stressed, this is why. When you ask me why I’m so grumpy, this is why. If you ask me why I’m so depressed, this is why.
In order for me to live moment to moment in a state of contentment I’m must stay in the ‘not enough’ because, with food, you can never come back from the ‘too much’. Even if you are binging and purging, you are striving for that zone and you have to take into account, you don’t know exactly how much you are purging.
I’m terrified to try to find the Goldilocks zone. I think about it all the time. I watch the scale, I count the calories, keeping myself safely under the ‘no going back’ place. Just a bit below that Goldilocks zone. I do believe that if I do reach this zone, I’m going to lose all control. That bag of chips commercial is right, I can’t just eat one. I’ll eat the whole damn bag.
Because of this, I count and I weigh. Because of this, I’ll leave that sweatshirt at home so I’m just a tad bit chilly. Because of this, I’ll show up for a date because I’m afraid to be late. Because of this, I tend to be overly quiet because I’m afraid that I’ll talk too much.
For me, the Goldilocks zone, the zone where most people strive for, is the zone for me that throws me into a tailspin of self-destruction. With one exception, sometimes, feeling over-medicated, makes me feel a hell of a lot better.
What have you done today to stay in your Goldilocks zone