It’s easy when you’re morbidly obese to get fatalistic in your thinking. Dieting is a huge challenge for those accustomed to eating what we want, when we want, and in whatever quantities we want. The fact is, when you’re addicted to food like I am, it’s not just food you’re trying to quit. Oh, no. It is all those associations that are made with and through food: friends who eat with you when you don’t eat alone; feelings you get when you indulge in favorite foods; triggers that go off like roman candles when you deny yourself certain things, and the ever popular changing body image—a huge factor for anyone whose lost more than a couple pounds. These are real concerns and can become real pratfalls for those not completely committed to staying the course. Doing the footwork needed to get healthy, making changes and not becoming distracted along the way can be challenging, but the good news is that the longer you walk the path of health, the easier it becomes.
SMALL THINGS MATTER when you’re trying to work a clean program and break bad habits. Today I want to share a few examples of how small tweeks to my plan affected my Mother’s Day weekend with family and friends.
Coffee makes it easier to overeat and get dehydrated. I am a social coffee drinker, and not a binge drinker. When company comes over and we are done with our meal, I serve coffee and I drink coffee. This weekend, I drank a lot of it, from home brewed to Star Bucks. The more coffee I drink, the less water goes in my body. The less water I drink, the more dehydrated I become, and in the past that would signal me to eat, eat, eat, eat, eat, in a maddening desire to fill myself up. Not pretty and definitely avoidable. This weekend I was not vigilant, so something as small as a small coffee was able to make a difference for me.
Granola Bars, even healthy ones, can be addictive and should not be left unattended on the counter at family gatherings. This weekend, family members got together for a picnic. I made homemade granola bars, full of oats and nuts and wheat germ and honey. They were all nature and all incredibly yummy. Did I eat more than I should have? You bet, but only a few more. Next time, I will take only enough for us to all have a serving, and then I will freeze the rest, or send them home with others. The recipe will be retained for special occasions, at least until I have a better handle on snack foods at family functions. When it comes to granola, even a small bit more than a serving adds up fast. Beware the granola glut.
I have found food journaling to be immensely helpful in keeping my focus where it should be at mealtime. Knowing I have to record my food, even when I don’t record the calories and am not able to weigh or measure what I eat, keeps me mindful not to indulge in second helpings, heavy desserts, or “treats” between meals. Knowing I have to account for every bite that goes in my pie-hole makes me feel like I have some control over my life and recovery. It’s a small thing to pull out that note book and jot down a few lines, but it adds up to big results when I go back over the journal entries and see that I’m under goal for the day—a big win for anyone trying to trim the fat.
In an emergency, gum has saved my keister more than once. A stick of Doublemint gum satisfies those lows and highs I get in times of stress. I chew, but I do not swallow, and that my friends is no small feat for a food addict. I always have a stick of gum at the ready, because while it might seem like a small thing to spend 20 minutes before dinner chewing gum, it has saved me lots of calories in the time I’ve done it, and for this girl, that’s what it’s all about.
This weekend, I ate well. I ate moderately. I ate sanely, and I ate honestly. I ate too much granola, and I did not drink enough water. I did not move enough. I did not sleep well Saturday night, and I suffered from insomnia again last night—probably due to too much coffee. The results: I gained 2 lbs, but it’s okay. A 2 lb gain is a small thing, and this morning I got right back on the plan.
Small victories become Big Successes when I decide to begin again. Consistency and persistence win the day when it comes to losing weight. I had a terrific Mother’s Day with my family and those 2 lbs gained will be gone by Friday. Thank God for small blessings.