Stubborn Change, but Change Nonetheless

000fast foodThis morning I logged my food eaten over the weekend and yikes!

Ouch!

Pow!

Bamm!!!  Not good.

Okay, now I understand why I am at a stand still with my weight.

I HATE counting calories, but it seems my ability to eye-ball them is defective.  I can’t tell how many whopping calories there are in foods.

Cannot.

Simply am not capable in my present state!

That’s okay, it just means I need to develop a plan for eating on the weekends that is more vigilant than the one I have for week days.

It all makes sense now.

Recalculating.

Reminding myself…

Change Is Possible, and the more I want it, the quickly it will come to me.

Today is a new day.  Time for a new plan.  Ready for a new tomorrow.

When have you had to recalculate in order to triangulate a course that will produce a better outcome in the future?  What one or two habits have you adopted for making this process easier?

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The Experiment–7 Days Done

For the last week I have been conducting an experiment, The Experiment.  During The Experiment, I’ve been avoiding comfort foods, in an attempt to give myself a clearer understanding of how much I use food to sooth myself and what I would do if I had all those foods I consider comfort foods removed from my diet.  I know that my comfort foods are not the same as those others might identify, but I thought for the purpose of this post it would be good for me to list the kinds of foods I decided to avoid this week.

Defining The Experiment

During The Experiment I avoided the following comfort foods, and monitored my reaction to not having them as a part of my diet:

Coffee

Dairy Creamer, usually half and half

Chewing gum

Dark Chocolate, I don’t eat milk chocolate

Popcorn after dinner

Fast foods, including, but not limited to salads

You might look at this list and say, “Well, there you go, that’s her problem,” and it might be you’re right.  If there wasn’t anything that needed changing in my food plan, I probably wouldn’t have embarked upon The Experiment in the first place.  I assure you, though, that I do not eat fast food on a regular basis.  I eat almost no fast food, but included this category because I do eat out, probably more than I should, and some of the choices I make in restaurants could be classified as fast food, ie: grilled chicken salads at Wendy’s.

But I digress.

About The Experiment:

I had an epiphany when I was driving alone last week.  It had to do with my eating. It also had to do with my choice of foods. It had to do with how much I rely on food to sooth my ruffled feathers.  Yes, ladies and gents, it had to do with emotional eating.  It had to do with why I’m at a plateau with my weight AGAIN, and what I might do to figure out a different way to get to my goal weight.  My thought during this epiphany was that I use food in the wrong ways and to the wrong effect many times. I’ve known this piece of the puzzle was true of me for a while, but it became more apparent during my time in the car.  If I could just identify why I crave certain foods at certain times, I conjectured, I could make a plan and change a habit, and finally get the weight moving down again.

I also wanted to quit bowing down to my appetite.

As of today I have been doing this conscious comfort food monitoring for one week–seven days–and I have discovered a few things about myself in the process.

What I’ve discovered

1.  Foods that sooth remain a powerful presence in my life.

2.  I want to get to my goal weight and quit relying on foods to sooth me, but not enough to eliminate them from my diet completely.

3.  I cannot find a gentler, easier way to let go of foods that sooth other than the hard disciplines of self-sacrifice.

4.  I can quit eating foods that sooth for a time, but it takes real determination and focus to do it.

5.  My greatest struggle in resisting foods that sooth happens between the hours of 5:00 and 7:00pm, while I’m fixing dinner.

How it all shook out

I was able to abstain from coffee, half and half, artificial sugars, and chewing gum for 7 days.   That’s huge for me.

I ate noticably less foods that sooth, even when I did not completely abstain from eating them.

I was not able to abstain from eating dark chocolate, popcorn, or fast food salads during this time.  I ate grilled chicken salads at Wendy’s several times this week.

What I’ve discovered

Monitoring the foods in my diet that have a soothing affect on me has been profitable.  Just identifying them was a real lesson in self-awareness.  When I craved something, I would ask myself why, then make note of the answer.  I slept better the first few days I was off the coffee, but after that no discernible difference was observed in my sleep patterns.  I had one day when I didn’t ache as much, but I’m not sure if that was due to the food change, or to temperature and bariatric pressure changes in NEPA.  I ate less chocolate (dark chocolate is my go-to snack in the late afternoon, and holds me over until supper; one square does the trick), mostly because I was being mindful of cravings and noting them when they occurred.

I asked myself this question a number of times during the week:  Why do I feel I need to have that right now?  

I only had popcorn after dinner once.

All in all, I think The Experiment was a success.  I ate less, was more conscious of the things I did eat and why I ate them, and made it through a week I knew would be challenging before I began.  I feel stronger for having done that, and when tempted to chew a piece of gum yesterday (I’m a big gum chewer and definitely use it to sooth my appetite during the day), I passed on the offer.

I did not lose weight during The Experiment.

I think that if I were to employ The Experiment several times each month, I might, just through habit, begin to feel like I could exclude some of the foods in my life that sooth on a more permanent basis, and that would be a good, good thing.  For now, I’m happy to have experimented with food and cravings for one week, and I would be willing to do it again in the future.  I have journaled about it during the week, and feel that recording my thoughts here will help me, and might help someone else to give their own experiment a try.  That is my hope, anyway.

Have you ever experimented with removing certain foods from your diet for a period of time?  What was your reaction to not eating those foods?  Did you go back to them, or did you leave them out of your diet forever?

Game Plan Needed!!!

I need a new game plan.

This past weekend, the kiddos come down for a few days. That means 4 more people in the house, and on Saturday, we add another 4: That’s 8 in total for lunch on Saturday, in addition to our regulars. That’s a lot for this country gal who doesn’t do crowds, or feel confident as a hostess.

000pizza

Having that many additional mouths to feed at lunch time, I resorted to take out and ordered pizza and wings. I know, I know, not good. But I did not pig out on the stuff. I ate two small squares of pizza and two wings, and then called it a day. Rather, a meal. Still, this afternoon I am feeling defeated in my attempts to stay on track when others are in my home.

You can’t believe how quickly 32 pcs of pizza and 2 dozen wings can be inhaled!

I need a game plan that I can slip into place when these things happen. Any suggestions?

How do you stay on track when company comes and it’s mealtime? What do you do to balance out your eating when unexpected multitudes get added to the lunch time roster?

Driving Aimlessly

One thing that I still struggle with is indecision.

Should I, or shouldn’t I?

Indecision has the power to make me chase after my own tail, wondering what is the right thing to do?  It can fuel fears in me; feelings of insecurity, or imagined threat.  I’ve seen indecision manifest itself in me through anxiety, pleas for assurance from others, and excess eating.  Sometimes, however, indecision sends me in another direction completely.  Here’s an example of what I mean by that.

Recently, when I read about another bloggers struggle with drive through eating I was reminded of all those times when I was learning to confront my sugar addiction and food obsession (and girth).  Crazy as this will sound, I spent my entire lunch hour driving around town, many days, scoping out the best fast food joints and buying nothing.  

Seriously, I did this many times, and always went back to work after an hour of driving around feeling hungry, unsatisfied, and frustrated with my inability to make a decision.

What is the world was that about?

Now, after many years of practicing restraint with food, I think I know that it was fear of eating too many calories that drove this behavior.  And perfectionist tendencies (operating in me even though all sense would suggest I am not, nor have I ever been, perfect).

Fear and Perfectionism–is this ringing bells for anyone but me?

I think this is why I did these things.

I think.

The truth is that I believe that a lot of my food insanity–which I suffered through for years–has dissipated.  I still do the same thing over and over again, expecting a different outcome, but usually not with food.

With other things.

Sometimes.

Thankfully I don’t feel the need to repeat the endless, aimless driving behavior any more.  I’ve learned to accept that I’m not perfect and making bad choices is better than making no choice.  At least I’m moving forward and choosing something.

As I am writing this post, I’m wondering: Is it possible that I am the only one who has ever acted this way?

Maybe I am.

I could be.

If I am, then so be it.  Doing something this abnormal taught me a lesson about how crazy I could be when handling food, or not handling it.

When I woke up.

After I had quit the insanity or constant eating.

The behavior got bad enough that it taught me how to be more decisive.

I’m glad I don’t drive aimlessly looking for the perfect food on my lunch hour anymore.  Indecision still has the power to take me places I don’t want to go, but not with food.

I’m learning.

Slowly, but surely.

Some days I eat what I have gotten while out for lunch and I am unsatisfied.  At those times I tell myself, “Self, there will always be another lunch.  Don’t sweat it, this one wasn’t great, but the next one will be.”  That’s called progress, people, and I’m glad for it!

What are your thoughts on aimless driving, fast foods, and perfectionism? Did you ever have a problem with indecision that ended up in you eating way more than you would have, had you just had the burger and fries?

Eyeballs, Smaller Plates, and Steam

eyeballing

I don’t know why, but I still cannot eye-ball my foods and choose the right portion size for someone who wants to weigh 165 lbs. I need to weigh and measure more. 

Changes!

I have made a few changes that help me to eat better and eat less. 

I threw away my 12″ dinner plates and replaced them with 8″ plates two Christmas’s back.  I love the set of Fiestaware dishes I have now.  They clean up slick in minutes and they add vibrant colors to our dining table.  We have a mix and match set of a variety of colors.  You just have to be in a better mood sitting down to the table with these saucy plates in front of you.

fiestaware

I have switched from highly processed meals to meals that tout fresh ingredients in practically every bite.  We do still drink cow’s milk, and we do still eat beans out of a can (mostly because I work outside the home, and beans are labor intensive), we do buy bread from the grocer and we do use commercially made salad dressings, but we have moved away from the boxes, bags, cans and fast foods of the past. 

We now eat lots of raw and steamed veggies and fruit.  Our systems are working better than ever, and I am amazed at how my wounds heal when I get a paper cut or a hang nail.  Used to be nasty for days, but not any more.  Our bodies are incredibly made and they work tons better when they have the proper fuel with which to do their job.

These days the only thing we eat not sitting at the table is popcorn.  That’s real progress.

Off Limits

We do no sodas, no more casseroles, no pasta, no white bread or sugar, no fancy desserts or complicated recipes.  We keep it simple, colorful, textured and real–and wow, the tastes are amazing.

Finishing Strong

As I close out another week on this diet and exercise regimen I’m trying to keep alive and forward moving, I am resolved to make some more changes.  This is NOT a dress rehearsal–this life of mine. I need to take recovery seriously, because for me to fail, is to die.  My body needs better from me, and doggone it, I’m going to oblige, so say a prayer for me.  I’m moving into the weekend reminding myself that food is fuel, God is love and Change IS possible!