My Empty Sugar Bowl

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My sugar bowl is empty.  I’ve quit filling it. That’s right, I have voluntarily quit filling the sugar bowl at my house. Over the years, I can’t imagine how many bags of white sugar have been poured into this bowl and then scooped out by my family, one tablespoon at a time (when we weren’t just dumping the contents into our already sugared cereal bowls).  No more!  These days while I may use white sugar for some things, and yes, I do still have it in the house, I don’t use it for sprinkling on top of foods, or adding to my coffee, or tea, or hot cocoa.

Quitting white sugar that once poured forth freely from my sugar bowl is just one of the changes I have made in order to regain my health and lose unwanted pounds.

Other changes include:

Weighing myself daily.

Buying a new exercise bike.

Putting in 30 minutes of more on the bike five times a week.

Reporting my food to my food sponsor.

Starting this blog.

What are you doing to enhance your weight loss efforts?  What has been your best strategy for losing weight and keeping it off? 

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Keep Searching for your Mentor

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Honesty is the best policy, I know that, but brutal honesty can be, well brutal.  I don’t mind telling myself the truth, but there are times when I feel like I’m not the best judge of the truth. At least not as it pertains to me.  In lieu of my version of the truth then, I will tell you my story.

When I got a diabetes diagnosis two years ago, I went from one dietician to another. Each one looked at me and said, “What do you want me to do for you?”

“What?” thought I.

How did I know, I’d never had diabetes before.

They gave me sheets to complete, pamphlets to read, blood meters to use and sent me on my way.  I guess I was expected to get back in touch with them, if and when I wanted more input.

“More input,” thought I, “where was the initial input?”

My first experience with a medical dietician was in a group setting with strangers.  Most of them had lived with diabetes for some time. They knew the ropes. I’m not sure why they were even there, in an educational setting for the disease.  I guess maybe they had experienced a hospitalization and this was follow-up?  Maybe?  I’m still not sure, but what I do know is that it didn’t set well with me. This group sharing of personal medical information, I mean.

Why should I have to sit in a room with strangers and talk about some of the most personal needs of my life?

I didn’t like it.  Not one little bit.  I left there angry, vowing to seek help somewhere else.  My, how I’ve grown.  Look at me sharing freely with you today.  Amazing.

Dietician no. 2 was no better than no. 1.  She also let me lead the discussion.

Again, I know nothing about diabetes, people. This is not helpful.

Dietician no. 3 was from outside the medical community, a holistic healer who actually helped some.  She met with me a few times, talked to me about getting away from processed foods, talked about changing habits–many of the things I am still utilizing to get healthy.  Thank you, dietician no. 3.  My problem with this one was that she wanted to perform experiments on me.

Or at least it felt that way to me.

“Put your hand on this thingy, sit still now.  Unbelievable as it seems, this device is actually reading your body make-up and will be able to tell us the essential vitamins and supplements you need to add to your diet to obtain optimal health.”

Yeah, I am not a believer.

I went to a few sessions with this dietician no. 3, but when it became apparent that I was not going to buy all the potions she sold, she lost interest, and I too.  That’s when I turned to health and fitness bloggers.

I learned, and I began to eat differently.

In a week or so, I will go back for another blood work-up.  I’m hoping the results this time around are as good as last time.

I have been a bit disappointed this summer.  I was recently diagnosed with Plantar Fasciitis, so my mobility is limited at a time when I want to run, jump, burn calories.  I’m wearing a boot and not liking it much.  It’s hot. I whine about it a lot.   I’m hoping this thing heals before summer is completely over.  This foot is another example of the many things that can get in the way and threaten to stymie me in my attempts to lose weight.  I will not let this deter me from learning and growing into a healthier me, though.  I cannot.

No going back.

Forward movement is all that is allowed.  Only forward.

Bye Bye April Goals

I can’t believe it. How can it be?  Did six days fly by without my notice?  How is it possible that today is the first day of May? 

I promised that once April was done I would report the progress I had made on my goals for the month, so here goes:

1.  Journal your food for each meal, every day of the week.

I did pretty well on this first goal for April.  I only  have 3 days in my food journal when I did not record what I ate.  Often, I texted a friend regarding my intake, as well. What I have learned from this experiment is that I can more easily track the slipper slope when I am journaling my food.  If I’m not getting enough veggies in, the journal lets me know that.  If I have not eaten all my servings of fruit, its in there.  If I have had one too many indulgences, it is recorded in the journal.  I have learned that I can do something I don’t want to do by tracking my food. I have also learned that I can be quite resistant to change. Big Surprise, right? 

On to goal No. 2

2.  Exercise for 30 minutes at least 3 times each week.

I didn’t do quite so well on my second goal for April.  For part of the month it was cold, cold at my house, and since I don’t have a gym membership right now, I found it hard to get in a walk 3 times each week.  I did do my stretching exercises almost every day, but not for a 30 minute duration.  The good news is that I took more walks and did more exercise this month than I have done in many months, and that made setting this goal and working to achieve it worth while.  I will probably be visiting this goal again during May.  Gonna keep doing it until I get it right.

Part of this goal was a reminder to self that all extra movement would be counted as exercise during April.  So glad for that insight.  I did move much more this past month, and I probably wouldn’t have, had I not set this goal.

Goal No. 3 next.

3.  Avoid eating carbs at the evening meal, at least 3 times a week.

I feel good about my third goal for April.  There were many nights this month when I did not load up on carbs for supper.  April saw many less meat-heavy meals on our table, as well.  I did do a lot of beans, but they are so good for my digestion that I’m going to stay positive about eating them.  I used Prevacid for ten years, and now none for the last two years. I’m happy with the way things are moving in the right direction these days and beans were part of that solution. In the good ole food frenzied days, I never ate beans.  Now, I eat them all the time.  This may be part of the plateau anguish I’m suffering through, but this too I am going to remain positive about. 

All in all, I’m happy with the progress I made this month.  I’m glad I exercised more. I’m glad I journaled my food, even with the food journal failure I experienced.  I’m glad I was consciously aware of what I was doing this month.  I’m looking forward to extending my goals for May. 

What should they be?  I’ll have to think on that for a day.  I’ll try to post about May goals tomorrow.  Woohoo, I’m excited about what the future holds.

Magic Wands and other fantasies

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Before I finally seriously addressed my weight problem and food addictions, I had waited around for years for “the inspiration” to start to over take me.  I expected that when the “urge” to succeed did finally kick in, I would work that diet like a gang buster and see immediate and gratifying change.  I imagined myself being whittled down to nothing.  It would all happen when my magic wand appeared.

It wasn’t only a magic wand I fantasized about when it came to weight loss, though. Oh, no.  I also imagined a magical elevator, an elevator that was constantly going up and down through the days of my life.  As of yet, it had not stopped at my floor, but when it did, oh, boy, things were going to be different.  I would finally have that bit of wisdom/strength/intuition/willpower (insert your own “whatever” here), I thought I was missing in my last endeavor to lose weight and keep it off, and this time, it would be different. 

Sadly, my elevator never came. Nor did my magic wand.

Eventually, I became involved with a group of people who said, “The weight didn’t come on over night, and it isn’t going to leave that way either.  This is going to take time.” 

Time?

I didn’t want losing all that weight to take time.  How long, I wondered? What do they mean, I wondered?  Is time all it will take, I wondered?

Time was not all it took. 

Losing weight also meant I would have to surrender to a plan of eating that ran counter to my previous eating habits.  It took concentration and conversation with others who had seen long-term success and knew what it looked and felt like.  It took belief in the concept that long-term weight loss could be had by anyone determined enough to pursue it, and it took repetition.

I had to learn through trial and error that success is spelled R-E-P-E-T-I-T-I-O-N. 

What finally worked for me, was doing the things that had previously brought success, but doing them over and over, and over again. 

Once I realized that this or that strategy worked, I repeated it, and it worked again.  After a string of experiments I learned what I had been missing in all those other failed attempts to sustain weight loss–the determination to do once more what had worked before. 

If nothing changes, nothing changes, and the only form of permanence we can attain in this life comes through repetition. I believe these statements to be true.

I didn’t find relief from food obsession at fast food restaurants, buffets, or high-end coffee shops.  I found it in calculated research, applied science, and doing the same things again and again, and yet again.

Some routines pay big benefits.  Find out which ones, and make them a part of your weight loss strategy.  The plan works, if you work it.

graphic: saucysocialmedia.com

Lazy Much?

Sadly, as I progress in my recovery from food addiction, I am discovering  that one of the biggest stumbling blocks to my personal success is LAZINESS. Has it always been this way?  I would have never thought that of myself–that I am lazy.  I’m not lazy about everything, but I am lazy when it comes to taking care of my body and exercising.  As I am wrestling with the weight, I am seeing some attitudes of resistance, rebellion, and yes, laziness in my approach to diet and exercise.  Moreover, I’m finding that I am lazy about anything that doesn’t excite me. The things I enjoy, I tackle with gusto, but things like meal planning and shopping and most of all, working to develop a mental toughness with regards to food temptations, these I am finding extremely difficult–activities I would much rather put off or ignore all together.

 I know that in order to get where I want to go, I must apply sound principles and consistent actions.  I know that eating less and moving more equals weight loss and health.  I know that muscles don’t firm on their own, but rather, must be coaxed into contracting and building for a stronger tomorrow.  I also know that when I exercise, I feel better, burn fat easier, enjoy life much more and find inspiration in all sorts of things, in addition to my exercise routine.  I have been an active gym member before, lost weight and firmed-up using a consistent program for strength training and aerobics.  I know these things work, because in the past they have worked for me.  Why then, am I FINDING IT SO HARD TO GET BACK TO IT?  Why such a struggle with my mind to decide which workout will be best for me this time around? 

Maybe I’m confused about what it will take to get me past my present plateau.  MAYBE I AM AFRAID to try something unfamiliar, fearing I will not be able to finish what I start.  Maybe I don’t want to look foolish as I try something new.  Maybe I’m cheap, and don’t want to pay the gym membership again, or maybe, just maybe, I’m lazy and I want to spend a few more months lying on the couch and watching TV before sweating in the gym and having all eyes on me while I go through the motions.  Could it be that last one is truth and the rest just excuses?  I hope not, but as I look at my current lack of motivation deliberation with regards to starting some program, any program, I’m beginning to wonder, what is my problem?

I see a laziness in my current approach to exercise. Dang. Now to figure out how best to ATTACK MY AMBIVALENCE and conquer it. 

Embarking on a program that promotes health and fitness is simple, but it is not easy.

Those of you out there who pray, pray for me today.  Pray that I will be willing to work for what I want, DEVELOP A MENTAL TOUGHNESS that can beat back temptation, and that I would willingly put some sweat equity into my recovery, refusing to be a lazy loafer any longer. 

When it comes to losing weight and regaining my health, I NEED TO FIND A WAY to engage!

How about you, do you find yourself being lazy some days?  How do you stop the urge to just sit and let the world pass by you?  What are you doing today to stay on top of your own health and fitness program? 

The Pretender

“All mortals tend to turn into the thing they are pretending to be.”  CS Lewis, The Screwtape Letters

COULD IT BE POSSIBLE that all the time I’ve spent educating myself about fitness and nutrition is actually turning me into someone who will one day be both fit and healthy? I hope so. I hope that all the hours I’ve spent reading about cholesterol and casein, diets and eating dynamics, exercise and the excising of sugar-laden pastries from my plate are little by little TURNING ME INTO A STRONGER PERSON. I hope that the DVDs I have watched and the conversations I have had with others are, at this moment, working inside me to bring together muscles, bones and flesh that are healthy, vital and strong.

I hope that journaling my food and learning about how to pair proteins is actually building a body that can properly handle the vitamins and minerals it attempts to take in each day. I hope that the ACHIEVEMENT OF OPTIMAL HEALTH is actually, slowly but meaningfully, turning the tide for me and giving me a better chance at living a longer, stronger life. I hope that this work is not for naught, hopeless, because in the end it will get me no further than previous attempts at health have gotten me.

I’m a firm believer that WHAT ONE DOES, ONE IS. I think that perhaps we really can pretend ourselves into reality. I’ve known people before who bluffed their way into jobs, into relationships, into the military, into college. In the beginning they were bluffing, but then acting as if they really knew what it was they were doing, they became proficient. I don’t mean to say they deceived anyone. Perhaps some did, but most were just exceedingly confident in their own abilities to do whatever they wanted to do.

I want that kind of confidence!

Is achieving health and fitness a matter of BELIEVING YOU CAN or will it require more to get there, from here? I don’t know, but what I do know is that I have a pretty good imagination. If there is something to this pretending-your-way-to-success thing, I’m going to find it and claim it for my own.

What do you think of the concept of pretending to be, until you actually are? Can one use her imagination to drive her recovery? Do all mortals tend to turn into the things they are pretending to be?

Top 10 Questions I Ask Myself

   What can I say about how I’m relating to food at this point in my recovery? The fact is that sometimes WHEN IT COMES TO FOOD, I DON”T KNOW MYSELF very well. That’s why it’s important for me to check in with others, see what they are doing, connect with a support group, follow a few blogs, and read as much as I can about the disease of compulsive eating and the tricks of the trade that make it possible to change.

Sure, I know what a few of MY TRIGGER FOODS are—they all contain SUGAR—but what else do I need to look out for as I’m working to develop a better plan of eating?

First and foremost, I think I need to remind myself that THIS IS GOING TO BE A LONG PROCESS; a happily-ever-after affair, wherein I will be required to commit myself to progress every day and at every meal.

The following is my TOP 10 GO-TO QUESTIONS for keeping focused on weight loss:

1.  Have I binged today or considered overeating?

2.  Have I eaten secretly, or am I ashamed of anything I have put in my body?

3.  Have I tried to numb feelings with food?

4.  Have I used food to feel happy, joyful, excited, part of the gang?

5.  Have I used a holiday, party, picnic or date as an excuse to pig out?

6.  Have I brought trigger foods into the house, or sought them out at other’s homes?

7.  Does my food shopping support my goal?

8.  Am I actively seeking to surround myself with a support system of like-minded people?

9.  Am I still willing to get on the scale everyday, and go back to basics whenever I see a 3 lbs fluctuation in weight that lasts more than 2 days?

10.  Am I still wishing I could eat all I want and not gain weight?

How about you, what tips or tricks do you employ to keep you focused and on track with your weight loss?  Are you maintaining a big loss?  How do you do it?