Thursday, January 22, 2015

Heading Out

So by Tuesday I had again had some gluten (lasagna at a potluck) and fried food (French fries again) and said to myself as I often do, I think I need new goals.

I tell myself it's okay because I had a 2 inch square of the lasagna and the rest of what I ate was great, health-wise (salad, broccoli, squash, and fresh fruit... skipped the dessert table) and I did not go back for seconds on anything. Calorie-wise it was a fine meal. Same with the fries, although no one can delude themselves into thinking fries are healthy in any way, but having a half cup of French fries is not the end of the world, either. Part of this is my inner conflict of trying to follow my ED counselor's advice of not banning any foods but eating anything in moderation to mentally normalize food. I try to do it but there is this nagging feeling that no, eating that stuff is just not good for me.

The walking is going well and I feel so much better getting outside and just having time to walk and think and enjoy nature, walking wherever I want without being in a rush to get somewhere. This mini vacation (packing now) will be both active and relaxing: cottage on the beach, near old growth forest, with plenty of places to hike. We have a full kitchen so I'll be bringing groceries and cooking healthy meals. When I get back I'll weigh the next morning. See you then!

Sunday, January 18, 2015

The Weekly Update

Well I feel like I pretty much failed this week at making any improvements to my health. That's my overall feeling, but let me detail how I did with this week's goals.

stay gluten free: nope, had gluten a few times
little to no added sugar or artificial sweeteners: pretty good with this
eat a fruit and/or vegetable with every meal: still not always getting them in at breakfast. Fruit is easier than veggies. Well, not really, but it's a habit.
stop all fried foods: I had French fries one time this week.
do some kind of exercise at least 20 minutes 6 days/week: fail. I walked (1-2 miles) 3 days.
drink more water: pretty good on this.

Weight today is 247, up a pound. This is going in the wrong direction.

On a positive note, I think less about food than I used to. I am not caving in to my cravings as often. This is not due to any magical surge in willpower but probably more likely because I am tired and don't care enough to make a store run to get what I crave. I also don't crave as much when I am not eating chips and bakery junk and candy.

So my goals for this week are pretty much to do better at my goals from last week. I feel more positive and energized this morning so maybe this is the week I will really start working it and seeing results. I am going on a mini vacation, leaving later this week and coming back next Monday (thank goodness because it has been like 5 months since I got out of town for a few days, and I need it!). So my next weigh in will be on the following Tuesday. Having a weigh in right after a trip is usually not something I like to do, but I made a commitment to report my weight here weekly so that's what I'm going to do. There will be a lot of opportunities for walking and hiking in nature on this trip, so I will take advantage of that and take some photos to share when I get back.

Basically I physically feel sluggish a lot of the time (achy joints and tired and find it harder to move) so I need to start getting something done about the weight. I miss the freedom of movement I had when I was thinner. I will figure out what I am going to eat this week and on vacation and blog about it sometime in the next couple of days. I do want to succeed. I don't know why I have not been working harder at this, but I do know I will keep trying!

Monday, January 12, 2015

Weigh In and the Upcoming Week

I got busy yesterday but I did weigh in, and posted my weight in the comments: 246 pounds. I am not seeing any loss yet (up a pound from the beginning of the year) so will keep slowly adding to the changes I am making. Goals for this week include:

stay gluten free
little to no added sugar or artificial sweeteners
eat a fruit and/or vegetable with every meal
stop all fried foods
do some kind of exercise at least 20 minutes 6 days/week
drink more water

I have some more thoughts, but have to run for now! Just wanted to get my weekly weigh-in on the blog with some goals for this week.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

When Weight Loss Isn't Self Motivating Anymore: Building Castles


When I first started losing weight, it was self-motivating. At the beginning of this blog I did not have any support, or readers, or comments for awhile... and that was fine! I was using this as a record of the journey (and wow, what a record it has become). I didn't have any lost pounds yet, or smaller sizes, or better health to make me want to keep going yet. When I decided to change my life, the change itself was motivating. Just *knowing* I was doing something big... something that could lead me down new roads... was exciting. Just getting up and planning to eat a salad at lunch felt great! It didn't bother me much that I wasn't eating candy or cookies, because just *being on a diet* was so rewarding to me. I felt empowered and in control, instead of so stuck in the way things were. It was like an awakening, and just the decision to do it was freeing. I *liked* choosing to go for a walk, because just doing that made me feel like a new person (not even the walking... just the deciding to walk!) Each choice I made was kind of exciting and joyful, even when it was hard. Every choice... eating some carrots for a snack, buying chicken breasts, drinking a glass of water, doing some stretches... was like a piece of a puzzle I was working on. It was kind of like building a giant castle out of Legos: with every block I searched for and snapped into place I knew... I had a vision of... what it was going to be. And that was really a driving force, just like when you are in the middle of building a Lego castle on the floor or a 5000 piece puzzle on the dining room table. It can be frustrating, and tedious, and sometimes it takes awhile to find the right piece but you are DETERMINED to find it because you are building something! You are creating something. The process itself is motivating. That is how weight loss felt.

Imagine that thrill of getting that Lego castle project. You buy it because you love how that castle looks and you can't wait to work on it and have that feeling of accomplishment and see the castle forming from your efforts. You have all the pieces, you even have directions, and you are confident. It's really fun and even if there are hard parts and you need a break, you just *know* how proud you will be when it is done. Now imagine you get 3/4 of the way through building your castle and you can't find the next piece. You look everywhere and it is not there. You try every piece you have and can't figure out what to do. While looking for that missing piece, you bump the tower on your castle and it breaks off and falls to the floor, scattering Legos everywhere. Now you are *really* frustrated. But you start rebuilding the tower, muttering to yourself. It is not as fun as it was before. It is kind of annoying. I should not have to be doing this part again! While you are rebuilding the tower, you press a Lego too hard and an archway beneath it collapses. It's a small part of the castle, but this just adds to your frustration. You walk away. You need a break. This used to be really fun but now it is getting old... but you really want to finish the castle. While you are off getting a drink and a snack, your dog runs through the room and knocks another small section of the castle off. You return, ready to work, but there is even *more* work to do now! You have to sort and find and re-place each piece! But you sit down and get to it, because you still want the castle.

You get through rebuilding the section and the arch, and the frustration is finally starting to fade. You feel good again. You've got this! You're careful... you won't knock anything over again and the dog is locked out of the room. But when get about halfway through rebuilding the tower, you realize you are going to get back to the same place where you need that missing piece! You still haven't found it. What good is all this work going to do without that essential piece?

You take a break. You talk to friends and they understand. They will help you! So you take a bathroom break and when you get back to your castle to work on it again... someone has come and dumped a huge box of extra Lego pieces in the room with all the castle pieces. This is not fun anymore AT ALL. Now you not only have to sort through the castle pieces... but you have to sort all those extra Legos that your friends brought. You look at the piles of Legos and the partially built castle, and there is absolutely nothing self-motivating about this project anymore.

I know it's not a perfect analogy. But that's how it has felt to me. It's like in the beginning, just the idea and the excitement and seeing progress and imagining the beautiful end result was motivation enough. But now, I feel like I am sitting in a room scattered with piles of random Legos and a partially-built castle. I want to finish it... but dread the task.

I know the hardest part is starting, and the second hardest part is continuing. I don't like this project anymore. I almost want to throw it all in a box and shove it in a closet. But instead, I have to find motivation outside myself... in my family, in the value of my life... and just make myself start sorting pieces and rebuilding. I know there will come a time I will get to that missing piece in the tower and I hope by then I'll have done enough sorting to figure it out. I know that once I get going and start to catch the vision again, it'll get exciting for me again. I believe it will become self-motivating again at some point. Until then, I just work at it piece by piece for the simple reason that I don't want a half-finished castle and piles of Legos filling up my life. And for now that has to be reason enough.


Thursday, January 8, 2015

A Week Gone By

Well, we're a week into the new year already and how much progress have I made? None with the weight... none. I'm not frustrated, I am just surprised how quickly the time is flying by already and how easy it is to just let that happen. I've been busy, but like I wrote in my last post, I'm making the effort now to take better care of me. I'm not doing as great as I want to be doing; I think back to when the habit was... and priority was... to bike 6 days a week, to eat lots of healthy things and avoid the processed. It's harder to get back to it than it was to keep it. I will remember this when I do get it back.

I *have* made some progress in cleaning up my diet. I'd gotten into some bad habits this winter, like flavored coffees, lattes, stopping for a donut with the coffee, eating pasta sometimes... having many of the foods I've avoided for so long (mostly carbs). Now, I am back to drinking coffee black or with a splash of cream (no sweeteners of any kind) and skipping the baked stuff. I'm back to using squash or other vegetables in place of pasta and potatoes, although my veggie intake is still not up to par yet. Instead of crackers or sweets I have hard boiled eggs in the fridge for snacks. I've stopped eating after dinner and instead have a glass of steamed milk with cinnamon and vanilla before bed.

I haven't baked. I've been eating smaller portions and letting myself get hungry between meals. It's better. I am starting to feel a little better too, aside from the sugar-withdrawal headaches. I need to really make the exercise a priority; I am doing 20-30 minutes but only every other day or so. It's a start but I'm not meeting my goals on that yet. I'm working on it day by day.

I'm also doing some reading and learning from others about food addictions and how they are different from eating disorders. I am starting to understand why I am getting conflicting advice from an ED counselor versus people who treat their eating issues as addiction (not to all foods, but from what I am starting to understand, a chemical dependency on some substances... most commonly sugar and wheat). I think there is a lot to learn here and what I am learning is going to help me.

I am going to work this until it works.

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