Thursday, October 21, 2010

Being Aware

Something very strange has been going on, but it is so slight I wouldn't have noticed it if I were not paying very close attention to my body and emotions (a habit I have worked hard to develop). I *did* notice before and have mentioned how my female cycles play into my weight loss and cravings; I get very hungry and cravey for a few days at the end of my cycle (PMS) as well as in the very middle of my cycle when ovulation happens. I also have come to understand that the time when it is easiest to stay on plan is during the first 2 weeks of my cycle. I also have a weight loss pattern that is fairly predictable if I stay on plan: I always seem to drop several pounds the first week, then maybe a pound the second week, then several pounds the third week and hardly ever any weight loss the last week (even staying on plan). It's hormonal, has basis in science, and I am fine with that pattern. Since I weigh daily it is vital to understand WHY I may not drop any weight for a week even when I am doing everything right, and now that I know it WILL drop the next week, I can power through the brief stalls.

But just the other day, I noticed my mood shifted from "this is easy, I am 100% on plan, no problems and no temptations" to "ugh, I am doing this but wouldn't a burger be nice? Wouldn't some pizza be good? Maybe I can take a few days off. I want some french fries." Of course, I just ignored those thoughts and refused to dwell on them, but I wondered where they came from so suddenly. I wondered why, on the very cusp of hitting 100 pounds gone, I would start thinking about going off plan. Why? I don't think I have any hidden issues, mental or emotional, bothering me right now. I don't think this is a self sabotage kind of thing. I am pretty good at detecting that now. I am EXCITED to hit that 100 pounds mark (one pound away) and take new pictures and measurements! I can hardly wait. So what gives?

In order to figure out what was going on, I pulled up my trusty old weight graph that I have kept daily for over 3 years. And when I looked at it, something popped out at me visually and I had an aha moment. Here is my weight graph since spring. Notice anything interesting?


Do you see those upticks in weight... the little peaks that happen with a regular pattern? Well check it out... at the very end of every month, my weight shoots up and then drops back down again. You can see it clearly right before March 1. Then April 1 and May 1 has more of a *tiny* plateau or uptick, but after that, wow. Every month my weight shoots up right at the end. Why would that be?

I know why. Because my female cycles just happen to be very regular and the pattern you see is NOT so much about the calendar month, but about my cycle! That uptick happens during the end of the 3rd week/beginning of the 4th week of my cycle. And it happens not just because I don't lose weight that last week, but because I have a hard time holding it together emotionally AND easting-wise that week. I start wanting carbs... salt... sugar... fat. I feel driven to eat it. I also do not feel as "happy" during that week, and I end up having a bite of this, a little of that until it gets out of control and I eat off plan for a few days. THAT is the uptick. Interesting.

So I am heading into that time frame when I *feel* like eating junk and start feeling a little more melancholy and less perky and energetic. I am hitting the tough week right now. But, since I am aware now of what is going on, I think I can just power through it and accomplish my goal of having a 100% on plan month in October. When I want junk, I'll tell myself "listen, it's just a phase, you'll be fine, tough it out" because right now, eating pizza and cinnamon rolls is not going to help me get to my goal. I can make a cauliflower pizza instead.

I have a feeling, maybe tomorrow will be the day for 178. In the meantime, I added a Google custom search to the top of my blog. It lets you search Google for anything (recipes, food info, anything really), but *hopefully* it kind of tweaks your results a bit based on the kinds of things people who are reading this blog might be interested in. I am still playing around with it, so shoot me an email if you try it and like/dislike the results. I can edit it to be more useful anytime.

Off to make myself some breakfast! Enjoy your day... and *be aware* of yourself!

22 comments:

Olivia said...

This was a great post and so informative. I know that my cycle really effects my eating/exercise habits, but I have never tried to be so aware as you are. Seems to really help you out.

And, hello! That chart is so awesome. How can you not look at that and be so proud of yourself! You go girl!

K. said...

You know I am also *aware* of the numbers my cycle do on me, but never because this intimately knowleadgable about it. I especially had an aha moment with the fact that you cycle affects even your thoughts and perkiness. I've been feeling blah this week and couldn;t for the life of me understand why, and this could just be it. Thanks for being so *aware*and intuitive. Would love to know what you use for these graphs? K.
www.it-is-time.com

-J.Darling said...

Hey Lynn!
It's great that you're aware of this! I get the EXACT SAME salty/sweet cravings (and I mean CRAVINGS, but just "Wouldn't some french fries be nice?" or "It's just a little bit of chocolate...") the week before my period.

What's helped me is having a few FAVS onhand that I don't have all the time. For example, There is a Holiday hot tea I LOVE, but it's only available during this time of year. So I get 1 jar of tea bags and try to make them last. They are my treat. :)

Portia Portly said...

So happy to have found your blog!! You are INCREDIBLE!!! Thanks for all your posts and motivation! Keep rocking it!
Portia P HCG

Lyn said...

K~

I use sparkpeople.com, which is free. When I was calorie counting I also used their calorie counting program. The weight charts are nice and I also enter my measurements there :)

Amy said...

Wow! Very informative! Something I *kinda* know, but don't pay attention enough to know it for sure or know when it's goign to happen. It also can be said for moods - and therefore you might not want to overload your calender around that moody time, so you can handle life. Thank you so much for posting this and being so observant. I think I too will try to track my cycle, cravings and moods... so I can just power through them, as you say.

Thanks again!

anna said...

I started doing a chart and it showed a decline but with peaks and like you, always fell on the same time of the month. Once I accepted that then I felt better.

This is all part of the process, isn't it? Getting to know our bodies better than ever so that we can take care of them.

Great post and thanks for the reminder! :)

bbubblyb said...

I'm the very same way though my cycle isn't always perfectly regular some I'm never really aware of when these times should or will hit me. But I have noticed it's usually the week before.

spunkysuzi said...

I put my stats on sparkpeople too :) I definitely notice the change in weight during my period! I try to not let it get to me.

Debbie said...

Well I do not have that problem any more, but I use to get really hungry and moody at the end of the month. I love the chart.. Where did you get it?

Lynna said...

You HAVE to power through it because your adoring public waits on tiptoe for those 100 pound pictures, and it would be ever so unkind to make us wait another week! (said with a little smile)

Dillypoo said...

I used to crave salty foods right before my cycle (when I had one). I don't miss those cravings or the mood swings!

Vee said...

I've added a comment line to my calorie/carb/weight-tracking chart and hope I can spot some trends too. Unfortunately, I'm lucky if I get one cycle every 8-9 months. Old, you know. Vee at http://veegettinghealthy.blogspot.com

Jenna said...

Great Graph and great insight!
Cheering your right along to 100 pounds lost :)

Lisa said...

One good example why I think it is good to weigh in daily. :)

Beth at Obesity Strike said...

This is exactly the way that I am. The first two weeks are very easy but then it gets harder as the days pass after that. This is amazing to see in a graph like that though. Wow. Great insight.

Rosie's Healthy Living Blog said...

This is extremely helpful. Maybe this is why I'm having insane cravings this week...

Winner at a Losing Game said...

When you post at 100 lbs gone, please show your face too.

Anonymous said...

I've always been sort of aware of my cycles affecting moods,cravings weightless etc. But I am seeing a similar trend. I powered throughout the last one and managed to drop 5.5 lbs that week. It's very challenging to do though. And in all honesty harder each month as we creep to the holiday season. I'm trying though

Great post!

~~ Misty

WorkingMom said...

I like your weight graph. What site or application do you use?

amy_joy81 said...

I understand exactly what you're saying. I notice the same pattern in my own life - but a bit different.

Having your period sucks - but I am one of those unfortunate women who literally goes through hell for a week every month. It is so bad that I actually have the most severe issues with my depression thinking during this time of the month. As a result, I want to eat more for emotional reasons. I am so miserable I barely want to leave the couch for several days, so I turn to food to make me feel better.

BUT I'm doing so well these days that when the next 'time of the month' comes around I am going to refuse to use it as an excuse to binge - and all you women out there need to do the same. It's a part of life, but it shouldn't rule your life. Hormones or not, we can say NO! :)

Lyn said...

The graph is made on Sparkpeople.

amy joy~

I used to get very, very sick that week too, when I was in my 20's and early 30's. What has helped the PMS get somewhat better physically is to stay away from sugar. Eating sugar makes it a lot worse for me. Hope you find a way to make yours more tolerable!