I've been thinking a lot lately about how the rest of my life is going to look, lifestyle-wise, with the eating and activity. It seems to me that it is easy to sustain some habits while it is very hard to sustain others. Maybe it's because of payoff, or desire, or just what's ingrained in my since childhood over the past 41 years. It IS difficult to change. But obviously it can be done.
Over that past nearly four years of weight loss blogging, I have watched a tremendous amount of bloggers come and go. Hundreds. Maybe a thousand or more. Some blog for a few weeks and quit. Most blog for a matter of months and then the posts slow down to a trickle and then *poof*, the blog disappears and you wonder whatever happened to them and their struggle. I've seen a lot of success and failure, including my own. But there is such a small percentage of blogs that remain. So few who were blogging back when I started in August 2007 are still around. I love the ones who are, even if they only post sporadically! Seeing long-term progress and/or dedication to improving one's health is a blessing for me. Anyone can blog and post happy losses for 2 or 3 weeks. It takes a lot of guts to hang in there for years, success or not, and show the world the real story.
I am sure some folks quit blogging because they just don't like to blog, don't have time, don't get the feedback they hoped for, or move on to other things and still lose the weight. But I have a feeling... and the occasional resurrection of long-lost blogs seems to back this up... that bloggy silence and disappearance usually happens because folks feel like they are not a "success", they are having a hard time losing weight or keeping it off, and they are just plain discouraged and sometimes embarrassed. Understandable. I've been there too.
So far, for me, blogging has been a sustainable change in my life. But the other nitty gritty is harder to sort out. People obviously have a hard time changing from a junk food, greasy/salty/sugary overeating diet to one full of lean meats and vegetables. It is doable, and the changes in health and body become a driver. But if the mind doesn't change, things tend to slip back to the way they were. And I think the older we are, the harder it is to change.
I am eating small portions, frequently. That has proven to be sustainable. I am eating a healthy, reasonable dinner of lean protein and vegetables and healthy fat in appropriate portions. That has also been sustainable, although I have my days where a pan of lasagna and a loaf of garlic bread sound very tempting. I have to say Medifast has helped me incorporate a better way of eating dinner (grainless, sugarless, reduced fat, high protein, low carb, high veg) and also taught me to eat small portions every 3 hours. I can sustain this.
However, some things are soooo, sooo hard for me to change in my head. When I was a little kid, I was fed a LOT of sugar and junk. My mom couldn't cook, and she had a weight problem and (I think) an eating disorder, and it was always either a freezer stocked with Weight Watcher meals (that I was not allowed to touch) or bins of ice cream and frozen treats. It was either salads or potato chips. Cream of wheat or chocolate ice cream for breakfast. Lots of hot dogs as a toddler. I barely remember eating any fruit as a child. Lots of boxed mac n cheese. Lots of McDonald's. And even now as a 41-year-old woman, those are the foods I WANT by default. I have not had McDonald's for something like a year and a half now and never will go back to that, but the other things? Hard.
If all nutrition was equal, I would STILL choose chocolate ice cream, potato chips, candy bars, hot dogs, Coke, and the like for about 80% of my meals. All the delicious, well-prepared salads, veggies, chicken, fish, fresh fruit, etc has not changed that. People do say that their tastes change over time and they no longer want that kind of thing, but for me it is difficult. I don't think about it all the time. I let it go and don't obsess (once I am off those foods for a week or so and get them out of my system), but the fact remains that I would eat pizza and brownies every day if they didn't make me unhealthy and miserable.
And then someone will say, "so have your pizza and brownies! Nothing is off limits! Just count calories, have a slice of pizza and a salad for dinner and a brownie for dessert!" Well, that's all good in theory and everything, but I cannot remember EVER eating *one slice* of pizza or *one* brownie. In fact the first thought I have is "one brownie?? It's not even worth it." Because I cannot get the experience and effect I want from one piddly brownie. Even if it is frosted. I "need" a minimum of 4 or 5 brownies and 4 or 5 slices of pizza to get "the effect." Which tells me that what I am looking for from those kinds of foods is NOT taste as much as it is an *experience.* And that explains why I would eat an entire PAN of mediocre, dry brownies that don't taste very good. I am looking for an experience that only comes with *volume.*
If I could have a healthy, strong body and eat junk food and not exercise, I'd do it.
If I could get *the experience* from carrots and chicken breast, I'd do it.
But I can't, so I make choices every day... every hour... to do what will lead me to my goals of better health and lower weight and greater strength. And I believe that *making choices* is sustainable.
THAT is what will get me to my goal and keep m there. My choices. My decision not to follow my desires all the time... not to give in to what I'd really prefer, and not to fool myself into thinking I'm "cured" or whatnot. It is always going to be my choices that take me wherever I end up, whether that be at 145 pounds or 245 pounds. Each choice is a step. And since I do not believe this eating disorder and skewed desire for food experience is, itself, something that will ever "go away," I am relying on my CHOICES... my brain, my power over my own actions... to be the sustainable thing and the factor that will get me where I want to go.
9 hours ago