Sunday, March 15, 2015

It's Time

Some days, I am really tired of this whole thing... the dieting, tracking, sticking to whatever plan, exercise, weight loss thing. I just want eating to be a natural part of my day. I remember back when eating was just that: a natural part of the daily schedule. It happened at our three meals a day and sometimes in between, if I got hungry. I didn't have to think about it or plan it beyond the basic menu planning one does when one gets married and has children. Even in college, eating and weight was barely a blip on the radar most of the time. Sure, over the years between the ages of 16 and 24, my eating was just unregulated because it didn't really need to be regulated. I wasn't obsessed, I wasn't addicted, it rarely crossed my mind to crave a food (unless I was pregnant!) or to overeat anything (except for hot homemade bread with butter). My brain really changed since then. After I dieted the first couple of times it wasn't really that much different. Not until I was in my late 20's and became morbidly obese did things really change in my head.

I think just *being* morbidly obese did something to my brain. Sure, my thinking... cravings, food obsession, growing awareness of calories and carbs and food measurements... changed my eating and my weight. But my thinking has never gone back to where it was pre-100-pounds-overweight. 

There have been times I have felt a lot more normal in my relationship with food, but even then it has taken a concentrated effort to keep the weight off or to lose it. Like now. I am not obsessing about food much at all anymore. I am not craving like I used to on a daily basis. I attribute those changes to eating cleaner and lower carbs. Eating junk triggers desire for more junk, so being off it really helps. But I can't help but think how nice it would be to just not think about food and be a normal weight. You know, like it used to be. In my early 20's I'd get up and fix the kids breakfast... whatever we had on hand. We'd have oatmeal or eggs and toast or chocolate chip pancakes or cereal with milk, and it was fine. I'd just have whatever I made for them. Never a thought about carbs or calories and there was no measuring involved. I'd go along in the morning, doing my chores and caring for the babies and the farm animals and if I got hungry before lunch I'd just grab some crackers or whatever. I'd make the kids sandwiches or pasta or something like that for lunch and just eat what they were having. Maybe a snack in the afternoon after school, whether it was peanut butter apple slices or homemade cookies and milk, and then a hearty dinner for my farmer husband... usually some kind of meat like a pot roast or a chicken or pork chops with mashed potatoes and gravy or buttered noodles, a vegetable, and homemade bread. I'd often bake a pie or cake for dessert. I remember "how much I eat" being such a NON issue. It was just, you know, meals. 

Can it ever be like that again?

I kind of think not. Maybe it can, within some kind of framework. I think that is really what I am striving for: food being a non issue again. Do you think if I stick by the rules... no grains, no nightshades, no junk... I could somehow get back to that point again? Where I just make whatever is on hand for everyone, eat some of it, and go forward? And not be obese?

I feel myself easing into a less stressed food state, and that's good. I think about food less now than I did a couple months ago. But I still put more effort and mental energy into it than I'd like. When I batch cook and have things on hand, it does reduce the amount of time per day I am thinking of food. You know, that's what I loved about Medifast when I was right in the middle of it. No thinking about food except one meal a day. Just tear open your packet, drink, and go on. I go back and read parts of my blog and realize how much more free time I had just by doing that! I am not going back to packets again, so I wonder if I can do that with pre-portioned meat and veggie meals somehow. Just batch cook some meat and produce, portion out the breakfast and lunches, and just have dinner for the family to deal with. I've gotten kind of close on this but I do get tired of eating the same thing day after day.

I have also thought about creating index cards with 5 breakfasts, 5 lunches, and 5 snacks on them and only choosing from those. Sounds boring, but it can't be any more boring than packets! I dunno, maybe I am overthinking again. I just wish I had never gotten obese in the first place. Please, people. If you're reading here and overweight and on the verge of obesity, stop it now. Don't let it get to that point. You do not want to be me at 45.

Something else I have been thinking about. I know this has not been a real productive year for me weight-loss wise. I have been focused on other, "more important" (it seems in the moment) things and letting myself be put on the back burner. I am still kind of half assing my weight loss, because I had so little motivation over the winter and am just now waking up and wanting to work on it again. I've been sliding along without a ton of effort, eating my AIP and walking a few days a week, and losing a pound a week or so. Maybe it is time to ramp it up a bit and try harder. Maybe I should actually start working at it, instead of just getting by doing my program and doing just enough to drop a couple pounds a month. Maybe it is time to get out of my comfort zone a little more and work harder at this. My body is crying out for more. I just need to make the time for more working on ME. And I don't mean more focus on what I eat, although beginning tracking was a great first step in working harder at weight loss. I know I need to move more. Just being "active" is not enough. Yeah, I am on my feet most of the day and busy, but I am not getting my heart rate up that often and am not doing any heavy lifting either. I could work on those things and probably speed up my rate of loss while improving my overall health.

This is nothing new. I've done all this stuff before. But this is a lifelong journey, a story of obesity and weight loss, of regain and re-losing... a battle so many, many people struggle with. I am not going to give up and stay fat. I finally feel like I am able to put in the effort, so I think... yes... it is time.

26 comments:

CARLA said...

((((CHEERING YOU ON)))))

xo

Carla

Anonymous said...

You need a hobby! You need to get out of the recliner all day!

Anonymous said...


Just Stop Blogging.

Lyn said...

Thanks, Carla!

Anonymous 1~

I don't really have time for anymore hobbies, but thanks anyway. Also, that is not me in the recliner all day. It's one of my dogs. Sorry for the mixup! (they do both get out for walks, but one is a homebody while the other goes with me a lot). (p.s... if I never sit in a recliner again in my life, I'll be thrilled! I hated being stuck in that thing while I had foot/leg issues).

Anonymous 2~

No thanks, but you're welcome to stop reading!

LovelyDreams said...

Yeah, I hear you. Something I'm doing that works for me is weekly menu planning. At first, I -really- hated it. I was like "how dare you tell me what to eat!", to myself. But now it really is easier. I'm relaxed on my breakfasts/snacks within maybe ten options (eggs, yogurt, protein shake, etc) but lunches and dinners are set.

The other thing is kind of a transfer obsession--a fitness tracker. I don't know your financial situation (but basic pedometers are cheap) or if you're interested, but it's like a game I play with myself--how many steps can I get while grocery shopping? Nap time? Microwaving leftovers? It might not be perfect but I have an obsessive brain. :)

Leslie said...

Hi Lyn - It's been a long time since I commented, though I always read your blog. What came to mind here, what with my AA background, longterm sobriety, and my own eating disorder, is something I've heard in AA zillions of times. A pickle can never go back to being a cucumber. In my very late teens and early 20s, I could drink without inevitably getting drunk and doing stupid shit. Same with eating - I could eat and not immediately want more. Your history, which I have read about for almost 7 years, tells the story of addiction, and the progressive nature of the disease.

For years I tried to control my drinking, or even quit, by myself, and I couldn't do it. I could stop, but not stay stopped. Couldn't do it.
I could not have a "civilized" glass of wine with dinner because the first one got me hooked. Truth be told, I've never wanted a glass of wine. I always wanted oblivion. I don't get how people leave half full glasses of wine on the tables at restaurants...in fact at office parties I used to ask my co-workers, "Are you going to finish that?", and if they said no, I poured it into my empty glass.

And food is the same for me. Certain things I CANNOT navigate in moderation. I hate that this is my truth, but finally I have accepted it. As recently as 2 days ago, I had a sober potluck party to go to, and for the week prior, I thought of all the amazing food that would be there. I ate reasonable portions of salads, meatballs, other vegetable sides, but ended up eating "a brownie" that I knew full well was going to open the door to more. And it did.

Until I accepted the true nature of my alcoholism, I couldn't get sober.
I have accepted the true nature of my eating disorder, but still on occasion consciously choose to indulge in foods that I cannot have in moderation...and being brutally honest, I don't want in moderation.

You've heard most of this before from me. I'm doing better, but still choose on occasional "relapse" that is always much harder to come back from that I want it to be. I know that abstinence from certain substances (sugar, white flour, processed crap) is the only way I can stay sane with food. I'm 61 now! This isn't going away, and acceptance is the answer to my problem, and action based on my self knowledge and acceptance is the only thing that will enable me to lose all the weight I want to, rather than hanging on to 25 pounds of extra that compromises my health and my self acceptance. I wish you the best always. Hugs!

Xani said...

Good for you! I am happy that you are finding motivation and energy to try that much harder! I think you were using a pedometer before, have you considered it again? Mine is a huge motivator and keeps me accountable when I see my daily/weekly steps counts getting smaller, I know I need to step it up!! Best of luck to you, you are worth it!

Lyn said...

LovelyDreams~

LOL, I hear you on the obsessive brain :) Yes I have been thinking of putting my pedometer back in my pocket as well as using MapMyWalk to track my exercise walks each day. I think I will try that this week... sort of a competition with myself to get better and better every day or week.

Xani~

Yes! see the comment I just made to LovelyDreams. I think it's a good suggestion!

Lyn said...

Leslie~

I'm so glad to hear from you :) You do have insights that always help me. I have really struggled this year with the whole "is this an addiction/eating this food never again" versus my ED counselor telling me to "normalize food" and eat everything in moderation. I tend to side with the addiction model. I wonder if I can list out the things that are triggers/addictive foods for me, and eat from a "sane food" template, if I can eventually eat normally again without all the drama, planning, tracking? What do you think? I totally understand the wanting oblivion. Sadly, that's what my binge eating was really about... escape.

Anonymous said...

Lyn,
I've been thinking about this too. About what changed since my 30s. I went for about 20 yrs w/o weighing myself, then someone at work mentioned I had "back fat" in a sweater. I weighed and was about 15lbs higher than I remembered.

So I went on a diet and found that I was thinking about food so much that I was gaining more weight!

I think there's got to be a balance between not thinking about diet at all, and thinking too much. After 20 yrs of dieting I have finally gotten to within 10 lbs of my target. I'll mention things that have helped, I know everyone is different.

The 6 small meals a day was my worst mistake! Cutting out all snacks helped me a lot. Those snacks or small meals tended to grow in size. And my stomach got to where it expected food all of the time.

Eating the same thing for 2 of my meals ea. day. I eat quiche and a pint of raspberries for breakfast, make the quiche once a week. Chunky soup for the other meal. A whole can is only 240 calories.

Sugar free as much as possible. Although believe it or not, for me, going completely lowcarb made me eat more sugar free treats, so I eat some carbs now. I do eat sugar free wafer cookies with dinner.

Trying not to read about food too much. I do enjoy your blog though. I hope you keep doing it, you are a good writer.

Hands busy with projects, gardening or even homemade pastas. Rolling it out with the machines takes a lot of time and muscle.

Exercise, trying to keep to a schedule but not beating myself up too much if I don't.

Just trying to share some ideas, don't mean to make this comment all about me. What you said in this post really made me think about it though! I think we juggle so much on our plate when we're younger that it's easier then.
JJ

Anonymous said...

Honestly tho, what are you doing all day?

Lyn said...

JJ~

thanks! Those are some good ideas. I appreciate you sharing what's helped you. I am searching for that balance too... wondering if tracking is actually making me think about food *more* than just eating from an AIP template. I am going to keep at it this week, but I dunno... just eating AIP felt pretty freeing. Depends on whether I can keep losing weight with either method, by increasing my exercise.

Lyn said...

Anonymous~

lots of things, none of which are the topic of this blog :) I stopped writing about my personal day to day life a long time ago, but my days are busy. I'm very blessed not to have to work full time right now, but I work part time, volunteer at a non-profit organization, participate in animal rescue (a different non-profit), train my dogs in various sports, and participate fully in my kids' lives. Love it!

Lissa said...

Lyn, I'm glad I've commented in the past so you know I'm not a crazy salesperson or a spammer. Because I *swear* this would be great for you:

Sous vide cooking.

Downsides: It's expensive. $180 for this unit, which is what I've got. http://anovaculinary.com/products/anova-precision-cooker

Upsides:
- It is ridiculously, amazingly, idiotically simple to use
- It works best with lean means. Chicken breast, chicken thigh, pork loin, flank steak; all the lean meats you like to eat anyway.
- It is almost impossible to overcook, and extremely flexible with the "done" time.
- You can buy bulk raw meat, season and freeze individual portions, and just toss it in the pot before you leave in the morning. So, there's your whole pre-planned menu thing.
- Clean-up is almost nonexistent. No heavy pans to scrub.

I use mine at least twice every week, usually for the days that I go to the office. I come home and open the bag. Chicken breasts and thighs need no further prep; pork and beef I stick under the broiler for a few minutes on each side. DONE.

I've cooked a flank steak that we ended up not eating that night, so I just kept it cooking until the next night. 48 hours of cooking instead of 24. Still perfect.

The idea, BTW, is that the sous vide cooker can keep a very precise temperature for as long as you want it to. So, instead of cooking pork to 145 degrees to make sure it's done, you can hold it at 137 degrees for two to four hours and PASTEURIZE the germs out of it. Since I'm paranoid about salmonella, my chicken is more often than not dried out and not tasty. Since the sous vide never lets my chicken get hotter than 146, it's still juicy and delicious, even though I've been cooking it from 7:30 AM to 6 PM.

It sounds similar to a slow cooker, but it's NOT. The crockpot, even on keep warm, can dry out or disintegrate your meat. The sous vide doesn't.

Anyway, there's the end of my sales pitch. If you're curious at all I'd be happy to tell you more; I'm the queen of the kitchen gadgets and this is my new favorite toy. It even displaced my beloved stand mixer as my baby.

Lissa said...

(oops - forgot to follow comments)

Joanna said...

How about you set the comments to not allowing anonymous posts? I know you handle the slams graciously but it is really not good for you to read that garbage. It's funny how the brain works, but even if you don't consciously believe the negativity, the message can still take up residence in your brain.

JM said...

Hi Lyn
I suggested a few posts ago to read the brown book from OA, it might really be worth reading.

Lyn said...

Lissa~

wow, that's really interesting. I think I'll look into this! Would really make cooking easy and convenient! Thanks.

Joanna~

I've turned them off and on several times in the past few years. Thing is, these people just make up an account/fake name and still leave the same kinds of posts. What I've settled on is to turn them off when I am feeling frazzled, and when I am reading comments I never keep reading past the first hostile/attacking word (immediate delete). The rest, I shrug and try to find humor in.

JM~

I was reading the "big book" and going to online OA meetings for awhile, but I just haven't gotten that into it. I do like reading the science behind food addiction though. Scientific journals are awesome!

Deb Willbefree said...

Hey. Mark's Daily Apple has a post on AIP. I haven't had a chance to read it, so don't know if it's good, but thought i'd pas it along just in case.

Yeah. I'm good like that. snicker

http://www.marksdailyapple.com/the-autoimmune-protocol-what-to-do-when-nothing-else-has-worked/

Lyn said...

Thanks Deb :)

Today I am dragging my feet on this tracking thing. I really prefer NOT tracking food. I hate thinking about what I eat 1)before I eat it (howmuch can I have, what are the calories, where are the measuring spoons) 2) while I am eating it, and 3) after I eat it (tracking after ever meal). It's just easier to eat AIP in whatever amount was satisfying. I lost 16 pounds my first 2 months on AIP without tracking... and 4 pounds last month without tracking. The difference was my activity level. Maybe just increasing my activity would be enough to lose like last time... without tracking.

Anonymous said...

Tracking, at some level, is going to be necessary unless you seriously, meaning consistently, limit certain food groups, like sugar or grains. To expect anything wonderful to happen otherwise, is being childlike in your desire to want to eat whatever and still, magically, lose significant weight. It just doesn't ever work that way. EVER. FOR ANYONE. You didn't magically become morbidly obese, and you cannot lose all that weight magically either.

Lyn said...

Anon~

I don't think anyone is talking about magic. I do think limited certain foods is essential though, which is why I lost weight easily on AIP this past summer. I am still 100% grain free and very restrictive of sugar, so perhaps this may be enough, long term. The idea of tracking my food every day for the rest of my life is not something that appeals to me at all, so if there is another way, even if it is more limited in my food choices, I'd like that better.

Taryl said...

Man, your anonymous commenters are bugging ME, and I'm not even you. sheesh.

I get your ruminations. Completely. I'm praying for your health, Lyn, and wishing you the best in the world.

Anonymous said...

Honestly, I'm highly active and I still track calories (with an eye on carbs) to maintain my weight and physicality. In fact, you know what group of people are the most religious about tracking not just calories but macros? Bodybuilders. Athletes in general. They "get" to eat a fair bit more than the average person but they're still careful about calories, because it's important to them, because building an impressive physique or improving athletic performance is a high priority for them. Food really is the most important component of any fitness plan especially since activity levels change as a result of lifestyle and health/injury problems (as you've experienced) ...

I guess what I'm saying is that imo it's not entirely realistic to think that you can't track food at all and still lose weight or maintain a lower weight. I'm not saying that you're always going to have to be as strict about tracking as you are at the start. You get a feel for quantities and develop a better relationship with your body where it becomes more intuitive. I don't religiously log every single meal, I have some days where I'm at a party or whatever and have to "guestimate". But the overall picture is that a track relatively accurately and that's what works for me. And actually I think it's a good thing that having to portion out my food provides that second's mental break where I'm looking for the scales and have to ask myself "Am I actually hungry or just snacky? And am I making the best food choice?" I feel like that's a important element of recovery for formerly impulsive eaters.

Anonymous said...

I understand the resistance to counting and tracking. It seems like a hard slog, but I want to focus on your statement about not wanting to track for the rest of your life.

The sad fact (that I know from years of experience!) is that even eating a limited diet, it is still possible to maintain or even gain weight. Eating too much of a limited diet will still lead to weight gain, and losing on a limited diet still boils down to eating fewer calories than your body needs on a daily basis. I was also very resistant to the idea of tracking and continued to gain and lose on restrictive diets that always ended in binging and giving up. I eventually decided to start tracking and found that it did help quite a bit. Not only that, but I don't have to track every meal for the rest of my life--after a year or so, I have a very good understanding of portion size and calories of almost any food, and I am much better at eyeballing meals now. I even turn it into a game, guessing at the calories of a meal and then calculating them. I get pretty close about 90% of the time! So, yes, it is a slog at first, but only a temporary one. Putting the time in to learn the calories of what you're eating is useful no matter what diet you're on. Looking at it this way, tracking is the single most important tool in your arsenal, as the information and experience you gain will contribute to being able to easily maintain your weight for the rest of your life.

As of now, I perform "spot checks" on meals that I eat--meaning that about once every other day I calculate the calories of a meal I'm eating, and once or twice a week I calculate the total calories for the day. If I'm still on track, I congratulate myself and move on with life. If I find that I'm tracking high and the scale confirms that, then I keep that in mind and adjust accordingly the next week. The funny thing is that tracking actually encourages the sort of mindfulness that dieters would like to acquire so that they can stop worrying about their food. Knowledge is power, and it can almost always be used to make life easier.

TNTriathlete said...

I'm late to commenting here but the number one thing you could do to raise your metabolism and lose weight is lift heavy weights. I was shocked when you wrote your basal metabolic rate was something like 1000 when you weigh well over 200 lbs. I am 5 foot 7 and weigh 120 but my BMR is 1540 because of all the weight training I do. (We are almost exactly the same age). Most of my body mass is muscle rather than fat (and no, I don't have "huge" or "manly" muscles, I'm just very toned).
Weight training is the secret to raising your metabolism and being able to eat more every day without gaining weight or while losing weight.

It's hard work but carries so many benefits. Strengh, bone health, coordination as we age, just to name a few. Strong is the new thin. And definitely the new sexy