Tuesday, December 22, 2015

What I Want to Prove


First a little update. We are back from our little Christmas trip and had a wonderful time! I took my daughter to see the Nutcracker ballet and we went on a tour of some fabulous Christmas lights. I just *love* the holidays! The tree is up and lit, making the house smell like pine, and there are presents under the tree. I'll have all my kids but one home for Christmas this year (oldest has to work) and am looking forward to that very much. It's different with adult kids, but in a way I never expected. When they were little a lot of their Christmas morning joy came from the magic of Santa having arrived in the night, and all the fun toys... remote control trucks and planes, roller blades, scooters, science kits and candy. Now, much of the joy is in just being together, and there is a new appreciation for the gifts because we can each see how the other was thinking of us when they chose what to give. I really love it.

This winter has been one of the best on record for me. I can't remember a winter over the past decade when I did not suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder to some degree (sometimes it was pretty bad). But this year so far I feel perfectly fine... better than fine! I haven't done anything differently this year; I am still taking vitamin D3 and using my sunrise simulator clock, but so far, no SAD!

As I have thought about what the New Year will bring for me as far as weight is concerned, I realized that there is something I would like to prove. So many people are fat, like me. So many never lose the weight, or lose it and regain it. Most of the attitude out there is that you have to put a huge amount of energy and focus into weight loss to make it happen. Hey, I have always believed that myself. I had to buy a book and strictly follow a diet, or buy special foods or shakes or supplements, or I had to put a ton of effort into forcing myself to the gym or counting calories or carbs or whatever, to lose the weight. And I did that... I did lose a big chunk of weight twice in the past 9 years. But look, I regained most of it, just like most other people do. Why is that? Is it because all of us obese people are lazy? We can't stick with something long term? I have talked to so many people... lots of them women my age who have tried over and over to lose weight and always end up either staying fat or getting fat again after losing weight. And a lot of people say to me that is seems impossible, they just don't feel like they can do it again. You know? That is where I was when I stopped blogging this summer. And I started to wonder, can someone like me, who is not going to be a gym rat and is not going to give up a lot of traditional foods or favorite meals, who is not willing or able to put a large fraction of my energy and focus into a diet or exercise, still lose weight? Can that be done, just by stopping the intense "I must work myself up to this and stay driven" mindset, and just relaxing and eating what I want, moving as I want? And I wonder, will doing so tend to make me *want* to eat healthier and move more?

I guess it seems counter-intuitive to make a New Year's Resolution NOT to diet, or count calories, or go to the gym. But that's kind of what I have in mind. Maybe the reason people don't lose weight, or lose and regain, is mainly frustration. Maybe a lot of it is emotional; you have this attachment to food you are trying to break (many people use a 12-step program to get off the foods they feel addicted to) and that is very real. I have experts saying I need to do a whole lot more exercise than I am doing and need to change all the foods I prefer to eat (like bread and butter, or cookies, or bacon) in order to lose weight. But I have done that, and so have thousands of others, and I am still fat. So I think I will try something different this time.

I want to prove that a regular, everyday fat person like me can relax and let go of the emotional drama around food, stop dieting, stop forcing exercise that I don't enjoy, and still lose weight and get healthy. It's an experiment, sure, but why not give it a shot? I feel healthier and happier and if I can lose weight just by relaxing about the whole thing and just giving a *smaller* amount of effort (and thus having less stress), then why not? Because if there are plenty of people out there who want to lose weight but just cannot give it 75% of their attention and effort, so they stop trying and think 'why bother', then maybe some of them... of us... would feel more inclined to *try* if they believed they could lose weight with a 25% effort.

I plan to do a weigh in and year-end update around the first of the year. Until then, you will find me baking cookies, visiting friends, making toffee, carving a Christmas ham, building a snowman, and doing all the things I enjoy doing... those that involve food, AND those that don't!

Happy holidays!

10 comments:

Chiksey said...

Lyn,

I have been following your blog for a long time now. I am so glad you are back. I love the posts where you think things through.
Please try Paul McKenna's tape - it says exactly what you are saying in the post above. Do let me know if you liked it.
Wish you all happiness during this festive season.

Meryl said...

I really love this post and find myself wondering the same things. One thing I know for sure...the intense focus, the "failure" mentality, the forced white-knuckling...is NOT working for me. It works for short bursts, but it's not working long term. And without taking the 12-step addict approach, I don't know how to continue to manage this. I keep telling myself if I could lose x number of pounds, then I'd be happy to maintain, even at what might be considered a "fat" place. But that never comes, so the battle continues to cycle and I'm so tired of it. But I also know when I don't try or care at all, I gain and gain. And I just can't/won't let that happen either. I'll go look up those tapes Chicksey referred to. And I'll be here reading to see how this all unfolds for you too. Meanwhile, I too will be enjoying the season but it's always there, in the back of my head...always. Sigh.

Lyn said...

Chiksey~

Thanks! I will see if they have it at the library. If they don't I can request it and they will probably get it in for me.

Meryl~

absolutely. The white knuckling through it is, I think, why so many people including myself fall off plan. I know lots of people do really well with the 12 steps. I have to wonder if for me, and some others, maybe LESS effort could yield better long term results. Counterintuitive, but, I have found I can only sustain a huge effort for so long. Maybe a medium/low effort is more sustainable, even if weight loss is slower.

Lyn said...

another thought...

I think if a person is younger, say a teen or in their 20's, a huge effort might work best. If you can change your habits and lifestyle at that age it is very likely to stick (say, if you become a runner or start always cooking healthy meals or lifting weights). You can continue those habits throughout life to stay healthy. And at that age people usually have more time to focus on themselves and less commitments (debt, keeping up a home, caring for children, cooking for a family) and more time to focus on the change. I also had a ton more energy in my 20's than in my 40's. To me it is so much harder to change your lifestyle at 46. Physical limitations, time constraints, lower energy, and other obligations make it a lot more challenging. At this age I am more set in my ways and unlikely to make huge changes to my lifestyle. Small ones? Yes. Less fast food. More walking. More produce and less junk. Just a thought.

KatGlitter said...

After all the different diets, would you still recommend Medifast to people?

Lyn said...

KatGlitter~

I would recommend Medifast as a *one time* diet. Meaning, you get on it, stick with it 100%, and Transition off carefully according to plan. I would not recommend doing it more than once, re-starting it if you go off plan, trying it over and over. I think it can work great if you are motivated, one time. Otherwise it can turn into a long cycle that I believe is unhealthy.

Also, I have noticed that Medifast has changed many of its products and has drastically changed its plan from when I did it. I can only recommend a 5 and 1 Plan... not the new one.

KatGlitter said...

Thank you!

JM said...

Good luck with this approach. I will be interested to see what happens! The problem of course for me is every year I get older and can eat less without gaining so I ve had to increase my exercise to match a changing metabolism.

Deb said...

:) I have to say this whole "less effort" thing sounds inviting! My plan for the new year is hard to put into words, but it comes under the less effort banner, too. It's to simply eat what I know is good for me, simply refuse to eat was is not--and avoid the obsession and whining in between. Chuckle. yeah. We'll see how "simply" works out. :}

My new blog is up and has a Christmas message on it. I don't lan on blogging in earnest until January.

Have a Merry Christmas, Girlfriend.

Deb

Sean Anderson said...

Glad you're back! I applaud you!!! Merry Christmas!