Friday, June 1, 2018

How Hard It Is

Today I weighed in for my monthly update and for the first time in 10 months, there was an overall gain for a calendar month. I've been losing steadily every month since August of last year when I started taking phentermine. Even in April, when I weaned off the diet pill, I still lost 7 pounds. In May, though, I am up 2 pounds overall to 194 as of this morning. One part of me, the old part, wants to jump out and create drama about this. "Oh no, a gain!! Now what will I do?? What if I go right back up the hell scale??" But the new, calmer, more peaceful side of me is saying, "Good job maintaining under 195! That was, and still is, your goal!" I am choosing the mindset of the latter.

Now about the title of this post: How hard it is. When I wrote that, I was thinking about how hard it is for me to get off sugar, and carbs in general, once I've overdone it. It's pretty easy for me to coast along eating smaller portions and lower carbs when I limit myself to the amounts I know don't trigger cravings for me: about 1/4 cup of starchy food (like potatoes or pasta) in a meal, keeping that to once a day, and if I do have something sweet it doesn't "bother" me if I eat the equivalent of, say, one cookie or a very thin slice of cake on occasion. Anything beyond that and I have joint pain, cravings, and a desire for more and more of those carb-heavy foods. I can even take an occasional... VERY occasional (once a month or less) indulgence day and eat higher portions of things like bread and feel fine if I go right back to my usual way of eating the next day. But I know that if I overdo the sugar, I want more. It's very hard to stop. It triggers cravings for lots of other things in me: bakery foods, fried foods, salty, fatty, greasy foods. And then it becomes difficult for me to get back to what suddenly seems like a very restrictive "diet."

Over the days on our vacation I pretty much let loose and ate what everyone else is eating for an extended period, for the first time in many months. It didn't feel out of control or "bingey" at all; the portions were smaller than others were eating, and I enjoyed the food. But after a couple days of that I just felt sluggish and food-focused. What can I eat next? Which food should I have because I won't be eating it again when I get home? How many flavors of fudge should I try? And that, more than anything, is a feeling I don't like. Even coming home and going back to my normal eating routine, I still am having cravings for sugar and fried foods. It's been hard to stop. The wake-up moment for me was this morning when I got up and made my coffee and noticed a Reeses peanut butter cup wrapper in the trash! Oh yeah, I did that last night! Stopped at a 7-11 because I *really* wanted a candy bar.

That flashed me back to those old days of eating lots of junk, forgetting about it, and then seeing the wrappers in the morning and feeling ashamed. I do not want to go back to feeling shame, regret, or "I can't have that" about food. I DO have a way to eat a candy bar on my plan, if I want one. The key is that the way I normally eat, I just rarely want some junky candy bar... but if I did, I could have a *portion* of one in an otherwise low carb day. It fits, and eliminates that feeling of restriction. That is what I am shifting back to now, because that mindset is essential for me to keep maintaining under 195 pounds.

I can never forget the way it used to be and that a food addict is hiding quietly in the shadows of my mind. Even after years of being a "normal" weight and eating healthily, I know I will have to watch for this carefully. The only way to keep that addict completely away is to stand by what I know works for me, and the next time I go on a vacation like this, keep any indulgences within those parameters.


Janet said...

Just returned from a week at H3 (Hilton Head Health)...

One of the lecture facilitators suggested we listen to pod casts by Elizabeth Benton (Primal Potential). I've been listening and boy!, is it ever worth my time. Thought I'd share this with you as we have many of the same struggles and have been living a parallel weight loss/management story.


Anonymous said...

Aw, Lyn. You're fine! The Reece's thing is a little bit troubling but other than that, there are not many of us at any weight that could enjoy a vacation week at an all-inclusive resort and not pick up a few pounds. I think if you head back to April, I think it was, and read all your posts when you first decided to do a "pause" and maintain in the 190s, you are doing perfectly fine. Don't be too hard on yourself (advice from someone who is too often too hard on herself!) ~Lenora

Lyn said...


Thank you! I will check it out.


Thanks, you're right, and the most important thing is to keep my peace. I am struggling a bit also because this week I am dealing with the pain of kidney stones and it is pretty miserable. Not feeling up to my usual positive self and REALLY not feeling like being active at all! Trying not to soothe with food. I hope it passes soon!

Margie Fuller said...

Hello. I wanted to talk to you about what program you are following now. I ran across your blog by accident, and I felt like I was reading my life. At one point, I shouted--THIS MUST BE MY SISTER!! Except my weight is fastly approaching 360 again. I haven't weighed because I'm afraid to. I was on Medifast/Optavia and lost nearly 50 pounds, but I had a bad reaction to all of the soy I was getting, so I stopped. My hair was falling out majorly, and I started having problem swallowing which happens when my thyroid is enlarged. My doctor had already increased my thyroid support, and I didn't want to be on medicine. I have slowly gained the weight back, even trying to keep it off following the Ketogenic diet and trying to get to one meal a day. That worked the best, but I had a problem getting to the one meal only. Maybe I should have continued with low carb longer before trying. Anyway, I was hoping you'd share with me what you're doing. You are doing great! I know you were disappointed when you gained back the 68 lbs, but you did great jumping right back in. I need to restart my blog, too. It does help me to be more accountable when I do. Looking forward to your response. You can find me on FB, too. --Margie Fuller

Lyn said...


I am happy to share with you! I started at 258 at the end of August and was taking phentermine, prescribed by my endocrinologist, and going to a lower carb food template. I am not taking phentermine anymore, but sticking with the lower carb, smaller portion eating. But no food is off limits. If you want more detail on my eating plan you can read my posts over the last couple of months where I share a lot about my diet. Ideally, I get up and have coffee and then don't eat food until later... between 11 and 1. Sometimes I will have iced matcha with cream mid-morning. My lunch meal is pretty low in carbs, like bacon and eggs. I might have a snack in the afternoon like yogurt or cheese or nuts. And dinner is meat, veggies, and no more than 1/4 cup of starch. My sweets are almost always sugar free.

Hope this helps and feel free to drop me an email anytime!

LHA said...

This is the exact problem I have had over the past year. I have regained part of the weight I lost (still maintaining about 75% of weight lost) due to traveling and eating too much on those trips. It is a white-knuckle experience for me to get back on the straight and narrow after I get back. Unlike you, I cannot tolerate a cookie or a small piece of cake without setting off the sugar addiction nightmare. Any sugar sends me into the big appetite and cravings, and too many other carbs, especially pasta, do the same. I'm thrilled for your progress and so glad that you realize that getting things back under control right now is essential to avoid a big weight gain. You seem to have the right mind set and I feel sure you are going to do fine. I'll take strength from that as I struggle to lose the regained weight. It's tough!

Amy said...

Whenever I get stuck on carby stuff I try upping my good fats and it doesn’t totally rid me of the cravings but it helps. My go-to is guacamole with crunchy veggie sticks, lots of flavor and crunch to boot. Sunflower kernels are awesome too. I can usually tackle a sweet craving by chewing a sugar-free sweet gum like Juicy Fruit’s Strawberry Starburst flavor.
By the way, your 258 pound self and all of us cheerleaders are already applauding your success and a couple pounds here or there is no biggie. You’ve got this, just keep swimming!