Now that I’ve reached my “goal weight,” I was thinking this morning that things would be a lot easier if I were still back on an all-liquid diet. At least then I knew exactly what I had to eat and when. Now that I’m out here in the real world of eating and have scaled the mountain, I have to confess that I feel sometimes like someone who is balanced precariously on a very sharp, pointy peak, with extremely dramatic cliffs on both sides. If I stay obsessive about counting calories and adding up steps walked, I could keep losing weight—maybe more than I want to–and I could quickly become bored to death. If I start feeling that I can eat whatever I want, when I want it, I could quickly gain weight and be right where I started. I know I’m a food addict, but can’t a girl have a little fun?
People come up to me and say things like, “Can you eat now?” and I don’t know how to answer them. Yes, I can eat, but I’m no longer comfortable eating. I haven’t gotten any sort of rhythm down. I don’t trust my inner voices. One minute I’m feeling that the world is wide open to me; the next I’m thinking I’d better head for a 12-step program. Continue reading Weight Loss Maintenance: The Hardest Part of All→
This has been my last week on only liquids, and I have to admit I’m scared of adding food back into my life. I’m scared of losing the simplicity, the order, and the no-thinking-about-food state I’ve been living in. I’m going to have to actually put all this good knowledge, and therapy into practice and see if I can stay strong. People have told me they could never stick to a liquids-only diet, but it’s easy compared to living in foodland! Not having to make choices about what to eat was blissful. I’ll take my box of envelopes of protein drink and my little portable shaker any day! Now I have to start thinking again about things like portion control, calorie allotment, nutrition, etc. Oh yeah – and it’s the pyramid.
Scariest of all: my fear of slipping back into binge eating?! I can’t let that happen again. In my program, we talked this week about body image–and where our own images come from: from fellow nervous adolescents in our teenage years, from our parents, from the media. It’s interesting to ponder how we see ourselves and why. We also talked about the purposes weight can serve for people or the things that it says for us, such as “Stay away from me” or “I’m afraid to be myself” or “I have to do everything, “I’m mad” or “You can’t control me.” I know, in my case, at least part of it started out as a control game with my mother, who always liked to encourage us to diet with her, but things got more complicated along the way. I’m sure part of it was also feeling out of control with life, overwhelmed, so my weight was saying, “I give up. I’m powerless.” Worth pondering.
But what about this guy? I guess his weight says the opposite: “I’m powerful!”
I’m feeling powerful this week, since my BMI is down from 37 to 30, so I’m moving out of the “obese” category and into “overweight.” My goals for the next 6 weeks, while in “transition” back to a normal life are to 1) get on a more regular exercise program 2) remember that this has been a life change and not a diet and 3) to stay strong and mindful.
“Because your life is created from the inside out, you must first get right with yourself on the inside. With what you will learn and do here, you will put the past behind you, and confront your personal truth about your weight.” The Ultimate Weight Solution.
I attribute this mostly to our session right before Thanksgiving, where the topic was “Changing our Thinking.” We were given an excerpt from Dr. Phil’s book, The Ultimate Weight Solution.
In the chapter we read, Dr. Phil gives 10 examples of faulty thinking, some of which are self-explanatory, such as “all-or-nothing thinking” (“I’ve already blown it this week on that piece of pecan pie, so I might as well eat the whole pie.”) or “catastrophizing” (“If I don’t succeed on this weight management program, I’m doomed to be fat for life.”) or “pipe dreaming” that sets us up for disappointment (“Maybe at the end of this program, I’ll look just like Jennifer Anniston!”). Continue reading Week Seven: Changing Our Thinking→
I realized today that I am halfway through the liquid portion of this program, so I’m feeling pretty amazed and proud of myself. I made my first goal of 10% of my initial weight, so now I start working on the second 10%. (The program guarantees that you’ll lose at least 20% of your initial weight during the 12 weeks of liquid, or “active weight loss.” What you do after that depends on how well you stick to the “transition” program.)
Our topic this past week was “Appropriate and Inappropriate Eating.” We learned the 5 P’s of Appropriate Eating, i.e. Planned, Portion Controlled, Proportionate, Proper Place and Peaceful (apparently they’re not English majors concerned about parallel structure!). A critical thing in being a successful “weight manager” is always to plan out, ahead of time, what, where and how you’re going to eat. So, instead of going out to dinner and deciding to eat whatever happens to strike your fancy, in whatever portion happens to come on the plate, you would decide that you are going to make sure you get the different food groups, in the portions you need. If the plate has huge portions, you will immediately ask for a doggy bag, reduce your servings to the size that fit your caloric needs, and take the abundance home with you for another meal–or, if all else fails, send food back to the kitchen.
This all makes so much sense to me that I find it startling that I’ve gone through so much of my life being an unaware, almost unconscious eater. I’ve been led by my eyes, nose, even my imagination, to overeat, over and over again–simply because my plate had too much food on it–or the wrong kind of food–never realizing that I could be in so much better control of what goes onto my fork and into my mouth. I have confused planning and thoughtful eating with being a “picky” or “overly fussy” eater.
That touches on the first 3 P’s, but I’d like to talk also about the last two: Proper Place and Peaceful. Proper Place means you don’t eat in front of the tv set or, worst of all, standing up in the kitchen, “grazing,” or at your desk, in front of your computer. You are supposed to make rules about where you eat, preferably one specified place, and then stick to those rules. I get pangs of guilt when I think of the meals my children have eaten in the car on the way to a soccer game, band concert, whatever. The final one, “peaceful,” is one that also comes hard to me at times. Meals in our house are often rushed, with people wolfing down food before running out the door. An important quote from this week’s material: “it takes about 20 minutes for your brain to get the message you have eaten and turn off your food seeking drive.” You are supposed to sit and enjoy your food, savoring each bite. It’s hard, but I’m working on it! They have an exercise for this one: make yourself put down your fork in between bites! Try it! It’s hard! Continue reading Week Six Down and Heading forThanksgiving!→
I don’t have much to report this week, other than that I am steadily losing weight and feeling better and better about my body, my life, my appearance, and my health. The low point of this week was taking a big gulp of what I thought was going to be a vanilla shake with a hint of Starbucks coffee flavor and discovering instead that it was cold chicken soup, flavored with coffee! Needless to say, I wasn’t wild about the cold lumps!
The high point of the week was this weekend. The program tells us to come up with non-food rewards for progress made, so I decided to do something I’ve always wanted to do but never had the nerve to try: fake nails! I didn’t realize they would take so long, but after 2 hours in the chair, I walked out of the salon feeling totally glamorous and beautiful and, oh, so feminine. I highly recommend them. My sister, Katie, has always told me they were wonderful, and now I get it. I’m typing with them right now and feeling like I’m back to being about 8 years old, loving my glue-on nails–but these don’t fall off! I have to watch out because lately I’m spending a lot of time just thinking up new ways to point a gorgeous red-tipped finger at something. Here’s a picture:
Other than that, there’s not much to report. The session last week was about the importance of serving food on small plates, so that we don’t over-feed ourselves–and about drawing an imaginary line across our plate, dividing our plate into top and bottom. The top half should always be filled with vegetables, the bottom fourth with protein and the other fourth with starch, with a tiny bit of fat. We are supposed to keep that plate model in our heads, when we go back to eating, especially when eating out! It simplifies the whole deal of counting calories or figuring out portions. The other thing that happened this week is we got started on regular exercise. My goal is 150-200 minutes of aerobic exercise a week–and I have to keep a daily log. I’m proud to say I made it to the YWCA one morning, and I walked 4 times this week, plus one long walk and a hike on the weekend. We’re also supposed to do simple things to get ourselves moving all the time, such as parking farther away from work, taking the stairs, or, in my case, running in place in the bathroom, just for the extra oomph! Onward and upward!