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Moderation versus Abstinence

Sunday, September 28, 2014

When I decide to completely abstain from a food, i.e. sugar, it feels hard at first, then it feels like freedom because it takes away so many other hard choices. But somehow, it doesn't last forever, and when I go back to my "forbidden fruit," I eat it in excess. I then think this is because I am trying to make up for all the time I went without it. So, I conclude that I shouldn't ban it, I should just allow it in moderation. But then, when I allow it "in moderation,", I still eat it in excess and then I decide I need to ban it again because it is easier to not start than it is to start and stop. This cycle seems to repeat itself over and over....and yes, the similarities to alcoholism definitely come to mind. I see slender people enjoying their treats in moderation and I want to be those people, but maybe that is not me. Some people enjoy alcohol in moderation, but some people simply cannot. (Thankfully I don't drink!)

My first day of tracking, I ate one home-made chocolate cookie and stopped. I thought, "This moderation thing is going to work. Yay!" But then the past two nights, I have gone to parties and started munching on the treats, and not stopped. Then I've come home and eaten more treats! It's ridiculous, it doesn't make sense. The obvious solution is, "Stop doing that!" But I can't seem to stop. No amount of reason seems to help. I have all kinds of internal dialogues going on in my head about why I shouldn't eat what is in front of me, but the food goes in my mouth anyway. If that isn't addiction, I don't know what is. I don't like to say I can't control certain foods, but the evidence does seem to support that conclusion over and over again.

Now, on the other hand, all of this non-stop nibbling has happened at night. Maybe I just need to make a commitment not to eat after a certain time at night. I have done this before and it most certainly saves me a load of calories. Also under consideration, both of these non-stop eating experiences have been triggered by food at a party, so maybe I need to stop eating food at parties, especially when I've already eaten my dinner and hit my calorie count for the day!

One thing is for certain, some restrictions need to be set. As much as I love the theory of "all things in moderation," I haven't managed to make it work in practice. It seems so simple, but some monster seems to take over inside of me and keep putting bite after bite into my mouth, in spite of all logic that says it is time to stop.

So, what restrictions to set? I'm going to call them "boundaries" instead because everyone needs boundaries. I'm contemplating "No sugar" again, and/or "No eating after 8:00." I have been successful in the past with "one treat a week" and feel it's much more live-able, but maybe it just feeds to the problem. Ah....I don't know, but I'm going to decide on something right now to commit to for the next week, then I can assess after one week.

Commitment 1--No eating after 8:30 with an exception for fresh fruits or veggies if I really feel hungry. Light popcorn allowed on the weekend.

Commitment 2--Only two servings of sugary dessert a week (we'll try that first before total restriction).

I'll continue with my commitment to track daily for 2 weeks and exercise 6 days a week.

Now it's time to go enter all of those calories from the party last night!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

YMWONG22 9/28/2014 8:01AM

  Those are slip ups not failure. Sometimes you just need to try different ways and methods to find something that works for you. Keep trying and don't give up. emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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Saturday, September 27, 2014

I once had a health coach who encouraged me to write something each day in the "What I did right" category. She told me this because I am hard on myself. It is easy to be hard on yourself when you eat over 3,000 calories on the second day of re-committing to health and fitness. That is what I did today. I planned diligently for breakfast and lunch, but when hubby brought home my favorite pizza for dinner, I dug in. That alone cost me 1,000 calories, but then we went to a party. I avoided the snack table until we were about to leave, but then I started nibbling. That set off a chain reaction of nibbling (as it so often does), and I came home and continued to nibble. My thought process went something like this: "I've failed today anyway, I might as well keep eating." Crazy mentality! Then when I decided to "face the music" and track my food, I saw that it wouldn't have been so bad if I would have just stopped at the pizza. I need to overcome my "I've blown it, let's continue blowing it..." mentality. This brings to mind something from the "You on a Diet" book. The authors said when you find yourself going to the wrong direction, instead of berating yourself, be like the GPS voice and kindly say to yourself, "You've made a wrong turn. Make a u-turn at the next available opportunity." I am going to try to keep that in mind the next time I overeat at one meal. I will try to remember it doesn't have to carry over into the rest of the day.

Enough of what I did wrong. Here is what I did right today:

--I exercised at 6:30 this morning, even though I really wanted to sleep.

--I knew I was going to be eating out for lunch so I picked a place that would be easiest for healthy choices and looked at the menu ahead of time, planning what I would order.

--I tracked my food/calories for today, even though I knew the grand total would frighten me.

--I was REALLY tempted to abandon my goal of tracking for 2 weeks straight since I didn't want to face the numbers of my choices today. But instead, I am facing the numbers, and I'm choosing to blog about what happened instead of walking away from my goal and not blogging again for 2 years! I am gaining awareness of how quickly nibbles add up. I'm gaining awareness about how much I really eat. I'm gaining awareness of my thought patterns, faulty mentality, and hopefully learning how to change that mentality. If I keep this up, I believe I will be able to change, and one day I just might stay in my suggested calorie range! :)

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

PRAIRIECROCUS 9/27/2014 2:08AM

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Here we go again...

Thursday, September 25, 2014

I often laugh when I read my childhood journal entries because they almost all begin, "It's been a long time since I last wrote..." Well, this blog is no different! It has been sorely neglected and I need to change that.

I have not been having any success in the weight loss department lately, in spite of continually trying (and quitting) new programs. I battle daily with emotional eating and just an affinity for overeating in general. The good--I have added so many healthy foods to my life and most days I get more than 5 servings of fruits and vegetables in. I have yo-yo'd on the exercise, but still feel I've exercised more in the past 3 years than in the previous 3. I haven't given up on losing weight/being healthy, but I've had many setbacks and re-gains and it's super discouraging at times. I have tried all kinds of food restrictions (other than calorie restrictions) as a way to lose weight without having to track. At various times in the past few years I've given up the following at stretches (and not all at once)--sugar, white flour, all flour, dairy, meat, processed foods. I was able to maintain my weight loss as a vegetarian (without calorie counting) if I exercised enough and watched the sugar, but I eventually gave that up too because I wasn't losing. I wasn't happy at sustaining weight loss, but now that I've been gaining, I wish I would have been happy with that.

Anyway, I've come to the conclusion, many times, that I need to stop restricting any specific food and just do traditional calorie counting, (it has always worked), but it bugs me. It makes me feel like I'm not living a normal life when I have to weigh and measure and calculate the nutrition content of every recipe. And then I get hung up on not knowing the EXACT calorie count of foods, so I just give up. I also find it to be time consuming, unless I eat everything from a box that already has the calories listed. Since I'm trying to focus on whole foods, this is not what I want to do. When I don't have time to put in my EXACT recipe, I give up. Then I read stories about people who've lost weight without counting calories and I think , that can be me. So I try that program, fizzle out, read another story, try that program, fizzle out, and on and on. So, those are my excuses for not counting calories, and excuses they are. Is this mentality, this refusal to track, helping me reach my goals? No. Will tracking my food on SparkPeople and keeping within a specific calorie range help me reach my goals? Yes. There is it, plain and simple. Yes! It has always worked for me before, and I expect it will work again, if I'll just do it.

So, this is my new commitment. Track for 2 weeks. Just do it and see what happens! What if I mess up and eat the wrong foods or overeat? It's okay, just track it. What if I don't have time to put in the recipe? Just pick something with a similar title and track it. What if I didn't measure the exact amount? Just guess, it's better than not tracking at all. I can do this. I can track my food for two weeks and see if it makes a difference. I've tried almost everything else, why not give this a real effort?

Second commitment--exercise. Exercise makes me feel great, even if it's just a tiny walk on the treadmill. Even if I put aside the physical benefits (which are sometimes debate-able since my exercise regime is pretty low key), I can't deny that exercise boosts my morale, it makes me feel better emotionally, and it's easier for me than battling the food addiction. Perhaps it helps me in that battle. Why don't I do it? I am busy. I am super busy. So are most of the other people I know. It's about commitment, it's about priority, it's about choosing it over other things. I know it makes me feel great, but it is still tempting to choose sleep, or lying on the couch, or other activities over exercise. Well, I'm going to make it a priority. I've done it before, so I know I can do it again.

Okay, so I'm going to keep it simple and start out with 3 goals:

1--Track my food daily for 2 weeks.
2--Exercise daily, six days a week.
3--Post on my SparkPage once a week.

Hooray for starting today!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

BELLE4LIFE 9/27/2014 12:46AM

    Thank you for the comments and encouragement!

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ALOOGOBI 9/25/2014 12:35PM

    I hear what you are saying! I also struggle with the idea of being "abnormal" because I have to track my calories and exercise, but then it hit me that EVERYONE has to do that. If you don't, then weight will creep onto you, year by year. Why do you think there are so many people who get heavy through their adult years? Some people seem to do it unconsciously, although I bet if you really asked them to think about it, they have some sort of mental tally of food vs exercise that they use, too.

This isn't a diet, something you pick up and try for a week or two and then drop. It's for the rest of your life. First you have weight to lose, so you track carefully and get into an exercise routine. Once you lose the weight, you still need to watch what you eat and how much exercise you get, or it comes right back. So this is FOREVER! Monitoring your food and exercise needs to become just part of your daily routine, like brushing your teeth or taking a shower.

As far as tracking, the easiest thing for me has been trying to keep my meals fairly simple. This makes tracking so much easier for a whole foods diet. Calculate your own recipes and the store them in your favorites so you can pull them out easily when you have it again. Don't sweat it if you can't track everything 100% at first, sometimes I just use something similar from the tracker and try to go a bit heavy on the serving size so I am sure I am counting the calories high enough. It really does get easier after a few weeks because most people don't have all that many different meals they like to eat, so once you have calculated them once, you are set.

I hope this response doesn't put you off. It might seem a little discouraging to think that you need to watch these things FOREVER, but if it makes you feel better, so does everyone else who doesn't want to end up overweight and out of shape! emoticon

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DEEREID2015 9/25/2014 12:02PM

    Good for you! We have all done exactly what you have....made excuses along the way. My biggest was it hurts and it makes me miserable therefor I will eat whatever I want to feel better. I will join you for this 2 weeks of tracking food and exercising. I am starting today with mine which is thurs sept 25. I just did 30 days of clean healthy eating and then threw all the hard work I had done out the window in a matter of 5 days so I too am looking for something that doesn't make me feel deprived. Something that I can still do eating clean and healthy but also be account able for the calories as well. So like you I am going to track my food for the next couple weeks....try to get a good solid hour of walking in every day and do as much other stuff as I can to be more active than sitting in a chair all day playing on computer. Good Luck to you and hope this approach will work for you and for me as well.......keep in touch and let me know how you are doing!

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I'm back

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Wow! I can't believe it's been 4 months since I last posted. I haven't stopped trying in that 4 months, I just haven't been active on SparkPeople. I have another weight-loss blog I've been doing a better job at keeping up on. I've been lacking motivation the past couple of weeks, so I'm trying to re-motivate myself by reading the message boards here. My husband and I did a one-month vegan experiment in June. I didn't lose any weight! I was trying to eat healthy too, but I didn't watch my portions. I basically ate as much as I wanted of the allowed foods. The good news is that I was on an all-you-can-eat diet and I didn't gain weight, but I really want to lose. Since that experiment ended, it seems like I've been trying to make up for all the foods we couldn't have during that month. I've gone a bit crazy and learned that I'm better off not completely banning foods because I'll make-up for it when I lift the ban. Now I'm just trying to eat healthy and watch the portions again. I'm down 10 pounds since I joined SparkPeople. I want to lose at least 40 more. I'm choosing healthy today!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LADYJ6942 7/11/2012 11:01AM

    Experimination is part of the game, it is usually how we find our own magic bullet. Good luck!

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Vegan Trial week, day 2

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

It's 10:30 p.m. and I really want to eat something but I've already gone over on points. It's amazing how quickly you can go over on points even when you're eating vegan. I had a veggie sandwich on a whole grain bun that was 8 points (thanks to the avacado), and I certainly didn't feel like I had eaten 8 points. I could have a big hunk of chicken for 8 points that would surely satisfy me more! I had a big veggie meal at dinner and I wasn't necessarily hungry afterward, but I definitely felt like something was missing. I waited a couple of hours, then made a "shake" with almond milk and frozen bananas to try to feel satisfied. It hit the spot and was delicious, but I was still hungry pretty quickly afterward. I just ate 1/4 cup of pistachios (in shells), and it felt like a tablespoon. I love nuts but I can't eat much of them and stay within my points. I'm just not feeling very satisfied, in spite of going over on points. I feel like I have to eat a lot more food to feel satisfied and I'm never quite satisfied. I don't think this vegan trial is going to last more than a week! I'm interested to see if I'll lose any weight. I hope so!

My food for today:

Breakfast: Kashi Cereal, Almond Milk

Lunch: Quinoa Salad, Rice, Curry sauce, stir-fried veggies

Snack: Veggie Sandwich on Whole Wheat bun with avacado, green pepper, cucumber, lettuce, and pickles; 1 graham cracker

Dinner: Spaghetti Squash topped with Marinara sauce, sauteed mushrooms, spinach, and zuchini (I really wanted some parmesan cheese on this).

Snack: 1 cup almond milk, 1 1/2 frozen bananas, 1 tsp. maple syrup blended together, 1 graham rectangle crushed into it. (This was super yummy!)

Snack again: 1/4 cup pistachios

I better go to bed so I don't eat again! Tomorrow I'm going to try to get some legumes in to see if it will increase satisfaction.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

REBECCA180 3/6/2012 11:06PM

    I think your body wants protein. Did you track this to see how much you're getting? I'd be curious. You need your iron!
Good luck!

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