Wednesday, April 25, 2012
There's a saying: You get out of it what you put into it.
My team leader of a SparkPeople group I joined suggested that I blog, so here I go!
When I joined Sparkpeople about 3 weeks ago it was on a whim. I was online returning some "diet pills" that I had ordered (knowing they wouldn't work but wishing they would anyway) and happened upon the Sparkpeople website. The struggle with my eating and weight had made me depressed, angry and frightened and after too many years of feeling that way I was beginning to think that I would never change... Never get better.
The first thing I committed to once I signed up was to drinking 8 glasses of water a day. How hard could THAT be? Then after reading the suggestions for beginners I joined the emotional eaters group. I only realized this morning that people from the group had reached out to me and sent me welcoming e-mails. That is HUGE for me - hearing from the big world that there are people like me who are enjoying their lives rather than hating themselves every single day.
The second quick start suggestion I followed was to eat breakfast every day. My life long pattern has been to fast during most of the day, then eat an entire day's worth of food in the evening. It was my way of being able to binge and gorge myself. Eating breakfast always made me hungry in the past. It still does, but I am trusting Sparkpeople right now - I am borrowing YOUR experiences and hoping that it will work for me. I have two favorite breakfasts now: I like cooked oat bran and plain Greek yogurt. Both feel healthy to me and provide a good start to the day. Often I feel hungry immediately after eating. I am telling myself that a little hunger won't kill me, and that this is about the rest of my life, not just the moment. That helps me get some perspective.
My third and fourth and fifth commitments were to track my food (what an eye opener THAT is!) to stick to a regular (not difficult but slightly enjoyable) exercise routine, and to read a motivational weight loss story each day.
At first tracking food was very difficult for me, I felt like I was obsessing about food, thinking ahead and planning meals in an effort to stick with my caloric goal and get balanced nutrition. Food has always been an unpredictable force in my life and I hate to give it attention. But I am discovering that by rolling up my sleeves and facing food head on, weighing it, knowing it's caloric and nutritional properties, and being deliberate about what I put into my mouth I am gaining some power on my own. I have a few really good food choices now that I can rely on to get me through the day. Foods I like and trust. SparkPeople is very good at exposing us to healthy options, I will continue to explore them.
The Sparkpeople reports are also very helpful right now. I have lost a smidgen of weight but am seriously trying to focus on a lifestyle that is healthy, rewarding and sustainable. With that said, I still want to lose weight and want to feel confident and proud of my body. My body is a direct reflection of my self worth and it pains me when I don't respect myself enough to have a healthy, fit body. So when I looked at my weekly calorie tracking report I noticed that while I am eating much less than I used to eat, I'm still not meeting my daily goal. I'm missing it by a couple hundred calories per day. When I see that I think "Duh! Well, it's right there in black and white. If I kept to my goal I would probably see more progress." This isn't rocket science, but it's just as difficult sometimes. Now I am inspired to exert just a little more control and really TRY to meet that daily caloric goal for a while. It's won't always be low, this is a temporary situation that is necessary for me to reach my goal.
The exercise tracking is also a wonderful tool for me. I genuinely enjoy walking and now that it's a commitment I am walking several times a week which is several times a week more than I was walking before I joined Sparkpeople. I am also going to the gym three times a week and doing a quick full body routine. It sounds easy and simple, but sometimes when the time comes for me to get out of my desk chair and do my exercise I procrastinate and want to avoid it. No idea why, and you know what? That might not change. I need to accept that I am prone to choosing the more comfortable option if given a choice, and I might always have to force myself out of my comfort zone in order to be strong and healthy. If that's the worst of my problems in life I would be a lucky person.
But when I think of all of the tools I am using, reading motivational weight loss stories is the reason why I haven't quit. My weight has fluctuated a LOT since I began SparkPeople a few weeks ago and the "old me" would have given up long ago. So each morning I log on and read your stories. I hear that this is challenging for you also, but many people have been successfully losing or maintaining their weight for YEARS. Again, this is about my life, not really my weight. So usually, after reading one of your amazing stories, even if the scale bummed me out that morning I am back on track, reminding myself that today is a new day and I'm in this for the long haul. Take it easy, be gentle with myself, and most importantly for me, FOLLOW SUGGESTIONS. I got myself into this mess, you guys will help get me out.
Much love to all,