Thursday, March 11, 2010
I do use all the tricks I've heard . . . drink water before I start, drink water during the meal, take small bites, chew slowly and thoroughly, put your fork down between bites. Most of these seem to address the physical fullness: the water makes my belly actually contain more, and the other behaviors slow the process down so my satiety signals can kick in before I start panicking that my food's gone and I'm not satisfied.
The biggest turning point for me has been paying enough attention to that first nudge of fullness in my tummy. Over many weeks I got more and more consistent choosing to physically set my plate aside (or stick it in the frig) the moment I felt the least bit full. This was a huge psychological leap for me. What happened is this: I would serve myself what seemed reasonable. Then I would eat slowly and mindfully, savoring every bite. FIRST TWINGE of fullness, I would stop.
That was the commitment I worked toward. It took a while to develop the control to do this, but it was self-perpetuating. What I mean is, every time I got myself to stop before my plate was empty, sure enough, in just a few minutes I felt VERY FULL and completely satisfied. Plus, I gleefully eyed that remaining food that I knew was not going on my waist. I celebrated that. If I was having a tough time not continuing to eat, just because of food desire, or nervousness that maybe this time it wouldn't be enough, I wrote down the time so I could check in 20 minutes to see if I was actually satisfied. I told myself I could have more if I really needed it then.
The outcome is that I have "re-trained" my eye. I have proven to myself over and over and over that the lesser amount truly is enough. I have experienced over and over, eating less than I eyeballed, and feeling satisfied afterwards.
It was experimental at first; I was frustrated with the scale not moving and I was looking for what felt possible, that might produce results. The first couple times I thought, "I can probably stop now and not eat this part," I was so amazed that I could stop and not be starving. Then I kept trying it, with setbacks of course, but it demonstrated objectively to me that I could trim some volume, pay attention to my "gut feeling" (literally!) and save a few calories.
This habit was sorely tested today. I had planned to have two slices of pizza at a group lunch after the Mom-Toddler drop-in gym we help with at church. It was deep-dish, browned perfectly, and delectable. Mediocre pizza no longer tempts me, but this was great pizza. I felt myself waffling after a couple bites of the first piece. After all, a lot more was easily available. Maybe I would eat more than two. I was really enjoying it.
BUT habit was my friend. My save-your-skin friend. A few bites into the second piece, I could feel the difference in my tummy. (I had eaten salad also.) By God's grace, and by weeks and weeks of determined choices, I decided to stop. I must confess I took 2 more bites. But we're not going for perfection. Leaving half the second piece was remarkable. I was not even in agony, so don't be too impressed. And in less than 10 minutes I was COMPLETELY full--didn't want any more at all.
Tuesday, March 09, 2010
I am having to take a hard look at why I engaged in self-destructive habits for so long. Changing those self-destructive habits requires a good deal of self inspection as well, since in order to truly change a habit, you have to deal with the reason you have the habit in the first place. - from MOUSEWEILER blog 2/20
Never be divided from the truth by what you would like to believe. - from MOUSEWEILER fortune cookie, in blog 3/1
. . . the fears that we let rule our lives hold us back from living our lives. Sometimes you just have to give that fear a kick to the side, live your life, and realize that what you feared wasn't so bad after all. - from JLITT62 blog 2/23
"Who says I can't be free?
From all of the things that I used to be
Re-write my history
Who says I can't be free?"
~ John Mayer from LotusFlower page
Being fat is hard. Being fit is hard. Choose your hard. - from MARIEAN page
All day, I've been thinking about what it means to change one's life significantly and what it might take to do that...I'm beginning to understand that I have a choice in every moment. I can reinforce the life I've been living for years, the one where I'm checked out, numb, and unhappy, or I can do something to build my new life, the one that will make me feel proud and satisfied...Every choice, from making my bed instead of letting it go, to talking with my family instead of sticking my nose into a book, to making plans for dinner instead of scrambling at the last minute, to doing something productive with my time instead of watching TV, is a choice that will reinforce one life or the other. Which life will I choose? - from UPTOWNZOO blog 2/21
There were so many things wrong that just weren't my fault. (self righteousness) But I still had to fix them. I had to even though I shouldn't have had to. So I had to let go of pity and self righteousness and grab a hold of self reliance, independence and self assurance. Those three are my real friends. They don't lie to me. They encourage me when no one else did. They encouraged me when I needed it most. I can do it. - from The_Jules blog 3/05
". . . The same stubbornness that enabled her to maintain her unhealthy habits all those years also gave her the strength to stick with her new program. " from "Mom and Daughters Lose 165 Pounds," speaking of Vivian Bedoya (BEMORESTUBBORN) www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_
You can recollect the sayings of great men; you treasure up the verses of renowned poets; ought you not to be profound in your knowledge of the words of God, so that you may be able to quote them readily when you would solve a difficulty, or overthrow a doubt? Since "He hath said" is the source of all wisdom, and the fountain of all comfort, let it dwell in you richly, as "A well of water, springing up unto everlasting life." So shall you grow healthy, strong, and happy in the divine life. from Charles Haddon Spurgeon, British minister, 1834-1892
Monday, March 08, 2010
My number one survival technique is to ask for a take-out box when I order. I usually have to ask twice, since servers are surprised and don't seem to believe I really want it at the beginning of the meal. That's okay---it's just something I have to do for my health, as Beck would say.
I put about half of the meal in the box right away. Then the decision is over with and I can just enjoy my portion.
Yes, I could just order less. But if I'm dining out, I'd like the variety . . . some salad, a bit of bread, some entree, some side item. Plus, it feels like a little positive reinforcement when I have those special leftovers another day. Eating moderately at the restaurant means I get to enjoy the meal later also.
[Numbered days refer to steps in The Beck Diet Solution by Judith S. Beck]
Sunday, March 07, 2010
Beck recommends that I say "No, thank you" as many times as necessary. Be like a broken record is suggested, and that is effective as far as helping me be firm and not just give in to repeated offers. But what about when the food pusher is someone close to me, or when I wonder if refusal might have social or business repercussions?
I have a theory. I don't think most food pushers have a big stake in what goes down into my belly. Often they are trying to be polite, to show affection or trying to take care of me in a way they know how. Often what they really seek is a meaningful connection with me, or to feel that they're still needed by me (mothers or mother-figures especially). Some are looking for recognition for their artistry, or needing affirmation of the thoughtfulness that motivated the cooking gesture, or appreciation of the generosity of their purchase on my behalf.
Most of the time, if I give a warm, attentive, and appreciative response to the PERSON and to the item itself, that will make the giver perfectly happy. Seldom is it essential that they see me put it in my mouth or even that I put it on my plate.
I have been observing this as I've had to turn down food that is offered by lovely people with warm-hearted intentions. I was very concerned that I not offend them or injure their feelings, so I would be especially gracious in the moment, with smiles and eye contact and a touch if appropriate. Sometimes I think of some sincere compliment or item of interest to them, to provide positive content to the encounter. And I kept noticing with surprise that over and over, people didn't seem to mind a bit that I didn't take the food. They felt good about the moment of interaction and that's all that mattered.
So here's my strategy: Respond in a way that affirms the relationship, recognizes the talent, or praises the value of the gift.
Decorated birthday cake: "How did you ever get that frosting so smooth? I love how you used candies for the flower centers." (Go over and look at it and comment on it. What offends would be the feeling that the cake and their efforts is irrelevant to me because of my diet, not that I don't swallow any.)
"Wow, that smells fabulous! You must be a pie genius!"
"That looks like a high-quality ice-cream, really creamy with lots of . . ."
"Boy, you put a lot of work into these cookies! Is it your own recipe?"
"Look at that color! What a beautiful golden brown!' (Looking and smelling add no calories, but they can make the food pusher feel a lot better that you didn't take any---or perhaps not notice.)
"Cool, does it have raisins in it? My kids love raisins in everything!"
"Wow, that was SO thoughtful of you to get this for me! That's a fascinating store , isn't it . . . "
"You're always doing something nice for me. You're such a sweet friend . . ."
"Look, even the box this came in is cute . . . "
"Awww, you make me feel so pampered . . ."
What I find is that this takes the focus off of the food itself. The underlying need is met, and often they don't even notice whether I actually ate any of what was offered!
Certainly exceptions occur. Also, some people are determined to make me eat it; some people are determined to be offended. These are just a few possible tools to add to the arsenal.
Ideally those who are the very closest to me care enough to pay attention to my true needs and desires, and their suggestions or gifts will reflect respect for my eating plan. Even so, food can have a very complicated position in a household, and when my healthy choices shake things up, it may help if I consider other relationship needs that used to be interwoven with previous food habits!
Saturday, March 06, 2010
I am very happy to officially reach the milestone of 50 pounds lost.
I can just barely lift 50 pounds for a few moments; how could I have carried that mass around for so many years? No wonder I was tired, slu ggish, and my joints ached.
Losing 50 pounds took 14 months. That's less than a pound a week. My weight tracker shows I need to lose 30 more pounds. I definitely have time to reach my goal weight this year. When I arrive at that point, I'll see whether that's a good maintenance point, or whether it would be healthier to lose 10 or 15 pounds more and then maintain.
I am so grateful to the Spark Community for warm and generous support each day. I am grateful to my Creator who gives me breath and strength: He is the ultimate source of every good gift.
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