Thursday, January 08, 2009
I had to take my cats to the vet a few days ago. This is always a stressful event. I am lucky that I began clicker training my cats when they were very young, and I still train them almost every night before feeding them. At least several times a week, this involves going into and out of their crates.
They love their crates. They often nap in them. In addition to the training, when they were younger, I would put treats and toys in the crates. They never knew what they would find in there (thankfully, this was before we had dogs). So getting them into their crates is never a problem, even when we're going to the vet. In fact, I trained them as usual that night, and they still willingly got into their crates, even after the evil vet visit.
However, they hate the car. I tried working on them with that, too, slowly desensitizing, but it never took. Simba yowls the entire way -- great big loud angry yowls. He'd be fine, actually, if I could sit next to him and feed him treats the whole way. But he has to go in the back seat, so I can keep Gizmo near me in the front -- and help prevent him from battering his nose against the crate door. Nothing will console Giz; he is terrified when taken out of his element. I have tried many, many different things, but it's always the same.
But one thing was different this time: I changed my mindset. I remained positive. Things didn't actually turn out any differently from any other vet visit, but the way I felt about it was different: I wasn't as stressed, and I wasn't totally drained (only a little) by the time I got home.
If you've actually read this far, you deserve a spark goodie! But you can apply this lesson to your own life: things aren't good or bad, but thinking makes them so (I think that was Shakespeare). And it's true. What you tell yourself makes all the difference in the world. If you tell yourself you're a big, fat loser, you will be. If you tell yourself you can change your life forever, you will. You'll still have to do the work, but it won't seem as hard.
I've got to go through all this again in a few months. The cats will need health certificates to fly. AND somehow we will have to get through actually flying them up there. I keep telling myself that they adjust to change easily, because this is one whopper of a change. I know we'll get through it, though, because we have to.
And this quote just begged to be shared:
"Never confuse a single defeat with a final defeat."
-- F. Scott Fitzgerald
I think I've got to put that one someplace where I will see it all the time!
Wednesday, January 07, 2009
It seems like such a simple concept, doesn't it? Such a no-brainer. So why is it so hard to do?
Because much as we love to eat, we're not eating because we love food! Ironic, isn't it? We're eating for different reasons: because we feel unloved or unloveable, because we're tired, because we're stressed, because we're angry; the list goes on and on, and it's different for everyone.
If you truly begin to pay attention to your food, however, eventually you'll also begin to pay attention to how that food makes you feel. Not every day, but most days. We'll always have hungry days, but one hungry day won't sabotage you.
1. No eating while doing anything else. ANYTHING else. Not reading, not watching tv, not staring at a computer screen.
2. Slowing down. That may mean actually chewing your food, putting your fork down between bites, sipping more water while eating.
3. Using smaller plates. Half the battle is psychological. If your plate is full, you'll feel fuller.
4. Letting yourself actually get hungry, so you know what hunger feels like.
5. Noting how you feel when you've eaten too much, so you can remember how bad it actually makes you feel.
I made myself some home made mac n cheese on Monday. It was a great day for it, blustery and cold. I filled a salad bowl with it, but when I got about 2/3 through it, I realized I was full. I must say I was surprised: I like me a big bowl of mac n cheese every once in a while; who doesn't? But I put the rest away for another day. This mac n cheese has a little butternut squash puree in it, btw, which may help you feel fuller a little faster.
The old me, eating while watching tv for company, probaly would have downed that entire bowl without even thinking about it -- and probably would have wanted more.
I experienced the same thing yesterday, btw. I'd planned to have some popcorn -- buttered popcorn -- as a snack after dinner. Only when I finished dinner, I realized that I wasn't very hungry. I'd had quite a few veggies yesterday; I'm sure that made a difference.
I was still feeling a little psychological hunger, so I had a small chocolate bar, which ironically has less calories than the popcorn, but also less fiber to fill you up. But since I wasn't hungry to begin with, it was the perfect treat to end my day with.
None of this happens overnight. Just keep practicing, and you will get there.
Tuesday, January 06, 2009
So TOM did start this morning. It's interesting to note, though, that my cravings around TOM are much, much less than they used to be. I used to want to just take chocolate intraveneously before TOM. I had my hungry day on Saturday, where I really didn't do too bad, and was fine on Sunday & Monday and then it struck early this morning. I attribute my reduced cravings to less weight on my body, healthier eating overall, and a concentrated effort to eat less (but still some!) sweets.
There are other benefits, like sleeping better. I used to really suffer with insommnia on a regular basis when I was younger. I rarely have trouble getting to sleep these days, as long as the bedroom is cool enough, although sometimes I wake up earlier than I'd like to. I attribute falling asleep easier to the exercise I get on a regular basis. Wish I could pass on that habit to my husband.
There are other benefits in the bedroom, too. I'm still very self conscious, much to my husband's chagrin. But I enjoy things more. I truly think for me, personally, it can just be somewhat uncomfortable when I'm heavy. I'm not quite sure why that is.
Another key element of a healthy lifestyle is to take compliments well. While he was home, my husband commented that one of my form fitting running tops (okay, I don't run; I jog a bit, but I need the layers when I'm out walking the dogs when it's cooler) was sexy. That it showed off all the hard work I'd done. Time was I'd probably shrug my shoulders and say -- or growl -- that I still have at least 20 pounds to lose. This time I simply thanked him for the compliment.
It's interesting the conversation going on on my WW team about Oprah's show yesterday. For those who haven't watched or don't watch, it was about her continuing struggle with her weight. One person was sick of it, wondering what her problem was, since she can afford the best help.
Of course having a personal trainer and a chef would make our lives easier. But don't fool yourself: if you're going to overeat, it isn't truly because you lack the time to make yourself healthy meals. That's an element, but that's not the driving reason. There's something emotional going on. There always is. It isn't always easy to figure out what that is, but until we do, we could hire all the personal trainers and chefs in the world, but we'll still struggle. It's never truly about the food.
It isn't easy, and there will always be setbacks -- sometimes when we least expect them -- but the benefits of a healthy lifestyle are worth the work.
Monday, January 05, 2009
Yesterday I was fine. The things that normally fill me up, filled me up. In fact, my plan was to drop my husband off at the airport, take the dogs to the hike-and-bile trail for a long walk, then maybe drive them up to the store where I buy their food -- somehow I'd managed not to buy any last month, and I was almost out. I was a bit worried that I'd be really hungry by the time I got home.
I followed the plan. I'd been waffling about going to the pet store; it's a bit of a drive, and usually I go on my way home from the cat rescue, since it's on the way, but I didn't have enough food to last me until Thursday.
Yesterday was a raw, cold (for us -- it'd be warm to a lot of people in the country!) day. After our walk around the hike-and-bike trail, I was astounded to see that I'd already amassed over 9,000 steps for the day -- and it wasn't even noon yet. Hooray! I could take it easy. And I wasn't hungry, so we headed up to the pet store & got what we needed.
Except I got home & remembered the SP bootcamp . . . I had my first video to do. It's only 10 minutes, but it meant changing into workout clothes. Because it was that kind of day, the dogs & I camped out on the chaise. I read some, and watched (and slept thru parts) of a movie. I didn't mind being outside during our walk, but I didn't feel the need to move again once I got home. And I didn't, not for a long time. Finally, before dinner, I changed and completed the SP bootcamp video.
It's always difficult when my husband leaves. It's funny how empty a house filled with 4 animals can be. We'd just had 2 weeks of being together almost 24/7, since he didn't have to work. The walk really helped -- kept me away from that empty house for a while. Thankfully the day before was my hungry day!
I guess the true moral of this story is to learn to listen to your body. It isn't about willpower. People seem to think I have that. Ha! I've just learned to listen to my body -- to know when it's truly hungry, when it's emotional hunger, when it's tired. I've learned that food isn't the enemy; that we can enjoy all the foods we love, in moderation, if we do learn to listen to our body. Except I can't tell you how to learn to listen to your body. I can't explain it. It's taken me many years to learn it, and I'm sure I can forget it, too. All I can say is just keep on trying. Most people who lose weight and keep it off fail numerous times before they succeed. It's like Edison and his lightbulb. He learned 9,999 ways not to make a light bulb.
Sunday, January 04, 2009
Normally, I don't worry about one day of more than normal eating. And I'm still not worried. But I'd like the scale to start moving downwards again.
Yesterday, I employed all my "tricks". I thought about what I really wanted. I ate something healthy first. And I waited. And then I had my really big cookie. It satisfied me, but it still didn't fill me up.
I filled about three quarters of my plate with veggies for dinner -- literally. And the other quarter was a baked potato skin with bean puree and 1 ounce of cheese, so a totally healthy -- and should have been filling dinner. Only it wasn't. I still had dessert (a luna bar).
Yes, I'm about a week away from TOM. I suppose you could say I was having sweet cravings. I made sure I had the healthy stuff first, but then I went ahead and had what I wanted. And enjoyed every bite.
That's one of the major differences for me now -- if I want something; really, truly, want it -- I'll have it. Only I won't be furtive about it. I will put it on a plate, and I will eat it without a tv on or a book open. Once I've done that, I don't feel the need to go back for more. Because I paid attention, I was satisfied. It's when we don't pay attention to what we're eating that we tend to overindulge. Like an addict, we need more & more to get that same high.
It bothers me a bit because it's not as though I was depriving myself this week. We had a nice, rich dinner on New Year's Eve (altho I didn't have dessert). We went out for dinner on New Year's Day, and I did have dessert. And yesterday we went out for brunch -- not an all-you-can-eat place, but still.
Still, I feel good about yesterday. If the scale doesn't move, so be it. I hope it does, but I'll prepare for the worst. Because here's what I know for sure: sometimes only a really big cookie will do, and one day of eating more than I should won't throw me over the edge.
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