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It's as much about feeling good as it is about being thin

Thursday, July 05, 2007

I just came to that realization. It is pointless to weigh 135 if I have no energy to do anything but plan meals and work out. Of course I don't want to be overweight just so that I can feel good, but I believe there must be a balance and I am determined to find it! First of all, that means eating as much as I possibly can while still maintaining some kind of caloric deficit. That requires major calorie-burning workouts, like the 65-minute elliptical workout I did today that torched 950 calories (according to the machine. I wish I knew how accurate those readings are!). I honestly didn't track my food today - too many variables, restaurant food etc. to do it, but I think I made very healthy, reasonable choices. Veggies, fish, rice, a little bread. Of course I could have been stricter and eaten less or none of the rice and bread, but oh well. I feel GREAT right now, so let's try this and see if pounds come off this way. I still have to stick to my rules from my last blog. NO BINGEING! That means those eating-fests where I have a little something, then a little something else, then a little more....NO. I need to focus on REAL meals with a defined ending. Sometimes I will still feel hungry at the end of my meal. Have a cup of tea or coffee or water and know that I'll feel comfortable in 20 minutes. If I get to a point where I'm comfortable while I'm eating, I need to that point, I've already probably eaten just a bit too much. Remember, no matter what it is, if I still want more, I can always have some more at a different meal, even the very next one or the next day. The point isn't to deny myself, it's just to eat the right amount for my body. I need to remember that I have a lot of instinctual forces working against me (just like everyone does) that are driving me to seek more food than I need. I seriously need to focus on eating the amount I need.

I'd like to try not tracking for a while. This will require me to be very aware of making good choices and paying attention to how I feel. I think I can do this as long as I keep in mind the above, about stopping before I feel full, and also focusing on vegetables, water/tea/coffee, eating slowly, stopping and assessing whether to continue. I want to develop an ability to sense what I need, no more, no less. It will be so much easier to not track, and it'll really move me into real life, and I won't ever hit starvation mode because if I'm feeling that icky I'll eat some more. But sometimes it'll be fine to eat a lot less, like when I'm doing nothing but going to bed soon. I want to give this method a try for a while and see if I lose weight.

I went to a new Weight Watchers meeting today at their location on Route 9. There were probably about 40 people there. Nobody was morbidly obese - they ranged from quite thin (a woman who'd lost 40 pounds and said her family thinks she's neurotic, but she doesn't care, these habits got her 40 pounds thinner) to your typical overweight person. There were a few men including a guy who was there with his girlfriend (wife?) in their 20s. The leader reminded me of my brother's girlfriend and seemed pretty cool - 30s or maybe late 20s, very good weight for her body, and stylish in a cute way. She did a nice job of responding to some of the stranger comments that came from the crowd, but I felt bad for her because today's topic - how your family influences your weight - didn't really spark a lot of discussion. But just being there got me fired up and committed. Hearing other people talk about how they handle food at social situations made me realize that I, too, can make reasonable choices that allow me to indulge a LITTLE without overeating. Getting weighed in - 147.8 (YIKES) - made me fired up about weighing less at my next meeting. The woman who weighed me mentioned that I'm below my goal, to which I responded, "Technically." I am ABOVE my personal goal. Other than the past few months, I am still thinner than I ever had been before and I basically look fine, but the rolls on my stomach are back and a few days ago my stomach was sticking out. I think I'm probably down a few pounds from that point, but I was on vacation then without a scale, so I can't be sure. It will be WONDERFUL to find a way to feel good in the 130s and stay there.


New Beginning

Thursday, July 05, 2007

This is my first morning home after my DC vacation and I'm down to 146.4. While I was away I ate healthy SOMETIMES and indulged sometimes, but not as much as I wanted. Poor Jess had to really keep control when I couldn't myself - I probably asked for ice cream on average twice a day! We also probably walked around 10 miles a day, no joke - we walked almost everywhere!! It was great to be able to eat like a normal person and still end up dropping a couple pounds.

Anyway, now that I am back it is time for a new begining. I completely intend to get right back into the 130s and stay there for life. This does mean, however, that there are some new non-negotiables:
1. No more bingeing. Ew, it is not a pretty scene. I will eat NORMAL serving sizes and then I will stop. I understand, though I'm not too happy about it, that I typically still feel hungry after I've had a serving of something. However, I also know that 20 minutes later I feel satisfied or even full. I need to aim for the amount that makes me feel satisfied 20 minutes later. Tough it out with lots of calorie-free beverages and sugar-free gum.
2. Exercise every day, usually the gym.
3. Weight Watchers meetings every week, starting TODAY.
4. SparkPeople every day!


My Thoughts from the Airport

Saturday, June 30, 2007

I am writing this blog entry on Word from the airport and will add it into my SparkPeople blog later. I weighed 148.8 this morning, which is the highest Iíve weighed since I lost the weight. However, I am not discouraged. For one thing, not all is lost. Not only am I still much thinner than I was when I started, and am still at a healthy BMI, I have learned a lot. No matter what happens in my weightloss journey, I can hold onto what I learned.

I know a lot about eating and hunger. I know what it feels like to actually be in the process of losing weight. It doesnít feel good Ė it feels like serious hunger. You can only get that feeling by really reducing what you eat Ė you canít cheat on it. It affects your mood (makes you a grouch) and your energy level (drops off to nothing), but the good news is that you donít have to feel that way all day long. You only feel that way when itís been a while since you last ate enough. I actually havenít felt it at all in the past few weeks, in which time Iíve gained all this weight by eating way too much. It doesnít feel good to eat too much either Ė it makes your stomach hurt and you get drowsy. Actually both eating too much and too little have similar effects Ė a physical discomfort (different types though), and lack of energy. I think that the hungry feeling is worse than the too-full feeling, but the hungry feeling produces results that are healthy and make you attractive, whereas the too-full feeling produces the opposite result. Someone reading this might question my statement that being hungry makes you healthier, but I think so because 1) I have read about the relationship between restricted-calorie diets and longer life expectancy and 2) the changes I experienced with my heart rate: Over the past few weeks, as I have gone from carefully planning and tracking my foods to eating unhealthy large amounts of ďwhatever,Ē I HAVE kept exercising Ė cardio, strength training, and stretching. However, my heart rate has increased, both resting and during exercise, which is a sign of a lower fitness level. I havenít been running lately but I bet I wouldnít be as good at it as I was.

I know now that the psychological and physiological effects are closely tied. I HATE the hungry feeling and I guess Iíd been trying to avoid it, but thereís more than that to explain the binge eating Iíve been doing. Why have I been bingeing?
q I enjoy the FEELING of eating. Not what my stomach feels like when it is uncomfortably full (though I can tolerate that a little too well!), but what the food feels like and tastes like in my mouth, and what it feels like to be full (BEFORE the discomfort). It gives me energy and a good mood. It IS self-medicating.
q Even though I realize it cognitively, I am still tripped up by the delay between when the food is in your mouth and when you register fullness, 20 minutes later. Plus, I know that the fullness you get when you donít eat all that much is shorter-lived than the fullness you get from overeating, and then you have to deal with that hunger again sooner.
q There are a couple emotional factors at play here. One of them is that deprivation thing. I donít like to pass up on anything I could eat because I donít want to feel deprived. I have a mind trick for this, but for some reason I canít make it permanent. The trick is to tell myself that Iím NOT depriving myself by avoiding the offending food item. Rather, if I do eat it Iím depriving myself of staying on track with my goals.
q The other emotion that contributes to me overeating is feeling like I have to do it NOW, while I can get away with it. While the foodís still there. Before Jess comes home. Itís kind of a combination of, ďOh screw it, itís fun to eat and WHO CARES what the results are, besides, some of the results feel pretty good!Ē and ďI deserve it, everyone else gets to eat what they want, why canít I? Itís just a ___ that Iím eating, itís not like itís a whole large pizza. And when Iím strict everyone says Iím TOO strict.Ē I guess this really isnít one emotion. Itís a whole bunch.

I need to permanently, deliberately eliminate these emotions. I should replace them with ideas (that I KNOW are true) like:
q I look prettier when Iím thin. My face is more attractive when itís thin, my skin is clearer, and of course my body looks much better and my clothes look good on me. I donít have to suck in my stomach, or worry about how some part of me looks hanging out, and I can flaunt it on the beach, buy tiny clothes, etc.
q I am healthier when I track and eat deliberately! Sure, I have to feel hungry sometimes, but it is HEALTHY to experience that at times. When it gets to be too much, I can always increase my calories a bit until it passes. Overall, my heart and my whole cardiovascular system are much healthier when Iím thin, and Iím at a reduced risk for a bunch of diseases, and my life expectancy is increased!
q Yo-yo dieting isnít healthy.
q I need to fit into my bridesmaid dress.
q This will sound rather bitc*y, but nobody needs to know but me, and whatever works, right?Ö When Iím thinner, I can be proud of myself, ďLook at this body I had to work so hard for. So many other people are overweight, but I accomplished this and I look good!Ē

I know that being TRULY hungry doesnít work when youíre going to do something active Ė either physical or social, because of the whole lack of energy and grumpy mood thing. However, you CAN tolerate being hungry when youíre just going to bed. SooÖ.the solution is choosing when you need to eat a little more, and when you can handle eating a little less. As long as you donít starve yourself, itís more productive to be a little bit hungry more often. Itís like the Weight Watchers core plan Ė you want to stay in the range of hungry to comfortable Ė never hit either end of the starved or stuffed spectrum.

More later!



Friday, June 29, 2007

I shouldn't be blogging right now - it is very late at night! However, I desperately need to get my flame burning again. I just reread my entire blog and here's what I found -

At the beginning, it was very positive enthusiasm. I was hitting a whole lot of "firsts" all the time and was constantly feeling better and better as I started sticking to the program. And I was very consistently losing weight.

After a while I started getting pretty braggy and was following the program to an amazing amount of specificity. I was losing weight quickly and felt like I was doing it better than most. And I kept setting lower and lower weight goals for myself. I had forgotten that at first I wrote I'd just be thrilled with any weight in the healthy BMI range.

Around the end of April I started to feel hungry all the time, and that feeling got worse and worse. I was getting too strict with all the numbers to track. I was actually getting into very good cardiovascular shape, but had very little energy for anything other than my workouts.

It all came to a head when I started binging - the first one was Mother's Day Weekend. It sure was fun to finally eat with abandon agai...but I got right back on the program the next day. However, the next time I binged for three days, and gradually I got to a point where being off program was more common than being on, which is where I am now.

Soo....where does that leave me now? I need to tap into that positive enthusiasm I felt at the beginning...fresh start after DC...I will go to a WW meeting as soon as I get back!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LACYLOU85 6/29/2007 8:21AM

    A new start sounds good Susan! Are you going to DC for vacation? I am in DC right now. I work here and live in Southern Maryland. Have fun!

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Still In It

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Well, I went to the gym and had a good workout. I hadn't been planning on going until I started my last blog entry. Reading it back over, I do see a whole lot of negativity, and that is where my mindset is. I am in a phase where I'm calling myself fat, lazy, no willpower...and allowing it to be somewhat of a self-fulfilling prophecy! Anyway, though, it's just a matter of making good choices, one after the other, and keeping your head in the game. I'm still in it.


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