Monday, April 19, 2010
Today I jogged for over 11 minutes straight!
When I joined SparkPeople, I struggled to jog for a minute. Not too long ago, I was really happy to be able to just barely jog for 3 minutes straight. Because of foot blister issues, I haven't been walking on the treadmill lately. Instead, I've been doing pilates, yoga, walking outside, and water aerobics.
Well, today after pilates class I was feeling kind of light on my feet, so I thought I'd hop on the treadmill to see if I had improved. And the answer is YEEEEEESSSSS!!!!!!!!!! Yipee! Woohoo! Yeehaw!! Yahoo! My next goal is to be able to jog for a mile.
One day at a time I move my feet in the right direction. One day at a time I make choices about what to eat and what to do. One day at a time I am one day closer to my goals.
Sunday, April 18, 2010
I just read a message board thread about "AH HA" moments in relation to losing weight or getting healthy. I thought about it and realized that I have experienced a string of such moments including some mild insights and some really significant discoveries. I had kept something of a journal of my "road to enlightenment." In light of the message board question, I thought I'd post my entries here:
- I am seriously overweight and nothing I do seems to result in any lasting weight reduction. I am so frustrated.
- Read Dr. Oz's "YOU On a Diet." Began to focus on healthful choices, arranging for meals in advance, or at least a menu of choices to minimize standing in front of the refrigerator. Automated breakfast with something I enjoy that is reasonably healthy. Initially lost some weight, but when not strictly following the food plan, weight was not lost or was gained.
- Saw a clip on the Dr. Oz Show a week or two ago with an "expert" explaining to a morbidly obese woman that much of her struggle was with emotional eating. The prescription was to keep a food diary indicating when and what was eaten, hunger level before and after, and mood when eating (or what it was when eating began). I started journaling and found that I ate before I was hunger. I decided I should try to eat only when I am hungry and found that I was not eating as often as before. I just don¡¦t seem to be very physically hungry.
- Watched Dr. Drew¡¦s Celebrity Rehab yesterday. Not thinking I had much in common with drug and alcohol addicts, I watched for the entertainment and from psychological interest. Episode when Tom Sizemore enters treatment. I realize that the addicts use the drugs to numb themselves so they don¡¦t have to feel or face painful feelings and memories. How is that different from what I use food for? Then, in a group session, Dr. Drew said that each of them deserves to be loved deeply. I really cried. It hit me just how much of an addict I am, only with food, using it exactly as an addict uses his or her drug of choice. I was so sad, but a light began to shine.
- I went online and looked up OA. I don't know how I would do using the 12-step approach, but the website did have a questionnaire about whether someone is a food addict. The answer for me is: yes. Knowing that the treatment model for OA is nearly identical to that of AA, I have to believe that my insights after watching Celebrity Rehab are correct.
- Found the book by Geneen Roth, "Breaking Free from Emotional Eating" and downloaded it. I've been reading it ever since (yesterday afternoon). What she says really resonates.
- I haven't eaten without being hungry since I made the initial connection. For some reason I feel so much more in control now, even though I feared that I would be more out of control without the eating plan. I am working from internal cues instead of from externally mandated mealtimes, meal contents, and meal quantities. Instead, I am eating until I am satisfied¡Xfor the first time (I think), I consciously stopped eating dinner last night when I was just past satisfied, thereby leaving four bites on the plate. It was much more challenging than I would have expected to leave any food at all on the plate. Why am I so compelled to "lick my plate clean"?
- I reviewed my journal entries for the past three weeks or so and noticed that about 50% of the time at dinner I eat until I am stuffed. I was shocked! I think it is a combination of a large dinner plate with large portions and my compulsion to clean my plate. I also noticed that the time I tend to eat when I am not even hungry is at night after my husband goes to sleep. I'm not sure if my late night eating is for recreation or to sooth stress or anxiety or for some other reason, but I realize that I need to reduce or stop eating for reasons other than hunger or I am never going to be able to maintain any weight loss that I may achieve.
- Sometimes I am hungry, but not for anything specific, only for some food. I may want something hot or cold, but that's about it. Instead of trying to figure out exactly what I want, I think this is an indication that I am not needing to fill any emotional need and can just eat something nutritious to satisfy me nutritionally. I can at that time make a healthful meal and enjoy it until I am satisfied physically. At times when I have a specific craving and am genuinely hungry, then I would agree with Geneen that it is probably better to eat what one craves and be satisfied than try to be "good" by eating a substitute only to find one's self still having the same craving. In those instances, it would probably be better to just eat what one craves until satisfied. This is my opinion, but it has not yet been tested, so I will learn whether it is true at some point in the future, I imagine.
- I have been working on reducing portion sizes to be more in line with a healthful meal size, then eating until I am satisfied. Sometimes I eat everything on my plate, but I try to stay conscious of my satisfaction level and stop eating when I am satisfied, which sometimes means that I leave some food on the plate.
- I have been using the nutrition tracker on SparkPeople and have made some eye-opening discoveries. I thought I had been eating healthfully regarding type and quantity of food. I thought that I was eating in such a way that I should be losing weight, especially given the amount that I have been exercising. Turns out that some foods I thought were good choices are amazingly high in calories, such as walnuts. I know walnuts are a good food, but not eating 1/4-1/2 cup at a time on top of Greek yogurt with fruit and a couple tablespoons of honey. Wow! I have been kidding myself about what is a reasonable portion, too. A 3/4-lb chicken breast is not one portion of protein. Good grief! I was deluding myself and had no idea. Since being shocked into reality, I have been more conscious of truly reasonable serving sizes. As a result, I am FINALLY starting to lose weight, and the strange thing is it doesn¡¦t seem to be nearly as difficult as past diets when I obsess continuously over food, wondering what I would have for my next meal while still eating the current one. Now, I eat. I enjoy. I live my life.
- I feel relieved. I feel as though a pressure is lifting. I feel like I can stop and look up for once and notice the world around me. I don't need to obsess about food any more. I can focus on other things knowing that once I am truly hungry I can eat and I can eat what I want to eat until I am satisfied. I can focus on me. More importantly, I notice how incredibly introverted my gaze has been, but in a very unhealthy direction. I have been obsessed about a tiny, ugly bit of real estate within me instead of focusing on the bigger picture, which includes me as a whole person, but also includes my husband, my family, my friends, my pets, my community.
- Not using/abusing food for emotional reasons has been a challenge. I have slipped a few times, but the numbing effect I used to experience doesn't seem to work as well now that I am more aware of what I am doing and why. Also, I find that I can forego the food now most of the time when I am trying to deal with uncomfortable emotions but, without using food, I feel like I've regressed in age in relation to my ability to cope with the emotional challenges I am faced with regularly. I'm not sure how best to cope now that I am not avoiding my feelings. Maybe I'm finally going to grow up emotionally by feeling my feelings and working through them like "normal" people do.
- I feel like I have just begun a journey of discovery. I don't feel afraid for the first time in a long time. I feel anticipation and curiosity. I wonder where it will lead and where I will end up. I am excited.
Friday, April 16, 2010
Today is, I hope Hope HOPE, the end of the grey cloud that has been the Retaliator. But no matter what, during this very trying week, I have found amazing support from some unexpected places. Thanks to all my SparkFriends who offered encouragement and kind words. I also met several wonderful, compassionate, and supportive people who were willing to mentor me, being generous with their time and wisdom.
I'm not usually one to ask for help. I'm stubbornly independent. I don't need help! I can do it! Maybe, but just because I don't NEED help doesn't mean that I can't gain a lot from help that is offered to me. And not just about the issue, but from the very interaction with others.
So that's the usual. But I found that I really did NEED help at times during this very stressful past week. And when I did, people really came through for me. I am blessed.
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
This week I lost 3.5 pounds. I'm thrilled that they are gone, but the truth is I've been on something of a doctor-unrecommended diet. And that would be stress.
The retaliation continues and I have been feeling a tremendous amount of stress. Stress leads to nausea, which leads to difficulty eating. In another time, I still would have been able to make an exception for comforting pastries, ice cream, or chocolate, but keeping emotional eating in check has eliminated those options. It is quite a challenge to eat enough when one is constantly nauseated. Something has to change.
How does one cope successfully with massive amounts of stress without eating to avoid? I even went to the gym every day this week and had good, hard workouts, but still feel a tight band around my chest that won't let up.
I keep telling myself that everything will ultimately be okay. And even if everything blows up completely, well then maybe that was supposed to happen for a reason. But, in any event, almost all of what is happening is completely out of my control, so I should just let go and let everything unfold as it will. That is what I tell my mind. My white knuckles and the knots in my stomach have something else to say about the whole situation entirely.
Monday, April 12, 2010
Last week I wrote about sticking up for myself. I'm still glad I did, because I gained a lot of confidence and insight. However, the person on the other end of the "sticking up for myself" was not nearly so pleased. In fact, this individual, who had very little time for me over the past many months all of a sudden has found plenty of time to try to make my life, shall we say, a little less than enjoyable.
The retaliation has been very challenging, to say the least, but I did notice something very significant today...I have not used food as a coping mechanism even once these last few days. I have been eating when I am hungry and keeping within my calorie range.
I also had an eye-opening experience at a restaurant last night. I ordered half the food I would have ordered a couple of months ago. I was debating with myself, but decided that I would order half, and then order more or eat something later if I were still hungry. Well, to my astonishment, I didn't finish my meal. I almost wrote that I couldn't finish, but I could have finished. Instead, I stopped when I was satisfied and left half a baked potato and part of the protein on the plate. The only thing I finished was the steamed broccoli.
I really don't recognize myself. How could I have struggled with my relationship with food for SO many years, then finally feel in control after only a very short period of time? It really is like a switch was flipped. I stopped trying so hard to be perfect and now life in relation to food has been so much easier...not exactly effortless, but a world of difference from before. Now, if I could apply that lesson to other areas of my life, then maybe I wouldn't be so stressed and worrisome all the time. Ironically, if things keep going the way they're going, I bet that it will happen without much effort on my part.
Sometimes I think life is a journey of self-discovery where the good times are pleasurable, but the trying times are when the real learning and growth happens. I guess now is my time to grow.
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