Thursday, February 10, 2011
Hmm. Yesterday's lunch skipping went pretty well; I was aware of hunger from about 11 am on but it was "mild" discomfort", intermitent (forgot about it while I was working), and certainly not unbearable. I've experienced much much more severe discomfort too many times to count. Really.
I did have supper (soup) a little early -- at about 5:45!!
Key message for me: "normal" thin-thinking people experience hunger every day without considering it an emergency. They just wait for the next meal. Thinking thin is not about eliminating hunger.
Today the idea is to develop a list of distraction techniques to better withstand hunger and cravings. When you wnat to eat something unplanned, you look to the list of distraction techniques and choose up to five activities -- and then rate the activities on their effectiveness in distracting your obsession with hunger and cravings.
Some of the suggested distraction techniques look more effective to me than others. I did read my list of reasons to lost weight quite a few times yesterday. And reread my response cards too!!. Polishing my nails, tidying out drawers, taking on a home decorating project: probably not for me. More appealing ideas include drinking a low cal beverage (yay black coffee!!), going to the gym (like this one), brushing my teeth (always good: then I hate to eat and "dirty them up"!), taking a walk or a bath, patting the dog, and so on. Tried and tested distraction techniques of my own include going shopping just to try on smaller sizes (love this one), shovelling snow (I need to check the walks at work for liaiblity reasons), golfing or cross country skiing in season, wandering around my garden (this is terrific, winter or summer). And of course Spark is a great distraction, especially the motivational stories.
So many entries on Spark are concerned with lack of motivation, or lack of "will power" to withstand temptation. I know that I don't have motivation until after I've done what I need to do: motivation never seeks me out, it's always after-acquired. I know that I can't resist temptation, so I have to eliminate it (throw the food out, hide it, not bring it into the house in the first place -- all recommended by Beck).
Beck really does provide cognitive strategies to deal with these issues. It's not about the "diet"; any reasonable eating and exercise plan is going to work.. It's about sticking with the plan, and learning the techniques that make it possible to stick with the plan. It's taking a lot of time and effort right now, but I'm grateful for the reinforcement and for the additional strategies to deal with what is going to be a life long challenge for me. And although I'm reconciled to the reality this will be a life long challenge, I'm also developing some optimism that it's going to get a bit easier when these strategies become second-nature.
Thanks, Judith S.!! And thanks, SLENDERELLA61, for introducing me!!.
Wednesday, February 09, 2011
The essential lesson today is that hunger is not an emergency, and that is because hunger is not even very uncomfortable.
Beck asks us to think about past experiences of severe discomfort (for me, day after recovery from various surgeries); moderate discomfort (toe nail removal); and mild discomfort (achiness after cross country skiing).
She then suggests that we eat a normal breakfast, skip lunch, and not eat again until dinner time. The purpose of this exercise is to track on the hour how much "discomfort" (not "hunger") we experience (severe, moderate, mild) and also how long that discomfort actually lasts.
Those of us who struggle with weight tend to think of hunger as a hugely oppressive emergency which must be alleviated immediately. But in fact, she says even severe hunger constitutes only moderate discomfort and the sensation of hunger-discomfort doesn't last very long whether we eat or not.
Yesterday's monitoring of hunger, desire and cravings was very interesting. I was hungry only at one point, 11 a.m., and told myself that it was just an hour until lunch. I did not experience any desire to eat or any cravings all day (maybe because I'd organized my environment and hidden the peanut butter!! DH and son are being very very kind about putting it back out of sight after they use it!!).
Got to the gym this morning for full cardio and upper body weights workout: I'm feeling great. Had a high protein breakfast of omelette with 2 Omega eggs, arugula, lean turkey, salsa plus fat free sugar free yogourt and blackberries, blueberries, strawberries. A lot of satisfaction, I'm hoping, since it's going to last me until supper time. Not taking any lunch salads with me today !
Beck is providing an excellent training in learning how to think differently. Much like when I returned to school and had to learn to think "law", I'm finding my mind running in different grooves.
Hunger is not an emergency!! It's not even severe discomfort! I've experienced much more hunger than is likely to arise on missing one lunch: and I've experienced much more discomfort.
One thing that Beck does not fully consider here -- psychic discomfort. I believe this chapter could have been strengthened had she taken that into consideration. Because for most of us struggling with weight loss/weight loss maintenance, it's the "psychic discomfort" (not the physical discomfort) which does us in. However, having read ahead, I'm thinking she tackles this component with her cognitive strategies for dealing with sabotaging thoughts: one hurdle at a time!!
My other thought: a week of practising some of the key skills (sitting down while eating, tolerating hunger) before moving on might be even better. But of course I can do that, if I choose to: and depending on how things go today, I just may slow down and repeat. Sabotaging thoughts will also be a biggy for me!!
Tuesday, February 08, 2011
Learning to distinguigh among hunger, desire and craving for food is going to be very important for me.
Hunger is a physical sensation in the stomach -- rumbling, emptiness -- when I have not eaten for 3 hours or more.
Desire is simply the inclination to continue eating, even though I've had a reasonable meal.
And craving is that tension and yearning for food, experienced in the mouth or throat or body, even though I might actually be "full": potato chips, I yearn for!!
OK: how do I learn how to differentiate among these sensations? Again, Beck provides a cognitive stragegy: monitor for a complete day (I should be doing this much more regularly) every hour on the hour by asking myself the question: Do I feel like eating now?
Identify the bodily sensation: is it hunger, desire or out-and-out craving? And label it accordingly.
Dieting (still not a word I like) will be easier when I learn to distinguish among hunger, desire and craving. I do not need to eat when I'm experiencing desire, or craving. And even hunger is not an emergency!! I can wait it out until it's time to eat.
I will be monitoring today. Right now, I've just had my breakfast of oatmeal, flax, raisins, 1% milk and I do not feel like eating now. I am pleasantly full! And have my salad with low fat feta cheese and my chopped fruit ready for my lunch, my pot of chili soup in the fridge ready for dinner (with yogourt and berries).
Here goes Day 11 -- together with sitting down while eating, this is right at the heart of the cognitive training for me.
Sunday, February 06, 2011
Not much to say about this really: I know it's important to exercise, it's something I have done consistently my whole life (been a member at my gym since 1975!!, before that at univ gym, before that worked as lifeguard/swim instructor). Yes there have been periods when health issues made it impossible to work out, but I don't panic: I know I love to exercise, I know I will get back to it. At various points in my life depending upon other responsibilities I've scheduled exercise for before work (current time slot, preferred time slot, one that has worked best for me over the years); lunch time (when commuting); after work (put gym bag on the front seat in the car, go directly from work!!); after supper (least fave, hate going out again).
Currently I'm hitting 30 minutes x 3 cardio plus ST plus abs plus stretches every month: mixing up the gym trips with golf in summer, cross country skiing (newly discovered passon) this winter. We did 6 km yesterday on the skis (2 hours) and will be out again today: glorious!!
And I do seek out "spontaneous" exercise opportunities: parking at the far end of the lot, running up and down the stairs at home and at work, zooming around to pick up stuff off the printer, shovelling the walk midworning at work at our office building . . . . nice change of pace, actually.
So I'm giving myself credit on this one pretty much.
Here are Beck's reasons for exercising, and a couple comments:
1. helps you stick with your diet -- yup, when I see on the cross trainer just how hard it is to burn 100 calories, I am sooo much less likely to stuff 100 extra calories into my mouth (all it takes to gain 10 pounds a year)
2. might help control appetite -- for me not so much: I just have to tolerate being hungry if I want to be slim
3. boosts mood and soothes stress -- BIG time, more important for me than any other reason for exercising
4. burns calories -- sure does, just not enough: I can never exercise enough to eat as much as I want
5. preserves muscle tissue -- especially strength training, keeping those arms and shoulders still worthy of sleeveless!!
6. builds confidence -- another big factor: hard to sustain that posture of being "in control" (key for my profession) if not "in control" of my own self physically
7. makes you feel better physically-- love that feeling of moving around gracefully, conscious that I have hip bones!!
8. improves health and helps prevent disease -- so important in managing my concerns about breast cancer recurrence
So there it is: about exercise I am a true believer!! And it's been deeply embedded in my life for decades . . . a fundamental part of who I am through good times and bad times. Even when I weighed 80 pounds more, most of the time I was getting to the gym.
So the cautionary tale for me is: exercise is necessary but it's never been sufficient to achieve either weight loss or weight maintenance.
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