Saturday, February 12, 2011
OK, after 2 weeks of preparation, this is day 15 and the official "start" of the "diet".
Much to my glee and pleasure, I discovered late yesterday that not only can I track ahead (yesterday for today) my nutrition -- so meeting the Beck "planning" requirement with a minimum of paperwork-- I can also track ahead my exercise. The SP trackers are sooo useful with the Beck program!! So, clocked in my planned cross country ski yesterday which will be happening at about 10 a.m: I expect about 90 minutes!
If I don't eat something on my nutrition tracker, I can delete it. If I do eat something unplanned, I can add it -- to snacks. And ditto exercise. So this is going to work really well.
Got up early early -- weighed myself and changed my tracker to 156, which is 1 pound over my goal weight and within my maintenance range -- so not optimal, but not bad. Although of course what I want to do is level out maintenance and possibly move to a lower sustainable maintenance level.
I got up early, have the laundry just about done, prepared a spectacular looking pot of chicken barley mushroom soup without nibbling on anything!! No eating standing up.
Had 3 cups of coffee (one for TEENIE BIKINI!) and read the Globe and Mail, my fave Toronto newspaper, while the laundry whirled around and the soup simmered.
And then, exactly as clocked in yesterday right down to the olive oil Pam spray, prepared my omelette with feta and spinach and Greek seasoning and salsa on the side: so flavourful. I'm stepping up my protein (within calorie range, of course) to try and improve satiety levels. Have a tendency not to hit my protein levels!!
I've taken the new Response Cards out of the workbook: read them through and added them to the stack I'm keeping in my wallet (in a sandwich size baggy, along with the earlier cards and my "reasons for losing weight" card and a few home made ones, such as "hide the chips, peanut butter and cheese"!!)
The new cards include:
10. "If I'm hungry after a meal, don't worry, it may take 20 minutes to feel full." I do feel full right now after my breakfast.
11. "No excuses. Just because I want to eat doesn't mean I should". I wanted to try just a small taste of my new soup, had the ladle out and a tiny tiny sampling bowl. But a taste of soup before breakfast wasn't on my meal plan for today. So I put the bowl and the ladle back. And gave myself credit for that!!
12. "Resistance habit. EVERY TIME i eat something I'm not supposed to, I strengthen my giving-in habit. EVERY TIME I don't give in, I strengthen my resistance habit". Having that tiny bowl of soup would probably not have significantly affected my calorie total for the day. But that's not the point: the point is, giving in would have strengthened my giving in habit.
13. "I can't have it both ways. I can be loose with my eating OR I can be thinner. I can't be both". So, I didn't lick the salsa spoon while standing up. And I don't eat the crumbs of feta cheese on the knife while standing up. I threw them out. Yeah.
14. "It's not okay. It's NOT OKAY to eat this. I'm going to be very sorry if I do". Useful card, I'm sure, when I'm at the club for lunch today after skiing and desserts are offered. It's not going to be okay. I'll take a trip to the ladies' room and pull out the card and read it if I need to.
15. "I'll care later. I may not care right now, but I will care a LOT when I get on the scale". Yeah. I really do care a lot when I get on the scale. And will be happy to see it even .5 pounds lower a week from now.
16. "I'd rather be thinner. Being thinner is SO much more important to me than eating this food". So true. And great to have the reminder at hand, as needed.
17. "NO CHOICE. NO CHOICE. NO CHOICE." Beck points out that people are very resistant to planning their food daily ahead of time. But that planning means you are no longer faced with the repeated agony of making decisions all day long. "What do I feel like eating now?". "Is it OK to have the chocolate mousse just this once? I'd really like to. Yes. No. Yes. No. All right, what the heck, I will." That's what's tough: having to make decisions all day long. And hating yourself when you make the wrong choices. So much eaiser to have the decisions already made, by pre-planning. And then remind myself, there is NO CHOICE. This is a huge one, for me. Huge. Why is "spontaneous eating" such a highly rated value -- central to our sense of liberty/autonomy/individuality -- but spontaneous exercise not nearly as appealing? Hmmm. I'm going to express my freedom to be unplanned with as much spontaneous exercise as possible, instead of indulging in spontaneous food choices!!
I'm loving this Beck approach. For the first time in my life, I really believe I'm going to learn to think like a thin person!!
Friday, February 11, 2011
Yesterday's distractions worked very well: in fact, I was so busy at work that I really did not experience anything more than mild hunger, and did not need to seek out deliberate distractions. But I'm glad to know about that technique and I've got my list (on a card) for when I need it). Had a professional "cocktailes" type thing last evening and managed to restrict my intake to one Virgin Mary (looks just like a Bloody Mary, basically tomato juice and lime wedge over ice with a salt rim) and even had it sitting down!! Left before the snackies came out, feeling I had been sufficiently convivial!!
Got to the gym this morning for my third time this week, as planned: 32 minutes on the elliptical, 400 calories; upper body free weights work out, abs, stretch: I feel terrific!
Today is all about planning for tomorrow! I'm supposed to log my food and exercise for tomorrow, and get ready for my first official "weigh". I know that I'm about 3 pounds more than my ticker weight of 153 -- and that's well within the maintenance range I've been allowing myself. . But of course part of the purpose of Beck for me is to level out the maintenance range and also to see if I can sustain (not achieve) a lower maintenance range.
Much to my pleasure, I discovered (for the first time) that the nutrition tracker will permit me to forward and put in my food in advance -- so I'm going to plan my food for tomorrow on SP this evening. Breakfast will be an omelette with spinach, low fat feta, salsa on the side. I'll be cross country skiing in the morning, then having lunch with friends at the club -- .can't know exactly what's on the menu, but I will select a salad with grilled chicken and black coffee, dressing on the side -- so I can estimate that with reasonable accuracy. Supper will be soup; home made chicken veggie (supposing I find time to make it, since last week's chili will be gone with my supper this evening).
Because I pretty much eat the same things every day, the advance planning of the food is not such a big deal for me -- and SP makes it so much easier than doing it on paper. SP and Beck: together, a terrific combo!!
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.
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