Sunday, June 30, 2013
Note to readers: This blog is part of a Team Challenge aimed at identifying and changing one habit in my life that is keeping me from attaining my goals. This week's focus is on understanding the habit and why it is hard for me to change it.
The habit I’d like to overcome is occasional binge eating. You probably know the type, coming home from a hard day, and eating a whole bag of potato chips...and then eating whatever else is lying around even though my stomach hurts and I’m not even really tasting the food. It’s a behavior I only do when there is no one else around me or when I’m at an “all-you-can-eat buffet restaurant,” and it is frustrating because one binge can easily undo weeks of careful calorie counting and exercise aimed at keeping to a calorie deficit of 300 – 500 calories each day. Binging is extremely self-defeating, because after I’ve binged, it is very hard for me to go back to dieting and exercising the next day because I feel like I’m getting farther away from my goals instead of closer.
It’s difficult to explain why I binge. All I know if that when I’ve had a hard day, I feel like I deserve something. Macaroni & cheese tops my list for comfort food, it being a food that as a child, I’d beg my Mom to serve, then carefully watch to see what size portion I’d get in a family of five where I was the youngest. When I got older, one of the benefits of being left totally alone the occasional evening when my parents had a night to themselves was that I was allowed to eat a whole box of it myself.
So what is going through my head now when I sit down and eat a whole box of macaroni and cheese dinner by myself? The closest I can admit to myself is these binges seem to by saying to me, “You’ve earned this. This is your due.” But it’s not enough, so once the mac & cheese is gone, the binge rolls over to whatever else is in the house that would normally be eaten only sparingly because whatever emotional need I am trying to fill is still hungry for satisfaction.
Pros of Not Binging
1. I will attain my goal weight sooner.
2. I will have more self-respect.
3. My health will be better because I won’t be bombarding it with a lot of sugar, carbs, and fat all at once and expecting it to digest it all.
4. My husband will not be tempted to overeat with me at “all-you-can-eat” buffets.
5. I’ll have more money to buy good-tasting nutritious food because I won’t spend as much money on food that is bad for me.
6. I will have the sense of being more in control of my eating habits.
Cons of Not Binging
1. I feel cheated at the end of the day or on the weekend if I cannot eat whatever I want to.
2. Binging at night gives me something to look forward to at the end of a long day when I’ve had to satisfy what I consider to be a lot of unreasonable demands either at work or at home.
3. Eating processed junk food is a touchstone to my past.
4. Finishing a bag of chips or a box of cookies and throwing out the empty container feels like an accomplishment.
5. A rush of sugar gives temporarily gives me energy, wakes me up, and feels good for a little while.
Tuesday, June 25, 2013
I am a classic yo-yo dieter, with a weight that has ranged from an ideal 145 pounds as a freshman in college to 270 pounds as a stressed out student 11 years later. I crash dieted in 1995 down to 150 pounds (for about 10 minutes), back up to 235 pounds by 2008, and down to 175 – 195 to run/walk a marathon in 2009, and up to 230 on January 1, 2012. Last year, starting on January 1st, 2012, I kept to 1500 calories and 10,000 steps a day for six months and got down to 176 pounds by June. Then my husband and I celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary in Italy.
I loved Italy, and I loved not feeling out-of-place with my body. So I lived well, eating some of the world’s finest food and enjoying the delights of fermented beverages. I came home with my head re-wired for enjoying life and an addiction to risotto and limoncello. Since then, I’ve not had the motivation to consistently calorie count or exercise.
Over the last year, it's literally been a rollercoaster of drill-sergeant style dieting that lasts maybe as long as a week, followed by “I’m too tired/stressed/cranky/you-name-it” unfettered eating and drinking that lasts even longer. Each time I start to diet, some social occasion – a birthday, a visit to my parents, unexpected good news, unexpected bad news, etc. seems to be reason enough to ditch it. As a result, I’ve put on 30 of the pounds I worked so hard to lose in 2012 over these last 12 months.
My challenge seems to be one of motivation. Sure, I don’t look the way I want to, but right now, I don’t look “that” bad. Having weighed a lot more in the past, I know that my husband won’t leave me, my cat will still adore me, and I am secure enough in my job to not be worried about looking sharp for any job interviews any time soon. My health seems reasonable (except for this pre-menopausal stuff), and…well…why not have a little chocolate at night? With some ice cream??
I have a trainer I meet with about once a month who is frustrated with my lack of progress. He’s been as nice as he can be with me, but last month, he flat out told me that if I didn’t make some progress soon, he wouldn’t recommend that I train with him anymore. That’s a new low for me – not even being able to pay someone to work out with me! So I worked out hard for a week and a half at the start of June, and then…had house guests for over a week, and yes, ate with abandon once again.
So I’ll meet with my trainer this weekend and don’t know what to tell him. I’m trying to figure out better goals than just wanting to look good for dieting and exercising while coming up with better coping mechanisms for too many responsibilities at work and too little sleep. I’m putting in a lot of overtime at work right now, and am beginning to question whether it is worth it.
One of the activities I like doing is jogging, and have kept at it enough to be able to jog 30 minutes without stopping. I am playing around with the thought of run/walking a marathon in 2014 as my own quiet protest against those terrorists who want to make us afraid to be free in our own country. I still feel like crying each time I think about what happened to those poor people at the Boston marathon whose only “sin” was to come out and watch the runners.
I forget at times how lucky I am to live in the United States, and that there are countries where, because I am a woman, I’d be severely punished for if I dared to put on shorts and ran a lap at the neighborhood park.
My life is good, thin or fat.
Sunday, November 04, 2012
I meet with a trainer once a month, rationalizing that, knowing I have this meeting on my calendar each month, it will rein in my tendency to overeat and skip my work-outs in the intervening weeks.
Since mid-summer, I've been on automatic with my diet and exercise. Yesterday, my trainer decided to do a progress check instead of teach me a new way to feel the burn. The result? 10 pounds more body fat and 8 pounds less muscle than when he measured it in July, for a total % body fat of 31.7% (anything over 31% is considered obese).
So it is back to aregimented program for the next four weeks. Five scheduled workouts a week (two in the gym, three at home). Only TWO cheat days for my diet - a cheat meal on Friday, 11/9, and Thanksgiving Day. And finally, a weekly email report on how well I'm sticking to the schedule each Saturday. After agreeing to this approach and writing it out on a piece of paper, my trainer made me SIGN the bottom of it.
Wow. I certainly didn't see that last part coming, and it's impressive how much of an impact it made. I had a dinner engagement at a local Mexican restaurant last night and I'd been looking forward to the carnitas and beer all week long. Instead, I had iced tea and a chicken tostada without the sour cream. Or chips & salsa.
So, it's humble pie instead of Trader Joe's ultimate berry pie for now. But as long as it works, right???
Thanks for reading and commiserating - wishing You success on Your November plans!!
Wednesday, August 01, 2012
This summer is blitzing by, and boy, have I had fun -
Business trips all over the country (including Las Vegas),
A long-dreamed of vacation in Rome for two weeks,
And little to do in the intervening times,
except long hours at work to catch,
and tons of laundry!!
But now, finally, life settles down a bit to a few local parties, a lot less business travel,
and a great (much-needed) opportunity to get my head back into eating well ande xercising consistently so I can have that bikini body by, um, Christmas maybe.
[I have yet to be home long enough for a morning weigh-in, but I can tell from how my clothes are fitting that the number on the scale is going to hurt]
I love new months.
It is a a chance to forgive ourselves of last month's nutritional sins and fitness lapses,
and replace the self-loathing from failing ourselves
with renewed optimism in our dedication and fortitude.
But first, enough with drinking alcohol for awhile. I simply cannot stick to my game plan when I drink beer, wine, or even my new-found Roman love, limoncello!
Wishing You All a Happy August!!!
Sunday, July 15, 2012
Well...I was "good" for the first part of last week, fresh from my vacation in Italy. But then work came down on me like a ton of bricks, with VIPs contacting me personally for updates on multiple issues and mandatory overtime being issued shortly thereafter.
Ugh - I responded the old-style way. Coffee and sweets during the day, and a drink or two to unwind at night. Not a bad life if you're young, ambitious, and have the metabolism of a tiger. But for yours truly, it's the fast track to weight gain, low immunity, and burn-out (and that's just in the short term).
Fortunately, I had my monthly appointment with a local trainer on Saturday, and we spent the hour re-evaluating my goals and how to get there with a new nutrition and exercise plan that I can do and and still get my bills paid on time. So now, I'm in the pro-active mode of planning how I'm going to eat better and get some exercise in during the challenging weeks to come, instead of being in the reactive mode of handling the immediate demands from moment to moment and then eating whatever happens to be in my path.
I'm sorry, My Spark Friends, for not having been spending much time on this site lately, and particularly for not paying you all back for the encouragement you've given me.
Please be patient with me here as I re-establish a better balance in my life.
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