15,000-19,999 SparkPoints 16,060

Planning to Plan

Voted Popular Blog Post: View All Popular Posts

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

I approached the holiday season this year feeling pretty confident. This year was certainly going to be different from last year when I put on 15 pounds between Thanksgiving and new years day! For one thing I RUN now. I'm a RUNNER. Everybody knows that RUNNERS can eat more calories because they burn so many RUNNING. Right?
Oh, and throughout the past year I've made a lot of progress in self-discovery. I've learned a lot about my self and why my eating habits led me to be overweight. I was SWIMMING IN THE RIVER DENIAL, I am a PERFECTIONIST, I succumbed to PEER PRESSURE. Just read my blogs...
Will I never learn? Why do I always have to learn the hard way?

It seemed like everybody I talked to early last week asked me what my plans were for Thanksgiving. Friends, co-workers, store clerks. I shared my plans to travel to my son's home just outside of Chicago. He has a lovely wife who is a fabulous cook and two beautiful little girls - one of whom turned one year old on Thanksgiving day. My daughter-in-law is a stay at home mom who is so organized and efficient. She assured me that I didn't have to bring a thing. Just come and relax and enjoy the kids. I've been so tied up with elderly parents, I really looked forward to doing just that!
One of my Spark friends asked me the same question about my plans and I recited my whole spiel via Spark mail and she replied back saying "No, I mean what are your PLANS to keep your eating under control and continue your exercise?"
What? I'm going to run - um sometime. I'm going to exercise my self-control. I can do it. I do it everyday - mostly. And I'm going to run sometime...
We were to set out for my son's after my husband got off work Wednesday at 4 p.m. I made a quick last minute trip to the store to get some sandwich making materials so we could eat a healthy sandwich on the road and not have to stop for fast food. While at the store I thought I'd just grab a few snacks also to take in the car. My husband loves chocolate so I bought a few candy bars. He likes chips and chex mix so I found some reduced fat Pringles and a bag of Chex Mix that proclaimed right on the label 65% less fat than -- whatever else I was thinking of buying. Me? I didn't plan to snack. The turkey on whole wheat and low-fat cheese would more than satisfy me. Especially coupled with all the bottled water I brought to drink.
So we ate our sandwiches and my husband was full. I, however, continued to polish off 3/4 of a can of Pringles, 1/2 a bag of Chex Mix -- 3 servings according to the package, and a candy bar. Washed down with the Diet Coke I bought at the rest stop.
Feeling bloated, nauseated, and full of gas, we rolled into my son's house about 10 o'clock.
What on earth got into me I wondered. I felt immediately remorseful, especially since the first words practically out of my mouth when I saw my son were "Do you have any Alka-Seltzer or Tums"?
I lay in bed that night obsessing out loud to my husband who reminded me tomorrow would be a new day. Tired the next morning I lay in bed feeling even more guilty as a heard my husband, who was long since up and at 'em, tell my granddaughter to let Grandma sleep because she didn't feel well last night. I dragged out of bed and vowed that I was back in control. No beating myself up. It's over.
And for most of the day it was. My daughter-in-law has healthy things to eat. She bakes her own whole grain bread. She has fresh fruit in a bowl. Her kitchen smelled wonderful as only a kitchen on the day of Thanksgiving can smell. The fragrance of the sage in stuffing mingling with the nutmeg in pumpkin pies. No frozen whipped topping for this woman -- everything was homemade right down to hand whipped whipped cream.
Gracious people, my son and his wife had invited several different couples and their children from the university where he teaches to dinner. "Strays" whose own families were too far away to travel to. Interesting, enjoyable company.
My daughter-in-law had laid out a counter full of "munchies" for the guests to enjoy while the last minute dinner preparations were underway.
Now you would have thought that I learned a lesson the night before when I overdosed on sodium and sugar in the car. So how was it that I found myself perched on a stool at the counter dipping my hand into a bowl of sugared nuts and raisins repeatedly? To the point that I later thought reminded me exactly of the scene from Pride and Prejudiced when Mr. Bennet gently draws his daughter Mary away from the piano admonishing her "That's enough now, Mary. It's time to let the other girls have a turn". Only here it was my son gently lifting my hand out of the bowl and quietly saying "Mom, save some for the other guests". Embarrassed, I was so loaded up on nuts and humus and cranberry goat cheese, I wasn't even really hungry for the lean turkey, fresh steamed green beans, sweet potatoes, and quinoa for the actual meal.
BUT I managed and followed it up with pecan pie with whipped cream on top.
Like the Jim Carey character in "The Mask", I felt like saying " Sommmmebody stop me"!!

The next morning I did get up and head out for a nice long run to explore the new neighborhood. It felt great to run and it seemed to snap some sense back into me.
While running I kept replaying my day and a half of disastrous eating over and over in my head. What caused it? Was it peer pressure? Not this time. My daughter-in-law cooks terrific but certainly wouldn't have felt hurt if I declined her pie. I wasn't trying to fit in with the new group of people either.
I felt like the first man who climbed Mt. Everest when he was asked why he felt the need to climb it and he responded "Because it was there".
I ate because it was there. I ate on impulse. I genuinely started feeling depressed about it. Maybe I am an impulsive person. I started thinking over every impulsive action I ever did in my whole life. Pretty soon, I had magnified them to astronomical proportions. I lacked will power, self control. I was obsessive. I was compulsive. I was one sugared nut away from a straight jacket and committal. I could feel my eyes watering even as I ran. Whoops!
"Wait a minute, Drama Queen -- where are you?" I suddenly asked myself.
I wasn't paying attention to the songs on my i-pod -- my usual gage of how far I had ran. I wasn't paying attention to street signs. I think I had ran about two miles when I came to a busy road and a red light. Stopping, I looked around and thought:
"Ok. Where the hell am I"?

No cell phone to call my son, I found myself in the middle of traffic in a neighborhood that's businesses seemed to have a lot of signs in Spanish. Slowly it dawned on me that my son had said that east of their block about 1 1/2 - 2 miles the area became more ethnic where a lot of Hispanics lived. That was reassuring because that meant I was east of his house. I thought I'd just pop into a business and ask exactly how to get back to Brook street. When I turned around it was as if divine intervention brought me to that destination because a large sign proclaimed in English and Spanish, "Plan for the unexpected"! I had stopped right in front of an insurance agency. A nice gentleman stepped outside and pointed me in the proper direction. Straight down to Lovett and turn right 6 blocks to Brook street. Essentially I had ran two sides of a big square.
I took a nice cool down walk the other two sides of the square to my son's house and reflected on the words on that sign:
Plan for the unexpected.
Somehow encouraged, I thought, Hey! Maybe I didn't need a straight jacket after all! I JUST NEEDED TO PLAN! Like the old saying -- Failure to plan is planning to fail, and that's exactly what had happened to me. I failed to plan. I impulsively bought snacks last minute for the car - and ate them all. I failed to check with my daughter-in-law about the menu and plan what I was going to eat ahead of time. I didn't plan to take my water into the living room and visit out there instead of in the kitchen by the food.

Now planning is not my strong suit. I gave birth to three children in four years if that tells you anything. But I'm going to try.
I'm off to a pretty good start. We took my son's family out to a Mexican restaurant for dinner Saturday night. It was a chain restaurant and I was familiar with their menu so I knew in advance what I was going to order from their light selections. I didn't even open my menu. I sat on the end so I could move the chips down by the others. I took some clementine oranges in the car for snacks while driving home. I asked my hubby to stop in a town that had a Subway for lunch.
Maybe I can do this after all!
I got home and got on line and e-mailed my Spark friend. The one who had asked me what my PLAN was for Thanksgiving, and told her my tale. Confession is good for the soul as they say. But more than just a confession. I wanted her to know that I think I finally get it:
Knowing why you eat out of control is important, but it's how you use that knowledge that counts the most. How can you use it to plan ahead BEFORE you lose control.
First thing I did tonight is get on Sparkpeople and start scrolling through their recipes and learning to use the menu planner. I read some articles. One thing I know for sure -- no 15 pound gain this year. I'm not leaving Christmas up to chance. I'm going to be a planning fool. I'll make plans to make plans.

AND -- I'll keep you posted...

Share This Post With Others
Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Instructive, as always. :-)

    I've taken enough long trips as a Sparker to know that I should pack the same snacks that I would eat on a normal day, and have one before we stop at a gas station. Cheez-its are no longer welcome in my car.
    2934 days ago
    Yeah, I'm pretty convinced that my willpower is guaranteed to fail sooner or later if tested too many times. So I follow that Scout motto, "Be Prepared."

    I carry low-carb protein bars with me at all times for emergencies because if I'm hungry I am less likely to think straight and stay on track.

    I often bring foods to gatherings so that I know there will be something I can eat, and I budget my food for the rest of the day to accommodate it.

    I carry a notebook and a tiny digital scale in my purse for logging food eaten away from the internet.

    I almost never rely on someone else to provide healthy options, because my idea of "healthy" is now very different from that of the average American.

    It's a war zone out there filled with salty, fatty carbalicious land mines, and my best defense is a good offense! LOL
    2935 days ago
    The 80/20 rule makes good sense in this situation - eat 80% healthy and 20% what you like (amounts within reason), and as you said, plan well, and that should help. People in our situation will always have problems with food over the holidays due to the cultural triggers to overeat.

    Two steps forward one step back!!!
    2935 days ago
    My answer got so long I think I'll go post it as a blog on my SparkPage...lol!

    Had a nose-dive myself while traveling out of town Thanksgiving weekend also...it is such a SMACK upside the head that one can fall victim to food even at this point in our journey!

    2935 days ago
  • JAVAJO47
    You have such a wonderful way of evaluating life's little bumps in the road. Thanks so much for the insight and a little message that THIS Jo Ann needed to hear. The holidays have made me rather lax in my planning and with little things like Light Egg nog, cashews, crackers and a few chocolate snacks, I find myself losing control. For some reason I've allowed the holidays as a free for all, and my body is not responding well. The words of wisdom you shared have inspired me to turn this thinking around and recommit to healthy eating and exercise. If you can do it, so can I!! emoticon

    Jo Ann
    2936 days ago
    Let's see. I had PLANNED not to cook for Thanksgiving. At the last minute I was searching for healthy versions of our favorites from sp recipes. I lost a pound the day after Thanksgiving. So, I'm thinking if I PLAN not to cook for Christmas....and end up cooking, maybe I will loose 2 pounds! Anyway, I think planning for me is a good thing, too.

    Thanks for another great blog!! emoticon emoticon emoticon
    2936 days ago
    I am glad that you found your sign along your run... Things often happen only when we need them... what a great lesson... and I hope that I learn this lesson from your mistakes... and don't make them myself.... ;-)

    Great job planning your month!
    2937 days ago
    I hear you loud and clear!! I always use the 'it's only one day' excuse. I've got to make more plans,too. Real, concrete ones. Thanks again for another great blog!!

    2937 days ago
  • LAURIE5658
    Joanne, our Spark journys are all a continued process and there are still many lessons to be learned. It took us most of our lives to learn BAD habits and it will take a little time to learn NEW healthy habits. Be patient with yoursel cuz you are doing GREAT!!!
    2937 days ago
    Excellent blog! I could identify with all that you wrote! I look forward to reading more about your plans and your progress!!

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
    2937 days ago
    Would you like to food buddy with me?
    I have a terrible time with food- I have very obsessive behavior and reporting to someone always seems to help.
    If not, there is no pressure on you to accept. I am at the point in my life where it takes MUCH more than someone stating that they don't care to do something to upset me! Woo Hoo for that!
    I loved your story for the fact that it lets me know that you are human like the rest of us. I have put you on a pedestal and that is unfair to you. I have to accept that we all have issues and helping each other is what it's all about.
    Spark on my friend!
    emoticon emoticon
    2937 days ago
    That's the Way! I'd love to be accountability partners through the coming month, as I know too well how easily it is to have a false confidence "I can do this" without planning.

    I didn't fall too far off the wagon on vacation -- will weigh in the morning and see if I am right in that assessment. The car trip (we had 2 - 6hr drives each way for a total of 24 hrs in the car) was more challenging -- dil had packed snacks for the kids, and they are pretty healthy, but I had to 'slap my hand' away from the open bag of tortilla chips my son put right in front of me and kept asking me to get him some.

    I'm ready to be back in my routine -- but have several major eating-out occasions coming up that I better plan ahead for.

    Christmas is coming - Let's plan to succeed, friend!
    2938 days ago
    I always love your blogs. They are so inciteful and well written, thanks for sharing.
    2938 days ago
  • VXWALL1942
    Thanks for sharing. Provided me with a visit to my world of indulgence. I had 4 kids in 3 1/2 yrs so totally relate to that example.

    I really liked the 'failing to plan is planning to fail' words and concept. Gonna take this one with me.

    God bless = good luck in your plans. emoticon
    2938 days ago
    Great blog - thanks for sharing. Your blog echos so many peoples holiday havoc! :-) Good job, set a plan for Christmas and follow it! I am doing that too (I AM TELLING YOU SO I CAN BE ACCOUNTABLE ;-) If not, tell me to get off my duff!) Have a great week! This is a new day! We can DO this! I aspire to be a runner! :-)
    2938 days ago
    Good for you for realizing what you were doing. Your story has given me more insight into my own behavior. I'm very impulsive.

    Thanks for sharing. I learned a lot from your story.

    2938 days ago
  • MDEAL72
    What an awesome blog, as your journey was also mine over this past weekend. You're absolutely right when you said, "Knowing why you eat out of control is important, but it's how you use that knowledge that counts the most." Like you, I am not the best at planning things, but hey...knowing where you need to start is the first step, right? :)
    2938 days ago
    Thanks so much for your insight! Its all about planning for me too. Its so reassuring when I plan out my meals, then I don't have to "wing it". Right now is a good time to get back on track, thanks again! emoticon
    2938 days ago
    I will also say that you need to blog more. We have all been there and some of the things I discovered is that I cannot have things in the house that aren't according to my plan and I can't be next to the serving table or buffet table.

    You certainly gained insight to this weight issue and I am cheering you onward and forward

    2938 days ago
    Good girl!! you took a difficult few eating days and turned them around!! thats fantastic! of course, you could have done it like me and gotten sick...but thats no fun although the 12 pound in 3 day loss i see this am was the silver lining in the cloudy haze of the past 3 days....
    I am so proud of you!
    2938 days ago
    Thanks for the reminder to plan. I had to smile about the babies in 4 years. Sounds very familiar. I'm not a planner, but never too late to start.
    2938 days ago
    Isn't it amazing what we still have to learn!!
    2938 days ago
    Great post, Joanne! I have so been there and done that and wondered what in the world got into me later. You did a good job of analyzing the situation. I have gone off with a plan and still fallen into the impulse of the moment on some occasions but they are fewer and fewer. It's definitely a learning and growing lifestyle!

    2938 days ago

    Comment edited on: 12/1/2009 6:35:22 AM
    Great blog entry! It is sooooo easy to let this happen isn't it? The old saying is true-when you fail to plan you plan to fail! WTG identifying you weaknesses and taking action-I know you can survive this holiday season intact and even strionger than you are now!
    2938 days ago
  • WASABI601
    You need to blog more!!!!!!! I love reading your thoughts:)
    2938 days ago
  • Add Your Comment to the Blog Post

    Log in to post a comment

    Disclaimer: Weight loss results will vary from person to person. No individual result should be seen as a typical result of following the SparkPeople program.