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To Thine Own Self Be True

Friday, March 15, 2013

Last week I participated in a blogging challenge. I really enjoyed it, especially all the communication and support it fostered between me and other bloggers. Blogging every day seems a bit overwhelming to me right now, but I think a weekly update or two is doable, so here is my first.

This week has been a bit strange.

But let me back up give some context. I "resparked" on Jan. 31st, starting the official SP Spring into Shape Challenge. I went into this challenge hoping for motivation and accountability. I knew from past experience that I needed to focus only one or two small steps, hopefully succeed at that and build further success from there. This challenge seemed like a great way to do that.

I also knew from past experience that I could not use the scale or the food tracker as a measure of my success. I know that's counter-intuitive and not what's recommended. But I suffer from severe perfectionism and my body has added an anxiety order to the mix. Seeing those numbers, whether calorie counts or pounds, becomes a manner of judging myself. That was just too much for me to handle...right then.

Fast-forward 29 days and I completed that first challenge, joined the 5% challenge to continue my journey and frankly, I was feeling really, really great. Niggling thoughts about my food choices, which were mostly good, started playing louder and louder in my head. Was I getting enough of this or that, what was my calorie count really. Maybe I was ready to take this next step. Deep breath, okay let's give it a try.

But I wasn't ready.

This past Monday I logged my food for the first time in years. I was well within my SP assigned range, only about 150 calories above the lowest limit. But I could NOT get that supposed "overage" out of my head. I felt that old fear and guilt rise up in me and I could not talk myself out of it. So I immediately stopped tracking. All week I've working hard to replace the negative voice with the a positive one.

It's not been a week I've really enjoyed. I've fought higher anxiety than normal, been more emotional, eaten a bit more than I would've, and made a few food choices that weren't all that healthy.

But I think the experience has been a good one. First, I was able to stop tracking immediately. Second, I didn't succumb to the perfectionist voice in my head and took action to replace it. Third, I gave myself grace this week when I felt anxious, stressed, or made a poor choice. Fourth, I took stock in what other triggers may have affected this. And being a person with SAD, I feel the time change (even though I eased into it ahead of time) had a role in this week as well.

Do I think I was wrong to give the tracker a try? No, I don't. I fully believe there will come a day when I can use the nutrition tracker as it's meant to be, a healthy tool not a form of personal judgment. I also think without giving the tracker a try, I wouldn't have had the opportunity to face this trigger reaction. Because even though the tracker wasn't a success, I think my response to my perfectionism was a good one. Hopefully this experience has made me stronger. And I'm proud of that.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    I'm totally with Teresa on this one~

    I'd never thought about the tracker that way, but I struggle with minor anxiety in other ways so I can kind of understand the trigger. I love using the tracker though- it gives me control of my choices so rather than creating anxiety, it reduces it.

    These insights of yours, including being willing to blog about them, are a huge step in the right direction. Thank you so much for sharing!
    1650 days ago
    I loved your honesty in this blog. You are two steps ahead just by being able to try out, adjust, reconsider and evaluate what is working for you. I have not tracked much this week, but I have been looking at food labels and considered if there is a healthier choice. I think you are doing fabulous and I am sending you a big hug ;)
    1650 days ago
    Great insight! Use or don't use, whatever works for you:)
    1650 days ago
    Just another variation to consider: Some SPers find that they lose weight better when they eat at the top of the range. That reality might free you from some of the self-imposed pressure to be at the very, very, very bottom of the range. Each individual has a different response. The goal is to figure out what works best for you...and that takes some experimentation.

    You are doing great...and gaining insight every day. Thanks for sharing with's a help along our journey, too! emoticon
    1650 days ago
  • ROSE-100
    Just hang in there,when the time comes to start tracking,you will have mastered what has raised your anxiety. Tracking gets over whelming at times and perhaps it's just not your time. It'll come in time. Great for trying.

    emoticon emoticon
    1650 days ago
  • POPSY190
    A lot of insight here. Like everything else the food tracker is merely a tool and if it is counter productive for you it's sensible not to use it. I wouldn't use an unstable ladder for obvious reasons; anything that is genuinely "unsafe" is expendable. Good for you! emoticon
    1650 days ago
    I'm proud of you, too! You're really doing well. Keep up the good work!
    1650 days ago
    I do understand where you are coming from. I used to get really annoyed at myself if I went over calorie, or felt like I had done a bad job that day or the day before. But over time, I started to treat the nutrition tracker like a source of information. It gives no judgements and I can lie to it and make it look lower, or I can overinflate my calories, etc. But it can only give me accurate information, if I am honest with it, and I am honest with myself. That information that it gives me, helps me decide my snacks, and what I can eat when I do get hungry. I try and think of the tracker as a source of information or a tool, not judgement. When I get hungry in the evening, I can decide if I can have a bit more calories or should go with the lightest filling thing around. (baby carrots and hummus lately.)

    I hope someday you are ready for it. That would mean that you are accepting yourself and your own foibles more, I would think.
    1651 days ago
    I too suffer from what I call "number phobia" when one category goes over by the tiniest bit, I give up and beat myself up. When I saw a nutritionist, she suggested tracking a different way, by the servings. Instead of looking at the nit pick details, the serving method tracks about 1500 calories by volume rather than calories. I am going back to the nutritionist next week and will get another one. I will share if you would like. The below is an example, just made up from my memory to give you an idea what it is like

    1 serving protein
    1 serving fats
    1 Carb

    2-3 protein
    2-3 fats
    2-4 carbs


    It might not be something that would work, but it is an alternative to being obsessed with the numbers.

    It sounds like you are making great strides in learning what works for you. Keep up the good work!

    1651 days ago

    Comment edited on: 3/15/2013 11:47:35 AM
  • TERESA159
    Wow, I never looked at the tracker that way. I love using it because for me it's an inspiration. I remember when I first found out how little food 1300 calories really was (I don't think it's a tiny amount any more, but then, wow!) I truly freaked out that I would be hungry all the time if that's all I got to eat. Everyday I would get this panicky feeling of being really out of control of what I got to eat. But I used the tracker to measure and slowly adjusted to the amounts I could eat and still be in range. Now, it's positive reinforcement that I can eat yummy food, not be too hungry and still be within my range (which is a bit lower than what Spark had for me). I like tracking because it shows me I am successful. Do I ever go over my range? Heck yes! But I can see exactly where and why and I know that's a learning experience.

    I guess the tracker is not for everyone though and I don't think you will fail without it. I wonder how you know what and how much to eat everyday? And you silly, a RANGE means the number is successful if it falls ANYWHERE within that range. You did succeed!! This journey is not about perfection, if it was, none of us would still be here. As long as it's two step forward and one back instead of one forward and two back, we win.

    I hate time change! What's up with that? I cannot understand why we still do it. There's got to be a petition somewhere..... :-)
    1651 days ago
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    1651 days ago
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