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    TINAJANE76   61,586
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Breaking Free

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Friday, November 01, 2013

Let's face it. Losing weight and keeping it off can be hard work. Otherwise, most of us wouldn't be here and none of us would have become overweight in the first place. I've had my fair share of ups and downs over the course of my life, going on my first diet at the age of eight. From then until my early 30s my weight spiked and dipped like crazy and I was never at a stable weight for more than a few months' time. With that kind of history, it's only logical that I developed a lot of bad habits--habits that have taken me many years and a whole lot of effort to undo.

Foremost among those has been my relationship with food. On the one hand, it's something I love, savor, enjoy and take comfort in. On the other hand, the comfort factor is something I've often used in a negative way as a soothing mechanism when feeling stressed, anxious or sad. However, in my efforts to break away from that pattern, other negative ones have sometimes popped up along the way. Taking control of my eating habits, especially the ones that are connected to emotional eating, has required a lot of hard work and introspection. Looking at the reasons why I turn to food and trying to develop alternative coping strategies has, at times, been emotionally exhausting in and of itself. And developing new habits to try to ingrain my new ways of eating has also posed a number of challenges.

For me, part of that process has involved taking full control of and responsibility for my eating. Sounds like a positive thing, right? Not necessarily, in my experience. I naturally do best when I'm cooking, measuring and controlling every bite of food I put in my mouth. And eating out, socializing and generally being outside of my comfort zone have been saboteurs that, at times, I've felt are generally to be avoided. But, by denying myself opportunities to get out of my comfort zone, I think I've sometimes done myself a big disservice.

When I set out to lose weight--every time--a big part of my goal was an improved quality of life. I wanted to look better, feel better, be more confident and not be held back from doing anything by my weight. But if losing and maintaining my weight means cloistering myself at home where I only ever eat my perfectly-portioned, self-prepared foods (tasty as they are!), have I really achieved those goals? For me, the answer is no. I want to get out, live life and spend time with the people who matter most me. Being held hostage to my eating habits is not freedom, it's a prison, and that's most definitely NOT what I'm setting out to do. Learning to be secure in my habits and to be able to enjoy myself in social situations without panicking over food is an important part of this process. It's not easy when there's temptation all around and everyone else seems to be indulging, but I think we need to be able to function happily outside of our carefully controlled comfort zones.

I've worked hard to develop this balance as I lost and continued to maintain that loss for the past year and a half. No, I can't go out and eat and drink what I want at every meal, every day of the week. But I'm working more and more so I can indulge moderately about once a week in a way that doesn't sabotage all of my efforts. And what's more, with practice, I've learned that I can step out of my comfort zone and not be paralyzed by the fear that I'll always give into temptation and totally overdo it. I can be satisfied with one drink and good company and I can make better choices about what are worthy indulgences and what aren't. And like I said, it hasn't always been easy and I'm still far from perfect, but each time I'm able to navigate social situations in a way where I feel good about my choices the next day, I get closer and closer to really living the kind of life I've always dreamed of--one where I've successfully plotted my escape from my self-imposed food prison and where I can function happily no matter where I am.
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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

WHITEANGEL4 11/14/2013 11:24PM

    Great blog. You have touched on the truth tht so many of us are facing

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CINDYBEL 11/13/2013 1:48PM

    Very insightful. emoticon

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MCJULIEO 11/12/2013 10:36PM

    Wide words!

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EFFRAYECHILDE 11/11/2013 12:45PM

    emoticon

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LOOD1962 11/6/2013 10:13AM

    Congratulations, I hope to be there one day.
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RENATA144 11/5/2013 11:10PM

  You look emoticon !!!

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GEORGE815 11/5/2013 6:06PM

    Glad you figured it out!

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GREGGWEISBROD 11/5/2013 4:49PM

    I think at the end of the day, it's a lot like battling an addiction. We love taste, and on so many levels our brains create bonds between happiness and taste. The fulfillment we get from food becomes a coping mechanism, as well as a simple compulsion derived from loving the experience. For us, as is different from people who don't struggle with weight and food, we need to be vigilant at all times, and plan for the times that we can let loose a little. Something I've really grabbed onto from our friendship, is the importance of planning. It's a key element in my success as well. Great post, Tina, your brain is a fantastic place to lounge about and enjoy. :-D

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BKNOCK 11/5/2013 3:49PM

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JRRING 11/5/2013 3:36PM

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IMAGINE46 11/5/2013 11:24AM

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ROSAMARCELLE 11/5/2013 8:41AM

    You've made amazing progress and should be very proud of yourself. Great blog! Thanks for sharing. emoticon

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BRADMILL2922 11/5/2013 1:28AM

    This is such a great blog Tina, I don't even know where to start. I guess first is to say thank you for sharing your knowledge that you have gathered and EARNED through all of your experience with this! It is something that everyone here can use!

It is awesome reading about how it has seemingly opened up doors for you to not feel that paralyzed feeling. That is a terrible feeling that I am sure many can relate to. This thing is hard and this thing takes a lot of work! As you said, getting control is a big key and something we should all strive for getting!

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JRRING 11/4/2013 9:38AM

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JOANNHUNT 11/4/2013 9:34AM

    AWESOME. CONGRATULATIONS ON YOUR PROGRESS. THANK YOU FOR SHARING. GOOD LUCK ON YOUR JOURNEY.

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NUOVAELLE 11/4/2013 2:40AM

    Such an honest blog! There's a fine line between taking control of our eating and actually imprisoning ourselves in a perfectly-controlled solitary comfort zone. Trying to break free from limitations caused by extra weight shouldn't be done in a way that sets some brand new limits to our freedom.
We'll get there. We may not be perfect but we keep trying.
Thank you for your insightful blog, Tina.


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NASFKAB 11/4/2013 2:15AM

  great thoughtful blog so much to ponder over emoticon emoticon emoticon

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JSEATTLE 11/3/2013 8:36PM

  Thank you for your thoughtful post. I'm with you all the way!

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ROCKYCPA 11/3/2013 7:46PM

    Thanks for sharing!

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KKLENNERT809 11/3/2013 5:14PM

    I enjoyed your blog. I don't diet but over the years I have come to change my eating habits to live healthy.

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TEACHEROF4TH 11/3/2013 11:28AM

    Thank you! You are inspiring!

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MRSRIGS1 11/3/2013 11:14AM

    Thank you for sharing. I needed to read this. I, too, am becoming a food hermit. I become filled with anxiety when I can't figure out how to count my calories. I attempt to make good choices when eating out but it's harder when a friend/family member invites you over. At times, I've brought my own food but that just doesn't feel right. I need to learn how to handle these situations and learn to live without the guilt.

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NEPTUNE1939 11/3/2013 9:10AM

    emoticon

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NEPTUNE1939 11/3/2013 9:09AM

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THEBEV2 11/3/2013 8:51AM

    Tina, you are spot on! I do well when I'm in control of the grocery shopping and cooking. I measure, weigh and track relentlessly, making it easy to stay on track. Social situations (non work related - those don't seem to pose an issue for some reason) are much more difficult. When I indulge I beat myself up and worry about regaining the 90 lbs I've lost. Cooking for others is also a challenge as they always want my old standbys - the foods that made me fat and are still triggers. Like everyone here on Spark, I need to continuously work on ways to balance my eating habits as I reach my goal. I know that maintenance will be extremely difficult. With the support of Spark we can all live the healthy life we want. Thank you for another thought provoking blog Tina!

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DJSHIP46 11/3/2013 8:37AM

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MONTREAL12 11/3/2013 8:15AM

  Thank-you for a most interesting and well written blog. Your story reflects my journey; except that you have succeeded and I'm still struggling; between going forward and falling back. Hopefully your inspiration will help me realize that I'm not alone. emoticon

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SHANNONY84 11/3/2013 7:43AM

    Nice blog. Thank you for sharing!

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CARRIELYN56 11/3/2013 5:53AM

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TRYINGHARD54 11/3/2013 5:02AM

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EFFECT25 11/3/2013 3:20AM

    Very true! That is what I always felt, like if I am going to be in this dieting mode all the time, what is the fun in life then?! Now I have solved some of my eating problems and feel very confident. But reading your blog reminded me that I have to be cautious all the time. :) "dark days" will always lurk around the corner. And we have to try to enjoy the journey not the destination point only!

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BLUEJEAN99 11/3/2013 1:58AM

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JUSGETTENBY42 11/3/2013 12:20AM

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MARYJEANSL 11/3/2013 12:16AM

  Where you are is where I think most of us want to be. Congratulations on your success!

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ROCKYCPA 11/2/2013 11:32PM

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CINDYSDAY 11/2/2013 11:04PM

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CICELY360 11/2/2013 10:51PM

  Good blog

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JAMER123 11/2/2013 9:07PM

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DIANNEMT 11/2/2013 6:38PM

    It is TOUGH but yes, I am working on it, too. Hopefully I'll find that "set point" where I will tend to stay--I hope, I hope!!

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NEWTINK 11/2/2013 6:13PM

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IAMAGEMLOVER 11/2/2013 6:09PM

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LIVELYGIRL2 11/2/2013 6:08PM

  very insightful, and you spoke on the everyday psycology.. eating if emotional, and the whole socialization thing. Excellant thoughts and you have come a long way.

I blieve you helped others by discussing your ideas. Thanks! emoticon

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JSEATTLE 11/2/2013 6:01PM

  You've figured out so much! Good for you!!

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PATRICIAANN46 11/2/2013 5:47PM

  What a WONDERFUL blog!!!!! emoticon so much for the great advice.

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CORNERKICK 11/2/2013 4:44PM

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LCRUMLEY81 11/2/2013 4:39PM

  fantastic blog

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SCRAPBECCA 11/2/2013 3:21PM

    Some wonderful reflection and realization here. emoticon

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CLAIREINPARIS 11/2/2013 3:17PM

    Another great blog, thank you! The fact that I cannot continue to diet all my life and be constantly protecting myself from the world outside is the main thing SP taught me, and I am very grateful for it. Although my weight loss is very slow, I haven't had a binge for ages, and this to me is freedom.
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SHOAPIE 11/2/2013 2:17PM

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NDKARIKARI 11/2/2013 2:01PM

    this is a great blog! thank you for so eloquently stating what is true for many of us. Finding the balance between creating a protective space for ourselves when it comes to eating and being social is difficult. I still overdo it when I go out, so this is a very big fear for me. We are all works in progress

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