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Grandma did it. So can I.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

I'm so excited! Finally. Big woo-hoo when I stepped on the scale today and met my weekly goal. But even more exciting is the fact that for 7 days I kept to my eating and exercise plan. Even if the scale does't keep up, I will be happy about staying on track with my plan.

From my "addiction framework," it's been easier (so far) to say no when I should because I have one more reason. It's not just that I want to lose weight. It's that I have to say no. That's a success in itself.

My grandmother has a lot to do with this. When she was in her 70s, she got to the point that she had to be on oxygen at night. She was also a two-pack a day smoker and had been for 50 years.

One morning she sat on the edge of her bed, took off the oxygen nose thing, and lit up her morning cigarette. (Now, let's not even go INTO the fact that she could have blown up the house!).

Well, she sat there lighting up (as she told the story) and took a long look at her cigarette. She looked at the oxygen tank. "I just said to myself, 'Maude, you're a ninny!' Here I am on oxygen all night and the first thing I do in the morning is light a cigarette."

So, she put it out. She put the cigarettes in her pocket (she always wore a dress or nightgown with a pocket). She put her lighter in there, too. And became a non-smoker. That day. She carried around that pack of cigarettes in her pocket for TWO YEARS. She said that if she ever had a "nicotine fit," by god she wanted to have one handy.

But she never did.

After watching my dad take about 10 years (and two stents, one open-heart surgery, and three kinds of cancer) to quit smoking, I really began to appreciate my grandmother's strength and resolve.

I was always close to Grandma--my dad is an only child, Grandma having lost her first baby, a girl. So I was kind of special to her. And we're a lot alike. So I figure, if she could do that with smoking, I can do it with eating. That is, recognizing the bad addictive habits I have and resolving to stop them.

Now, I have to add that Grandma fought her weight all her life. She took off and put on more than 80 pounds several times in her life. She lost over 100 at least 3 times that I remember myself.

Sadly, back then they didn't tell people to exercise. Her doctor just put her on a 500-calorie diet (PER DAY!). I remember she'd have a orange for breakfast, a piece of dry toast for lunch, and then a small meat and two veggies for supper. And she'd stick with that for months, but of course it's impossible.

And she didn't see food as an addiction as people can today. I also should say that I have no idea whether or not I REALLY have a "food addiction." I'm just choosing to approach it that way.

Because I'm exercising, I can eat way more than she could to lose weight. In fact, 1200 is on the low side of what most nutritionists recommend. But I know it's temporary. I know I have her resolve.

And, what's more important, later, when I add calories, I'm still going to keep my framework of making choices to avoid the things I simply cannot do. Things that send me into a months-long (years?) spiral of bad choices. (Again, my thinking is that if a person with celiac disease can give up wheat or an alcoholic can give up alcohol, then I can give up SOME foods/food habits that are just ruinous for me.)

So calories are a very secondary issue. Right now that's just a yard-stick for day to day.

What can't I do? Well, one thing I'm just never going to buy again is butter. I think butter can be very good for you, but the things I eat too much of often include butter: popcorn, baked potatoes, bread, rice, vegetables, etc. Now all of those things can be quite wonderful to eat on their own, but when I put butter on them, I eat too much. It's a powerful trigger for me. So, I'm substituting olive oil, dark sesame oil, and gee, to cook with.

I'm not drinking any diet soda. Not even the ginger ale, which was better than diet Pepsi, but again, it's not the thing itself, but what it triggers. I drink pop and I want to eat more than I would if I didn't. I can't do pop.

Other things I'm just cutting way back on--starches, for instance, or other fatty things like bacon. I can do two pieces of bacon without it leading to having a bigger meal than I should. I can have a small potato sometimes or rice underneath a veggie stir fry. But in very small amounts.

I'm also avoiding that thing where you eat a ton of veggies at once sitting because they're good for you and have so few calories. That just reinforces bad habits that can (and will) easily morph into eating a whole mess of something that's NOT so good. I'm sticking with portions.

So, today it's 113 days (of 120) until I think I will have made enough progress that I am not embarrassed by my weight re-gain. :D My mini-goal is that after next Wednesday, I think I can wear my size 16s without feeling squeezed. I did have to buy a few pair of 16 pants last year, and though I'll be glad they fit well again, I also plan to undergrow them quickly! At that point I'll have to make do with skirts until I can get into the 12s, because that's the next size I still have a few things in.

It helps to look ahead. And thank you, Grandma, for being my inspiration. :)

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