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A Little Self-Analysis

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Not too long ago I blogged about being in the doldrums and searching for my motivation. I shared the funny but true story about my husband helping to bring it back. The truth is, I DID spend time reading blogs, re-reading The Spark, and visiting friends pages and I really think it was a culmination of all those efforts that got me mentally back on track.
Now one thing I discovered back when I first started on my weight loss journey is that while making a commitment to yourself is an important first step, carrying on through with it can be quite another story. If only all it took was deciding you really want to be thin, we'd all be thin!

The first thing I did was get back on the scale. You know I ended my affair with the scale a while back and I found that I was using that as an excuse not to get back on it and face the proverbial music. However, there is a difference between sensible weighing in and a daily obsession with it.
Turns out my "little funk" and subsequent foray into the land of cheeseburgers, cheese nachos, and cheesecake cost me SEVEN POUNDS!
I swear, I can never figure out how it can take me seven WEEKS to lose seven pounds, but only TWO weeks to put them back on!

Next thing was to analyze my calories in and calories out. Obviously, cheeseburgers et al are NOT healthy choices. I didn't have to look too far to figure out that what I was eating was wrong. Yes, I understand the whole concept of moderation and not depriving yourself. BUT, I know me. There is no such thing as a few fries. I don't count out 15 tortilla chips and I certainly don't drizzle the cheese sauce - I ladle it on.
Where the analysis came in is WHY was I eating like that. Was it really loss of motivation? Could my determination of the last 5 years go out the window THAT quickly?
I wasn't tracking my intake because when I'm eating all wrong, I don't take the time to look up each and every thing I put in my mouth. It not only is overwhelming, but I'm actually ashamed to see it in black and white.
Working from memory, I went day by day and analyzed where I was when I lost control and what were the circumstances --
One day I forgot my lunch. Left the house with it sitting on my counter. Why? I was rushing because I was running late. Because? I had stayed up late the night before and I was tired and drifted back to sleep for a few minutes. So that meant ordering lunch to be delivered. Did I order wisely? No because most deliveries take a minimum order and that meant asking around the office for volunteers. No problem there except the usuals whom eat out everyday don't exactly eat at healthy places.
One night I got home late from the Y where I work out after work. I was tired, my DH had a cold and had taken a much deserved nap after work and didn't start supper, so we went out to eat and I wanted something fast. Why was I late from the Y? I got out of work late and I chatted with friends after working out. Those things happen.
I decided that I needed to keep a healthy frozen dinner in the freezer at work with my name on it, along with a carton of sugar free applesauce, so if I forget my lunch again, I don't have to order out. Oh and I need to get into bed earlier so I'm not so tired that I can't get right out of bed in the morning.
I also need to keep lean sandwich materials on hand at home and maybe a can of healthier soup or some healthy frozen leftovers so if I'm delayed after the Y, I've got options. If we do end up going out, It can be somewhere like Applebees and DH can order me something off the healthy choices. I'm not even looking at the menu!

Lastly I looked at my exercise. I give myself kudos for being a consistent exerciser. Even when feeling blah about it, I kept going 5-6 days a week. BUT, and this is a big but, I have been in quite a comfortable routine with my exercise. I might read a magazine and ride the bike 30 minutes tops on a low resistance. I might "run". I even convinced myself I was doing "intervals" by running a little, walking a lot. Before Christmas I was running a solid 30 minutes. Granted I was sick most of January and part of February, but instead of working my time back up, I was still taking it easy.
So I decided to turn on the heat a little. Yesterday I ran and I pushed myself. No it wasn't a solid thirty minutes but it was run fifteen, walk five, run ten. Then I went to the bike and did another thirty on a resistance that made me work! Today I rode the bike for 60 minutes on that same resistance. No reading material. I was pumping too hard and sweating too much, so I half way watched TV along with the clock thinking how much longer?!?
Once I was done, my legs felt like jelly but I felt GREAT!

I discovered something. When I exercise like that, it seems that controlling my eating is much easier. First of all, I just wasn't as hungry and secondly after burning all those calories, I wasn't going to eat them right back on!

I've been thinking all day about all of this. Do I want to keep this intensity going just for seven pounds? I look good enough seven pounds heavier. My clothes still fit OK. The answer though, really lies in how I feel. When I eat unhealthy I don't have energy. I feel bloated, gassy, tired, and mentally sluggish. I don't feel like exercising. It gets to be one big vicious cycle!
I picked my goal weight because even though it takes more personal effort to maintain it, I feel SO MUCH BETTER when I make that effort. A pound or two fluctuation doesn't make an appreciable difference, but more then that and I can tell a huge difference.

For right now, the word moderation is not in my vocabulary. I'm the original "if you give me an inch, I'll take a mile" kind of dieter. I'll have to be fairly strict until I'm back to goal. THEN if I can keep challenging myself in my workouts, I can treat myself occasionally with a usually off limits food. But only when I feel in control and CAN be moderate.

So there you have it folks. Next time you feel like you are struggling take some time to do a little self analysis. First get your head back in the game, then analyze what it's going to take to get where you want to be. Break out of those vicious cycles we set up for ourselves.


What's holding YOU back?

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Member Comments About This Blog Post
  • SHEILA8383
    Loved the blog! During my youth if it wasn't Tang it definitely was Kool Aid with lots of sugar.
    2929 days ago
    A friend linked to this and I'm so glad. It was just what I needed!! Thanks for taking the time to write it!!
    2932 days ago
    As usual Joanne, your blog has hit the nail right on the head! Thank you, I needed this!

    2964 days ago
    emoticon This is an extremely helpful blog. I stopped tracking 2 weeks ago b/c I did not want to put in black and white what I was really eating. I struggle with moderation like you.

    I am training my brain. Some people can keep chocolate in their home and they do not even think about it being there. I was looking for others' blogs on having Easter treats around to see if others have the same wiring I do. After high intensity workouts, my thinking changes. Perhaps that is part of what I will always need to do even after my weight loss.

    2966 days ago
    Wow, what a blog. Thanks you for commenting on my blog about the important of making every minute count! I really like your inventory here made about what is working and what was not. Sometime, for my age I don't know what works best and frankly, I am learning that commitment to regular exercise as important as what I put in my mouth: I feel an inner peace and that translates into a deeper meaning about living and life. Instead of measuring life in pounds or weight loss or even exercising as a punishment---I am discovering a new way to integrate them into a SELF-CARE PACKAGE! AND WHO WOULD NOT WANT ONE OF THOSE?
    emoticon emoticon emoticon
    2969 days ago
    Hey girl,
    As always you have such great blogs! I think it's so true though how the little things can really affect your day. It's truly a lifestyle-so not getting enough sleep, etc can start to affect other parts of your day.
    I think sometimes when we are close to goal we almost "lax" a bit and not remember why we got here in the first place..to feel good and lead the healthy lifestyle!
    You are doing great darlin-hope we can meet up soon!
    2969 days ago
    Boy, that hit close to home! I guess it took a slip to get you back on track. It is very frustrating that weight gain is so much easier, isn't it, but sometimes we forget how good it feels to eat well, feel good in our clothes, and get that great rush of endorphins after a vigorous workout. Luckily, it all came back to you!

    Thanks for another inspiring blog!
    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
    2973 days ago
    Thanks for the motivation. I saw me through the entire blog!
    2973 days ago
    I can related to this "I'm the original "if you give me an inch, I'll take a mile" kind of dieter."

    I'm giving myself some flexibility this time around, but not with OFF LIMITS foods!

    Have a great week!
    2974 days ago
    WOO HOO. Go you - you are doing it! You have great plans! Great job! Have a great Monday! I have held myself back too long too, we all do from time to time - but its time to move along! GO YOU!
    2974 days ago
    Going through the evaluation process reveals a lot. Thanks for the reminder, it helps me as well....
    2974 days ago
    Right On! I know that exercising and eating right are closely tied for me, too -- like you said, if I work hard, I'm less likely to want to undo it by eating junk. That's one reason I like those QuickFire challenges. Days when I'm adding 25 squats into my day 4 x are NOT days when I also stop by the candy jar in the office!! Glad you took time to examine your life and re-establish your plan! Blessings to you, my friend!
    2974 days ago
    Good self evaluation! You can't just put a band-aid on a splinter, you got to root that sucker out! Like the eating habits. Plan, Plan, Plan and Track, Track, Track. I like the journal part of the tracker. If I had a horrible calorie day I can make a private note to myself about what went wrong and how to avoid it next time. You are in a hard spot because you can put on seven pounds and still look skinny, but you know how seven can turn into to 10 and so on! It really does have to be about how you feel in the end. You're fighting a life time of a mindless habit, don't go into the light!! emoticon
    2974 days ago
    Great Blog!!!

    2974 days ago
    See, stuff like this is why you are my idol around here.
    emoticon emoticon
    Just today, before I read this, I decided it was time to take my lumps with the scale (+4 pounds) and resume doing what I know works. I'll have to work in a little self-reflection, too.
    2974 days ago
    I like the way you put this in perspective. I have been struggling with food choices this last week also. Now exercise I tend to over do just a bit. Isn't it funny how we all seem to find someone who is experiencing the same things we are? I have seen this time and time again on sparkpeople. Thanks for posting, great blog as always.
    2975 days ago
    I too need motivation and limits. I have to tell myself that I can not have a food. After a while, I will stop desiring it, which says to me that I never really needed it in the first place. I can't say "Oh, I can have a small amount of such-and-such now and then" if I am trying to cut back on it. I must cut it out completely. I pretend that I have an allergy or that it is otherwise medically forbidden. *shrugs* It works some times. As for my exercising, I make myself get dressed for the gym and go, telling myself that I must at least do something. Once I'm there, I tend to push myself farther than I had intended (although rarely as hard as I normally do).
    2975 days ago
    Great blog as usual. I haven't really hit the doldrums yet in my weight loss journey. I think it may be easier to lose weight than to maintain a weight loss. I do pretty well with moderation. I'm learning to choose wisely when I go out to eat and I balance the day's calories. I ate a big breakfast because the husband wanted french toast and sausages. So I ate a small lunch and we are having fresh tuna for supper, so I'll be OK. I'm glad to hear you are back on track. I recognize it's a life long struggle. Hang in there.
    2975 days ago
    emoticon I really needed to hear what you had to say. I've been struggling to get in control since I had a week of vacation with a non-healthy choice eating friend...it doesn't seem to take an arm twisting to convince me to eat some cake or other less than noble food choices. Somehow, once fallen into the vast world of junk food...well, you know the routine. You are so right about how it feels, more than how it looks, that bothers me! Back to feeling good!!
    2975 days ago
    Super blog again, always glad to read.
    I think the weather in the North has a lot to do with our attitude concerning weight loss. Myself if I get working outside like lately my appetite is less. Guess what more work"exercise" and less calories. I fell sorry for anyone who has a hard time with exercise, sure can't have many calories.
    Hope you have a great week.

    Skeeter emoticon
    2975 days ago
  • KITTYF54
    thanks for this blog. I've been really struggling for over a year on how to motivate myself to exercise.
    2975 days ago
    Sometimes we chase our tails when we should just sit down and think, eh? Great blog as always. Nothing like a kick in the keester to start the day.
    2975 days ago
    Way to go, sifting through mistakes to get the wisdom you need to move forward...!

    I always say mistakes are opportunities for learning! Have been there, done that re: doldrums myself. Maintenance can be such tricky territory...!

    BTW, 7 pounds can be such an EASY hiccup...could accomplish that in the matter of HOURS...lol!

    2975 days ago
    Wow, I am sure you were writing this for me!!! Been there, done that way to many times to count. Yes, if you give me an inch, I'll take it and raise you 7

    Thx for posting this blog

    2975 days ago
    I soooooo needed to read this today!! I am going to spend some time today really analyzing what it is I should be doing. Thanks for a great reminder!

    emoticon emoticon emoticon
    2975 days ago
    Great blog. I too find SP stories to be motivating &, like you, I could easily say "good enough" with my current weight. But then what? Go back to my old, unhealthy habits? I had better make peace with accepting this healthy lifestyle as a forever program.
    2975 days ago
  • LAURIE5658
    You. Me. Identical. Clones.

    2975 days ago
    Thanks for this one, Joanne. I'm in a similar situation and it's an encouragement. As you know, instead of "exercise" I am working hard outside almost every day and really burning a lot of calories (HRM) but instead of quelling my hunger like "exercise" does, I am hungrier!! And I feel better when I eat more BUT I have gained a few pounds, too. Like you, I can't take an inch without it going to a mile and for the last three weeks my dh has gone through a spell of bringing home all kinds of delectable things from his trips to our neighboring Amish community. emoticon

    Thanks for provoking me to get my head back in the game!
    emoticon Cindy
    2975 days ago
    I found myself that not being prepared (having healthy foods available) is also my biggest pitfall to a healthy life. If I have to run out and get something or order out, it's not likely to be a healthy option. I've also thought about creating a "go to list" of fast food and restaurants on days I have to chose then the "go to list" will be my menu.

    I have a significant amount of weight to lose, but already, I can feel the difference healthy eating and exercising is having on my body. My energy level is 10 times improved.

    The self analysis is a great thing we all need to do when get off track. It's all staring us in the face sometimes we just have to be brave enough to take a hard look at ourselves.

    Thanks for a great post! emoticon
    2975 days ago
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