Spring 5% Challenge - Day 7 - Can this old dog learn new tricks?
Friday, May 13, 2011
I am 51 years old. I have been overweight for about 45 of those years. The 6 years I'm figuring I wasn't overweight were the first years of my life. I was always an active kid, played just about every sport you could play as a kid, but I guess I ate more than I burned.
As I got older and tried to lose weight, I have tried every method/program/diet you can imagine. The Water Diet, the Grapefruit Diet, the Atkins Diet, the Rotation Diet, the Diet Center Diet, Weight Watchers, the Diet Workshop, seeing a nutritionist, starving myself, the diet and exercise classes and routines at Women's World, at Gloria Stevens Figure Salon (I even WORKED there for a while), classes and weight training at Salem Athletic Club, classes and tennis and racquetball at Cederdale Health Club, cardio at Work Out World (my current gym which time keeps me from going to much these days), exercising at home with a treadmill, exercise videos: Sweatin' to the Oldies, low impact aerobic workouts, walking to Jane Fonda walk out tapes AND Jane Fonda low impact aerobic videos, Leslie Sansone walking videos, and currently, working out at home with my trusty schwinn exercise bike and a myriad of hand weights, exercise bands, leg weights, and my weight bench (I have a stability ball but HATE using it, so it's deflated and sitting somewhere in my house) and sometimes the Wii Fit (but I have to admit, I hate when that little bastard weighs me and tells me, every single time I get on it, "That's Obese!!), Oh, and of course, Sparkpeople.
Somewhere in the middle of all this, I spend 8 years in therapy talking a great deal about my issues with weight and food, and believe it or not, I now resolved a whole lot of those issues and in a pretty good place with respect to my relationship with food, but unfortunately, while the reasons for eating have been resolved, the habits are a little harder to break. During all the years that I have ridden this roller coaster of methods and approaches, I have on numerous occasions succeeded in taking weight off, sometimes in huge amounts (my record was 80 lbs, many years ago now), but it has always been a yoyo, and, as with many people, every time I regained the weight, I regained more than I had lost.
I'm sick of the yoyo. I am determined that the yoyoing will end. It's certainly not for lack of trying, or even lack of willingess to do the hard work. It's because I cannot stop putting the food in my mouth. Not all the time, and not during parts of my day that are structured, it's the "down" time that gets me.
Now, it's almst ridiculously funny to say that the "down" time is my downfall, because anyone who knows me knows there is very little down time to my life. I am a wife and mother, I work full time in a fairly responsible job, my son has a very active activity schedule and my husband works far from home, so I am the primary schlepper to and from many of his activities..and I am on his Cub Scout Pack Committee and den leader, I have been active as his hockey team's "team mom" and am active in his hockey association's membership, I help out with his school PTO activities when I can, I help out with a "fun" hockey league he plays in, until recently I was a member of the board of directors of the baseball league he plays in (just couldn't get to the meetings, so I finally had to bow out of that). All of that is, of course, in addition to the cooking, cleaning, laundry, food shopping, etc, that all of us do regularly.
I do not say this to even suggest I am different from many, many people. I know that there are many folks who do all this kind of stuff, and many who do even more. I am not a hero. But I find it laughable that with all that stuff, I still find enough "down time" to stuff my face to the point of being and remaining 100 lbs overweight. But I do..that scale does not lie...
I have told this story before, perhaps without the litanies I have recited here, but with the same laments. And on Wednesday, on of my newest Sparkbuddies, KNOBLED309, commented on my blog. She said she used to have the same problem until she began to plan her entire menu at the start of every week. Every morsel, including snacks. And one of my oldest Sparkbuddies, GIRLINMOTION, suggested trying to keep busy during that tough time, when I am likely to eat.. So it got me to thinking..when during my "down time" does the grazing that turns into the eating frenzy begin? When I am grazing for my allowed for snacks at home, either in the afternoon or at night. When I have my morning snack in the office, I have it in my trusty lunch bag, as I do with all the food I am eating for the day. But, in the afternoon, when I get home from work, and am in the midst of getting dinner ready or folding laundry or helping my son with his homework, or, whatever I'm doing, it is snack time. So I thought about this...what if I planned THAT snack the same way I do my morning snack, so I'm not rummaging through the kitchen, trying to decide what to snack on? Well, it would certainly keep me from the "little of this, little of that" that gets me into trouble.
I also thought about something else..that very often, I get home, and want to ___whatever, fill in the blank: have a cup of coffee, read a magazine article, spend 10 minutes at the computer..whatever..I uusally don't give myself permission to do that, I do what I think MUST be done before I give myself those 10 minutes to do what I WANT to do, and that, on many days, I never get to do because I get busy with the thousand other things that are calling my name.
And then I started thinking, is there a relationship between the face stuffing and the feeling like I can't have those 10 minutes to myself? Yes, of course there is, that's the stress eating part that I've also been lamenting over, and like I've been saying, it's not extraordinary stress, it's the everyday stress of living that we all feel. But when it's shoehorned between snack time and needing down time, it is a bear to keep under control, especially when I'm in my house, with all that food and all those things to do, and a 9 year old making the constant demands that 9 year olds make..
So now, I've begun to ask myself, why the he!! do I not give myself that little bit of time? Am I not worth those 10 mintues? YOU BET YOUR A$$ I AM!!!!!!!!!!!!! So from now on, I'll have that cup of decaf coffee or tea, I'll read that article, I'll...whatever, fill in the blank. THEN I'll do what I have to do. What can't wait 10 minutes? Nothing, I say.
As far as the nighttime, after dinner eating, I have more of a handle on that. First, it is MUCH less likely to happen if I haven't opened the floodgates in the afternoon, so if the afternoon is okay, the night is likely to be okay. But I also have a great strategy for the nighttime that works on many a night: go upstairs with my son when he's going to get ready for bed and stay up there. Sometimes I do a little yoga, many times I just go to bed.
All these years, all those programs, all that money and time, all the reading, the studying, the learning.. after a while, you think you can't learn anymore, there are no more new tips, no more new strategies..I was wrong. This old dog just learned a new trick. Let's see if it leads her to success.