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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.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    How can you be sane with all that running around??? Makes me tired thinking about it! You definately need some positive 10 min (or more...). Congrats on looking at the whole picture and being willing to make a change. If change in weigh is to occur, you need to make change in routine! Good for you. Remember it is a slow journey, next year will come- you can be bigger, smaller or the same. Depending on your choices! It might seem slight now, but multiplied by 365, every little "good" change adds up! Keep at it.
    3483 days ago
    Well, speak Tina, speak! That one sounded pretty big. I think, too that that is the major difference between the two of us. I do take the 10 minutes, started about the time I started spark. That was what spark was about in part. Finding time for something important for me. And for me it was largely the social outlet.

    I think this and the next blog you wrote are the beginning of something huge. You are right, there is not much that can't wait 10 minutes, especially when it comes to housework.

    I always try to ask myself, when I am stressing over something...
    "How 'big' will this be in an hour, a day, a week, a month." That's how important it is, that's the amount of stress it is worth.

    I'm not trying to go all "psychologist" on you... just relating that has really helped me stay a bit balanced. I have more kids, but do less for each one in terms of committing to their activities on an organizational level.

    I have to take my day to sleep in... or I'm no good to any of us...

    I love that you share all of this, and that you are determined to figure it out. Though lack of determination has never been a shortcoming of yours I'd bet.


    3483 days ago

    You are worth more time for yourself. Maybe you need to pass the wand on to someone younger regarding being team moms and den mothers?
    3484 days ago
    Well, old dog, I like your new tricks! LOL

    I do believe that "10 minutes" was a very important trigger you landed upon. We have so many similarities in our journey and I stopped and really gave your blog some thought in "my world" and you know what? The afternoons when I'm tired and have been going and going and didn't take even 10 minutes for myself do tend to be worse with the snacking. Today and yesterday I actually had time to myself and I can honestly say I do see a difference in my resolve and in keeping my hand out of the snacks.

    When I did WW years ago (old Exchange program) I did plan my snacks and I stuck with them and it was fairly easy.

    I definitely agree with the planned meals for a week. I do MUCH better when that is all in place. Now I will follow your lead and work at planning those snacks too!

    Thank you, Tina!

    3485 days ago
    You are right - schedule that 10 minutes for yourself. I'm going to copy you on that one. Scheduling, planning an afternoon snack is a good idea too. emoticon
    3485 days ago
    Yes, you are worth that 10 minutes! You can do this Tina! We're all rooting for you!
    3485 days ago
  • KNOBLE0309
    No matter what age someone is, you can always learn new tricks. Good luck!
    3485 days ago
  • GRANDMA1951
    Good luck. It's hard to stop a bad habit but you (we) can do this. Maybe use those 10 minutes to do situps, pushups, lunges - anything that gets you moving. Even sitting at the computer, do leg lifts. Scheduling in good snacks is a great idea. You can do this and go on to success.
    3485 days ago
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