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Combating Negative Thinking with Positive Behavior

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

In my last blog post, I mentioned that this gradual transition from unhealthy habits to healthy ones seemed to be working pretty well. In fact, I was finding it pretty easy. Well, this week, things have gotten a little harder. I guess I knew it would eventually.

Don't get me wrong, it takes a lot more change to really frighten me but the increase in new behaviors have also increased the old negative thinking patterns. For example, I weighed myself on Monday and saw I was up a pound and a half. Many of you saw my status update with that info and you, as expected were very supportive. Thank you, thank you, thank you. It helps so much. However, before that point, the ol' brain was already telling me "You're screwing this up again. You may as well give up." I stunned myself because.........I didn't listen - completely. I stuck with my water and healthy breakfast and lunch. I did really, really well. But, unfortunately, I was ravenous when I got home from work and I slipped up that night. I ordered pizza for dinner. No, I didn't eat the whole thing or anything, but carbs are definitely my weakness so I ate more than I should. I went to bed that night feeling good that I stuck with the changes but also feeling really bad because I blew it at the end.

Now, in the past, I would have just given up after that one slip-up (like many long-suffering dieters would do) and just gone back to my "I'm meant to be a fat person" mentality. Why was I ravenous though? I packed a healthy yet pretty filling lunch so I didn't starve myself. I just realized I had to start examining my feelings surrounding the hunger pangs. Oh, sure, I've known I'm an emotional eater for years. I've never bothered to think about why I was one though. So, what prompted it today? Well, I was bored during the morning, so I was thinking During the afternoon, I would always think about dinner before, so I was doing that again. And, let's face it, I wasn't thinking about salad. If I was, I wouldn't have ordered pizza. So, if that's not evidence that I need to start planning meals, then I don't know what is. I was really kind of setting myself up to cheat. Did I expect it to sabotage my efforts completely? Maybe. Self-sabotage is nothing new to me either but I'm getting better about stopping myself when I notice it happening.

Oddly enough though, the next morning, I ate my healthy breakfast and I made a semi-healthy lunch (I had pizza to get rid of). I still had my water. When I got home from work, I had a small dinner to make up for the pizza at lunch. I still beat myself up a bit for even having the pizza but I had an easier time telling myself to stick with the healthier habits than to just give up.

The best proof that this might actually be working came this morning. I am not really a morning person but, as I get older, I find that I prefer to do things earlier in the day. Therefore, my work schedule starts earlier than most people's. However, this does not always mean that my body is on board so, when the alarm goes off, my body does not always listen. I didn't get up today until about 10 minutes before I had to leave. Since it would have taken time I didn't have, I started trying to tell myself it would be better for me to just forgo breakfast and pick up something for lunch later (something greasy and salty most likely). Yet, I thought of two things: 1) I had two boxes of instant oatmeal at work for occasions like this and 2) I wanted to stick to the program; I didn't feel like I should (see Challenging Assumptions post). So, even though it would probably make me late, I put together my healthy lunch, filled my water bottle, and grabbed some extra fruit to have with my oatmeal at work.

Problem solved. Amazing.

Now, I know where some of the biggest problems are going to come from. 1) I need to start planning meals from morning to evening. I get into a routine at work so meals during the day aren't a problem (as long as I keep doing what I did this morning) - it's just when I get home and I'm more likely to cheat. 2) I need to really start examining the motives behind the hunger. I know about the emotions; emotions probably influence the majority of my actions. It's time to start finding other ways to deal other than eating or freaking out (you know, the depression thing). They say to eat only when you're hungry. I need to know what that feels like again. I spend too much time trying to talk myself into eating when I'm not hungry, but when I'm bored, sad, lonely, etc. I don't really know what it feels like to be hungry, but not starving. I need to start paying attention to my body's cues. Finally, I need to start getting myself ready mentally for eating healthy all the time. Apparently, I'm OK with doing it during the day but once I'm home for the night, I want to run for the carbs. I can't keep doing that. Most of all, I can't keep going to sleep on top of that. Not only do I gain weight, but then I sleep terribly because of indigestion, heartburn, and the occasional bathroom trip during the night. No, thank you.

The first step is admitting you have a problem, right? I've managed to narrow this one down so finding solutions is easier. I may have to take things a little slower to get this last part down though. I'm thinking it may have to be a day-to-day process rather than week-to-week like the breakfasts and lunches were. I may literally have to pick a day a week to eat 100% healthy then gradually add on days. It sounds so ridiculous............ridiculo
us enough to work.

Well, as they say, slow and steady wins the race. When it comes to my health, I've got all the time in the world.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Great post - I'd say congratulate yourself on little victories and forget about the occasional blip. I'm like you - one little glitch and I use it as an excuse to bail on nutrition and fitness usually, but I've chosen to be better than this now, and like you I find it's working. Good luck for the coming week, have a great weekend!
    1873 days ago
    Great blog. You have gotten a lot of insight into yourself! That will be really helpful to you in the future.
    1881 days ago
    It is a lifestyle, not a diet. You'll find the more you move into it, the easier it is to recover from bad nights. There will come days, celebrations, holidays, ext, all will ask you to splurge, or over indulge, but just because it's Easter dinner, doesn't mean "You're destined to be fat". You just get back up on the horse the next day.

    You can do this!
    1881 days ago
  • CDCSMITH2013
    Great blog. Lots of learning going on.
    1881 days ago
    Sounds like you are discovering some good things about yourself! I was finding that my work lunches, as delicious as they are (I make something on Sunday for the entire week), were not quite enough food to get me to dinner. Instead of having a bigger portion of lunch, which would mean I'd need to adjust my recipes to make more food, I started eating a handful of almonds about an hour before the end of the day. It is perfect for me because then I'm not hungry when I get home, which was the time when I'd be most likely to overeat.

    I find that so much of life is about finding those little tricks that help keep myself afloat and not fall into a hot mess. Like hanging my keys by the door so I don't lose them, or eating almonds a couple of hours after lunch, etc.
    1881 days ago
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