No Streaks But Down Anyway
Sunday, May 25, 2014
I have taken a break from tracking my exercise and nutrients on SparkPeople but I haven't stopped tracking them internally. For that reason, I have lost weight--not a lot, but down is down! When you're using a digital scale, a few ounces makes a difference, and I am celebrating that as I would despair if they went in the opposite direction. I have been watching how I eat, when I eat, what I eat, and most important, if I want to eat which I believe has been part of the reason along with all of the others that I am losing weight.
I find that I can absorb certain mistakes like eating four double oreos in a row (they're in the house--can you blame me?) and still lose weight. That's a great discovery! One night when I'm feeling weak does not mean that the next day I repeat that because 1) I don't want to regularly do that and 2) I don't think I felt the need to eat that the next day and 3) I can resist doing that again because I know it was fluke behavior. I thank G-d that my husband does not bring potato chips into the house because it might be harder, but I find that the more I repeat good behavior, the more I keep myself on my toes and don't eat other food that is easy to eat but don't fit my goals and tastes.
When I first got onto SparkPeople I jumped in with both feet, hands, fingers and toes. It helped that my husband was away, so I could do things like dancing and exercising like a crazy balloon early in the morning and throughout the day, like taking a long bike ride. Exercise was definitely a big part of my program, and so was tracking and reading articles. I was able to live the program in a very strong way, almost a zealous way, which allowed me to establish my goals and follow them commitedly. It helped that I had minimal tugs at my time, since we had just moved here. I had to do no job, but was looking, and was volunteering minimally. My priority-- and energy--could be thrown behind my program.
But now I find that if I am too scrupulous, too focused on a cookie cutter approach that in the real world means that to last, I must find a way to balance my emotions, tastes, tendencies, and cravings, then I must let go a little, like a child letting go of the parent's hand when he's learning to roller skate. I must learn to roll with the punches, fall down and get back up and keep on going. And I find that, having learned a little how to roller skate, I am skating on my own. With tracking, a calorie range, a point system that encourages you, and articles to educate you (not to mention people who do both of the latter two), you learn a system for managing your problem behaviorally, which is what anyone who has a problem needs to learn to do. Whether it's Alcoholics Anonymous or diabetes, you have to learn to manage your problem in a proven way that works. Learning a system of management takes time to get. I believe that three months on the program has taught me this.
I never weighed myself when I began the program because I didn't have a scale in the house but I knew when I moved here that I was too heavy for a lot of my clothes. I hadn't had to wear a lot of business clothes because I was teaching classes where I could get away with casual, stretchy wear. Because we were moving and that was stressful, I let myself eat and did not pay attention to to many other factors. But I knew I was up in weight and at the same time didn't give it a lot of attention. I would have never been able to get to where I am now without learning behavioral management like I have on SparkPeople.
So now I am practicing my program without a daily check-in with SparkPeople, and I am doing okay. You see here that I am not leaving it completely, but I am not obsessed with points or streaks (as if I ever really was?). I am neutral about both, and I am neutral about everything now: balanced might be the best word. Having read the articles that explain that it's what you do over the course of time that makes a difference in weight, I see that four oreos or a half bottle of wine does not set me back that week. One day I may want oreos and four days later I may want wine. But in-between, I am waiting between meals, making wise choices about whether to use oil or not in my cooking, eating less bread, eating more 1% cottage cheese and 12 fat gram yogurt that tastes REALLY good, and just being balanced overall about the food. I read an article about how Matthew Mconnahey (sp?) lost weight for Dallas Buyers Club: it was through a medically supervised diet of 600 calories a day or so (check this for accuracy). That set me thinking that caloric restriction means weight loss. So I thought about allowing myself to go without food at times when I would normally eat in the past, like in-between meals or after a certain time period. And I found that with that attitude I allowed myself to get hungry naturally and that it felt good to be hungry, to be wanting a little. To not always be filled, to allow yourself to feel empty is an analogy for the reason we want to eat in the first place if we have a weight problem. Allowing something that isn't food to fill up that cavity or realizing that empty isn't really empty. That hungry is hungry--and not reacting to times or foods or any other triggers. That's healthy stuff. I'm releasing triggers all the way around and learning to be "healthy stuff." It's a work in progress.