Monday, August 25, 2014
(This was a message board post I made, that a fellow Sparker asked me to turn into a blog. I've added some comments at the end. The original topic was an "incurable" chocolate craving.)
Sometimes I think we need to examine how we think about things. Like... calling it "incurable" leaves us feeling powerless and at the mercy of the cravings. Like we have no control whatsoever and are doomed to failure forever. I'm (well) over 50 and in menopause and have hypothyroidism. And for any/all of those things, *they* say weight loss is harder. I could've chosen to wallow in, this is SO hard and I can't do it and all those things are working against me, how can I possibly ever lose weight.
But I chose instead to look at it like-- ok, fine, it's harder. But it's not impossible. There are still choices I can make, there are still things I can do. And I focused on figuring out how to make it work, for me. I've done different things-- avoided some trigger foods altogether, by telling myself that *someday* I'll be able to eat (whatever it was) in moderation, but today was just not that day. I've not kept certain things in the house, or kept them in the freezer or portioned them out into single-serve snack bags or plastic containers. I've kept stuff in an awkward-to-get-to cabinet (instead of within easy reach).
Most of the time, I hit at least the bottom of my range with good, solid, nutritious choices. Which leaves me a couple hundred calories to eat a treat or a little junk, and still be within range. Sometimes what's worked for me is saving the treat to eat right before I brush my teeth and go to bed. I just don't eat it til it's bedtime. I will say though that since I get up really really early, I go to bed early too-- and I think that helps.
I like dark chocolate, but not *too* dark. I get no enjoyment out of that 70% or so stuff. And that's okay, it really is. No point eating it if you don't like it. If a lower-calorie fudge bar would satisfy you, that might be an option to consider. If individually wrapped chocolates (Dove or something like that) would work instead of a large bar... worth a try. I know I can't handle having an open bag of chocolate chips in the house. I can portion them out in advance (when I'm not in the midst of a moment of weakness) and then exercise some control and eat just one serving. But a whole open bag, where I can help myself without measuring first-- just a recipe for disaster. The individual chocolates might be the same way. Perhaps deciding on just eating 2 (for example) and then portioning the large bag in advance into those smaller, "serving-size" bags might help. So then in the evening you get your one serving.
I reckon the bottom line is trying some different things and figuring out how you can make it work-- how you can get that chocolate fix and still fit it into your plan. And how you can have it in the house without going hog wild and eating it all, at one go. Or eating everything else you can think of, while trying to ignore a chocolate craving.
btw... I lost the weight and have kept it off over 2 years. Just my personal experience, but it is not impossible, it is not incurable, it is not hopeless. Just don't give up, don't quit trying different things, don't stop focusing on figuring out how to make it work for you.
A couple additional thoughts, on turning this into a blog:
Some people say it takes 2 weeks, or 3 weeks, to form a new habit. And that may very well be true. But I'm going to let you in on the truth here-- the old, bad habit does not go away *forever*-- it is still buried in our brains somewhere. The monkey may be off our backs, but he is lurking in the bushes, ready to jump back on in a moment of stress or anxiety or when faced with a buffet table loaded with our favorites. Don't get discouraged if you occasionally find yourself giving in to that old, bad habit. None of us is perfect. Just pick yourself up and keep going. Get back on track and keep going.
And the second thing I'd like to mention is the value of joining a Challenge. I've done a bunch of them-- they were very helpful while I was actively working on losing the weight. And perhaps even more so, now that I'm in maintenance. I'm on the 5% Challenge-- the goal behind the Challenge is to lose 5% of your weight. I don't need to lose any weight, but they allow maintainers to join as well. jmho but it is extremely important to keep yourself involved, to keep the focus going. When I hit maintenance.... all of a sudden that laser-beam focus on losing weight was gone, and I felt adrift in a sea of "What do I do, NOW??" I was able to lose the weight because I was SO motivated to do it. But maintaining the loss takes a different kind of motivation. The Challenge helps tremendously with that, by reinforcing those healthy habits.
I yo-yo dieted for years and years-- and when I hit goal, somewhere in my subconscious was the thought that I could go back to eating more treats and junk and sweets. That old, on a diet, off a diet type thinking. All the "healthy lifestyle" I'd given lip service to, suddenly didn't seem as important to be so strict about. I still struggle some, with the thought that "I'm in maintenance, I can get away with eating this". I still struggle some with overeating, with those old bad habits, with those old, sort of automatic responses to certain foods. And the Challenge helps with that, too.
I'm no paragon of virtue or pillar of strength. I am (at heart) a wimp, a weenie, a whiner. I am a slug, when it comes to exercise. I've got a very good Spark friend who has lost the weight and is very close to her goal. I think we'd both agree that the "secret" to our success is that-- no matter what-- we just do NOT quit.