Thursday, July 26, 2012

Subtlety and Self Doubt

The last few days I've been in this weird limbo state where I'm second guessing how well I'm doing with this whole dieting thing. I've been here before. Finally I'm starting to feel a sense of equilibrium about my eating habits. I don't overeat, I eat pretty healthy for the most part and I'm not feeling deprived. And yet I have this doubt in the back of my head that anything that feels this maintainable must not be enough.

The media is so inundated with ads and personalities that promise huge losses in a short amount of time.   I can't watch tv without seeing an ad for a diet program or a weight loss pill. There are a few gems like Biggest Loser and Extreme Makeover Weight Loss Edition that, although the participants are expensively supported, do offer some realistic ideas about what it takes lose large amounts of weight. I still tend to feel a bit of a disconnect from them however because a) I don't have hundreds of pounds to lose, and b) running is out.

As often as I've vowed never to do any kind of crash dieting again, it's not always evident that I'm doing the right thing. My results so far have been very subtle. I may lose one or two pounds in a week, but my weight fluctuates so much during the day that it's often hard to tell if I've actually achieved a loss or not. Right now I weight myself all the time and if I ever get a number that's lower than the last one I record it. Somehow this feels like cheating.

This brings me to the concept of dieting. When I did weight watchers they stressed constantly that I was not on a diet but in the process of a lifestyle change. I never felt much peace with this. Anytime I have to choose a salad over a cheeseburger I am most definitely on a diet. And when food takes up more time than the actually moment I'm preparing or eating (aka looking up foods to keep a food log) - also very much a diet.

Tracking with weight watchers was a pain in the butt. Tracking with lose-it isn't so bad. It doesn't feel as much like an inconvenient chore. I think I've been conditioned to think that success equates to being uncomfortable or irritated by what I'm doing. So now since I'm not either of those things I keep getting this feeling that I need to be doing more so that it is. Self torture much?

So it seems my obstacle at this point is myself. Rather than tell myself that what I'm doing isn't good enough, maybe I need to finally give myself a break and a pat on the back. Keep it up self!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

When to "Cheat"

The picture you see here is of the coney fries at Roake's. I'm sure many have never experienced them, but for those that have, you cannot live knowing your health depends on your never having them again. The fries are skin-on and perfectly chewy and crispy at the same time. The coney sauce is spicy and rich, the cheese is gooey and fatty and delicious. The tomatoes add a fresh light juiciness to the otherwise rich meaty flavor. This to me is the epitome of greasy, grubby, fatty, over-indulgent, wonderful gut-busting food.

Everyone has their one dish that completely destroys their healthy eating intentions. I'm sure to some this giant platter of deep fried mush looks absolutely repulsive. But for me, this is my best friend and my worst enemy.

My mom, sister, and I have been using the lose-it app for awhile now and it's interesting how we all regard it differently. My mom and I are dieting veterans and take any restrictions on our eating habits with a grain of salt. But my sister is fairly new to this whole concept of keeping a food log. It was kind of interesting to watch her discovery of how many calories are actually in the foods she eats. I can recall a time when I hit that wall and went Special K crazy (we currently have about 6 boxes of various Special K foods in our pantry that belong to my sister now). At the moment she is perusing a coupon book and contemplating what food she can still eat "safely".

For my sister, something like these fries wouldn't be too much of a trip up. She'd have the self control to only eat a certain portion of them or to only eat a dish this calorie rich once before getting right back on track again. But for me, I give myself a day, and then it turns into two days, and then a week, a couple months, and then I have to start over again. Self control much?

So why point this out? Because what kind of life would I have left if I never got to eat coney fries again? Not one I want to live. I'm not gonna lie, if I had to choose between being fat and never eating this again, I'd have a hard time deciding. But there's no reason I can't have my fries and my health.

I think what I'm finally starting to master is learning when to cheat. The trouble seems to be that I have my fries, and then I have my cake, and my pie, and my burger, and my chicken wings and then I give up and start all over again a few months later. What I've finally managed to do is to pull myself out of my cycle. Yeah, I stopped tracking for several days, but I've been tracking and staying within my calorie range for the last three days and that's nothing to sneeze at considering how much I normally hate keeping a food log.

I feel as though I've overcome a hump that I've been trying to get over for years. I guess we'll see if it's as significant as I think.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Getting Positive

I'm not sorry to report that I've just polished off an english muffin topped with Kenny & Zukes pastrami and a few slices of smoked sharp cheddar. Not sorry at all. Actually, it was pretty much amazing. What I am sorry about is the bowl of ice cream I ate a couple hours ago followed by a piece of bread from Great Harvest. I wouldn't feel so bad except that before I went and got myself my bowl of ice cream I thought to myself, I don't even really want it, I just know that it's there and thus I'm going to have some.  Halfway through eating it I stopped enjoying it, and I should have just tossed the rest. But I didn't.

I'm watching extreme makeover weight-loss edition right now. The girl on the show is about 300 pounds overweight and has come up with every excuse in the book to sabotage herself. As I'm listening to excuse after excuse it's really easy to see that none of them hold water and eventually she's going to have to deal with her demons and just effing do what she's supposed to do. So why do I let myself make the same excuses? What her trainer is finding is that her biggest obstacle is positivity. When she gets positive she succeeds. Perhaps I need to take some of this away for myself.

Last week was an interesting adventure in hormone-land. Typically when I hit my pms wall it's a couple days of extreme depression followed by the insane cravings for chocolate and salt and then I wake up completely fine and wonder why I was ever so crazy. All-in-all it's about 3 or 4 days of nuttiness. This last round completely caught me off-guard. I was super tired and lethargic, (the humidity doesn't help) and not too depressive as far as I could tell. I got a call Thursday morning that I'd missed my physical therapy appointment. That's when I hit my low. I ended up crying on the phone because I felt bad for missing it and because I really wanted to go. My therapist called later in the evening to chat and talk about my appointment next week and it was all I could do to keep it together.

My therapist wanted me to e-mail her my food journal every day and I was doing it with the lose-it app. Problem is that when I knew I wanted to just have a day off the books (like my anniversary) I just wouldn't log anything. Giving myself that wiggle room has always been a problem. As soon as I stop tracking, I stop tracking. I'm going to talk to her at my next appointment about how I can do better and about doing my exercises at the gym instead of at home since they pretty much never happen at home.

I'm going to get past this! Right now I'm teetering between 191 and 192 lbs. I'm going to make it my goal to get under 190 in the next 10 days. This means I have to not only track my meals, I have to actually stay within my calorie ranges and get my exercise in!