So Long Trigger

Last Tuesday I ate 1,424 calories OVER my daily allotment.

I felt possessed. I was well aware of my weight loss goal and what I was SUPPOSED to be eating. But my MIL had brought over ice cream the night before, 2 large cartons. One was UDF Homemade Peach ice cream, the other was UDF Homemade Chocolate Chip ice cream. My husband and my son don’t eat ice cream. So they were just in the freezer laughing maniacally at me the next day.

Well actually it was just the chocolate chip. Peach is too meek and kind to lure me the way chocolate chip does.

So I had a spoonful at lunchtime to shut it up. Then I had (for me) a small bowl as an afternoon snack. And then I had another bowl after dinner.

But you know what? I weighed the bowls as I scooped. I tracked every calorie. I may have eaten 3 cups of ice cream, but I can still count Tuesday as a win.

So the next day I tossed the rest of the carton. I apologized to my husband for being wasteful with food (another one of my hangups), but he fully supported my decision.

Rumblings of Ruin

Yesterday was day 12 of my new healthier outlook, and right on schedule, some negative, derailing thoughts started creeping in. I was in a bad mood because our AC is on the fritz, it was 94 degrees outside, and our landlord isn’t taking it seriously. So I was grumpy and then realized I had overeaten a little at lunch and couldn’t fit dessert within my calorie allotment. Granted, I haven’t given myself any hard and fast rules about calories yet, but since I’m tracking my food every day, I want to see if I can eat within a small calorie deficit sustainably. And my brain started whispering things like “you’ve done so well, treat yourself” and  “you’ve had a hard day, you deserve ice cream”.

I definitely need to address the fact that I think dessert is a prize for doing well or enduring hardship.

I’m proud that I recognized that wanting dessert was simply an emotional reaction because I was hot and unhappy. I wanted a cool treat to soothe myself. And honestly, I could have had my 150 calorie ice cream sandwich and it would not have been the end of the world. But I wasn’t actually hungry for it, and I want to break the cycle of emotional eating. I ended up eating a 44 calorie chocolate square instead, and it satiated me.

I’m still not sure I did the right thing. Maybe I should have just eaten the ice cream and then had less food the next day. Maybe I shouldn’t have had any treat after dinner at all. Maybe I should have found an alternative activity to soothe my mind. I’m still figuring this out.

But I’m not berating myself, I’m just trying to learn what works. Or I could just plan to never be unhappy again. That’s a viable option, right?

Half Size Me

I have stumbled upon the Half Size Me podcast. The creator Heather Robertson has successfully lost more than 170 pounds, but perhaps more impressively, has kept it off for I believe 8 years or more.

I have been looking for a way to address my mental health while tackling weight loss, and this I think could help me on my way. I have been listening to the podcast for about a week. There is also a group to join, and some modules to follow. I am waiting to see that I stick with the podcast and it helps me for at least 2 weeks before I commit with a monthly subscription.

It doesn’t seem to advocate any particular diet or fitness regimen, rather focuses on the mentality you need to adopt in order to attain long-term steady weight loss. So much of what Heather says rings true for me. The core of her teachings is that you shouldn’t introduce anything into your life while losing weight that you can’t sustain long-term. You have to know yourself fully, accept your flaws, work around them, and be realistic with your goals. There is a total mind-shift between “I’m doing this for now to lose weight” and “I’m changing what I eat and how I exercise forever”.

I have fallen into what she calls “the Diet Cycle” before. I lost 75 pounds through Weight Watchers once, but gained it all back. Although I lost in a healthy, slow way, I definitely did have the mentality that I was on a program temporarily and if I didn’t eat within the guidelines, that I was off my diet. This thought process gave me the option to stop, and I inevitably did.

She also advocates journaling your process, so huzzah, I’m already on my way!

No Shame, No Blame

I feel like I am on track for success. I have been tracking my calories, and I have been more actively mindful of my food intake for 10 days (since June 27th, 2020). I am not focusing on the scale yet, that will come. Instead, I am focusing on creating healthier habits and working them into my life in a sustainable way.

So future me can look back, I want to document a little of what that looks like:

  • I am tracking all my food in MyFitnessPal. I haven’t even set a strict goal of eating under a certain calorie limit, I just want to form a habit of tracking for now. Turns out though, when you have to come face to face with your food choices, it inspires you to make better ones.
  • I am tracking seven habits in a personal journal. I use a green, yellow, red color coding system to track how well I did with my breakfast, lunch, dinner, vitamins, exercise, water intake, and mental strength every day. I track it once a day, after breakfast and it takes about 5 minutes. I am starting to see some patterns emerge and it simply helps me to better self-assess.
  • I am actively listening to health focused podcasts and videos.

That’s it. I am focusing on sustainability, playing to my strengths, and being better aware of my weaknesses. I have not made a goal to write Art per Pound posts, I just do that when my brain is swirling and I want to get the thoughts out.

I want to improve my health for good, and that means being honest about my own shortcomings and the realities of life. I am trying to take away the shame and just be realistic. So much of my struggle with food is emotional, so stripping out the emotion and looking at the facts hopefully will help me make better choices. However, I know I need to address the emotions too, in time.

Fall down eight times, get up nine.Japanese Proverb, modified

So apparently June is my month to refocus and restart. Man I hate being predictable. Good thing I have a terrible memory so I can easily forget my repeated stumbles.

So since we last spoke I have quit therapy, regained the weight, my son turned two, and oh yeah, the world has been gripped by a global pandemic.

I’m not upset with myself for quitting therapy, it wasn’t a good fit. I tried it for 3 months, but I always left wanting more from the session; some advice, a guidebook, homework, SOMEthing. It felt like I was paying someone to let me complain to them. And maybe that could help some, but it wasn’t helpful to me.

Since saying goodbye to my therapist, I’ve known that I want a more engaged and active approach to mental health. I still think that addressing my mental health is paramount to finally overcoming my weight issues. That’s proven by the fact that I know exactly what to do to lose weight, I just don’t do those things.

Right now I am trying to be more self-aware about my food choices and have more integrity. By integrity I simply mean being honest with myself. Not judgmental, just honest. I am less focused on the scale right now and more focused on my decision making.