Posted in Light life, tagged balance, diet, dieting, emotional eating, exercise, food, goals, gym, success, weight, weight loss, workout, writing on October 1, 2012 |
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So I wrote a week and a half ago that it was time to take care of myself. I decided that it would help me to kind of “diet” for a week and work really hard at the gym to see if I could lose a couple of pounds and know that it was effective. I really watched my calorie intake and started taking some supplements Dr. Oz recommends and logged extra time working out. I weighed myself at the gym and then didn’t check again for a full week. I just worked hard and hoped.
Yay! That work did pay off, and I lost three pounds.
I’m carrying that over and continuing to watch my eating and spending more time at the gym than usual so I can work towards a loss of five pounds and then 10. At the same time, I recognize that this is a “diet” and I can’t necessarily sustain this kind of intensity for the long haul that will be needed to lose the 50 pounds that I need to lose. Also, it’s nothing I can do permanently. What I must do that I haven’t done yet is really focus on changing my relationship with food. I’ve written about this a little already, I think, and I’d like to write more. Honestly, I have a stressful life, and when things get particularly hectic and intense, I turn to food for comfort, soothing, and rewarding. I eat more portions than my body needs at every meal, and I treat myself too often to high-calorie desserts. Not good for my body.
So as I write about my mini success of this past week and a half, I also want to make clear that this is just a way to kind of jump-start my long path towards truly taking better care of myself. I have been very focused over the past month on writing a book I’ve been wanting to write for over a year, and that has taken up much of my time and brain power. This is a very good thing in a number of ways: it means I have taken the time to do something that means a lot to me, that I’m working towards a goal. This is positive for me in many ways. It gives me confidence across the board that I can achieve goals, and that I am doing something for myself and something I’m good at. It also in some ways helps me to eat less because I feel better about myself and don’t need a reward so much, and because I don’t have the spare time to go in the kitchen.
The only downside is that I haven’t had the time I’d like to read the books I’ve bought and checked out from the library about emotional eating. I am OK with this in some ways because I know I will still get around to doing that; it’s just going to be once I’ve finished this book project. But even as I “diet” temporarily, I realize I still have basically an addiction to treats. I still have habits that I need to break and emotional needs to turn to food when the going gets at all rough, or to reward myself. I truly want to change those habits and addictions. Dieting right now is its own reward temporarily because I can see progress on the scale, and that works for now. I just can’t do this for the long haul.
Just going to take one step at a time, in my workout shoes, of course.
So right now I celebrate, but I have a very long way to go. I can just take a day or a week at a time and appreciate the small steps and know that there will be more work ahead on different levels. I’m just going to bite off what I can chew, so to speak, though, right now. Finish my book, celebrate my goals achieved and progress made on that, and then work on the eating/weight goals. I’m doing the best I can, and I’m going to pat myself on the back for what I’m doing better.
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It’s been a rough year, folks. Financially, we’ve gotten hit a bunch by big and little things. I’ve had some personal frustrations and disappointments. I broke my foot this summer and was sidelined from my regular routine for what seemed a very long time. The stresses added up and sent my emotions into overdrive.
Now that some of those stressors have receded and my kids are back in school (including the youngest — half-day kindergarten!), I’ve had a little time every day to slowly get my life pieced back together. I hate to say I’ve “taken control,” because that is one thing about how I see things that I’d like to change. I guess I can just say I’m going to just do the best I can to take care of my responsibilities and take care of myself, including reducing some of the things I do that I can control.
I’ve allowed myself to get into a bunch of bad habits. I got so stressed that I went back to emotional eating, and it’s become an addiction of sorts. I’m now taking the time to think and be mindful about what I’m eating and to do some reading to help me figure out how to rid myself of that bad habit, or reduce it significantly.
Consequently, my body is at a very unhealthy weight. At this point in my life, I don’t expect myself to be back wearing size-6 dresses anytime soon… or ever. But I would like to be at the top of the range of what I know is a healthy weight for me. I’d like to feel better physically and know that I’m eating healthy foods almost all the time, without the added sweets. I’d like to be able to just bend over, for pity’s sake, without my belly getting in the way. (Yes, there’s a reason I’ve had my 10-year-old paint my toenails. I’d like to get rid of that reason.)
I want to emphasize again that I hope to do this for reasons of taking care of this one and only body I have. I don’t want to aspire to some kind of ideal or do this for image reasons. I am still working on doing my part to raise awareness about how image-oriented our society is, and I don’t want to buy into it.
I’ve wanted to do this for some months now, but I finally am feeling confident enough to be able to just summon the emotional energy to be able to do this. To change bad habits and battle the urges to eat bad food takes emotional reserves. I finally have gathered some together, after a year of having them sapped. Here I am, writing about this because I want to remind myself of what I want to do, and to just know that other people know I’m working on myself.
So here goes. More to come.
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So I’ve begun researching ways to help redirect myself when it comes to eating. I’ve learned a few things the past few days as I’ve started this process:
- Just addressing some of my time and energies toward the topic has helped me to be more aware, but, more importantly, more confident and strong in my ability to fight back. Knowing I’m taking steps to take better care of myself gives me power.
- There are a lot of books out there about weight loss, but not nearly so many about emotional eating and food addiction, which I think are huge contributors to many people’s problem with weight gain. There are probably as many “diet plans” available as there are obese people, but really, what so many of us need is a way to work through our emotional problems first so we can then just be able to eat more sensibly. We need programs, books, and buddies and trainers who are going to help support us through the emotional parts, rather than just give us tips about what diets or exercises can spur our weight loss.
- Developing that further, we don’t need platitudes or trainers who don’t “get it” when it comes to the emotional aspect. A family member told me that a friend of hers has a trainer who just told her client, “you need to think of food simply as fuel.” OK, definitely true. And that may be an a-ha moment for some people. It may very well start them on their journey just fine and give them just what they need. But others of us know that. It’s a “duh” statement. We need some specific, concrete tips and support that will help us to change our deeply rooted habits and mindsets to be able to get to that point. But just saying that and thinking that it’s “that simple” could be completely unhelpful. Me, I have a bit of a distrust toward the trainers who are so devoted to their physical health and upkeep that they’ve either never had a problem with seeing food as something other than fuel or that they’ve forgotten what it felt like to use it as reward or friend. I don’t want to feel condescended to or insulted somehow. I do need someone in my corner who really “gets” how hard the changeover is and can be a real support emotionally as well as physically.
- I think I’ll end up going into more detail about this later, but even as emotional eating and food addiction are closely related, they are distinctly different. There are emotional triggers that make us eat to soothe and reward ourselves, and then there are physiological triggers that make our body want more of sugary and fatty foods. Some of us may have more problems with one than the other, or equally with both. Any successful weight loss will need to focus on whichever issue (or both) that we find most challenging.
- Losing weight effectively and for the long term is work. It requires our attention emotionally as well as physically. But it’s ridiculously easy to be attracted to quick fixes and crazy diets. For example, this week I ran across a book that addresses emotional eating but within the framework of the hCG diet. I read through a sample and honestly found myself drawn to it for a little while. Sure, I thought, I can still do the hard work here and focus on the issues I have, but wouldn’t it be wonderful to give myself a kick start with the hCG plan and lose some easy weight? It was born out of sheer desperation. But for one, there still aren’t many studies supporting the plan, and too many of those who sell the plan or the hCG are not doctors; they’re just people out there wanting to make a quick buck. Two, it can be expensive, and three, it could very well be dangerous.
So there’s what I’ve been thinking about these past few days. I’ve been trying to watch what I eat a bit, but I’m not trying to jump into weight loss right now. I’m gathering information and support for what will need to be a long haul that will take serious emotional and physical work. (I’m also waiting until my kids are back in school in about six weeks so I can devote more time to it and have less stress in my life keeping me from being able to turn away from my emotional-eating habits. Having kids at home for a summer can be pretty stressful, especially when they’re whiny and fussing at each other and asking me for stuff nonstop. But that’s another topic and another post…)
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