Weighty Matters

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What’s In Your Toolkit?

on August 8, 2012

Skye made a valid point in comments on yesterday’s post that we need different toolkits for different parts of our lives.  She then asked what is in my toolkit for eating better.  That got me thinking.  After all, if I don’t know what tools I need, which ones I have and which ones do what job, I can’t possible expect to fix, repair and prepare.

This is a different kind of toolkit.  It not only holds actual objects, but also emotional and mental ones.  So, what tools do I need to keep in my personal toolkit to succeed with my food plan and weight loss?  Let’s start with the whole eating right thing.  First of all, I need willingness.  First thing every morning before I even get out of bed, I need to reach for the willingness to follow my plan.

Wait, that’s the second thing.  The first tool is the plan.  Every day I have a plan, so I reach for the willingness.  Check.

Next, I need to have the right foods readily accessible in my house.  Time’s a very useful tool, as in getting up early enough to eat the planned-for breakfast and pack lunch and snacks to take to work.

Another useful tool is myfitnesspal.com where I can input my food for the day and track the nutrients, then input the exercise I do in the course of the day.

Lucky for me that the toolkit expands in size, because sometimes I need a thermal bag to transport my food or a small cooler for road trips.

Back on the emotional side and mental side of my kit with willingness, I put the tools of mental strength, self-awareness, and conscious thinking.   At any given time in any place, delicious food will be present.  The look, aroma, or memory of the taste can trigger a “want” craving.   Mental strength and conscious thinking can block the trigger before I reach for the food and put it in my mouth.

Self-awareness doesn’t belong in the tool kit.  It needs its own spot on my belt so that it is always within reach.  Knowing myself, my old patterns of eating, the familiar dance with food, my weak points and my strong suits . . . This self-awareness is key to me breaking those old patterns and establishing new, healthy behaviors and choices.  If you don’t know your own problem, you can’t begin to fix it.

My history in Overeaters Anonymous taught me a lot and provided me with a number of tools that help with the emotions, the understanding of myself as a compulsive overeater, and the steps to recovery.

How have I gotten this far and not listed the big tool that started me on the road to recovery?  The surgery!  My sleeved stomach is the most powerful physical tool in my arsenal!  While I’m working out all of the emotional stuff, building up my new behavior patterns and redefining my relationship with food and eating, the restricted stomach keeps me from eating too much.

The toolkit is getting crowded, but that’s good.  There’s still plenty of room.  Exercise is another great tool for developing the new, healthier lifestyle.  The willingness tool factors in here, too.  Then there are lots of other things that I’ve gathered.  Different exercise DVDs for variety, Zumba classes, Tai Chi, the pool.  The right footwear.  All of these tools help me sustain the exercising habit, hopefully forging it in such a way that it will stick.

This blog is a tool.  I don’t know if I’d be doing as well if I hadn’t decided to explore my life and journey in this way.  Working through the process by writing and sharing works wonders for me.

People are not things, so I’m not going to say that my friends and family are tools. That would just be wrong. However, I couldn’t do this without the loving support and encouragement I receive from everyone.  All of you belong in this group too.   Each person, in his or her own way, is part of my construction crew, helping me get this new life built.

So, let me keep the curiosity going.  What are you working on in your life and what’s in your toolkit to help you succeed?


4 responses to “What’s In Your Toolkit?

  1. Skye says:

    What’s in my toolkit or kits? I have so many things I’m working on: losing weight and getting healthier although those are not going anywhere yet. I have to start eating healthier before I get too serious into the exercise or the exercise will be almost meaningless.

    Then there is the getting better emotionally and mentally with the depression and the anxiety. I’m sure the grief is hooked in there somewhere but it seems to have hidden itself away for now.

    Finding work. Developing regular home-care habits again. Develop better self-care habits again.

    I think I’ll have to write my own blog post to answer all of this. So it will be my next post, okay? And thanks for your very detailed toolkit. I’m going to borrow from it to form my own; I hope you don’t mind!

  2. forestjane says:

    I think you should add your blog to your toolkit. I bet writing your thoughts/plans down makes them more concrete and harder to evade.

    I’m debating some kind of weight loss surgery myself, but to be honest, the ‘cutting out part of the stomach forever’ is scary. Did you consider any of the less invasive surgeries?

    • Mary Stella says:

      The blog is in the toolkit for sure!

      Honestly, I knew that the less invasive lap-band was not a viable solution for me. Not only can it be removed, but you can also thwart it by not having it regularly repumped with fluid. I know myself well enough to know that I would have eventually failed with that option.

      The sleeve made sense to me with the surgical procedure removing most of my existing stomach. However, unlike gastric bypass, this procedure doesn’t include rerouting the digestive system.

      Granted, given time and pushing of food boundaries, it’s possible to stretch the remaining stomach pouch. I’m counting on not doing that

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