Weighty Matters

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Planning to Succeed

on July 7, 2013

We’ve all heard the saying that if you fail to plan, you plan to fail.  So it is with food and me.  This doesn’t mean that I automatically mess up with my eating if I don’t plan in advance, but the percentage of likelihood definitely increases.   Definitely when I plan my meals and prepare ahead of time, I do better at staying on track.

I’ve been sort of la-la-laing my way the last few weeks and progress is slow.  Pardon the pun, but I’m fed up with this stage of my recovery and definitely want to lose the remainder of my weight and meet my goal a.s.a.p.  I know I’m not going to wake up tomorrow 60 pounds lighter.

Wait.  I have to pause here and marvel at the wonder of it all.  Sometimes a terrific realization hits out of the blue, like just happened.  I used to wallow in the heart-numbing despair of thinking, “It will take me forever to lose more than 200 pounds.  I’ll never, ever be successful.”  Now I can look at the journey and know that, holy wow.  I only have 60 more pounds to go!  Woohoo!

Okay, pause over.  As I was saying, I’m not going to wake up 60 pounds lighter tomorrow, but it’s a reachable goal in the months ahead.  Ideally, without fail, I want to have the rest of this weight off of my body before the two year anniversary of my surgery in January.  I’ve said it before and I’ll keep on saying it because I am determined to make that goal a reality.

Without going crazy, I’m stepping up my exercise with a little additional something-something every day, whether it’s an extra 15 minutes of walking, a session on my Pilates machine at night, the opportunity to jog in the pool, some Zumba dancing during television commercials, practicing Tai Chi, whatever.  As long as I do something.

I’m back to logging my food and activity on MyFitnessPal every day too, even creating recipes or finding out the calorie/nutrition numbers for dishes I make from a recipe.  There are programs online that will calculate these numbers for me if I plug in the ingredients.  Pretty cool.

Sometimes the planning isn’t just what I eat or what exercise I do, but organizing my life so that I can fit this all in.  I usually pack my lunch in the mornings while sipping my morning protein drink.  That’s good planning, but it takes a little time.  Some mornings I’m rushed and doing the lunch prep cuts into the period when I would otherwise take the dogs, and myself, for a morning walk.  So, tonight I put together my lunch bag and stuck it into the fridge.  Without that task needing to be done tomorrow, the dogs and I will both get our extra exercise first thing.

The amount of preparation also figures into success.   I’ve learned that if I give myself an inch, I’ll take a mile.   For example, it is not wise for me to take a jar of peanut butter into the office and leave it in my desk drawer for when I want to use it as a snack.   For some reason, I can control myself better at home, but when I’m busy at work, that is just too tempting.  Same thing with hummus or carrots, nuts, or (fill in the blank).  Last year at some point, I visited one of those places that sells in bulk and also supplies restaurants but is also open to the public.  I bought the little containers and lids that are used for take-out salad dressing and the like.  These are perfect for holding a tablespoon of peanut butter or hummus.  (I clean them out and recycle them, I promise.)  I added green apple slices and carrot sticks to reuseable containers.  I measured out some Greek yogurt and fresh fruit in another glass container for lunch.  There you have it.  Two snacks and lunch all ready to go in them morning.

Dinner is also planned for tomorrow so I don’t have to do the whole “shop when I’m hungry” gauntlet.  That rarely turns out well.  I’m also good to go for all day on Tuesday.  A couple of days of planning usually carry me through.  Tuesday evening I have a meeting at night, after dinner.  When that’s done I can hit the supermarket and pick up what I need for meals the rest of the week.

Reading all of this over, it sure sounds like I have it all together.  Trust me, I really don’t.  Every day is still fraught with potential pitfalls, and possible slips.  That’s the reality of life as a compulsive eater.  I could grab and eat for no other reason than food is in my immediate vicinity.  If I lived in a bubble and never encountered any other food possibilities other than the things on my plan, I’d be fine.  That’s not a practical reality.

Instead, I simply try to do the best that I can.  When I’m working a strong recovery, I keep the appropriate foods close and available so I don’t need to make decisions on the fly.  I organize my life as best I can so that I can keep up with my fitness activities.  I plan what I can in order to succeed.

2 responses to “Planning to Succeed

  1. pinkpelican says:

    For exercise … I just had my 2 year surgiversary. Surgeon said that usually in year 2 to 3 they tend to see some regain. He said cardio (walking, swimming, zumba, etc.) remains good, but he also recommended I do strength training, building muscle, because more muscle will burn more calories. Not that I want to be a lady bodybuilder (the look doesn’t appeal to me), but increasing strength & muscle tone will build strong, lean muscle, which will make me look better & be healthier.

    So I’m trying to institute a few minutes throughout the day doing things that will help. I’m taking the stairs at work every time I come & go, & sometimes I’ll throw in an extra flight just for the heck of it. A few reps of squats or lunges. Modified pushups (because I’m not strong enough yet to do regular pushups, I do them from my knees, or against a wall). Crunches and/or situps. Bench pressing the baby (hey, she thinks it’s wicked fun and she weighs 16 or 17 pounds.

    Thing is, you can do this kind of stuff just using your body weight for resistance. You don’t need a gym membership or any equipment.

    And, you don’t have to do it all at once and find 30 or 45 minutes out of your busy schedule. Do some reps when you get up in the morning or before you go to bed. Sometimes, when I take the stairs, since almost nobody uses them, I’ll do a couple of sets of pushups (feet on the landing, hands on a tread 2 or 3 stairs up, so it’s modified but still effective). Or I can do a couple of sets of squats on the landing.

    My husband had us taking breaks during our walks; we’d walk half a mile, a mile, then we’d pause at a bench or at a wide spot beside the walkway and do some kind of strength training exercise… some squats, some push ups, some triceps works, something. It made for a little break in the cardio & it got some strength training in.

    You might find that to be a useful strategy, rather than just upping your cardio.

    Good luck! You can do this!

  2. Skye says:

    Knowing how to control what you can control is a huge part of making your life your own. You are so strong and wise and I just love reading what you have to say: it applies to so many aspects of my own life as well. This is great stuff!

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