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One Day Can Make a Difference

My stomach feels much better today, less raw and uncomfortable.  It’s been smoothed by creamy, healthy smoothies, tea, lots of water, and soup.  My head, and by head I mean my mind, and my heart (emotions) feel much better today too.  Writing it all out last night and then making a plan and sticking to it today ending up being very self-affirming.  I was more clear-headed and better able to focus on my tasks.  Food was not a big issue; I wasn’t attacked by unending compulsion to eat in appropriately.

In program, we focus on one day at a time.  Now the day is winding down.  I’m chilling at home with a last cup of green tea and getting ready to settle in with the television shows I like to watch.  Tomorrow when I wake up and before my feet hit the floor, I’ll recommit to another day and know that it can make a positive difference.

Thank you for being here.  I hope you’re having a good day too.

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Staying in the Day

I have a bad habit of pressuring myself with big expectations when it comes to my weight loss performance.  Surely this is part of a diet mentality, but sometimes it feels like big wishes while other times it could be setting myself up to fail.  I’m not sure but I know that I have to stop.

The root of this is my obsession with weighing myself.  I’ll get on the scale before showering or eating anything in the morning and then again before I go to bed at night.  My mind set is somewhat different, depending on what stage I’m in for the effort.  When I’d first start a diet and was going great guns, or right after weight loss surgery, I just wanted to weigh myself alll of the time, as if I could physically watch the pounds disappear from my body and just needed the digital evidence before my eyes.

When things go great, this is positive reinforcement.  Look, I lost a pound.  Hooray!  That’s great.

Then I start calculating progress in my head and projecting where I want to be, or where I could be a few weeks or months into the future.  I set goals based more on “oh please, that’s where I want to be” rather than giving any thought to what’s practical and possible.

What eventually happens is that I veer a little off course, or my body doesn’t stay on the schedule that my mind determined.  I get upset with myself.  A little depressed.  Air leaks out of my motivational balloon.  My mindset gets less positive.  Things can go downhill fast.

I’ve had a string of really strong days but I can already see that I’m falling into that bad habit again.  Too much weighing.  Too much playing “what if” and calculating how much weight I possibly could lose by such and such date.  This game goes like this… “What if I lose two pounds a week?  That’s eight pounds a month, or thirty pounds in four months.”  Oh, but wait.  I don’t stop there.  The thought process goes, “But if I lost 10-12 pounds in a month, then I could lose almost 50 pounds in four months!”  Gradually, the expectations get larger, more improbable, and the pressure increases.  I lose my focus on what I need to do today with each meal.  Projecting into tomorrow, next week, next month or whenever, does not help me shore up the foundation of right now, which is what I need to get to tomorrow.

I like to think that weighing myself daily keeps me honest, and twice a day gives me an emotional boost.  While these things could sort of work positively for me sometimes, honestly, there is more potential for screwing me up in my head.

My recovery program emphasizes One Day at a Time.  When times are challenging, it could get even more immediate, like One Meal at a Time.

I need to stay in the day with my program.  This is a process and not an event.  It’s a journey.  It isn’t a diet.  It’s my life — lived in health and recovery.

Most of the time the tools of the program are things that we do.  In this case, the next tool I need to add to my kit is to stop doing something… weighing myself so frequently.  It is almost as scary to think of doing this cold turkey as it is to give up a certain food all together.  I am afraid that it will stress me out too much to right now commit to only weighing myself once a week.  I’m going to gradually reduce my dependency on that digital display as a measure of my success.

This requires faith in myself and in my program.  I know, I know, that if I follow my food plan and keep my abstinence one day at a time, I will not only be a lot more serene and happy, but I will also lose weight.  I need to free myself of a time schedule for the weight loss and just keep going day by day by day.

Just like I’m making sure to commit my food by typing it into a digital note on my phone every  morning and then logging each meal on My Fitness Plan after I eat it, I’m going to make this commitment in writing — okay, in typing.

For this week, I commit to weighing myself only three times:  Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings before breakfast.  My focus will not be on what I weigh, but what I need to do every day to stay abstinent, follow my food plan, and nurture my recovery.  No matter what the scale number says on one of those mornings, I will not give into the temptation to weigh myself again at night, or the next morning.  Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings only for the week.

I’ll let you know how it goes!

 

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Day by Day

It’s Day 8 of the Lean-Green-Clean effort.  So far so good, mostly.  I’m still refraining from chocolate, refined sugar, junk carbs like white bread or potatoes, cakes, cookies, etc.  I’m eating more vegetables, fruits, and lean proteins.  My body feels great.  I lost seven pounds in the first week.  My head and heart are serene and happy.  My spirit is encouraged by my ability to stay on the program.

I won’t pretend it’s been easy all of the time.  Some nights I need to guard against the compulsive behavior, even if the extra food I’m tempted to reach for is something healthy from my plan.  The behavior is as much of a risk to me as the actual food items.

Cravings pop up from time to time.  It’s always important for me to analyze whether the craving is real — a physical desire for a type of food (salty, sweet, crunchy, whatever), for a specific food, or if it’s a mental/emotional craving.

I’d put together a lean, healthier version of a meat loaf to bake for dinner tonight.  Lean ground meat augmented with chopped peppers and onions and spinach.  Driving home from a doctor’s appointment, I thought about that protein and started thinking about how I’d always served it with mashed potatoes and gravy.  All of a sudden, the broccoli I’d planned to steam as a side dish had zero appeal and I started craving creamy mashed potatoes, darn it.

It wasn’t a physical “want” but a mental and somewhat emotional or associative desire.  Potatoes stayed in my mind while I ran some errands and then inspiration struck.  I could buy some cauliflower and mash that instead which would keep me on the low-carb/more veggie path but, hopefully, satisfy the craving.  I made the conscious choice to allow myself this substitution from the broccoli and drove to the supermarket to get the cauliflower.

Once I was in the store, I started thinking about chocolate.  Rich, dark, chocolate.  Not a lot, just a single piece.  It won’t hurt, my eating disorder said to me.  You’ve been so good and on point, it cajoled.  Go ahead.  Really.  It’s okay.

In the short line at the checkout, I went so far as picking up a bar and then putting it back.  “I never liked chocolate with cherries in it,” I said to myself.  Right before the employee started scanning my other purchases, I picked up another bar – one which I darn well knew I loved.  You can bring this home and trust yourself to only eat a square of it, my disease assured me.

My disease lies.  Oddly enough, it was that lie that snapped me out of the compulsion.  I put back the chocolate bar and finished my purchase, then immediately left the store.

Sometimes recovery isn’t achieved day by day, it’s minute by minute.  Definitely choice by choice.  Today, I prevailed.  By the way, the healthy meatloaf and mashed cauliflower were delicious.

In other news, I restarted treatment for my bad knee.  The orthopedic doctor injected me with Euflexxa, a hyaluronic acid product, to hopefully restore some cushion in my knee joint.  Getting the shot honestly isn’t that big a deal.  He numbs my knee with an icy spray first so I don’t even feel the “pinch” of the needle going into my leg.  (The two inch long, somewhat thick needle, I might add, with a nod to my toughness. :-).)  It’s a little sore tonight but I’ve complied with the instructions to rest and ice it for 20 minutes at a time for five or six times.  I’m on restricted activity for 48 hours which, unfortunately, means I can’t do Tai Chi for a couple of days, but I’ll be back on it by Friday.

It’s all worth it if the full course of treatment improves my overall knee condition, reduces the pain, and helps me maintain a strong level of activity.

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Little Wins

I almost called this post Small Victories, but that’s the title of a book I’m reading by the wonderful Anne LaMott and I didn’t want to steal it for my blog.  I will no doubt write a whole post about this book after I finish it, so stay tuned. 🙂

It’s Day Three of Lean-Green-Clean and it’s been another day of good, clean abstinence from compulsive overeating.  Even though I mentioned a few posts ago how my body feels different when I eat clean versus when I eat crap, I am frankly amazed at how much better I feel after only three days.  My systems and cells are practically singing.  They’re much happier when I fuel them with healthy, nutritious food and don’t inflict big quantities of fat, junk carbs, processed foods, and sugar.  I’m also doing a better job of hydrating, which increases the wellness.  I have more energy too.

I’m sure there are people who might look at this and think, “Three days.  Big whoop.”  To a lot of people, eating clean, green, healthy food in appropriate volume isn’t difficult.  It’s, shall we say, normal.  For me, one day of abstinence from compulsive overeating is a win.  I can’t take the days, any of them, for granted.  I sure can’t look at the effort and consider it easy or think there’s nothing to it.  Humility and gratitude are important to my recovery.

On top of the overall day, I had a particularly special “win”.   A group of us got together right after work at neighboring restaurant for the send off of a dear co-worker who is going on to a different job.  I’d already decided that I wouldn’t order anything to eat, but instead just enjoy the time and then eat my planned-on meal when I got home.  It’s not that I can’t eat out at a restaurant, and the food is good at this place.  I just knew, however, that the portions would be huge and there weren’t many menu items that fit the lean-green-clean plan.  I felt strong and confident in this decision.

I hadn’t planned on there being a large cake at the gathering.  Red velvet with a cream cheese frosting, to be exact.  It was sitting right on the table in front of me . . . so close that I could actually smell the cream cheese and the sugar.  Others at the gathering offered me a slice and I didn’t even think about saying yes.  I sat there with everyone and that scrumptious looking/smelling cake for a good 45 minutes, just talking and sipping a glass of water.  It wasn’t even a case of white-knuckling my way through the event.  My mindset was strong, calm, and sure that I truly didn’t want to eat any cake.

That truly is a victory for me.  I faced down a substance that is usually addictive and didn’t give in to my disease.  In addition to checking in and noting how I feel physically, I need to spend some time acknowledging how recovery feels to me emotionally, mentally, and spiritually.

There’s a saying in program that nothing tastes as good as abstinence feels.  I’m celebrating that feeling tonight.

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Scale Separation Anxiety

Holy cow.  I weighed myself one final time this morning because, for all of my brave talk yesterday, I wanted, needed to know my number before I embarked on giving up the scale and not focusing on the number.  Oh sure, if I’d been really strong I wouldn’t have gotten on the scale this morning, but I caved.  I’m glad that I did because I received the reassurance that I did not gain weight on my cruise.  So, Booyah for me on that point.

After I saw the number, I got off of the scale and nudged it under the dresser.  There it will remain.  I am determined that I am not going to weigh every day, or even once a week.  I think I should go for 30 days of abstinent living and not weigh myself for a month.

Can I tell you that the thought of going that long tenses me up?  I haven’t even gone a regular 24 hours without weighing myself and I’m already feeling some separation anxiety.

This is ridiculous.  Clearly I am even more obsessed with my weight number than I realized — and I thought I’d realized that I am pretty damn obsessed.  Friends, let me tell you.  Feeling this stress and tension drives home the point that I really need to take this action and break my scale number addiction.  In appropriate doses, the scale number can be a healthy measure of progress.  What I’m doing, this fixation, is not healthy.  So, changing the behavior is, I think, a step in the right direction.  I am even more determined to focus my attention and effort on eating in an abstinent manner — making it my daily goal to be abstinent for the day, each day, one day at a time.

Abstaining from compulsive overeating is the essence of my recovery.  Losing excess weight is the happy extra benefit.  (Hah — can I be my own friend with bennies?  Bad joke.  Sorry.)

Okay.  Here we go.  I’m going to make a commitment.  I honestly don’t know if I can hold out for a whole month, so I’m going to shoot for a shorter commitment but still one that’s a significant amount of time to count.  I will not weigh myself again until Monday, February 16th.  Two weeks.  I can do this.  Instead of obsessing over my weight number, I will concentrate on my abstinence and recovery.  Every day.  One day at a time.

By the way, I had a great abstinent day today.  I don’t want to let my scale issues cloud the acknowledgment that today was a good food day.

Tomorrow, I wake up and do it again.

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Obsessing Less About Food

Compulsive overeaters spend a lot of time thinking about food.  We can obsess over what we eat, what we might eat, what we have eaten, when we’ll eat again and what.  What we should eat, what we shouldn’t have eaten.

Honestly, the food thoughts go on and on and on.

When I am doing well on program and leading my life abstaining from compulsive overeating, I notice that I am spend a whole lot less time obsessing over food and eating.  For me, this is one of the hallmarks of serenity in recovery.

I like planning out my meals, preparing and then not thinking about them until it’s time to eat.  When I’m doing well on program, I can live days at a time like this.  I do it one day at a time, but those days add up.  When I’m not doing well, I wear myself out emotionally and mentally.

Ever since Christmas, I’ve had a strong of really good days which is why I am feeling the serenity of not thinking about food, or a least why I’m aware of being serene.  There’s a marked contrast so it’s truly obvious.

A series of recovery days also free me from other negative feelings like guilt, frustration, sadness, self-directed anger and other messy stuff.

Positiveness, serenity, and hope are better.  Much better.

I feel more connected to my recovery than I have for a while.  I do not believe this is a coincidence since, for the first time in years, I am doing daily readings first thing in the morning and giving more time to quiet contemplation and other tools.  This practice helps me align myself for the day.  I’d forgotten how much it helps and plan to keep building on it as the days go on.

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How Do Some People Do It?

You know those people who say they can eat one cookie, break off one piece of a chocolate bar and leave the rest for the next day and the next?

How do they do it?

I’m feeling a little whiny tonight.  I’m not and never have been one of those people for whom a simple, small taste was enough.  I always want more.  Even though I can’t physically eat the way that I once did, my brain often wants to.  That’s the strength of compulsion.

I want it to be easier, hence tonight’s mood.  My inner-Mary is complaining like a young teen, screaming, “It’s not fair-er-er-er!”

You know what?  It isn’t fair, but it is what is.  All of the whining in the world doesn’t change the situation, nor does it lead to reality.

This is yet another example of the credo that acceptance is the answer to all problems.  Time for me to stop complaining, work on my acceptance, and move on.  One day at a time.  I don’t have to like the situation, but I do need to accept it and act accordingly.

That is all.

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There’s Always Another New Day

Until the day we die, or maybe the day after, we always have a new day in which to restart our efforts and recommit to our goals. The only thing that drives an irreparable stake through the heart of our dreams is giving up.

I need to remember this.

Tomorrow I’m starting a new diet and fitness program. I’ll share the name, but only with the disclaimer that this is not a recommendation or endorsement. It’s called the 21 Day Fix. I’m not a big fan of the name. I’m not a lamp or a car to be fixed. I’m a person who needs some help and support to continue down my path to my weight loss and fitness goals. Even though the program is liberally advertised via infommercials on television, I heard about it via a country music artist named Jo Dee Messina who decided to do the program and started a challenge with her fans on her Facebook page. (You might remember that she was one of the artists on the Country Music Cruise that I went on last January.) Anyway, I heard about it on her page and then, in a strange synchronicity, saw the infommercial while channel surfing. I watched the show — is there anything that Montel Williams won’t hire on to help sell? — and that interested me enough to read more about the program on the web.

I like that the program includes a series of workouts that provide great variety in at-home exercise and each is only 30 minutes long. It also has a sensible eating plan that focuses on eating clean, quality foods in portion controlled balance. The portions and the balance are assisted by a series of colorful containers in different sizes.

Okay, enough about the program itself. Here’s what I find really interesting as I sit here tonight. My mindset and motivation are ramped up like I flicked a switch into the On position.

***** We interrupt this blog post for a commercial distraction. Have you seen the Kohl’s campaign for Find Your Yes? I just saw one filmed from the perspective of an elementary school kid trying to climb up a rope in gym class. It’s enough to give me heart palpitations and flashback to being the fat girl in gym class who couldn’t even pull herself up one foot off of the ground. Thank goodness the Kohl’s ad is a feel-good spot and the kid makes it all of the way up to ring the bell. *****

Now, back to my blog. So, I’ve been struggling for awhile and it all comes back to the mindset. I can do anything if I keep my head in the game and don’t mind-screw myself. I thought about this program for a while before ordering because I worried about whether I was falling into a diet mentality. I finally decided that I could benefit from the structure and the assistance of balance between proteins, carbs, fruits, veggies, and fats. For example, I noticed that it differentiates between fruits and veggies instead of combining them into a single category. It splits up different types of nuts and seeds.

I also like that it shows me how to treat myself a couple of times a week if I really want a glass of wine or a piece of chocolate. By following the instructions, I can substitute and not screw up the plan. It’s a food plan that I can live with and not feel like I’m on a restrictive diet. That is another asset for my mindset.

Earlier tonight, I went to the supermarket and purchased a variety of food items to fit the food plan. I’m going to put together my lunch and snack items before I go to bed so that I’m all prepared. My alarm is set for 6:00 a.m. so that I can do the 30 minute exercise routine before work.

All told, I’m excited about getting started tomorrow. I’m putting behind me the upset and negative thoughts I have about having gained some weight. I had a setback and now I’m setting it aside. Tomorrow is another new day.

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Today’s the Day

Today’s the day I get back on track. It’s just before 8 a.m. and I’ve already made a good start. Instead of going back to sleep when my clock radio went off at 6, I rolled out of bed, put on my walking shoes and took the dogs out for a 30 minute power walk. I just had my protein smoothie and packed a healthy lunch with the appropriate snacks for lunch.

I feel strong and powerful emotionally, just in taking these few positive steps.

Honestly, I permitted myself to wallow for a few days and, in the wallowing, also ate a bunch of stuff that wasn’t good for me but tasted good. Now, I could continue to do that, but I also see how quickly my body puts on weight when I do and that isn’t acceptable. I’d also stayed off of the scale for a while, not wanting to face the physical reality. I got on this morning. Sure enough. According to the scale, I’ve gained 8 pounds. I know this is mostly water weight or bloat, but it’s a good reminder that I’m only a few missteps away from totally backsliding. Also not acceptable.

I am absolutely happy with the progress I’ve made over the last 2 1/2 years and I cherish that happiness. It will take me a while longer to untangle my messed up mindset but I am very, very clear on this point. I have transformed my life and will protect that transformation. Even if I never get to goal weight, I still want to maintain the good health that I’ve achieved thus far. (Yes, I know I’ll eventually get to goal weight, but I still need to reinforce the joy and happiness of the “now”, so it doesn’t go unappreciated in the effort for the future.

I’m sorry if I’m repeating myself and this all sounds like stuff I’ve said before, but I need to repeat it for myself. Heck, I need to pound it into my brain so it stays up front and doesn’t get clouded or buried by the other stuff that sometimes goes on in my diseased thinking.

Right now, I’m taking back my recovery. Today’s the day.

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Just For Today

Just for today, I will stay vigilant against my compulsive eating.
Just for today, I will eat only the food items that I planned for and prepared.
Just for today, I will say “No” to myself if I start to think or act like I need something more.

Just for today, I will remind myself that nothing tastes as good as abstinence feels.
Just for today, I will remember the tools I’ve developed to successfully fight against my eating disorder.
Just for today, I will cultivate positive action, positive attitude, joyful spirit.

Just for today, I will remember that what I did in the past does not mean I will repeat the behavior in the future — unless it’s positive healthy behavior, of course. 🙂

Just for today, I will remember to foster good thoughts and not succumb to “stinking thinking”.
Just for today, I will treat myself with kindness, honor, respect and care.

Just for today, I will live in a state of recovery and not relapse.

You might be asking why I state these things, “Just for today”. It goes with the 12 Step Program approach of one day at a time. It helps me to focus and be aware of my choices and actions in the moment.

I can do all of these things and be successful today.

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