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Sunday, June 24, 2007

Loving Movement vs. Comfort Food: Loving Yourself In Healthy Ways

Body Clutter is the first book I've read that mostly deals with the psychology behind the weight loss struggle, or as they term it, "stinking thinking." The only other one I read a while ago was Make The Connection by Bob Greene & Oprah. And I plan to read more books along the line of solving the problem of distorted thinking, etc. because I feel I just can't make progress without changing my thinking. The authors of Body Clutter ask you to journal your feelings on certain topics to excavate some of your long-held beliefs that have gotten you in trouble and caused you to pack on the pounds. For the next several posts, I hope you don't mind, but I'd like to write on some of the topics they ask you to think about.

Loving (?) Movement

One big epiphany for me was that although I've always exercised, I haven't used it as an opportunity to give my body something it needs or enjoys. For example, in the book, they use a euphemism for the word, "exercise" for those who are exercise-phobic. Instead, they call it "loving movement." My view of exercise has been more like, "if I'm not beating the crap out of my body, it's not doing me any good." So I would push myself too far and just continue to crack the whip on myself when I was in pain and should have maybe stopped or been more gentle. Results: torn ACL last year from pushing myself too hard in a kick boxing class. When I was recovering from my ACL surgery, I tried to go on small walks for exercise. I would try to plow ahead and my knee would scream out in pain. I had just read a few of the chapters from Body Clutter, and so I would repeat in my head over and over again, "loving movement... loving movement...loving movement" just to slow down, be more gentle, and stop myself from beating my knee to death and re-injuring it. I'm still struggling with being ok if I don't have a huge hour of cardio where I'm sucking some serious air. And where I lose out is that I have this terrible "all or nothing" philosophy. Now I have a sprained ankle & I can't do walking outside or on the treadmill & elliptical like I had been doing. So I just do nothing.

Loving (!) Movement

This is the lesson I think I need to learn: make sure my body gets plenty of movement every day. Shoot for 60 minutes of cardio when I'm healthy. Plus, I should probably purposely schedule some more gentle regular exercise like yoga & pilates. Because I actually really want to start doing it regularly, but with time constraints & also fitting in weight training, it's hard to make time for it all. And when I'm not healthy, I need to find ways to move my body that nourish it and are loving and gentle.

Food That Bites

Maybe if I felt love from myself from movement or exercise, I wouldn't feel such a huge need to derive comfort from food. I noticed that I put a lot of energy into pig-out sessions when I'm stressed. We're talking speed, ardor, drive and force. I pack those girl scout cookies down like I'm in a competition. No one is going to argue that the chocolate cookies don't give you seratonin. It actually does relieve stress for me. But so do cigarettes for other people. Body Clutter's first chapter is called, "Food: The Ultimate Weapon of Self-Destruction." I full-well know that I'm sending myself into the heart attack risk zone by not losing weight, but I still insist on using the cookies the wrong way. I haven't delved deep enough into the "why's" of it. But I know that I'm probably trying to bury fear, self-doubt, frustration, guilt, etc. The truth is, I have NO IDEA how to deal with these emotions. I honestly don't have a substitute right now that could replace emotional eating. And that's why it's a bit scary to take a step into the dark and commit the rest of my life to 100% healthy eating with no cheating and never fall back on the old tried and true methods of getting temporary solace through binging.

More of What You Don't Need Can Never Satisfy You

So what I have learned from this is that when I eat cookies when I'm stressed, I'm trying to soothe & comfort myself like putting a pacifier in a crying baby's mouth. But if the pacifier was laced with E-coli, of course I would never give that to a child. Also, I would never substitute food or drink for actual love and attention. Thinking about my own kids- they need so many hugs and kisses every day. They need to be listened to, talked to lovingly & gently. They need to be played with and praised. I'm sure there are equivalents of those things that I need to be giving myself, as well.

I Repent Too Damned Fast

So just to report on my June goals- I've been doing ok on the SparkPeople diet. But I've had some stressful moments where I've eaten tons of sweets and just sabotaged my progress. I'm going to think about it this way: there was a leader of my church named J. Golden Kimball in the early 1900's who was deeply spiritual, but would sometimes swear & use coarse language. When asked how he could get away with doing that, he replied, "Hell, they can't excommunicate me. I repent too damned fast." That's going to be my new motto for cheating on the diet. There's no reason I have to abandon the program after a few small slip-ups. I am inspired by that humorous but true concept. When we're wrong we need to change quickly. Yes, a few hours ago I had chocolate pie. But see? I'm already back on track. Back on track for reals, armed with a few new strategies for loving myself in a more healthy, nourishing way that will be beneficial in the long run.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Help! I'm getting a little too close to the edge of the wagon

No, I haven't fallen off the wagon. (I just fell in my living room. I'll explain later.) But I've been pushing the upper edge of that calorie range (SparkPeople gives me between 1410 and 1760 per day), and yes, there were a couple of days I was up into 1900+ calories this week.

Here's the problem I'm having: I AM SICK OF BROWN RICE! And I don't see too much I can do about it because for the heart healthy menu, I have to eat a ton of whole grains & there just isn't that much variety. Or is there? Do you have suggestions? Ok- I take that back, I am eating almost every whole grain in the known free world. They rotate me through a lot of whole grain menu items: whole grain bagels, whole grain waffles, whole wheat bread, cream of wheat, oatmeal, whole wheat english muffins, potatoes, corn bread, couscous, popcorn, whole wheat pasta, pretzels, tortilla chips, whole grain pitas, whole wheat crackers... That should be enough variety, shouldn't it? But with the recommended 7 servings per day (nope, not kidding. 2 for breakfast, 1 for snack, 2 for lunch, 2 for dinner), that brown rice still comes around a little too often. What else is there? Bulgar, barley...?? I would welcome any recipes or suggestions to change up the palate. I used to not mind rice, but I would eat white rice with flavorful creamy sauces on them (and not plain with tofu, green beans & BBQ sauce on them. Blech!! Don't try it at home!). That's why today when I tasted a Reece's Peanut Butter Cup for my small "treat," my taste buds said, "More! More! You've been depriving us!" ... and they got more relief than they really needed. Sigh.

In other (bad) news, I SPRAINED MY ANKLE!!! Ok. With that photo, I don't know what's worse: the swelling or the need for a good pedicure. It actually just looks like I am posting a picture of my chubby ankles & feet. But actually, on the outside of my ankle, the swelling was the size of a big egg. It looked like a cancerous growth or something. And that was the morning after the injury after ice, elevation, Celebrex, etc. I am soooooooo mad. I stepped on one of my kids' toys, struggled to get my footing, then just came down & crunched the ankle. I didn't go to the doctor because I know they would just say ice it, take anti-inflammatories, stay off it, etc. I was almost at the point with my knee that I could start slowly venturing into high impact activity again, and now hello! No weight bearing activity for 4-6 weeks, according to webmd.com. Maybe that's how long this cold/flu virus I have will last. It is taking FOREVER for my husband & I to feel better. We are still pretty sick & basically only function with the help of tons of tylenol & decongestant.

So in all reality, I just needed a chance to vent a little to people who know how it feels. I was feeling pretty sorry for myself until I read this article. Very charming Time Magazine photos of families around the world & how much they spend on food per week. It was such an eye opener.

P.S. To the 2007 Challenge people- how do I post on the 2007 Challenge Blog?

Friday, June 8, 2007

Good Eating Week/Bad Exercising Week

I feel like I've been on a seesaw with my weight loss attempts in so many ways. First of all, for a while, I've been getting myself to the gym and getting about 5 hours of cardio/week plus weights very faithfully. But I've been eating like crap. Well, I finally committed myself to eating better, and this week I got sick & only exercised once. And it won't happen tomorrow because I will be at a Women's Conference most of the day.

But at least it hasn't been a week's break from exercising with eating binges as well. Ever since we went to the grocery store & stocked up, so I could stick to the SparkPeople menu plans, I've been doing great. So for my June goal this week, "thumbs up". Good high fiber, high protein breakfasts for the last several days.

But I've noticed something about my menu plan that surprised me- all the carbs! I don't have an "after" picture of my fridge, but the most significant change is 2 bags of bagels, a loaf of bread, potatoes, and a bag of english muffins. I never would have bought that on my own. I'm going, "Are you serious?! I can eat bagels??!" The reason is that SparkPeople generated my menus, knowing I had high cholesterol, and I need to eat a lot of whole grains. So my calorie level is around 1700, with very little fat (they allow me up to 60 grams, but I have been getting around 40), around 100 grams of protein, and around 200 grams of carbs.

So this is a big pendulum swing for me. Or... if you will... more of this seesawing. When I was pregnant with both of my kids, I had gestational diabetes & I was counting carbs & avoiding them like the plague. Now it's a different challenge & I have to stay away from a lot of types of protein that I could load up on when I had diabetes. I dread the day when I have to avoid BOTH carbs AND fatty protein. And at that stage of life they usually take away your salt, too, for high blood pressure! Argh! Getting old is no fun. But I'm sold on the idea that it's a little funner when obesity doesn't add to all the problems you already face. I have got to lick that problem, and I will.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

The Grocery Store Is Your Friend

First, an update on our crazy filtering software- it took out the word "innocent" from my last post! Why would it censor that word???????? Argh!!

Second, I am a new participant in the Make Yourself A Priority in 2007 Challenge for June. I am really excited, especially since it seems like so many of us are on the same page (digging deep and re-locating the motivation/commitment... ups & downs). My partners that I get to cheerlead are Jeannie, Amethyst, and Maria. Go "girls"!

Michelle, the guru of the challenge gave us an invitation to photograph a "before and "after" and do a little fridge makeover. So, ever willing to be candid, here is how my fridge looked last night:

Let me take you on a little tour. I'm proud to say, it's mostly good news with a little room for improvement. (In other words, this is not my splurge refuge. It is usually found elsewhere.) But actually, I will let it sink in that it's one thing that I'm doing well & not try to discount it or feel guilty for giving myself a pat on the back!!

The Good:

  • 1% milk- actually, honestly, I usually drink skim. It's not milk that puts on the pounds for me.
  • Salmon from Trader Joe's
  • Blue pitcher is what I fill with 8 cups of water every day, and I try to empty it by the end of the day.
  • Salsa- SparkPeople.com's favorite ingredient
  • SparkPeople lunch leftovers which I ate today (beans, brown rice & low fat sour cream along with crackers & spicy eggplant dip)
  • Sugar-free jello
  • Whip cream (no weight watcher's points for 1 serving- believe it or not, it's very low cal & low fat because it's mostly air)
  • Smart Balance Light Buttery Spread- Omega 3- need I say more?
  • Whole wheat bread
  • I promise I'm not hiding any treats in the door. Just condiments, kids!
The Bad:
  • Chocolate and mint frosting leftover from the mint brownie episode.
  • Hardly any yummy fresh produce. A kiwi- that is really it. The rest is yucky & was thrown out after this picture.
  • Whipped cream cheese. Could be dangerous, but I promise I'm not abusing it.
Today as per my official June Goal (see sidebar) my breakfast wasn't good (I took my kids to McDonalds & didn't pick the low cal stuff for myself). BUT my lunch & dinner were good. Snacks... do you really want to hear this? Ok. We were desperate, we pulled out some chocolate from the freezer. But I ended up throwing it away since it was old & freezer burned. Also, I think I did the right thing today by making it a rest day from exercise. I'd like to be burning calories, but my body was truly exhausted from yesterday, not getting enough sleep & getting over a cold. Like I said, I can't let myself be a perfectionist on this, or I'll burn out.

So to solve some of the food challenges I was having today, I sent my husband to the grocery store this evening to get food for my SparkPeople meal plans for the rest of the week. Not going to the store often enough triggers set backs for me. Back when I was successful on Weight Watchers (before my son was born way back in 2002), I did really well on the program when I was practically a Trader Joe's rat.

If it's dramatically different & exciting, I'll post the fridge "after" photo tomorrow. Good luck to you all. Get those grocery lists going!

Monday, June 4, 2007

Bleeeeeeep!!!

How frustrating! We have this filtering software on our computer, and it takes out words in the emails & blogs I post so that they sometimes make no sense!! In the previous post, it took out the word "adult" or (in case it filters it again, the definition is, "mature, developed, fully grown, grown, grown-up, of age, ripe, ripened." If you were totally confused, you can read it again, and I have edited the post and replaced it with the word, "adult" in quotes. It seems to be allowing it if it's in quotes. But if it doesn't, I guess I'm going to be doing a lot of random replacement keys * and $ and % and # and what have you. Sheesh!!! All this because we are trying to keep the trashy stuff that is out there out of our home!!!!! It did it to me with the word, "girl" (as in young female) and the word "dead" (as in has bitten the dust). All "innocent" contexts, of course. I don't know how to solve it.

All I can say is SORRY! And I SWEAR I'M NOT CRAZY!

And great news the bad cycle has been broken- I ate 3 great healthy meals & healthy snacks, kept exactly on my SparkPeople meal plan, and topped it off with a spin class at the gym, and weights afterwards! Whew!! Usually this good of a day is a red flag to watch out for burning out. That's what I tend to do. Be really perfect, then if I mess up, then I'm horrible for a little while until I can get myself back on track. But at least the horrible phase was only 4 days instead of 4 months or 4 years, right? :)

Saturday, June 2, 2007

Is There An "Adult" In The House?

I think this will be another post where I psycho-analyze myself to a degree to try to find out why I keep failing at sticking to a weight loss plan. Sigh. So you might want to go to your next blog and skip this one if you are searching for some success stories to motivate you.

The psychoanalysis part:
I was told by a psychologist that everyone has 3 aspects to their personality or decision-making mechanism. A child, a parent, and an "adult". And that sometimes when people are depressed or have other psychological problems, one of the 3 is missing, and the most healthy person is the one where the 3 are most balanced. However, each one has their pro's and cons. So for me: I definitely have the parent. I can be nurturing, but I can also yell & chastise (myself more than anyone). The child is there sometimes allowing me to have some fun, but the bad part is what I'm doing now: saying "Screw it all!!! I'm eating 2 helpings of this ice cream & I don't care!!" But the "adult," which is the voice of reason is kinda missing in my equation.

The weight loss/gain discussion part:
I was doing SO WELL for about 3 days on SparkPeople, then on a really stressful day, I decided to eat the unhealthy kid food that my kids were begging for in the grocery store. We ate hotdogs & soft white buns for lunch. I had 3! Argh. And I just let it kinda go downhill from there. Italian food, ice cream, cookies, trail mix, skipping a few days of exercise. My head is hanging very low. I have been a bad indeed. Do you see why I need some "adult" voices in my head instead of just the condemning parent and the rebellious child?

What would a logical, reasonable do in this situation? I can only borrow strategies from other people, since my brain doesn't generate them on its own. Dr. Oz says, if you get lost & you're using GPS, it doesn't berate you for making a mistake, it just says, "Please do a U-turn at the next possible opportunity." It's true. The , mature, reasonable thing to do would be to go on a walk tomorrow and stick to reasonable portions & healthy alternatives to desserts & snacks. Ok, if only it were that easy.

(I have one more rant to go on in the psychology topic & then I'll be done for today, I promise. Someone said depression was like laying on the couch & being unable to get up. And 3 feet away from you was a magic wand that could solve all your problems and help you be able to get off the couch. However, as hard as you might try, you just can't reach the magic wand, even though the dang thing is only 3 feet away! Sometimes I feel that way about losing weight. I'm a highly educated woman and I know that eating less and moving more would solve my weight problem. Well, duh! It's just right beyond my reach, like the magic wand, and try as I might I just can't grasp it. It's a really "easy" solution, but it's so "hard" that it feels impossible at times.)

Since I feel like I can't send this off to the universe ending on a negative note, I want to say that I'm not giving up. I'm looking forward to printing out the grocery list for the SparkPeople meal plans and doing much better next week. Self-forgiveness is the only way to break negative cycles. SELF, I FORGIVE YOU!!! YOU'RE STILL A GOOD PERSON! YOU'LL SEE SUCCESS YET!

During other trials in my life, I've found that when it seems like I'm reaching for that magic wand or solution that seems unobtainable, what my soul is really reaching for is God. May he grab my hand and your hand as we try to do the right thing this week & take care of the bodies he has given us.