Friday, December 19, 2014
I did not have time to do this topic justice before work today, so you're getting a bonus blog to talk about the ways in which those of us who have "dieted" delude ourselves about what we should be able to eat and still consider it "OKAY". This is the day of the "It's NOT Okay" response card.
In this day's lesson, Beck writes that most of these self-delusions begin with "It's Okay to eat this because..." and then she lists a whole collection:
It's not a whole piece...
It won't matter...
I'll make up for it later by...
I'll disappoint someone if I don't
Everyone else is...
it will go to waste... or I paid for it.
Oh, I love this one: "no one will see me eating it"
or "It's just the crumbs"
Then there is the brutally honest: "I really want it"
"I just don't care"
"I'm craving it and I'll probably just eat it eventually anyway." (Talk about "giving up!")
Ever use any of these excuses to eat when you knew it wasn't according to your plan? I certainly have!
Over the decades I have learned to avoid some of the more ridiculous ones... In the grocery store, the "I'm buying this for someone else"... ever use that one? When you live alone it wears really thin, really fast! I know that if it goes into my home, eventually it will land in my stomach... so I try to be diligent to not fool myself about THAT at the store.
Seriously, when I've been on a tear in the past, it is like FOOD is the enemy... that tempting food that I brought into my house... and somehow by eating it I defeat it... I've got rid of the enemy. How different from the joy that food should be (and *is* when savored and nutritious).
So... to train oneself to think like a thin person, we are instructed to make a response card that says "It's not OK". Because I am in maintenance, I slightly modified the wording from what she has in the book:
"It is NOT OK to eat unplanned food of any kind. I'm just trying to fool myself. Every single time I eat something I am not supposed to, I strengthen my giving in muscle. I might feel good for the few seconds I'm eating, but I'll feel bad afterwards. If I want to KEEP excess weight off AND BE FIT, I absolutely must stop fooling myself." The caps are what I modified.
This is in fact a great card for the collection. There is nothing wrong with pleasurable eating, with the occasional treat. But to remain a treat, as opposed to an every day calorie addendum, it needs to be planned for. This is the perfect couple of weeks to be practicing PLANNING treats!
For example: I love egg nog. Last year, some of you may remember that it was a quart of egg nog that tripped my "SCREAM" and led me to go do Siebold's program again. On December 15, 2013, after consuming a quart of egg nog in a single weekend, my scale yelled at me. Seriously, it said: 135.9. With a goal weight published as 122, this was NOT OK! Very, very NOT OK!
This year on December 15th, my scale proudly declared 115.4. That's more like it. That's fighting trim, or racing weight, or whatever you care to call it. And it leaves some wiggle room for PLANNING to have an egg nog treat sometime in the next week. I intend to make it myself. I have purchased egg beaters, my organic skim milk, and the no sugar added almond milk, my sister's homemade vanilla extract and the usual spices will make it perfect, and in the portion I need to fit into my ranges for whichever day I have it.
A PLANNED treat *is* OK. Whether it's one like this where I modify it to make it ok, or the full fat version in a restaurant... if it truly is a rarity, and planned for, it *IS* OK.
So perhaps I also need a response card to remind me that when I'm approaching my bottom scream weight it *IS* OK to plan in some "fun" extra calories. Just not too many of them, and making sure the nutrition is covered.
So now I can say I finished off Day 19:
* I read my advantages and NO CHOICE response cards at least twice today.
* I read the rest of my response cards, too.
* I ate slowly, sitting down and noticing every bite: every time.
* I gave myself credit for helpful behaviors: oh, yeah - Good girl!
* I did spontaneous exercise: no ice today, went the long way around both from the garage to the office and back... but skipped the stairs a couple of times when I COULD have taken them, so I'll call that one most of the time.
* I did planned exercise only to the line in the sand level - the break walks.
* I haven't yet written out tomorrow's food plan, but shall before I hit the sheets. (Still trying to decide between the egg nog and the popcorn for tomorrow's PLANNED treat.)
* I monitored everything I ate in writing right after I finished eating.
* I ate only to normal fullness.
* I created my "It's Not Okay" response card.
Now for an important element in healthy life:
Friday, December 19, 2014
I'll just do a quick assessment of yesterday, but I'm not going to count myself as having worked Day 19. Want to take today to continue to mull it over, and I have some other things I want to dump out here in the blog universe to organize.
* I did read my response cards (all of them) at least twice.
* I did eat sitting down and noticing each bite every time.
* I did give myself credit for the good stuff I did... every time I was aware of it (awareness is a big part of this... sometimes we unconsciously do something helpful and fail to give ourselves credit... not sure how "aware" I was yesterday... I was busy and tired)
* I did spontaneous exercise. MOST of the time... I did NOT walk the long way around the parking garage to the office because the footing was questionable (it was really OK, but I am cautious) and it was still spitting snow. But I did the stairs every chance I had, and I walked the long way around the garage on the way HOME.
* I did NOT do my planned strength training. I really, really need to work on my "NO CHOICE" about some of my less favorite workouts. Oh, well!
* I ate only to normal fullness.
But I did not create an "It's not OK" response card... that's a Day 19 task, and I don't count myself as having finished Day 19 yet.
So... to the other topic: BOOKS!
My e-mail this morning included a link to Goodreads to see what I'd recorded that I had read this year, and I clicked it to see 31 books. Some of you know that I walk my breaks often with my nose in a book. I've been doing this since second grade when we lived six blocks from our neighborhood library and had no television. I would walk to the library each day of Summer vacation, check out the limit of five books we were allowed, walk home reading, read all day, and walk back and repeat the next day as soon as the library opened at 2 p.m., getting five more. I LOVED summer vacation.
Oh, you have to interleave swimming lessons in there, because that was a staple of Summer, as well.
The 31 books included a few non-fiction works, most of which I've reviewed or written about their effect on me in my blogs. Quiet (the book about introversion), Refuse to Regain and It Starts with Food, but did not include The Beck Diet Solution, as I haven't finished it yet. It was interesting to see just what authors I read the most (David Baldacci - with 9), and the mix of genres... a lot of thriller/mystery (Baldacci and John Sandford, plus the whimsical M.C. Beaton Hamish MacBeth novels, one Catherine Coulter, and I guess the John Grisham flavor falls in here, too), five historical/symbolic fiction (Sharon Kay Penman and Dan Brown), a couple of fantasy/sci fi (Anne McCaffrey and Todd McCaffrey), and some outliers (The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver and Angels at the Table by Debbie Macomber).
So, other readers out there? Just for fun: do you know what you've read in the past year? Do you know why you like them?
LIFE is good. It's better when I'm fit. It is at its best when I find kindred spirits to share parts of the journey. Creatively, consistently and consciously making choices that support a healthy lifestyle, I remain GRATEFUL for each and every day.
Thursday, December 18, 2014
I'm going to post the last two days together mainly because in my mind and practice of them, they blended together nicely. "The Beck Diet Solution" for folks who are coming in to the middle of the movie, is a book title, the author is Judith S. Beck, Ph.D. It is subtitled "train your brain to think like a thin person." It contains a series of experiments/exercises related to how we think about and relate to food and exercise. It is not a specific diet, but it can help those of us who have had difficulty sticking with one in the past, because it's all about the mind-set.
Even though I have been "maintaining" a significant weight loss for several years now, I am finding these exercises useful in focusing my mind, and in becoming aware of what it is I'm doing to maintain... some of them are "oh, my goodness... this is really different from how I USED to behave/think about food/exercise" and some of them are "I had no idea I was doing this or that it was contributing to/detracting from my success". It's all about the mind. It really is.
So, on Day 17, the lesson was to End Overeating. We were to overload our plate at one meal, and not eat it all. I did this one up right, people. I got one of my OLD dinner plates out. (I've been eating off salad plates for years now.) I cooked a pot full of spaghetti, with TWICE the box's portion size. (I live alone, so one portion would be ample, and more than I usually eat.) It filled that plate.
Earlier in the day, at the time of my afternoon snack I had not been hungry. I ate it anyway, and felt in fact overfull (which is the Day 18 lesson - Change your definition of full). This was one where I realized that I had already done this... I have come to accept that I'm really done/full when I reach the point where I could still eat more.
But when I prepared that supper, and looked at that plate... the immediate response was the same as I get in a restaurant when the plates come out. I internally said "Ugh! I could not possibly eat this all." That kind of thinking would have been unthinkable (circular definition) back in the day when I was actively overeating on a daily basis and over 200 pounds (remember, I'm a shrimpy 5' 3" tall, and a senior female).
I immediately divided the plate in thirds, determining what I was looking at was really 3 of my normal portions. I ate the third I planned, then had the nice waitress (me) box up the other two thirds for later meals. I'll have half of that for tonight's supper (I wrote it on my plan). While I did not have issues with wanting to eat more than my portion... I could have used the cravings-buster exercises to stop myself... and in fact, boxing it up and promising myself it will be there later for me is one of those resistance techniques... I used it without too much thought that I was using it.
These two days have pretty much been confirmation that when I'm "on a roll", I have internalized THIS PART of thinking like a thin person... and of course I gave myself lots of credit for this! Over the years of maintenance, I've learned that I CAN think like a thin person... at least in some aspects. Wow!
Disclaimer: I recognize that I'm still a compulsive eater and live one bite away from a binge. BUT, I do not have to be afraid or obsess about it. It's just part of who I am, and planning and tracking is part of what I do. And this exercise proved that I am able to stick to the plan... just because it's there, doesn't mean I have to eat it. Don't ask me to repeat this with my true trigger foods, though... I'm not foolish enough to do THAT.
Day 18 exercise was to note after each meal whether I would be able to go for a brisk walk at the conclusion. This led me to not eat my afternoon snack. I was not hungry, and eating it would have prevented me from feeling able to comfortably go on a brisk walk. I ended up crossing those foods off my planned list for the day, because I did not "make up" by eating them later... I did not need them. Hmmmm... and the scale this morning was NOT massively lower for having missed my apple and carrots and celery. Still right at the bottom of maintenance range. Did not dip to bottom scream weight... good job.
So, the check lists:
* I read my Advantages and NO CHOICE response cards at least twice. Both days.
* I read my other response cards (all two of them) both days, too... because I can, and in fact, they are helpful.
* I ate slowly, sitting down and noticing every bite. Both days.
* I gave myself credit... and credit... and credit. Both days.
* I did spontaneous exercise. Both days.
* I did planned exercise. If I count my break walks, both days. If I count a planned rest day as following the plan, absolutely. Both days. Good job... one of my goal board motivators says "I will rest on my rest days." That's important for athletes!
* I wrote out a food plan for the next day. Both days.
* I monitored everything I ate in writing right after I finished eating. Both days.
* I practiced not overeating (Day 17).
* I ate only to normal fullness (Day 18) - every time.
LIFE is good. It's so much better when I'm fit. It tops the charts when I find kindred spirits and we encourage one another on the path to wholeness. Creatively, consistently, and consciously (which is what the Beck book is all about) making choices to support a healthy life, I remain GRATEFUL for each and every day!
(Happy Hannukah to my Jewish friends).
Wednesday, December 17, 2014
I owe you two Beck blogs due to yesterday's trip down Christmas lane...
Day 16 was "Prevent Unplanned Eating". By this it meant that day's exercise was to eat ONLY what was on the plan you wrote down the day before. The funny thing about these little challenges is they are PRACTICE in a safe environment for a skill that you use over and over again in losing and maintaining weight loss.
Writing a plan (or pre-tracking in Spark) and then sticking with the plan (strengthening those resistance muscles) is a truly good skill to have. It's mental toughness, per Siebold. It's rule 1 of Berkeley's 12 tough rules in Refuse to Regain: Be tough, not moderate. And it's how so-called "naturally thin" people behave the vast majority of the time, whether they consciously think of it, mechanically write the plan down and check it off, or not. For those of us to whom it does not come naturally, it's essential to DO SOMETHING to get us to the point of awareness... and this is one way to do that.
Day 16 went well:
* Read all my response cards at least twice.
* Ate slowly, sitting down, and noticing every bite, every time.
* Gave myself credit - all over the place.
* This was the day when I FIRST NOTICED having a craving... it was a homemade sugar cookie, shaped like a snowman and frosted white. I told myself "NO CHOICE", put on my blinders and powered past it. I encountered sabotaging thoughts
you can balance it out on your plan...
no, I can't, I'm doing the "no unplanned eating" exercise today. There will be other opportunities, and I can write it down for a future day (I did, by the way, this evening I have a cookie on my evening snack plan) Good job!
You know how you feel after eating sugar. Do you really want to battle further cravings? It's early in the day!
When I got back past the plate, someone else had already taken that particular cookie that had been reaching out to me... and I was fine the rest of the day... none of the others had that kind of appeal.
Measuring the strength of the craving: probably only about a 2. How long did it last? Three minutes, max (long enough to have that conversation in my head and hit the ladies' room).
* I did spontaneous exercise - stairs, parking spot, etc. Every day! Good job.
* I did planned exercise - spin class. REALLY good job overcoming resistance - NO CHOICE!
* I wrote out the food plan for the next day.
* I monitored everything I ate in writing.
* I made a NO CHOICE response card. And I subtitled it "I have already chosen!"
I think I'll stop here, and record Day 17 separately, even though I'm a day behind in reporting at this point!
LIFE is good. It's better when I'm fit. It tops the charts when I find kindred spirits and we share encouragement along parallel or familiar journeys to health and wellness. Creatively, consciously and consistently making choices that support that health and wellness, I remain GRATEFUL for each and every day!
Tuesday, December 16, 2014
My siblings will likely remember our sister's ceramic giraffe, that used to sit in her living room. He was about 3 feet tall, maybe a little taller, in a seated position, with a whimsical expression on his face. Her then-husband and father to her two girls named the giraffe Raul. The whole family thought that was a ridiculous name for a giraffe, and perhaps because it was so ridiculous, the name stuck.
The girls loved that giraffe, and would play at riding him. Eventually his long neck broke. He was mended multiple times, but eventually that was the end of poor Raul.
On one of our walking tours of the hospital on Sunday, my sister and I got to the gift shop, and lo and behold, what was right out in front? Giant stuffed animals. Including a giraffe. Sis stopped, looked at that giraffe, and got this look on her face. "Do you remember Raul?" she asked me. Of course I remembered Raul. He was legendary in our family.
She asked the gift shop lady about the price of the giraffe, then as we continued our walking tour, she said to me, "I don't need to be acquiring more things at this stage in my life, I need to be giving them away." A few steps later, "It's a good thing I didn't have my credit card with me, I'm at a vulnerable point." Of course the practical would dominate her thinking.
The giraffe was a bit on the pricey side... but he was a substantial toy... probably four feet tall, standing. But once I'd seen that look on her face... and the memory in her voice... yes, you probably can guess the rest of the story. I bought the giraffe on the way out of the hospital, and put him in her bedroom at home. Then just waited.
Last night, after I got done with spin class... there was a message on my voice mail. She had got home from the hospital and not gone back to her bedroom for a couple of hours, and then found him. She thought I might have had something to do with this, call her and explain, please.
Of course I did. People, I am not a big Christmas celebrator. I never get gifting right. When an opportunity comes along like this, where I can SEE the meaning of a specific thing for someone, it is indeed a gift to ME... because for the most part I'm clueless. I'm writing this with tears in my eyes... because now I have had a Christmas. God gave it to me, this year, in this moment. Somehow, every Christmas season, there is a moment like this.
And this year... all because of a giraffe named Raul.
LIFE is good. It's better when I'm fit. It is at its best when kindred spirits make connections. Creatively, consciously, and consistently making choices that support healthy habits, I remain GRATEFUL for each and every day.
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