The Weekly Facts of Loss – At an Impasse, I am Failing

I have bad news to report. You may have noticed I didn’t post last week, and I am reluctantly posting this week. I have been off plan fo two weeks and I’ve gained 4lbs in two weeks. It’s causing me to question everything about this weight loss journey.

Am I committed? If I am (because I say I am) then why this struggle? Why go off the plan and sabotage my progress?

I have lost weight in the past, only to gain it back again. I do fear that happening again, and maybe I am making what I believe to be the future happen now?

I am beginning to believe I am not strong enough to make this goal happen, that I will be heavy forever. I am beginning to believe I am not worthy of being healthy and thin.

I am questioning the whole goal now. It costs so much money to eat healthy, to subscribe to WW Online, to belong to a gym (even if it’s a bargain gym). Why am I shelling out the money if I won’t stay on the program? It’s cheaper to be fat.

The call of the food is stronger than my committment to lose. The food is a drug and I am weak against its pull. Whether I eat carbs and sugar or whether I don’t, the end result is the same. Cravings that I have to satisfy. And the subsequent weight gain.

So I must take a pause and re-evaluate my committment and ability to continue.

Have you ever been in this position? What did you do to turn things around? Did you turn them around, or did you find you weren’t able to?

 

I Can See Clearly – Now Sometimes

My eye

My eye (Photo credit: neuroticcamel)

Sometimes you don’t know how broken something is until you fix it. This was the case with my eyesight. I’ve always worn glasses and I generally get my eyes checked regularly, but I hadn’t gone for a long, long, time until recently, when I had a difficult time reading print books and licenses at work. I thought my eyes were just getting old, and that I was having a normal problem reading. But after I had a thorough exam and bought new glasses, I saw how broken my vision was. Now I can read the numbers on licenses and the fine print on signs at work. I can read paperback books again, the type no longer blurry. I no longer feel like my sight is aging too fast. My eyes had been open to a new perspective.

As I struggle with my weight loss, I am seeing the journey with new eyes. I used to look at the numbers of other weight watchers and I would think “It’s taken you how long to lose how much?” Too long for too little an amount of weight. I am one of those people I looked down upon not long ago. There’s more to this struggle than just eating less and moving more. A lifetime of hiding in food and fat cannot be overcome in a few months. There’s a lot of reprogramming that needs to go on. Old fears and beliefs, old habits all make for a powerful pull to not lose and stay the same, even though the same weight means unhappy and unhealthy.

Finding a new way to relate to food is really hard. Very necessary but a challenge that leaves me drained and seeking familiar solace in a box of cookies. I haven’t found my magic bullet that affords me the same comfort level sans food. Reading, writing, working and my art all provide a great deal of satisfaction, but they don’t take the place of food. Nothing has done that yet. I wonder if I will ever find the answer?

What are your thoughts? Do you struggle with this?

 

It’s All About Independence

 

It’s the Fourth of July. I am always happy on the fourth. It’s the day we celebrate freedom, so why not be happy? This year I am contemplating my love of personal freedom, am expressing my love of country, and I’m thinking about my quest to free myself of the bonds of weight and addictive eating.I am free in many aspects of my life and I am a slave when it comes to my appearance, health and self-esteem

The success I have experienced to date is certainly worth celebrating, and I’ve come a good way towards improving my health. Today I am thinking about the dependence I have on food, particularly sweets.I can’t help but think I will be a slave to sweets forever. How can I consider myself free when I am so dependant on something?

I did go through a ten month period of time when I did not have sweets. I never stopped thinking about them, and around nine months I started to get severe cravings that resulted in my giving in to the cravings at the ten month mark. And once I started eating sweets and carbs, I couldn’t stop. It was like I was starving and was eating as though I would never get food again.

Now I am working on balancing the cravings, trying to change what I satisfy the cravings with. Currently, grapes are the substitute for cookies. Still having cravings, but the healthy alternative is making the craving less damaging to my loss. I am working on accepting that this will be a lifelong battle, and that while I crave freedom, I will never be free.

Since the loss is taking longer than I had anticipated, I am  working on maintaining a positive attitude about the process. It is easy to fall back into a pattern of low self-esteem, self belittlement, and negativity. I am too fragile to say I am free of these conditions. I walk a tenuous path each day…talking myself into being positive and trying to ignore the call of the familiar negativity.  I am chained to a belief system that is self-destructive and I am working to free myself from them, but breaking chains is hard work. I am a work in progress.

My prayer this Independence Day is to find independence from the past and from cravings. Will I ever be as free as I would like to be? If only I could see ahead two years from now to see how much progress I made. How much freedom will I have?

Happy Independence Day!

Book Review: Weight Loss Boss by Dave Kirchhoff

Written from a man’s perspective, Weight Loss Boss is Dave Kirchhoff’s story of weight loss and maintenance as well as his career with Weight Watchers as their CEO and lifetime member. He describes his struggles with food and exercise and the battle he had losing his weight. I think it interesting that Weight Watchers hired him when he was overweight. I have to admit, I like a man who is in touch with his emotional side and is self- aware. Kirchhoff writes about his reasons for eating as well as telling the story of how he has been a lifetime “sneaker” of food.

Since I am in the battle myself, I thought I could use the encouragement from the book. I have to say, it is encouraging. Once you get past the resume that he expounds upon, the book is informative and easy to follow. He lists nerdy facts and research that you know an organization like Weight Watchers is privy to, (WW doesn’t spout all the technical stuff at you, preferring to keep the approach user friendly and simple)so I may not be one for statistics and research, it was heartening to know that the program is backed by science.

I wanted to experience a man’s perspective on WW, and I think he did a good job representing his gender.  While none of the WW information was news to me, I’ve learned most of it from the online program and by the forums, I still derived information from the book. For me, it’s the exercise that is posing the biggest challenge, and he shows you how much he programs into his busy schedule, something for me to strive towards.

I would say get the book if you are in WW or are interested in WW.  If you are looking for diet tips, not so much as there aren’t a lot of chapters devoted to tips. There are other ways of getting that information. Since men are the minority in WW, it is nice to see a quality publication be available that may bring more men to the fold. His blog http:/ManMeetsScale.com  is great to follow, very informative. It is important to note that the profits of this book are going to charity.

If you read it, come back and give your opinion…I’d love to hear what you think.

 

Recovery

I’ve previously mentioned my new writing gig, and last week I took on the biggest assignment to date. Never one to take the easy route, I said “Of course I can do this! I know all about positivity and job searches…” and so I commenced upon the assignment from hell.  It took double the time it should have taken due to several factors. One was the problems I had saving the article…or not saving as the case may be. I ‘ll be looking into back-up programs now.  Then there were limitations placed on the article by the client which made it challenging to write and the length of the article was a factor as well. The client accepted the article without re-writes, gave me an excellent rating and left a note that said “Great job”. I’m stoked. I thought I would have to do re-writes and it isn’t mandatory for a client to rate your article or give a message.

Now, as far as my weight loss goes…I re-joined a gym near my house. It isn’t expensive like most gyms are.I plan to go in the morning five days a week. I’ll work up to the five days. as I don’t think setting that goal from the get-go is a great idea. Kinda seems unrealistic. And as far as my numbers go, well, I have a confession; I have gained weight. But, I’m back on track as of yesterday, so I should start losing again this week. I never expected this level of struggle when I started out. But, it is what it is. Food, emotional eating and exercise are complicated for me. I honestly thought I had beat emotional eating when I found Weight Watchers. But I was very wrong. I thought I had filled the hole inside me that food was trying to fill, but not so. I’ve made headway, but I haven’t solved the problem. I’m not sure it can be solved once and for all. I think it maybe a lifelong issue, dealt with one day at a time.

When you set goals for yourself, you have to break them down into manageable steps. Then the accomplishment of those smaller steps creates the positive momentum towards the bigger goal. And accomplishment of the smaller goals needs to be celebrated. This is how I started out and it is something I need to resume doing. I have to push the negative out of this journey by surrounding myself with positives. Everyday should contain triumphs. There is no accomplishment too small as to not be celebrated. So, this new goal is:

Join Planet Fitness – Done

Workout 20 minutes on Monday 5/7 doing the elliptical machine – DONE! Yaaahhh!

Tomorrow: 20 minutes on elliptical and 10 minutes weight machines.

Not sure what I’ll do to celebrate todays victories. I’ll think of something!

 

Food Addiction – Don’t Believe Me, Believe My Body…Part Two

So, You think you’re addicted to food? Now what? You have to tame the tiger, ’cause you can’t just walk away from it. As a food addict myself, I can say that trying to eliminate the problem completely, like not eating any sugar or carbs or fat doesn’t work. See the post yesterday. But what does seem to work is:

  • Balancing your menu and eating freshly prepared foods, not processed foods. More veggies and fruits. Keep fat to a minimum, but do have some, like olive oil.
  • Some people have better luck cutting out sugar and synthetic sugar products (like diet soda) completely from their diet.
  • Writing down everything you eat in one journal, and in another journal or in a support group, write or talk about how you are feeling. Track what your trigger emotions are so you can better deal with them. Identifying a problem makes it easier to solve.
  • Exercise more, especially when angry or emotional. Exercise helps to re-direct emotions away from food.
  • Professional help. There are many emotional issues related to food addiction and therapy is instrumental in breaking through those issues.

As you may know already, I’m losing my weight with Weight Watchers and I find that the plan is the most balanced and realistic in terms of real world interaction with food. Since I had such a disastrous experience with cutting out sugar completely, I am practicing moderation which seems to work. I get cravings, I plan to eat something sweet in a normal portion size and then the craving goes away. I haven’t over-indulged and I am behaving like my thin friends and that is one of my goals. To behave normally around food. Balance is important in life, and I am finding that with WW, I have balance. Therapy is also helpful, more for the emotional issues rather than the actual addiction.

Are you addicted to food? What do you do to handle it?

Food Addiction – Don’t Believe Me? Believe My Body… Part One

About three years ago, I found a 12-step program for food addiction. It was regimented in a very strict way, with a sponsor, early morning phone calls, meetings three times a week and no carbs or sugar. At all. I stayed on the program for 8 months and I lost 80 lbs. So what’s wrong with that? Well, cravings are what’s wrong with that and I craved sugar and carbs even after 8 months. I gave in and had some and then I was off and running, eating them like I was starving. I later found out I was starving and that’s why I couldn’t stop. The body needs a balance of all foods. I was devastated by the relapse and subsequent weight gain. And I felt like I was free from a certain amount of brain-washing that was going on. The program may work for some, but no doctor will endorse it I’m sure. No trainer will endorse it, and my body didn’t endorse it.

But the question remains, “Can Food Be  Real Addiction?” Why Yes, Yes It Can…

It’s no secret the United States has an obesity problem. You only have to go grocery shopping or people watching at the mall to see the evidence of this. With the numbers rising, and no end in sight, science has been studying the problem and has found that  excessive sugar, fat, and  salt  given to animals  activate the same receptors that drugs trigger. The brain is craving dopamine, whose receptors maybe lacking in many addicted people and sugar/salt/fat trigger dopamine and the “high”. But it doesn’t last and the person is off craving it again, obsessing over the foods that will make them feel good again, even though this behavior is wrong, even though it is making them fat, miserable, and in some cases diseased. For those that say just say no and exhibit some self-restraint, imagine telling a drug addict or an alcoholic to just say no, it doesn’t work. It doesn’t work with food either.

Dr. Oz has a list of questions to ask  if you suspect you might be addicted to food:

  • Are you hiding and sneaking food?
  • Are you thinking about food for more than an hour a day?
  • Eating after arguing?
  • Experiencing withdrawal symptoms when you go without food?
  • Do you eat despite not being hungry?

The Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity at Yale has these questions:

  • Do you spend a lot of time feeling lethargic after eating?
  • Do certain foods trigger you to eat to excess?
  • Do you find you have  to eat more of a food to get the same good feelings from it?
  • Do you have trouble functioning because of food and your behavior with it?

Unlike drugs or alcohol, which you theoretically can walk away from, food must be the tiger played with everyday. So how do you do that if you are addicted? See my post tomorrow for more information on food addiction…