Sunday, April 6, 2008

Dialin' it Down

Weight loss isn't easy. Weight maintance is worse. In fact, I think it may be considered excruciating. When you're losing weight, you have the changing numbers to give you momentary highs... at least when they're going in the right direction. You can do three things. Gain weight. Stay the same. Lose weight. But it's a lot of pressure.

Once you hit maintenance, it is a different kind of pressure. At best, you can maintain. At worst, you can gain weight and fail. I maintained for well over 18 months, then over the last holiday season, I let it go and I gained 9 pounds. I've been struggling with those nine since then.

One of the biggest indicators of permanent weight gain, from my view, is to stop looking at the issue. In my former life, the whole point was to hide from the numbers... I would not get on the scale when I gained. I would not buy clothes to fit my expanding body, and when I was forced to, I made it the larger numbers on the clothes the fault of the clothing manufacturers. Smaller cuts... shrinking fabric.

This time, I decided to handle the issue differently. It's been frustrating, maddening, painful. Despite the gain, I got on the scale each and every day. I wrote to Richard about the issue, letting him know early on that I had a serious problem. I discussed it with Lucy too. My friends knew about it, as did Eric. Family too. They were all very supportive of me in my struggles, but I never expected them to come up with an answer. The problem was mine to deal with.

I don't think that weight gain has as much to do with food as commonly believed. Rather, it has everything to do with changing lifestyles and inability to look at what continues to work and what behaviors are no longer productive in our lives. The obese tend to want to isolate themselves (we have reason... trust me on that), and live in a world of denial where if we don't acknowledge our failures. If they don't exist, we don't feel quite as badly about ourselves.

My lifestyle has changed radically over the last year. Eric came into it and with an intimate relationship, I've had to shift a lot of the things that I do. We're a "we" now, rather than a him and me. That's a wonderful thing and feeling; knowing that we will always have each other's backs. But there's the flip side. Social encounters often mean eating engagements. And trust me, I've eaten.

I never completely lost focus on what could be lost from my life if I let food get out of control, and truthfully, Eric has been more than accomodating in helping me. We tend to go to smaller restaurants, or those that can accomodate my need for lower calorie fare. But as Richard says, and Lucy too... going out for meals is a ticket to weight gain. In order to keep going, I needed to make adjustments in other areas.

The first and most obvious area I could change was my exercise. But that is not so easy. Matters of health keep popping up, forcing me back into either a chair or on a complete hiatus from movement. It was clear that I needed to change my eating habits. But that was a tough nut to crack. I had only been keeping sporadic food journals since last December... hmmmm - a one on one correlation to not wanting to deal with the issue.

Still, I never completely turned away from the issue. And it appears to finally be paying off in dividends. Several things have happened in the past few weeks that have made a significant change. I finally opened up enough to try the meal replacements at HMR. I only take in two a day; not as a substitution for meals but to use as snacks. Truthfully, my Crohns doctor is the one who finally forced this issue because I was not processing real food properly and I was going downhill. Fast. When I started taking them, I got a big surprise. The MRs are nutritionally balanced, and I suddenly was getting vitimans and nutrients that were not being absorbed from real food. I felt better and didn't feel the compulsion to eat so much. As the total calories in the MRs I take in combined are only 200, I know the loss is not because I've turned away from food. Trust me, I'm eating. But there's a physical component that has shifted.

They also had me double up on my daily vitiman. That helped too.

But then there was a very important turning point. Two weeks ago, Richard was holding another of his chats in his clubhouse. He talked about a student at Slimmons who had been struggling. (No, I honestly don't know who this student is.) They were parked next to each other one evening and after class, he saw what she had in the passenger compartment of her car. All sorts of junk food!

At that point, he stopped her and together, they made a written list of her top 10 trigger foods. He had her keep the list and told her to avoid buying anything on it. And she kept her promise and she lost weight.

So I thought about this story and decided that it was worth a try. I decided to list my trigger foods.

1.) Chili Encrusted Dried Mango
2.) Dried Cranberries
3.) Crackers
4.) Bread (if not kept in the freezer)
5.) Hard Candy (I had taken it up as a breath freshener since getting sick)
6.) Protein bars from HMR

I looked at the list. This was all I could come up with! And I realized that my eating habits had changed so fundamentally that I no longer crave cookies and candy and cakes and whatnot. No wonder that my gain had been so slow! What was on the list was just not such a big deal.

I decided to apply Richard's idea along with the other two components that I had added into my life. And remarkably, have lost 5 of the 9 pounds.

I know that this is not the end of the story. But it has been a lesson that is not lost on me. I know in my head and heart that the most important thing I can to to ensure my long-term success is always be willing to look at myself with a rational - not condeming - mind. To be willing to acknowledge not only my successes but my challenges too. (Not failures... just issues.) To be willing to change things up, to experiment, until something clicks into place that works.

My life circumstances are a constant evolution. I need to be sure that my mind evolves along with them.

3 comments:

Ang said...

Laura,
I love you and you continue to teach me so much..Thank you...

Becky Rose said...

YOU ROCK! Thanks for the wonderful insight. I have to loose 30 lbs by August (Dr.'s & Health reasons) and have really had to address something I'm not fond of as I've always been "good" with the outward. Now I have to really take care of myself it's hard. There is another plus if I can learn to take good care of myself I can have a dog. So 30 lb's here I come..... Thanks Love you Trish-spinningmom, I'm on Becky's computer today

Claudia said...

Once again I find the answers to my problems in my wonderful friend Laura. This blog is a real eye opener for me. You made me realize that I'm not doing as badly as I thought I was. Maybe just a few tweaks in my ways will do the trick and then I can finally say goodbye to those few pesky pounds. The list is a great idea.

I love you so much

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