Photo courtesy of Lustrous at Pixabay.com CC0 Public Domain
July 13. It’s uber clear from Tip #1-Tip #9 that purposeful weight loss takes a lot of concentrated effort at first. Yes… at first. I finally said it. I mean it too. No that doesn’t mean that it becomes less effort and more accidental…it become less concentrated effort. Oh I have many examples of what the difference is between the two to me. But just an example in my own life, when I learned at the age of 20-something how to play ping-pong…I broke out into a real aerobic sweat! It was like someone turned on the sauna and the treadmill on high under me simultaneously. You may laugh. But for me, whenever I learn something new that takes “concentrated” effort (skateboarding is still that way for me, boy do I sweat!) even if it’s not physically strenuous, I sweat. I guess I sweat from concentrating, quien sabe?! Whatever the cause, the point is, anything we do that takes effort, when we get better at it, we get over the learning curve and it will take less focused concentrated effort: OVER TIME. Eventually our bodies will signal to us how it truly feels and what it really needs. and the answer won’t always be “food.NOW!!!” or “MORE food NOW”.. we eventually become “experts” on bodies. We will feed it mindfully and healthfully. But that may take longer for me than for you. So!What! There is no race. It’s our bodies and only we determine how quickly we get to learn it. Here’s what I know though: keeping good records on how i feel about why i eat and what i eat, as well as noting what makes ME turn to food at certain times more than others helps me get to “wonderland” more quickly (I’ve been there once or twice) and allows me to relax . A bit.
By “a bit” I mean not “too relaxed”. After 15 years of learning about my body and recording/logging my discoveries, when I allow myself to get too relaxed, I fall back into bingeing habits that make me miserable. “Too relaxed” means seeking instant gratification in food instead of long-term benefits of self-control and endurance. It means sitting on the couch eating a bag of popcorn when I’m stressed instead of going for a brisk run or jumping on the trampoline. Too relaxed Roxie is not who I want to be anymore.
In contrast, relaxed “a bit” Roxie, means trusting myself. To a limited degree I must trust myself enough to believe that even when I weaken in a binge, or stop working out for a while, I must believe that my fall is not permanent. I must believe that soon, before it’s too late and I am stuck in “miseryland” not knowing the way out, I have learned how to treat myself well again, for the long-term not for the instant gratification. It means believing that I have the knowledge and care enough about myself to want to move more and ultimately move forward. I will drink my water and eat fat(!) and enjoy my food, like I desire to do everything else in life: in moderation. In a Nutshell. This Tip # 9 epitomizes what it’s ALL about…
Tip.# 9: The Hokey Pokey.
Ok Not really…yeah yeah, sorry I had to do it.
TIP # 9:“Eat food. Not too much. Mostly Plants”. 7 Simple words. They aren’t mine. It’s by author and healthy food expert Michael Pollan. They are poetic and at the same time, for a binger like me, almost insulting in their simplicity. If it’s so simple, then why isn’t it so… simple? I know why it isn’t for me. Because, it’s the old Roxie that didn’t know a calorie from carrot,who wants to creep back every so often, even though I am food wiser now, there is always a battle. But the battle feels easier over time, takes less concentrated effort. Only if we keep using and flexing our fight muscles. How? I Research like crazy healthy easy recipes, that I like to try. I read articles (myfitnesspal.com, mindbodygreen.com) about how to eat healthier and how move more, when I lack desire and motivation. Sometimes I fail. I try again. In time it I believe it will feel less like of a fight. I won’t even break a sweat. It will in fact be just “how I roll”. Still me. Just a healthier more determined me.
It’s been 15 years on my weight loss breakthrough/journey, and there are still: no accidents to weight loss on purpose. Period. I’m constantly determined to follow my own tip #9 above, so that even when I go crazy (read: binge). It’s within moderation. Next entry will be all about that.
Spoiler alert! Binge is also in its title.
Until next time…
JULY 11. I hate accidents. Like falling off of my skateboard, or spilling hot chocolate on my white blouse. But some accidents can be beautiful, say, ending up at a really cool organic coffee cafe because my favorite shut down unexpectedly, running into a friend because I walked a different street home. Losing weight shouldn’t be a beautiful accident though. Because unfortunately, such accidents lead to not so beautiful: disappointment. If it’s by accident, there is nothing definable to trace the source of the success. What did I eat that made me feel so good? How did I lose the weight in a week, that I’ve been trying all month to lose? Why are my jeans loser? Why are my jeans tighter? Why do I have so much more energy today? These should have traceable! definitive! answers. Collecting scientific like “data” on ourselves can be both educational and!!! remarkably life / game changing. We become experts on our bodies and what makes us tick! How cool is that! How cool is that? Sounds boring right? Let me start by singing the praises of an App that has helped me see my calories and eating in a beautifully new way ( And Nope, I’m not getting paid a dime for the accolades sung here about this amazing app!).
Pure Purposeful Weight loss comes from knowing the facts! and shoot…it’s even FUN!
If someone had asked me years ago: How tall are you? I’d say 5’6. If they asked: How many showers did you take so far today”: “1”.What did you eat for breakfast? They ask. I might’ve answered “Bowl of oatmeal and 2 eggs” But if they asked me: “About how much oatmeal did you eat, was it a cup?… a half cup?”.. My answer would’ve been “I dunno” “How much protein in those eggs?” Silence. How much do you weigh?
But If they asked me how much weight do you WANT to lose: I would’ve said without hesitating “Oh about 40 or 50 lbs”( I was actually closer to 75 lbs overweight).
How is it that there is a great disconnect between what we WANT and what we need to do to get there? Well, cease and desist. Disconnect no more. How much do I weight? Check! How much do I want to weigh? Check.Check. How many calories, protein, carbs-and the beloved- fat! do I need daily to get to my goal weight and (once you reset your current weight it will tell you how to) STAY there? Triple Check! = My Fitness Pal.
Please try this app. It’s as simple as typing what I eat and it does the rest, including surprising cheerleading notifications when I have hit a calorie or fitness goal I didn’t even realize I hit! How’s THAT for real motivation! The other bonus, it doesn’t praise you for eating UNDER your calorie goal. So there is no way of becoming obsessed with eating so little you “starve” yourself. It’s losing weight the healthy way, that yes, can even include: Eating! :O
Tips for Using Myfitnesspal.com (or honestly any calorie counter equivalent we fall or have fallen in love with):
Even when tired,log. I may have to do it later but then it’s harder to remember what I ate. I am always happier when I log right away. After awhile, I began to use my obssessive qualities to turn it into a game!Yes, crazy but it became fun. ‘Let’s see how close I get to my weight loss goal today!! Did I beat yesterday? YAAAY!….’
Use what’s already there. There are THOUSANDS of entries already in the app. Usually what I think is an obscure food brand. or “never visited by anyone else but me and my spouse” restaurant, is surprisingly, already in the app, along with the strange menu item I thought only I would think to order – “Chipotle restaurant salad bowl- no rice, beans, cheese,sour cream or guac- ” What? it’s already in the app!! really?! -So obviously, it’s a fitness app and I’m not the only”weird” one skipping the the heavier options! LOVE IT).
3. Use and overuse the Blog. There is a blog in the app called “HELLO HEALTHY” that has Years worth of REAL helpful tips. And by REAL I meant not cliché, “lose 5 lbs fast” tips. But even information that makes good common sense but opposite of what I’ve heard from many nutritionist in the years of health magazines and books I’ve read. Ironically? I have often read in the “Hello Healthy” blog comments about certain food combinations and effects that I had already experienced were true for me! crazy how that works sometimes?
Lastly, it has a long wonderful list of practical easy go to recipes, if you are learning how to cook healthy for the first time and you are short on time. I can’t praise it enough.
4.TRUST. If it works for 3 days, try it for a week…then two…then longer…If you are afraid of commitment the beauty of it is -there is none. But it WILL work and it HAS worked for me, even when I use it for a few days, got lazy, dropped it, gained weight, used it, lost the weight, dropped it, repeat, repeat. My point is, when I use it, it works whether it’s for 3 days or 3 years. It WORKS!!! Of course, the key is: with use. And Of course! respect of the calories!
Bottom line: Try My fitness Pal (or it’s equivelant). Can’t hurt.
July 9. If I had to choose between asking myself “How in the world did I lose 20 lbs?” and ” What was it I wrote down again about how lost 20 lbs?” I’d pick the second question. Just to reinforce this point: Lasting, meaningful and enduring…weight loss, does not and Should not, happen by “oops!” accident. It just doesn’t make sense when you think about it. Anything you do, should come from focused, purposeful (here it comes) : Effort. Hence:
Tip 5: Be an expert on your life.
In a close, healthy relationship we often know our family members so well, we can sometimes finish their sentences.It comes in part from studying them and well, from years of close association. But I think, it also comes from caring about them, what they think and feel. My goal is to reflect that same type of knowledge and care about my own body. To care about what my body thinks and feels about what I feel it. to ask it, not just ‘what do you have a “taste” for’? (That is a loaded bake potato question!) but what do you really need?’ and when it speaks – I promise it always does- If the answer is a food, on rare occasion it is, I eat it. Then I write down how I felt after. Even if it wasn’t a good idea to eat after all, in retrospect ( it may take awhile to understand our bodies internal “language”). This becomes vital documentation and validation for future experiences. I’m studying myself! Discovering what makes me feel great (beets and carrots), horrible (any sugar not from fruit), “spacey” (grains and processed fats). I’m constantly learning how to trust that my body knows what it needs, and I am learning how to give it that and not what I’ve been programmed to do over years of unhealthful feeding. Then the most important part is next. I Read what I wrote and re-read it often. I Record every triumph and every “not-so-much”. One time I wrote, after months of abstaining, ” I need beans and rice back in my diet!” I overdosed on it that week unfortunately and followed up with “I felt horrible after eating beans and rice today”. Of course, looking back, I can see the key was balance, not just the eliminating or not eliminating rice and beans from my diet.
But I have short-term memory. Call me Dora, Whatever. I’ve come to terms with if I don’t record it I’m not going to remember the vital “data” I’ve gathered about myself for successful weight loss. I’ve even forgotten to read what I’ve written about a reaction to a certain food, so I’ll eat it again, record my findings, shocked when I see that I’ve already written about having a similar experience, in a past journal entry (“I think I’m allergic to raw honey…I’m sure I’m allergic to raw honey” a month later:repeat…yeah, yeah, permission to laugh;) and now I’ll laugh too so that I don’t feel like a victim :|).
I am a sensitive individual. Which is why food has a strong effect on me, first emotionally and, a close tie, physically. Recording how and what I feel; about eating a particular food or meal has given me amazing “Ahah!” moments of clarity. And while I have learned the same things that I actually forgot I learned, (I just wrote that didn’t I?) At least! it’s written down. I am now smarter about Roxie and how food affects me than I was yesterday. And that’s the point.
But I got help to do this…I’ll share that in tip #6 and to me the most important one to this journey for me. I could write a novel about it but I’ll try not to. 3 Words: My. Fitness. Pal.