Small Progress?

by Christine on July 25th, 2016

filed under Christine's Life Updates, Diet, Food, Nutrition

I don’t know if I can call this real progress or not…but this past week I did much better eating. I was able to whittle my calories down to 1100 or less almost every day last week. As a result, the scale stopped moving upwards. It has stayed in one place all week. I suppose it’s small progress to stop the RISE of the scale, but I’m EXTREMELY anxious to get the scale moving back down.

I chose healthy snack foods this week, which is good. And I’m eating every few hours, which is good. My portion sizes were also much better. I also did a good job going to the gym and working out–I got my three Ragnar Training Days in this week. I need to continue to work on cutting out the alcohol and continue working on whittling down my calories into the optimal 800-1000 calorie range for me.

7/18: 1390 calories, no exercise << Bad calorie day!

7/19: 1025 calories, jogged a 5K outside

7/20: 1220 calories, gardening 30 minutes << bad calorie day!

7/21: 1190 calories, walking with a friend after work for 1 hour

7/22: 1112 calories, gardening for 30 minutes

7/23: 1044 calories, jogging (4.2 miles total) at the gym, swimming

7/24: 1070 calories, jogging 5K at the gym, swimming

 

I went to the grocery store yesterday and stocked up on lots of healthy snack foods: almonds, yogurt, veggies, apples, oranges, nectarines, grapes, etc. So I should be fully prepared for healthy snacks and some healthy from-home lunches this week. My evenings look pretty clear, so I may be able to cook some healthy meals at home also.

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Untethered Soul and the voice in your head

by Christine on July 22nd, 2016

filed under Christine's Life Updates, Diet, Food, Nutrition, General Information

I recently was given the book “Untethered Soul” by Michael Singer. I’m only a few chapters into it, and I’ll likely talk about it again on this blog. At the very beginning of the book, the author talks about the incessant, chattering voice in your head. The voice in your head that comments on everything—especially on yourself. The voice expresses judgement constantly, and it can change its opinions at the drop of a hat. That voice is utterly unreliable. You’ve caught it blatantly lying. It’s not nice.

untetheredcover

That voice is your head narrates the world around you. It says, “wow, that sun is really bright.” Did you really need the voice to tell you that? You looked at the sky and already noticed the bright sun—did the voice need to state the obvious? No. Singer claims that the voice’s attempt to narrate the world is actually your psyche’s attempt to place some control over your environment. Because, fundamentally, humans feel uncomfortable when they aren’t in control of their lives and environments.

Singer says:

“If you want to be happy, you have to let go of the part of you that wants to create melodrama. This is the part that thinks there’s a reason not to be happy. You have to transcend the personal, and as you do, you will naturally awaken to the higher aspects of your being. In the end, enjoying life’s experiences is the only rational thing to do. You’re sitting on a planet spinning around in the middle of absolutely nowhere. Go ahead, take a look at reality. You’re floating in empty space in a universe that goes on forever. If you have to be here, at least be happy and enjoy the experience….There’s always going to be something that can bother you, if you let it.”

 To me, this has a direct relationship to the voice in my head that narrates what I think about my body. “You’re fat. You’re ugly,” the voice in my head tells me a hundred times a day. “You WANT to swim on a hot day, but you better not get in a bathing suit in public. You’ll make someone sick. If you want to swim, you should find a private place to go instead of the water park.” My voice also says, “You fatty, if you eat THIS instead of THAT, you’ll lose weight.” Or it will say, “If you weren’t so weak-willed, you never would have gotten fat in the first place.” And so on.

I have a very active inner voice, and it’s never nice to me.

I haven’t quite gotten far enough in the book to figure out how Singer thinks you can ignore that voice in your head or transform its voice. He does assert that learning to turn it off, to embrace the present moment, and learn to bear reality as it really is—our actual experience of life right now, not just our narrated version—is crucial to finding happiness. This is a very Buddhist way of thinking, of course, to embrace the present moment. He cautions not to let your inner voice define who you are, since we have already decided that your inner voice is a lying, manipulative, awful voice.

“To attain true inner freedom, you must be able to objectively watch your problems instead of being lost in them… Once you’ve made the commitment to free yourself of the scared person inside, you will notice that there is a clear decision point at which your growth takes place.” 

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Wow, I’m eating wayyyy too much.

by Christine on July 21st, 2016

filed under Christine's Life Updates, Diet, Food, Nutrition

binge-eating

Okay, I’ve been faithfully tracking my food intake (journaling) for the past week….and the results aren’t pretty. Boy, I should have started to do this a long time ago so I could have been aware that my eating is out of control.

Day 1: 1816 calories consumed, no exercise.

Day 2: 1471 calories consumed, no exercise

Day 3: 1652 calories consumed: ran a 5K at the gym (45 minutes)

Day 4: 2196 calories consumed: golfed for 6 hours at a golf outing

Day 5: 2615 calories consumed: hiking for 7 hours up two mountains

Day 6: 1390 calories consumed: No exercise

 

Wow, did you see that? Every single day I am eating well over my goal of 800-1000 calories per day, and two days I ate over 2,000 calories worth of food! Holy moses!!! No wonder I’m packing on the pounds!

If I look at the information further, I see some general trends:

  • I eat a lot more on days when I exercise. I’m hungry.
  • I’m doing ok eating every few hours, but my portion sizes are much too big. I need to start whittling these down.
  • I’m drinking too many calories. Alcohol. That needs to stop. Over 2,000 of the calories those six days came from alcohol. That’s just silly.
  • My food choices have largely been pretty healthy. Lots of fruits and veggies and healthy protein.
  • I did spectacularly drinking water while at work (and hiking). Less spectacular at home. Noted: drinking lots of water isn’t doing shit to curb my appetite.
  • I did well planning out snacks and meals every few hours. The problem is that those snacks or meals were too high in calories/too large in size.

So: Smaller portion sizes is going to be key here, as well as cutting way back (preferably stopping) the alcohol consumption. This means breaking out the scale and measuring cups, and making sure that my mini-meals are of a reasonable size. That’s my task for Week 2.  I am going to try to start photographing my meals also, for additional accountability. I don’t think I’m going to be able to whittle my calories down to 800 calories by next week, but if I can get them in the area of 1000-1100 calories, that will be some progress.

Tips for myself for cutting back on food/hunger:

  • Quit the alcohol.
  • Quit the sugar. (I really did better with this, this past week though)
  • Eat protein shakes as snacks.
  • Measure and weigh food.
  • Keep some fresh veggies on hand for snacks. (carrots are mostly lower cal than fruits)
  • Leave food on your plate, or cut part of your food off to throw away.
  • Cut back on high-calorie fatty foods. I’m a sucker for caprese salads. The tomato is awesome, but cut back on the mozzarella. More tomato, less cheese. (But…not “no cheese.”)
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Boredom and Eating

by Christine on July 13th, 2016

filed under Diet, Food, Nutrition, General Information

Yesterday I was tracking my food, and I noticed that I was eating a LOT in the afternoon, because I was bored at work. Uninspired work-wise. Feeling a little down emotionally. And so I was eating to fill that void. An interesting article in physchologytoday.com suggests that there are two types of boredom: the garden variety-needing a pleasure fix, and something called anhedonia, which is a reduced sensitivity to pleasurable experiences. And the article suggests that trying to fix the garden variety version can cause you to develop anhedonia. Awesome. For me, boredom looks like ennui, but lethargy and tiredness also.  And depression.

I was reading up about boredom as it relates to Buddhism, to see if there might be a healthier way to approach boredom. One author linked boredom to craving: your cravings and wants are immediate, and they are always changing. “Craving is never faithful to its object. It always wants something else…that is why you get bored with anything and everything. It doesn’t matter how interesting or fascinating it is, you will get bored with it.” The author suggests that craving is an addiction, and that a solution is to control the mind and attitude so that the immediate moment isn’t so “boring.” Hm.

At any rate, here’s some suggestions for myself to stop eating to relieve the feelings of boredom while I’m at work:

  • Throw away the junk in the office. Replace with healthier options. (Duh)
  • Mandatory water-chugging breaks on the hour. Set alarm on my phone if necessary.
  • Get up and stretch/exercise next to my desk and/or a short walk outside.
  • Embrace the boredom and meditate it. Instead of trying to remedy it, savor it and explore it.
  • Create more variety and interest in other ways, like creating more enjoyable projects to work on, or learn something new on the job.

If you have other suggestions, let me know!!!

A good resource: http://www.katinkahesselink.net/tibet/boring.html

The PsychologyToday article: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/shrink/201206/i-am-bored-therefore-i-eat 

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Figuring this out AGB

by Christine on March 12th, 2015

filed under Christine's Life Updates, Diet, Food, Nutrition

So I’ve had three sessions now with my therapist where we have talked about weight, weight gain/loss, self-image issues, and life After Gastric Band (AGB). Yesterday, my therapist was trying to drive in the point: “If you ate like you did when you HAD the gastric band, then you should be able to maintain or lose weight.” Right?

Right?

It’s not easy for me to agree to this statement. I mean, sure, on one hand it seems perfectly logical. Eat like you did with the band, and you should be fine. But that doesn’t seem to account for the magic voodoo of the band. It doesn’t account for the spell it casts over you.

We talked a bit about this “magic,” and he says that the magic is merely that it was able to regulate my eating–ESPECIALLY when I was emotional–when I lacked the ability and willpower to do so beforehand.  He says that’s all the “magic” is. The rest is all stuff that I can easily do on my own.

Maybe. I still haven’t totally embraced this solidly rational thought pattern.

I asked my therapist about my emotional eating binges. I mean, I know WHY I have them (you know, issues when I was growing up developed poor behavioral patterns. Filling the metaphorical “hole” in my heart with food feels good, blahblahblah) but I don’t know HOW to stop with the urge to respond to highly-charged emotional issues by feeding my face. In the past I replaced emotional outbursts with extreme exercise sessions. Okay, so that’s a “healthier” way of dealing with emotions (although there are many that would argue that it’s perhaps NOT the most healthy things)–my wish is that I wouldn’t feel the need to “fix” the emotional outburst at all. Whether you’re feeding your face, or doing something “healthier” like exercise–the response is essentially the same: That the emotional outburst is bad. Uncomfortable. Something I want to STOP. And so these behaviors are a way to either dampen the emotion, replace the pain with another kind of pain, or to make the pain stop altogether.

It seems to me that a healthier response would be to simply ride out the emotion in a zen-like wave. To recognize it, accept it, love it, and to also know that it won’t last forever. Watch it pass away and be replaced by other emotions that are less uncomfortable.

I think I would rather respond in the latter way, but how do I get there? And how do I get there without succumbing to the urge to feed my face when these emotional outbursts occur? That was my question for my therapist yesterday.

I suppose different kinds of therapies would offer different kinds of “solutions” for this. I’m not an expert in psychology, so I’m not entirely sure what a cognitive therapist would recommend, or what a behavioral therapist would recommend. My therapist ascribes to a branch of psychotherapy called Social Therapy. Therefore his recommendation was: Create a busy, happy, full life, and eventually this “problem” will just disappear. Have friends that you talk to about your emotional outbursts. Have hobbies that you find rewarding. Embark on personal growth and development. You can’t STOP emotional outbursts from happening, but the power you give it to rule your life IS something that you can change. If you give more power to the friends in your life, to love and fulfillment, then you give less power to emotions that rule your world.

So: I am reminded to create a full life for myself.

And so, at the end of my session, I was left thinking that maybe the magic of the band wasn’t so much that it restricted my eating. Maybe the real magic of the band was the fact that it allowed me to be free to create a full and happy life for myself. Once I created the full life for myself, the weight started to come off or to be maintained.  It’s a coincidence that I hadn’t really picked up on before. Full life = weight loss, and weight loss = full life. It’s a yin/yang circle. Just because the band is gone doesn’t mean that my world has to become small again. I can create that magic for myself. If I create the full and rewarding life, the weight should be less of a “problem” that needs to be “solved.”

And to that end, I am trying more consciously to re-emerge into the world, after six months of wrapping myself in my sorrows. Oh, my sorrows will still be there, but maybe if I can stay active with meaningful activities, that I can keep the real magic alive. And if I keep that magic alive, maybe adhering to a diet/eating lifestyle would be made easier during the difficult times.

Maybe.

So….this weekend was a very difficult, emotional weekend for me that was wraught with poor behaviors towards my friends and subsequently poor eating choices for myself. I’m feeling a little bit back on track this week, making better food choices. I also started walking at lunchtime while at work, which I did twice this week. I’m have plans to meet a friend to go snowshoeing after work tonight as well. I’ve been mulling over what kind of rewarding and empowering activity I want to do this weekend, and I’m considering a few different things.

And….I didn’t gain any weight this week.

Walking at work this week. 

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