This may be one of the more difficult posts for me to write but again I am going to stand steadfast in being as honest as I can be because I wanted to chronicle every bit of my weight lose journey and not just the highlights (or, as in this case, the low lights) of what I did (or didn’t do) to arrive at my end goal.
I have made a committment to one of the support groups that I am a “member” of to report weekly weight lose (or gain), measure myself once a month and, also, to report my monthly weight on the first of the month. I am glad that I began doing this but, quite frankly, I was also hoping that it would be one big swoosh down the scale like a giant water slide into a huge pool waiting below. Not exactly! At least, not this past month.
I ran into some “problems” almost from the beginning of this past month. It doesn’t really matter what those “problems” were except to say that it also identified to me quite loud and clearly that I do react to unusually higher levels of stress by (eventually) “abandoning” all of my food and activity plans. There; I said it! For the past two years my husband and I have lived with the uncertainty of what our next weekly income will be. Since we have learned to live frugally, when we were doing better off we did save up what we could. This came in handy when we had some unexpected car expenses last year. However, we also have lived by the credo that when we have extra money we also like to be charitable and help others out. Would I give my last nickel to someone in greater need? Well, I would definitely “halfsie” it with him or her. We also enjoy eating out. One of the few “pastimes” that I can enjoy since I have become less active due to my arthritis worsening and I not having health insurance to have it taken care of “properly”. Food is and has been a release for me for quite some time. I have not made any bones about that. I won’t deny that I consider it one of the best “pleasures” in life. Again, I realize that I sometimes walk a fine line between enjoyment and abandonment in regards to food. I would like to believe I am more of a gourmand and less of a glutton but again that too can become blurred in some instances. So, jack up the stress in my already “stressed out” life and unfortunately it doesn’t feel so good to eat a small lettuce salad vs a sumptious steak with the trimmings. Where does this put my progress in losing weight? At best, on hold. [PS–even at some point food even becomes less pleasurable]
Add to that the fact that after a valiant attempt at becoming more physically active in spite of my joints unable to bear up under the (again) “added stress” and I am not only eating more calories than I need to be to effectively lose weight but I am also not burning up any of those additional calories besides. I decided to (temporarily I hope) cease walking on the treadmill in spite of the promising progress I had been making and rethink the options that I have available to me. And lastly; I got the flu. For about five days I was truly under the weather. The timing sucked! Sleeping all day had now created an “additional” issue; I couldn’t sleep at night or, at least, not until 5-7 am! Excessive worry and anxiety had wrought me “powerless” and I knew it. Not only was I feeling like I becoming less effective in my ability to handle my “problems”; I was.
By the end of the third week this past month I called a “time out”. A “time out” from logging my food eaten daily, walking on the treadmill, counting my glasses of pure H2O, doing my strength exercises, and daily posting on my support groups, here and elsewhere. I was wound tighter than a Swiss movement on a pocket watch. It took nearly five of the seven days I was allowing for this “time out” for me to “chill”. I started to relax, little by little. Yes, I realize that for all purposes this past month was an almost complete “wash” in terms of much progress I made regarding my weight lose, improving my activity and moving that much closer to my end goal.
So, this begs the question “What happens when it (meaning losing weight) doesn’t happen to you?” For starters; it means you don’t quit! I do not plan on quitting now or any time soon. I’m not a loser, or I’m not right now, but I am also not a quitter! What I do hope to take away from this past month is some insights in what I can do to handle the next “rough patch” when it comes along, if I can/could do anything different. One thing that I have learned is that life is going to throw you some curve balls. Sometimes, we are ready. Sometimes, we aren’t. Sometimes, it wouldn’t matter either way because even the best laid plans don’t go “as planned”. It is a set back but it is not the end of the game. I still have a few innings left in me.
So, in the interest of my detached approach to weight lose, what can I say I did well this past month? I kept my sanity (barely but I did) and my sense of humor. This past week, I insisted on only watching movies or programs that were light-hearted or downright hilarious. Laughter is still one of the best medicines around! You can’t “o.d.” on that! Laugh and the whole world laughs with you….it has been said. I laughed both alone and together with my honey. Life may not be a “dress rehearsal” but it also isn’t a “funeral” either. Without sounding corny, “This too shall pass”. Thank God and Amen to that!
Also, I actually surprised myself and developed a genuine likeness (and thirst) for the “real thing”: beautiful, clear and purified water. Who knew? Bootcamp Betty was right. I was skeptical at first but I really do prefer it over other beverages of “choice”. Besides, listening to some of her muses on what is “the way to go”, I also sat at the feet of some other veteran dieters on this and other websites. I listened. I asked questions when I wanted and needed clarification. I took notes. I don’t have all the answers!
This blog is about my journey to finding out what will release all of this extra weight and then maintain that weight lose. One 12 Step saying resonates with me here at this time: “Take what you need and leave the rest“. Please do! Write your own story. That is what I am doing here. What I am doing “right” (for me) is that I am reviewing what worked for me in the past and how I could apply or even modify if needed to my present circumstances. Drinking copious amounts of purified water is a new addition to my arsenal.
I returned to logging my food each day because I like to see in black and white exactly what passed my lips on the way down to my fleshy middle. Nothing like seeing 20 mini chocolate candy bars to know why you didn’t lose anything that day. Self-knowledge is the cornerstone of my movement down that scale. I do not believe there is any such thing as “good or bad foods”. Just good or bad food “choices”. Taking ownership of what I put in my mouth is the beginning of making food choices that will support my weight lose not sabotage it. However, one caveat: taking ownership without judgment. I don’t want to be or make myself into a whipping boy on this point. I simply want to get to know what the connection and relationship is that I have with all foods. The more I am willing to detach myself from the behavior the more I am willing to decide freely whether I want to continue to make that same choice. I can’t freely choose if I am condemning myself for both wanting (maybe even needing) a particular food at a particular time. A case in point; recently I have discovered when I eat lots of really dark chocolate (60% or better of cacao) the more calm and relaxed I am. You can bet that is something that I plan on having in my cupboards from now on. It can be a “planned” counterattack to feeling blue and anxious.
As for activity: two months ago I purchased a pedometer. It enlightened me regarding just how little movement it takes for the “steps” to add up. If I can total over 4000 “steps” and I essentially am dependent on walking with a cane, how much more could you do with the full use of your lower extremities? Although I would really like to get on that treadmill or go for a walk outdoors (now that it is spring), my weight-bearing joints will not allow me to do so without a backlash of residual pain. I was told that I needed joint replacement surgery nearly 8 years ago. I do not want to push myself to the point of serious injury. Common sense will have to reign. Instead, I am looking into alternatives until I can get the surgery that I need. Granted, I am accustomed to getting “in shape” by throwing myself into some form of sustained aerobic exercise for 45-60 minutes at a time. I have been chomping at the bit for some time to do that exactly since that worked in the past for me. However, I am going to have to restrain myself and find other means. Right now, I am exploring yoga, pilates, seated aerobics (yes, it does exist!) and, when I can afford it, water aerobics. There is more than one way “to skin a cat”. Again, don’t give up! Do what works for you and don’t stop seeking that out until you have found what works for you.
So, in conclusion, what happens when it (losing weight) doesn’t happen for you? Step back and try to do some evaluation of what preceded this pass. Attempt to discover what worked for you and also what didn’t work, then reframe your “plan” and reset it for the next month. I love the first day of each month because to me it means a blank page and an opportunity to start all over again. You have as many chances as you can take. Just take them.