Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Forgive me, for I have sinned...

The majority of us struggling with our weight do not have underlying physical issues causing problems. The bottom line is really not about an empty belly, but about an empty heart or an over-flowing brain. Sad, but true.

For me, it's mostly anxiety-induced. I eat when I'm anxious. Part of it is because I use it as a way to try to force myself to relax when there's an overwhelming task, like "I'll sit down, have a couple cookies and come up with a plan of attack". The problem comes when instead of taking those moments to make lists or charts to deal with my task, I attack the cookies instead...with my mouth.

Some people believe that's a way to "shove down" your feelings. That may be, but at that point, I have no conscious thoughts other than "nummy". Sometimes I even do a full blown happy dance when I'm really enjoying my indulgences, but that's another post in itself.

Regardless of my emotional state, I decided a while back to still make tracking my food a priority and thanks to technological advances like having WW eTools on my iPhone (or one of many other apps at this point), it's super-easy. I tell members almost every day that having the app on my phone played an integral part in my success. It needed to be quick and easy or I wasn't going to do it. Now, I can't imagine NOT doing it. Sometimes it feels like a badge of honor, almost like a, "Oh! Look! I hit all my good health guidelines" and other times it is more like a, "Whoa. I ate half my points in malomars today. No wonder I want a nap." Either way, I am honest. I own up to my choices, good and bad and then, when I face the scale each Friday, I have some idea of the result I will see. I will admit that it's not always an immediate result, but it usually shows up by the following week, one way or another.

Now, when i looked myself up in the WW database recently, I had joined at least 4 times and that's not counting the previous 4 or 5 times before they had computer systems in the centers. The first time was actually in the early 1990's when they sold meal plans!

Each time I joined, I ate smaller portions than I normally would have eaten and I walked on a treadmill for exercise. I generally lost around 30lbs before I hit a "plateau" and quit.  What was the real difference this time? I tracked. Not in my head because as much as I thought I was remembering items I ate, I really was not. I never added up the BLTs (bites, licks & tastes) and as a certified snacker, I now realize that I could easily eat 10-20pts a day in just nibbles of things. No wonder I couldn't continue losing weight!

Anyway, once I owned up to my ACTUAL eating habits, I knew what to expect at the scale. When I was particularly off track and over my points in a week, I viewed stepping on the scale in a new way this time as well. I saw it more like wiping the slate clean. I made some choices that I'm owning up to and now it's time to move on.

Was it my Catholic upbringing? Almost like penance? "Repent thy sins!"


Was it that, as one member in my meeting pointed out a while back, my weekly points reset, so when I woke up on Friday and headed into my meeting, I already had a fresh start? That probably helped too.

Either way, I think it's imperative that we all learn to forgive ourselves when we make choices we regret.

I have said this before, but not setting a timeline for hitting goal definitely helped with this. If I had a meal or day (or week etc) where I went a little overboard, I didn't flip out because I had some self-imposed pressure and now it derailed me and I can only eat celery for the next week to make that unreasonable number. By doing this, I would beat myself up, feel guilty aaaaand eat even more. Just a little counter-productive...

This time, moving along without obsessing over weights and dates, I was able to forgive myself and move on much more easily.

FTR, I also found that tracking helped me to focus on smaller goals because I  was concentrating on hitting daily and weekly numbers, instead of looking months ahead at an overwhelming and looming number.

So bottom line: when asked for a quick answer regarding weight loss advice, I always say:

Physically, tracking is imperative.

Emotionally, forgiveness. Would you allow someone to speak to your mother, best friend, dog (or other favorite being) the way you speak to yourself? Probably not, so cut it out.