bookmark_borderA Challenge to Myself

So, if you’ve spent any time whatsoever looking at the food logs that I post, you’ve probably thought to yourself, “Wow, she really loves Starbucks,” or “Man, she sure eats a lot of sugar,” or something to that effect.

Don’t worry, I’ve noticed.

My little habits cost me a lot PointsPlus and a lot of money–and let’s be honest, the pleasure derived from these things is sooooo not worth the cost! I hadn’t been that bad with Starbucks until they had their half-price happy hour the other week–of course I thought, “Oh man, half price! I have to take advantage of this!” And boy, did I. Now I just can’t stop. This morning, I stopped there before work, and ended up turning around and leaving because the line was literally 20 people deep and the baristas at this particular store are ridiculously slow; like, I’ve been the only person in there with no one ahead of me, and it still took 5 minutes to get my drink. But I digress… I didn’t actually get a drink this morning, but I can’t stop thinking about it. 

So, in an effort to save my money and my health, I’m issuing a challenge to myself–Starbucks no more than twice per week (unless someone else is paying), and reel in the sugar at night. Since I don’t actually keep any sweets in the house, one of us will often go out after dinner specifically to purchase some ridiculously sugary delicacy. We broke this habit for a while, but little by little the frequency has crept back up. I did really well when I kept a bag of Dove Dark Chocolate Promises in the house; they’re 1 point each and just 1 or 2 after dinner totally satisfied my sweet tooth, so I’m going to go back to that. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying I’ll never have rich, indulgent dessert again–I just want to break this current habit of having it nearly every night because that’s just too much.

I think it’ll be a little difficult at first, but hopefully after a week or two it will be much easier and ultimately reshape my current habit. There’s no end-date to this challenge; I’m going to keep it going as long as I can.

This is just one reason why I find it necessary to write down everything I eat–because I can look back through my journal and pinpoint what habits need to be dealt with, such as this sugar habit. I know if I wasn’t writing it all down, I could easily say, “It’s just one Frappuccino per day, that’s not bad,” or “It’s just one dessert at night, that’s not bad,” completely separating the two and not acknowledge how much sugar I was actually putting into my body on a near-daily basis.

I’m also hoping that by telling you all about my challenge and posting my food logs here, it will help me stay accountable since it won’t just be me who knows about it!

Here are Tuesday and Wednesday’s logs–still haven’t found my journal! My WW center is not open at convenient times for me during the week, so I’ll probably just wait til my meeting on Saturday to pick one up.

I haven’t gotten any exercise this week, but despite my sugar habit, my eating hasn’t been ridiculously out of control. I am in charge of my decisions, of the food I put into my body. I’ve noticed that I don’t feel as good as I do when I’m exercising and eating less sugar, so I’m doing something about it. I am in charge.

bookmark_borderIt’s that time again!

Remember a while ago when I was in such a funk and decided it was related to PMS? Well, I’m feeling that zero-energy, total lack of exercise motivation again–though since I recognize it now, I’m hoping to stay ahead of it and not let it get to me so much. Sunday night and last night, I literally passed out before 9pm–both nights, I planned to just lay down for a minute after getting the kids to bed, and both nights I definitely did not see 9:00. I didn’t run yesterday or today, and it’s really amazing how different my body feels–like, everything is just sore, as if my muscles are just begging to be challenged! Marc is home tonight, so my plan is to get to the gym and at least ride the bike for a while.

In other news, I still can’t find my food tracker–I looked all over my car, and all the typical places it would be in our house. One of the kids must have gotten their hands on it, so who knows where it could be! I put everything into the online tracker this morning, and doing that reminded me of why I prefer paper tracking so much–something about actually writing it down just feels so much more real to me. It’s hard to explain. Suffice it to say, if I can’t find it this evening then I’ll go get a new one tomorrow.

Here are my food logs for the last few days… not the prettiest, but I tracked!

I hope you can read those. Have a great day!

bookmark_borderWeigh In + NSV!

Saturday’s weigh-in was a little disappointing:

I’m attributing the small gain to the pizza and sushi I ate on Friday (helloooo, water retention); also, I was a little constipated again (not sure why this is suddenly happening so frequently, but it sure is annoying!). No matter though; it is what it is.
I somehow managed to leave my food journal at home this morning; I feel lost without it! So, can’t post any food logs right now. I didn’t have the best weekend, food wise (though everything was delicious), but I still want to post them for accountability.
Today I had a great NSV (non-scale victory) though! It’s just what I needed, too, after the weigh-in disappointment. I have several shirts that I bought from thrift stores in 2013 that wound up being too tight when I tried them on at home; since they’re non-returnable, I decided just to keep them until I was able to fit into them. Well, today I’m wearing one that didn’t even come close to buttoning back then! The bottom button is a little snug (thanks, baby pooch!), but it’s definitely wearable, so…
Happy Monday!

bookmark_borderComputer Monitor Mantras (+ Food Logs)

When I started on this journey of making peace with myself (and food), I felt there were a few things I needed to stay at the forefront of my mind. I thought, “Hey, I’ll type up these sayings and put them in a highly visible place,” and that place turned out to be my computer monitor at work. Considering I spend about 40 hours per week sitting in front of it, I thought that was a pretty good place. So I typed them up and cut them out, and taped them to my monitor.

“My self esteem…” and “I am enough” came first; “What do I need…” came today, thanks to Michelle at Diary of Aspiring LoserMaintainer. Having these in face all day every day has really helped; when I’m feeling down or bingey, I look at these again and again, and it helps. Perhaps one day I won’t need the constant reminder that “I am enough,” and I’ll simply believe it because it’s true.

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I’ve gotten somewhat behind on posting my food logs…

I gotta say, I was a little surprised that my roast beef sub from Subway ended up 10 points–I don’t even get cheese! I’m convinced it’s all in the bread, which is just ridiculous. Oh well; at least it was delicious!

And today’s log…

No activity today; my stomach was bothering me this morning and my knees were sore andfranklyijustdidnotfeellikerunning. It’s been a good week!

bookmark_borderWhy I don’t have a scale at home.

Writing this has been eye-opening. Until right now, this very moment, I don’t think I realized just how disordered my scale habits were; I always joked that I was obsessed, but I don’t think I realized that I was actually, for real, obsessed. How is it even possible that I thought those were healthy behaviors? I look at these words that I’ve written, at the girl I used to be, and I just want to take her in my arms and tell her that she doesn’t have to get on the scale, that it’s a meaningless device that has no bearing whatsoever on her value, on her worth. She is worth so much more than what that stupid device tells her.
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I don’t remember exactly when it started, but at some point in my life, I became obsessed with the scale. Just kidding, I’m pretty sure I know exactly when it started. It was 2007 when I was doing Weight Watchers Online; I would always weigh first thing in the morning, but for whatever reason, one day I decided to weigh myself again later in the morning–and realized that my weight dropped by like 1-2 pounds.

It started out innocently enough; I changed my official weigh-in day to Saturday so I could weigh myself a little later in the morning. So I’d weigh myself daily, but on Saturdays I’d weigh myself first thing in the morning, around 8, and again around 10. I was fascinated by the weight fluctuation, I said. 
 
After my mom died in January 2008, I stopped weighing myself because the weight gain was just unbearable. I got a physical in November 2008 and was 301 pounds (my highest weight ever); that was the first time I’d been on a scale in months; the last time I weighed myself prior to that November, I’m pretty sure I was around 250. I started periodically weighing myself again.
We moved to Korea in 2009 to teach English, and life was just so different. I didn’t own a scale, and it was amazing. It was freeing, not worrying about my weight for once. Eventually, though, it caught up with me and I bought a scale in 2010–I needed to lose weight to get pregnant, and you certainly can’t lose weight without a scale! I started out weighing a couple times a week, then daily, then back to twice daily; due to my teaching schedule, I was able to weigh first thing in the morning, and again a couple of hours later every day. Score!
I took it up a notch, and routinely weighed as soon as I got out of bed before peeing, then again right after peeing, and again 2 hours later. Eventually I’d start weighing in the afternoons too, just to see how much it varied–“it’s so interesting!” I said. Sometimes I’d weigh randomly, just because; sometimes I’d weigh if I felt like I just peed a TON; sometimes I’d weigh before/after pooping (doesn’t everybody at some point?). Either way, I consistently weighed myself anywhere from 3-5+ times per day.
 
I went on like this, more or less, for the next 4 years. FOUR YEARS, PEOPLE–through weight loss, pregnancy, weight gain, weight loss, another pregnancy, and weight gain–until May/June 2014. I was a freaking slave to that thing. I kept a dry-erase board on the wall above my scale, and every day I’d write down the lowest weight, and every day those numbers would just stare me in the face. The last year, I was consistently weighing myself at least 5 times per day, some days closer to 10. I actually found this post from 2012 on my old weight loss blog about this very thing.
I started therapy in May 2014; during our second session, my therapist asked if I would consider getting rid of my scale*–oh my God, you’d think she’d just asked me to cut off my right arm. I can still recall the intense feelings of anxiety that washed over me in that moment; it was all I could do not to burst into tears. Eventually, I managed to agree to put it away, out of sight.
I got home and put my dear, beloved scale on the tippy top shelf of the linen closet and piled towels and toilet paper on top of it. For a couple of days, I’d unbury it just to weigh one time in the morning, then bury it again–let me tell you, that was a pain in the ass. Then one day, I realized that two whole days had gone by without weighing myself once–and you know what?
I was still alive, kicking and breathing. I still weighed myself every couple of days, sometimes going longer, and I was feeling less and less anxiety about not weighing so frequently. Finally, after about 2-3 months, I was ready to let go completely; I proudly walked into my therapist’s office, wearing the biggest smile, and said, “I have a present for you!” You guys, I gave away my scale–got it out of my house, completely. For the remainder of my therapy, my scale lived in my therapist’s closet–and I never once felt the urge to ask for it back.
At my last session this past March, we decided that she would give my scale to an organization called Southern Smash which raises awareness about eating disorders and hosts “scale smashing” events around the country. And just like that–my scale was GONE.
I still do my weekly weigh-ins at Weight Watchers, but I no longer have this obsession, this anxiety, about the scale. I don’t sit around thinking about the next time I’ll get on the scale, practicing different stances to achieve the lowest number. I don’t obsessively step on the scale 7 or 8 times in row, just to make sure the scale gives me the absolute lowest possible number. I don’t strip off my clothes multiple times per day just to get on a scale.
Occasionally, I do think about possibly getting a scale again–especially with the popularity of DietBet these days–but it just isn’t worth it. Given my history, I have no desire to own a scale ever again–for my sake, and for my daughter’s sake. Conquering this is no longer just about me, but it’s about my daughter (and son) as well–I don’t want them to have the same struggles I’ve dealt with for so long, and it starts with me and the example I set for them.
*When my therapist first asked me about getting rid of my scale, she also asked if I would consider quitting Weight Watchers; I told her that I’d rather not, because I enjoyed the support and camaraderie the meetings offered. I’m so happy that I chose to go with my instinct!

bookmark_borderMy “Escape”

So, as a mom of a 2-year-old and 3.5-year-old who works full time outside the home, whose husband works several nights per week, I don’t get out much. My big night out generally consists of….

GROCERY SHOPPING!!!

And you know what? I love it. I do most of my shopping at Target because I have a REDcard debit card, plus Cartwheel, plus coupons, and I’ve found it actually is just the cheapest place for groceries around here. (I get meat and produce from Rouses, a local grocery store chain.) I love their Simply Balanced brand too, for cheap organic options.
I spend roughly 2-3 hours shopping, and pretty much enjoy every minute of it. I refuse to go shopping with the kids because, well, they’re little and impatient, and Marc’s not fun to go with because he doesn’t understand why I have to slowly go up and down all the aisles and look at every little thing. So, it’s become my time. I stop at Starbucks before I go (there’s not one inside, but there’s one just down the block) and take my sweet, sweet time. I’m sure other moms can relate!
Here’s my food log from yesterday…
You might note the lack of fruit/vegetables–a sure sign that it’s time to get to the store!

bookmark_borderWeight Watchers: One Year Later

One year, y’all. 365 days. 8,766 hours. 525,960 minutes. 

That’s how long it’s been since I made the decision to take back control of my life.
One year ago, I was fat. I was unhappy, depressed. I couldn’t understand why ALL of these THINGS just HAPPENED TO ME and where had I gone wrong?

One year ago, I was so desperate. Desperate for change, desperate for happiness, desperate for anything to make sense. I thought, “If only I was skinny, things will be better. That’s what I need.” I don’t remember how I heard about it, but I got a book called The Fast Metabolism Diet. The diet’s supposed to jump start your metabolism and help you burn lots of fat, losing up to 20 pounds in the first month. That was exactly what I was looking for! Without going into too much detail, it’s a 28-day cycle that’s extremely restrictive and limiting, and I think I threw in the towel on day 25 when I stepped on the scale and hadn’t even lost 5 pounds. It was all my fault and I hated myself for not even being able to do this diet right and it was all obviously because I messed up somewhere along the way–I must have eaten the wrong type of fruit on the wrong day or something.

The next day I drove to a drug store on my lunch break and they still had Easter candy on clearance; I bought Cadbury eggs and Reese’s eggs and Russell Stover eggs and Lindor truffles and proceeded to eat all of it in my car in the parking lot of my office.

And then I cried. I cried and cried and cried until my shoulders shook and my head hurt and I could hardly breathe. I wanted to stop eating, I did, but I couldn’t. I shoveled every piece of chocolate into my mouth as fast as could, desperate for the pain to go away, to numb the hurt, to forget how much I hated myself at that very moment. I just wanted. it. to end.

I pulled myself together and walked into my building. I saw down at my desk and stared at my computer screen for a few minutes.

And then I joined Weight Watchers.

Just like that, things started to change. It was like a disturbance in the Force.

I walked into my first meeting on May 10, 2014, and things… I… have never been the same.

I’ve joined Weight Watchers before, but what makes this time different? A lot of things, actually*.
  • My determination. Before, I always looked for outside motivation; how can YOU help ME lose weight? I would look to people or upcoming events to motivate me. I never saw my own ability, my own strength, my own determination to lose the weight. Yes, motivation is a good boost; however, I think determination is really the key.
  • My headspace. My focus isn’t solely on the scale anymore. In the past, every time my weight loss stalled, I’d fall off the wagon, roll down the embankment, and over the waterfall. Now, when my weight loss stalls, I hold on tighter to the wagon and ride it out (though, I occasionally do fall off–but I always get back on!).
  • Weight Watchers itself is different. The last time I joined, it was much more focused on the scale and all the tricks and tools of the trade–100 calorie snack packs were just becoming a thing, and I lived off of those. Now, Weight Watchers focuses more on the whole person, and the number on the scale has taken a backseat. Now we talk more about how we feel rather than how we look; our meetings present strategies for dealing with situations that might trigger unhealthy food choices.
  • My meeting leader. My leader is incredibly engaging and dynamic, and she’s lost a large amount of weight and has maintained it for 30+ years. This, to me, is huge, because I can relate to her and she can relate to my struggles. I’ve had leaders in the past who were nice enough, but it was a lot harder for me to connect with someone who just didn’t have this lifelong struggle.
  • My meeting members. My Saturday 8am group is so unlike any of the other meetings I’ve attended. There’s such a variety of ages and lifestyles, yet I feel like I could easily talk to just about anybody in there. I feel comfortable sharing the down and dirty aspects of my journey with the group, and I’ve managed to make a few friends. In meetings past, I’ve never really been able to connect with anyone, and also they had such a revolving door of members that it was hard to really get to know anyone.
  • The receptionists. I love the receptionists at my meeting! They know my name, they encourage me when I’m down, and they have never ever made me feel bad about a gain.
*During this time, I was also meeting with a therapist and a nutritionist who specialized in eating disorders–we met weekly, biweekly, and eventually monthly until this past March, when we decided that I could meet with them as-needed. I’ll elaborate on the therapy at a later date, as this post is dedicated to my Weight Watchers journey.
 

So, you see, all of these things have played an important role in my life this past year, and are still playing important roles. I realize now that this journey will never end; there’s no magical ending where suddenly the stars align and I no longer have issues with food. I will always have issues with food–but now I have the knowledge and tools and support to continue in a positive way. I’m fairly certain that I’m going to be a lifelong Weight Watcher, and you know what? I’m okay with that.