A sometimes serious, sometimes tongue-in-cheek look at work, life, dieting, losing weight, getting in shape, getting bent out of shape and getting over it with a dose of humor.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Another Really Long Post (aka Day 3)

The thing about dieting is that you are always in this keyed up mode where one misstep will send you right back to the starting line or worse, off to the bench to nurse your ignominy in silence before you are even halfway through the game. You are no longer one of the dieting elite, you are the dregs of humankind.

While this may be poetic exaggeration, dieting does create a a lot of artificial pressure and the one thing we don't need more of today is stress. It's worse than sugar and white flour combined because stress sends you scurrying for sugar and white flour thus fueling your guilt complex and adding more stress. You overindulge, feel guilty, behave, then misbehave, and the cycle continues. While this may not be true of everyone, I would imagine it's true of a large portion of the population or we wouldn't have so many diet failure stories and fad diets to begin with.

And it's probably even more true for people with pcos, insulin resitance, leptin resistance or any other kind of biological issue that makes it chemically harder to control this cycle in the first place without the stress of added guilt and the pressure to conform throwing us off our balance even more. I know it's not always that simple. Some people need structure. But for me, when structure starts to spell restriction it's a warning sign.

My dietician keeps saying, "If you have to cheat, cheat and then get back on the plan right away." It always freaks me out and I am beginning to think it was perpetuating the same vicious starve-binge cycle I was trying to break out of. But last night was different. I had planned on having pizza for dinner. I remember standing in front of the freezer. I had opened it to take out the pizza when I noticed this piece of salmon that's been sitting there for a week and suddenly thought, "Oh yum! I want salmon!" Normally, at this point, I would have reached for the pizza because the pizza is off limits, I shouldn't have the pizza, the pizza is bad for me and therefore it's cheating and therefore I should cheat so I can then get back on the plan right away. I don't think I have ever thought "yum," "want" and "salmon" in the same sentence before either.

Dieting's always an act of such great virtue. You are doing all these really great things for your body but not because you want it but because it's good and wholesome and healthy and all things noble and oh wow, don't you have willpower while you are at it too?!

Don't get me wrong. I am not trying to knock anyone who believes in dieting. For some people it works great. For some people it's right. But that's how it was for me. I always felt like I was making some huge sacrifice and being such a virtuous do-gooder. But that's not being a virtuous do-gooder. Giving up my nice cushy lifestyle to save lives in Africa? Now that would be a virtuous do-gooder act. Not picking salmon over pizza. What I realized last night was that all this time I had been so focused on how I "should" eat healthy that I had forgotten that I might actually want to eat healthy.

Not everyone's the same. In one of the 20/20 group sessions the moderator talked about different eating types. One of them was Intuitive Eater. Intuitive eaters don't follow any eating rules, generally eating treats when they want them but studies show that overall they eat just as nutritiously as those following eating plans and actually have lower body mass indexes and better cholesterol levels than women who watch what they eat. I think, last night, for the first time, I became an intuitive eater. I listened to my body and brain instead of food cravings. I didn't have the impulse to cheat so I could get back on the plan because there was no plan to get back on. There were no off limit foods. Nothing to throw away. That pizza wasn't going anywhere. I had the salmon.

Still no exercise. My knee is not just hurting, it's so sensitive that even pulling on my pjs makes me yelp. The area to the left is tender, soft to the touch and tingles when I brush my fingers lightly across it. And it's not a pleasant tingle. I am planning to do a high intensity session of upper body strength training and core moves today to make up for the missed cardio and lower body work. Next week, I start physical therapy.

On another front some good news. My morning weight was down another 1/2 lb. I don't know if there is any significance to it yet so I will keep monitoring for a few more weeks before I draw any conclusions. I am not doing this to speed up my weight loss so much as to find a reasonable, sustainable, balanced way of living that doesn't require me to be constantly tied to a scale and calories and frees me up to enjoy life more.

Day 3:

breakfast - scrambled egg whites with canadian bacon; all bran, blueberries and 4 oz skim milk

lunch - turkey-lettuce rollups (turkey, onion, tomato, chickpeas, a little cilantro and low-fat mayo rolled in lettuce); 4 dark chocolate covered espresso beans

snack - 2 morningstar soy patties, 1 small apple

dinner - 1/2 c brown rice, cut up mixed vegetables, salmon; 1 oz tiramisu (leftover) + 1/2 glass skim milk

Morning weight: 170

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