Report: Weigh-in date Friday, June 15, 2012. Weight 292.5. Down 1.5. Total loss at the end of four weeks 7.5 pounds. Had a pretty good week. Missed one trip to the gym on Thursday because I had an appointment, but I got there in the morning so I didn’t miss the whole day. Stuck to my eating plan. Happy Father’s Day!
Well, after a month my “plan” seems to be working, slowly but surely. I admit I am surprised. I guess it is time to tackle the “eat less” part of my “eat less + move more = weight loss” equation.
I have created a system that is working for me, but that does not mean it would work for everyone. I feel there are some rules to follow when trying to find out how you can change your eating habits. These rules are based on things I have discovered about myself (as you know by now, I am not an expert) and are grounded in practicality. This is what I do to follow the rules. What you do may be completely different.
Rule #1 – See your doctor. Tell him or her what you want to do and ask for advice. My doctor made sure there was nothing in my medical make-up to prevent me from pursuing my plan. It did not take anything out of the ordinary; just the normal blood tests I always get for my physicals. By talking to my doctor I went into this project knowing there wasn’t anything unusual, like thyroid trouble or whatever, that was playing a role in my problem.
Rule #2 – Be honest with yourself about why you overeat. I am no psychologist, but it does not take a therapist to know that different people will do the same thing for completely different reasons. This is a process of discovery, and it is not easy. Hey, I can rationalize with the best of them! It took me a long time to realize I am a stress eater – and stress eating is fairly common. I should have seen it right away. It took even longer to realize I am a “flavor junkie.” I do not necessarily want to eat. I want to taste. I love flavor. The problem is one usually cannot taste without eating. Additionally, being a flavor junkie, I LOVE food! No doubt, no excuses, I love food. It is just something to which I must adapt if I am going to succeed in this project. To satisfy my desire for flavor I mix various no-sugar, no-calorie, nutrient-enhanced powders into my water bottles. I get flavors like cranberry/pomegranate, berry, and strawberry/kiwi along with getting enough water.
Rule #3 – It is not just why you eat. It is also what you eat and the size of your portions. I know – cliché. But clichés have basis in fact. When examining your eating habits, focus first on when you eat junk food, sugar, excess carbs, etc. I have a monstrous sweet tooth. I especially love ice cream and cookies. I found that when I ate ice cream I would get two helpings and those helpings were not small. Imagine the calories I saved just by changing that habit. Great, right? Miserable is closer to it. Intellectually I knew I was doing the right thing. Emotionally, that resentment I mentioned in an earlier post played a big role. However, I got over it. Now I find I think every time I am presented with the opportunity to consume something. It is easier now to refuse things I think might undo the good I have done so far.
Rule #4 – Eat breakfast. Another cliché based in fact. I cannot exercise if I feel food on my stomach so I go to the gym first thing, before I go to work, and when I get to work I eat a healthy breakfast that includes protein. It is not a big meal. In fact, I use things like Smart Ones (by Weight Watchers) so I do not have to worry about portions. By the time 11am arrives I no longer feel the food on my stomach and I can go back to the gym. Nothing I tried worked for me until I figured out how to handle breakfast.
Rule #5 – Get enough sleep. This was a big one for me. I did not realize I was eating to make myself stay up later. When I started going to bed as soon as I felt tired at night; I lost a lot of late-night calories. I also felt a lot better in the morning, which makes it easier to get to the gym.
I know these rules seem obvious, but until I really looked at my behavior, I did not realize I was not following them. I thought my eating habits were ok. I was SO wrong! It is not easy, and it may be unpleasant, but some honest self-examination is the best way to start on this journey.
Until next week….