I hate when I hear someone tell me they cheated on their diet. Often they will preface this by saying they were “bad” and feel guilty. I always respond by asking them not to use the word cheat but instead choice.
The word cheat reinforces a diet-mentality and the All-or-Nothing thinking that goes with it.
I call it a choice.
A choice implies deciding based on full presence of mind and full knowledge of the consequences. When I eat something off my normal eating plan, first it’d better be darn good! I’m not going to waste it on some crappy Dominoes pizza! Second, it’s usually something I’ve planned for with full understanding while in my right mind, and by that I mean not when I’m having a craving. I then enjoy every single bite guilt-free and move on.
Is that always true when it comes to food choices?
Probably not, but it is what I strive for.
Even though cravings may still come and I don’t make the best food choice I could have, I still call it a choice. I need to remind myself that ultimately I do have that power and all my years of “dieting” (and the mental torture that comes with it) has not taken that from me. I try to learn from it and move on! Is there anything I could have done that would have helped me make a better choice? Usually it’s because I went too long without eating. I then try to make sure I give myself every advantage to make a good decision, kind of like a pre-emptive strike!
The end result may ultimately be the same but the distinction is important.
Words are powerful.
Get into the habit of thinking in terms of a choice.
As much as I try not to, I can be a perfectionist.
If someone had told me this about myself 10 years ago I would have laughed (one quick peek in my closets and dresser drawers, for example, would set them straight!).
Truth is, I am very much an All-or-Nothing person. Either I do something perfectly or not at all. It’s something I recognize in myself and have worked hard to overcome. Not only was this something I dealt with in my journey to lose weight , but I can see it in other areas of my life and that includes blogging! But I refuse to give in to old habits that say “if you can’t do it right don’t do it at all”. I’ve decided to jump back in and not wait for some perfect moment when I have more time and become a better writer (both of which probably are never gonna happen!).
So, get ready for more posts and more ramblings on my life after losing weight and keeping it off.
While leisurely checking my Facebook feed Wednesday morning, before jumping in the shower for work, I saw a post from NBC News CT discussing the AMA’s (American Medical Association) decision to recognize obesity as a disease.
While this is not news to the World Health Organization, FDA, and the IRS (just to name a few) all whom already recognize obesity as a disease; it seems to have brought to the surface the long held prejudices of many people.
Now, I know from first-hand experience that people who are overweight and obese are treated differently and looked down upon by many people, but to see these viscous and, frankly, ignorant comments in black & white were quite a shock.
For your consideration:
“Honestly; obesity is too nice a word. Lets call it Human Pig Syndrome (HPS) and see how long it takes these fattys to find a treadmill and some carrots.”
Or how about this gem?:
“I’ll have to pay for people who are too fat and lazy to take care of themselves. The next time I see an obese person eating an ice cream I’m going to slap it out of their hands.”
I could go on and on but I’ll spare you.
To say this made me angry is an understatement.
These comments, which typify the beliefs held by many people, need to be addressed. Education on the nature of disease needs to be explained.
Definition of Disease by the AMA:
“1) an impairment of the normal functioning of some aspect of the body; 2) characteristic signs or symptoms; and 3) harm or morbidity”
How does this apply to Obesity?
“Congruent with this criteria there is now an overabundance of clinical evidence to identify obesity as a multi-metabolic and hormonal disease state including impaired functioning of appetite dysregulation, abnormal energy balanced, endocrine dysfunction including elevated leptin levels and insulin resistance, infertility, dysregulated adipokine signaling, abnormal endothelial function and blood pressure elevation, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, dyslipidemia, and systemic and adipose tissue inflammation”
“Obesity has characteristic signs and symptoms including the increase in body fat and symptoms pertaining to the accumulation of body fat, such as joint pain, immobility, sleep apnea, and low self-esteem; and hormonal and metabolic abnormalities not reversible by lifestyle interventions that will likely require multiple different risk stratified interventions for patients.”
These statements are taken directly from the AMA’s report which can be read in full here.
It’s time to put to rest the notion that obese people are simple lazy and weak.
It’s time to stop viewing obesity as some kind of moral failure or character flaw.
It’s time to stop throwing stones and finally provide help to people struggling by giving them the care and support they need.
When something like a number on a scale can take you from confident & hopeful to self-loathing & hopelessness, it’s time to break up with your scale.
Believe me, I understand! We are all so conditioned to want to see that number go down, but your body weight is only one measure of your progress.
What are some others?
- Are you sleeping better?
- Do you have more energy?
- Are you less moody or depressed?
- Have your cravings dissipated?
- Do you recover faster from exercise?
- Have your symptoms or medical condition greatly improved?
Just because the number on the scale hasn’t moved enough for your liking does not mean your program is a failure.
It means there may be other things going on, like changes in body composition, that aren’t necessarily being reflected by the weight of our body.
So, be patient and feel good that you are doing something positive for your health and know that, eventually, it will show up on the scale.
The best advice I can give may seem simple, but the most effective things usually are:
Write down a list of ALL the reasons why you want to lose this weight.
Be as honest as you can and don’t leave anything out (no one else has to see it).
I had about 30 reasons on my list- from wanting to wear clothes I actually like instead of those that just fit, to wanting to have sex with the lights on!
Then, you need to read that list every day…twice a day… however many times it takes to keep those reasons in the forefront of your mind.
Because, when you are looking at that “thing” that you want- all you can think of is eating it and all those reasons you initially had seem to go out the window.
Until, that is, after you are done eating! Then the temporary pleasure you had is followed by guilt which leads to the entire cycle repeating.
I now have a list of all the reasons why I want to Keep It Off, and you know what? I Read that List Every Darn Day!
I can probably recite it off the top of my head, but there is something in the act of taking the time to write down and read the words.
You can do this. I was like you- up and down- then I realized that motivation comes in the “doing” and it needs to be reinforced every single day.
Dr Dea Roberts gives an excellent blueprint on approaching weight loss and weight management.
Satiety-Focused Weight Health
A walk through …
This is not specific advice to be used without consultation with your personal doctor. This is presented for the purposes of discussion.
This is “the middle part”, which belongs within a larger context of each person’s unique health and medical situation, their resources and circumstances, and their goals, preferences and values.
For example, if you have any problems involving foods, such as digestive issues, gallbladder problems, food allergies, celiac disease, etc., these must be taken into consideration. Be aware that sometimes these only become newly apparent when eating patterns change. If you have, or suspect you may have, an eating disorder or food addiction, please seek personal knowledgable professional care.
The short version –
It’s all about:
- finding what things may be pushing up your appetite
- finding what things you can do to get the most satiety (fullness, sense of satisfaction of appetite) from the food you eat
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Staying motivated can be a struggle — our drive is constantly assaulted by negative thoughts and anxiety about the future. “Why bother, I’ll just go back to how I ate before.” “Well, I messed up today, might as well keep on eating.”
A key to maintaining my motivation during my weight loss journey was writing down a list of all the reasons why I wanted to lose weight.
I read that list every day… twice a day…sometimes more than that depending on the stress of the day.
Because when I was looking at that “thing” that I wanted, I needed those reasons to be at the forefront of my mind.
It used to be easy to forget why I really wanted to lose weight when that decadent dessert, or burger, or….was staring me in the face. Easy for me to erase from my mind the fact that eating that “thing” was not going to get me where I wanted to be. I’d end up inevitably feeling worse afterwards and beating my self up, which would set me up for more failure and a further lessening of motivation.
We can be our own worst enemy at times or our best cheerleader.
Now that I’ve lost my weight, I have a list of all the reasons why I want to keep it off. I can probably recite that list off the top of my head, but you know what? I still read it every day! Reminding myself of all the good things that I have, because of my weight loss, is what keeps me going.
“Accentuate the positive; eliminate the negative.”
I also kept my motivation going by reflecting on how far I’ve come, not how far I need to go. If I focused on the fact that I needed to lose 100+ pounds, it would have felt too big…unsurmountable. Instead, I focused on all the things I had done *right*, all the things that I chose to do that were leading me where I wanted to be. Did I make a better choice than I would normally have? Great!
We shouldn’t wait until we reach our goal to be proud of ourselves. We need to celebrate every decision we make that leads us one step closer to our ultimate goal.
If we allow doubt to enter our minds, we create an “inner-struggle”. Our thoughts start to go down a path that creates conflict in our minds. And when that happens, our motivation starts to waver.
“Progress, not Perfection.”
That mantra has gotten me over many challenges. I don’t have to wait until I’m “perfect” to give my self credit.
Perfectionism is what leads to feeling guilty or defective, and beating up on yourself–and that’s about as helpful as a broken leg is to a runner. Sometimes, cutting yourself some slack is just what you need.
So, here’s my advice: stop wondering where your motivation went, and kick all that negative self-talk to the curb. Instead, write down all the reasons why you are really doing this and give yourself credit every time you do one thing that gets you closer to your goal.
Well, 2013 is almost here.
Time to take stock of the past year and look forward to the next.
2012 had its share of challenges, but I finally have some wonderful news to share!
I was fortunate enough to meet the owner and Medical Director of a new state-of-the-art medical weight loss clinic in West Hartford, Connecticut.
The name is Pounds, Medical Weight Loss Transformation.
Physician Assistant, Michelle Cavo, and Dr. Charles Cavo are as committed to the health and success of their clients as I am.
Together we are launching Pounds, MWLT on January 2nd.
This program is everything I would have wanted when I was starting my weight loss journey:
– A staff that is completely committed to the support and success of each and every client.
– Specially trained clinicians who follow the protocols of the American Society of Bariatric Physicians (ASBP)
– Support through weekly private sessions with a Medical Provider who understands and focuses on my specific needs.
– Available Group Classes, which would have been a tremendous asset! There is nothing like meeting other people going through the same journey and providing support for each other.
– Being able to safely view my electronic medical record remotely at any time.
– Most importantly, gaining the skills and knowledge to Keep the Weight Off for Life!
This is a dream come true.
I am forever thankful to ALL the people who have supported and encouraged me throughout the past year. Your love and support has helped me to remember that I am doing what I’ve been called to do.
Here’s to 2013; THE BEST YEAR YET!
Ah…the Holidays! That time of year when I would gain at least five pounds and never lose them. According to a report from The New England Journal of Medicine, neither do most people.
It was a time to splurge! Indulge!
Besides, January 1st was right around the corner with its’ promise of New Year’s Weight Loss Resolutions.
I’ve been down that road countless times. Now, I see the Holidays as a time to spend with friends & family. It’s not all about the food! Besides, it’s a holiDAY, not a holiWEEK or holiMONTH.
So, what do I do now? First off, I don’t restrict myself all day to save up calories for my holiday meal. I eat according to my normal eating plan, which for me is eating some protein every three hours and drinking tons of water. That way, when it’s time for my special meal I’m not starving and ready to inhale my plate without barely tasting it.
My major holidays are Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, and Christmas Day. I make a plate of all the things I really want. I don’t waste precious real estate on food I truly don’t love- it’s just not worth it. Then, I sit down with my family and enjoy every single bite guilt-free. When I’m done, that is it. No going back for leftovers. I just move on with my regularly scheduled eating plan. For me, this works. The thought of never again tasting my mother’s homemade lasagna is just too sad of a thought. I know it isn’t realistic for me to think like that, after all it was all-or-nothing thinking that got where I was in the first place!
So, my wish for you, whatever holiday you celebrate, is to enjoy the time you have with your family & friends and to enjoy your food, too.