How do I deal with emotions, you ask? Oh, that's easy. I eat them. Happy? Let's celebrate. Sad? I deserve a treat. Stressed? This will take my mind off it. Angry? I can eat that away too - until the meal is over and regret sets in. Then what do I have? Less money and a distended belly.
As I write this I am feeling anxious about making good career choices under a time constraint, work unrelated to my position is being thrown on me, I'm struggling to make ends meet, and I could really go for a bacon, egg and cheese sandwich. Not only will this sandwich set me back a ton of calories, it will also set me back a couple bucks. But it would be delicious.
I recently bought a container of whole grain oatmeal to keep at work for times like this, which I will begrudgingly make for myself in a few minutes. As I am eating the oatmeal, I will undoubtedly be thinking about how delicious that bacon, egg and cheese would be. I will also be thinking that I am taking one step closer to health each time I don't give in to my emotions.
There is the B.E.C. substitute which I will begin to eat once it's absorbed the water.
Allowing myself to eat emotions? ❌
Better than eating a bacon, egg and cheese? ✔️
As my stamina increases, so does the effort I can give in each and every workout. In so little time, I can already see a change in my ability to keep up with the class and I am very proud. I have never really been able to do a great burpee, but for the first time in years, I am able to do multiple burpees in a row! Even burpees that include a push-up, not just a plank. With this progress comes another change - increased muscle soreness.
I find myself needing more days to recover between workouts. With the additional effort I am able to give, my muscles are becoming more taxed than before. I suppose this is why people who work out consistently target different muscles groups on consecutive days. These exercise veterans work their muscles so hard that they need to space out when they work the same muscle group.
While being so sore makes it more difficult for me to make it to the gym, it also makes me feel like I'm making bigger strides. Now is the time I need to push myself harder to get my workouts in despite muscle fatigue. The only way to get stronger and healthier is to keep going. This week I struggled with getting myself to workout, but I'm going to keep on truckin' - I know in time, it will get easier.
I haven't posted in a few days because I've been busy...SLEEPING. I underestimated how much sleep I would need after tough workouts multiple times a week. Last week I just couldn't get enough sleep. Then, during the weekend, I couldn't sleep a wink.
Maybe I was so over-tired that I couldn't fall asleep. Maybe I've been under a lot of pressure and it's anxiety that was keeping me up. All I know is that I lay there bone-tired, tossing and turning, and thinking. When sleep won't come in a pitch black room, my mind wanders. So, there I was. Thinking about how much more weight I have to lose, what the next steps in my career are, how I will reach the many goals I have for my life, what will happen if I don't reach those goals, contingency plans, everything.
I have read in the past that there are three ingredients you need to successfully lose weight - these are a healthy diet, exercise, and sleep. I never appreciated how important the third piece was until I wasn't getting enough. I've finally caught up on sleep (I think) and I will definitely be watching my sleep much more diligently from here on out. Another lesson learned.
Today I got a healthy quesadilla for lunch. Low-fat cheese, grilled chicken and spinach. As I usually work as I eat lunch, I mindlessly prepared my food. This is the result.
Without even realizing, I covered both pieces entirely in 2 ounces of sour cream. I went into auto-pilot and straight back into old habits.
Once I realized what I had done, I snapped a picture and promptly scrapped as much as I could off.
I instead opted to top my quesadilla with the much healthier and more flavorful pico de gallo. In the first picture, you can see my healthy pico de gallo unopened and untouched - also mostly unnoticed. In the second picture you can see the giant pile of discarded sour cream.
I have read a lot about the importance of mindful eating. In other words, turning the tv off, putting down your phone and focusing your attention on the meal. Taking in the flavors, taking your time eating, and stopping when you are no longer hungry. Not full. No longer hungry. Big difference.
For me this is a major change as I usually park myself in front of a tv or computer screen and eat whatever is in front of me. Barely paying attention to what I am eating, let alone whether or not I am still hungry. I have been trying to incorporate this style of eating into my life, but it has been challenging. Changing how you do anything after a lifetime of developing a habit is nearly impossible. But, I'm willing to challenge myself and take the impossible on.
I also recently watched a YouTube video about things you probably have been doing wrong your whole life, only to find out that I have been tying my shoes incorrectly for over two decades. Apparently I've picked up quite a few bad habits over the years that need correcting. If I can retrain myself to tie my shoes differently, I know I can focus on the foods I am eating while I'm eating. I love food, forcing myself to think about food for the 20-30 minutes it takes to eat a meal should be easy enough. It's remembering to unplug so I can focus that will be the challenge.
Today I caught myself, tomorrow I will be prepared to give my meals the attention they deserve. Baby steps.
Today was tough. I had an off-site day-long training for work, lunch provided. My intention was to bring breakfast and lunch with me so I could avoid temptation and ensure I was satiated throughout the day. Halfway down the stairs, as I rush to make the train, it occurs to me that I have forgotten my food. Shit.
On my ride in to work I remember there's a place near my training where I can get a healthy on the go breakfast. One meal is covered. But what will I do for lunch? I'll have to figure that one out later - one thing at a time.
When I get off the subway, I make my way to this upscale deli-style storefront and order something healthy yet satisfying. I get egg whites, turkey bacon and avocado on 7-grain bread. As I wait for my order I scope the rest of the place out and see that they also serve wraps and make-your-own salads. I'll just come back here for lunch. Problem solved.
As noon rolls around the trainer tells us lunch has arrived and asks the group if we would rather have an hour to break for lunch or take ten minutes to get some food from the next room, meet through lunch, and potentially leave early. Of course, the leave early option prevails. Okay, lemonade out of lemons. Maybe they ordered healthy options.
I approach the table of food set up buffet style and the first thing I see is a platter of cookies. As the first person gets their food, I see they have chosen something covered in melted cheese and totally delicious looking. I grab a plate and finally notice a salad and some string beans.
I snapped a picture of my meal choice for the day as proof. You can even see bite marks in those string beans. I bypassed eggplant parmigiana, chicken parmigiana, rolls and butter, and rainbow cookies. Instead I ate salad with low fat dressing and string beans. As everyone around me dug into their cheesy, fried, beautiful plates of food, I resigned myself to the most green things I've had in one sitting in quite some time.
As I write this, I am very proud of my decision and my self-control. I wasn't aware of my ability to choose string beans over cheese covered foods. But, in the moment I was staring longingly while salivating over everyone else's plates of food. Picture the family dog staring at you as you eat dinner. That was me, only less adorable. Next time I will NOT forget my food at home.
Just over one week into the official start of this journey, I think I've earned a day off. My day off does not include a day off from healthy eating. The only thing about today that is different than yesterday is that I won't be working out.
I have still had healthy meals all day, that does not change. I've made so much progress, I can't give in to my cravings now.
As you can see my phone is very proud of me for reaching my new low and getting below 215 pounds, and I'm proud of me too!
Any change from my previous eating habits will add to my progress so I don't feel as though taking a day off from exercise will negatively affect what I have done so far. Exercise further supplements the dietary improvements I have made. Every day, will not be a day off from exercise - I want to make as much progress as I can in as little time as possible. Tomorrow I will be working out at least once, if not twice. I won't lose steam now.
Today started out well enough. I woke up early, got myself to the gym (see pictures above), burned a significant number of calories, got to work and ordered a healthy and delicious breakfast. Next thing I know it's lunch time and I am burried in work. I've only eaten half of my breakfast and I am starving. I quickly eat the remaining half and continue to focus on my work. Time flies by and soon enough it's 5:30 PM. I've worked an extra hour without noticing and I rush to leave.
Mid-commute I have stopped thinking about work and notice very persistent hunger pangs. I start day dreaming about food - ANY food. Then I see it. A Peruvian Rotisserie Chicken food truck. I have walked right by this food truck too many times to count, but today I was acutely aware of its presence.
Herein lies the danger of letting myself get too hungry. Even as I sit on this train, which has not yet left the station, I am actively convincing myself I don't NEED delicious Peruvian chicken. The many other times I have walked by this truck I barely noticed it. But today? I would buy an entire chicken, shove it down my gullet in 10 minutes, wipe my hands on my pants, and feel disgusting... and completely satisfied. Not today.
I can't let myself undo the progress I have made. I am very hungry, I should have eaten. I should have brought a healthy snack to work or taken a break to eat a little something. But, I didn't. I could fall back on old habits and eat whatever I can find as quickly as possible, or I can wait until I get home and take my time eating a healthy meal. With a big pout on my face and a very vocal stomach I wait for the train to deliver me home where healthy (and free) food awaits.
Monday mornings are always a struggle for me, a ton of work and a lack of fun looming ahead of me, but this week more than others. I have been preparing for two interviews and a training while trying to make healthy choices both in diet and exercise, plus my job and three hours of commuting daily. Where will I find the time?!
Above is a graph which summarizes my weight loss to date. Since this graph covers about 7 days, my weight looks as though it is fluctuating a lot. Really, it has changed only by ounces each day. Overall my weight has gone down 7.6 pounds. This morning, with the stress of the week growing ever closer, I was about ready to order a bacon, egg and cheese on a roll (salt & pepper, no ketchup). When I opened up the app that tracks my weight and saw that my weight (which had been stuck around 218) had dropped a bit, I reconsidered and stuck with the food I brought to work. Had I not lost any weight I'm not sure if I would have ultimately ordered an unhealthy breakfast when I had a perfectly healthy, and free, breakfast sitting right next to me.
Making progress is a big motivator for me. If I can lose 5+ pounds a week by sticking to a healthy diet and exercise regimen, I shouldn't even be thinking about eating foods that won't contribute to my goal. If I were to lose 5 pounds every week until I hit my goal weight, it would take me 3.5 months of strict diet and exercise. That should be motivation enough, but of course I fall back into the "just once won't hurt" mentality and soon enough I've finished off an entire box of macaroni and cheese.
When weight changes by only ounces a day, just one does hurt. It makes it that much harder to reach where I want to be. It's canceling out a full day of progress in minutes and immediately feeling horrible about it. So, this morning, instead of eating a shame and grease filled breakfast, I had low fat quiche and I can hold my head a little higher.
After finishing a very satisfying and filling dinner tonight I wanted something chocolatey, cold, and delicious. I felt as though I needed this sweet summer-time treat so I did not binge eat an entire pint of ice cream later. I figured I would choose a healthy alternative to ice cream and instead go with frozen yogurt. That seems like a totally reasonable thought process that I would normally have followed through on.
On my drive to the closest froyo establishment that was open, I pictured myself eating my undoubedly delicious frozen yogurt in bed, while watching tv and suddenly it seemed less appealing. It seemed like taking a step away from the goals I have been strictly chasing and a step towards past habits. I was immediately certain I no longer wanted to have frozen yogurt where five minutes prior I was so excited about having a well-deserved ice cream substitute.
I am by no means saying I will not allow myself treats throughout this process, but this treat just didn't seem worth it. I'm headed to bed and I'm full. The froyo is unnecessary today. Tomorrow is a new day. Maybe I will need a pick me up and a nice Red Mango with dark chocolate chips will be just the thing I need. Then I will be able to, without guilt, enjoy a delicious and well deserved froyo. I would rather save my treats for a time when eating them will not make me feel guilty and will actually provide me with a small piece of happiness to take with me into the rest of my day.