Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Day 1 of my no flour commitment is in the books

Today was a vacation day for me and, with TCB off at work, I was pretty much left to my own devices, which made it much easier for me to focus on making healthy choices.

Progress report on the items I committed to in yesterday's post:

  1. Today I ate no flour;
  2. I also ate nothing with more than 20 grams of sugar;
  3. I drank 48 ounces of water (my goal was 64);
  4. I meditated for just short of 10 minutes last night (my monkey brain was on overdrive);
  5. I'm back here, writing, today
I had a check-in with my Weight Watchers Coach today and I told her about my commitment to giving up flour for a week. While the Weight Watchers program allows for a variety of food options, she was very supportive of my choice, especially when I explained why I'm doing this. I know I'll feel better without eating baked goods and high sugar foods, plus I need to get a better grip on my emotional eating and that's nearly always centered on those highly processed foods containing flour and sugar.

I don't know if I can or will do this forever, but a week feels very achievable; I'll evaluate and adjust at the end of the week if needed.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Knowing and doing are two different things

We've already established that I know how to live as a happy, healthy person who maintains her weight. I lost the weight and maintained within 10 pounds of my lowest weight for 8-9 months, so I know what needs to be done. Right now, however, and for the last few months, I have been eating crazy amounts of food and making food choices that include way too much sugar and flour, and as a result I now weigh 25 pounds more than I did at this time last year.

I keep "starting over", telling myself I'll stick to my eating plan: lots of lean protein, good fats, low glycemic fruits and vegetables, limited amounts of naturally occurring starches like garbanzos, black beans, sweet potatoes, and corn, plus even more limited amounts of whole grains like quinoa and brown rice. And then something happens at some point - possibly the first day, possibly after five days of eating well - and I have "just one" treat. That one treat becomes a day of poor eating, sometimes several. (Once it was even a week long sugar/flour/simple carbohydrate fest.)

My blood sugar doesn't like these transgressions. My waist line does NOT like these transgressions. My self esteem isn't fond of them, either. I KNOW what to do but actually doing it is not easy - it never was and dealing with this wretched regain is not helping at all.

I need to stop moderating sugar and flour for a while, sort of like a detox, to see if going cold turkey will help mute the cravings. To help keep me accountable, I'm writing my plan down here so that someone else will know what I'm committing to for the next week:

  1. Nothing containing flour;
  2. Nothing with more than 20 grams of sugar;
  3. Drink at least 64 ounces of water each day;
  4. Meditate at least 10 minutes each day
  5. Come here to write 4 times this week
We shall see how this goes. I'm hoping to re-start my healthy eating and start rebuilding my self esteem by proving to myself that I still want to be happy and healthy.

Anyone want to join me? Leave a comment with your commitment(s) for this week and we'll keep each other accountable.

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Setbacks and lessons

You might have noticed that I haven't written in about a week. I have a pattern with this blogging thing, though, don't I?
  • When I'm doing well, feeling strong, I write
  • When I forget how important eating properly is for my long-term health, I disappear
Sometimes I disappear when I'm not on a hiatus from healthy living, too, but most of the time when I'm not actively writing, on some level it's because I don't want to shine a light on the way I'm living.

No shocker then that last week wasn't my best ever in terms of my commitment to improving my physical and mental health. It started when I weighed in on Sunday morning, after a week of absolutely perfect adherence to the super-strict first week of South Beach, to find that I'd gained half a pound. Seriously? I didn't eat a single piece of fruit, nothing processed, no flour, minimal sugar, and I stayed within my caloric limits, too, every single day, even when it was tough. And still I gained. To say that I was upset would be an understatement.

I told myself that I would take this little setback as a sign that I needed to "lean in" - recommit and go after it even stronger for the second week. I told myself it was probably just water weight and that another on-plan week would take that half pound and more off of my abdomen. I told myself all of that and then I spent that day plus five more on an emotional eating bender; if there was a starchy carb within a mile, I stuffed it in my mouth. Not my best week ever, to be sure.

At the end of the second day of doing this, I noticed how horrible I felt - not just emotionally but also physically: bloated, stomach ache, no energy. Noticing it didn't stop me, though, at least not until Friday night after work when I stopped to evaluate where I was and where I wanted to be.

By the time I left for my Weight Watchers meeting early Saturday morning, I realized that my body's reaction to my poor food choices was actually a gift because it's further motivation for making changes. If I'd never had a six day food bender, I'd never have realized it because it took forsaking all of those sugar, starch, and carbohydrate-laden foods for a week and cleaning out my system for me to appreciate how yucky they make me feel.

So this morning, during a conversation with my Weight Watchers coach, I committed to writing up my Losing List - reasons why I want to lose these last 20 pounds - so that I stay focused on why this is important to me in the long run (instead of solely focusing on the short-term gratification of sugary treats.

Why I want to lose weight:
  1. to keep my diabetes under tight control, avoiding complications;
  2. to avoid feeling bloated and nauseated from processed foods;
  3. a smaller body makes practicing yoga and running easier;
  4. I want my clothes to fit properly again;
  5. to have a healthy level of body fat (25% or lower);
  6. to inspire people around me to make their own positive changes.
The actual, physical list is handwritten and will travel with me throughout the next week and beyond. Will this magically keep me from turning to food when I'm tired, angry, or sad? Probably not, but I'm hoping that by reading it regularly I'll at least be mindful of what I'm trading off if I choose to eat starchy carbohydrates and refined sugar.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Learning patience

I have been in pain for quite a while. The pain started in earnest when I began to increase my running mileage during my 20 weeks of training for the Tinkerbell Half Marathon; anything over four miles left me sore for several days. The pain starts in my lower back, extends through my left gluteus, down my left hip, and along the side of my left quadricep to my knee.

I have been seeing a massage therapist and chiropractor every other week since late February/early March hoping for a miracle cure but needing at least some relief from the pain. Now that my half marathon is over and I don't need to start training for my next half marathon until the end of June, I have gone back to walking every day instead of alternating walking and running on alternate days, and on Thursday I went to my first appointment with a physical therapist.

The therapy session was painful, to say the least: stretching and deep tissue massage of muscles that are nearly fused solid hurts a lot. I also have stretches to do twice a day at home; those are painful as well. In addition, the therapist told me to avoid running if it causes any pain, so that's pretty much confirmed my decision to focus on walking for a while instead of trying to keep up a regular running schedule.
Patience is not about how long you can wait, but how well you behave while you're waiting
Photo by BK, via Flickr
The problem is that I don't want to wait, or rather, that I'm scared not to run for fear my body will forget how to do it and I'll be put right back to the very beginning of my running journey. That fearful part of me wants to lace up my running shoes and go for a quick 3-mile run three times a week, as I'd planned to do several weeks ago when I was trying to plan for my post-half marathon routine. I'm trying to treat this whole situation as a great opportunity to cultivate greater love, compassion, and gratitude for my body and all of the amazing things it does, but that is easier said than done.

In the meantime, I do my stretches, as prescribed, twice a day, and breathe deeply as I do so. I enjoy my walks and the solitude of walking along in the cool morning air, and I know that doing that helps burn calories, maintain my healthy blood sugar levels, and keeps my anxiety under control. None of this is as planned but then life seldom is. Not every part of the journey to better health is something fun, so I keep my "why" front and center, for those times when gobbling down a dark chocolate peanut butter cup sounds like the best thing in the world, because it's not.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Seeking Inspiration

Five days down on South Beach Phase 1, ten more to go. (First fruit I'll re-introduce? Apple slices! First whole grain? Quinoa!) I'm feeling pretty strong at this point - focused on making food choices that are good for my diabetic body and getting my nighttime emotional, binge eating under control. I'd like to keep it that way, so I've started a Pinterest board to gather inspirational words and images.

Follow Do you have that in my size??? by Denise Elliott's board Healthy Living Inspiration on Pinterest.

I'm still gathering pins and just the process of clarifying what inspires me to make better choices is proving to be highly motivational for me.

If you have a healthy living inspiration board - virtual or in real life, what does it look like? What inspires you to make healthy choices for yourself?

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Who's a smug girl today???

Today was a rotten day, for a variety of reasons. I was exhausted mentally and physically, I was dealing with stress at work and at home, and I had to miss a dental appointment that will now have to be postponed a week (leaving me still unable to wear my permanent partial denture, almost two years after my extraction surgery). Several times during the day I was frazzled, hungry, and without any easy food options for South Beach. It would have been a perfect day to give in to my emotional eating urges; I didn't.

Smug by Phil Whitehouse, on Flickr

In the face of all of the craziness, I chose to order a half salad and soup combination to go from a nearby restaurant that I then put in a cooler bag to be consumed after my physical therapy appointment, once I got to work. Am I feeling a little smug? Yes, just a little.

Six days of South Beach Phase 1 down, eight more to go. I have more energy, I feel lighter, and my blood sugar readings are heading in the right direction. (They're all well within the conventionally-acceptable ranges for diabetics but my first-thing-in-the-morning readings are just a hair above my own personal goals. I'm narrowing in on a cause for the morning highs using my meter readings and my food journal to correlate what food groups seem to cause the rise and which do not.)

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

A vision

I've heard that you can re-program your brain to believe whatever you tell it is true. For instance, if you're in a potentially scary situation and you tell yourself that this is an adventure that will help expand your horizons, your brain will believe that and behave accordingly. I'm not sure that's entirely true in my case, but I've had a lot of luck with positive self-talk in the past, so I'm going to write out my vision of what I want my life to look like, how I want to feel, and what I'm doing now to make that a reality.

Dear Self,

After nearly a year of struggling to string together multiple days of eating that supports good diabetic control, I'm ending day 4 of South Beach phase 1; I feel great. Not only am I following through on my commitment to myself (which makes me happy), I'm also lowering my blood sugar readings to a more steady, predictable level that should keep my body healthy.

It always surprises me how easily I can give up emotional binge eating when I create the right mindset for myself: focusing on caring for my body and eating properly to control my diabetes (as measured by my regular blood glucose test results), rather than looking to the number on a scale to tell me how I'm doing. The older I get, the clearer it becomes to me that healthy living, getting to a healthy body weight and staying there, and creating a happier life overall are truly all about "mind over matter".

So, with four days of healthy living consistency behind me, where do I want to go from here?

  • When I leave for FitBloggin' five weeks from today, I'd like to be:
    • Within 10 pounds of my lowest weight, which, coincidentally, was achieved the week I attended FitBloggin' last year - I need to get this regained weight back off and keep it off
    • Practicing yoga three or more nights a week - not only does this help with my flexibility and strength, it's also a great way to deal with anxiety, which can lead to my overeating if not managed
    • Writing here consistently most nights during the week plus creating one post each weekend for my Type 2 Diabetes blog - blogging has always been a great vehicle for creating a positive mindset for me and it helps reinforce the positive changes I'm making in my life
    • Working with a physical therapist, in addition to my chiropractor, general practitioner, and massage therapist, to strengthen whatever muscular imbalances are leading to the post-run pain I feel - I'm too old to believe in "no pain, no gain", especially when it affects my ability to perform routine tasks at work (like sitting in front of my computer)
All of those goals seem eminently do-able to me, but time will tell.

I wish you love, happiness, and abundant good health!