Changing my body and changing my life

Archive for the ‘Self-Talk’ Category

I don’t think I can deny it any longer. It’s not just water. It’s not just muscle. 5 pounds means that at least some of what I’ve put on is fat, pure and simple. I thought I was snacking within a calorie count that I could balance with exercise. I was wrong.

It’s funny how the things that have worked for me – reading my reminders each day, self-talk, eating slowly, sitting down, etc. – become so easily abandoned. It’s funny how fast I start to believe that I need food for comfort, for enjoyment, to fight boredom.


Yet again…

It is embarrassing to keep writing the same thing over and over, but I lost it with the sweets again. Not just one sweet. Three different ones at different times of the day. So now I’m analyzing what is going wrong. What did I learn from the Beck book? To keep reminding myself of the self-talk I need to do before I need it, by reading my messages through the day. That’s what I’m not doing. I’m not reading my reminders when I’m sane so that they help me when I’m going insane. So what I still find challenging is to incorporate the daily reminders into my daily schedule.

I graphed out my weight loss since January. It looks like this:

Not hard to see that I’m merely staying in the range of the same couple of pounds for awhile now.

My basic meal eating, outside of the sweets, is still good. I had an egg, cheese and veggie scramble and oatmeal for breakfast. Making sure I have a full protein at breakfast is a strategy that seems to stave off hunger for most of the morning. Hey, let’s make that my helpful tool of the day. Lunch was some leftover pasta I made with chicken sausage in a tomato vegetable sauce and a salad. I’m loving Renee’s Ravin Raspberry dressing at 20 calories for a tablespoon. Supper was pizza as hubby had ordered in by the time I got home and I had the carbs left for the day.

Today was a rest day for my training. I’m following a plan I found on Runner’s World. I’m still sore, but not like I was on the weekend. Weirdest soreness – the second toe on both feet. Why toes? Why those ones in particular? Alas, an internet search turned up no explanation.

Gearing up for the marathon and handling Feeding Frenzies

7 km today. I’m such a wimp. I keep thinking to myself, “Oh, this is so hard, I don’t know if I can do it!” And then I really start thinking about it and I realize that my heart is not beating that hard, I’m only taking about one breath per 4 strides, this is not a biggie at all.

My legs hate me, though. If my legs could talk, they’d say, “What the #@$%?” (YES! My legs would SWEAR!) “Here we were going 3.5 k a day in a nice walk/jog pace and now all of a sudden – pow! 12k! 7k! All jogging! And Running! She’s trying to kill us!” So they have conspired to seize up and prevent me from doing anything else. But I have a plan. I will keep stretching them out until they give in and just do whatever I’m telling them to do. I WILL WIN!

My eating has been falling apart over the last few days. Stress + temptation + not doing my daily readings as taught to me by Judith Beck = lack of progress.

Today – better. I actually feel sick to my stomach after allowing too much sugar into my pie hole. I didn’t actually have many cravings today. After work was the best time to have a run and by the time I got around to eating supper I was in the mood for health and had a mexican inspired chicken salad.

One of my helpful tools has been my Feeding Frenzy Plan. Feeding Frenzies are when I get in a mood that I want to keep eating and eating and it was little to do with hunger and everything to do with boredom or stress. My feeding frenzy plan is actually quite effective, when I use it

Feeding Frenzy Response

  1. Stop
  2. Get away from food. Leave the kitchen, go to a different room
  3. Breathe deep
  4. Identify what you’re feeling (Naming an emotion is quite a powerful tool. Once I can say, “I’m bored,”  or “I’m sad” the don’t seem to have the same influence over me)
  5. Pray
  6. Decide what to do instead.

The Beck book taught me that cravings will pass, hunger will diminish. Give myself a bit of time and things get better.

Something I find challenging is facing candy dishes at work. At least  3 coworkers like to have full candy dishes at their desks to share with people who drop in. Luckily, there isn’t a whole lot of candy I like, but every once in a while it happens to be something chocolate that tastes good. This is getting easier to deal with by using self-talk.

Smaller pieces and Mom-guilt

Yesterday had it’s ups and downs. I was feeling very stressed, but to be honest, the bad eating I did (too many peanut butter squares) started before I was feeling stressed.

I made peanut butter squares a couple of days ago. My husband said his dad really liked them and suggested I made them. His dad has terminal cancer, was given a year to live two years ago. He’s hanging in there but not doing great. And whatever might add a little joy that man’s life, as far as I’m concerned, he gets, as long as it’s legal and moral.

The fact that I love peanut butter squares makes it a bonus and a temptation.

If you read this blog regularly, you know that I am struggling with including some treat-foods without overdoing it. I figure to maintain my weight in the long run it’s a skill I’ll have to learn, because I’m not eliminating dessert for the rest of my life. So far, it is not going well. I brought some to staff meeting to share with my co-workers (because I love them, and because even if I can’t lose the last 5 pounds, if I get everyone around me to gain 5, I look comparatively better). I don’t actually know how many of them I ate, although because I cut them small, it wasn’t as bad as it otherwise might have been.

Then later on I encountered STRESS and so I had yet more of them.

Today – I had a lunch with my extended family. I made some good decisions: majoring on vegetables, cutting that piece of lasagne in half. But my sister commented to me that I seem to be off-plan today (she knows the tools I’m using) and she was absolutely right. I have no idea how what I ate today fits on the Mayo Clinic Plan.

I am also up by 3 pounds. I seem to retain water around the same time each month, so this is no surprise. I certainly didn’t eat 3 pounds worth of peanut butter squares. Still don’t like to see that.

I already aluded to my helpful tool for today when I mentioned cutting the PB squares small: smaller pieces and serving sizes. I first realized the power of this tool when I was a youth-care worker in a group home where many girls were overweight and obese. Grilled cheese sandwiches were a common meal, and I got good at estimating how many we would need – it was always more than 1 sandwich per person. We would always cut the sandwiches in half and pile them on a big plate. One day I did one thing different. I cut the sandwiches into quarters instead of halves. There were leftovers that day – the group had eaten far fewer sandwiches.

There is something psychologically satisfying about having more pieces of something, or taking a second portion. If I have left 2 carb servings for supper and have rice, for example, it somehow feels better if I have one serving on my plate first, and then go back and take a second rather than putting the 2 servings on my plate at the same time. Same with small desserts. 2 small cookies feels more satisfying than one big one, even if they are the same amount in the end.

What I still find challenging fits in with my series on families and eating: Mom-guilt.

I find that Moms seem way more concerned about their children’s eating and lifestyles than dads. I think this is imposed on us by society at large. Who is giving the kids Wonderbread with extra fibre? A mom. Who is in the 3 Participaction ads deriding parents who think that occasional activity is enough for their kids? 3 moms, not a dad to be seen.

Men, meanwhile, are encouraged to do manly things like eat cheese-burger pizza.

I  can’t find much research on fathers, children and food. Just that fact that you can’t find much in a simple Google search would seem to indicate it is off the radar for most people.

My guess, though, is that for many mothers, myself included, we absorb these messages unconsciously and end up feeling responsible and guilty. I know I deal with guilt about nutrition and lifestyle practices for my kids on an almost daily basis. How do I find the time to increase their activity? How do I get them to eat nutritious food without damaging our relationship? How often should I let them have treats?

I wonder then, how the mom-guilt robs me of peace and joy and actually sabotages my own efforts. Because stress only seems to interact negatively with being able to make positive decisions in my own life. I don’t feel I have good answers here, yet. Sometimes I vary widely between extremes of trying to control how my kids eat and live and totally giving up because nothing I do seems to make much of a difference.

Family Matters

Yesterday was a new high for exercise. I jogged on the treadmill for 18/30 minutes, up 2 minutes from my last attempt. I warmed up to 6.5 km/hr over 2 minutes, and then for the duration jogged 8 km/hr for 2 minutes, walked 6.5 km/hr for 1, etc. My neck started to spasm after that but some hot water in the shower and a bit of self-massage and I was good.

Yesterday I was a bit over in the carbs – on a home visit I was offered a roti, and haven’t having had one for years I decided to go for it. It only put me over by about 1/2 a carb, though, because I skipped carbs totally for supper and just went for a chicken taco salad minus the taco.

Today, I’m fairly on track. Focusing on a whole protein at breakfast seems to help me not feel so hungry over the morning. This morning it was an egg and scrambled veggies with toast (below, top) which I found much more satisfying in the long run than the previous day’s breakfast of brown rice, yogurt and apple sauce (below, bottom). Today’s lunch was a leftover turkey pasta dish, carrots and celery and applesauce. 

I had to drive out of town for a home visit and really felt like stopping for something first. Something delectable, like frozen yogurt or a pastry. This was very shortly after lunch, btw. When I really thought it through, I realized I wasn’t hungry. I was bored, a little despondent. I told myself I could wait until supper and then did. Hubby made a great chicken and vegetable curry over rice, so the wait was totally worth it.

I know I’ve written other posts about going my own way as opposed to what the rest of my family is eating. Sometimes I need to do this, and sometimes I don’t. I found myself thinking about families and food today, and I think I may do a few posts on the subject. It’s a touchy one for me. In part, I’m choosing a healthy lifestyle for my kids. I didn’t have anyone to model healthy eating for me, nor did anyone try to structure my eating in a healthy way. I would come home from school, pretty much depressed most of the time, and eat. I remember boxes of Old Dutch Chips gone quickly. I remember making entire meals of pizza buns and soups, before comsuming another supper meal. I remember being able to scarf down half a pizza by myself. Easily. Food was comfort and entertainment.

I want better for my kids. On the plus side, they ended up with parents probably a tad more emotionally healthy and aware than I had. On the negative, they are bombarded all the more with non-food masquerading as food and coming at them with marketing techniques perfected by millions of research dollars put forth by Big Food. We are in a culture saturated with unhealthy, and our soaring obesity rates show this. I don’t want my kids in those statistics.

So I eat healthy for me, and I try to also encourage (nag? enforce?) it for them, too. Generally, this is unappreciated. “Mom is trying to make us eat ‘healthy’ again,” is often said in the tone that would normally be used if someone was trying to get you to buy Amway. Once in awhile, I’ll get a breakthrough, like my middle one telling me the other day, “Mommy, you were right, the mini-Blizzard was  the right size for me,” or when they admit that too much candy feels yucky (Yes, I do allow my kids treats). At their deeper moments, they can say that they do want what is healthy, but peer and popular pressures are a lot for developing minds. It feel like it’s up to me to stand in the gap and say to McDonald’s “YOU SHALL NOT PASS!” (That was a Lord of the Rings reference, btw)

So in general, I still find it challenging to guide my children’s eating. I think eating healthier as a family helps me, too.

However, I’ve come up with helpful tools that seem to move us in the right direction:

1. Put out the healthiest food when they are the hungriest. Right after school is a great time for fruit and veggie plates.

2. Don’t worry about variety. We all descend from people groups with very limited diets – whatever was local. I believe it was through Michael Pollan’s writing that I became aware that people can live successfully on all kinds of diets, as long as it’s not the modern processed North American diet. That’s one’s deadly. Youngest child will pretty much eat 2 vegetables: raw carrots and cooked peas. Middle child loves caesar salad. Both eldest and middle like cucumbers and carrots with dip. So those few things get a lot of play in our meals and snacks. It does not bother me at all to serve carrots and cucumbers every day for a week.

3. Puree away. There is a soup I make with sweet potato, a few other vegetables and peanut butter that I know my kids would never touch with chunks. I puree it with a hand blender, call it peanut butter soup and the middle and youngest love it. They also go for smoothies (fruit, yogurt and often carrot and zucchini, too) almost every day (see #2), and popsicles made only of pureed fruit are very popular.

4. Some things are easy. Whole wheat pasta is a simple switch to make. So is dropping to the next lowest milk fat amount (3% to 2%, 1% to skim). I used to only drink 2% and slowly moved down. I learned to like skim. So did hubby, who once swore it tasted like water.

5. Recipes with all purpose flour can be substituted out 1/4 whole wheat with little change to the end result.

A half day off, getting up early and making substitutions.

This day did not go as I had planned. Middle child said soon after waking up that she didn’t feel well. It became apparent, after reviewing her symptoms, that she would require a trip to the doctor. Hubby is already at work by the time the kids get up, so that means me calling into work to say I won’t be there.

Is this a big deal as far as my work goes? Not at all. I’m in a very supportive work environment, almost all of us are moms with kids, and it’s taken for granted that these things happen. But there was a time, not too long ago, where I would stress every hour I had to take time off. I’d worry about how it was perceived, and I’d worry that if I took time off today, there might be a time, somewhere, down the road, where I’d need that time even more and then I wouldn’t have it and I’d regret taking the time today. I’m always thinking down the road. Rarely thinking about now.

This caused me stress.

And stress often leads to eating.

So cognitive therapy, the practice of thinking about what I’m thinking about and subjecting thoughts to logic, came in very handy today (it was a helpful tool).

Can I take time off? Yep – no pressing conferences or reviews coming up. I’ll have time the rest of the week to address assignments. One report I need to get done today can get done in the afternoon. All’s good.

Might I need this time in the future? Who knows? But my daughter needs me now, so I might as well just make the best of the morning. And I did. I brought my knitting, and a positive attitude, and we went and got the meds she needed and had lunch together. She went back to school, I got to work in time to finish the one task that had to be done today, and all is well.

My eating was ok. The last of the scotch oatmeal at breakfast, along with a mango-strawberry smoothie. Lunch was minestrone and a crouton-less spinach caesar. Supper was leftover baked pasta vegetable and turkey with another salad. I came in over by half a serving of fat. Eldest had her final choir concert tonight and hubby suggested we go out to DQ later. While I love Pecan Mudslides, they are huge, so I asked if I could get a small sundae with the same toppings. And I could. It pays to ask at restaurants if you can change something to a smaller or healthier version. The worst you can hear is “No” and then you know not to go back there. I would say 9 times out of 10 there are options that they don’t put on the menu.

Curious what others find for going out to eat. Are there restaurants you especially appreciate for healthy options?

Exercise also did not go as planned. I wanted to do a DVD yoga-pilates workout and then 15 minutes on the treadmill. However, what I still find challenging is getting out of bed at 6 a.m. and I slept in so that by the time I finished the DVD, I needed to start getting the kids up and get ready for my day.

Tonight, I plan to be in bed earlier. So I will stop writing, now.

Egg roll resistance and all-or-nothing thinking

I kept to my servings today and did better on the no-grazing policy. Breakfast was toast, an egg with veg and 1/2 a grapefruit. Lunch was toast with minestrone. Later I had a mango and cottage cheese for snack. I tried a new recipe at supper, sweet potato and salmon cakes. I liked the flavor but the consistency was too soft so they were hard to make. you can see the picture they had, here are mine with the rest of my supper plate. Hubby had done some potatoes, carrots and cauliflower on the grill with garlic and it was great:

In the evening I melted some chocolate chips and dipped a banana in.

At work someone brought in a huge pan of egg rolls. Temptation was instantaneous, so I did 2 things. First, I told myself to wait 20 minutes. They were not all going to be gone in 20 minutes, I could always decide later. Then I looked up the calorie content for egg rolls, which is somewhere around 200. I decided it wasn’t really worth it. So my helpful tool today was being aware of the calories of my choices before deciding.

What I still find challenging is learning to address all or nothing thinking. Sometimes I feel like I either have to forego sweets and treats entirely or have them in massive quantities. I want to learn to enjoy my food and not feel that it’s bad, but also to not be controlled by it. I decided to try something. My mother used to make a concoction that I loved called Broken Glass Cake. I haven’t had it for years, and found out the other day she still had the recipe. I had decided to wait to make it until I got to my goal weight. Why, I’m not sure – punishing myself for not losing fast enough? Trying to motivate myself? I decided I’m going to make it soon, and that I’m going to enjoy it, and that I’m going to eat it in a way that fits in with my eating plan. I’m also going to enjoy sharing a childhood memory with my children.

We finally got our camera back, so allow me to post some other things I’ve been eating. Why I’m doing this, by the way, is the influence of the book The Flex Diet, which suggests taking pictures of what you eat as a way of keeping track of it.

The whole wheat waffles from a few days ago:

A dessert made by using a hand blender to mix a 1/2 acup yogurt with about 2/3 cup frozen blueberries. Instant frozen yogurt. No sugar necessary.