Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Self Sabotage

Once I decided that I was going to start transition on Friday, I began to sabotage myself. A little extra green here, picking at the lean as I put dinner away. Nothing that bad, but things I have not done in the 20 weeks I have been OP. I am afraid of transition--pure and simple. 5&1 is so simple. I choose my five little packets and decide on my L&G (usually grilled chicken and a salad). Then I just go about my day. With transition, I have more choices and more decisions to make. I am afraid I will mess up. I am afraid that my hard work will be for naught. I worry that I have not learned enough or the habits I learned aren't engrained in my being enough. The thing is as much as I doubt myself, my DH believes I can do this. He believes I can transition and maintain my weight. When I started MF, he was very skeptical. Over the weeks he has come to believe in me. I cannot let him down or anyone else that has been there for me. But most importantly, I have to trust that God will guide me through transition and maintainence. I must have faith in Him and in the strength he gives me. I can do this, because He gives me the strength to do all things.

Saturday, September 27, 2008


I love the word cherish. It is a soft word that implies more than just a caring to me. There is tenderness even in the saying of the word. Cherish. To cherish someone or something is to do more than love it. It is to honor it and consider it before acting selfishly. I cherish my memories of my loved ones both here and those gone on to be with Christ. I cherish my friends who support me and whom I support. I cherish certain mementos given to me by loved ones or passed to me from generations before. I cherish photographs and their ability to place me back in that happy moment. I have forgotten to cherish the greatest gift ever given me—my life. God has given me my life to live in honor to him. He has given me this body to use to further his glory. For many years, I have taken that gift for granted and dishonored him in the way I treat myself. It is time for me to learn to cherish myself and the life He has given me. I commit to caring for myself tenderly and to nurture myself. I commit to being gentle with myself even as I am gentle with my loved ones. Yesterday, I found a pendant with that one single word etched on it. I wear it today as a reminder to myself to cherish everything in this life that God has given me and to honor Him in how I cherish myself and others.

–verb (used with object)
to hold or treat as dear; feel love for: to cherish one's native land.
to care for tenderly; nurture: to cherish a child.
to cling fondly or inveterately to: to cherish a memory.

Origin: 1275–1325; ME cherisshen < MF cheriss- (long s. of cherir), equiv. to cher dear (< L cārus) + -iss -ish2; akin to charity

Friday, September 26, 2008

Beck Book - Day 16

Prevent Unplanned Eating

I have made a plan and I must stick to it. To prevent unplanned eating, I cannot give myself a choice to deviate from that plan. When I give myself a choice, it increases my struggle with myself. Staying within my plan means that I don’t end up eating spontaneously. Typically when I do that I regret my choice as soon as I take the first bite. Then I think, “Well, I started now, I might as well just finish it.” First I cannot allow myself to get into that situation. Second, I cannot give up just because I strayed with one bite. I must jump right back on my plan.

I need to consider what my rules are going to be to prevent unplanned eating. One is that I cannot drink anything but water and herbal tea until drinking my full 64 ounces of water. After that is done, I can have some diet soda if I choose. Another of my rules is no snaking while preparing meals, including licking beaters, spoons, etc. I lose track of what I am eating when I pick at foods during preparation and every calorie counts. Other rules will develop over time. I need to be prepared for any eventuality and plan for the unplanned. I can do this!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Beck Book - Day 15

Monitor Your Eating

The first fourteen days set me up for success. The things I have learned during those times of study and reflection will help me succeed this time. Today I make the following commitment. I will follow my plan today. I will eat what is on the plan I made for myself. I will document everything I eat. I will give myself credit for staying on plan. I will give myself credit for denying cravings. I will give myself credit for drinking my water. I will respond positively to sabotaging thoughts. By following this plan, I will increase my confidence that I can lose weight and maintain the loss. This will strengthen my motivation. It will help me recognize potential struggles and find a solution.

I have already succeeded far beyond my wildest expectations. I have less than five pounds until I hit my goal weight. I wanted to get to about a size 8—really hoped for a 6, but I didn’t want to set myself up for failure. But I am wearing a size 2! Some may wonder why I am reading the Beck Diet Solution now when I am almost finished dieting. I am doing this because I never want to diet again. I want to maintain my new weight and be thin and healthy all my life. Changing my relationship with food will increase my success at maintaining my weight.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Beck Book - Day 14

Plan for Tomorrow

Planning ahead can make al the difference in any diet plan. With Medifast, the more I planned the next days, the better I remain on plan. In the beginning, I put my food into daily packets. I would grab on in the morning and when the bag was empty, I know I was finished eating. I don’t pack for the days I am home anymore as I am doing a little more variety in what I choose for the day. However, I still pick out 5 meals and put them in their own spot in the kitchen each day. I always know how many meals I have left for the day and when I am going to eat. On days off, when I am out and about, I do more planning. I make sure I have muffins or chips made so I have foods that are transportable. I always take everything with me as I never know what we may decide to do next. I fill my bottles with ice water and put them in a little cooler. I am then ready for anything that may come up.

Planning has always been important for me with a diet. I am not one that needs tons of variety in what I eat from day to day. However, having the right foods on hand and planning out for shopping can make or break me. Planning helps me avoid two things. The first, getting so hungry that I eat whatever is the quickest even if it is the worst thing for me. The second thing is helps me avoid is spontaneous eating. When I plan what I am going to eat the next day, I do not stand in front of the fridge and wonder what to have. The decision is made before something triggers my “need” to eat.

In the past, writing down everything I eat has been most helpful. Writing everything down reminds me what I have eaten. Sometimes the days get so busy that I won’t remember to eat or something happens that must be taken care of before I finish eating. If it is written down, I know those calories have entered my body. The important thing is to be honest with myself. That one little chocolate chip that fell on the counter must be listed along with everything else. It has calories and it counts. I also must be honest with myself about the size of the portion. I cannot list that I had ½ cup of ice cream when it was really ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons. Listing what I eat is a habit I have gotten into the last few months and it is something I will carry with me for several more—maybe forever. If writing down everything I eat will make the difference in maintaining my weight, I will do it faithfully!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Missing Part

I have been dreading going up to see my mom's grave lately. I head out of the house, but just couldn't get myself to go. It is only a few miles, but I haven't been there is a while. I used to drive past the cemetery twice daily the first year after she passed. Now it is so hard to go. I miss her so much. She was one of my very best friends. She would be so proud of me. In the last four years, I was promoted to Administrator of an assisted living, left that position and worked for a hospice company. Then DH & I started our own business and now I have lost more that 50 pounds. She would be so proud because I am happy with where I am and who I am. I just wish I could tell her. Tonight I did tell her. I made myself get in my car and drive up to see her. I am so glad I finally did that. I feel better having done that. I smiled tonight through my tears because I know she isn’t really there. She is in a better place. A place where there is no pain and God wipes away all tears. Sometimes I just wish she were still here where I could see her and talk to her. But I can never ask her to return of the pain of this world. For now, until I can see her again, a visit to the cemetery will have to do. She wouldn’t mind as long as I am happy and doing right.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Beck Book - Day 13

Overcome Cravings

I am going to try to focus on writing, but my current craving for chips may distract me. Ahhh, cravings. I have them often sometimes for salty foods, but usually for sweet. Putting my thoughts in writing helps me clear my mind and become more rational about my options. Then I can make a decision without emotion being a part it. A craving is an emotion. A craving is an intense desire for a specific food. I feel like that food is calling my name form its place in the kitchen. It is so hard to block out the plaintive wail of its cry. “Juanita, Juanita.” It calls to me. The only way I can weaken the craving is not feed it. Each time I deny the craving satisfaction I weaken it. Each time I deny the craving satisfaction I have more confidence that I can do it again. Each time I wait out the craving I decrease its intensity and frequency. As soon as I make a conscious decision not to indulge in the craving it diminishes. It sounds so simple. It will be simple once I learn the skills I need to deny the craving. So, right now I will practice. I will deny the craving I feel. It is a craving, not hunger. I will wait it out. I will succeed.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Beck Book - Day 12

Practice Hunger Tolerance

Have to take a minute to laugh. As I sat down to read this section, my stomach growled. My watch says I don’t eat again for 30-60 minutes. Hmmm, maybe this is exactly what I needed to read right about now! I have this tendency to say, “I’m so _____________ (insert emotion/feeling/discomfort here), I can hardly stand it.” I have been working on rethinking that self-talk over several months. After all, there isn’t much that I “can hardly stand.”

I appreciate the sentiment that “hunger is never an emergency.” For so long I have treated it as such. When I began to feel even the slightest tinge of hunger, I would jump to the conclusion that my body was telling me something and I needed to eat right NOW. During my time on Medifast, I have come to realize that I can stand to be hungry until it is time for the next meal. I have not fallen over dead in all these weeks even though I felt really hungry sometimes. I don’t know if I was driven by a fear or some other compulsion. Either way I did not realize that just because I wanted to eat didn’t mean that I should eat. I think I am learning that lesson even as I sit here at the computer while my next meal waits in the refrigerator. Each time I delay the gratification of eating I am strengthening my resistance muscle. The stronger that muscle is, the better I will be able to maintain my weight loss.

The exercise in this section was powerful. List situations where I felt discomfort start with a time when I felt no discomfort and set that as zero—relaxing on the sofa. Next set ten as the most discomfort ever felt—a migraine that goes on for days. Then fill in between. Seven is abdominal surgery; four a sprained ankle and so on. When I feel hunger, I relate it to that scale. In that perspective, I decide how uncomfortable I am. Facing that type of discomfort, my hunger seems insignificant and hardly registers on the scale. Now, that I really can handle.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Beck Book - Day 11

Differentiate Between Hunger, Desire and Cravings

This is very timely for me. For the last dozen years or so, I have had a difficult time in September. Several significant events and losses have happened in September. The easiest way to deny those feelings of grief is to replace them with something that feels good or, as in my case, something that tastes good. For some reason I drown my grief in anything that tastes good and the higher the calories the better.

As in the opening chapters of the book, I was struck by the thought that there is a difference between hunger and a desire to eat. Now to realize that just because I crave something does not mean I have to eat it. It may seem like a simple concept to some—namely my husband who doesn’t struggle with food as I do—but to me it is like a lightening bolt strikes my heart.

I spent the last few days studying my own responses to “hunger” stimuli. Every hour I would listen to my body and see if I was hungry. When I began to think about food, I stopped and thought about if it was true hunger or desire or a craving. The book describes the physical sensations of each. A desire to eat may be simply that there is a cookie sitting on a plate and you reach out to eat one. You may not be physically hungry, but it is there and it is socially acceptable to eat what is offered. The same desire as having a second serving at a meal, before my body can send the brain the signal that I am full. A craving, which is what I deal with most, is a strong physical response in the mouth throat of body, a yearning for a specific food. That specific food, such as ice cream, is what I want and nothing else will fill the need. True hunger happens when I have not eaten in some time and have an empty sensation with a rumbling stomach. When I am truly hungry, I don’t have one single food that will satisfy, it could be a variety of foods.

For so many years I have been confusing a desire to eat or a craving for actual hunger. How sad that it has taken me so long to learn to listen to my body and discover what it is that it is trying to tell me. Today I have a desire to eat. It doesn’t matter what it is, I just want to get rid of the empty feeling in the pit of my stomach. It is not hunger, it is grief. I can recognize that today. I can understand it. I can move on to something else to help me deal with that grief, something other than food.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Beck Book - Day 10

Set a Realistic Goal

The goal I set can be motivating or overwhelming. The Beck Diet Solution recommends setting a series of 5 pound mini goals as opposed to one ultimate goal. With each five pounds lost one celebrates and sets a new goal to lose five more pounds. For me that is overwhelming. I tend to look ahead and count how many of those goals I have to go. I chose my goal based on the weight I was when I was married. I also understood that I may change that goal up or down depending on how I felt along the way. I was never overwhelmed by how much I needed to lose, but that is my personality. The bigger the challenge, the more I like it.

I do celebrate the little accomplishments along the way. I do not necessarily relate them to the weight I have lost, but to how I am staying to my plan. I base them on if I ate what I said I was going to eat, if I exercised or took the day off, if I did something to care for myself each day. If I base my rewards only on how much I lose, I am afraid that when I get to goal I will stop taking good care of myself.

That being said, I do plan to reward myself with something I don’t need. Yes, I will get a new wardrobe, but I will need that. I haven’t decided between a tattoo, diamond earrings or something else. I am open to suggestions.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Beck Book - Day 9

Select an Exercise Plan

This was easy for me. One of the reasons I really wanted to lose weight was to exercise comfortably again. I love to exercise. I love the endorphins that a hard sweat gives you and the feeling that carries throughout the day. Before Medifast, I tried to lose weight by exercising and not changing how I ate. In 6 months, I lost about 5 pounds even with working out 1-2 hours 5-6 days a week. It wasn’t working, so I made the choice to change my eating habits. The first 3 weeks on Medifast, I followed the guidelines and did not exercise other than a couple of short walks with the dogs. In the fourth week, I started walking and adding some workouts at the gym. Before too long I started the C25K program. That was what I wanted most in exercise. I wanted to run again. In the early’90s I ran often and was up to about 25 miles a week. Once I stopped running and didn’t change how I was eating, the weight started coming on and didn’t stop.
  1. Probably the biggest reason I exercise is to relieve stress. Exercise releases chemicals in the brain which give us a feeling of well-being. That eases the way I deal with everyday stresses of life. I feel better both physiologically and psychologically when I exercise. I am more comfortable in my own skin when I exercise. My joints don’t ache as much and there is less stiffness. I am more confident, more cheerful and more patient when I exercise. I can let things go when I am working out. I think about one thing and one thing only. It allows me to really focus.
  2. I am also very competitive. I like seeing if I can win or better my own times. I love putting on a race number and seeing my statistics printed out. It makes me accountable to keep training.
  3. I want to age gracefully. When I am old, I want to be able to enjoy life to its fullest. I don’t want to be one of the seniors that I care for; I want to be out and doing. The best way I know to do that is to start now. One of the best ways to care for my brain is aerobic exercise. Getting the oxygen and blood flowing through the brain encourages it to remain strong and decreases the risk of short term memory loss. That is reason enough for me.
  4. One last reason I exercise is those little indulgences. Not right now as I am staying true to my diet plan, but in the future. I want to have the opportunity to have a dish of ice cream on occasion without worrying that my weight will go back up. For that I choose to exercise.
There are many ways I do bits and pieces of spontaneous exercise during the day. I have never been one to park close to the store; I’d rather park a ways and walk. I love that my house has stairs and I go up and down them often. I don’t try to carry a big load of laundry around I take a few pieces and put them away and then go back for more. The little things do add up, but I really love my planned outings specifically for exercise. There is no better part to my day than to tie my running shoes and head off into the neighborhood for a bit of solitude.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Beck Book - Day 8

Create Time and Energy

It is time to decide what sacrifices I am willing to make for dieting. It is time to look at the daily activities of my life and prioritize. To succeed I must create time for planning and implementing my diet plan. I need to set an appointment with myself to create a milieu conducive to achieving my goal. If I do not set the time to plan, I will fail and that is not an option. Since failure is not an option, I need to choose which of my activities are put aside so that I can focus on my goal. Since I started Medifast, my pleasure reading has decreased dramatically. I hadn’t even realized how much until I began to think about what sacrifices I have made. Typically, I read 1-2 novels weekly. In the last 16 weeks, I have read one novel. I have spent more time planning my own meals and adding special items to the weekly shopping list. I have spent an amazing amount of time on My Medifast learning and seeking ideas and options. These things have kept me focused and motivated to lose weight. I feel like I have others looking to me as an example and I cannot let them down. Someday, I will get back to reading something other than The Beck Diet Solution and books on running. In the meantime, I am more than willing to sacrifice those hours of relaxation with a good book for hours of exhilaration that comes with running.

Monday, September 01, 2008

The Couch to 5K Works!

I headed out the door 10 weeks ago with great trepidation. I had stopped running in 1993 following a 15K race with a sore knee. Last fall I had tried getting started again, but the same knee became sore very quickly. Once I had lost 20 pounds with Medifast, I thought, “Okay, I’ll try it again.” The Marvelous Mayflowers talked about the C25K being such a great program and the accompanying podcasts being very helpful. I decided I didn’t have anything to loose. I worked my way through each of the 9 weeks with my confidence and enthusiasm growing. I had to hold myself back so I wouldn’t do too much too fast.

Now I am a runner again. This morning I did my favorite race that I haven’t run since 1992. The Wildwood Trail Trial is a point to point run on a wooded path. Runners start every 2 minutes over the course of 3 hours. I only saw a few runners the whole time. It is a peaceful challenge more with myself than others. My goal was to run half and walk half and finish in less than 90 minutes. I finished in 1:15:25. I only walked about .75 miles of it, most of that on the last hill to the finish and in several rocky areas. I am so proud of myself for sticking to my plan of running easy and not forcing any speed. I am a RUNNER. I am an ATHLETE.