Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Enemy of the Good

“Don’t let perfection be the enemy of the good.” – Voltaire
This quote has become my mantra in area after area of my life. It started with all those phone calls and thank you notes I was supposed to write, but only managed to finish half or send a quick email instead. Then it was when I was having people over for dinner or a get together, and I just tidied up the messiest areas and put everything else in our pit of a back room. These days, I find myself saying it every day. About almost everything.
Once upon a time I was a perfectionist – and then life just caught up with me. I realized that if everything I did had to be just so, I wouldn’t get anything done. And whatever I did get “done” would never really be completed – I’d just keep picking at it until it made me insane. I’d like to have the luxury of perfection, and I do reserve it for some things, but mostly it’s just too much. It’s like there’s a time in all our young lives when we have all the time in the world to make everything just so. Then time swarms up behind us and pushes us forward until we’re moving so fast that we only have brief moments to recapture that feeling of when we think we have all the time in the world to make everything just the way we want it. I don’t know about you, but I use those brief moments to play computer solitaire.
I don’t really want to talk about weight loss that much. Let’s just say that this week was spent in overindulgence. Tracking food? Working out? Uh, well…. Don’t worry – I’ll be back to it tomorrow full time. That’s when I’m headed back to reality and home. A big part of me is really eager to get back on schedule. But another part of me is so happy to have had some time to waste. Yes, waste. Time that wasn’t scheduled, or tracked, or missed, or stressed about, or spent doing something I didn’t want to do. I just luxuriated in being able to not think about it. I may regret it tomorrow or the next time I get on the scale, but for the moment it was worth it. I just stopped thinking about perfection entirely. It felt really, really good.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Abstainers vs Moderators

Some very interesting comments on my last post! I guess I didn't realize that others might feel the same way about intuitive eating.

What a couple of weeks! By late November I knew December was going to be really tough. I've had some big deadlines coming up at work, and it just seemed like it was all of them at once! This last weekend was a big meeting that I had to be at work for, and that's what seems to have done me in. I'm pooped! But now I feel like the end is in sight!

Eating wise I did okay - no, I actually did better than that. It wasn't great, but all things considered I made the best choices I could, and that is a triumph! When we have these big meetings at work, there's garbage galore. I didn't eat a single crappy dessert or processed junk. Okay, maybe I didn't make the VERY best choices - if I had I would've brought my own food every day - but I did bring fruit for snacks and stuck to it. And when faced with the food options at work, I actually did really well. Seriously, this is one of those situations with unlimited opportunities to eat crap, and I didn't give in. I'm really happy about that.

So all this in addition to the plethora of crappy food for the holidays. I'm doing pretty well there too. I was reading someone's blog, and they talked about the idea of moderators vs abstainers. Abstainers are those who recognize that something is too much of a temptation for them, so they abstain from it completely. For them, avoiding something entirely is easier than trying to have only a moderate amount. Moderators are those who can have a little bit of something, and it's enough to satisfy them. For them, abstaining from something completely makes it unbearably tempting, so it's better that they just have a little bit to satisfy them. I fall FIRMLY into the abstainers category. I like to think I could be a moderator, but I can't. So in the end I'm happier when I just completely avoid foods I know aren't good for me. So that's what I've been doing with holiday treats. It's working and I'm just going to stick with it.

However, you'd think I'd recognize that this should also apply to alcohol for me. So far it doesn't, but I think it's where I'm headed. It just causes too much trouble with my eating! I'm just not there yet. But I think after the holidays it will be something I'm ready to commit to fully. I know it's lame that I'm not doing it now, but this is my journey, and I get to choose my priorities. So I'll give up sweets, but not my martinis. Not yet.

Anyway, hoping you're all successfully getting through these last few holiday weeks!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Just A Little Bit More...

Here's a story of American portion sizes for you! Hubby and I went out to dinner tonight at one of our favorite restaurants. It's a local pub type place, but here in Seattle, even pubs cater to foodies. They have amazing burgers, and you have the option of the usual side of fries, or you can sub soup or salad for a dollar more. The waitress seemed pretty excited about the soup of the day and fries are definitely out for me, so I went with soup. It was a pork stew, really like a posole, but with some veggie additions. They brought it out and I was expecting a cup of soup, but this was a big bowl! All I kept thinking was that it was the same size as what I eat for lunch - and next to it my burger just kept sitting patiently. And the soup was soooo good! So in the end I just ate my soup, took one nibble of my burger, stole a couple of Hubby's fries, and now I have my entree sitting in the fridge.

It just seems crazy that I got so much food. And what's even crazier is that a year ago I would've eaten the whole thing. It's amazing how you train your body to consume more and more. If you just get used to eating what is a normal amount for a human to actually live on, it FEELS like enough. But most of us have never really had that - we've always had way too much.

I'm not talking about trying intuitive eating - I don't think that's actually possible in our society. I really don't. It's human biology to eat more - we're built to consume more when there's food available for when there are times of famine. When we're served huge portions of food, we eat more. Period. We're very visual. It takes concious effort and a concious choice to say, "I'm only going to eat this much. That's it." Intuitive eating seems too risky for those of us who have a tendency to just eat a little more, and a little more, oh - and maybe just a little bit more. I know that my body takes longer to recognize that it's full. Other people who are thinner than myself seem to have a better handle on the fullness cue - I just don't. I'll keep eating until I'm sick if I let myself. My BIG problem is alcohol - it lowers my inhibitions and helps me to think that it's okay if I just have a little more, and before I know it, I've eaten it all!

I think making most of my food at home has been the biggest step forward for me. Now when I go out, I just can't get over the amount of food! It seems like so much. So the challenge now is not to let myself slide into that mindset of just having a little bit more, and a little bit more, and... you get the idea.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

The Dreaded P-word?

Hmmm, so is it the p-word this week? I think it's still my body sorting things out from the weekend. I've been just fine since then. We'll see how things look next week.

But on what I guess is a NSV, my trainer did my measurements and fat % testing yesterday for the halfway point of the challenge I'm doing with her. My body fat has dropped 4% from 35% to 31% since the middle of October! I must be building some muscle so that's good news! And I lost 2" in my waist and 1-1/2" in my hips. Everywhere else it was around or below 1/2" except my neck and ONE of my biceps which both stayed the same. Isn't that hysterical? My arms are lopsided now and I didn't even know it. As a disclaimer, they are doing fat testing with the handheld devices which are notoriously inaccurate, but just looking at myself I can tell I've lost fat and built muscle, so I'll take it.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Immediate Consequences

Thanks for the advice on the last post guys! You're absolutely right - no point in worrying about what may or may not happen. But I'm sure you all know that sometimes it's easier said than done.

So if I needed further proof that my eating habits have changed how my body operates, I got it this weekend. Saturday was the Civil War (Go Beavs! Sad, but unsurprising outcome) and the Apple Cup. We headed over to a friend's house where I proceeded to have more beer than I've had in months, and then we went to another friend's holiday party that night where I had champagne on top of that. Oh, and some soft cheeses and snacky things. I wasn't intoxicated thanks to the gallons of water I drank in between drinks, but even that didn't save me. Let's just say that going from salads, veggies, and lean meats to a bunch of alcohol and crapola didn't sit even remotely well with the system. Didn't have a bad weigh in this morning because yesterday my body was having none of it - out it went. Gross I know, but almost impressive. I was so sorry I did it. The reality is that I'm feeling the affects of when I eat poorly right away now. It catches up with me immediately and it's just not worth it.

I get to work this morning, and no joke there's an entire cake and entire pie sitting in the kitchen. Didn't even get close to them. It was back to fruit, veggies, and soup for this wayward girl.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

The Other Shoe

Things are going so well right now. It actually seems like I know what I'm doing. But I have to say that in the back of my mind, I'm waiting for that other shoe to drop. Right now I'm seriously in the weight loss zone. I haven't had a binge in what feels like forever - probably 4 or 5 months. I'm eating my salads, fruit, lean protein. Skipping the cupcakes, cookies, ice cream. But I worry about what might set me off.
I've thought off and on about what's going to happen when I have a big life change in the future. Specifically if I change jobs or if we decide to have a baby. The last few times I put on weight were the result of big life changes - going to college and moving in with my boyfriend (now husband). I realize I'm getting ahead of myself, but I'm still worried about it. Changing jobs leads to big stress for me, which leads to pounds over time. Having a baby is a no brainer on weight gain. My worry isn't enough to prevent me from doing either of these things, but it's a concern. Having my eating and exercise habits down when life is easy doesn't seem like enough to keep me from gaining later. I'm still taking of the last pounds, but my mind is turning more and more to my maintinence plans. I really want to keep it ALL off.
Anyway, I'm one of those worry about the future types, and I need to focus on right now. It's the only moment that matters! Have a wonderful Saturday!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Lunch and Mental Prep

Happy December! Hard to believe it's here already.

Just under a half pound loss and I will definitely take it! I chose to have some of those Thanksgiving day extras, but I really tried to be careful the rest of the time and also worked out hard at the gym. Guess it worked out okay in the end.

Here's some pics of my secret weapon! Sunday night lunch prep. I'm shocked at what a difference pre-planned meal preparation has made for me, especially with my lunches. And saving some money has been a great side benefit too since I'm not going out to lunch all the time.

I'm a huge fan of soups and salads at lunch, but lately I've been sticking to salads because they're easy to pull together on weekends and I usually feel more satisfied. Here's what goes in:

Costco is my friend with their 6 heads of romaine for under $5. I use 2 or 3 heads for a weeks worth of lunches.

I love my food scale. Besides my trainer, this was pretty much my only weight loss "investment." I think it was under $20, but worth so much more! I have to have some kind of protein on my salad - here's my leftover Thanksgiving turkey! It actually tasted even better on a healthy salad with some avocado and honeycrisp apple. Soooo yum!

Finally, here's the end result. Five days worth of healthy, satisfying lunches. Some of them look a little empty, but I'll add things later so they don't get yucky from sitting together. Any of you Costco fans might also notice familiar storage containers. My husband and I eat at the Costco food court before we shop, and I always get the chicken caesar salad and save my container. My tupperware obsession might be getting the best of me these days, but they're so sturdy and perfectly reusable. I feel guilty throwing them away, and they're perfect for my lunches.

So, on a totally separate note, looking back at my last post I feel a little silly. It makes me seem like someone who only needed to lose twenty or so pounds to start with, but I wasn't. I also realize this isn't a competition to lose the most weight, but I don't want anyone to think that I don't know what it is to be obese. That I'm just someone who lost a few pounds and has declared herself an expert on weight loss.

The thing is that I know my weight loss history already, and I think I'm having a hard time talking about it because I don't really want revisit the really bad parts. I already lost a lot of weight - not the before picture in the last post, but tack on another 50-ish pounds to that. I've pulled out my "before-before" pictures and it's like looking at someone else. It's such a strange feeling. I think I'm having a hard time even identifying with who that person is - I'm a stranger to myself. Most of the pictures are from the late 90's when I was in my late teens and early twenties. All I can think is, "Who IS that person? How did she even happen?" It's kind of painful to me that I don't even want to aknowledge the person I was then. Isn't that sad? Everyone wants other people to be compassionate towards them, and I don't even feel compassionate to my old self! I just wonder how I let it happen. How could I just let it get worse and worse, and just not notice! Or notice, and ignore it. I probably topped out around 215-220 - I'd stopped weighing myself of course. I just look like someone else. And it freaks me out to have to go back and look at those pictures. I've moved on with my life and I'm to a place where I don't want to spend a lot of time looking back. It's part of who I am, but it's not who I am now. If that makes any sense at all.