After attending my WW meeting this morning, I am left thinking about some important issues. Today’s conversation reminded me that even though I am healthy and fit, I still have a lot of issues to work out. This week has been a challenging one for me, and there were times when I didn’t track, weigh, and measure my food and that is concerning to me. Maybe that’s why the group’s discussion lead me and another member to talk about what it is like to feel a loss of control over the process. We talked about the fear of “gaining it all back” and (for me) the public shame that would accompany that if it were to happen.
Gaining back the weight is a common fate for so many of us. Here is the thing, I think one reason that may happen is because once the weight is off it feels as if the problem is solved. In reality, the problem that caused the weight gain is most certainly not “solved”. I know because I can see some patterns now that were more elusive to me in my past. Now I see that most times, when I start picking and eating food mindlessly, it’s usually a stress response. Sometimes, when I feel like I need some kind of external comfort I turn to food, it’s a conditioned response. A coping mechanism that provides some relief in the short term but in the long term really hurts me. To some of you these insights may not seem like big revelations; however, they are for me personally. That’s what matters.
Weight loss and maintaining it is really difficult. Some days are harder than others. I tell you this because I don’t want anyone reading these posts to think I’ve got this all figured out. I don’t want anyone thinking it’s easy for me, or that I have the benefit of some special talent for this. It’s not that I have some kind of secret that I can sell. I write these posts to inspire myself and hopefully anyone else who decides to read them.
So here comes the inspirational part of my post for today. There is so much we can do to help ourselves be successful, we have a lot of power. Accessing this power in times of need comes down to three simple steps:
- Take a beat to engage self-awareness over what is happening in the moment allowing yourself to become mindful of your actions, thoughts, and feelings. Think of it as being a quiet observer.
- Then take aim and be strategic by executing control over something. Select one thing to say yes or no to and see how that makes you feel. Be thoughtful and present be mindful.
- Win, lose, or draw make a choice. It doesn’t really matter if the choice you make is good for your weight loss efforts or hinders them. The point here is that by acting mindfully you are waking yourself up to a making an informed choice.
The word mindful is key to this recovery plan but it is not synonymous with success. The function here is to uncover what you’re doing so you can think about why the behavior is happening.
Goals provide some structure and help me get a sense of achievement. Since weight loss can be a slow process goals are the things that make me feel like I’m making progress. Goals are good and that’s the truth.
What happens when goals get away from me? I made goal setting my focus for this week and the truth is I wasn’t too successful. I can’t wait for my points to roll over and to start again. Stress was a major bummer this week and that had an impact. My goal was very numbers based – looking to rollover a range of points, focusing on losses on the scale – all of that didn’t help my frame of mind. So I have to really think about what I goal want to set for myself this next week. I want my goal to focus on self-care because I feel like I could use some TLC.
So many times when we see the word goals we see checks and lists and linear charts pointing skyward. The thing is a goal is not a linear path, it’s not a checklist. If a goal were easy it wouldn’t even be a goal it would be a task. Goals are meant to stretch us to grow. Growth is not easy, or fast. Growth involves making mistakes and reassessing, and trying again. Growth involves some pain alongside the glory. So even though I set some goals this week that didn’t come to fruition it doesn’t mean that I just give up, it means that I have more work to do and that I should try again. It means I need a new plan and it’s really important that I figure out why the first plan didn’t work. So cheers to trying again (with a new plan) and I hope this week I make it.
After one week of Maintenance and…
It goes to show that sometimes, even if I follow the plan faithfully and work all of my strategies, I can still go up. I think this why many people give up on weight loss. It can be discouraging to say “no” to things like candy, bread, and pasta and not be rewarded with a loss on the scale.
However, I am so proud of myself for making such good choices this week. Everything I did, I did for me and that’s what really counts. I know that the next time I step onto the scale, I will be more successful in terms of numbers. I am also thinking about my Saturday morning friends. A faithful tribe of others who attend the workshop meetings with me. Here is some advice I will keep in my pocket this week:
- Celebrate! I am part of a community who understands me.
- Apple picking! Living on Long Island, New York I am fortunate to have a local apple orchard, Richter’s Apple Orchard. Recommended apples were Ida Reds and Snapdragons.
- Snap & Track! When dining out, I can take a picture of my plate and look at it later to track more realistically than trying to remember.
Good advice right? So another challenge put forward this week references Shawn Achor’s research around happiness. The long and the short of it is that happier people make better choices. So our challenge is to find three things to be happy about for three days. I’m up for that, are you?
Lastly, as I think about today, I am struck by how important these three skills are: Time, Planning, and Mindset:
- Time: Get comfortable knowing that timetables and weight loss are at odds with each other. It is unrealistic to wish for weight loss each and every week no matter how dedicated I am to the program. I’m in this for the long run.
- Planning: When something is important I make room for it. If I need to shop, plan, and prepare foods so I can be successful. The same thinking goes towards activity too. I can elect to see my decision to plan for my success as an act of self-care.
- Mindset: It’s all in the way you look at it. I have decided to see my weight loss journey as a way to welcome joy into my life. I see it as permission to spend some time on me. I have to say that it feels good to focus on my own needs. I feel like I can be more present for others than I could before.
If you want to learn more this a great TEDx Talk:
There is no doubt that we are living in a stressful world. There is always plenty of bad news, hurt feelings, and depressing images. It’s so easy to feel overwhelmed at each flip of a page, turn of a channel, or click on a screen because we are innodated with constant unyielding information. Know what I mean?
It turns out, the antidote to this crazed harried existence, we all seem to be living, is within the auspice of our own control. Practicing mindfulness is where it’s at. When I started to read a little more about this practice I realized that I have stumbled onto these practices in my effort to get to goal.
The following list names the markers of practicing mindfulness and how they were revealed through my weight loss journey.
- Kindness counts: If it’s true that you write your own story in this life. The narrator of that story needs to have a kind voice. My daily reflections for my progress, throughout my weight loss journey is colored by kindness.
- Drop the judgment: Acknowledge and accept things for what they are. I was talking to a friend just tonight about how it’s exhausting to think about people who zap your energy. I feel as though I’m surrendering my energy and to what end? The judgment doesn’t change a thing, it just lets negativity linger.
- Practicing patience: I’ve had to learn how to wait. There were points in this journey where I’ve felt totally transformed on the inside but it wasn’t showing on the outside. Those were challenging times and I totally understand why so many people give up on the way to goal. Being patience conserves personal power because there is a belief that things will change eventually.
- Beginning with a beginner’s mind: I kept that honeymoon phase of #WW going throughout the journey. It is toxic to assume a point of view that there is nothing new to learn. I opened myself up to the possibility of doing things differently this time around.
- It’s a matter of trust: I believe in me. I have learned to trust my own personal wisdom. There is no magic book, or program, or pill there is only me and I am enough.
- Non-striving: I have always been driven by goals. Getting through graduate school, getting a job, buying a house… It turns out it’s very different when it comes to weight loss. Sometimes being driven by a purpose is not so helpful. If it’s all about the “goal” itself, I would have missed all the good stuff that was happening at the moment.
- Acceptance, the ultimate reality check: once I learned to accept wherever I was on the road to getting to goal I was able to be more responsive to what I needed in order to be successful. There were and are lots of challenges, for example being tempted by candy. I love candy and I accept that fact. I can eat it but then I have to track it. To my way of thinking, this is a form of acceptance.
- Get ready, get set, let go: Being at peace with myself and not fighting the process is life changing. I now understand that things will unfold as they are meant to and in doing so I have made room for change.
I share these thoughts because I want to help others achieve their goals. I do believe that we all have the power to transform ourselves. However, there is not one right path, it’s understanding your path because you are the path.
Waking up at 4:30 am may not sound that appealing, but I have to say, I do love working out before I start my workday. It’s a little bit of time that is just for me. Plus, I really do enjoy the other people who go to my 5;15 am spin classes. This morning’s class was a fantastic time and in by the end, I felt very strong.
It’s a little startling how different I feel these days. I have this sense of wellbeing and balance that I didn’t have before. I read a post on #Connect from another member who posted a picture and wrote that she was fed up and was now ready. Today was her “Day 1” As a member who began counting the days over a year ago (420 and counting) I can appreciate where she is coming from. For those of us who either have or had a lot of weight to lose, the first day of the journey to better health can be overwhelming.
Nothing about weight loss is easy. There is no one right way to do this. So for me, I am definitely a #WW girl through and through. I’m happy to be on this team. The thing that makes #WW work is that it is designed to be customized to us as individuals. Everything has to start with who we are and our specific needs. More and more research is showing that food is processed differently from person to person, so knowing how to best use our SmartPoints is an important personal choice that leads to permanent change.
#WW members have conversations about making activity enjoyable and part of our daily lives is a powerful conversation. Acknowledging how to manage emotions without resorting to overeating is equally powerful. Understanding the value of a growth mindset and establishing good habits are also discussed. Powerful, life-changing stuff!
So tomorrow is Halloween… what is your action plan for the candy situation?
I went to work, and then I went to the library and worked until 9:00 pm. I came home and worked for another half hour. Then I ate salad with grilled chicken on top and a piece of Italian bread. After that, I ate an eight-point dessert.
As I reflect on today, all I can write is that I have to continue to be mindful about my choices and my reasons for eating. Especially when I am under so much stress. I have to keep it all in context. I know that this is a temporary situation and all I have to do is to keep working and eventually, I will get through this difficult time.
I know I can do this. Thank you for reading.
Sometimes having quick and easy dinner options are a lifesaver. Maybe that’s a little too dramatic. Sometimes having quick and easy dinner options are a plan saver is more like it. We had turkey kielbasa, rice, and peppers and onions. Nothing fancy but it worked. My daughter cut up all the peppers and onions so by the time I got home all I had to do was to cook. I’m grateful for the help.
I prepacked, and tracked breakfast and lunch for tomorrow. Just for fun, I’m setting a goal for tomorrow to roll over four points. Let’s see if I can do it. Have you been setting small goals? If not, think about setting one because they help.
I gained .4 pounds this week and that’s ok. This is a process and these fluctuations are to be expected. I feel really healthy and my measurements are less than they were even a week ago. That is my rational mind. There is also a small childish part of me who says, “No fair I did everything I could to make up for cake and ice cream choices I made. This is taking forever.” That is my emotional mind. The reality is weight loss takes time, effort, and patients. This is the way it has to go for me. I can only do my best and hopefully, next week will yield better results on the scale.
Today’s Weight Watcher meeting focused on what it means to have a Non-Scale-Victory (NSV). Owning my real feelings about this week’s small gain and moving on from it without sabotaging myself is an NSV for me. Even now, with all of the behavior changes I have put into place, this acknowledgment of my true feelings is an NSV because there is a very unrealistic part of me that wants what it wants. It’s easy to find comfort in food but I don’t want that to be my story anymore.
So if you’re on the journey, and you are feeling like it’s never going to happen this is the time where you have to lean in and say, “This is is a process and in time I will get what I really want. I really want to get to goal.” If wanting to get to goal is real for you, that will be enough to get you through your disappointment. Honor every feeling you have, don’t try to ignore what your thinking, and talk back to any disappointment you may be feeling, remind yourself of all that you’ve accomplished up to this point. This is hard, but you can do it and so can I.
DAY 4: Take four “mini breaks” today just to breathe deeply for two minutes and be in the moment. Focus on what your body feels like: Is it tired? Are there areas that are tense? Try to relax, if the answer is yes.
I did one of these so far today. I felt some pressure at the base of my head into my neck. I also felt a little pressure under my shoulder blade on my right side. It felt good to be still and try to break up the tensions I was feeling. At one point it felt like a long time had passed even though I had my phone time set for two minutes. I think this is worth doing because it strengthens my ability o be mindful and present. Try it for yourself, let me know what you found. More tomorrow, as always thank you for reading these posts.
There is no better feeling than being in snuggled in bed on a dark snowy morning. The light filtering through the window is grey and muted. On any other day, a ringing phone would be jarring, but today it is as comforting as a childhood memory, “Good Morning, This is Dr. Gianni, due to the inclement weather school will be closed today, March 13th…” Clicking off the phone, it quickly shouts out another cheerful ring, click: “Good morning, This is Robert Banza,” the Northport choir singing softly behind him, “Due to the storm our roads will not be safe for travel for our students, faculty, and staff. Our schools will be closed…” Getting a day like today is like receiving a gift to do whatever I want – or even to do nothing and just be. I know that everyone is safe and sound that is a remarkable feeling of contentment.
Nature is awesome. I can’t get over how vulnerable the gazebo looks.
8sp totally worth every delicious bite!
Quiet lovely calm despite the dangerous driving conditions.
I feel like I’m making the most of the day. Our daughter did have to go to work but Stop & Shop is just down the road from where we live. So my husband cleared the snow and we dropped her off and took a ride into town. This made me think of my father-in-law who loved to venture out on snowy stormy days. He loved the adventure of it, and it was comforting to think of him too. We came home, and I made three batches of pancakes: M&M pancakes for my son, regular for my husband, and blueberry for me. Yes, on Weight Watchers I can enjoy pancakes too. That’s why this program is the best one for making a lifestyle change. It would be a dark, stoic, unhappy life if I couldn’t relish a dish of blueberry pancakes on a snow day!
I hope that wherever you are in the world you are well on the journey. I wish you calm, contentment, and joy. Yes, we all want to reach our weight loss or fitness goals, but the thing is, if you are on the journey to improve your life, you don’t have to wait to start enjoying today. Make it a great one.