…the more I realize I *don’t* know.
Today was the first day that I *officially* started counting, recording and posting my calories again at the food confessional. As I said in that post, I nearly chickened out as a result of all the garbage that I put into my body today, but thanks (at least in part) to Sylvia’s comment on my last post in which she encouraged me to focus simply on getting back in the routine of managing my daily calories, (rather than doing that *and* focusing too strongly on getting them between 1300 and 1500 *and* working in exercise, etc.), I decided to take that first baby step. And, I must admit, I’ve learned a few things in the process:
First of all, I have to say thank you to Paola for editing her already fabulous table generating food diary tool such that it now includes the optional capability of calculating things like your daily intake of fiber, carbs, fat, sodium, etc. I’ve been wanting to, if nothing else, be more conscious of how the food I eat stacks up nutritionally for quite some time (rather than concentrating simply on the calories it contains), but have found the prospect to be a little daunting. But thanks to Paola now I have a really cool and easy to use tool to help me. So… thank you again, Paola, you are truly amazing.
Secondly, in some ways, looking at all of that stuff has me even more confused than ever. Given that today was something of a caloric anomaly (hopefully) I’m not going to get too freaked out about the amount of fat and sodium that I consumed (for example) but what I realized is that I don’t really know how much of these things I *should* be eating each day. Sure, I know the basics like fiber = good and sodium = bad, but beyond that, I’m pretty lost. And although this is probably a topic for another post, I have to say that this lack of information has left me feeling more than a little bit pissed off at my doctor. I have a good relationship with my doctor and, for the most part, I trust and respect him. However, what I realize now is that while he *did* issue me a huge wake up call, one that has, literally, saved my life, he didn’t provide me with any of the tools I needed to change the path of self-destruction that I was on. He told me that I needed to cut back on the salt, but he never once indicated to me how much salt is too much. Everything I’ve learned about what works for me when it comes to losing weight, I’ve either a) stumbled upon through my own research or b) mooched off of all of you. That said, I guess it’s time to do a little research. (Or… if any of you know have some insight into these things, please, enlighten me).
And finally, keeping track of all of this shit is hard work. It took me FOREVER to figure out exactly how much fiber, protein and carbohydrates were in everything I ate today and I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that there were *several* times when I wanted to say “fuck this!” and eat (another) brownie. But instead, I trudged forward because I know that eventually it will get easier *and* even though it took more time than I thought it would, figuring out how much sodium is in two cups of fresh spinach was, well… illuminating. I *learned* something through the process and that always feels good.
So… perhaps tonight marks something other than just another attempt to get back in the saddle. Perhaps this is more like a new beginning — you know, a fresh start, as it were, rather than just a return to the old habits that have served me well in the past. Either way, I’m feeling really, really grateful tonight.
I’m grateful for…
- good friends who want me to succeed so badly that they are willing to *create* tools to help me get there.
- the knowledge that even though I still have a lot to learn that I’ve got a plethora of resources at my disposal to help me put the puzzle pieces together.
- the kick in the ass that got me to post my deplorable food intake today.
- the safe and accepting place that I have to share the gory details of my fucked up relationship with food.
- the fact that even though I didn’t want to, tonight I a) counted, recorded and posted my calories (etc) AND b) managed a vigorous 2 mile walk with my husband and 2 ridiculously cute dogs (I’m grateful for them and for my husband too, by the way!).
- And, I’m really, really, (really) grateful that tomorrow marks the beginning of a new school year for me. I’m so looking forward to getting back into the old routines that helped me lose weight to begin with. I’m longing for a regular schedule and a lack of the mental and physical exhaustion that has marked my summer. Apparently, I’m getting old and stuck in my ways, but I don’t care. I need those routines. They are precious to me. And tomorrow, I get them back. Yay! :)
And with that, I’m off to bed. I hope all of you have plenty to be grateful for too.
I guess it entirely depends on your perspective.
One of the few things I remember from the basic level psychology class that I took in high school, is an exercise in which we (the students) conducted interviews with people who had supposedly just been involved with a traumatic event (a traffic accident, I believe). At the beginning of the assignment, we were led to believe that each participant had experienced a *different* event and, as such, we treated each recounting of that event as being independent of all the other interviews. It wasn’t until after were finished, of course, that we were told that each person we interviewed had actually witnessed the *same* event. Then we were asked to account for all the variations in the stories and to consider how we might have *heard* their accounts differently if, in our own minds, we’d linked them all together.
Even though I’m sure it’s standard fare in most low level psychology courses, this activity sticks with me, even today, as being the harbinger of some important lessons: In some ways, perception is just as important as reality and, depending on the lenses through which something is viewed, individual perspectives on a certain event can be as varied as the people themselves. And what’s more, even the same person can look at one thing differently as factors in their own life begin to change. Time, maturity and life experience can alter our view on just about everything.
I bring this up because I’m feeling entirely stoked about my ability to control my food intake today. In comparison to recent days, I had a really, really good day food wise. Here’s the proof:
|Meal||Food | Drink||Calories|
|lunch||tuna salad made with light mayo and lemon juice||250|
|4 cracker breads + 2 light laughing cow cheese wedges||150|
|1/3 dark chocolate bar||80|
|dinner||grilled chicken breast (approx 4 oz)||130|
|raw veggies (mostly raw carrots and cauliflower||50|
|ranch dressing (made with light mayo and skim milk)||250|
|drinks||non-fat/sugar free latte (x 2)||200|
|bad, bad snack||chocolate cake (this may be a bit of an overestimate||600|
|but I cannot find nutrtional facts for it anywhere). :(|
It’s important to note that “normally” — if I were posting this over at the Food Confessional (which I plan to start doing again beginning Sunday) — I’d be fairly embarrassed by the ginormous calorie total, (particularly in the decadent chocolate cake that hypnotized and had its way with me later in the evening). Normally, I would scold myself for going over my calories (I usually attempt to stay between 1200 & 1500) and, as punishment, would stay up late into the night devising a plan of attack for the following day, to combat my obvious dietary slip up.
But tonight is different. Tonight, I’m thrilled by my 1800 calorie fest. I’m buoyed by what feels like yet another step towards being “officially” back in the saddle. In fact, I feel so good about how I did today that I decided to write about it here (and ad nauseum). In fact, here’s all the reasons why tonight this food diary entry feels like a huge success:
- I woke up craving veggies this morning, so I cut up some celery and fixed myself some lunch before heading for work, something I haven’t done, well… pretty much all summer.
- I chose the SUGAR FREE and NONFAT latte options instead of the full fat white chocolate mochas of day’s past. Further, I went with a smaller size. Go me!
- I resisted the temptation to eat the *entire* chocolate bar and only nibbled on 1/3 of the total. (I think I should consider going into training to become a ninja because, clearly, I have a will of steel!)
- My husband made some “Rice-a-Roni” (the San Francisco Treat) for dinner tonight, but as you can see, I again resisted.
- Yes, I ate a big giant piece of cake later on (am currently rethinking the whole ninja thing) but had I *not* eaten it, I’d have totally been under my ideal caloric intake for the day. That’s right, remove one thing and I would have been under. I definitely couldn’t have said that yesterday. Or the day before. Or the day before that. <repeat>
- None of this food was consumed in bed, under cover of darkness, or in the far stretches of a nearly empty parking lot.
- Um… hello! I counted my calories today! I counted my calories *and* I posted them. I’m like my own hero!
It’s funny, but when you’ve spent the last few days (weeks) recovering from a fall that felt like slipping off the ledge of a very tall building, tripping over one tiny chocolate cake shaped crack in the pavement just doesn’t seem like that big of a deal.
Seriously, isn’t it amazing how a little shift in perspective can change your entire outlook on things. Believe me, there have been plenty of days in the past, and there will likely be a few more in the future, in which I would have been full of apologies and excuses when reflecting on a day like today. But tonight I celebrate it as the success it is.
So… what’s next?
Well, for starters, tomorrow I’ll do a little bit better than I did today. I probably won’t be perfect, but I’ll be better. In fact, I’ve already got my lunch packed. It would appear I’m on a roll. :)
Oh! And speaking of things to be proud of, I have to say that I got all choked up earlier when I saw that BikiniMe had nominated me for this “blog award.” Sadly, I don’t have a prepared acceptance speech, but that won’t stop me from thanking the academy (of one). Muchas Gracias, Chica! I think I’m supposed to nominate some more people at this point, but I’ve never been very good at following the rules, so instead I’ll just say that if any of you feel like you’d like to make someone’s day by sending them a little virtual gold medal, go right ahead. Consider yourself nominated.
As for me, well… I’ve got a lot to celebrate tonight and I think I’ll do so by getting a good night’s sleep. :)
I think perhaps I’ve stumbled upon something important.
Over the last week or so I’ve spiraled pretty far out of control. In a series of events that would make Mr. Freud waggle his finger at me and say (in German of course) “I told you so,” the emotional trauma of the last few days has triggered a pretty significant regression on my part. Though I’m no psychotherapist, even I recognize that I’ve exhibited some fairly infantile behavior and, despite all my tough talk about personal accountability, in this instance I’m pretty dead set on blaming everything that’s wrong with me entirely on my mother. :)
That said, however, despite having lost at least one battle in the war this week, I’m feeling more and more tonight as though it hasn’t all been for naught. Let me explain. Normally, in these situations, my major weight loss stumbles tend to come in sets of two. First, I fall off the wagon as a result of the obstacle du jour — that is to say, the actual real or perceived wound that I feel the need to treat with a box of Krispy Kremes. Then, as if the first trip down mega calorie lane wasn’t enough, I then beat myself up for having strayed from the skinny path in the first place only to, ironically, seek out solace in food, yet again.
I know. I know.
Not too bright.
But this time has been a little different.
First off, I’m the first to admit that the wound was a bit deeper this time, and thus the fall was a bit longer, but… and here’s the important bit… I only fell once. There was none of the usual post-postmortem kicking of my own ass to contend with. Rather, I seem to have recognized something important this time:
Just as weight loss, in general, is a process, so too is recovering from the personal calamities that seem to so easily deflate even the most successful weight loss endeavors. It’s not as simple as falling off the horse and just getting back on. Rather, it’s about reaching the bottom of whatever hole you’ve fallen into (recognizing that some holes are much deeper than others, of course) and then climbing your way back up… one agonizing step at a time. Not only is it not fair to expect a one step recovery of yourself, but it’s totally unrealistic too. Sure, we’ve all heard the cliches about getting right back in the saddle after having fallen off, but anyone who’s ever been thrown from a horse knows that the reality of such a thing is much different. Recovery of any kind is a process… and this is no exception.
So here I am, climbing my way back.
I’m not “back” yet, but that’s ok. The important thing is that I’ve fallen as far as I intend to and now I’ve begun the climb out of this particular hole.
Baby steps, right?
All of that said, I’m happy to report that over the last few days I’ve managed to spend more time out of bed than I have in. With each day, I’ve gotten better at saying no to food that I don’t need to be eating. And tonight, I even went for a walk. Not a super calorie burning power walk of days past… but a walk nonetheless.
After dinner my husband and I took the dogs for a walk around our neighborhood. It was warm, but not hot. There was a light breeze and the dogs, for whom summer walks are just a little too close to cruel and unusual punishment, seemed so happy to be out in the world. We managed to get in about a mile and a half at a pace that was leisurely enough to allow conversation, but brisk enough to put a little sweat on my brow.
Afterwards, despite my normal aversion to everything exercise related, I felt, if not great, than at least very, very good. I felt a bit stronger, a bit more empowered and a bit further out of the hole.
Who knows what tomorrow will bring. :)
Oh. And one more thing…
In the 8 months since I started it, this blog has turned into something different than what I first imagined it would be.
At that time, I thought of it only as a place for me to chronicle my weight loss journey. And it has been that. But it’s been something more too.
When I first started, I never imagined sharing the kind of personal details about myself that I have. The notion that I’d one day write about my life and my family here just never occurred to me. Similarly, I truly never expected anyone to read what I wrote, especially not with any regularity. And I certainly never imagined that those who did would end up meaning so much to me.
In short, I never dreamt that I’d paint these walls with the kind of broad brush strokes that I have.
Needless to say, it’s been a pleasant surprise. But more than that, it’s been an absolutely necessary one. I can’t imagine what I would have done this summer without this spot and without all the people who choose to spend a little time sitting here with me. Whatever failures I’ve racked up in the last few months, I know they’d be so much worse without the support and guidance afforded to me by this blog and the little community that I’ve managed to become a part of.
I have to say, “thank you” just doesn’t seem like enough. But it’s all I’ve got.