I spent a good bit of yesterday actually writing and making progress on some of my overdue projects. At one point around the middle of the afternoon I felt stuck trying to describe one concept and, out of no where, I thought, “maybe I need a snack.” It was actually about time to have something to eat so I did. It reminded me of my old behaviors though when I would eat to procrastinate, because I felt stuck, because I was bored, or for no real reason at all. When I was working on writing in the past I would frequently take breaks to eat a bag of potato chips with french onion dip or a carton of Ben & Jerry’s (or maybe two). If there was nothing in the house then I would go buy something. The bag of potato chips alone would equal about 1760 calories and 110 grams of fat without the french onion dip added in. I really don’t have those kinds of cravings now and I can’t even imagine doing that anymore. I did decide I finally needed a break and went and ran an errand. After the errand and a stop at a coffee shop to do some more writing, I did allow myself a small treat of 2 dark chocolate Bug Bites squares and 2 soft caramels. That was probably around 200 calories, which kind of surprised me but these are mainly sugar. That is still not as bad as what I used to do and it satisfied a craving.
Someone asked me this week if I have a “cheat day” each week. I don’t. I guess you might call my 2 pieces of chocolate and 2 caramels a cheat. I don’t really think about it that way. My “cheats” tend to be going to lunch with my friends after church on Sunday. I order broiled fish and steamed vegetables or a salad, depending on where we eat. I stick with water to drink. I used to have “cheat” days when I was on Weight Watchers. I would tell myself that I could have X, Y, Z and that I would be “good” the next day. X,Y,Z became the whole alphabet and the “cheat” day slid into the next day more often than not. I found that I had not changed my behavior or my thinking. I’ve made a mental switch to food as fuel instead of food as comfort. It isn’t easy to do but it is certainly possible. Do I still want comfort food from time to time? Of course, but it isn’t all the time. Do I still let myself have some kind of treat? Yes, but I generally plan it and I don’t go crazy. As Sam said to me around my birthday when I had a cupcake, “Eat it and enjoy it. You aren’t eating a dozen.”
Last night I found my journal from last year. I read entries from last spring to the end of summer. I wrote quite a bit about how bad I felt physically and my frustration with my writing projects. It was not until the end of July that I mentioned training. In August that changed when I started thinking about running again. I signed up for a 5K earlier in August than I remembered and started including notes about my training and progress. The race was in December and I wrote that I didn’t really think I would be able to run 5K by then but I would set it as a goal. I ran three 5K’s before that race was scheduled. I did not participate in the race I signed up for originally because I was out of town for a family wedding. (Just a side note – while I was on that trip I took 3 spinning classes.) In July and August I also wrote more than once that I could not imagine what I would feel like if I lost 100 pounds. Now that I am closing in on 120 pounds lost, I can’t imagine what it would feel like to have all of that back.
There are as many mental adjustments to weight loss as there are physical adjustments. It all takes time but it is certainly worth the effort.