Monday, June 16, 2008

The Truth About Dieting

Well, I guess that should be called, "The Truth About a Lifestyle Change" since I'm not "dieting" per se. Though, since I'm on a restricted calorie diet until I get to my goal weight, I guess I am dieting in a way. The difference being I won't go back to my pre-lifestyle change behaviors when I get to my goal.

So, what's the truth about dieting? For me, today, the truth is it doesn't always go well. I've been struggling for several weeks. It seems like my normal flow has flipped upside down. Normally I have a lot of good days with a not-so-good day thrown in here and there. By "good" I'm mostly talking about my attitude and how well I follow the program. Lately it's been mostly not-so-good days with a good day thrown in here and there. I've been through periods like this before. What can I do to get through it? Here are my ideas.
  1. Start each day fresh no matter what. I have to let yesterday's mistakes go. If I carry them into my new day they have a chance of tainting my attitude.
  2. Accept being less than perfect. If anything is my biggest challenge in Weight Watchers it's rigidity. I figure if I can't go to the gym for my full workout then there's no point in going. If I don't track breakfast, then why track dinner? This is something I seriously need to work on. I need to challenge my rigid thoughts.
  3. Think like a lifetime member. In the past I have used periods when I'm not losing (Alert: I may have a gain this week!) to practice maintenance. I know the time will come when I won't get the reward and motivation that comes from a weekly weight-loss. How will I motivate myself then? What will be my reward? So I try to view it as a period of maintenance, to, at minimum, maintain my weight. If I don't go backwards, I'm still ahead.
  4. Wait it out. I know my fire will come back, it does every time. As long as I don't give up altogether I will be here, ready to go, when it does. If I give up, when my fire comes back I'll be somewhere back behind the starting line. I don't want to have to say, "I feel great but I have to lose 10 (or more) pounds just to get back to where I was." I've done this before and a mistake isn't worthwhile if I don't learn from it. So, just sit tight, try not to judge myself too harshly, and be patient.
  5. Remember where I came from. I spend so much time looking forward that I sometimes forget to look back. I look forward to my next mini-goal, to my next 5-pound star, to my next clothing size, etc. But it's just as important, and at times like these more important, to look back now and then. Looking back I see that I was 233 pounds when I started this journey. I see that I wore a size 22 and could not shop in most clothing stores. I couldn't walk briskly for five minutes (can you believe that?!), I had no goals, no plans, no adventures, and very little fun. My confidence was in the toilet and my stress-level was sky high. Rather than focus on the goals I'm not meeting right now I will focus on the goals I have met, and want to maintain. I have a friend, my WW buddy Shoshana who's too far away on the east coast, who was struggling a few weeks ago. I said to her, "Maybe you're going to stay this weight all summer and not lose again until winter. Would that be such a bad thing?" And I remind myself now, No, it would not be a bad thing. After all, I'm here.
  6. Use support. I just mentioned Shoshana. She used to attend my weight watchers meeting here in Novato before she ran off to the other side of the country (darnit!). She is a huge inspiration to me and we text each other all day long. When she's struggling with something I know I will too before too long because she's been at this longer than I have. I learn so much from her and I get a lot of support. I know she understands and that's important. I also have Kristy to remind me, more than anyone, of all the things in #5. Whenever I get to whining (kind of like I am now) she's there to remind me how far I've come. And then there's the Weight Watchers community message boards. I can go on there anytime day or night and ask for support and ideas. I also get a lot out of reading blogs of folks who are doing it, living it, and loving it. Their fired-up posts about their training, events, and their challenges, keep my embers burning. Some of my faves are The Athena Diaries, Magazine Smiles, and Step Away from the Cake.

Alright, there you have it. My plan to ride out this period of less motivation. So, in light of all that, how was my weekend? Well, since you asked...

On Friday night I went out to dinner with friends in San Francisco. We started at a wine bar where I had a nice glass of red wine and some cheese and crackers. I was happy to keep it to one glass. We walked down the street for italian food and I shared a Caesar salad for an appetizer and had a Seafood Salad appetizer as my entree. I was very pleased with the latter choice because in the past, even though I really wanted the seafood salad, I would have ordered an entree for fear of not having enough food. As if the restaurant is going to run out. I had more wine and a chocolate pot de creme for dessert. Yummolicious! I came home to Miguel and his buddies having a poker night and guess what I did? Yep, I joined in and stayed up drinking beer (and lots of water thank goodness) and playing poker until 2am!

Guess what that did to my brick training plans on Saturday morning? Well, I was able to drag Miguel (nearly kicking & crying) to the pool by mid-afternoon and we swam a bit and then transitioned to our bikes and did a 3 mile ride. I was very pleased we were able to practice our transitions at least once before the tri (which is this weekend!!!!). Given we were both a little hungover we were definitely dragging but we did it. We pretty much kicked back the rest of the day. I don't even know what all I've eaten this weekend because tracking fell apart.

On Sunday I went back to the pool alone and really put in some laps. I was feeling pretty irritable Sunday morning so I needed to do something. I swam for about an hour and a half and it felt really, really good. I worked on all the things Jean taught me and left the water feeling less irritable than when I got in. I ran errands the rest of the day and then went to a wine-tasting get-together in the evening. More cheese and crackers. And cherry pie.

Here we are on Monday and I'm up by a couple pounds. Like last week I will spend these next few days trying to eat clean and get my weight back down to where it was on Thursday. My spirit does not need a gain right now. I am planning to go to the gym today and tomorrow but not on Friday since my tri is the next day. Miguel and I are starting to get excited and nervous. We spent our pillow talk last night discussing what we think it'll be like.

I'm off to catch up on everyone else's blogs. I know I'll get some inspiration from that! Have a happy Monday everyone!!


  1. Michelle...I have told you this so many times, in the recent months you have become my inspiration and I am thankful that we found each other before I moved back to NY.

    Just remember what you've told me time and time have to LIVE on this program as it's your life not a diet.

    You mean so much to me and I CANNOT wait for a report on Saturday night!!!

    XOXOXOX from NY.

  2. I am so excited to hear how the Tri goes! You must be getting so anxious.

  3. Hmm..not sure if that is a good thing, that I remind you of where you were. But I sure do applaud, support, and generally idolize you for all the positive changes you've made in your lifestyle - how happy you are most of the time, how much fun you're having, and of course those size 8 pants.

    I'm so glad to hear you got to do some swimming and a transition. I can't wait to hear about Saturday. Since I can't be there, I'm going to do a mini-mini tri my own way in support of you guys. Only backwards. I'm going to do my C25K treadmill walk/jog, do my biking, then go right to the beach. And be cheering you on the whole time I'm doing it.

    Love you

  4. Hey Michelle,

    I'm stalking your blog by way of Jessica's blog. ;-) I totally got sucked into reading the whole darned page, and now it's WAY past my bedtime, but I wanted you to know you're inspiring me. I track online at WW, but I'm really considering going w/ Jessica to meetings starting in July.

    I love that you did the C2-5K plan, that's how we discovered Jessica! And she's running marathons now, which brings me to my one little thing I wanted to tell you. I think you can say you're a runner. You don't have to say "jog" you know. I'm fairly certain you're running faster than Jessica and me, and we're runners, my friend! =)

    I have no doubts you can run the Nike 1/2 or even full next year in San Fran. It's a total Girl Power kind of race.

    Have a wonderful week, and I can't wait to hear you celebrate 70!

  5. I've learned so much about WW though you. I have a coworker who is also on WW, and I keep asking her about activity points, just so she'll do something! Any-who, you've made such tremendous progress, and, yeah, it is a lifestyle. Forever. It's also a part of life (and being human) that we have our not-so-great days of not being on track or lack of motivation. I think it's knowing how to deal with it and moving on.

    You rock!

  6. you seem to have taken control of your 'off' week, for me that is the key, you'll be rested and ready for your tri this weekend. Take lots and lots of photos! I finished my 'why I run' tag, you can see my answers at Have a great week you skinny, triathlete you (just thought I would see how it sounds on you, uh, oh, I think I want to be one too) Have a great day and remember how far you've come!

  7. Yeah, I'll chime in and repeat what other's have's about where you've been and where you're going. These are the things that matter most...One weekend? (which sounds like a lot of fun by the way) matters not...Not in the big picture.

  8. Man, this all spoke to me. It's so nice to be able to identify with other people dealing with the same issues. I'm learning how to juggle ww and triathlon, and it's slowly working. I had to find the fire again to want to lose the rest of the weight.


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