Yesterday, I posted this on my Facebook page:
Someone posted a comment asking a seemingly simple question. Or two.
How did you get things turned around?
What are you doing that is different?As to how I got things turned around, my first thought was, "I made a decision." But as I thought about it, I realized there's more to it than that. It's true, I did make a decision, but I also do/did some things that supported me getting to that decision, one of the biggest of those being I weigh myself regularly, if not every day. Getting on the scale is a reality check, without it, I can too easily slip my head into the sand and pretend weight gain isn't happening.
Studies show that daily weighing is an important tool in weight maintenance*. To borrow a few lines from the articles, "The study showed that greater weight loss was associated with increased frequency of self-weighing, especially among those who self-weighed at least weekly." "These results indicate that an intervention focusing on daily self-weighing can produce clinically significant weight loss."
"It seems that, for successful dieters at least, daily weighing can be a beneficial strategy in weight maintenance, 'It's like checking the thermometer in your house to see what the temperature is, it helps you know how to make adjustments.'".
So, I weigh myself. What else did I do to get things turned around? When I ate a certain way (bingy, snacky eating) I noted to myself how that felt (not good) and patiently reminded myself that this behavior is not in support of my goals. And further, the scale is a direct result of said behavior. Those reminders were NOT beating myself up, nagging myself, shaming myself, etc. They were more like, "Hey, what's happening? This isn't helpful." The reminders didn't result in immediate change but I think they put me on the path to turning things around.
The other thing I did was give myself kudos when I engaged in goal-oriented behaviors. If I resisted the urge to buy a Snickers at the checkout, pat on the back. If I stopped eating halfway through a quart of ice cream, pat on the back. If I made a good choice for dinner, pat on the back. These little positive reinforcers for all goal-oriented behaviors kept my confidence up, allowed me to continue to feel capable and competent, even if I was slipping back overall.
I continued to exercise, even when what I did was very little (a 10 minute run) and I continued to ask myself when and how I was going to intervene with my eating. Just because I didn't know the answer, didn't mean I stopped asking the question. Eventually, the plan to return to WW emerged as what I needed. I'd tried to self re-align and eventually acknowledged when it just wasn't working. There have been many times in the past when that has worked, just not this time.
I'm sure there's more to say about how I got things turned around but that's what comes to mind. On to the next question, what am I doing that's different. This one is a bit easier to answer as the change is obvious.
- I'm tracking again. Mostly. I didn't track for a couple of days this weekend when restaurant meals made it too much of a pain in the ass (for me). But I did make very conscious choices about what I ate at those meals and took a stab at how many points I might have eaten in total.
- I'm attending WW meetings again. I can't tell you how much they help me.
- I'm focusing on the little things like salad dressing, more veggies with my meal, tea. Little things I used to do all the time that had been sort of forgotten.
- And the big things like less alcohol, limiting or avoiding after dinner snacking.
- I'm eating daytime snacks again. I'd gotten away from making sure I had two snacks every day, one between breakfast/lunch and one between lunch/dinner. Some people don't need snacks but I know they go a long way toward helping me feel satisfied and not overdo it at mealtime.
- While I never stopped exercising I had let it slip just a bit. I'd pushed it down a rung or two on the priority scale, which meant missing a day of exercise was becoming the norm, instead of something out-of-the-ordinary.
- Finally...no more fast food. For example, a McDonald's burger is 7 points and a vanilla cone is 5 points. 12 points is a large meal. A burger and cone are not a "large" meal. Not to mention, who knows what's in that stuff. I'm not swearing off fast food forever, that's not my style, but it was getting to be a habit.
- Focusing on sleep. I'd let getting a good night sleep slip way down on the priority list. Feeling tired and dragging, staying up until 1am in front of the television...bad stuff when it comes to weight management. I've talked for years about wanting to get more/better sleep but I never really committed to it. I'm getting better at walking the talk.