Consistency - The Metric that Matters

Thursday, February 16, 2017

In one of the many weight loss related Facebook groups that I belong, I read an interesting little article that discusses the very approach I am taking with my weight loss program. Link.

As the sun rises and sets eat day, the little choices we make every day will turn into our life, and also our size.

When the light-bulb finally went off in my own head, I recognized that the way I eat was wrong.  It feels right, and satisfies my cravings at mostly every turn, and I even talk myself into believing it is a reasonable way to eat.  The truth of the matter is that my diet was pushing me towards 300 pounds, regardless of my feelings towards it.

Diets are the Worst.

This is when I fell into a brief moment of despair. I knew the routine.  I'd diligently do SouthBeach dieting for a month, then fall back into my old ways.  I'd resolve to home cooking all our meals from scratch, then a week later be exhausted from work and commuting and polish off half a large Papa John's pizza and think nothing of it.  I know me.  I know I can't stick with things once the gung-ho attitude fizzles away.  So logically, I thought to cut out the middle man (the diet) and just give up.  I'll always be fat.  Maybe I just won't have children.  I will live a shortened lifespan and have to take a cocktail of pills and shots forever.  Oh, well.  I just can't do this, and I am tired of lying to myself and thinking that I can.

I snapped out of it and cleaned up the crumpled plates and ripped streamers from my pity party of one.  I reflected upon my feelings and the root of this anguish I was experiencing.  I was right about one thing - history has shown that 100% of the time I will quit a diet.  So I knew a traditional diet was out.  It would be a waste of time and I am not in the mood for wasting more time.  Something about turning 35 and thinking things will only get harder from here, makes you want to solve stuff once and for all.

If You Do Anything, Make it Something You Can do Forever

Do you watch the TLC show My Big Fat Fabulous Life ?  Well last season, Whitney, the show's obese protagonist goes head to head with a comedienne over weight issues and the body positivity movement.  A particular point in the exchange Whitney proclaims 'I've done it before, I've lost 100 pounds!' and the comedienne shoots right back 'Well you aren't there now!'  Regardless of my opinions of the body positive movement, the comedienne has a point.  If you couldn't keep the weight off, does the success of your 100 pound weight loss even matter?  It is a little like blogging too.  If I write one epic post, then leave the blog dormant for a year, what good is that?

So in typical Natalie Hinkley fashion, I dipped only a toe in at first, which is my preferred avenue of procrastination.  I decided only to track my food on the My Fitness Pal app.  I was going to eat whatever I wanted, as much as I wanted, but I had to commit to tracking everything 100%.

It was the New Year, so I was excited about being healthy, so I thought I bet I can stay pretty close to the calories MFP says I should have to lose weight.  So I had an egg Mcmuffin for breakfast instead of a bacon egg and cheese biscuit.  Saves about 150 calories.  Egg Mcmuffins aren't as tasty as bacon egg and cheese biscuits, but I totally wouldn't turn my nose up at one.  Every day since, I get my morning Mcmuffin, and I am on day 45.

Then when I realized that getting fast food every day for lunch leaves me only about 300-400 calories for dinner.  So I started bringing my lunch.  I don't even get fancy about it, I just grab about 500 calories of snacks and fruit on my way out the door.  I am not one to get up early and prepare lunch, I just like sleep too much.  So my lunch is usually an apple I cut up at work with a jif-to-go peanut butter cup, a stick of string cheese, and some pretzels or nuts.  Everything is grab and go.  Food is my love language, so I would rather save up calories for a nice dinner I share with my husband than to use them up while I sit at my desk and read twitter for an hour.

These are all changes I made to things that I wasn't giving much thought to in the first place.  When I made my breakfast and lunch selections all I concerned myself with was, what would taste good right now? 

The Little Things Add Up 

What I am learning is that tracking and making little tweaks to stay with my calorie budget on most* days is actually working and I am losing weight!

*When I say 'most' I will do my darnedest during the week and relax a bit on the weekend.  Or if I have an over indulgent day or two (such as Valentine's Day and all the candy!) I will be more strict on myself to get it back in control so that the week on average is still resulting in a loss.

Nothing I have done thus far has felt drastic.  Even when I knew we were going out for dinner and I really wanted the 1200 calorie entree and I powered through the lightest of lunches to be able to go nuts at dinner, it was just one day.  Plus if it is Saturday and we want to go get ice-cream or the giant pretzel at the mall, I just have it.  This is what reasonably cutting back while still enjoying life looks like.

Rethinking Big Goals

In the past, I would get hung up on what was possible.  If the Biggest Loser Contestants can lose 150 pounds in a year, then maybe I could too?  I'd make monthly goals on January 1 that would have me at goal weight by Christmas morning.  I hate telling myself not to dream big or be optimistic, but look where it has gotten me?  I weigh more than I have ever weighed in my life.  Dreaming big and having supersized goals is not the solution for me.  

The new approach is to not worry about the goal at all right now.  My motto is consistency at all costs, and let the chips (or pounds) fall as they may.  It very well may take me three years to get to my goal weight.  It may even take ten.  I've even considered the thought that maybe I will make every 'I'm willing to do this forever' change and still be overweight.

I assume if I am losing weight and feeling happier with how I look, my attitudes towards what I am willing to do will adjust.  It is something I decided I will evaluate at the point of hitting a plateau.  If I am stuck at 250 for two weeks, maybe getting rid of the egg muffins will be something I am willing to do.  Who is to say?  I certainly don't need to get rid of them now, so I will cross that bridge if and when I get there.

Even though I am only down about 7 pounds so far, I am so very proud that I have been consistent with my tracking and calorie counting.  If I can keep it up, then I should be about 241 on Christmas morning.  It is not flashy catch me on the front page of reader's digest amount of weight loss, but that is fine.  Going about it in the ways I have before would mean I am 300+ for the year 2018, and I am not about that life.

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