Tuesday, January 31, 2012

So My Clothes Feel Tighter & I Know I Am Starting To Gain Weight?! What do I do?!

Perfection is impossible.  I've read that many times but somedays I just need to hear it again and again to remind me that I'm human!  I've shared with you all how I've felt when I'm soaring.  Now I'd like to share how I feel when I'm struggling!  Hopefully it will be helpful and most importantly, I want to make sure that I don't give you the impression that maintaining and continuing my weight loss is easy for me!  It isn't!  So if you struggle--let me tell you, you are not alone!!

As I have said many times in the past I don't weigh myself very often--the scale is an instrument of my disease of compulsive overeating, so I judge my health by how I feel and how my clothes fit.  Over the last two weeks I've been feeling my waistband on my pants getting a bit tighter.  I ignored it at first, but then as time passed and I wasn't feeling more comfortable, I knew I was gaining weight.  In the past this would have been cause for mass panic and an indication that once again I had FAILED another diet!  The result would be a massive week of restriction and then as result, BINGE craziness for the next month at least.  But not any more.  

I have found that beating myself up is a waste of time.  My compulsive eating recovery program's 12&12 book reminds us that we MAKE mistakes but we are NOT A MISTAKE.  This was very hard for me to understand at first.  I think that my disease wanted me to feel like I was a bad person who deserved to be fat.  I hate that word but that is what I was:  fat, obese, angry, hating myself inside.  I could blame my weight gain on medication or depression or painful things in my past, but program has taught me to focus on MY side of the street.  I have to own my own behavior in order to be willing to give it up and change it!!  So, I take responsibility for 100% of every single pound of excess weight on my body.  I ate myself there, no matter what the cause,  I know that most have you have read my "Dear 268lb Me" post and it contains the rawness of my existence back then--and the emotional pain it caused me.  But to expand on the reflections in that post, I realize that I've spent a lot of time in my life looking harshly at what I'm doing wrong and ignoring what I'm doing right.  

I operate differently now because I have learned from my 12 step eating recovery program friends that "shaming" myself is not healthy or motivating--it is just self-sabatoge.  So instead, with my HP's help, I choose to remain sane and not just react impulsively because I'm scared of becoming heavy again.  

  • I calmly review what I've been eating and note any changes in my eating habits/patterns.
  • I look at what foods have made me feel ill  
  • I look at how much I'm eating & how that has made me feel
  • I look at whats been going on in my life outside of the food--emotionally, spiritually, etc.  
  • I look at whether I've been using the tools & the techniques I have been taught in my compulsive eating recovery program, in particular reviewing whether I've been writing down my "food plan" for the next day ahead of time
  • In other words, in the language of the business world:  I troubleshoot :-)

But I also look at what is working for me.  

  • What am I doing right that I should continue?  
  • What were my best food habits in the past?  
  • What activities and behaviors brought me the most serenity?  
  • Am I spiritually and emotionally centered--because I know from experience that a lack of balance in me gives my disease power through emotional chaos.  

So, looking back at the last two weeks, I started making lists of my reflections to help me find clarity and a path forward. 

What isn't working for me:

1) I'm eating take-out more & it has a MUCH higher fat and oil content than what I prepare at home!
2) I'm cooking with more oils/nuts & have gotten a bit unmotivated about cooking in general.  As you may have noticed, my eating plans each week are becoming too ambitious and I get overwhelmed cooking too many new dishes.  In addition, I've lost some motivation because my husband & I are working different food plans at the moment and its harder to be enthusiastic about cooking for one!
3) I haven't lost my abstinence, but I'm eating a much larger quantity of food--particularly starches and eating A LOT less veggies because I haven't been making time to buy enough produce & frozen veggies. 
4) I'm not going to as many 12 step compulsive eating recovery meetings as I could
5)  I'm not meditating & praying as often
6)  Its becoming easier for me to ignore my "full-meter" when eating and I've noticed that I've started snacking during meal preparation!
7) I'm not planning my meals the night before
8)  I'm using food as a "drug" to relax me because I've been very anxious about my exam last week

What IS working for me:

1) I've started exercising more
2) I've been doing my compulsive eating recovery program's readings daily and writing more compulsive eating recovery reflections
3) I've been keeping my house cleaner which makes it less chaotic (despite his work commitments, my husband usually is the primary household manager but I need to contribute to!). 
4) I've been spending more quality time with my husband which makes me feel good :-)
5) I've been sleeping better and trying to implement my therapist's recommendations for establishing good sleep hygiene because I ALWAYS feel SO much better with 8-10 hours of sleep.  I've been hitting that goal at least a few time each week for the last two weeks so that is such an improvement.
6) I've been giving service to my sponsees 
7) I've been more organized with my schedule & "To Do" lists

SOLUTION (determined after prayer & reflection): 
(and note that I am attempting to be gentle with myself--in the past the solution would be: "you MUST do this EVERY day."  That just sets me up for failure!  So instead, I try to make it a gentler path than that!)

1) Limit take-out to no more than once per week
2) More 12 step compulsive eating recovery meetings & continue my service to sponsees 
3) Continue exercising more--not every day, but more days than not each week
4) Continue my 12 step compulsive eating recovery readings & writings but add back prayer & meditation for just a few minutes a few days each week.
5)  SIMPLIFY--take a step back from all the cooking and start eating my way through the freezer. 
6) No snacking while cooking or prepping.
7)  Buy more produce and eat 2-3 cups of veggies per meal
8)  Continue my commitment to sleep appropriate amounts
9)  Each night, take a few minutes to plan what I'm going to eat the next day
10) Continue my commitment to helping my husband keep a tidy house
11) Schedule fun time with my husband
12) No seconds--revive the "one plate method" I talked about in my past post

And finally, I discuss all of this with my sponsor!  I've started implementing the solutions today so I'll let you know how this works!  It should--it has in the past!  If it feels like too many things to change or if it isn't working well, I will go back to the drawing board, pray and consult my sponsor!  Eventually, I will find the right combination!

The real key for me is more 12 step compulsive eating recovery meetings--the more I go, the calmer I feel & the more I seem to be able to accomplish!!  In my disease, I need the social support that group offers.

So that is the simple approach I use to re-center and continue on my journey to healthier living without shame, blame or self-sabatoge. I'm very grateful for having learned this method from others! 

I know it seems like a lot of work for me to stay abstinent, stay slim and stay strong but when I compare my worst day today with my best day pre-recovery, this new life wins EVERY TIME.  The work is SO worth it! (and trust me, I put a lot of work into getting heavy too--its nice to put work in the other direction!) 

Thank you for allowing me to be honest and share my struggles as well as my successes--this is such a wonderful, warm community of readers and I feel so grateful to have all of you in my life!

Are any of YOU struggling?  

What works for YOU when you start to struggle with your weight?  Any pearls of wisdom to share with other readers?  The service of you sharing your story will really help others so I appreciate any comments to guide other readers!!

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  1. I'm not in a position to guide yet, but I can't tell you how generous I think you are to share the "hard parts" too. Sounds like you are on a kind path back to where you want to be. And I think we just stop listening to ourselves when we go "negative" and play the shame factor. We must be as kind to ourselves as we would be to someone else who made a mistake. Make those good decisions and keep your serenity. You are so wise and so willing to reflect and adjust. It won't take long for you to right your course. Janey

    1. Thank you SO much Janey! Your words really warmed my heart today! When you lose 100lbs it often seems like even though people know its hard, its a lot more fun to focus on the good parts!! I love the good part, but the bad parts are so important too! They have taught me how to correct my course and I've learned so much about how to treat myself better in the process. I completely agree with your comment about the fact we stop listening to ourselves when we go negative! So true--all the negative thoughts block out that inner voice that is loving and kind.

      Thanks for the comments and look forward to hearing from you again soon!:-)

  2. Very helpful, thanks. Going thru similar and feeling down, a an oh no not here again mental cringe. Your blog will help me get a grip, reorient and get back on program. Ps. Why are you and hubby on diff food plans? I am too--hubby not vegan--and it can be a struggle.

    1. Dear Anonymous--thank you so much for commenting and for sharing so honestly!! I've found that there are always going to be course corrections in this process but the key for me is not letting it bog me down, instead just view it as an ongoing process that is totally normal and expected! Hang in there!:-)

      Hubby is still a vegan (thank goodness), he just has been following a stricter food plan with a lot of juicing so he isn't eating all the same things as me!! Re: your hubby--I wanted my hubby to join me in OA for so so long bc I could see how his issues with food were making him sick--I encouraged, I guilted, I prodded, I pushed but I got no where! He didn't change his eating behavior or start working OA program--and he was angry at me! Then I decided to shut up and just focus on my own recovery. As I lost more and more weight and became so physically happy with the veganism, he started to pay attention. Now he is totally on board. Even now, I still force myself to stay out of his program and his food bc I've learned that attraction works better than promotion. The more he sees me recover, the more attractive that is--nothing I say can be as big a motivator than the power of just watching what I do! Very hard lesson for me to learn!!!

      Thanks for commenting!!! Keep me posted:-)

  3. THANKS for sharing, woke up wondering WHY am I NOT loosing the weight I had hoped this first 2 wks? THEN I did a re-evaluate of what have been eating, and with spouse who is MEAT AND TATERS..can be difficult--BUT I AM doing this FOR MY HEALTH, not his! THEN today I buy my fav Downfall...ate 3 cookies- said, OK - GET A GRIP woman....this is NOT going to work at this rate. Just needed to read that am NOT ALONE here.
    AM back on track, Love my Kale snacks-baked with wee bit of salt..yummy! Granny Lindie/Linda Lee

    1. Thank you so much for your honesty Linda Lee! I'm going to be writing a post on how to cope with having an unhealthy and/or non-vegan spouse or family/whatnot so hopefully that might help!

      Don't worry about the cookies--that is what I'm trying to say here, regrouping and moving on is key. And it sounds like you are doing that! :-) Thanks for commenting!

  4. In order to maintain my healthy weight, I have to keep my food pretty simple on most days-oatmeal or a green smoothie for breakfast, veggie/bean soups and green salads for lunch and dinner with no-oil dressings. All the rest of the (amazing) no-oil vegan food has to come second to all of that. If I find myself skipping the huge salad for dinner and opting only for the casserole, I gain weight. Volumetrics is my key-high volume, low calorie food. Doug Lisle says to eat your meals in this order: raw veggies first, cooked veggies second, grains and starchy veggies third. I think he's right, but it's not always easy to keep it up! We all struggle, but it's so worth it!

    1. Thanks so much for this comment Wendy--I know that the readers will appreciate it--I know I do!! I know you know how I feel--I definitely think its important that we share our struggles and what works for us :-) I have never heard of the Volumetrics thing--I need to read Doug Lisle's book!! What a great idea!

      And yes, it is SO so worth it!

  5. One thing stuck out to me here was when you said that you have been snacking during meal prep. I do that too but try to make sure I am snacking on fresh cut veggies if possible. By the time your meal is ready you have already eaten a salad!

    I also agree with Wendy about keeping it simple: I do oatmeal almost every morning and I swear that is the secret to maintaining, if not losing, weight! Sometimes keeping it simple is actually the best way to go...bean, rice, and veggie burritos are always delicious and take 5 minutes to make. My mom taught me to KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid) and she was right!

    1. Thanks so much Aly! I almost never snack during meal prep--haven't done so for years, so this new development was such a red flag!

      I am totally with you on the keeping it simple thing--my problem is that I walk a delicate balance. If I keep it too simple and eat the same thing every day than I really get sick of whatever I'm eating and start feeling like I need food that isn't good for me! I really like oatmeal too but if I eat it everyday I literally start to feel nauseous by day 3 of eating it in a row! If I make it too elaborate, I get overwhelmed and don't want to cook anything!! *sigh*

      That said, so so many of my OA friends do exactly what you do with breakfast so my wonderful readers, definitely take note of Aly & Wendy's suggestions because they are really fantastic!!

      Do you have a favorite simple veggie burrito recipe??--if you can believe it, I haven't made them before!!

  6. Well, my problems are different but I really feel what you are saying in this post.
    And I wish you luck and hope that you can be good to yourself!
    I think your achievements are marvelous and I am sure that you find your (weight) balance again!

    1. Thank you Silvia!! I'm feeling good and grateful for so many blessings in my life :-)

      Thanks for commenting!


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