Saturday, March 22, 2008

Sticking to my Principles

Confession: I do not own a scale. In fact, I do not wish to own a scale. Scales are mean to me - every time I use one, I feel like a big, fat, ugly blob. They say scales don't lie. Well, I say they do. OK, so I know weight is normally the primary statistic used to gauge progress in a weight loss program. But I find this to be very discouraging - I would think I had done well in a given week, and discover that I had lost no weight, and even gained weight sometimes! Honestly, the reason for this was two-fold. The explanation I like to give is that I was working out more, gaining muscle, losing fat, and conquering the world. The explanation that is likely true is that I was "cheating". I wasn't logging all my foods, and even when I was, I wasn't really meeting my goals. This was when I was doing fit day - I may have had a day or two in the week when I was pretty good, but I inevitably had a day or two when I was really bad. I have a selective memory, and I wasn't looking at the whole picture. Ultimately, I have developed two main principles based on this experience which allow me to be proud of my little successes, and maintain my interest in eating healthy for life.
Principle #1: If I don't see positive results, I don't want to do it. Lets face it, no one wants to fail at something. The scale is a poor motivator, so I decided to buy a belt. Now, I must admit, this was an ego challenge as well, because the medium wouldn't fit around my left butt cheek and I had to buy an extra large. Oh, how I would love to be medium. Anyway, I was in the very last hole on that extra large - and ladies, I really could have gone for the double x. Eeek! I know it will happen to some of you, and I feel for ya. It hurts. But at least this is a one time thing, a "pulling off the band aid" kind of disappointment - not like that mean old scale, taunting you every week! Ultimately, I am happy with the belt choice. One thing I hadn't considered was that leather stretches - I saw results a week later when I got to hole #2, and I can't imagine this was solely a result of my caloric restraint. But, heck, I took it, and I am currently on the last hole (there are only 4 holes on this belt - I guess the retail gods want me to buy a new one, but I am considering adding more myself.)
Principle #2: Don't lie to yourself. This seems obvious, but it is very tempting. For instance, I had a steak dinner last night, but I was supposed to have a chicken meal that is still in my freezer. OK, so: the steak dinner has more calories. In fact, I just logged it in, and it has 371 more calories. I revised my spread sheet, and lo and behold, the check at the bottom went from "Good Job!" to "Try Harder!" wha, wha, wha... BUT, I am going home to visit the family tonight, so I had planned on a big snack. I always eat and eat and eat on these holiday weekends, and luckily I was honest with myself when I did my planning. So, now I must exercise restraint, and not eat a big snack. (I can still have a little one, it turns out.) I will let you know how it goes - this has happened before, and I have not always been the perfect angel I am afraid. But the point is: I was honest in my planning when I realized that I will probably have a few beers and a big snack and a good sized dinner today. I had to eliminate my snack for most of the week in order to indulge. But indulge I will, and I will do it guilt free, while still being mindful that everything going into my mouth will end up on the spreadsheet. I was also honest with my actual consumption. I had to change the planned spreadsheet into an actual spreadsheet. I have found that I've been able to recover from many meals which I would have thought were diet breakers by changing my intake plan. I often lose my bagel on bagel Thursday, but I get to eat a yummy piece of pumpkin pie - and I still have oatmeal for breakfast, so I haven't starved myself either.
Tomorrow is Easter, and will be my first holiday meal since beginning my regimen. I am going to try an unprecedented non plan - I will eat what I eat, and log it later. There are two reasons for this - one, since Easter is Sunday, it marks the beginning of the week, and I will be able to plan my other days with one actual log on the books; and two, I don't really have time. I usually plan the weeks out on my lazy Saturdays and then go to the grocery store to get "the supplies", but I will be driving home after my class at the gym. So (big breath in), we shall see.
Check in tomorrow for "Easter Feaster" or "Bunny Bites".

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