Over the past six months, I gained 10 pounds — the same 10 pounds I lose and gain every few years. Big sigh. I’m SO TIRED of this cycle — and I think I’m finally ready to break it.
The motivating factor is a recent conversation with my 19-year-old daughter. I was enjoying a tasty snack, can’t remember what it was. Doesn’t matter anyway because, apparently, my behavior around food is always the same.
“Why do you always do that?” she asked. “You’re not setting a very good example for me.”
Do what? Until that moment, I wasn’t aware there was an issue. But the minute she called me out, I instantly knew.
Here’s my pattern: indulge, savor, regret. Then, conclude the fat-shaming ritual with a few minutes of obsessing over calories. Then maybe, eat some more.
My mom used to act exactly like this, especially around chocolate and sweet treats. Mom, the diabetic. While I’m not diabetic and basically gave up sugar years ago, I have still become my mother. Another big sigh, a really, really big one.
There’s so much to learn about women and our food issues. The fact that my behavior felt so normal to me says a lot about eating disorders among today’s younger generations. They learned this stuff somewhere, right?
My NYU journalism student Avianne Tan explored the problem in one of our class homework assignments. The result was a terrifying story about blogs and websites glorifying skeletal young women. Her piece was so terrific that she got it into USA Today: “Thinspiration” social media stalls eating disorder recovery for some.
Among other eating issues, we are also an increasingly fat planet. Nearly 30 percent of the world’s population is either overweight or obese, according to a new study. In the U.S., fully one-third of all adults have been obese for the past decade, with 29 million adults over 20 suffering from diabetes — an increase from 26 million in 2010, according to government stats quoted in a Wall Street Journal article about gluten-free products.
I have tons of personal reasons for trimming down. Here are my top five:
Benefit #1: Financial savings enhance my bottom and my bottom line. When I eat out, I order less. Since chips of any sort are my weakness, cutting out these $3.99 bags of this and that are great for my grocery bill. By the way, these products that trigger non-stop snacking are called “avalanche” foods because we can’t stop eating them until they’ve buried us.
Benefit #2: I don’t have to waste money buying new clothes. My closet looks like I am three different people who range from size 4 and size 6 to size 8. If I stuck to one size, just imagine all the shelf space it would free up.
Benefit #3: Shedding even a few pounds spares me from achy joints. For years, I’ve had one mildly arthritic knee. Those of us with arthritis or back pain have all heard the lecture. From the doctors to the physical therapists, everyone says it’s important to lighten the body load.
Benefit #4: It’s nice to look young(er). No explanation needed. Instant youthfulness.
Benefit #5: It’s easier to get around. Who can argue against having more energy? Or being able to fit more comfortably into the ever-shrinking coach seats on an airplane?
I’ve been actively changing my daily routine. Here’s what’s up:
Way #1: Get more sleep. Instead of binge eating when I’m tired, sleeping feels much better. My shrink calls this change a positive form of “sleep hygiene.” Keeping the cell phone off at bedtime helps too. Click here for a link to free New York Times stories about sleep.
Way #2: Drink more water. The Daily Mail has a great story by a 42-year-old mom who drank three liters of water a day for a month. That’s about three quarts — or 12 cups — a day. Her headaches and digestion issues cleared up. So did her skin and wrinkles. Water is filling, can be good from the tap (almost free) and has zero calories. Hydrate, baby, hydrate!
Way #3: Do things that I love. I turn to food when I’m stressed. And when I’m happy. And when I’m bored. But there’s no food in the picture when I’m doing something truly interesting that demands my full attention. In these situations, I just keep doing what I’m doing!
Way #4: Stop talking all the time about my weight, calorie counting, midriff bulge (aka muffintop), etc. Really, who cares? Enough, already.
Way #5: Use a weight loss website, with a smart phone app. Best for last. This is huge. Instead of boring my loved ones (Way #4), I am now having a very constructive conversation with myself. I do it online, by journaling my intake.
Several studies have shown that maintaining food diaries help us to shed pounds and keep them off. The websites and their phone apps are fast-and-easy options because they don’t require writing anything. Just click the cute little food icons.
Hard to say. They both offer free versions. They both log your meals, scan bar codes on food packages and feature menu items from fast food and restaurant chains. You can also create and list your own foods on your personal account, including favorite home-cooked dishes, special ingredients and items from chain restaurant menus.
As far as I can tell — beyond the look and feel of the two sites, there are only two main differences:
This chart could get intimidating because it shows me just how far I am from a 125-lb. goal. But quite frankly, I no longer think I need to drop that much. Getting to 127 lbs. would be just fine. No problem! Just hit re-set. Punching in my new goal moved up the green base line on the chart. In the second chart below, you can see the green line has floated me two pounds closer to the finish line. Instant progress, haha.
Check out the green line in each of the two graphs below:
If you’d like to learn more about using Loseit.com, check out my YouTube video: How to lose weight on Loseit.com
I am ready for a new lifestyle and attitude about my body. It’s all part of making the most of what I have. Hope you’ll weigh in with your thoughts, tips and suggestions! xo.