Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Why Can't I Do This?

A little over ten years ago, I embarked on my first serious weight loss effort. I was 29, going on 30, I had started working a full time desk job 2 years before and the weight slowly started creeping on. I think I managed to lose 8 pounds which was not a lot, but it was enough for people to notice a difference. Then I started planning my wedding. Then I got married. Then we bought a house and moved. And I gained the weight back.

I started calorie counting, I joined a gym which I could conveniently get to on my lunch break from work. I didn't manage to lose any pounds that time, but I seemed to be at least maintaining.

During that time I developed some good habits - regular exercise, meal planning, not keeping to much in the way of junky snack foods around the house, no snacking after dinner. But over the years since then, some serious backsliding has been going on. I still exercise fairly regularly - maybe not as much as I should but for the most part I feel pretty good about my exercise habits.

The diet part on the other hand...

I just don't seem able to maintain any consistency. There is too much food in the house. I can't stick to a plan for more that 2 or 3 weeks at a time. I can't figure out if it's lack of motivation? Or not the right kind of motivation? I do know that any time I have to get ready to go out anywhere socially, there's a good chance I will end up standing in the bedroom with clothes strewn all over the place, ready to break down in tears. I know that I don't feel good at the size I am now. Pictures of myself make me cringe. So why can't I do anything about it?

I can talk the talk about chosing healthy options, watching portion sizes, yada, yada, yada...but I can't seem to walk the talk, as the saying goes.

You may recall that at the beginning of August I told Husband I wanted to try and make some changes and he agreed to go along with my plan. I remember the first two weeks going so well. It was easy and I thought I can do this. By the end of the third week I was down 3 pounds. I was so encouraged.

And then...Can you guess where this is going?

Exhibit A
Instead of Husband asking "what are the meal plans for this week?" he said "I looked in the freezer and we have a,b,c so I think we should plan d,e,f for meals this week." I thought: well, okay, that makes sense, I can work with that this week. Problem is, he kept doing that every week. Next thing I know, we're back to exactly the way we were eating before.

I'm not trying to blame my husband here. He kept catching me off guard, and it's not like he was making unreasonable suggestions. But it was basically taking away the 'diet safety net' I was trying to create for myself and I need to learn to handle this stuff.

Exhibit B
The company I work for started stocking the kitchen with snacks and beverages. Some healthy, some not. Bins of potato chips and chocolate bars. Just what I need. For the first few weeks I was able to resist. I peeked at the chocolate bars a few times, decided there was nothing there I really wanted, and walked away. Yay me! Then I started having one chocolate bar a week, usually on Monday. One a week, I could live with that. Then they started stocking the bins with those little Halloween sized bars. And I started eating 3 of them every day. Every day I would go in to work telling myself I was going to stay out of the chocolate. And every day for two weeks I would end up eating a handful of chocolate bars.

One weekend I decided that  was it; I was done. And somehow, for the next two weeks I had no problem staying away. Okay, this is good, I've got this...Until suddenly one day I'm back into the treats and then it's every day again. Then I will very likely go home and munch on things that I don't need to eat. And end up feeling crappy.

So why? What is it that makes me able to go for 2 or 3 weeks, eating nutritious foods, feeling satisfied, ending the day around the right number of calories, feeling like it's effortless, noticing how good I feel when I am eating properly...Only to swing around to the opposite end of the spectrum where I can't seem to stop eating? Why is it that sometimes I can't seem to make myself care?

My Computer Programmer/Analyst brain tells me to gather data and look for patterns. Seems like the logical thing to do, but at the same time I wonder if making more work for myself is the way to go?
But, I don't have any other ideas at the moment,  so I think that's what I should try to do.

So, that's where I'm at these days.

Also, I think I broke my husband. I've been making salads for husband to have with his lunches at work. His building was evacuated due to plumbing problems today around lunch time. On his way home he hit the Wendy's drive thru. After work when I asked how he'd enjoyed his Wendy's for lunch, he said he enjoyed his salad more. I don't know what to think; doppleganger maybe?


MizFit said...

for me with everything when Im struggling it becomes BACK TO BASICS.
no frills.

this works for me with all things from workouts to writing.


Christy said...

I had very many of the same thoughts running through my head this morning when I, yet again, thought TODAY I START.

I think I'm tackling it the wrong way, there isn't a start date, because with a start date is an end date - and there is no END date, no date that it will all be over.

So all we can do is make today better than yesterday. Make more healthy choices than not healthy choices.

All this to say, I guess, that you aren't alone! Let's just make today better than yesterday. I'm right there with you.

the Bag Lady said...

You definitely are not alone. Yes, I realize that that is no consolation.

Who is stocking those snacks in your office? Can you talk to them about the selection they are offering? Why, with society's focus on the obesity problem, would they choose to stock chocolate bars? Can you make the suggestion that they leave out the chocolate bars? There must be other people in your office who feel the same way. (Start an "Occupy the Kitchen" movement or something!)

The Merry said...

The only way I know is to brainwash myself by reading lots of books by nutritionists until eating good food is embedded in the brain. Doesn't last forever, need to do it again. And again .Eventually, some of it sticks.

Crabby McSlacker said...

Well, good for you for getting back on it each time you wander away!

I finally broke down and started counting calories and keeping my daily tallies in a notebook. Somehow the accountability of a number at the end of the day helps keep my indulgences more reasonable. But everyone's different on that.

And I'd struggle with the candy at work situation too... can you pack some healthier alternative snacks? Then when coworkers are eating Alien Food (that's how I try to frame junk that others eat that I know I shouldn't) you might feel a bit less deprived?

Excellent idea about gathering evidence about what's going on for you when you start making poorer choices... could lead to some interesting insights and creative ways to stay motivated.

Also, do you have someone supportive you can check in with when you feel yourself starting to abandon your goals? That can help a lot too.

Good luck!!

Leslie Goldman said...

I wonder if maybe you're not eating enough during your "good" weeks, which is leading to feeling out of control. Your body might simply need more fuel. Not chocolate bars, per se, but good, wholesome stuff?

Miz said...

checking on you...

Put That Cookie Down Now! said...

Having lots of junk food available at work is a huge problem. Have you thought about starting a workplace wellness challenge to help get the support of your co-workers in the efforts to lose/maintain weight. You might be surprised how many people there are that would like to have their at-work friends be part of the solution for them too. A Biggest Loser style competition, walking program, and no-fast food challenge are just a few ideas that might get people involved and thinking more about creating a healthier work place.

Maggie @ Say Yes to Salad said...

I have these same issues, ugh!

I changed desk jobs recently, put on maybe 5 pounds, but since my wedding (summer 2010) I have gained a good 10 pounds. And I had still wanted to lose 5 at the time I got married. Sooo yes. I am a sucker for work treats. And for night snacking, which I do sort of blame my husband for (though really, I should be able to not have to eat if he is eating - it's not like he offers me his food).

Anyhow, going to try to get it together soon... :)