September 23, 2012

I Can Do This

I just finished reading "The Beck Diet Solution: Train Your Mind to Think Like a Thin Person," by Dr. Judith Beck. WOW! What a transformational experience. I am now trying to implement her cognitive therapy suggestions to overcome negative thinking and behavioral habits. I know I can do this, I know I can do this!

My Weight Loss Journey

I have always been a thin person. In fact, growing up, I was considered painfully thin. I had boney shoulder blades, and twiggy arms and legs. I was so thin that when I turned sideways, I was like a pancake (no hips, no butt and no bosom). Of course, I was also a late bloomer, and I finally did blossom. I ended up with a rather hourglass figure, but even still, I was thin.

In high school, my height was about 5'5-5'6 inches, and I weighed between 106 (Freshman) and 118 (Senior). In college, I kept my weight to about 123, and it wasn't for 5-6 years before I settled on 132-135. When I was pregnant with my son, my starting weight was 145 and my ending weight was 164. I was 30 at the time. It took me about 8 weeks to lose the baby weight and get back into my size 6 jeans. Again, my shape changed post-baby and I was more hippy and bigger on top -- but I still stayed about the same weight for a long while.

In 1996, we left San Jose and moved to Phoenix. Between then and 2000 when my parents retired and moved here, my weight went up from 145 to 170. I didn't really realize it, and it wasn't until 2001 when I joined Weight Watchers with my Mom that I was confronted with the reality of my weight gain. I stuck with WW for the 10 weeks, and then continued to follow the program on my own for six months. By my one year anniversary with WW, I had lost a total of 35 pounds. I was wearing size 4 jeans and slacks, and my bra size dropped from a size 36DD to a size 34D.

I kept most of this weight off for 4-5 years, but started to overeat and eat for emotional reasons in 2006-2007. I gained slowly, just about 5-10 lbs per year. I covered myself up well, and in 2010, stepped on the scale and realized that I was back to 155.

In 2011, when I started working at UOPX, I was at 155. In the 15 months of working in this very stressful and food-filled environment (not to mention my life change, separation from my husband, moving out on my own, graduate school, etc.) I gained 12 lbs. I stepped on the scale back in April, and I was up to 167.

I partnered with a team member and we started a diet program (she counted calories, and I followed Atkins). I lost 6 lbs in two weeks on the program, and then gave in to temptation and cravings. My goal was to lose all the weight, to get back to 130-135 permanently. My initial target date was July 7 -- my nephew's wedding -- and I had hope to be down 10-15 lbs. I did make 160 at the wedding, which was a start. My clothes fit me a little better than they had two months earlier, but I was still far from my target weight of 135.

Since then I have tried to do WW again, and I also tried to do the Paleo diet. I haven't been able to stick to anything. My weight has been yo-yoing -- up to 164, and then down to 161.5. I cannot break past 160, and get moving down to where I need my weight to be.

I found Dr. Beck's book on Amazon, and I went and purchased a copy at my local Barnes and Noble bookstore. I know myself well, and I know that I am an emotional eater. I know that I sabotage my thinking with fear based statements that make me feel as though I deserve to eat whatever I want to eat. I know that I am preoccupied with my weight too and that I fear the scale. I struggle with food choices, and with exercise. Moreover, I feel awful. I mean I am suffering with headaches, stomach issues, bloating, gas, and general fatigue. I know that I have no energy to do anything other than sleep and work.

I also have pain -- arthritis and back pain. I know that when I lost weight before, most of my physical pain went away. I felt better, had more energy, and I was not miserable all the time.

So today, I decided to stop the yo-yo, and to start taking control of my weight again. I did it before, and I can do it again. I know what triggers my negative thinking, and I know that I indulge in fear based reasoning which gives me permission to overeat.

Part of Dr. Beck's Program is to counteract negative thinking and behaviors with confident and empowering statements on why weight loss is important to you. One thing she asks her patients to accept is that getting healthy (eating well and living well) is a life-time process. You cannot lose the weight and then go back to eating the way you want. For permanent weight loss, you have to start thinking like a thin person. You have to say NO and mean it -- and say it for the right reasons. Those reasons are personal, and they are different for each person. For me, my desire to lose weight is summed up in the following response:

  1. I will feel better
  2. I will look better in my clothes
  3. I won't think about my weight all the time
  4. I will have more energy
  5. I will have a longer life
  6. My back won't hurt so much
  7. I will like the way I look in the mirror
  8. I will be able to exercise more
  9. I will be more confident
  10. I will be able to travel comfortably
Secondly, I know that I have to institute some behaviors that will help me remain in control and keep my eating under check. For me, these behaviors will support my desire to lose weight and will not indulge my cravings and desires.
  1. I will schedule my meals every day
  2. I will sit down when I eat
  3. I will eat slowly and chew every morsel carefully
  4. I will not give in to cravings and desires for food (understanding hunger signals)
  5. I will accept that I have NO CHOICE when it comes to weight loss (I either lose the weight or I remain as I am now -- miserable and self-condemned)
  6. I will choose to respond with "Oh well" whenever I have to say no to something I want
  7. I will exercise for 30 minutes each day
  8. I will hydrate myself well so my body is not confused about thirst and hunger
  9. I will credit myself for my good behaviors and attitudes
  10. I will remind myself of why I need to lose weight (daily, weekly, monthly, yearly)
Lastly, I know that every diet on the planet restricts calories, and that restricting calories is the best way to lose the weight. Mathematically speaking, I need to restrict my caloric intake my 500 calories per day  or 3500 calories per week to lose 1 pound per week. This means that I have to reduce my caloric intake by 3500 calories per week and keep this up for 30 weeks to lose 30 lbs. At my current weight, that means in 30 weeks or 7.5 months I will weigh in at 130-134.

Diets are the same regardless of whether you count points or carbs. In my case, I want to feel better, to be healthier, so I want to make sure that I am cutting calories and choosing good foods instead of processed foods. My goal is to not only lose the weight, but look and feel better because I am eating healthier than I am now.

I also know that I need to eat off of scheduled plans. When I did WW before, I was successful because I planned out my foods each day/week. I had certain foods listed for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I ate the same foods, and the weight came off. Now, I wasn't working outside the home then, so I have to consider that I am in an office. However, since I want to watch my weekly lunch expenses, I plan to bring both breakfast and lunch to work. This will allow me to control my eating during the day. My daily schedule is as follows:
  1. Wake up at 5:00
  2. Feed cats, make coffee, unload dishwasher 5-5:15
  3. Pray, read Bible, get prepared for the day 5:15-6:00
  4. Shower and dress, 6:00-6:30
  5. Leave for work at 6:30
  6. Arrive at work 7:00
  7. Eat breakfast at 7:30
  8. Eat lunch at 11:30
  9. Leave work at 3:30
  10. Have small snack at 3:45
  11. Eat dinner at 5:00
  12. Put dishes in dishwasher, clean up at 6:00
  13. Relax 6-7
  14. Exercise 7-8
  15. Practice cello 8-9
  16. Check email and get ready for bed
  17. Bed at 11:00

My goal is to eat at set times each day. My secondary goal is to add 30-45 minutes of exercise to my day as well as make sure I have allotted time for cello practice. This is realistic for me. Once graduate school begins next May, my evening will change and I will have to spend 2 hours each night in study/reading/discussion time online. For now though, my goal is to lose the weight, keep it off permanently, and enjoy greater freedom and health.

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