It’s never good when I reach the middle of the month and realize it’s already time to take my monthly body fat percentage measurements. In that moment, I feel like I’ve squandered the last four weeks, and I’m no better off than I was at the last measurement.
It also sucks when I look at my meal breakdown graph for that mid-month week and realize I didn’t learn anything from the previous month, apparently. Snacking — especially evening binge snacking — is a major problem.
Every Tuesday, before my weekly Weight Watchers weigh-in, I mentally check in with myself. Lately, I feel like I’m running up the down escalator when it comes to weight loss — not only that, but I get distracted midstream, so I’ll stop trying for just a moment and lose so much ground.
The question is how to keep myself focused. Granted, I’m pretty sick of being in constant weight-loss mode (hence why I let myself go off the rails sometimes), but that’s no reason to sit down and eat a fourth meal and two more desserts after my son goes to bed.
Since my obvious problem is after-dinner snacking, perhaps it’s time to reinstate The Closing Of The Kitchen ritual. The status quo earlier in the month had been to plod downstairs after the nightly bedtime ritual and beeline for the pantry to feed my emotions, and put off loading or unloading the dishwasher and cleaning the counters and whatnot until time for me to go up to bed myself. Instead of hanging out in the living room, munching on something and watching Good Eats on Netflix and waiting for my son to call me upstairs for whatever reason, how about I go immediately into the kitchen (where I can still hear him if he calls) and clean up?
Another focusing tactic that’s worked for me in the past is the daily photo-journaling of my meals, so that was an option. Then, in addition to Closing the Kitchen and photo-journaling, one thing I hadn’t tried up until this point was actually planning my meals ahead and pre-tracking them.
So, on my mid-month weigh-and-measure day, I started all of these. I sat down and planned out my meals from Tuesday through Friday, I photographed each of the day’s meals and snacks just before eating, I cleaned up the kitchen after my son went down for the night, I made a low-cal dessert (individual pudding cups, 5SP each), and I calmly enjoyed one in the sunroom after I was sure my son wasn’t going to get up again.
I also opted not to turn on any lights or watch any TV, although I did play on my phone in the sunroom until it got dark. Once it got too dark to see, it was time for me to get up to bed, anyway. I did a little yoga (although it was mostly stretchy and not strengthy, as I was too tired for proper form at that point), played on my phone for a little while, and went to bed a half hour earlier than normal (but still later than would be ideal).
The word “holistic” has a hippy-dippy connotation for me, but I really do need to take a holistic approach to my health. Everything’s related — mood, food, sleep — and I would be well-served to take care of all of them, instead of working on one at the exclusion of the others.
That first day was a roaring success: I stayed under my Daily SmartPoints Target, kept my cool with my son, didn’t binge eat after dinner, and slept unusually well for a Tuesday night. The second day went well, too: I skipped dessert, made a chocolate sherbet base for churning the next day, prepped my breakfast and lunch, and stayed well under my Daily Target — although I got to sleep a little later than I should have, and my sleep quality reflected that. My son was kind of a little stinker at bedtime on day three, but I didn’t binge on comfort food; instead, I made onigiri for the next day’s lunch with what little time I had after Mr. Negotiator finally stayed in bed. (By the way, onigiri is a little “Pointy” at 6SP per large rice ball, but so delicious!)
That first week went quite well, actually. For the first time possibly ever, I didn’t eat any of my Weekly SmartPoints, and stayed at or under my Daily Target each and every day — up until Monday night, that is, when a crappy evening coincided with eTools being down, which for some reason gave me license to eat 35SP in evening snacks. (I still didn’t use up all my Weeklies, though.)
The second week started with my cube-neighbor at work announcing, “It’s going to be a wonderful day because there are treats at the fish tank!” (The “fish tank” is the default gathering place on my floor at work, and where people always put snacks if they have them, since our actual pantry area is too small to accommodate.)
Needless to say, I didn’t find that to be wonderful news, because the woman who had brought the treats makes AMAZING zucchini bread and cookies and baked goods in general. Can. Not. Resist. Luckily, I’d pre-tracked my entire day already, and had 6SP to spare… so I allowed myself some zucchini bread and a couple of cookies for a rare weigh-in day breakfast, then adjusted my planned lunch and dinner to get me back under my Daily Target.
Alas, later that afternoon, I succumbed to the siren call and had some more zucchini bread and cookies. I tried to mentally spin my moment of weakness into a positive, though: since I spent the entire last week not using any Weeklies, between my indiscretions that afternoon and a planned lunch out with co-workers the next day… and Mom coming to visit on Friday… aw, crap. I’m screwed.
That week ended poorly, with me failing to track over the Mom Weekend and succumbing to child-fueled emotional eating on Monday night again. By the last official WW weigh-in day of July, I was no better off than I’d started four weeks before — in fact, my daily average weight for July was up 0.6 pounds from May’s daily average.
I actually feel like kind of a whiner. I don’t wanna have to think about food so much! I just want to be in equilibrium, eating and exercising and not having to pore over either. I want to be able to splurge for a meal or a day or a weekend without going off the rails for the next several days.
Yeah, well, I’d also like to sleep in on weekends and not have periods and rock a four-day workweek and have time to keep up with my garden and play Civilization for three hours a night again and none of those are in the cards, either. This is being a grown-up. You do the things you have to do, not because you necessarily want to, but because they’re necessary.
Getting and staying healthy is necessary.
Does “getting and staying healthy” mean reaching my “Goal Weight” of 160? Does it mean reaching some target body fat percentage — say, 27% (which should theoretically coincide with said weight)? Does that mean adjusting my headspace to be comfortable with the size and shape I am now? All of the above?
All I can do is keep on keeping on. Try to trend the weight downward, and the activity upward. I’ve made so much progress in the past several years — it’s just hard to see what’s behind me when I’m so focused on not being at the Finish Line yet.
The take-away from today’s Weight Watchers meeting was to find something that makes you smile, something you enjoy, something that reminds you why you’re on the weight loss journey. I’m in such a meh mood right now that I’m having trouble with that.
We also discussed what to do to keep that fire in your belly. I know that the answer, for me, is re-reading weight loss journals from stretches of time when I was actively losing weight and feeling good, both physically and mentally. I haven’t had a stretch like that for a good couple of years, though — even my most successful weight loss months have been part success and part backslide.
I’m not sure what to do to reorient my headspace, but I need to do something, or this last ten pounds and 5% body fat is never going to budge.