My thighs are on fire right now, and the stairs at school this afternoon were a little bit tricky. Almost on a a whim, I lugged out my fitness DVD collection last night and attempted Bob Harper’s Cardio Conditioning DVD for the first time. I lasted fifteen minutes, but there was a lot of squatting in that fifteen minutes. I also drank more water yesterday and today. I know these are small steps, but at least they are moving me in the right direction.
In other words, Coach Yourself Thin is helping so far. A lot. I have read to chapter 11, and am reading about myself more than I expected to. This section consists of several short chapters which collectively discuss “seven undermining obstacles to weight loss.” Each of these “obstacle” chapters includes a quiz filled with yes/no questions for self assessment.
Lo and behold, one of them was “all-or-nothing thinking,” my nemesis. It was odd to read myself on the page, particularly after I recently wrote about this obstacle (of course, I have been thinking about it as a character flaw – if it’s just an obstacle, maybe I will finally be able to move past it). The authors compare new dieters to new-car owners. I remember the “no food or drink rule: I instituted not quite a year and a half ago when I got my new/used car. Now the back seat is full of crumbs and melted crayons, and we aren’t going to discuss the front/passenger side.
Here is a quote: “The more gung ho and extreme your initial effort, the greater the chance that you will swing to the other extreme as soon as you hit a rough patch. You go from eating wild salmon, quinoa, and kale to downing cheeseburgers, fries, and regular sodas, or from exercising like mad to being mad that you have to exercise.” I am so sad that this is me. My initial efforts are epic. And short-lived.
That’s why I did a monthly resolution this year – instead of just saying “My NYR is to lose weight,” I said “ten pounds a month until I’m happy with my shape.” Still, it is humiliating that I only lasted two months without jumping off the wagon (notice I didn’t say “falling”). But because my goals are monthly, I can still turn it around. Before reading this chapter, I was thinking I should try to lose 20 pounds this month (how many days are left in April?) in order to “catch up” on my goal. Now I am thinking I will start where I’m at. If I can catch up along the way, I will be pretty proud of myself, but I’m going to aim for 3-4 pounds lost by the end of this month, then start with a new goal of 10 in May. I don’t know what the authors of this book would say about this plan, but I think it’s a reasonable one.
Another obstacle is labeled “feelings of unworthiness.” When I began this chapter, I did not expect to identify with it. I do not feel unworthy. I am successful in other areas of my life. I work hard at my job, I feel fulfilled as a mother, wife, daughter, etc. (the house could be cleaner, but we all have our priorities). I take the time to read and blog because it makes me a better teacher, conversationalist, and person. I also take the time to paint my nails once or twice a week because it makes me happy and I love the compliments I get. That doesn’t sound like someone who feels unworthy, right?
I DO feel overwhelmed, though, at the enormity of my task, and I feel frustrated that it’s not easier. I am not saying I want to be easy, but I shouldn’t be my own worst enemy, you know? I AM self-critical, and I DO avoid certain situations because of my weight. There were so many quotes in this section that resonated with me that I copied several of them down and I keep thinking about the.m. Somehow, this feels like a breakthrough, but them I think about my “all-or-nothing new car feeling” and it seems more prudent to just be cautiously optimistic.
There is one more quote I want to share, and it’s from the obstacle titled “not listening to the signals from your body and mind.”
[T]uning out from what your body is telling you will lead to poor health decisions. Your body’s natural signals (like hunger, fatigue, and pain) get progressively more difficult to hear amid the buzz created by caffeine, alcohol, sugar, fat, and medications. Eventually those natural signals may disappear altogether; they might still be there beneath the surface, but because you’ve spent so much time ignoring or suppressing them, you’ve lost the ability to detect them. And underneath it all, health problems are brewing. As the health problems worsen, new signals—such as reflux, low blood sugar, or painful, swollen joints—emerge. These are symptoms of disease or injury, and they’ll be much harder to ignore.
Think about that a second. Re-read it. “Your body’s natural signals (like hunger, fatigue, and pain) get progressively more difficult to hear amid the buzz created by caffeine, alcohol, sugar, fat, and medications.” That’s pretty serious. I am afraid of a lot of substances, in part for this reason – I don’t like to take medicine unless I have no choice (I even opted against the epidural), I limit caffeine, and you can count on me to be your designated driver. I have never placed sugar or fat into this same category. And with all that I have read about processed foods (and some of you have read it right along with me), this should not have sounded so groundbreaking, but it did. (Maybe it’s that “all-or-nothing” thinking again.)