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Posts Tagged ‘diet mistakes’

Twenty-five weeks of the 20-lb struggle and I have been sitting here on the plateau for eight of those weeks. First it was Halloween, then it was parties, then it was family dinners, then it was Christmas cookies, then it was New Year’s Eve, then it was too cold, then I was too busy, then it was too much work. As you can see from my chart I am     s-l-o-w-l-y inching my way back to the pinnacle I reached in week 17. Still haven’t gotten there though.

So what’s going on? I have some ideas.

Idea #1: The nearer your destination the more you keep slip-sliding away. Let me explain. When I started the 20 lb struggle I could get all the motivation I needed in order to make changes in my eating patterns and behavior by looking in the mirror. Looking at myself standing there naked with my fat rolls staring back at me was so horrifying that losing my appetite was usually not a problem. Lose the appetite and you can lose the weight.

But after I lost about 10-lbs. I looked a lot better.  I bought new, smaller clothes.  Looking in the mirror was not as horrifying as it had been previously. The closer you get to your weight loss goal the more difficult it may be to find the motivation you need to go all the way.

Idea #2: Putting the brakes on diet momentum makes the journey more difficult.  Coming to a full stop adds the burden of inertia to forward movement. In other words, it is easier to maintain diet momentum once you are already rolling, than to kick start it again after a full stop. There are lots of reasons for diet inertia, but let’s just say that once you fall off a wagon it can take a while to get your ass off the ground and hop back on again.

Idea #3: If I don’t make it happen it won’t happen. I’ve been waiting for a miracle.  I’ve been waiting for the scale to show imporvment even though I am not putting in 100%. It is difficult to get going again.  It is difficult to find the motivation to make the sacrifices that Ineed to make.  It isn’t easy to find the motivation to help me push forward. But if I don’t do it, nothing will change.

Idea #4: Although losing weight is an important goal, it may not be the only one that deserves my attention. I also need to nurture other important areas of my life, like work, family, friends, celebrations, etc.

My dog, Snickers, whines and cries when I talk on the phone around 7:00 pm.  Why? That is the time we usually snuggle on the couch and watch TV. When my attention is diverted elsewhere he lets me know about it!  And when my attention is diverted elsewhere, my scale let me know about it, too!

Am I feeling blue because this is proving to be more of a struggle than I anticipated? Not really.  Even though I am having trouble losing weight I still feel good about three important things.

First: I have lost a significant amount of weight and I think I look pretty good.

Second: I am maintaining my weight which means that I am not reverting to my previous unhealthy habits.

Third: I am feeling healthier and more energetic than I did before I embarked on the 20-lb struggle.

So, how’s the view from the plateau? Pretty good, but certainly not perfect. What I see from the plateau is “room for improvement.”

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 After a week-end with my family, eating all sorts of edible delights at home and in restaurants, my weight-loss program has been stopped in its tracks! I ate. I enjoyed. I am paying the price. We all knew it was going to happen. It was just a matter of time.

This can be a crucial turning point. Many have been here before me. In fact, I’ve been here myself, many times in the past. Falling or slipping off the wagon can be an opportunity to throw in the towel and give up. Remarks like, “I just don’t have the will power to succeed at losing weight,” or “I’m out of control. Nothing can help me,” or “This is too hard,” are just some of the ways we can self-sabotage our plan for a better healthier life. I’ve done it before. BUT. I’m not going to do it this time!

This time I have learned from Mistake #5: Not planning for my inevitable slip-ups. Since I knew that slipping up was going to be inevitable I incorporated it into my weight-loss program from the very beginning. I now recognize that no one can resist all temptations all the time. There is bound to come a day when circumstances are just ideal for temptation to break through your barriers and seduce you with delights. It can be a slippery slope.

So I gave myself permission to enjoy the weekend. BUT. I also did my best to limit my eating behavior as much as I could. It was delightful (like a mini-vacation), but now it is over and it is time to get back to work.  The increased amount of sugar and starch has already increased my appetite so am back at square one all over again.

I never thought I would ever be capable of saying this, but in a strange sort of way, I am looking forward to getting back on my diet menu. Over the past five weeks I have learned to enjoy a feeling of satisfaction after eating that does NOT leave me driven with cravings later on or stimulate me to binge.

Copyright © 2009 Maxine Schackman

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Almost ten pounds gone! I can’t believe it. This is the lowest my weight has been in four years.  And I did it by simply learning from my mistakes.  Here are my 5 diet mistakes that have led to diet failure in the past. 

Mistake #1: Believing that I can completely control my intake of carbs and sweets.

Mistake #2: Failing to understand the importance of protein as a hunger suppressor.

Mistake #3: Failing to create a way of making myself accountable.

Mistake #4: Trying to be perfect.

Mistake #5: Not planning for my inevitable slip-ups. 

In previous blogs I have discussed Mistakes #1 through #4. But now it is time to think about Mistake #5. 

Major hurdles are looming ahead.  For me, the most difficult times to stay on the diet track are when I am with other people. When I am with others, my desire to blend in and be part of the crowd takes over. I know these situations are coming. What should I do? Dinner with my daughter Laura and her friend Debbie at Dada was wonderful and I got kidded at work today for “not eating anything.” Yet. The scale wobbled this morning and the number was up, NOT down. Clearly even a small amount of non-diet food can slow down my weight loss plans.

On Tuesday night my book club, the Fiction Vixens, will have our meeting at an Italian restaurant. Then on Thursday I will be driving up to Orlando to visit with Laura and the family until Sunday. Lots of meals, lots of calories, lots of temptations!

In the past I would hope for the best.  This time I will have a plan. But. What’s the plan?

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Sliced turkey with mustard, tomato and Romain lettuce

Sliced turkey with mustard, tomato and Romain lettuce

Have you ever noticed that just when you think you have things under control, everything seems to fall apart? That’s what’s happening to me on day 26 of my twenty pound struggle. It was only a few days ago that I was elated to discover I had lost 8.5 lbs. in only 3 weeks.  Everything seemed to be going so well. And then I started to feel “bored” with my diet which stresses plain protein (like grilled fish or chicken), plenty of veggies, plenty of water, and virtually no starches or sugars. I started reading recipes.  Trying out new foods. As a matter of fact, on day 23 I posed the question: How do I find the balance between satisfying my need for variety and my desire to stay on a low-calorie weight loss diet? 

The last two days have not been easy. Maybe my appetite is bigger because I have started working out at the gym.  Maybe the new foods stimulated it. I don’t know the cause, but I know the result! The result is that I am constantly looking for food. Last night, my night with the girls, I mindlessly snacked on pretzels, chocolate covered raisins, and licorice. Today my food choices have been healthy, but I have felt compelled to eat second and sometimes third helpings.

Tomorrow my daughter, Laura, will be in town for business and we will be going out for dinner at a nice restaurant. My plan was to have lost enough weight during the week that I would feel ok indulging myself just a little bit for a special occasion. Now, I don’t know.

Boo-hoo,  Boo-hoo. Am I a cry baby? Do you remember the list of five diet mistakes that I have made in the past? They are in my post on day 16.  There it is.  Mistake #4!

Mistake #4: Trying to be perfect.

My favorite saying is, “Nothing is ever as easy as it should be, and everything takes longer than it should.” It is important for me to be realistic about my expectations. I need to be realistic about what I am capable of.  I need to be realistic about my body’s reactions to a dramatic reduction in calories. 

What am I going to do? I am going to take a piece of paper and on it I will write: You can do it faster or you can do it slower….as long as you do it!   Then I am going to paste that paper on my bathroom mirror where I will see it every day.

But first, I will have a little something to eat. These turkey/lettuce wraps are great low-calorie snacks, especially if you are on a high protein diet.

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hungry-for-foodHunger is a dieter’s enemy. No matter how strong my resolve, no matter how earnest my desire, the moment I begin to feel the pangs of hunger, my diet plan goes up in flames. Ka-boom! That’s because hunger affects both my brain and my stomach. Under the influence of hunger I become weak-willed and desperate for satisfaction. The hungrier I get the more immediate my needs become until any further resistance is futile.

In the past, my diets went awry after the first week or two because I got hungry.  After a while, eating low calorie meals started to get to me. The yearning for “real” food would start small.  “Mmm. I feel like having some bread.”  But as time went on it would grow and grow and grow until it reached gargantuan proportions that no human being could overcome, least of all me. I can tell you from experience, no amount of vegetables is going to help you in this situation. Hunger is holding a gun to my head and screaming “Eat carbs and fat or else! What am I to do? Give in, of course.

 How can I protect myself from the powerful forces of hunger which seek to destroy my plans to lose weight?  Mistake #2 may hold the key.

Mistake #1: Believing that I can effectively limit my intake of carbs and sweets.

Mistake #2: Failing to understand the importance of protein as a hunger suppressor.

Mistake #3: Failing to create a way of making myself accountable.

Mistake #4: Trying to be perfect.

Mistake #5: Not planning for my inevitable slip-ups. 

Studies have shown that people on high protein diets actually end up consuming less calories.  The reason might be that protein acts as an appetite suppressant, reducing the desire to binge and snack excessively.

Needing all the help that I can get, I have embraced this knowledge and hope that it will have the desired effect. Since I am making an effort to reduce (not eliminate) starches, sugars, and fats.  It doesn’t leave much else except protein.

This seems to have helped for the first two weeks.  I’ll let you know if it will make a difference for the long haul. Other things I do to control hunger urges: (1) I eat until satisfied at every meal, (2) drink plenty of water, and (3) eat a healthy snack whenever I feel hungry between meals.

Please let me know if any of you have  found other ways to combat hunger.

To help fight world hunger visit the HungerSite where you will find all sorts of ways to contribute. 

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This is NOT a photo of me, but I wish it was.

This is NOT a photo of me, but I wish it was.

Seven pounds gone! I can’t believe it. This is the lowest my weight has been in years.  And I did it by simply thinking about  how I failed in the past.  Here are my 5 mistakes that led to diet failure. 

Mistake #1: Believing that I can effectively limit my intake of carbs and sweets.

Mistake #2: Failing to understand the importance of protein as a hunger suppressor.

Mistake #3: Failing to create a way of making myself accountable.

Mistake #4: Trying to be perfect.

Mistake #5: Not planning for my inevitable slip-ups. 

Today let’s talk about Mistake #1.  My most important diet insight has been that I am a carb and sweetness addict.  That means that just like other addicts I cannot control myself when I am tempted by my addictive substance.  I have almost as much trouble saying “no” to a piece of chocolate cake as a heroin addict has saying “no” to the next fix. 

Lucky for me my training as a psychologist and my experience in helping people overcome their addictions have given me some tools to fight this situation. 

The first step in any addiction program is admitting that you have no control over the addiction. Telling myself that I can “just have a taste” of a piece of cheesecake is just giving myself false hope.  We all know where it will end.

Let me tell you about a situation that has occurred probably thousands of times in my lifetime.  I am having dinner with friends.  I have avoided the bread and ordered a healthy low fat meal.  Then. The waitress asks, “Will there be any dessert?” We all look at each other.  Who will be the first to give in? Finally, one of us takes the bait. But we are all hooked. “Let’s just order one slice and share it.” After we polish off the dessert we talk about how wonderful it was, how delicious.  We don’t feel guilty at all because, after all, WE SHARED! 

Later that evening as I am sitting alone in my living room watching TV, an uncontrollable urge for something sweet comes over me. I have had a taste of the forbidden fruit and my body craves more. In a trance-like state I unconsciously move into the kitchen and grab whatever is available to me.  It can be ice-cream, cookies, or leftover Halloween candy. It doesn’t matter to me. I will look at an apple and reject it.  I will look at the celery and think, “No way!” I will search until I find what I am looking for and then I will eat, and eat, and eat until I feel a feeling of satisfaction.

Were you wondering how I gained 20 extra pounds? Now you know.

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