I KNOW what I have to do and I KNOW how to do it. I can't seem to motivate myself or more so, CONTROL myself. Of course, like most over eaters control is the biggest issue.
So I decided to sit down and figure out WHY I'm in this slump and HOW to get out... and NOW!
First, let me start by saying my "Why" section is not to be confused with an "excuse" section... it's a realization of what's making me make the choices I am, not giving "good reason" for doing it!
That being said, let's start with the WHY LIST:
- Stress - within the past few weeks I've had a car break down beyond repair, had my pain meds changed so that my chronic pain is back to the exact same place it was when I started the pain management and finances are (as most always) challenging.
Stress eating is one of my biggest issues. I have to learn how NOT to turn to food for comfort, but it's hard when alternate methods (exercise for example) aren't easily obtained by me because of physical issues right now. Kind of a Catch 22.
- Dining Out Too Often - I seem to be opting for the quick, convenient ways to fill up or giving in to a "friend" (I did however just break up with him so that's a plus! LOL) that is a HUGE over eater but is lucky enough to never have a lump of fat show on his body. He can eat like a horse and detests anything "healthy" so often fights my desire to dine at places that are more healthy in options. I give in to him too often, but again, that's not a real issue now is it? But I find that when I dine out, I just simply allow myself to make poor choices. There's no excuse for them, but I make them.
- Poor Planning - I don't plan ahead. When I first started my WW Program I planned at least the "next" meal. I always knew what I'd be grabbing for breakfast (not a big breakfast fan so it was often different than a typical breakfast people would eat but I was fine with that and it kept me on program). Now I find that I just sit back and wait until I'm hungry or over hungry to decide what's for lunch or dinner or even breakfast. I even have begun to forgo breakfast completely again, a definite NO NO!
- Getting Too Hungry - I put off eating. I keep busy, wanting to get so much done in a day and wanting to run here and there. Instead of planning (see above) and packing a 2 pt bar or snack in my purse I'll wait until I'm famished, then drive thru and make a poor choice. End result, full, sick to my stomach, over points and so disgusted with myself I make another poor decision because "what the hell I already screwed it up today". This thinking used to be VERY rare for me and the fact that I'm thinking like this again angers me. I have to figure out WHY!
- Finances - I know we're all feeling the financial pinch and while it is a somewhat reasonable excuse, I cannot allow it to be an excuse. I have to find cheaper, alternative methods to fill my belly with point friendly foods without busting the bank. Instead, I'm opting for quick fix shopping at "dollar style" stores, with fat loaded and tasteless garbage that's cheap. Not only is it not good for ME but it's not good for my family! We had just begun to start not only looking forward to, but enjoying the healthy eating lifestyle!
First off STRESS BUSTERS:
- Remove yourself from the situation. The simple answer to dealing with stress and not using food is to find alternatives to eating. That's often easier said than done. Here are some things I've been trying to do instead of eating and the one that works best for me is this remove myself from the situation, even if it means driving away to another place, away from food, taking a huge drink of zero calorie water/flavored drink, etc. to fill me - while relaxing with a book.
- Reading - for me, reading takes me away from the situation of life. If I can do it for 15 minutes or 15 hours, I'll take it.
- Exercise - for me, this is not a huge option. I have health issues from my cancer that keeps me in chronic pain but for many you can decide to do something as simple as walk around the block, the floor of your office, up the stairs of your office/work area, or out to the parking lot. A simple 5 minute walk will not only help relieve your stress a bit but get you away from the situation, perhaps enough to make you breathe and accept other options. If you're an "at home" mom, check out your tv/dish/cable stations. Most have an array of "exercise" shows you can turn on and just do some of the exercises. You're in your own house, nobody looking, sweat, breath heavy, moan, do what you have to but move! Doing it for 15 minutes will help and keep you from getting bored with a "routine". These exercise/health stations also help financially by keeping you from costly gym memberships and contracts that you end up paying for when you can't make it to the gym!
- Dance - while it is a form of exercise, it often is one that you don't even realize that you are doing! I use to be able to dance for hours on end, now I can boogie for a bit, then sit, but either way, I'm up and moving at least SOME! You lose yourself in music and next thing you know, you forget your stresses! Because of my own physical limitations I'll often turn on the music while in bed and just get the booty moving and arms going, etc. while I have some support on my back!
- Don't give in to others who sabotage your healthy eating. If they won't give in and go someplace that is more WW Friendly, point wise, perhaps they're not worthy of your dining company? YOU are worth the extra cost, time and effort of finding a restaurant (and yes there are fast food ones that have healthy options). Explain how important it is to you to eat healthy, not "lose weight" but to EAT HEALTHY and if they're truly friends or anyone who cares about you they will not only understand but support you.
- Use the internet to plan your dining experience. Most chain restaurants offer nutritional information about their menu. Eat 'N Park actually offers a special planner where you can individually plan your meal, adding or taking off items to get exact nutritional info to figure your points! This option ROCKS and makes it so easy to know ahead of time what you're going to order & how it's going to count! Dotties Weight Loss Zone offers a great listing of restaurants, although use the actual restaurant site first because theirs is most up to date and accurate.
- Don't be afraid to special order your meals, asking for no butter/margarine, extra veggies, no cheese or 1/2 portions of cheese, etc. Small changes can make HUGE changes points wise, we all know that! Taking off one slice of cheese drops your average sandwich 2 pts or more!
- Learn to say NO to going out to dinner! If you're planning ahead and have something already cooking in the crock pot or something "cheaper" point wise in the fridge, say NO and go for eating at home instead!
- Eat your dinner/meal ahead at home and order a "side salad" or simply an unsweetened iced tea or coffee while your friends dine. You'll be full but still have something in front of you. My fave is to order the side salad (generally very cheap) and just pick at it while we talk and laugh. They take in the calories & fat, I enjoy the company without the extra pounds!
- Pack up snacks and keep them handy in your purse, car or desk at work. When you're dying to grab something, even for stress eating, it's better to chow down a 2 pt. bar or veggies & fat free dip as opposed to a 12 point candy bar from the vending machine!
- Use that crock pot! Coming home to the entire or most of the dinner already made will make it a lot less of a chore to have a point friendly, healthy dinner on the table in no time! Check out the many recipe options on the internet for point friendly crockpot cooking. My tip, always use FROZEN meat because you can cook it longer in today's crockpots without getting dried out meats (especially frozen, boneless, skinless chicken breasts).
- Cook ahead! When you have some extra time (ok, quit laughing now) cook up batches of point friendly foods. Grill up chicken breasts and freeze them for a quick fix for a chicken salad. Cook up casseroles and freeze them for a faster dinner when you get home.
- Fire up that grill! Grilling veggies and meat on a skewer or even in a foil pack with some wonderful herbs is just simply wonderful! Little mess, little fixing needed and lots of flavor! It's summer, take in the fresh veggie options while you can!
- Wash veggies and pre-package them in zipper bags when you get home from the grocery store, for quick grab snacks or salads.
- Buy pre-diced veggies like onions and peppers (I buy mine at GFS - Gordon Food Service) for very little. I always have onions and peppers to toss into any dish I'm cooking without all the chopping & mess! They don't cost any more, actually sometimes less, than fresh ones and when cooking there's no real difference!
- Set up a weekly or monthly menu. If you can be a "planner" (I simply cannot) take the time to set up a week's worth of dinners and lunches. You will know ahead what needs to be prepared and taken out to thaw, etc.
- Make breakfast easy with your own pre-made breakfast items! Premake low point bagels with egg whites & FF cheese & freeze them in zipper bags. Pull them out for quick breakfasts on the run. Do the same with Fiber One pancakes, 3 in a bag, nuke them to grab a quick fix breakfast! I love the Special K Grab Bags to munch on while on the run. I've been buying mine at the "Green Dollar", or as it's truly known, Dollar Tree for $1 a box/6! Not bad!
- Keep snacks handy. Much like "planning", keeping snacks handy will help keep you from getting too hungry.
- Schedule "snacks" if you have to. Set your phone/alarm to beep and remind you to grab something and make that "something" healthy!
- Don't put off eating meals, just to accomplish things. Instead, get a few things done, then take the time to grab some food. Sometimes it feels like wasted time but continuing to put off eating will only get you to the point where anything is game and you blow the entire plan!
- Drink! Keep calorie free, caffeine free drinks with you all the time (aka get your water "in"). This keeps you full and keeps you from over eating when you suddenly realize how "starved" you are!
- Learn to shop at dollar style stores. Dollar Tree offers a lot of great point friendly items off and on. You have to make sure you bring your point counter with you to know what you're getting. My fave right now are the Special K Cereal Packs with Yogurt bites. They come in at 2 pts and are a great, quick breakfast option or snack! They also often carry some of the point friendly "cereal" style bars, but be sure to check points on these!
- Don't be afraid to buy in bulk! While some items, such as fresh fruits and veggies may not be an option if you're buying for just one or two people; if you use them to make fresh juice & tons of salads it may be worth it! Most of my "bulk" buying is done at GFS (Gordon Food Service), a store that is much like the Sam's Clubs but without the cost of membership. It's geared towards "food service" industry, therefore sometimes not always point friendly in what they offer so you have to pay attention to the labels. What I get there most often is a 6 lb. bag of boneless, skinless chicken breast for $10.99, fruits 'n veggies, sometimes fresh but often frozen, cereal/grain bars, seasonings (*my fave is the maple cinnamon sprinkles - 0 pts.), sweet potatoes, salsa & frozen diced onions and diced green peppers for cooking (saves me so much time). I know Sam's Club offers a lot more "point friendly" options but I don't want to have to buy an expensive membership. That $40 can buy a lot of food at Aldi's or GFS!
- Discount Grocery Stores or "No Frills" style stores have some great options for healthy food items and are getting better. Aldis has been carrying a brand called Fit and Fiber which is a copy of most of the Fiber One style foods. In particular a box of their high fiber bars (chocolate drizzle or peanut butter) are $1.99 as compared to a sale price of $2.50 for Fiber One at WalMart. Our local Aldis store also carries some excellent items like turkey hams (so low in points you will be amazed & tastes just like ham but better with no fat or bone), turkey bacon, low fat yogurts, frozen fruits and veggies, Fit and Fiber snacks such as mini rice cakes with caramel flavor and more! WalMart often carries some excellent options too but you have to be careful price wise, what seems to be a bargain there can sometimes cost less in an off brand that is similar or just as good in taste.
- Some things are just worth the extra money. For me, buying produce is something that I don't skimp on. If I'm going to buy produce I want it fresh and good. My local Wegman's Grocery Store carries the best produce in town, sometimes even better than the local growers, at prices that are usually comparable to other stores. Yes, sometimes slightly more expensive, but definitely worth it! If there's something you think is worth the price, YOU are worth spending it on something you enjoy. Skimp on other things that just don't really matter to you.... a cheaper paper towel, cheaper laundry soap, or cheaper cereal if those items aren't a big deal for you. Everyone has their own ideas of what's worth the price and what's not! Don't be ashamed to spend more on something "healthy" if you enjoy it and look forward to it. For me, my one big splurge are the $1.50 each sweet potatoes that are wrapped and ready to nuke. I figure I didn't used to bat an eye at spending a buck on a crappy, greasy burger so why should I get upset over 50 cents more for something that makes my life easier and tastes sooooo wonderful with my Maple Cinnamon Sprinkles from GFS on top!
- Use coupons! I know, easier said than done but you cannot begin to imagine the amount of money you can save on brand name items that are healthy when you take the time and effort to clip the coupons! Don't just clip them, clip them and put them in a container that you take to the car after you've finished clipping the Sunday paper! Don't forget Weight Watcher meetings often have coupons available, some on the daily planner, some in books they offer as a special incentive to purchase items, etc. ASK when you weigh in if they have any! And use brand name sites to print your own coupons too! Using coupons you can often get brand name, healthy options for less than generic/store brand or even for free! Last week I had 2 coupons, one for a free box of Nabisco 100 Calorie Packs and one for $2 off a pack. They were on sale 2 for $4, which meant I got 2 boxes for free! Can't beat that price now can ya!?
I did not lose 27 lbs to simply gain it back again and feel crappy, get my unhealthy body back and feel bad about myself.
I'm not losing weight to make others look at me. I'm losing weight to make ME look at me and say "WOW". I'm losing weight to feel better. I'm losing weight to stop taking medication for high blood pressure and chronic pain and so many other things that I know my weight adds to the issues of! I'm losing weight for ME and nobody else! You can too!
WE CAN DO THIS TOGETHER.... ONE DAY AT A TIME!