Saturday, October 16, 2010

I'm amazingly okay with my weight gain

Today is my weigh-in day. After a full week of practicing Geneen Roth's Women Food and God eating guidelines I stepped on the scales. I knew I had gained a little. Over the years I've become very attuned to the ups and downs of my weight. I always know if it's going to be a gain or a loss.

Before I looked down at the number I had a conversation with myself. It went something like this:

"Diana, it's okay. If you've gained and you probably have, it's not a big deal. This is an experiment. Something new you've never tried before. It's just a number. It doesn't define you. Remember, this was a good week regardless of what you see on the scales."

I looked down and saw 175.4. Last week I was 174.0. A gain of 1.4 pounds. Did I have just a twinge of regret? Yes, just a twinge. Not a foot-stomping, full-out "I hate myself" reaction that I would normally have over a weight gain.

I realize I don't really understand when I'm hungry. If you consider that for 42 years I've either been on some sort of restrictive diet to lose weight or on a full-out binge streak, it's not surprising that I don't know how to listen to my body and give it what it needs. I haven't been listening to it for 42 years. Things aren't going to change in a week.

Although I have made huge strides this past week. Things happened that I never thought possible. My night eating almost stopped. I slept better than I have in months or even years. I didn't feel stressed out about my eating. I felt more relaxed. I felt satisfied with my food. I ate healthy, wholesome food.

Then last night happened. It was not a good night for me. I got home late from a Toastmaster's function and then proceeded to get into a huge argument with my husband. He went to bed mad at me. I'd eaten an early dinner at 4pm before the function and it was 11pm. I was starving.

I ate until I was stuffed: a big handful of pecans, a piece of bread, a banana, a large bowl of my South Beach veggie chicken soup, 1/2 of a cantaloupe, a tapioca pudding cup and about 1/2 cup of Redi-Whip straight out of the can (I would have had more, but the can was empty). I felt physically sick and mentally hurt.

Why did I do that? It's pretty obvious. I was frustrated, angry, hurt, and feeling lost and alone. Not good emotions. I was also very tired from another incredibly stressful work week. I didn't want to feel the pain of all of it so I ate. I shoved those feelings down with food. I knew what I was doing but I did it anyway.

On the other hand I ate normally the rest of the week. 167 hours of normal behavior with food. One hour of craziness. I say that's about a 99% improvement over my past behavior when it came to food.

I didn't follow all the eating guidelines perfectly last week, but it isn't about perfection. They're guidelines, not rules.

It's more about trying to be more normal. Learning to listen to my body. More importantly, figuring out if it's hunger or something else. I was amazed at how often I identified it as something else. I think that's a big reason why I stopped eating late at night, with the exception of last night. I would consciously think, am I really hungry? Or is something else bothering me? Most of the time, it was something else.

Last night I was a little hungry when I got home since it was so late, and I'd eaten at 4pm. I was also extremely tired. Even though I was very aware that I should stop eating, and that I was actually really angry and hurt by the argument with my husband, I still chose food. I just wanted my old friend, food, to comfort me. It didn't work. I woke up today feeling like the food was still in my stomach. Feeling sluggish and more tired than when I had gone to bed.

On the exercise front I've been doing excellent. The past seven days I've hit the gym every day for a great workout. The old StairMaster at my gym finally completely stopped working about three months. It was my favorite piece of equipment. I spent many hours on it climbing the stairs to nowhere.

A couple weeks ago I asked the young receptionist if there was a possibility they could get a replacement StairMaster from another gym. A friend told me the Ballys in Bellevue had three new StairMasters. Now we had none. Why couldn't we get one of theirs? She said she'd look into it and she did!

I walked in yesterday and there sat a beautiful, almost new StairMaster. It was like Christmas! I jumped on it even though I'd already done 45 minutes of cardio on the CrossRamp in another room, but I did 20 minutes on the StairMaster. She was quiet and smooth as I climbed her stairs and her heart rate monitor works! She could read my Polar heart rate monitor. Oh how I love thee!

So another week of trying to follow the eating guidelines. I'm still not tracking my food or counting Points or calories, although it's really hard not to add things up in my head. After years of restriction or binging, this isn't an easy process.

I still won't be weighing in every day. That's another really  hard habit to break, but it was also freeing. It felt good to get up and know I didn't have to beat myself up over my weight. I'll weigh in again next Saturday. I don't have a fear of another gain, although it could happen. I'll probably cut back a little. My bowls of soup have been about three times what I would normally eat. I probably took the "what my body needs" to more of what my mind wants instead.

Tomorrow I'm going to post my driver's license pictures from the last twenty years. I found them in a box from my decluttering my life binge I've been on lately. Kind of interesting how my weight has gone up and down during the years and how much I lied on my driver's licenses about it. The only time I told the truth was in 1995 when I weighed 126 pounds. I remember weighing that morning before I went to the DMV and thinking wow, I can actually tell them what I really weigh and not be embarrassed about it.  That was probably the last time I was actually happy with my weight. Fifteen years ago. Sad.


kristi said...

We all have emotional times when we eat more than we should...but you realized it!

SeattleRunnerGirl said...

Diana, it is SO neat to watch you walk through this process. And AMEN that Rome wasn't built in a day and you can't fully break decades' of habits in one week. I think you are doing FABULOUSLY well with this and I'm looking forward to continuing to watch you learn & grow with yourself.

Potato Diva said...

It sounds like you are becoming in tune with your inner hunger pangs. It is a brave thing you are doing accepting a small gain for the big picture. Stop jumping on the scale and calculating points/calories in your head must be trying as well. Kudos.

Ron said...

Sounds like you are doing great, only one bad night....Keep at it!

bbubblyb said...

It really sounds like you're in tune with how your feeling and why you eat when you have. I do think that's progress. I know for me some weeks are better than others when it comes to the emotional stuff and wanting to turn to food. I hope this week goes well.