Thursday, May 03, 2007

The IE Challenge

(This morning)
The good news is, I just found a major typo in my Sunday church bulletin. The bad news is I have to reprint 180 copies and now I'm behind, but at least it never made it to the congregation.
I had to go clothes shopping yesterday. I know, most people love it, but those of us who've lost a lot of weight have a lot of trepidation about this. I've talked before about being in that clothing limbo land, where I often can't find clothes small enough in the plus size stores or big enough in the "regular" stores. In addition, I'm at that age (35) where I don't want to dress like a 20 year-old hoochie mama, but I don't want to look like a dowdy old woman, either. It's hard to find clothes in between.

I went to my old stand-by, Fashion Bug, although spring time is always a crap-shoot there because of that hoochy mama/grandma dilemma. But I was lucky this time. I found a couple outfits in the (gasp) regular section, size XL, that looked good, so I splurged. It wasn't all roses and sunshine, though; I had to put a few shirts back because my good ole' tavern ham upper arms wouldn't fit in the sleeves. Despite this, I found myself pleased as I looked in the three-way mirror in these new outfits. I may not be at my "ideal" weight (whatever that means), but by golly, I can appreciate where I've come from and I know I'm the best I can be at this specific point in my life.

I blew through the Intuitive Eating book last night. It was really good, but I felt a little lost afterwards. It was like going through a speed course on driving a car, someone plopping you in the driver's seat, giving you a pat on the shoulder and saying, "Good luck!" Where's my driver's education teacher in the passenger seat with his foot hovering over the second set of brakes? I need guidance!

Fortunately the next book in my pile is a workbook full of exercises to work through this process. It's by another author who has a book on "normal eating" that I read last summer. While I really connected to what she had to say back then, I was nowhere near ready to take the plunge to try it.

(Got swamped at work and I'm finally getting back here.)

What's different now? Well, a year, for one thing. I've basically stalled out on the weight loss, rising and falling around 213 but not making any big progress. February was the third anniversary of my weight loss journey, and I think the diet mentality and the long-term calorie restrictions have finally worn me out. The rebound overeating (mostly on weekends) has gotten more frequent and more intense, and I found myself falling into despair about it and the lack of control and frustration I was feeling.

Throughout this week I've been trying to adopt the IE mind set, and I think I'm making progress. One big revelation is finding odd quirky things I've been doing in the name of weight loss, but in reality were not so good for my health.

Lack of calcium, for one thing. As a kid I used to drink tons of milk (almost always fat-free). And as a result I had good, strong teeth and healthy bones. In the past three years my consumption has decreased a lot, to the point in the last six months that I hardly touch it. The reasoning? I didn't want to "waste" 90 calories a cup on drinking it. To make things worse, I had those calcium chews sitting around the house, but I didn't take them because they were 1. too much like candy, which could be a binge trigger, and 2. added something like 20 calories per chew. How sad is that? I was depriving my poor bones of calcium for what, 110 calories a day?

Here's another one: I've read tons about the health benefits of flax seed oil, but I kept balking at the extra calories of the flax seed meal when put in recipes. Hubby bought me a jar of the flax seed oil gel tabs, but I didn't use them at first because it would have added an extra fifteen calories to my daily total. FIFTEEN CALORIES?!?!

So now I've been taking the flax seed pills every day, and guess what? This morning I drank a glass of milk. Calories be damned!

I still find myself portioning out food, eyeballing portions and even sometimes measuring. But I keep telling myself "you can have more if you're still hungry." And I haven't gone back for seconds yet.

Well, today for lunch I sort of did, but not really. I made myself a sandwich (with real cheese, heaven forbid), ate half of it, then stopped to gauge my hunger. Right at that moment there was a knock on my door; it was the guy we called to give us an estimate on fencing in the back section of our yard. My mother also showed up and distracted me, and by the time they both left it was half an hour later. I went back into the house, and there was my sandwich. I checked in on myself and still felt a little peckish, so I went ahead and finished it. So while I went back for more, it was just the last half of my portioned out sandwich, not a second sandwich.

In the past my lunch would have gone in two different ways: on a "good" day I would have scarfed it all down right away, since I was famished, and knowing that was all I was "allowed." And if it was a "bad" day? I would have already been mentally preparing myself for what I was going to eat next, if I didn't already have it laid out in front of me.

While I feel like it's going well so far, I know the real test will be this weekend, and what a whopper I've got. Tomorrow Mabel and I are going with Hubby and his physics students to Kennywood Park in Pittsburgh for Physics Day. The kids do experiments to determine velocity, momentum, etc., for credit in Hubby's class. I go along as a chaperon, and Mabel gets to ride the rides and get lots of attention from teen girls. Unfortunately I won't be riding much this year since I'm still counting my blessings that my neck surgery went well and the problems I was having with it a week or so ago went away. So I'll be strolling around the park, and you know there will be lots of amusement park/carnival food everywhere.

Then on Saturday we womenfolk are going to Annapolis, Md., to go to my cousin's wife's baby shower. I'm sure there will be lots of nibbles and sweets there. Plus we're stopping at Trader Joe's on our way home.

On Sunday my church is holding its annual Mother-Daughter Banquet, and Mabel and I are going. She's reading a verse about mothers, and we'll both be partaking of the turkey dinner.

So I've got three whole days of food temptations. Can I handle the IE challenge? Eat what I want, without guilt, but stop when I'm pleasantly full (not stuffed). I don't expect to be perfect, but I'm definitely curious about how it will go.

Because the next three days will be so hectic, blogging may be difficult to get to until Sunday. I'll try my best, though. If not, I hope everyone has a good weekend.


Beula said...

Goooood luck. I will be waiting with baited breath to find out how it works. I am sick of hating myself because I am "stuck" and sick of worrying about every morsel I put in my mouth. I also wear XLs and I think it may be okay. I caught sight of myself in the sliding glass door the other day and by darn it wasn't bad. I wasn't super thin but I was sure within normal range. No one would look twice at me now. Good grief is that a sad statement or what? I mean I look normal. Yes I would like to get to 145 but if I don't I think I could live with it. Maybe. Have fun with this intuitive eating thing.

Cindy174 said...

I hope all of your excursions go well. It all sounds fun. I have been stalled, going up and back down. It is frustrating. But I like that you are trying new things and looking over what you have done. Let us know how the IE goes..Oh, and if I left a sandwich at my house, I'd come back and find it GONE - I have little pet bandits that sneak and grab unattended food.So I have to put it away, or take it with me.

BigAssBelle said...

Andrea, this is such an inspiration to me. You described where I'm at so perfectly with this: Well, a year, for one thing. I've basically stalled out on the weight loss, rising and falling around 213 but not making any big progress. February was the third anniversary of my weight loss journey, and I think the diet mentality and the long-term calorie restrictions have finally worn me out. The rebound overeating (mostly on weekends) has gotten more frequent and more intense, and I found myself falling into despair about it and the lack of control and frustration I was feeling.

Something about turning the big five oh made me take a look at this from a life perspective. Even if I never lost another pound, is this the way I want to spend my life? Every day or week brings a new plan of action, a new method of restricting, a new way of looking at it, something else in this seemingly futile fight to deprive myself.

Maybe my "depriver" is just flat broken. There are whole aisles of food I don't even bother with at the grocery store. Nothing on them I can eat, why head down the path of temptation? It's just crazy and it scares me a lot because I have been so completely conviced of so many things only to find out later that they didn't work as I'd hoped.

The book I've been reading isn't IE, but it's quite similar. Using the process, I just ate a piece of pizza for lunch and that was it. The usual is most of a half of a large pizza shared with my husband, then an evening spent in regret and remorse, feeling puffy, swollen, ashamed of myself, beating up, planning tomorrow's restriction and so it goes. On and on and on and that is what I am so heartily sick of: the unending nature of this quest to whip this body into shape.

This week I've been accepting where I am and trying to be okay with just being here. Heaven forbid I gain any, but if I never lost another pound, I could live here.

Along with that, paying attention to the actual cues my body gives me with food. I started out saying I'd weigh every day and write down everything I ate. Last couple of days I've abandoned that. I think it has to be a wholehearted giving up of the craziness associated with dieting or nothing. Or maybe it's all good, I don't know. That's what's hitting me more often late: I don't know how to fix this and this attempt to get back to how I was surely made, as a perfect eater, is something I've never tried before.

It's really scary. Good luck. I'll be anxious to hear how your weekend went.