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Patient and Flexible

After zoning out this weekend while binge-watching episodes of Yellowstone, I am ready to re-focus this week. I hit a new low weight on Saturday morning – 207 pounds – so with an extra push through the holidays, I have a really good chance of arriving at One-derland by January 1st. Wouldn’t it be One-derful!

I should give myself a little credit, though, because I ate healthy meals, for the most part, and took my long, brisk walks on Saturday and Sunday. The downfalls occurred when we went out for lunch at a restaurant on Sunday, on Saturday night when we visited a friend whom had just baked banana bread and when I thought I should organize the snack cupboard on Sunday afternoon. None of those events led to low-calorie eating.

There was a time in the past, OK many times, when my “all-or-nothing” attitude toward dieting would send me plummeting into a spiral of bad food choices. My binge eating would begin innocently and then increase in deration each time I slipped. The guilt and shame would build as well. Then I didn’t know which was worse – overeating or being so hard on myself because I overate. Eventually I would stop dieting but not because I was gaining weight. I would stop because my self-esteem just couldn’t take anymore punishment. The weight loss was stagnant, too, so I would stop because I didn’t want to keep paying anyone or any program any more money when the successful results were no longer happening. Hardly any of the good habits I made during the short-term diet(s) would stay with me very long after I quit.

But this time, everything has been different. The first goal I set was to make a life-style change, not a commitment to another short-term diet program. I knew I would want to track my calories, since that has always been one of the most-successful strategies to help me lose weight, so I started using the free version of the My Fitness Pal app. Then it was just a matter of getting as much exercise as possible so I could eat fairly normal meals every day. The proof is in the pudding – I’ve lost 34 pounds and dropped 6 dress sizes in less than 5 months! (…by eating lots of 100 calorie chocolate pudding, by the way!)

But the second and I would say equally important strategy has been my laid back response toward overeating. Since I am not paying any money to follow this plan, I do not feel bad about weight gain due to excessive eating while enjoying a long weekend holiday, vacationing or simply just because I fancied some fresh banana bread on a Saturday night. I am allowing myself flexibility and being patient with my cravings, just like I would for a dear friend.

So when I woke up this morning, I let the weekend fall away and I got right back on track by eating my healthy 350 calorie one-egg and toast breakfast followed by a 350 calorie lunch, which was a melted ham and Swiss cheese sandwich with 45 calorie bread and light mayonnaise. I also ate two servings of fruit, two mini York Peppermint Patties, two granola bars and about 6oz. of Cherry Coke mixed with Coke Zero for snack throughout the day. For supper, I made chicken and fried rice from a box and then had a yogurt bar followed by chocolate pudding with light Cool Whip on top.

I know what you are thinking. Yes, that is a lot of calories – around 1880 to be exact – so I made sure to allow enough time in my work-day to walk “briskly” for 60 minutes and then I did a 55 minute dance class in the evening, which added a total of 816 calories to my food diary. After I tracked all of my food items, I still had over 200 un-used calories remaining.

I have to believe that I ate the right amount of calories in order to achieve weight loss today for two reasons. 1) I have been using My Fitness Pal for almost 5 months and it has led to significant weight loss and 2) I do not feel full as I am typing and when I go to bed in an hour, I imagine I will feel even more comfortable and maybe even a little empty. Don’t kid yourself – I will not wake up supermodel skinny, but maybe half a pound lighter anyway. (Baby steps.)

My short-term goal is to leave at least 200 un-used calories in my food diary for the next two days so by Thanksgiving morning I will have lost another pound or two since my last weigh-in. But no matter what the scale says, I will enjoy Thanksgiving by eating some of my favorite holiday foods while watching movies and playing games with my two daughters. I will also exercise by walking and maybe even do a virtual class. It will be a time to celebrate my successes and be thankful for family, friends and good health.

Friday is a normal work-day for me so I will stay on a healthy food and exercise plan. I make no promises for Saturday, but I will be more careful than Thursday, I suppose. But on Sunday, I will begin the final push to lose 5-6 pounds before January 1st. If you break it down, that would mean losing about 1 pound a week for 5 weeks, which is TOTALLY doable. It would be incredible to begin the new-year in my favorite place: One-derland!

I could easily end this journal entry on that note, but my cheerleader wants to do her job.

“Rhea, you are amazing. Look at what you have accomplished! It’s all you have prayed about for the last 25+ years! You always had it in you but now you finally BELIEVE it! It would be easy to walk away now and be satisfied with your weight-loss, but you began this journey with bigger goals and I KNOW you can do it! It will not be easy, but you have already established some habits that will make it easier to achieve those goals. There will be more bridges to cross and hurdles to jump over but with your ‘never-quit’ attitude, they will be mole hills instead of mountains. Keep up the good work. Enjoy the small victories. Cherish each day on this journey because before you know it, your commitment and dedication will make your ultimate dreams come true!”

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