Monday, July 26, 2010

I Am A Total Loser

I realized this morning, as I struggled to pick up Finn, that he weighs 42 lbs.   I have lost 42 lbs.

Just for kicks I walked around with him on my hip for about five minutes.    It doesn't seem possible to me that I had this much extra weight on my frame.

Eating healthy has woven its way into my life in such a way that I don't notice, really, that I'm dieting.     Part of that is Jenny Craig - the meal plans make it so I don't have to think about it too much.

I'm at the point where I'm weaning off their food, substituting more and more meals each week with my own creations.    I thought this would be more difficult than it is.   Maybe because it is summer, and grilled veggies, chicken breast, or a veggie burger are easy to do.  I just throw my food on the grill next to the hamburgers, sausage and hot dogs my family is eating.   

I have discovered I love salad - crisp, cold veggies are the perfect meal on a hot day.    My favorite dessert is fruit salad with a tiny dab of whipped cream on top.   

The biggest change so far is portion size.   The first two weeks of Operation Get Healthy were a hard dose of reality.   I tore open the box for the Grilled Chicken Breast sandwich like a crazy person, and my face fell when I saw the whole sandwich was no bigger than my palm.     In the beginning, the pasta meals looked like an appetizer - six or seven bites and the whole thing was gone.

My body, which knows how much food it needs (as opposed to my brain, which has no clue) adjusted after a few weeks.  

Now? It's a mental game.

I have tough moments, when all I want is a big bag of salty chips or a huge plate of sausage stir fry.     I don't really have a sweet tooth - it's the salty, cheesy carbs that call to me.    I can't let myself get too hungry, I've learned, or once I start eating I have a hard time stopping.     In general, I eat something about every two hours.    If I'm doing what I'm supposed to be doing, I'm very rarely hungry at all.

Yesterday, I went shopping.   I'm getting excited to go to the BlogHer conference in New York, and I wanted to pick up a couple of things to wear.    I haven't bought clothes in a while; I don't want to invest too much money in outfits until I've reached my goal weight.   

I grabbed a few pairs of shorts and tee-shirts and headed into the dressing room.   Everything was too big.    That has never, ever happened to me before.

I went back out into the store and got smaller sizes.    When I slid a pair of shorts over my hips that is - no joke - five sizes smaller than what I was wearing back in March, my mouth dropped open in surprise.   

I'm not obsessively weighing myself, or thinking about food.   If you told me at the outset of all this that I could lose 42 pounds and it would feel, well, easy, I would have laughed in your face.    I don't mean to imply that it's effortless, because it's not.    It's a matter of making a series of good choices throughout each day, and with time that comes more naturally.    The siren call of cheesy, salty carbs is getting quieter and quieter.

Besides, I can eat carbs.  I can eat cheese.   I can eat salt - in moderation.    I used to hate that word.    For years moderation was a concept that eluded me.    One of my favorite recovery sayings about having a drink is:  "One is too many, and a thousand isn't enough".     The same thing can be said, for me, about food.   If I can stay away from the first potato chip, cupcake or cookie, I'll be okay. 
I never understood this before, but I unconsciously ate in response to moods.   Boredom was a big one for me.   Anger was another one.    Now I have a little test I give myself when I'm tempted to snack.   If I'm really hungry I'll eat the carrot sticks, or the piece of fruit.   If I don't want those things, but rather something to fill an emotional need, then I need to do something else to address how I'm feeling.  

Eating healthy, losing weight, isn't a state of deprivation.  It's a state of mind.   Instead of dwelling on all the things I can't eat, I try to focus on all the possibilities, the freedoms, I have now that I didn't before.   Like picking out an outfit because I like it, not simply because it fits.   Or running a 5k.  Or waking up in the morning without an aching back and creaking knees.  

I also realize, now, how much the mental game comes into play.    I don't weigh myself during the week, only at my weekly Jenny Craig appointment.   Last Wednesday I went in feeling like I was having a 'fat day'.   I was convinced I had gained weight, and prepared myself mentally.    I was completely wrong.   I was down another two pounds.  Other times I'll think I've lost more than usual, only to find out I haven't.   

It proves to me once and for all that much of what my brain tells me is complete bullshit.  

It also proves that slow and steady wins the race.    Although I'm following Jenny Craig, I chose it because it doesn't feel like a 'quick fix' to me - it doesn't smack of a fad diet.    Because the end goal is to get off their food and standing on your own two feet, I don't have to worry about a lifetime of buying special foods or taking a special supplement.   I've been there, and I know it doesn't work.

I'm within 15 lbs of my goal weight.   And when I get there? 

I will have lost the equivalent of my 7 year old.  

14 comments:

  1. Wow. You so rock. You're inspiring me, seriously.

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  2. Wow. This is SO cool. Sooooo many parallels to alcohol for sure. It's all about the disconnect. I can't wait to see you!

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  3. Just wanted to drop a note to tell you how proud I am of you (I don't even know you!) and how happy I am for your success. You're rockin' it, lady.

    Also, your blog has been a life saver for me. I am now 5 months sober. Those first few days, weeks, months were painful and humbling. I feel so grateful for having found you online. So often your words have hit home and have given me the encouragement to make it one more hour, day, week.

    Thank you, Ellie.

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  4. Just discovered your blog via Pink Cloud and I love it!!! Congrats on your weight loss. You are a blessing to all of us out here trying to sober up and deal with life's ups and downs without self destructive behavior.

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  5. Ellie, you're a total rock star. Believe it or not :)

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  6. You've inspired me as well!
    I am doing it alone-- I need to do this myself, and make the changes myself, if anything is really going to change.
    Plus, I want to go really slow with any weight loss, so that it is more about lifestyle change and not a quick fix. My goal was to lose one pound per week, and you can imagine my surprise when I lost two last week!
    I can completely relate to the portion shock you mention! The first ten days were really hard for me-- my husband usually cooks and makes very large portions! I do have to admit, however, that after ten days now, my body has readjusted to the portions I am supposed to be eating, and it is unpleasant to even think about eating the portion sizes from only a couple weeks ago! I am amazed how quickly that changed-- I always figured that this would be my hang up!

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  7. Thanks, everyone. I really appreciate your words of support!

    And Jessica - CONGRATS on five months. That's HUGE. Keep on keeping on, one day at a time. We're all in this together.

    -Ellie

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  8. Gillian (South Wales)July 27, 2010 at 2:03 PM

    I am on day two.

    Day two of the 'If Ellie can do it, so can I' diet. And I have resisted the lure of the cafe just where I work, so I am feeling happy with myself. One good decision at a time. Thank you Ellie, for being so honest and for being an inspiration because you are so *real* about everything.

    Wish we lived closer...

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  9. Sarah - go for it! Basically, Jenny Craig is all about portion control, calorie control (energy in/energy out) and awareness. And slow weight loss is the way to go. Keep it up! Check in and let me know how it's going!

    Gillian - YAY YOU! Every time you choose for YOU, it feels great, doesn't it! Like I said to Sarah - check in and keep me updated!

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  10. I'm so impressed with what you've done with your life, all of it! You are a great example of a great example for me.

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  11. Sarah - go for it! Basically, Jenny Craig is all about portion control, calorie control (energy in/energy out) and awareness. And slow weight loss is the way to go. Keep it up! Check in and let me know how it's going!

    Gillian - YAY YOU! Every time you choose for YOU, it feels great, doesn't it! Like I said to Sarah - check in and keep me updated!

    ReplyDelete
  12. You've inspired me as well!
    I am doing it alone-- I need to do this myself, and make the changes myself, if anything is really going to change.
    Plus, I want to go really slow with any weight loss, so that it is more about lifestyle change and not a quick fix. My goal was to lose one pound per week, and you can imagine my surprise when I lost two last week!
    I can completely relate to the portion shock you mention! The first ten days were really hard for me-- my husband usually cooks and makes very large portions! I do have to admit, however, that after ten days now, my body has readjusted to the portions I am supposed to be eating, and it is unpleasant to even think about eating the portion sizes from only a couple weeks ago! I am amazed how quickly that changed-- I always figured that this would be my hang up!

    ReplyDelete
  13. Just discovered your blog via Pink Cloud and I love it!!! Congrats on your weight loss. You are a blessing to all of us out here trying to sober up and deal with life's ups and downs without self destructive behavior.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Wow. You so rock. You're inspiring me, seriously.

    ReplyDelete