Thursday, July 9, 2009

Losing the weight for life?

Kristy Allen before and after gaining it all back.

Why is keeping it off so hard?

I have been there 3 times now, although the last time has seen the greatest amount of change in my attitude and daily behaviour.

I am lucky, I don't have the same problems some women do. I am watching Oprah and Kirsty Alley talk about losing the weight and then gaining it back. A really brave thing to do and I am glad they did, because I often beat myself up, when those kilo's start to creep back on.

Taking a good honest look at yourself is the first thing you need to do before you can start looking after yourself again. You can't do this if you are busy thinking of yourself as the worst loser in the world. Remember each time you have sucess you learn something, more importantly, each time you fail, you can learn even more.

I think their problem was they left it so long before they admitted they had lost focus.

I don't leave it so long, in fact I am certain that my focus is lost only at certain times. After stress or at that time of the month. I really struggle just before my period, with sugar cravings and binge eating. A week later I am better and I usually get back to my normal diet which is reasonably healthy.

What do I tell myself when I binge?

"its OK, it's only this once. "
"Tomorrow I will be good."

and the truth is these statements are usually true.

The problem isn't that I take the occasional day off or that I have the occasional slice of cake the problem is that these situations aren't coming about because I have made a logical choice. Instead I am making an emotional choice and justifying the choice with logic afterwards.

Funnily, this is not so much true for exercise, but more often with food.

So how do I manage this?

How do I manage these emotional pressures to not exercise or eat a block of chocolate?

Honestly I am not sure, but I am going to plan for these feelings and try a strategy that I think will work, if it doesn't I am going to look at where it failed and try another. Until I find something that works for me.

Hurdle number 1:
Study, especially exam study. Sitting still at my desk working and thinking. The problem is that I want to eat lots of sugar. The other problem is that I usually throw my exercise routine out the window, because every minute of study time counts. Lets think about the sugar issue. I am finding if I study away from home and at university I don't even think about food, so I am going to try to study at the library as much as possible. The problem is that is that going to the library is not always an option. I have kids and I need to be at home to look after them sometimes.
If I have a bottle of water with me I tend to not be anywhere near as hungry. Another thing that might help is chopped vegetables, giving me something to eat that won't add to my kilo's.

As to the exercise routine. When I am studying, I am studying. In the week leading up to an exam it is OK, if I don't do my usual exercise. After the exam I will be back into the swing of things.

So the strategy is:
Get away from the house if possible.
Prepare a bottle of water.
Prepare a snack of chopped vegetables, go to the shop and buy some if there are none in the house.
Exercise can wait until after the exam.

Hurdle number 2:
Stress, I am not sure what to do with this one. There are times when you can't get enough sleep and your body gets run down. There are times when the last thing on your mind is what you eat and whether you have done enough exercise. I think this one will need a bit of change in thinking to deal with it.

So the strategy is:
When under stress, I need to look after myself.
I need to eat as healthy as possible.
So while I need not limit my portion size, I will choose to eat healthy food that is high in nutrition.
Try to get plenty of sleep.
Remember that the craving for sugar is probably due to being tired, if you can't get sleep choose a sugar free caffeine drink to help give me a boost.
While I might not find the time to exercise, if I can go. Do as much or little as you feel like, but most importantly go.

Hurdle number 3:
Menstruation, Those chocolate/sugar cravings due to the changing hormone levels.
So the strategy is:
Firstly recognise that you have a craving due to changing hormone levels.
Indulge that craving with some high quality dark chocolate.
Limit serving to 50grams.
Drink lots of water and eat some vegetables.
Take a vitamin C supplement.
If still craving sweet stuff, try a protein shake and see if that helps.

Hurdle number 4:
Eating with my family. For some reason when I go out with my family I tend to eat dessert when normally I wouldn't. I think the best strategy here is to break the cycle.

So the strategy is:
Before I go to a family dinner remind myself that I have chosen not to eat dessert.
Think about what I need for my daily intake of different foods.
Stick to it.
Come home and congratulate myself for not overeating while with my family.

Well that is all I can think of at the moment, but I am sure more will come up and I will have to think of more clever ways to deal with the problem. See motivation is all about tricking your mind into to doing what you want it to do.

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