Sunday, May 2, 2010

An Annoyingly Chipper and Well Balanced Update

Today is day twenty.   I'm counting days, just like when I first got sober.    Day twenty of Operation Get Healthy, and I have learned a few things:

I don't like change.   Most people aren't big fans, I guess, but I really don't like it.   I like a cozy, comfortable routine, even when that routine isn't particularly good for me.    Although this change is a positive one, it threw me for a loop.   The first week and a half were HARD.   Even though I was very ready to make a change, I forgot how hard it is, mentally, to deprive yourself of things you really like.     I was irritable, short-tempered, overwhelmed by the slightest thing.   

It took me about a week to put two-and-two together, to realize the diet was causing the mental strife.  

I really, really like cheese.   I was up to a three-bags-per-week habit of shredded mozzarella cheese.  I put cheese on everything.   I would have melted cheese on cereal if it had occurred to me.   I thought the whole family was eating cheese right along with me, but now that I'm not eating cheese the one bag I bought for the kids a week and a half ago is still in the drawer, unopened.

Food tastes really good when you eat it because your body wants nutrients, and not because Grey's Anatomy is starting and you always eat while you watch TV.   Everything tastes delicious - broccoli (even without the damn cheese), fresh fruit, whole grain lowfat toast, salad greens.   All eaten without the benefit of butter, jelly, sugar or any other topping (I can eat 2 tablespoons of nonfat salad dressing).   

I need the structure of Jenny Craig.  I am following their meal plan exactly as it is laid out until I am halfway to my goal weight.   It helps, a lot, knowing exactly what I can eat, and when.    Not surprisingly, when left to my resources I employ logic like "Ooh!  Half the fat - I can have two!"     When I'm halfway to my goal weight, I will slowly wean off their food.   The objective is that I will be cooking and eating regular food as I'm sliding into home and reaching my goal weight.

Exercise is actually fun, when I don't set unrealistic goals.   I aim for 2-3 times per week at the gym (30 mins of cardio, 20 mins of weights and 20 mins of sit-ups/stretching) and 2-3 times per week outdoor activity, like a walk.    Because I'm not freaking out if I don't meet this goal, I'm enjoying myself.   In the past, I would overdo it for two weeks, lose interest and hope, and slide back into my slouchy ways.

I thought I would hate the one-one-one consulting part of Jenny Craig.   I love it.   I love that for 20 minutes every week, a chipper woman asks me all sorts of questions about how I feel.    We discuss my week, pitfalls and upcoming obstacles, and discuss the mental part of the plan.   She is my new best friend, whether she knows it or not.   I weigh-in once a week when I'm there - and I'm not allowed to weigh myself at home, or else I get obsessive about the number (if it's down it will be a good day, if I'm up a bit - baaaaaad).    That way, if I don't get the news I want to hear, my new best friend is there to talk me down off the cliff.

I still cook for my family (read:  I microwave up some nuggets or mac-n-cheese) but I eat my meal first, so I'm not tempted to pick at their food.   My biggest family related food challenge so far is that the kids always want a bite of my special meals and I am forced to snap at them like a hibernating, starving bear.

Last but hardly least, I feel so much better.   Yes, I look better too, but what I am amazed by is my increased energy and mobility.   I can dash up the stairs easily, chase my kids at the beach, throw on a pair of shorts I haven't worn in two years, and I feel good.

8 comments:

  1. Good luck with this Ellie. I really know how you feel. It has been a life long struggle for me. When you are ready to wean of JC, would you consider going to Weight Watchers? They really teach you how to survive life and family and still have healthy eating habits. With the occasional treat thrown in. The whole family can benefit from this. Once you stop being grouchy bear!

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  2. Pats - I did Weight Watchers successfully after I had Greta. One of the things I loved about it was that you can buy the food anywhere. It's also one of the things that tripped me up. Jenny Craig is giving me the jump start I need, but I will use Weight Watchers food when I'm done. And I still have great recipes and tips from WW online, too.

    Thanks for the support!

    -Ellie

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  3. Sounds like you're doing an incredible job, and have such a good outlook on it all. Being realistic with yourself is the hardest part - but you're doing it :) Go you!

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  4. wow, lady. I hope you aren't giving up EVERYTHING unhealthy or I'm going to start feeling all guilty in comparison ;)

    Really though, you rock.

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  5. That is SO great, Ellie! You are motivating me to lose the 10 lbs I found this winter. I agree with you that every meal, no matter how healthy, tastes good when you're dieting. Because you can finally eat that meal. Even spray butter on a small potato tastes phenomenal to me when I'm dieting. I did WW too, and need to get back into the groove. Thanks for the inspiration; you rock w/that diet and commitment, girl!! - Emily

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  6. hello,

    I found you from damomma's website last week and found your story incredibly powerful. thank you for sharing it.

    Your Operation Get Healthy is inspiring me too.

    I stepped on a scale a few weeks ago and got a very unpleasant surprise. I knew that my clothes were getting tighter, but to see that number on the scale, one which I've always considered to be the absolute ceiling I could tolerate, it gave me a shock.

    I really love to eat (right with you on the cheese!)... and dieting only makes me obsessed with food that I can't have. so no dieting for me - I'm cutting on the snacks and drinking water instead, to start.
    I've started Operation move my butt... running in the morning, biking, playing soccer with the kids. I'm writing down every physical activity on a calendar - I find it gives me a good overview of how hings are going. And since I don't want to have a blank day, I make sure that I move my butt every day!

    so thanks for the inspiration, and keep up the good work!

    Annie

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  7. great job on sticking to it! the whole 'be healthy' thing is all that helps me. not to think of it as a diet.

    so - I watched that 20/20 on Friday. So glad that people are TALKING About this stuff!

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  8. Good luck with this Ellie. I really know how you feel. It has been a life long struggle for me. When you are ready to wean of JC, would you consider going to Weight Watchers? They really teach you how to survive life and family and still have healthy eating habits. With the occasional treat thrown in. The whole family can benefit from this. Once you stop being grouchy bear!

    ReplyDelete