Tag Archives: Food Challenges

Taking a Break from the Numbers

Lately it feels like the song “Under Pressure” is the soundtrack to my weight loss journey. My weight is up a few pounds. My running pace is slow. I ate a lot of sugary and fatty foods while on an out-of-town trip. My to-do list is longer than the hours in the day. The pressure to get everything done along with losing weight is overwhelming at times. It’s so daunting some days that I don’t feel like giving much, if any, effort.

Here I am running on the Golden Gate Bridge for fun, not for speed or distance!  My 100+ pound weight loss sure makes it easier and fun to exercise!

Here I am running on the Golden Gate Bridge for fun, not for speed or distance! My 100+ pound weight loss sure makes it easier and fun to exercise!

“What to do, what to do?!”, I keep saying to myself. Giving no effort to my responsibilities isn’t the answer. The answer for now is for me to take a break from the numbers. By this I mean to stop evaluating and determining my success by the scale and my running watch. As I said in a blog post from last year, “The Scale is Not the Be-All and End-All in Weight Loss.” Since I’m struggling right now I think it’s a good time to remind myself of that and also put other numbers aside.

To do this, I’m putting my scale away for a bit. I will need it soon, but now I feel anxious just looking at it. I swear it’s taunting me. It’s going to come alive like one of those “Chucky” dolls any day now. Maybe that’s being a bit melodramatic, but if an inanimate object is starting to control your life, it’s time to step away from it.

Honestly, I really don’t need the scale to tell me I’ve gained weight. By the fit of my clothes I know when I’m up a few pounds. My clothes still fit, but some pieces are a little tighter than others. As long as I can wear them without busting a button or flashing those around me, I know I’m within my weight window. I’d like to blame the dryer on the tightness, but since I do the laundry, I know the clothes haven’t been shrunk.

I also know the scale will show a weight gain when I think about the food I ate over the past few weeks. Eating salty and sweet treats without thinking about it simply means I will gain weight. No ifs, ands or buts (except my increasing butt size) about it. When I eat mindlessly it’s easy to slip into my previous bad habits. I don’t need the scale to see the results of eating poorly: my short (OK, shorter) temper, my exhaustion, my acne spotted face, and my unmotivated attitude are all signs of an unhealthy diet.

Besides the numbers on the scale, my running watch data is causing me stress. Lately, I’ve caught myself looking at my watch more often to see my mileage and pace. I’m not sure why it took me this long to realize it’s distracting me from my runs. If I’m focused on the numbers on my pretty pink Garmin watch, how can I enjoy my run?

I decided to keep wearing my watch as it is helpful to see the data, but only after I’m home. On today’s run I didn’t look at my watch until the end of my run and it was wonderful. Since I wasn’t worrying about my speed or distance, I ran up steps and hills. I even ran halfway over my beloved Golden Gate Bridge just because I wanted the view. I knew my pace would be slow, but I challenged myself in other ways and that was more satisfying than a fast pace.

Now, I’m not saying to throw out your scales and running watches. Actually, numbers are essential, I feel, in evaluating my overall success. I just know that I need a break from the numbers for a bit. Hopefully, just getting back to the basics like mindfully eating and exercising for fun will take some of the pressure off. I hope that when I’m ready to get back on the scale the numbers will be better. If not, it will be time to track my food and add more exercise to my life. I think that stepping back is what I need to do to maintain a healthy lifestyle right now and eventually go back Down the Scale…

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Back in the Food World

Getting ready to go out for my first party, post-sleeve!

Getting ready to go out for my first party, post-sleeve!

Week 7 is here and I feel pretty good! Another three and a half pounds down this week for a total of 32.5 pounds. While I’m proud of my weight loss, I am even more proud of my entry back into the “food world.”

Food has always been an important part of my life, but moving back to California made food even more important. San Francisco is a “foodie” town and we have tons of great and interesting restaurants. I think our grocery stores here have a better variety of food. And of course, there are the farmers markets which are the best I’ve seen.

Having these resources wasn’t particular good for my health when we first moved. For the first year and a half, we ate out and picked up take out food more than we should have. Having a cheap and tasty take out dim sum restaurant close to the house made weekend lunches very easy. Coffee shops are on almost every corner so it’s easy to pick up a sugary espresso drink at any time. Way too many options!

Since I can’t make these places go away, I am learning to live with them and still have them as part of my life. I don’t foresee the dim sum restaurant in my near future and perhaps not at all. I haven’t had any fried foods since my gastric sleeve surgery and I’m not sure when or even if I will have it. I am trying to be very careful with my new stomach. And my fear of vomiting keeps me in line, too.

I did venture back to the farmers’ market this past weekend for the first time. It was great! Surrounded by beautiful, healthy fruits and vegetables was inspiring. My focus is on eating enough protein, but I am adding in more vegetables now. My big treat of the day was picking up my favorite Serrano chile goat cheese. Instead of eating it with wild abandonment, I measured out a teaspoon to spread on my half a turkey burger the other night. Suddenly, a teaspoon is enough to get the flavor I enjoy. This weekend, I finally realized that smaller amounts of food are just as satisfying and enjoyable as the large amounts I ate before. For this overeater, this revelation is a bit overwhelming.

My biggest food test was at a party this week. Let me just say this right off the bat, I love wine. I love parties so that I can try new wines and relax and be an adult and not the mommy. Yes, I can drink wine with my new stomach, but I must admit I’m nervous to try. My overprotective nature with my stomach is one reason, but also I have a feeling I’m going to be a really cheap date. Meaning, the two to three glasses I could drink before, I assume will put me in a coma. So, the first time I drink I plan to do it at home. If I don’t feel good, I’d rather be in my home and if a half a glass makes me silly, again, I’d rather be home.

So, no wine at my first party post-sleeve and I was fine. I drank water all night and while it isn’t as yummy as a crisp class of chardonnay, I survived. I was too busy chatting to really care! I also didn’t eat. I made sure to have a protein filled dinner before we came to the party. I did bring vegetables and humus to the party, but I didn’t eat anything. I could have if I wanted to and I think that made all the difference. Knowing I can eat if I want is empowering and I realize I am in charge of my actions in regards to food.

We did leave before they served the birthday cake, so I did get off a little easy. Again, this is something I can eat, but I haven’t had sugar for 7 weeks, so again, this is something I want to try at home. The thought of me bouncing around like a child eating sugar for the first time is mortifying and not something that I need to do in front of family and friends. And I must admit, the sugar-free items I’m eating now (syrups in my lattes and hot chocolate) satisfy my sweet tooth and I would prefer to keep it that way. Eventually I would like to drop them and use natural sweeteners, but I’m happy where I am for now.

Other food challenges await, such as barbeques, eating out with friends, and the holidays, but I am learning to take each challenge one at a time. Food is not the enemy; my eating habits were the enemy. I finally feel like I am taking charge of my eating habits and this tastes better than anything in the world…