Let’s Get Real

Wakeup ButtonWhen I eat too much and exercise too little, the inevitable results will be weight gain. With a few rare exceptions, that’s what’s been happening to me since I moved in June. As of tonight’s weigh in, I’m higher than I’ve been in a long, long time. Something about recracking a particular ‘decade’ number made me wake up and pay attention.

I haven’t been working hard at weight loss or taking it very seriously and it shows. I’ve let the portions get sloppy, my food choices become unbalanced, and my exercise practically disappeared. What did I think would happen? That I had some invincibility and could eat whatever I want and have it not show up attached to my hips with superglue?

I was actually pretty shocked tonight when I got on the WW scale because the scale at home, which usually at least lets me have a heads up on the official weigh in, didn’t indicate that this was coming. I stayed for my meeting and we talked about winning outcomes. Specifically, how to manage to get through December and reach January having achieved the outcome we want – whatever it is.

I have no illusions that I will lose weight between now and New Years. My real goal is to lose one pound and break back through this unhappy place where I find myself. Frankly, staying basically in one place will be an accomplishment.

Losing weight takes a lot of energy and I haven’t put much into my process since I moved. It’s not that I don’t think it’s important; I do, and I know that I would both feel and look better with even 10% of my current weight gone. But I haven’t cared enough about it to do the work that’s felt more like punishment at a time when I was already scrambling to learn a new place and establish a new life.

I’m not giving myself permission to be lax. Being “kind of on program” shows me that just letting go completely would mean regaining it all, as I’ve done before. I just can’t go there again. I’d rather stay fat but smaller than risk gaining it all back and then some, which is my usual pattern.

For now I’m holding on by the skin of my teeth. I’ve planned my food for tomorrow and will try to get in some extra walking, though my knee gets very unhappy when I do that. I haven’t been to water aerobics in six weeks “because the water was too cold” which is a pretty stupid reason, although the water really was freezing. I don’t promise that I will go to class tomorrow but I will be back at the pool within the next two weeks because the water exercises were the only things that helped without pain.

Subject to the Lures of Impulse Grocery Shopping

Grocery Store AisleThere are two grocery stores between my office and my apartment and I go by both of them on the way home from work every day. I’ve gotten in the habit of stopping to pick up a few things several times a week instead of relying on a heavy weekend shopping event.

This is proving to be a bad idea. Oh, it starts out with such a lovely virtuous premise: “I’ll just stop and pick up some more yogurt and sweet potatoes or broccoli for supper” or “I just need FiberOne bars and toothpaste” or whatever. But I am showing myself incapable of not picking up other stuff, too. Stuff like reduced fat gingersnaps, Edy’s slow churned yogurt blend ice cream, single-serving Entenmann’s cinnamon rolls or the ubiquitous 100-calorie pack snacks.

I am incapable of buying these and eating them in a reasonable manner. Why I’m even buying them at all is a mystery to me and it’s why they are not on my regular weekly shopping list. They slip in on these mid-week stops, though, magically finding their way into my cart and coming as a surprise when I get to the register.

Tonight’s splurge – a bag of reduced fat gingersnaps – proved to be my undoing. I was into them in the car and instead of dinner, finally deciding to stop and squirt Worcestershire sauce on the remainder to diminish the tasty lure. I’m full now but I’m annoyed at how little control I have over something as little as a gingersnap.

Taken by themselves, these “mid-week treats” are not bad foods, being lower point/fat/calorie versions of the originals. No one is holding a whip over me if I eat one. But it’s become obvious to me that buying them during mid-week drop-in shopping is a guarantee that I will not eat them wisely or in proportion. On a weekend planned shopping event, I’m more in control and less susceptible to snacky impulse shopping.

I’m not happy with having eaten 1/2 a bag of gingersnaps, no matter how tasty or reduced-fat they were. A friend of mine in my first WW meeting used to say, “The last bite tastes the same as the first” and she was right about these. No matter how many I ate, they never tasted BETTER. So I finally stopped. Let’s hope that next time I can stop earlier. It will help if I don’t buy them in the first place.

I think starting tomorrow I’ll plan to turn right instead of left on that road and go to the gym for a water aerobics class instead of doing some drop-in grocery shopping. It’s a much better idea.

Changing My Workplace Eating Patterns

Cookie spread“Don’t Eat the Crap at Work” was hard to do at my last job. We were known for our parties and always had extra food afterwards that had to go somewhere. Since we didn’t have a breakroom or kitchen, the office fridge and microwave lived in my department, just outside my door. I know, it was not pretty.

Party leftovers (or leftover pizza or birthday cake or anything else) were usually left on the big table where they were right in my way whenever I walked out of the office. People would graze the rest of the afternoon. And then at the end of the day, I ended up packing everything up and cleaning the space to make sure there wasn’t anything around to attract mice. I ate a lot of it.

I also ended up having poor lunch habits, eating at my desk in front of my computer almost every day. There was literally nowhere else to go in the building, since lounging space was at a premium and the students had priority. Occasionally I’d find a space or two but it was easier to just eat in the office near the microwave, where I would often zap leftovers or a frozen meal. Usually it was just salad in front of the computer and then back to work.

Things are very different now.

My new boss has a strict rule about no lunches in the office. Partly it’s to keep mice from finding us or hanging around if they’re already visiting. There’s a tiny little fridge not big enough for lunches if we all brought them, and no microwave – at least in our department. I did finally find a tiny breakroom on another floor in another section and it does have a small kitchen and microwave, with tables as well as casual seating. The school also has a dining hall that’s been closed all summer but when school’s back in session, there will be another place to sit down and eat away from my desk.

HungryGirl coolerI’ve been eating meals out a lot since I got here, getting in some extra walking and seeing the neighborhood. On days when I bring lunch, I pack it in a little cooler (just got a cute pink Hungry Girl one that’s adorable) with a frozen ice pack to help keep things chilled, and eat it sitting out in the lovely courtyard and reading or chatting with coworkers.

It’s amazing what a difference it makes to actually take a lunch break that’s time away from the office. I come back refreshed in mind and body (my eyes and muscles are really happy to not be sitting at the computer non-stop) and have more energy for working through the afternoon. Wow, what a concept.

I also really love that there isn’t a grazing table anywhere within sight. Occasionally someone will bring in a plate of homemade cookies or nice chocolates to share, but it’s not much, not often, it’s out of sight, and isn’t a problem. There aren’t any scents wafting through from food and that keeps me from picking up something just because it smells good. Chocolate only smells if you have it in your hand and up by your nose.

We don’t really have crap at my new work place, only the things I bring for myself, which means I have the chance to plan them. There are well-stocked vending machines and it’s easy to be tempted by the salty snacky stuff when I pick up my diet soda. So I’ve learned to pack more healthy options to help me get through the day – a Fiber One peanut bar in the morning and an apple for afternoon, usually. And I’m feeling more in control and happy with my choices. It’s a good change.