Fighting Inertia

When things are going well or I’m doing something interesting, I tend to write. When things are overwhelming me, I have no time and don’t write. When I’m stressed, whether overwhelmed or not, I eat. Guess what I’ve been doing lately?

I worked hard to lost the weight that seemed to come off fairly easily last year. But that was during COVID time, when the world was contracted and I did little more than be home or go to work in the mornings in an almost empty office. I made trips to the store once a week, so my shopping was carefully planned and I bought less random stuff. And since there were no social outings on the schedule – no parties, no lunches, no restaurant visits – I ate more carefully and was more faithful in planning and writing my food.

I’ve gained 8 lbs of that hard-won weight back and I’m not happy about it. But at the same time, I’m not UNhappy that I’m 55 lbs down from where I started. On the other hand (and I have lots of hands to juggle things), I don’t want to stay where I am. I know all the things to do, I just need to do them. Yeah, I say that a lot, don’t I?

But I have a plan. I’m not starting ALL of these at once because that will set me up to fail. So this week I’m working on the first three:

  • Re-upped with Noom and asked my Goal Specialist to reset me to the very beginning. I will set aside 20 minutes every morning to read the articles and make notes for myself.
  • Plan to eat 1450 calories/day and NOT eat any exercise calories. They get out of hand too fast.
  • Go to the gym three days a week for 30 minutes, twice during the week and once on the weekend.
  • Emptied the pantry of the snacks, even portion controlled ones, that have snuck in there. — DONE
  • Plan my weekly food and shop from a detailed list WITHOUT picking up the extra random stuff (unless it’s produce).
  • Eat at least one meal (lunch or dinner) per week from the club or restaurant. Favorites: Jersey Mike’s #2 mini sub on rosemary parmesan bread, pizza or mini-slider basket from the club, or Chinese food from Liang’s (now open in a new closer location – yayyy!).
  • Switch my Diet Pepsi to cans from bottles as part of cutting back.

I’ve been acting from inertia for the last months. It’s as though I forgot how to handle social and work stress during COVID time, and I’m finding it hard to make decisions. My world seems to revolve around my cats, going to work in the mornings, eating unplanned things on my own, and not getting enough sleep or exercise. Where do I want to go on vacation? Dunno, and am not motivated to figure it out. When am I going to ask for a few days off? Later, always later. What am I doing about landscape changes? Procrastinating. Have I worked on my big genealogy project of publishing sourced histories for each grandparent? No. Do I have a plan to do it? No.

Sometimes I wonder if my part-time job is helping or hurting. I know I don’t want to be working full-time now, and the “full time part-time” job at the church seems ideal – close to home, easy hours, chance to play with new technology, time with other people, work not that difficult. But at the same time, I really like the few days when I can sleep until I wake up. It’s never LATE, but it’s later than I’m doing now. I have fewer options for doing things with friends who aren’t working and who take day trips or meet for lunch or other outings. I’d have more time to work on genealogy and putter.

But I would be lonely, I think. And as a single retired person living alone, that matters a lot. I might be peopled-out by the time I get home, but at least I have time with other people every day. There’s no pressure for me to change anything and I have the power – and am the only one WITH the power – to decide to do something differently. Like, make a plan for taking time off and then actually doing it.

Right now, though, I’m going to focus on getting myself back on track with eating more carefully. Not dieting, I’m not doing that. But carefully and with intention. I can do this.

“Eat Me,” said the Snack Bag

“I’m small, I’m portion controlled. Only 70 calories and you can enjoy my wonderful sweet and salty tastes,” said the Skinny Pop Kettle Corn Single Serve bag in the drawer. The one with the other Skinny Pop and a few Pirate’s Booty bags. They all came together in a sack from the grocery store snack aisle which had no business leaving the store let alone get into the house.

Why, you ask? Because even though they are nicely portioned out, there just isn’t enough stuff inside to be satisfying. So I end up eating two and then three trying to get enough. They are empty calories that I can afford to squish into my day if I’m careful, but then there are other foods that are so much more satisfying and sustaining that I have to cut out if I am to stay within my daily calorie target.

Or I could just keep eating my planned healthy little clementines and baby carrots or even real food for dinner AS WELL AS the empty snacky foods. Seems I’ve been doing a good bit of that lately and it doesn’t make me happy. So why do I do it? There’s the question.

I don’t particularly feel deprived. I’ve been eating carefully for almost a full year and know that I can eat anything I want as long as I can figure out how to account for it within my limits. Mostly that’s calories – I’m eating 1540/day now, but aiming for less – but also a minimum of 70 gms protein, under 2300 gms sodium, and 35 gms or more of fiber, plus 80-125 oz of water.

So I spend time every morning planning out what I’m going to eat that day, all three meals and snacks. It usually reminds me that I have food scheduled and planned that I know is actually in the house and available. I arrange for my beloved slider basket from the club at least once a week because I love it. But I also read labels as I shop and even as I look at restaurant menus for possible takeout. Foods I used to eat regularly I just can’t justify eating anymore because of the calories. Oh, I can eat them, but to make it work, I need to not eat much else. I love Pad Thai but hey, I love not starving the rest of the day more.

Back to snack bags. The fact is, I don’t really like eating baby carrots and healthy things. I know I should, but I don’t. I still have the acquired love of salty things even more than sweets. I can pass on ice cream but crave tortilla chips – but know that I just can’t stop myself with a measured amount. So the snack bags of popcorn are replacements for the chips but inadequate ones, so I keep eating more.

Next project: find snack sizes of tortilla chips. Maybe that will be satisfying enough that I can stop with the measured, portioned amount. If not, I’m back to carrots even though I don’t want to be.