Monthly Archives: January 2017

Post Mortem of an Oopsie (or two)

On Jan 7th I ate things that were not in line with my goals. That’s ok, I can learn from that. What’s worse though is I didn’t keep track of them or how I felt afterwards. That I regret.
It started with what was supposed to be a nice lunch with my husband. Unfortunately, it took us more than 35 minutes to decide where to eat, sitting in the car while it rained, me making suggestions and him turning them down. By the end I was frustrated and hungry. We settled on Italian food. When they served the bread, I was still hungry and angry and used that as an excuse to eat a piece and a half of bread. Looking back on it, that’s actually not that big a deal, but it felt like a huge betrayal at the time.
That feeling of disappointment opened the gate to all-or-nothing thinking and more excuses, which came into play when I was in San Francisco with my sister. It started with a boba Thai iced tea. Then we went to a movie and I had popcorn, junior mints and some of her coke. after the movie we walked for maybe 15 minutes and then went to the restaurant where Matt works, where I had two glasses of wine, a dessert (sort of creamy stuff in phyllo dough with raspberry sauce), and some bites of dolmas and this other thing that was apricot sauce on phyllo dough pouches filled with shredded chicken.
So I’m going to do I run down of things I could have done differently/should try to do in the future.
First, the discussion of where to eat. Maybe I could have controlled my emotions better. Also I don’t mind the rain, so I could have said “I’m going for a walk, call me when you’ve decided.” That would cut down on the feelings of hope and disappointment when i thought I had an option and then he turned it down.
At the restaurant, I could have used several strategies to avoid the bread. I could have asked them not to bring it. I could have told myself that I’m skipping it just for today. I could have reminded myself that I was about to go to SF and if I wanted to splurge, I should wait and have something amazing while I’m there. I could have reminded myself that I’m doing this for me, and not for my husband. I could have stopped when I realized that the bread wasn’t as amazing as it smelled.
The boba tea…. how could I have avoided that? I went in pretty determined to eat something “naughty.” I don’t really know how to abort when I’ve already made up my mind that I don’t care. How do you change your own mind when you don’t even want to change your mind? I don’t think I even considered not getting something. In fact, I was disappointed that my sister didn’t offer to get me one of the pastries. I wanted to eat a lot of innutritious foods as we passed them; cupcakes, ice cream, chocolate, pastries.
I felt I couldn’t use “just for today” because I am not often in that area (“if not now, when?”), but maybe I could have. It’s not like I am unable to go there if I want to. Also, I wasn’t even getting what I really wanted, so why did I have to get anything at all? And I knew I’d be in a movie theatre an hour after, so I wouldn’t be able to log the aftermath.
Even as I was asking for the junior mints, I knew “these won’t be amazing.” Again, I wasn’t really thinking very much, probably on some level I was afraid I might talk myself out of it and then I wouldn’t have candy. I could have skipped that, and the handfuls of popcorn and the sips of coke. I think, going forward, if I know I’m in a situation where I can’t log, I just won’t eat (within reason, I can occasionally log later). From now on, when I go to the movies, I’ll ask for a big glass of water with ice and skip the rest. That food was really not amazing. Maybe a 3 or less out of ten.
I think I only drank the wine because I didn’t realize I was also going to eat, and I thought I might get bored. But I don’t even really like wine. I could have skipped that.
I don’t regret the Middle Eastern food, that was something special. I just wish I had been more moderate throughout the day so I could have felt comfortable ordering something like a meal instead of having nibbles of others’ foods.
So far, this whole post has been inspired by Primal Potential‘s Elizabeth Benton‘s suggestion that we look curiously and unflinchingly at our “mistakes.” When you do something you are better off not repeating, she suggests breaking it down, looking at all the circumstances leading up to it and identifying possible “pattern interrupts” (intercepts? oh memory, you always disappoint) to use in the future, especially if it’s a frequently occurring situation. Yesterday was not so typical, but I still felt inspired to break it down, just for fun and learning.
In other news, there was a sad moment in the bathroom of the movie theatre. I caught the eye of my reflection and was frustrated/disgusted by what I saw. I looked shabby but also over dressed for the kids’ movie I’d just seen (Sing!). I also looked huge, of course.
But I tried to curb those feelings as much as I could and put those thoughts out of my mind. I think it was a good chance to practice not working myself up. But I’ve definitely got some work to do on the “self love” front.

Happy New Year indeed!

This new year, I’ve decided to be changed.

I no longer believe in goals. I believe in strategies.

Scott Adams convinced me in his book “How to Fail at Almost everything and Still Win Big” in the chapter appropriately titled “Goals Versus Systems.” I found the book hugely encouraging, but if you choose not to read it here is the gist of that bit, filtered through my horrible memory.

Goals can result in feeling like a loser most of the time, because up until you meet your goal, you kinda are. Systems, that is things you do that move you in the right direction, continuously improving your situation, can make you feel like a winner every time you use your system.

That was not a good explanation. Too bad for you. 
So no fancy, exciting goals for me. I’m keeping my head down and developing systems that will lead me to achieve what would have been a goal. No “new years resolutions” just “this is what I do now.”

My inspiration, Elizabeth Benton, talks about something she calls “the fruits and the roots.” Imagine you have a beautiful apple tree, which you love and and fuss over often, caring for everything above the ground like it was your baby. You even shine the apples daily. That tree will die. You aren’t tending to the roots. It doesn’t get water or nutrients, maybe there’s even a critter down there chewing through the roots.

Goals are like the apples. They might look great, and you love them, but they are only the effect of a healthy system. You might get a few apples without caring for the roots, but not for very long. By contrast, if you care for the roots, apples will just happen, whether or not you stop and polish them.

What is represented by the roots in this story? The emotional work. The maintainable habits you build as well I guess, but mostly the emotional/psychological work you do for yourself.

I signed up for Elizabeth Benton’s Fat Loss Fast Track 12 week online group coaching course. It starts on the 8th, and while I’m convinced this is the path that will lead to permanent weight loss, I’m not getting too excited. Head down and do the work. I’d rather be content to work hard for a long time than over excited at first, followed by despair. No more dreaming and scheming, because that has never worked for long. Sure, in the past full of dreams, I might drop 20 lbs in the first month, but those pounds were just taking vacation: they were never gone for good.

EB’s system promises sustainability and a focus on the roots of the issue.

The only thing that makes me sad about this approach is that my husband doesn’t seem to be fully bought in. Theoretically, that shouldn’t matter, especially since he promised never to talk to me about my weight again (more because he’s given up hope than because he respects my ability to pick out a plan for myself). He says it sounds slow, and that sometimes people who advocate for taking things slow are just trying to make themselves feel good. Translation: Katrina, you aren’t pushing hard enough. If only you had started to run intensely for an hour everyday and eating nothing but veggies when I told you to the first time you wouldn’t be hating yourself today. He would probably debate that translation… or maybe not. I can’t even pretend to understand him, and that hurts too. So he’s keeping quiet, mostly, but he’s also said he doesn’t expect this plan to work, and I think he feels vindicated because all my past attempts that he didn’t think were extreme enough have failed so far. It’s really hard not to let that view get to me, especially since I think about it whenever I talk to him. I often try and hide my efforts from him, much like I hid my binges from him, because I don’t want him to see me trying something he thinks isn’t enough.

Anyway, this is what I do now. I’ve started tracking what I eat and how I feel afterwards. I’ve also been making huge pots of soup because 1) soup is delicious and 2) it means I have 6 meals ready to go for those times (all the time) when I don’t know what to be eating. Plus, I love listening podcasts while I cook a bucket of soup. I’m using the Sleep Cycle app to get a better sense of my sleeping patterns, and I’m keeping track of all the meds I take daily and my moods. I hope to eventually be weened off the pills.

I’m thinking of recalibrating my ratings of hunger, fatigue and cravings so that 5 is neutral and 0 is exceptionally good, but since I haven’t done that yet, read ‘0’ as ‘nothing much’