I’m attempting to make the acquaintance of my Inner Skinny Girl.
I know she’s in there somewhere, buried beneath several (hundred) layers of pain and confusion and rejection and depression and anxiety and all the other reasons that I tend to eat more than is necessary or good for me.
The day after Labor Day, my employer started a weight-loss challenge. The winner will get a big chunk of change and 8 hours of PTO. I joined up because I like a challenge.
And because a big chunk of change sounds fabulous.
And 8 hours PTO? Whoa! I could take a vacay!
But mostly, I joined because its a 90-day challenge, and the longer you stick with a new habit, the better your chances of having it “stick” once you’re not obligated to it anymore. In the past, the longest I’ve ever stuck with a healthy eating plan was 45 days. I’m doubling it this time. And immediately after that, I’m planning on tripling it.
My action plan was to cut out high-calorie sweets and fried foods, drink lots of water, exercise for 20 minutes at least twice a week and keep my calorie intake under 1400/day. (Most days it’s been more like 1200-1300.)
I’d like to increase exercise, but reality is that I’m a busy person and so far, it hasn’t been possible.
The first 3 days were tortuous. I was hungry and crabby all the time. I cried at the drop of a hat. Before, I would have eaten and felt better. I told myself, “this, too, shall pass.” Just keep swimming, in the words of Dorie, my favorite little blue fish.
And it did pass. I learned that I had been using food to protect me from my emotions. I didn’t want to cry. So I ate. I didn’t want to feel. So I ate. I didn’t like my life. So I ate.
I’m learning that emotion and feeling things isn’t actually that bad. It helps you relate to the world. It’s awkward at times. Sometimes it’s confusing. But it’s a good thing. And when you can’t eat to make yourself feel better, you’re more likely to try to change what you don’t like about your life. It’s really very exciting.
When you limit your food intake, you have to learn to choose. I used to take one of everything. Not anymore. I look at the calorie content. How likely is this food to keep me from getting hungry before its time to have a snack? Is this food really worth it? And, if I take a bite of something and I don’t like it, I don’t eat it. Because if I only get 1300(ish) calories a day, why would I waste them on stuff I don’t like?!?
I’ve learned that when you don’t stuff yourself with food all the time, everything tastes a hundred times better.
I’ve learned that just because food is there, that doesn’t mean you have to eat it.
I’ve learned that its possible to go to parties and to eat out without going overboard on calories. It’s a little more difficult at Olive Garden, but it’s doable.
I’ve learned to enjoy the beauty of cool early morning walks. I wish I could do it every single day. But sometimes I have to work at 5:00 am. Literally. Aw, well. I’m thinking of using my 15 minute breaks at work to walk each day. That’s a good alternative.
I’ve learned that sugar isn’t as good as I thought it was. After the initial 3 days of torture while I was adjusting to no sugar, I decided that if I hadn’t consumed 1200 calories by 7 pm each day, I could have one cookie or other desserty dish, as long as it was 100 calories or less. The first time I had a cookie, I took a nibble and said, “this is nasty! Why did I ever like this stuff?!?” And then I ate a cucumber. Because cucumbers are awesome. Watermelon is also amazing for those times when you just want something sweet. It’s a great source of hydration too, so as long as you eat it in moderation, you can’t go wrong with watermelon.
I’ve learned to love Edy’s Outshine fruit bars. They have only 70 calories and aren’t as sweet as baked goods, so it takes care of sugar cravings, but you don’t go overboard on them. (As long as you only eat one!)
I’ve also learned that even though Edy’s fruit bars are kind of spendy, I can get a two-week supply for the price of 2 Dairy Queen treats. Who knew that eating sensibly (calorie-wise) was also sensible for the checkbook?
I used to tell myself that I couldn’t afford to eat healthy foods. I’ve learned that the only reason this was true was because I spent so much money on junk (fast food) that I felt like I was broke all the time. Not anymore.
The best part is that in 24 days, I’ve lost 13.4 pounds! I’m so excited to see what happens in the next 24 days!