One of my readers (hello, Ms Monica!) has asked me to share how I’m handling things foodwise and I promised to share that info here on the blog. So tonight I will explain the plan of attack I have used on my food demons for the last 4 months.
When I first started this “magical adventure of change” last December, I was a very different person than the savvy, has-it-all-together, laugh-in-the-face-of-Twinkies girl you see today…smirk. I was a Hot Mess. Back then, deciding to eat healthy meant flinging myself head first into extremes and setting myself up for failure with what I call “boot camp mentality”. A healthy change meant denying myself all enjoyment in food and forcing broccoli down my throat in large quantities. This, of course, sent me into withdrawals from Little Debbie cream filling (picture me sobbing “Why, God…why???” in a scalding hot shower…sort of reminiscent of Silkwood).
Okay, maybe that’s a little dramatic – but it was bad. BAD.
The first thing I did when I got serious was to buy one of those huge books that gives you the breakdown of every food imaginable. This is the one I used:
The Complete Book of Food Counts, 9th Edition: The Book That Counts It All
I’m a Kindle girl, but I bought a hard copy of this sucker so I could hunker down on the couch with my highlighter and go to town. I highlighted every food (healthy and not-so-healthy) that I truly enjoy. Key word: ENJOY. If you know me at all, you know that the words pickle, lettuce, and bean were NOT highlighted. Blah!
With that accomplished, I set about making three lists:
· Foods I can eat (healthy foods or foods that I knew I could reasonably moderate)
· Foods that were naughty but I knew I couldn’t live without
· Foods that were so naughty that I would be giving them up… for 3 months
(I wanted time to really make healthy a habit before even trying to let these foods back in my menu plan)
Every single highlighted food was put on one of those 3 lists. Examples? You want examples? I’ve got examples!!
Chicken. I actually enjoy chicken very much. That went on the “Foods I can eat” list.
Buffalo wings. Naughty. VERY naughty. But I knew that I could not give them up…at least not cold turkey, so they went on the “Can’t Live Without” list.
Ice cream. Sweet Creamy Frozen Milk of Satan. I can’t have it. I can’t be trusted with it. If it’s in the house, I can’t stop thinking about it until I’ve eaten every last drop of it. So, as I wept softly to myself, I put ice cream on the “Give Up for 3 Months” list. Sweet mother of all things holy…I started to realize that I was serious.
Source: sweatsalty.tumblr.com via Hot Mess Princess on Pinterest
I mulled over the “Give Up for 3 Months” list. I considered each food listed. I thought about the taste of it, the enjoyment of it, and the impact of eating it while trying to eat healthy and “behave”. If there was anything that I knew I wouldn’t be able to moderate (like ice cream), it went on that list. That was about as “tough love” as I got with myself.
After I made my lists, I sat myself down for some good old fashioned mathematical fun. I figured out how many calories I would be able to eat a day and still lose weight. For me, that magical number was 1,400 calories per day. With that information in hand, I went back to my lists.
** For those of you who zoned out when I said I did the math myself, let me just say that I spent 20+ years following this diet or that, eating this or that, because every time I thought about going through the trouble of figuring it out for myself…I got intimidated. Google was my friend…and it’s yours too. Think twice before you let the diet industry tell you what’s best for you – that’s all I’m saying.
Back to my plan of attack…
I already knew I was a Hot Mess. Every time I tried to get healthy before, I allowed myself too many choices. I had always done what the diet & fitness industry said I should do and I didn’t pay attention to what I needed to do. I took a good look at all my failed attempts in the past and realized that I tried to run before I could walk…so I put myself on dietary training wheels.
Using the list of foods I could eat, I created a menu consisting of 1 breakfast, 1 lunch, 1 dinner, and 2 snacks. The entire day’s menu was within my 1400 calorie limit. I made sure the menu was balanced and contained only food choices that I was 100% happy with. There were no compromises here – no lettuce, no broccoli, no gnawing on raw carrots all day. I chose foods that I really enjoy: Special K Vanilla Almond cereal…grilled, super spicy chicken…cocoa roasted almonds…Laughing Cow garlic cheese wedges…Granny Smith apples…grapefruit…watermelon. These are all low calorie foods, sure…but they’re all foods I love. (Just FYI, those cocoa roasted almonds really killed my chocolate cravings.)
Here’s where you’re probably going to roll your eyes at me: I ate that same menu every day for about the first 2 months. Why? Because I didn’t want choices. That’s where I always failed myself. When I’m up at 5 am and trying to start my day AND new healthy habits, I don’t need to face off with a bunch of choices. This may come as a shocker, but I’m not exactly the perkiest bitch in the morning. I knew if I let myself have the power of choice, I’d sit on the couch in a half-snooze until it was time to grab my keys and head out the door…then I’d drive through Starbucks for a venti artery clogger and a maple oat scone. Not a good start for Dianne – and it would just get worse from there. I used that one menu like a suit of reinforced titanium armor, peeps…and I headed into battle with the food demons.
Eating the same thing every day was not and is not the final solution for me, but it did make things so much easier in the beginning. Sure, there were days when it got a little boring and there were times when I was really tempted to eat some kind of crap – but I just kept reminding myself how unhappy I would be if I broke my promise. I reminded myself how I would feel if I gave up…again. Overall, I found a real sense of security in eating the same meals every day. I clung to it like a life raft.
After about 2 months, I branched out a little and let myself make substitutions here and there. Now, 4 months later, I have about 3 different breakfasts, lunches, and dinners that I choose from. I plan to keep adding more choices until I can eat like a normal human being. I know that whatever combination of meals I choose, I’ll end my day somewhere between 1200 and 1400 calories. I don’t log my food anymore. Once in a while, I get buffalo wings…or pizza…or something naughty. I compensate by eating lighter the rest of the day. I haven’t had
ice cream sweet creamy frozen milk of Satan since I started living healthy…because there’s some shit you just don’t mess with. Why poke a tiger with a sharp stick?
Source: imgfave.com via Hot Mess Princess on Pinterest
If I sound like an addict in a 12 step program, well…you’re not far from the truth. You don’t get to weigh 381 pounds because you just like cookies. But I’ll tell you what: alcoholics & drug addicts don’t have to drink or do drugs in order to stay alive. Not true for us food addicts. I’m not trying to make light of anyone’s struggles in any way, but facing the devil is somewhat unique if food is your drug of choice. Whatever the addiction, though, there are always underlying issues and this happens to be the way through it for me. Baby steps and training wheels…and it’s working.
Proof? Look at my weight loss ticker up there on the right. 36 pounds are gone now. I’ve lost 2 more pounds in the last couple days. The fat’s coming off whether it wants to or not…because I finally stopped following other people’s plans and doing what other people said would work. I haven’t done anything crazy like ignore my doctor or go on the “eat pork rinds all day diet”. I’ve been responsible with my health – and you should too. I slowed down and started paying attention to what was working…and what was not working – which is truly an accomplishment for someone who lives for instant gratification. It’s really hard to make a change & stick with it long enough to see if it works or not – especially when all you want to do is take a miracle fat sucking pill and sit your ass on the couch.
This patience shit can be frustrating! Now I’m fully on board because I see that this baby steps thing really works for me. A little setback doesn’t derail my progress for a whole day…or week. There was a time when one little screw up would be just the excuse I needed to give up and grab a pint of mint chip because I didn’t have a perfect day. Now all I care about is keeping myself on the road and moving forward – even if I’m not going as fast as everyone else thinks I should be. And that’s how I’m doing this…each and every day. It brings to mind a quote that I have hanging over my treadmill.
A year from now, I plan to be at least 100 pounds lighter.
Where will you be? Let’s go. 🙂
25 thoughts on “I Need Patience…RIGHT NOW!”
You know, Overeaters Anonymous once told me that having a food addiction was not like any other addiction. WIth drugs or alcohol…you can put your tiger in the cage and leave it there.With food…you can put your tiger in the cage but you have to take it for a walk three times a day. And its true. You’re an inspiration. i’ve lost 32 lbs and I love your blog. I have about 90 more to go. Keep it up. 🙂
Laura, congratulations on your incredible 32 lbs!! Go, girl!!!! 🙂
Your post made me cry (that’s good) just because it’s so real, and you just put yourself out there just how it is.
You truly are an inspiration….I need to find a way to work through my stress (I am a stress eater) because it’s slowly killing me with food.
What did your husband eat while you were eating the same thing? Did you cook for him or did he just fend for himself. There are 4 of us in my house (2 kids…5 and 16 and my hubby) so I still have to cook dinners even if I don’t feel like eating or were to eat the same thing everyday. I’m home by myself all day though, so I’m thinking maybe I could do breakfast and lunch the same and then just have a selection of up to 7-10 things for dinners so I can change it up for them.
I gotta get a handle on it somehow!
Thanks so much, Susan!
I am suck a picky eater that I made my husband dinners that he loves but I do NOT. Anything that was too tempting, I just took a break from making. We don’t have kids, but I do believe that when you have a family it should be a family support thing…in the beginning, you MIGHT have to make separate dinners – but you’re worth that extra trouble and it won’t last forever.
When you get to the point where you can make the more tempting foods, just make them less often…and with the condition that the entire family does a physical activity for 30 minutes or more after dinner. This will bring you guys together and bring your family together in support of you and your efforts.
With a little more menu control and some increased family activity, I know you can do it!!
Wow. This was such a good post today.
Thanks so much, Pretty! 🙂
I got a shout out!!! 🙂 I so totally agree with you regarding replicating meals – too many choices is bad for me also. During the week Mon-Friday afternoon, I eat just about the same things at the same times and it works. The big problem I’m having right now is the unplanned, the weekends, the invites out to dinner. I was giving myself a reward meal which turned into a reward day and now seems to have turned into a reward weekend and it has put an absolutely stubborn HALT to my weight loss success. Do you tell people you can’t eat out? I know you said you had pizza last week…pizza AND ice cream are on my “don’t go there” list, but I’ve been indulging in mexican, homemade desserts at people’s houses. I am in need of a big smack in the a$$. I KNOW this crap…ugh. As of yesterday (May 1) my GOAL, is to stick within my calorie range (about 1300 right now) for the WHOLE WEEK. My gosh, that would be epic. I love your picture and quote about “a year from now…” If I could cut out the sludge on the weekends, I know I would be so much happier even a month from now. I am not quitting this time. I originally started at 279 and am at 207 right now. So close to Onederland and I’m being an idiot. Thanks for the info here…I need to get more methodical about my approach – the laissez faire is not working for me. Any pointers for weekends/social stuff would be SO appreciated! Thanks so much, Dianne!
Yeah, Monica, I love the idea of a reward meal but I do the same thing…and I’ve decided that it’s just not something I can handle. I don’t tell people I can’t go out, but in the beginning I did insist on being allowed to pick the place. There are several places in the DFW area where I can go get a piece of grilled chicken and not be too tempted by the dessert menu. LOL I didn’t have ANY dessert for several months. I just said no and if anyone acted insulted about it, I just smiled and said how much weight I’d lost so far and “I’m sure you understand”. It kind of made me feel powerful to stand up and say no.
You’re only 8 lbs away, girl…that’s phenomenal!! You can do this. Get out of your tummy and back in your head. 🙂 Stand up straight, square your shoulders, and know that NOTHING…no food anyone puts in front of you is going to take Onederland away from you. NOTHING. Go get it!
On weekends, I make sure I plan my errands and everything around my eating times so that I still have some kind of schedule. It makes me feel like I’m not just letting it all go…that I still have a certain responsibility about the food side of things.
We’re gonna get you through these 8 pounds, girl. Me and your Hot Mess sisters on my FB fan page…we need to brainstorm. 🙂 You can SO do this!!!
That’s awesome ~thanks so much! I got my butt out of bed this morning and took Charlie on a 5:30am walk and then had a protein shake. He kept turning around looking at me funny and I was like “I know, right?” LOL We normally only walk at night. I’ve been doing really great and on my plan since Monday and today is all planned and no chance for nukes. I’m starting to work on a plan for the weekend too. I truly believe if I can make it through ONE freaking weekend without going on a tear it will give me the boost, confidence, whatever…that I need. I got some post-it’s too!! 🙂
Your blog is so wonderful! Thank you a million times over for posting your insightful and HYSTERICAL take on weight loss and struggles. We even share your blog around my office!
I went to Overeaters Anonymous at one point in my life and said exactly what you put above, “This isn’t like being a drug addict or alcoholic. I can’t avoid food!” but I was told that it IS the same. Alcoholics don’t stop drinking…they just realize that they can’t drink alcoholic beverages. Drug addicts don’t stop taking any medication….they realize that they can’t take illicit drugs or certain prescription/over the counter drugs. Food addicts are the same. We have to eat, but I can’t be trusted within a 10 miles radius of the sweet milk of satan either. And lord help me if I am invited to another wedding that is buffet style with their dessert options!Oddly, knowing that and believing that my addiction stems from the same place as others has really helped me in feeling like I have power over my problem. I can’t avoid food, but I can avoid eating an entire cheesecake in one sitting! That’s a very empowering feeling from where I used to be a year ago.
Amen, Ashley! For me, it’s just reassuring to know that I am staying away from the right evils in terms of food. LOL
Thank you so much for this post!!!! I do eat almost the same thing every day for breakfast, lunch and snacks but dinner always gets to me. I think I’ll have to try the same approach of eating the same thing at least for a couple of weeks and see how it works.
I do have a tip for anyone who has issues with eating on weekends. This was always a problem for me so now what I do is when I get up in the morning I make my lunch and snacks just like I am going to work. I put them in my lunch bag and that’s all I’m allowed to eat during the day. It’s really helped me out!
Great job to all of us on our weight loss. This is the first time in my life where I’ve gotten super serious about losing weight and I’m down about 20 lbs so far. I’ve got about 65 lbs to go to meet my goal, but I’m looking forward to a year from now when I’ll be there.
I have kind of missed you, i haven’t been ignoring you….You know i love being friends with a famous person hahahaha
Its been 4 months since i started my journey and i kind of got stuck in the same old, same old….i knew i had to drink my water so i didn’t measure it anymore, i knew what i could eat so i didn’t weigh it anymore….
So i have been on a 10 day holiday and i enjoyed every minute of it. We went out to dinner 4 times. My choices were reasonably healthy i passed on fries and desserts, i had side salad and coffee instead. Now i am back i gained 3 pounds but am completely ready to jump back on track and started of this morning with my trusty water bottle and some yoghurt.
I guess i still haven’t come to terms with the fact that it’s a lifetime turnaround and that kind of bothers me more than anything else. I thought i was passed that.
You know i love reading your blog and even though i didn’t comment i read it when i was away. Keep up the good work !!
Huggles from Holland
Good for you! This is amazing and so helpful. I am an extremes person as well when it comes to food…I have no self-control but knowing yourself is part of the battle it seems. Good luck to you and keep up the amazing work. Thanks for coming by my SITS day. So sorry I am SO SO SO behind, but glad to have found and be inspired by your journey!
Looove this post. So inspiring. Im gonna do that 3 lists thing ….i mentally tell myself but somea visual works wonders!
Wow you are such an inspiration! I love the lists you made! Cheese would have been on my can’t live without list! And most all sugar (except what’s in my coffee) would be on the never again list too!) And I LOVE those cocoa almonds too!! Those are to die for! And I also love that picture at the end: a year from now you would have wished you started today. And I’m loving your blog and glad I found it via Sits girls!
Thanks so much Nicole! Glad to “meet” you!
This blog is so, SO inspiring! I loved the post about the bra extender. Amazing stuff. Thank you for commenting on my SITS day and I’m so glad to meet you!
Thanks Jeanne!!! 🙂
I love this post Dianne and I can keep coming back to reading it. i do have an odd request well it might be super odd.. but do you think you could go into some more elaboration into your breakfasts, lunches, and dinners.. I’m really struggling right now with food. The problem – to many choices. I love cooking and I love variety but right now I think it’s a huge issue for me because I get so bogged down in the oh goodness what in the heck am I gunna eat because there are so many choices… probably why I stopped tracking my foods.. I’m thinking I need limited choices right now and not so much over analyzing of it. Can ya help me or did any of this make sense?
Well, I’m not entirely sure what you’re asking…do you want me to specifically list out what I’m eating? (Which I’m happy to do) Or do you want me to delve more into how I narrowed all this stuff down and waded through all my mental crap?
I agree with you that when you get too bogged down or distracted by choices, a great strategy is to STOP…and simplify everything. Remove as much choice and distraction as possible while still making your food enjoyable. Don’t try to force crap down your throat that you don’t like…but in times of frustration, it’s best to keep it super simple!!!
Now…help me understand where you need those details and I’ll be happy to oblige, girlie! 🙂
If I say both is that to much to ask? I know you got lots to do and you’re busy being awesome! But both would really help if you could list what you’re eating and how you narrowed it down/waded through the mental sludge.
I need to learn to simplify for sure and not just the food part of my life. LOL!!
Hugs! Thanks girlie you is the best. xx
Take your time on my request i’m not going anywhere! Am gunna be part of the hot mess club for life. maybe we could make tshirts.. lmao.
Sweet girl, you read my blog and support me…of course it’s not too much to ask. 🙂 I’ll give you my beginning menu and I’ll work on the rest. LOL
In the beginning, here’s what I ate:
3 pieces of turkey bacon
1 grapefruit with stevia for sweetener
2 pcs whole grain toast
1 tbsp sugar free raspberry jam
7 reduced fat Triscuits
1 wedge Laughing Cow garlic cheese
1 granny smith apple
2 – 3 cups raw spinach
8 oz grilled, seasoned boneless/skinless chicken breast
2 tbsp bleu cheese crumbles
(no dressing…only because I hate all dressing)
1 serving Emerald Cocoa Roasted Almonds
1 svg organic fat free chocolate milk
6 oz grilled, spicy boneless/skinless chicken breast
3 corn tortillas, warmed (you don’t have to put them in oil of you just warm them a little…they’re very flexible when warm)
3 tbsp 7-J Ranch Chipotle Salsa
That’s the menu I stuck with for about 2 months!!
All these foods are foods that I find to be quite yummy, so I didn’t feel deprived at all.
I’ll work on your other questions today and will hopefully be able to post more tonight! 🙂
Amber, I just realized I still owe you the rest of this reply! Remind me, girl! LOL. This is going on my calendar for the weekend so I don’t forget!!
LOL! It’s no worries. Take your time. I’m still in the evaluation stage of my 3 lists. Evaluation in I haven’t even started.. what am i so afraid of… I mean I like lists so it shouldn’t be this difficult should it.. ah well.. maybe that would be a good first writing for me.
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