Facing Food Addiction: Part 3: Make a Plan A

Before any plan will work successfully, you have to start with pure intentions.  Dealing only with the symptoms of a problem might seem to work short term but it’s not sustainable.  You also run the risk of getting out of balance in another way (trading one addiction for another).

Once you are ready to work a plan, set SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time-sensitive).  Set at least one for your spiritual self, one for your physical self and one for your emotional self.  Ignoring any portion of that triad will inhibit progress.  Addressing all three will lead to success and long term sustainability.

Long before any change happens in my physical body, my spiritual and emotional self give me signs I’m getting off track.   Emotionally, I start to feel like I can’t say “no”.  I think things like: “I don’t have a choice”, “I have to do this”, “you can’t”, “you suck”, “this is too hard”….  When I’m emotionally well, I instead think things like” “I have a choice”, “do I want to do this?”, “I can by…”, “you’ll make mistakes while you’re learning”, “you have what you need to accomplish this”…. Spiritually, I start not thinking much beyond myself.  I lose faith that the answer I need will appear when I need it.  I start to question what I believe (not in a good way).  Sometimes, in really dark periods, I think that I am unforgivable and completely unlovable.

When I’m well emotionally and spiritually because I’m taking time to nurture myself in those ways, I have energy to stay on track with food and exercise.  When I’m not well, it’s ugly…. But, I have learned I can get back on track!  Learn from the slip and go back to making healthy choices again.

My weight loss journey started with an experienced, licensed personal trainer who had me on a meal plan of 1300-1500 calories (60% carbs, 20% fat, 20% protein) and strength training for 45 minutes 3x a week.  I could add in any cardio I wanted (like walking, biking or elliptical  but I was supposed to get in those strength workouts no matter what).  The strength workouts were full body routines, working large muscle groups and getting my heart rate up (they felt harder than running 3 miles does today!).  Pick up any Women’s Health or Men’s Health magazine and they will have at least one of those routines inside.

Just doing cardio and eating less will help you lose pounds but without strength training, you will also lose muscle (reducing the number of calories you burn when at rest, slowing your metabolism).  If being a member of a gym is not an option, there are hundreds of body weighted strength exercises you can do at home and a few small dumbbells can round out what muscle groups you work.

Seriously look at your finances.  If you did not buy cigarettes, alcohol, lattes, pop, candy, chips or fast food, how much money would you save?  Try it for a week.  If you still don’t have money for a trainer, you’ll still end up ahead!  If cutting it out all together is too much, cut spending on those things gradually over time (with a SMART goal).

Wellness is a process, a journey….small choices that add up over time, either taking you in the direction of better health and wellness or the other way.  Wishing you a lifetime of health and happiness!

 

From my heart to yours,

Thanks for reading

 

Next up… Make a Plan B

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Facing Food Addiction: Part 2: You Are Worth It

Do you think you deserve to be fit and healthy?  Seriously… Not just “it would be nice if I were fit and healthy” but do you honestly believe you deserve to be fit and healthy?  Do you believe it’s possible for you?

If not, start there…

Why not?

What do you fear?

What are you hiding from?

What’s hurt you in the past?

What’s hurting you right now?

What do you think you deserve?

Fat is a barrier between you and the rest of the world.  Why do you think you need it there?

If these questions bubble up tears or a lot of self deprecating self talk, get some professional help and/or find some kind of support group for yourself.  There’s no shame in identifying there’s something that needs to be addressed and then seeking out help to address it.  If you are willing to be honest with yourself about what’s really going on inside, recovery is possible for you! It’s not easy, but it’s WORTH IT!

Recognize that food addiction is real.  It doesn’t go away.  However, YOU, my dear, are worth some of the precious energy you spend on other people EVERY DAY.

Are you taking time to nurture yourself in ways that do not include food?  If not, start making a list of things that fill you up that have nothing to do with eating or drinking.  Think about when you were a kid.  What did you dream about?  What did you love to do?  My core favorite things have not changed for as long as I can remember… Connect with that inner child.  Love her.  Love him.  Don’t judge.  Don’t talk down to.  Help that little boy or girl be healthy.

Carve out some times to do what you love.  Doing so makes it possible for you to TRULY be there for others.  It’s not selfish, it’s self-care.

Become more aware of your self talk.  Turn every judgmental, critical, self deprecating thought around into something positive.  Open your heart to receiving the answers that are available to you at any given moment.  Sometimes they seem like they are slow in coming.  Have faith that the answers you need will arrive when you need them if you are open to receiving them. They are!  Really!

It becomes easier with practice.  The first step is simply to become aware.

It takes determination and constant effort to change significantly.  Keep in mind the weight didn’t come on overnight and it’s not going to go away overnight.  Be kind, be patient, with yourself.  Trust the process.

Seek out people who are living the lifestyle you want.

Learn about addiction and how people successfully overcome it.  The original 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous are at the bottom of this post.  They work.  It’s not easy, but it’s WORTH IT!

Food is fuel. If you don’t eat enough for your body to function, it will take nutrients from your muscles and bones, slowing your metabolism.  It does get easier to make healthy choices and the lifestyle change it takes to change your body does get easier to maintain the longer it’s practiced.  Know that.

Before  you set yourself up to fail (again), take some time to identify what’s gotten you here in the first place.  Start thinking positively.

Change your thoughts and change your world!

 

From my heart to yours,

Thanks for reading

 

As a reference, these are the original Twelve Steps as published by Alcoholics Anonymous as taken from Wikipedia. :[10]

  1. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol – that our lives had become unmanageable.
  2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
  3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
  4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
  5. Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
  6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
  7. Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
  8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
  9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
  10. Continued to take personal inventory, and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it.
  11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.
  12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

Facing Food Addiction: Part 1

There are different statistics out there about the percentage of people who gain back weight after losing a significant portion of it.  There is scientific evidence suggesting that fat cells do not actually disappear without some kind of extreme intervention, they merely shrink.  The data can be bleak if you pay much attention.

A recent Facebook interaction with a dear friend preceded by an encouraging conversation with a new acquaintance only a few days before, has inspired me to start a series of blog posts about my journey overcoming food addiction.  If you look at the statistics of people successfully overcoming drug or alcohol addiction for the rest of their lives, the data is bleak as well.  That does not mean no one does it, it just means most don’t.

Unlike controlled substances or illegal drugs, you will die without food.  Food is fuel.  You need it for your brain to work, muscles to flex and accomplish your daily business.  Food is also the most socially acceptable substance to abuse.  My experience has been people more hastily criticize someone choosing to not eat certain foods than they will someone gorging past the point of comfort.  My goal here is to simply acknowledge managing food is tough stuff.  It’s not easy, but it is possible.

There are people who argue that everyone carries weight differently and that some people are just made to be fat.  They will claim their metabolisms are slow or that society unnecessarily judges them for being who they are.  If that applies to you, this series of blog posts is likely not your cup of tea.

I hated being fat.  I hated not being able to walk up stairs comfortably…Not able to run a block without feeling like my lungs would collapse…Not able to fit into clothes at Target.  I hated being overlooked, treated like I was invisible while my sexy, skinny friends got all the attention.  I HATED being the project of the “wing man”.  I disliked feeling fatigued…I felt trapped in an ugly, “too big” body and didn’t know what to do about it.  I hated myself because of it.

Now, I can run several miles without feeling the least bit winded.  Last fall, I completed my first marathon.  Stairs are no trouble at all, unless I run up several flights of them at a time, but even then, I can keep going without feeling like my legs will fall off.  I have a full, happy life and have recently been recharged by some new people who have blessed my path.  This was not accomplished just by dieting…. no… just dieting does little long term.

Did I follow a meal and exercise plan to the letter for several months?  Yes. Do I still follow it to the letter now? No.  Did I change my lifestyle?  Yes.  Is it easy?  No. Did I have support?  Yes.  Do all my friends, family and coworkers follow my diet? Not a bloody chance!

In the next few weeks, I’ll be writing about what’s worked for me, what’s set me back and what keeps me going.  I am not a doctor, psychologist or nutritionist but I have successfully kept off 30% of my original body weight for over 3 years now.  I’ve taken the advice of all three classes of professionals and am an expert at being human.  A mom…A wife… A business woman… A friend…

 

SIDE NOTE:  If you have a particular struggle you want to share or a topic you would like me to cover here, please email me  at powerfrominside @ gmail.com.

 

From my hear to yours, thank you for reading.