Wednesday, August 03, 2011

the Four Letter Word: summer update edition

So awhile back I told you about that-which-shall-not-be-named (the four letter word: diet), so here is an update.  If you're male, tune out now.

To be entirely honest, in terms of numbers, it hasn't gone very well.  But I told you from the start it wasn't going to be about the numbers, and from any other perspective besides the numbers, it's going pretty well.  I'm starting to enjoy the exercise-- and if you're new, lest you think that I am some kind of fitness fanatic, I'll just say that it has taken three years of exercising regularly to get to the point where I can say that.  I am a lifetime couch potato.  This is new.  I've exercised more in past three years than in the previous ten years.

And although I've had plenty of slipups on the healthy eating agenda, I've also had plenty of excuses.  I was not going to skip having ice cream on my 50th birthday, for one thing.  And there have been plenty of other similar occasions in this crazy, crazy summer.  I guess you could say it's a miracle I haven't gained weight with all the family gatherings, pot lucks, vacations, and celebrations we've had.

So I'm calling it good.  It's not a perfect system, and it definitely has required plenty of starting over (if you click on the link, the revelant part is the last third).  But it's do-able for me, and I think if I stick with it long term, it's going to work out fine.  I've made a few modifications (like ditching the food diary, which just made me obsess about food), but the basics are still good:  only eat when hungry; avoid sweets and empty calories; and don't eat after 8:00 (and that last one is where most of the slipups have occurred).  I try to exercise 4-5 days per week, usually doing the treadmill MWF and stretching/abs on T-Th.  And I try to stay active-- carry laundry up and down the stairs, go for walks, park at the back of the parking lot.

But what I really wanted to write about today is something I've been thinking about quite a bit.  I'm not sure how to find the balance between indulging myself and becoming a food nun, if you know what I mean.  I have no desire to become someone that only eats healthy food all the time.  Of course, when you put it like that, it sounds kind of crazy, because who wouldn't want to be healthy all the time?  But what I mean is, I don't want to become an ascetic, someone who can't enjoy food, the sensual experience of a caramel brownie or a plate of enchiladas.  I'm not even opposed to using food for emotional comfort from time to time-- I'll be first in line for the compensatory Peanut Buster Parfait after a day from hell, thank you very much.  After a long day of one difficult thing after another, I'm entirely in favor of comfort food.

But on the other hand, I reached the point sometime in the past year or so where I was reaching for comfort food a dozen times a day every day.  Boredom eating, emotional eating, whatever you want to call it.  And I also find it difficult to stop eating once I've started.  Often because my brain is disconnected from what I'm doing-- I'm not really paying attention to what I'm eating.  So I'm trying to pay attention to eating.  But at some point, I have to literally stop moving my hand toward my mouth; I have to not put that bite in my mouth, even though I want to.  And oddly, thinking that thought--"I need to just not put this food in my mouth"-- helps. 

This is ongoing, obviously. Oh, and wildlife spottings today!  As I was driving home about 9:30 tonight (which is still twilight this far north), a doe and two bucks (whitetails) ran right across the road in front of me-- fortunately not too close, I had plenty of time to stop.  Then about half a mile further, there was a big horned owl sitting in the top of a bush.  He was so heavy that the branch he was on was bending over. 

1 comment:

  1. Now I want enchiladas.

    I know exactly what you mean. I could have written this post, well except for the exercising and liking it part. Whatever. What you said makes perfect sense to me. Even if what I said might not.

    Owl, way cool!
    (good job not deleting anything lately)