Not knowing how inaccurate my scale was at home, I kept reading the 12- as 112 and not “120.” Who knows when I grew to 120 pounds? All this time, my perception was a 8 pound difference from reality.
It happened after we opened all the gifts Christmas morning. Eric got a digital scale that recorded his weight and body mass index on his phone. It could also tell between people, so I stepped on. When the 120 flashed three times with my initials under it, it was a shock. Had I gained 8 pounds from this trip? When I got home, I looked closely at my scale. Was it off a little?That's when I noticed the rest of the numbers. I had been reading it wrong.
Since it was nearing New Year's, I decided to make an effort with exercise and tracking my eating. I tried using an app called Lose It and found myself counting calories; vastly under-eating to stay under the calorie quota per week. Skipping meals! Can you imagine the internal debate about skipping a meal when you love food so much? The good habits: I'd decide to walk more to "earn" more calories to spend and I realized what portions equaled what calories. I downloaded an app called "The Walk", which is an audio adventure you unlock as you walk. I can pretty much eat a ton of vegetables whenever I want. A big realization was juice was not as good for you as I had previously thought and several cocktails in a night were as much as a meal.
I did lose a little weight, but I'd obsess over pluses and minuses. It was a signal that I needed to change my habits in general. It's tough to tell a person who is passionate about food, to not eat every damn thing in sight. It also hit me when I started buying clothes a size up. At first, I told myself it was the clothing companies conspiring to make me think I was getting bigger. Perhaps that is partially true but it didn’t help. I was spending more money on buying more clothes than the right combinations of foods.
Losing 5 pounds for a small person is a big deal. Not only is it a visible difference but it the rate is much slower, harder to shed. It took me a month to melt off 2 pounds. consistently without ballooning back. I keep being told that I don’t need to lose weight, which is true. I don't exclaim, "I feel fat!" but more so "I feel gross!" and greasy. I like the way I look already and I'm pretty happy, however, I do want to feel better about how clothes fit me. I’ve lost a little around my bum and my “paunch” which makes dresses fall straight down, instead of bunching in odd places. I don’t feel bloated as much. My pants are a little looser and it doesn’t hurt to breathe when I zip them up. I don’t have the creases in my skin from how tight my clothes hug my arms, legs or waist anymore.
It took a lot of personal examination to figure this out for myself. I had to look at the way I deal with problems and projects, instead of setting a diet and outsmarting myself or tricking myself into eating certain way. Even if I'm talking to myself, I can't even say that I can't do something, like, "Jenn you can't eat that nacho." You know what I'm going to do? Eat the nacho.
I love checklists. It feels so good to cross something off. The way I handle tasks at work is a combination of alarms, calendars and Todoist, a management app. However, I can't relegate my eating habits into that routine -- I feel like I'll ruin it all for myself and I won't want to do anything, ever, at all, anymore. I took a look at diets around the world and what they had in common when it came to aging well and living a balanced life, Italy and Spain especially.
I skew toward meat, salt and carbs. They’re comfortable, my eyes gravitate to them on menus. I don't need reminders to eat those. However, I do need reminders for everything else that I should be eating.
My checklist might be different than yours.
- Fish, not fried
- Fruit, real fresh stuff. Not in a juice or flavoring
- Vegetable, not cooked to hell
- Grain, reach outside of my comfort zone
- Olive oil, cook with or as a dressing
I keep this list visible on a marker board in my kitchen and on a clipboard that hangs on the inside of my room. So when I pass by, I think "Oh, did I have any of those things this week?" It's a great reminder for when I go grocery shopping. I limit my idle binge snacks like Cheez-its and chips. It Influences decision making between that chicken and waffle restaurant or sushi for dinner. If I do decide to eat that greasy fried chicken dinner, the checklists remind me to balance it out next time. And no skipping meals! I don't feel bad about cheating because this system accounts for it. Just be an adult and check yourself, is basically what I'm saying.
I’m still not ready to take the training wheels off and I still glance at my lists. But you know what? It's working. It took me 3 months to lose 7 pounds. Now my goal isn't to lose more weight, but to feel less gross and drive my energy levels up with exercise. I can't confidently do a push up, yet.
Just trying to achieve homeostasis.