Experiment Day 4

7:47 AM AirplaneFoodCritic 0 Comments

I learn something new about dieting every day. Today's lesson: Mental Health.

I have always known that attitude is paramount when trying to lose weight. I learned a long time ago that if you are negative, you will fail. For example, if you are overweight, you should not surround yourself with funny pictures of pigs or jokes about fat ladies. You may think it is just making light of your situation but it is actually putting negative images in your mind. What you should be doing is surrounding yourself with images and photos of positive things. If your motivation is to be skinny for a trip to the beach then put up pictures of the beach to remind you why you are doing this. If you want to be at a target weight that you had years ago, keep a picture of you at that weight on your desk to remind yourself you have been there before, you can be there again. If you have a celebrity that you think you look like or whom you admire, keep a picture of him or her around to inspire yourself. I keep rotating pictures of me in Hawaii on my desktop. When people come by, they compliment how nice I look in the pictures and I feel energized to continue with the diet.

My idea of doing a rapid weight loss diet followed by a healthy diet is ultimately based on keeping the spirits up. You may not know it while you are eating minimal foods, not having alcohol, never quite feeling full, not going out to eat and basically hating every one around you who gets to eat, but when you step on that scale in the morning and the number you see is lower than the number you saw the morning before you realize why you are doing this. The feeling you get when you can start seeing results is unbeatable. I think it is a fantastic motivator as well.

Weighing yourself:

Start with the scale because your scale is going to be the first one to tell you if you are losing weight or not. Don't go out and get one of those scales that calculate your body mass index and your fat cells and whatever else they do these days. The scale doesn't know how much water you are retaining or when your last BM was, how much salt you had that day or how big your breasts are. Instead, get a digital scale that gives you your weight to the nearest one or two decimal places. Mine goes to the nearest half pound and that is fine with me. I do not know how accurate my scale is and I don't really care. It is close, I am sure, to what I weigh. What is important is tracking the CHANGE. So don't go crazy trying to get your scale to match what it is at the doctor's or the gym.
So long as you have a general idea you can track your change. Now, many people suggest that you weigh yourself every week. This will give you an idea of the general direction your weight is heading supposedly without discouraging you. I do not do this. I need to have affirmation every single day. That is the only way I get through a rapid weigh loss diet. If I go off my diet and binge on a wheel of cheese (Don't laugh, I have done it) I need to know how far off the diet I went and I need to see the weight go up a half a pound to force me back on track. If I weigh myself every week, I may not know if what I did that week was really working and then I just wasted a week of trying a miserable diet that wasn't even working! No bueno. So I get up in the morning and use the restroom. This will give me the lowest weight possible. I also weigh myself wearing the same thing every time. I suggest weighing yourself in your skivvies or less. This will also make you feel better. I have been known to take my watch off just to see if I could push that scale under by a half pound mark. It has not worked but I think I get an "A" for trying. Remember, it is all in the attitude.

The whole scale and weighing yourself is a two way street when it comes to mental health. You can be thrilled when you see that you lost a half a pound or you can be devastated when you see that you GAINED a half a pound. There isn't much to say about losing weight, it is freaking fantastic. It can motivate you to go through the next day with more conviction just to get that high you get from seeing that number get smaller and smaller. You can float through the day with what seems like more energy. It is a great thing. Hence, my promotion of a rapid weight loss diet to kick off a longer term, healthy diet. Ohhhh but when you look down and see that you gained weight, that is the worst feeling. Avoiding that feeling is why the others tell you to weigh yourself on a weekly basis. But imagine, after a WEEK of suffering (let's face it, it really is suffering when it is rapid weight loss) to look down and see no change or worse..... I can only imagine that disappointment is SEVEN times worse and seven times less the motivation to gear up for the week ahead. No no no, weigh yourself every day.

So, what do you do when you get up in the morning and see that you gained weight from the day before. Yes, it could be that you had more salt, or you retained a bit more water that day or you haven't been moving enough waste out of your body OR it could be that the day BEFORE when you weighed yourself you were extra dehydrated making it look like you weighed less than you should have. Either way, it feels terrible and you feel the need to do something about it. Here is what I do: As a good Catholic girl, I first have tremendous guilt. I rant to my mother, complain and whine for a bit (I am sure she appreciates that). Then I calm down and get more focused. I tell myself...OK, you can make this better for tomorrow. That is the beauty of weighing yourself every day, it is only 24 hours to worry about fixing. So I go over the day before and try to find where I went wrong. Then I either try to fix the problem or just stay on track with more motivation than ever for that day. The reward? The following day, I get on the scale and I have lost a pound. Then it is right back to feeling like I am walking on clouds.

I bet a therapist would think this is all completely unhealthy with the ups and down, but whatever works, right? Yesterday I was miserable because I had not lost weight and I had guilt for having eaten as much as I did at my parent's. I was determined to get the weight down again so I stuck to the soup all day. I felt great. Then, at the end of work, they tempted me with wine and cheese, my greatest weaknesses. I could not just sit there and watch my coworkers sip Pinot Noir and eat Cowgirl Creamery cheese on fresh, local bread. I kept thinking about Hawaii, my goal of dropping another half pound and how much I wanted that cheese. It made me have to stop and think, rather than slicing off half the cheese, wrapping half the loaf of bread around it, and swilling it all down with a giant glass of wine. I stopped, poured a very small glass of wine and smeared a small wedge of cheese on the bread. Then, I ate SLOWLY, against every fiber of my being. I became relaxed and was able to enjoy the cheese and wine without going into my office and crying for a half hour with regret.

I made it through another day despite the wine and cheese assault. I am on track with only 20.5 pounds to lose in 84 days.

I am leaving out lots of other mental issues in this particular blog such as being grumpy or bitter. I will address those at a later time. For now, I am eating my soup, drinking my smoothie. My only distraction might be popcorn at the movie tonight. I plan on eating one or ten puffs of popcorn just so I wont be a pariah amoungst all my friends. I will let you know how that goes.

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