Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Panic: keeping the scales moving downward

During the month of June I worked my tail end off on the bike trails.  I watched my food intake and kept it under control, often foregoing dessert and other treats. Yet the scales didn’t move!  Then July rolled around and the scales miraclusly started to move.  (You can read my take on why the scales were so stubborn here!).   But as the scales started to move in the right direction a feeling began to invade my emotions....panic!

Why in the world was I feeling panic?  I should have been feeling utter elation and excitement to see my weight begin to drop!  While I certainly felt the elation, pride and excitement to have my weight drop, the experience was tinged with panic....panic that I would do something to stop the downward progression.   What if I did something that made me stop losing weight and go back to the horrible ‘no loss while working hard for a loss’ stage of this healthy journey?  Could I handle it if that happened?

I found myself second guessing everything I ate. If I splurged with some peanut butter and chocolate on my banana I would be filled with dread.  Why?  Because the weight loss may come to a screeching halt!    When I had an issue with my foot and couldn’t go on my planned long ride (aka 1500 calorie burn mountain bike ride), I sat on the couch with my foot propped up worried about the effects on my weight loss efforts.   Panic!

Every time I have stepped away from the ‘perceived’ diet (grrr I hate that word so much!) I have panicked.  I am only at peace and not worried when I am eating a handful of grapes.  (Or some similar food.). I can see how eating disorders such as bulemia and anorexia can happen so easily!  Luckily for me, I don’t like that panicked feeling and I am refusing to give into the emotion.  I am sticking to my plan.

My food plan is not perfect.  I don’t expect it to be perfect and am not aiming for perfection.  I am striving for a balance between living a life with no major restrictions and living a healthy life.   I am aiming for balance. That means that I still allow myself an occasional cookie when we order from our favorite sub/sandwich shop!  That means that I will allow myself to have an ice cream bar on a long hot day!  (The balance comes in when I opt for a 150 calorie ice cream bar instead of the 1000 calorie milkshake!  And some weeks the milkshake happens also...but calculated, planned for and balanced by healthier options for other foods that same day!).  I refuse to lose weight by total restriction.    I still monitor my calorie intake by tracking each and every day.  I DO restrict my calories...but no food is off limits and I do splurge and eat what I want. I just counter balance those splurges with really healthy foods that fill me up but don’t pack on so many calories!  And I only splurge in moderation...not all the time!  So I expect slower weight loss...but no weight loss?  Not expected and frustrating!

Should I throw away the scales and just hope for the best?  No, that isn’t the answer either.  For me not weighing daily has a greater negative impact than  weighing daily! I like to be in the know.  I like to know how I am doing, even if it’s poorly.  If I know that the scale has popped up, I can evaluate what I am doing and make adjustments as needed.   When I don’t weigh I worry that my weight is fluctuating in the wrong direction and that I’m not making the necessary course corrections to get myself back on track!  

The looseness of my plan is what makes it a plan that I can live with and actually excel at!  But that same looseness and freedom drives the fear. (And I just realized maybe a bit of guilt wrapped up in the panic!  Guilt because modern ‘dieting’ preaching restriction...don’t eat this, don’t eat that...and my plan bucks that mantra!) I don’t know how to handle the fear.  I know that I will not feed the fear with actions of desperation.  I also know that I like the path that I am on with my food because I really see this a way of life that I can manage for the rest of my life simply because if has minimal restrictions but a whole lot of balance.  I am hoping that as I continue to drop the weight and move away from the ‘dead zone’ of no weight loss that I experienced in June that the panic will die down and go away.   In the meantime, I’m just hanging on and staying the course.  


Sarah said...

I so understand your feelings here! I struggle with fear and panic all the time. And not just about my weight. It's a tough monster, but you are strong and I believe you are on the right path.

You got this!

Kerstin said...

I know this panic well! For me it's a mix of not trusting myself to make the right choices and feeling resistance to 'success' because a part of me wants to stay fat because that's my 'safe' zone. I can really get down into the psychology of this and overanalaze every move or lack of move I make! But you actually hit it on the nail: don't overthink it and DO IT ANYWAY. Feel the panic, feel the discomfort and keep doing the plan that you know works for you. I wholeheartedly agree that what we do has to be sustainable and fit in with our lifestyle. But that doesn't mean that we can't learn new things, either. For me the Intuitive Eating part of my 'plan' definitely requires learning and listening to my body and not giving into what my head (i.e. anxieties) wants. You are doing great! And whenever I read about your bike rides I am so impressed, especially how you handled your accident and going back to the place where it happened. I had a bad bicycle accident last year and hurt my knee badly and it's been playing up quite a bit these last few weeks. Between that and my damaged ankle I don't feel too stable but I've been getting getting back on my bicycle anyway, just being careful how get on/off. I don't mountain bike, it's just a city bike that I ride around town and along a trail by the sea. But like you I love cycling! And I decided to ignore my fear around falling again and do it anyway! And you know what, my knee is slowly getting better and my confidence is returning. So here is to us who feel the panic/fear/resistance and keep doing it anyway :)

peppylady (Dora) said...

One thing I learn in my weight lost group...If you don't plan you plan to fail. I kept to my calorie amount, no eating after 7pm and I was up .75 a pound last week.
I know I need to do better on my water and activities.
Coffee is on

Tiffany said...

Good for you because doing a lot of restriction will only prove to have negative consequences. You have to do what is right for you and if that means weighing daily then do it. Its all the small steps that add up to triumph in the end.

MaryFran said...

Fear is a very tough are so right! We just need to keep pushing forward and make sure we don’t let the fear take over!

MaryFran said...

Yes! You are so right! I’ve long said that I wear my fat as a suit of armor to protect’s my safety net. It’s my excuse it’s my comfort. And it’s hard to push through the fears to ‘take that suit off’! But I keep telling myself that removing the fat suit will open up a whole new world!

Go you!!!! Good job for facing the fear of getting back in the bike after your accident and doing what you love! You kicked that fear in the face!!!! I love it!!!!

MaryFran said...

Yes...I am pretty tight on my caloric budget. I stay within my range 99% of the time! That’s why it gets so frustrating when I don’t drop weight!

MaryFran said...

Thank you! I know that whatever I do has to last for a lifetime! I want to be healthy for a lifetime! i Know that a strict restriction will not work for a lifetime. Saying that I will NEVER have another piece of cake...or bowl of ice cream...or whatever is unrealistic and only leads to failure!

SANRDJ said...

We like to sabotage ourselves by not allowing change. But change can be good and it's just taking the commitment to push through the little voices telling us not to fight the fear of leaving our comfort bubbles. You've lost the weight before so you know how it feels to get there. Stay the course.... You are doing great.

MaryFran said...

Thank you! I needed the pep talk!!!