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.