Weight Loss

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Monday, August 3, 2009

Habit is the Enemy of Progress

I don't know if I read that somewhere or I made it up, but that is what came to mind when I started this morning's run. This, after stepping on the scale and discovering I have regained 14 pounds since my all-time low in late January.

(Here's the rationalization paragraph, brace yourself.) I will say that the way I got to my all-time low weight might have something to do with the regain. It was during that month when my personal life blew up and I was under even more stress than I have been since starting anesthesia school. The stress caused me to stop eating (I just wasn't hungry and couldn't make myself eat) and I was running to combat the stress, and I lost 12 pounds in 2 weeks. Slowly, in the 6 months since then, I have regained them, plus a couple more for good measure. Also, probably 2 pounds of this is hormonal water weight.

Still, it's not just that. I'm running more in the past few weeks, but this entire spring and early summer I have slacked off in the exercise department. And my eating goes from okay to abysmal. I went over what I ate yesterday, and I can't even record it here. It's awful. No bandster should eat as much sugar and junk as I have been eating. A fill won't fix that. That's my brain.

I think long-term weight loss success is a personal experiment. I have a scientific background, and I believe in the scientific method. For the past year I have been testing the hypothesis that I can rely entirely on my band to maintain my weight loss. I think I have established that this is not a valid theory. So it's time to come up with a new hypothesis (on purpose, this time!) and make this thing work.

I've wanted to believe that somehow, since my WLS, I could eat and act like a normal person, and maintaining my weight would become natural and easy. But I now accept the idea of food addiction, and the fact that I am a food addict. I need my band because, left to my own devices, I will eat myself to death. But even with it, I have to make some changes in my brain and keep working at them. They don't have to be hard, but the thing I have to fight is falling back into bad habits and thinking. I've developed some good eating habits, riding the wave of easily following them, and then not noticed when they slowly eroded into my old ways. Habit is the enemy of progress.

I want progress. I want to reach my goal. I want to change my brain. So how can I do that, in small, easy-to-implement steps?

1. Start noticing not-hungry again, and don't eat when not hungry
2. Start noticing 'satisfied' again, and be vigilant when eating; stop eating when satisfied.
3. Serve myself my own portions (I will eat everything on my plate, so must be more careful about this)
4. Focus on protein again

This is a start. There are a lot more things I want to change about my thinking, things like the idea that if food shows up in an unexpected place (i.e. in my classroom, at a meeting) then it's "free" and I can eat whatever it is, whether I'm hungry or not, whether it's in my plan or not. And I do need to get back to planning out my meals, the very thought of which just makes me tired and annoyed. This is much more about eating and thinking than it is about exercise.

Right now I am frustrated and tired of all of this. Why can't I be a normal person? But then, who is normal these days?


Diz said...

Awesome post. Hmm...let's look at your second to the last question..."Why can't I be a normal person?" My answer to you is...because you're too extraordinary for ordinary. An ordinary person doesn't bear their soul and allow others to learn from their experiences. An ordinary person doesn't continue to strive for excellence like you do...in your professional life, in your health, etc. An ordinary person is content to sit in the background and allow others to dictate their life, their choices, their thoughts. You do not! You are far from ordinary my friend.

Survivor said...

Seriously, if you're not a *normal* person, then the rest of us mortals really don't have much of a chance. I've been gaining weight too, so let's see if we can lose weight together and get in better shape and overall health. The last six months have been focused quite a bit on our emotional/relationship health, and that has been a good thing. Perhaps the weight gain is indicative that we are doing well in that area and now it is time to get back to the basics of taking care of ourselves physically also.

Anonymous said...


I am 18 years old and overweight...

I Love reading all your info! very inspiring!! I have 37 days till my OP and I am incredibly nervous but very excited!!

I have noticed that alot of people have said there are foods you can't have this is something my Dr has not said!

so now I am nervous that I am going to be deprived!!

but your blog is inspirational - THANKS FOR YOUR ADVICE!