I hopped on the scale this morning. It’s been awhile. I expected to see one thing, but saw another.
I’m a pound or two over my top limit. That’s a nasty way to start the day.
Weight maintenance is just plain hard. Losing 100 was hard, sure. But the annoying truth is, maintaining that loss looks a lot like the work we do to take the weight off in the first place. Why, it looks like this:
1. I keep track of everything I eat, and eat within guidelines that work for my body.
2. I exercise. A lot.
3. I think about it. I stay focused.
Right? Three things. How hard is that?
Well, it’s a juggling act that is not part of my outward life. It’s an inner juggle. When I put on weight, I know it’s because I’ve dropped one or all of balls 1. or 2. or 3. Now the trick is getting them back in the air quickly before they roll too far away.
Oooph. I could work that metaphor harder, but it started out tired.
It’s never difficult for me to figure out what’s going on. It’s not usually a matter of too little exercise. And with this ridiculous new running program I’ve started, well, I know lack of exercise is just not it. But there’s a lot going on at the office. There’s a lot going on at home. It’s tax season. I’m too busy.
Too busy is always, always the perfect environment for weight gain. I am a stress eater. A mindless eater. When unfocused, scattered, brain-tired, body-tired, I eat thoughtlessly. Many of us do. We know who we are.
So that’s been my week. I let the no-TV-food rule slide. I let the structured mealtimes slide. I’ve been eating without focus. Without stopping and tasting my food. I haven’t been drinking my water. I haven’t kept my food diary up. I haven’t planned meals. I don’t have good food in the house, so am relying too much on supplements, which are not satisfying the way a meal slowly savored with my sweetie is.
Too much, too fast, no focus.
And no end in sight. I know I’ll be wildly busy for the next week. What I need to do is plan for this busy time.
I’ll load the house with fast good food: sweet potatoes, tuna, salad veggies, tofu, frozen berries for protein shakes, cottage cheese, apples.
And I’ll remain focused on just these things: 5 small structured meals per day, planned just before bedtime the night before. When eating, I’ll focus on the food I’m eating (not the computer, not the taxes). Only water between meals. One cup of coffee in the morning.
And then when this crunch is over, I’ll focus on restoring all of my good habits.
Are you interested in exploring stress and weight gain, stress and the mindless, automatic, brain-dead, cloud-eyed, face-stuffing zombie response so many of us have at the end of the day? Read Dr. Pamela Peeke’s Fight Fat after Forty, which gives you research on the matter, allows you to identify your stress response type, helps you understand the hormonal influences and results of the stress response, and all the ways stress makes you fat and shortens your life. Dr. Peek, thankfully, also offers ways of eating and exercising and things to do and think about to manage stress in your life.
Don’t imagine you have to be over 40 to benefit from this book. I’ve met plenty of 30 year-olds who could use her advice.