In yesterday’s comments on my “Health Halo” entry, I concluded that my weight loss journey (which began nearly five years ago and, incidentally, led to the creation of my disordered eating behaviors) has followed a learning curve of sorts over the years …
Interestingly, it’s kind of turned out to be far more circular than I’d have ever imagined.
And so today, I wanted to take a poll to see if anyone else (disordered eater, dieter, weight loss expert, nutrition-fiend, average Joanna) feels the similarly about how they’re journey has played out.
I break my experience with weight loss into three phases.
First, we begin a weight loss program and, in that new phase where we’re learning, often want to eat what we always ate … and find ways to “fit it in.” (budgeting for the french fries if that’s our thing; for pizza if that’s our thing; chocolate). In the beginning, I’d save 12 points on a Friday for a Potbelly’s oatmeal chocolate chip cookie. (Yes, they were worth it).
Then we learn to find substitutions for the real deal so we don’t feel “deprived”, such as baked chips, English muffin pizzas, sugar-free chocolate pudding. My obsession with Thomas Sweets fat-free frozen yogurt, for example. (If you don’t know it, there’s two: one in Princeton, one in Georgetown. A-ma-zing).
And some of those substitutions find a happy home on our weekly menu plans. Let’s be real: I’ll always love my Thomas’ Light pizzas with tomato, mozz., Italian herbs and 2 tsp. EVOO. Delish!
But often, we reach this level of “enlightenment” and realize those substitutions aren’t so great. We’re not satisfied with a little, and end up eating extra just to feel sated or, worse, eat the FF/SF crap plus something else. The substitutions become truly not “point-worthy.”
At this point, we often go back to the real stuff — in smaller portions. Imagine that?! Real food, just smaller portions.
In a way, this was my journey from Flex to Core and back around again. Now on Flex, I eat much healthier, and for the most part, make better, more filling and nutritionally-dense choices.
Of course, I’m not perfect; no one is. Yesterday, for instance, I ended up noshing on dark-chocolate raisins I’d picked up at the grocery store on my way back to the office at lunch, and therefore had to skip my soup at lunch (I still had the turkey, veggies and an apple I’d broght) so I could keep to the rest of the day’s food plan.
I really feel like my journey took on a circular curve because in a way, I’m back to where I started … I’m just smaller and wiser.
But I will say this: I envy the people who are all about quality of their food; I want to be like them.
If I cared more about quality … then maybe then I wouldn’t chew-and-spit, or deny myself things I want to try.
True, I’m getting better at both of these things, and bi-monthly therapy sessions are helping me understand myself and my hardware, where I’m learning to sift through many thoughts, fears and anxieties … but it’s not like we wave a magic wand and suddenly we’re healed. (As my dad says, “If wishes were horses, a horse rancher I’d be!”).
Which brings me to the latest gossip dominating the Weight Watchers message boards.
Everyone’s talking about Weight Watchers’ Momentum plan (initiated in Canada) and questioning if that’s Weight Watchers’ new plan.
I have no idea if it is, but having read up on it, I really like the concept if that’s what they go with. To me, it makes sense: learning to make the best choices. The most point-worthy choices. The best quality choices.
It seems logical: quality over quantity. And, for anyone struggling with eating issues, it seems to me that this outlook would be really beneficial as we heal. I know that for many people with EDs, they argue “it’s not about the food; it’s about control.” And I won’t argue with that; I can’t speak for anyone but myself.
But for those of us for whom disordered eating behaviors were a consequence of dieting … if we can see food as fuel, as nutrition, as energy … if we don’t stigmatize it, don’t use it as a control mechanism (overeating, undereating, eating without dignity), I have to believe we’ll be better off in the long run.
Circling back around … We all know December is possibly the toughest month for anyone trying to 1) lose weight and/or 2) manage an eating disorder/disordered eating. Food and festitivies are literally everywhere, challenges abound.
But we can get through this one, and the next one … especially if we keep the quality of our choices in mind (and if we keep up our fitness routines!).
I have faith in all of us.
How about you? What has your journey looked like, and how has it changed pre-ED or post-ED?