Monday, January 21, 2008

Losing Track

Yesterday I said I would tell you how I regained 30# after losing it 3 years ago. That's important because if I don't identify the habits and triggers that I ignored before, I am going to repeat that, right?

Initially, I started the Atkins diet because my boyfriend had wanted us to do it, so I dutifully got the book and read it on the plane flying to see him. The relationship last one more week, the diet continued - because the weight loss was amazing!

I spent the second week of induction at my Mom's. It turned out she had almost all the books, so it was an easy thing to do. Generally speaking, other people are what will turn your plans upside-down. Mine started out well, but other people's influece is part of how I let the 30# lost start to creep back up.

"Creep up" is another way it gets us. A pound or two here or there, clothes still fitting, and we think we're still okay and we're busy.

We're busy. That's another way it gets us. We become too busy to take care of ourselve first. Pretty much that is how I gained it the first time after my sons were born. There was no time for me, so I just left it there and called it "baby fat" and tried to laugh it off. (That method of dieting obviously didn't work.)

Back to the thread of regaining. I had been dating someone regularly and that did not affect the weight loss (I was still losing) as he worked out quite a bit. Although he and I didn't do workouts together, the support for doing so was still tacitly there. That relationship ended and I next had a boyfriend who had boys the same ages as mine and we started spending time together, taking the kids on bike rides.

Even before this time, I tended to spend a lot of exercising time with my sons - taking them to the rollerskating rink, teaching them, then also skating. Teaching them to ride bicycles, then going bicycling. One son finally decided he didn't like riding the bike paths because they were straight. When he got roller skates for a gift, his brother got jealous and refused to go skating. This was part of the demise of my personal exercise plan.

The other part of the plan was with the new man in my life. We would stay on Atkins pretty easily when we went out - chicken wings with a caesar's salad, blue cheese, and celery, are pretty easy to find in most sports bars nowadays. Then he would have beer and I would have wine. And again, that would creep up in how much we allowed ourselves. Then as most couples do, we would have "special" meals where we ignored the dietary rules. Eventually, we were eating a lot more "normal" food, and I had stopped counting carbs for the day and had no idea how many I was eating.

Occasional "special" meals normally would work okay, except for two things: I had stopped counting my carbs (and therefore didn't know how many I could eat and still maintain the weight loss) and the exercise plan was under attack as well. Because I was only about 5# higher than where I had gotten, I felt I was okay. Yet I did not know what I had to do to stay there (how much exercise? how many carbs?), and I was slowly moving completely back to the previous lifestyle and I didn't know it. I thought I was just maintaining at 5# higher. I could live with that.

The next thing is that I had no back-up in case of an emergency, and work provided the emergency. I suddenly had a lot of work and a lot of stress at work, which made me MORE busy and had me calling the local pizza place for deliveries of calzones for dinner. And while they were delivering, might as well bring a pizza. I'd eat one of them now and save the other for another day. I felt efficient. I'd also avoided the vending machines in the building which were the only other way I could get food without leaving. I should have brought something for the fridge, but I'd get caught up in work and want to keep working until I finished something, and I was starving by then. I should have checked the number of carbs in pizza, but I was eating other foods with carbs in them, so why bother?

The pounds went on quickly then. So I capitulated, took out the safety pins holding my pants to a smaller size, appreciated that I didn't have to buy a new wardrobe, and kept doing my best with work, my love life, and my sons, but let my personal needs go - once again.

Warnings to look for:
1. Exercise level dropping
2. Excuses (yours)
3. Increased straying from diet
4. Not knowing how far you can stray from diet and recover
5. Not adjusting so you do recover
6. Stress at work
7. Effects of being around people who are not exercising/dieting as you are (creeps up on you as you give in more and more as part of the socialization needs in our lives).

Have you seen any of these signs in your life? How did they affect your ability to take care of yourself first? Post your comments below.

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