28 Days

Today is Thursday, July 6, 2017. I’m coming off a long-ish week period of unrestrained eating and drinking because of work-related events and the independence day holiday. Nothing big or crazy (with regard to the eating and drinking), but enough to feel the impact of the excess calories and richer foods that are now more foreign to my day-to-day eating patterns. On top of which, it has made me feel utterly crappy about myself and released my inner negative girl from her bottle. And as anyone who has battled back from the demons of poor self-image, she’s a bitch to get contained once more.

That particularly phenomenon – it is and was enough to want to not just restart healthier eating patterns but to also step-up my efforts and build some insurance against this happening again in the future. After all, Labor day and it’s abundance of BBQs and such is not far away.

My 28 days eating strategy started today.

I decided to blog about the journey a little differently than my training recaps, because I do not plan to talk about it much in real life. Except possibly to poor trainer J, who has the misfortune of spending 2 hours per week with me talking about this, that, the other things on the better health quest. Plus it’s kind of boring when I eat pretty much the same thing day after day after day for weeks at a stretch. It also inspires concern that (1) I’m not eating enough, (2) I’m not eating “real” food, and (3) some reason to be named later. My answer to all of that: I am under the care of an obesity physician who designed this program, and I will be checking in with him every week or even every single day if it seems appropriate and warranted. I have done this off and on for several months, but in truth this is my first honest effort at sticking with it for an extended period. Merely mentioning it here and having a structured plan to post about it in the future is a powerful accountability tool for me, even if no one else ever reads another post.

Rather than writing a daily recap describing my menu, calorie counts, etc., I am going to combine the posts into a weekly log. Format is still being drafting in my head, but I know I will summarize calories in (tracking in MyFitnessPal.com; it’s only 28 days – I can do it) and exercise calories burned in the gym (judgmental Fitbit must be good for something, right?) type results at the top with the nitty-gritty details underneath. Also, I plan to post the weekly blog posts all at once. It seems more impactful for me to write them in week by week post format and then publish them all together so the progress (or lack thereof) is more readily apparent. Sort of like binge watching a whole season of a TV show.

But I am hoping to see actual positive progress rather than a rehash of why I am mostly spinning my wheels.

Perhaps I shall surprise myself with my amazing, stellar success, but I expect there will be plenty of setbacks and backslides, probably tears and angry outbursts as well. And I’m okay with all of that – no perfectionista impulses here in this regard. I want to be clear the potential setbacks and backslides have little or nothing to do with about the ways I will write these chapters. Because I know myself and my blogging style very well by now, the good, the bad, the extraordinarily unflattering will always be included. Because I am pretty Jane Average with all my warts and flaws in the self-improvement realm.

Why am I doing this? Raw truth is the feeling of negative self-worth for this part of my better health quest has never completely faded. The big and small successes with regular exercise and becoming more active have been so much easier to focus on than the lifetime habits of being such a picky eater and being self-indulgent about food. Where I thought exercise would be the biggest hurdle in the better health quest, I was staggeringly incorrect and misguided. The longer I put off getting down-in-the-weeds real about my relationship with food the bigger the issue of monitoring and adjusting my eating habits becomes.

Being fair to me, I am so much better about food choices than I was when this journey began. That said, being better has become an inadequate rationalization; I desire to not rest on my laurels and continue to celebrate the anniversaries of past achievements. More and more, I am either growing restless, dissatisfied, and paralyzed in my efforts to reshape my eating habits or mentally and emotionally giving up and giving in to more destructive food choice impulses and feeling crappy – physically and emotionally – afterward. While once upon a time I thought raw sugar was my sole enemy, I am realizing the flaw in my reasoning is bigger, broader, much more insidious. Essentially, like so many others, I am addicted to highly processed and hyper-palatable foods. Being realistic, there is also a lot of sugar and fat and unhealthy stuff in all that I enjoy and that hits that carnal satisfaction button in my head.

So I need to first break that cycle and habit. Even a little or a taste is too much right now. Developing the discipline to just say no and follow through completely is imperative. Will it last forever? I hope not; I hope it does not have to be quite so black-and-white. Like my exercise and gym habits, I hope to be able to learn some limited form of moderation. But right this minute it feels like a life-and-death emergency to me to conquer this bad food choice addiction and tendency, so I need to do whatever it takes to make that objective happen.

To kick-start myself, I’m following my physician’s 27-day fat loss prescription program, modified for me to 28 days for a nice, even 4 week cycle. This also coincides with my next scheduled lab appointment in early August. While I am not expecting any major surprises with labs that might be affected by improving my eating in these 28 days, having a reasonable schedule and timeline always works better for me. I am a planner; it’s why Lists works so well for me.

I have heard it said that if you do something for 30 days it becomes a habit. Hopefully I will be close to that after only 28 days. While I do not plan to follow this eating strategy forever, it will give me a good baseline of my basic caloric needs and (hopefully) curb some of my triggering cravings. It’s also coincides with a different style of work-related planning and scheduling, so the stressors that come with that will have to be addressed directly and incorporated as part of the cycle.

While I anticipate revisiting and writing about this subject daily for the next few weeks, this is likely the last I’ll be saying about food and drink until or about August 4. Wish me luck?

And so as I find myself saying a lot lately, let the adventure begin.

#diet, #emotional-health, #exercise, #fitness, #food, #gym, #happy, #health, #healthy-eating, #inspiration, #mental-health, #motivation