Monthly Archives: January 2015

Emotional Eating Patterns – Another Discovery

The last few weeks, I’ve been working on tracking small healthy habits I’ve wanted to establish in my life.  It has been going well for the most part.  However, this week came TOM and all of the sudden, I found myself losing track slowly as the week went on.  I didn’t follow all the habits and found myself at one point binging on chocolate chip cookies and making cookie dough.

In the past, TOM has been a source of contention for me.  It came early in my life and caused a lot of hormone issues and weight gain.  I am only now trying to make peace with my body during these times because when it comes, cravings are strong and irritability follows.  I was reading that sugar contributes to a lot of the symptoms during this time of month, but I crave sugar so staying away sometimes seems impossible. As a matter of fact, when I went off sugar for 3 months back in 2012, it was during TOM I caved and went on a sugar binge.

This week, I was noticing my thoughts and realized some of the stuff I was saying was mostly self-pity and providing self-justification for eating things I don’t normally eat.  I ate an entire bag of chips when at most times, I wouldn’t be so tempted.  I caught myself giving permission to the child in me to ‘go ahead and eat, you don’t feel good and it will help’.  What type of logic is this and how is it going to help me live a healthy life?

I started thinking back when I would do well with eating until TOM arrived and then my efforts would go out the window, I would berate myself and give up all together until the next round of motivation would show up to try again.  This time, because of work I’ve done, I started immediately forgiving myself and saying ‘I love myself and it’s okay’  which I have to say was not easy after I downed cookie dough by the tablespoon.  I’m used to giving myself the riot act but I know that’s what I did in the past and it never worked so this time, I did my best to be kind to myself especially when it matters most, when I’m not making the right choices.

The self-justification and self-pity was the old way of doing things.  This was my mechanism to self-soothe during TOM. Growing up, people felt sorry for me and I capitalized on it because I didn’t get much attention, emotional validation or empathy so when I did, I ate it up (literally).   Only to see clearly now it has been hurting me in so many ways.  It’s what I have always done but unfortunately it never served me well, and in fact caused major destruction to my eating, weight and health.  It also did damage to my mental state as I felt myself getting discouraged and giving up quickly. With the hormones flowing during these times, things seem much more dramatic.

It’s time to let go of this old pattern.  I’m going to have to come up with some sort of game plan about 1-2 weeks prior to TOM and see how I can take better care of myself with positive talk and other ways for self-soothing rather then turning to food. A new way of thinking to serve me rather than hurt me and send me down into a self-destructive rut I’m used to falling into.  These are the times I realize, wow, I really need to take responsibility in this area.   It’s time to lift up the covers and really work on some of these patterns.  It’s not easy, but then again, nothing worth while is easy but it’s definitely worth it in the end. Emotional Eating Patterns, emotional eating, destructive patterns, Emotional Patterns Emotional Eating Patterns,  Emotional Eating Patterns Emotional Eating Patterns

Old Emotional Patterns Contributing to Weight

This week, I was finding myself impatient and agitated and I couldn’t pinpoint where it was coming from.  Maybe waking up on the wrong side of the bed, I’m not sure.  It was hard to shake even after praying in the morning, I was still thinking negative thoughts. It wasn’t like something happened to spark the thoughts, they were just random.  Either way, it impacted my behavior and those around me and I had to apologize.  I had to forgive myself too.  I’ve been working on letting go of the negative thoughts and beliefs but it goes to show you, that it doesn’t happen overnight.

One of the main things I noticed which bothered me was people ‘looking’ at me. I know it sounds strange but I’ll explain.  I made a choice 3 years ago to take the time to look good when I leave the house. That means wearing skirts and nylons to work, styling my hair and make up. In the past, I didn’t care so much about those things. I would say to myself, I’ll do it when I lose the weight.  However, I’ve learned, I had to start doing those things now, even if I’m overweight at the moment because it makes me feel better about myself.  And it has and I’m grateful I made the right choice for me.  This has been a habit now for over 3 years since I made the original decision.

However, these past few days, I’ve ‘noticed’ people looking at me and normally it doesn’t bother me. I typically look into someones eyes, acknowledge them and say hello with a smile. This is another choice I made as a commitment to myself.  Not everyone smiles and says hello back, but I’ll be honest, since I started doing it, MOST people do.  It’s sad to say this little act was something I didn’t do before. I would wait for others to say hello first and I rarely smiled (I feel ashamed admitting this to you).  Remember, I was a very angry person before (mostly at myself) and so I would say negative things to myself to justify why I didn’t need to ‘go out of my way’ to smile and say hello to others. How shallow and sad.  I see that now.

Since I’ve been practicing this behavior, it not only feels good inside, but it feels good to see others smile as if they needed to be acknowledged.  As adults, I believe we get so into our head and our own selfish thinking, we don’t realize there are others who need a little encouragement and happiness because they may be having a tough day.  What a revelation I experienced when I discovered this little act of love.

Like I said, typically it’s felt good for me, but the last few days, I’ve noticed myself becoming very self-conscious and I couldn’t figure out what was going on.  It’s like I’m seeing more and more people look at me, especially women and my thoughts were all over the place.   The first time it happened was when I went to the gym in the morning. I get ready for work there and I sometimes don’t feel secure with the choice of clothes I picked out.  There isn’t a full length mirror to look at when I’m changing so I don’t know how I look until the last minute, when I’m walking out of the gym and it can sometimes feel awkward.  That may be some of the reason these feelings were coming up when the women at the gym were looking at me, and I don’t think it was intentional but at the moment, my thoughts were all over the place.

I was thinking, “Are they judging me? Do the clothes I’m wearing look okay? What’s wrong with me? Why are they staring at me? Did I do something wrong?”  It feels good saying this because it was bubbling up inside and I believe it’s those old insecurities which fall into my old comfort zone and justified my selfish behavior in the past.  I know it’s not any different than any other day, but for some reason, the last couple of days, I’ve felt uncomfortable with people looking at me.

On the way home from work, I said to myself, I’m going to let that go. I’m going to continue smiling and saying hello to others even if they look at me, I’m going to smile and say to myself, “I love other people.”  I know that will help with resolving some of those insecure thoughts that pop into my head.

Some experts say we keep weight to ‘protect’ us from feeling emotions or experiencing things we’d rather avoid.  This came to me yesterday and I thought, yes, that is part of it.  In the past, because I didn’t feel good about myself, I would avoid people and situations as I gained weight. The more I gained, the more I would avoid being in public.  Part of that is people ‘looking at me’ and it made me very uncomfortable. I would say, “They are judging me.” and I didn’t want to be exposed to the judgement (I judged myself a whole lot more than others did, I made sure of it) Logically I say I don’t mind it, but on an emotional level, I’ve realized, that it triggers old uncomfortable feelings of being ‘seen’.  When I was being ‘seen’ in my past, I experienced pain whether from childhood when I was teased mercilessly or even as a adult.  Wow, as I’m writing this, it’s starting to make sense. I’m realizing when I was ‘seen’ by others (men), things didn’t end well at all and that’s scarred my memory.  I experienced a lot of judgement which I internalized. I didn’t feel good about myself so I attracted others who didn’t feel good about themselves and was hurt. This could be contributing to those old negative thoughts questioning why people are ‘looking at me’ and can I feel comfortable with that again, whether it’s now or when I’m at my goal weight.

This is something I’m going to have to work on because it’s come up before.  Instead of dealing with it, I’ve just kept the weight on and didn’t think about it.  If this healing is going to continue, I’m going to need to think through those instances where I was seen and hurt and how that’s in the past and I let that go now.  I’m a different person today.  I feel better about myself in many ways. I no longer attract negative people into my life. I’ve met and maintained many positive relationships and I’m grateful.   I will continue to dig deeper into those old emotions and how when they come instead of giving them airtime, I will challenge them, are they still valid? Is there anything in my life currently that’s supporting this belief today? If not, can I release it? Can I let go of those old emotions that held on to the fear of being ‘seen’?  If so, I am going to let them go now because they no longer serve me and who I am today.

It feels good expressing this to you, thank you for listening!

Old Emotional Patterns Contributing to Weight

Old Emotional Patterns Contributing to Weight

Old Emotional Patterns Contributing to Weight

Does Gratitude Accelerate Weight Loss?

I’ve been reading a lot about personal development including blogs and books on the subject.  Invariably, you’ll hear a lot of people talk about becoming grateful about everything that happens to you and for you.  I remember a while back watching Oprah talk about how she maintains a gratitude journal and showed a clip of her interviewing Lady Gaga who said she took Oprah’s suggestion of creating a gratitude journal way before she was a popular singer.  I remember thinking, ‘Yes, I’m grateful too!” but I never took the time to actually produce a consistent gratitude ‘journal’.  It’s one thing to hear about a good idea and it’s another thing to actually ‘implement’ it.

Now remember I was saying before, in the past, I used to write out like 15-20 goals each year and it was just overwhelming?  It was part of the legacy ‘perfectionist’ attitude I carried which ultimately gave me an excuse, or cop out, to give up.   After hearing things over and over, one day I realized, instead of doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result, I wanted to actually change what I was doing.   I started with only picking a couple goals to focus on each year and  with little achievable (quick win) habits I can easily track daily to see my progress. Not only has it been working and improving my self-efficacy, I now feel so much better knowing I am making small changes and it feels good to see the baby steps in action.

Getting back to gratitude. About a year ago, I decided I needed to take action around gratitude. I have been extremely grateful but I wasn’t committed to writing it down in a journal. For some reason, writing it down is critical.  Last year, I started with writing 3 things a day.  It was spotty in the beginning (I didn’t track my habits last year) but then I started following a cadence to coincide with my prayer/meditation in the mornings.  It was easy at first, but then, I really had to think about what I wrote because I wanted this to be a deep exercise. I wanted it to have true ‘meaning’ to me about what I was REALLY grateful for in my life.  Instead of things that felt shallow at the time to just check the box on my ‘to do’ list for the morning but to dig deep.

It’s a year later and I continue to capture all those things I’m grateful for and let me tell you, it really makes a difference.  Why? Because I started to see things differently.  I capture my ideas in the morning (my handwriting isn’t the best @ 5 AM) and it sets the tone for the rest of the day.  My mind is looking for those things to be grateful for instead of seeing the negative side of things.  It’s subtle but definitely worth IMG_0816the exercise.  In the past, I found myself focusing on what was missing in my life which led to depression, anxiety and low self-esteem.  Feeling that ‘lack’ was not supporting my weight loss efforts.  Instead, it was a cycle of pain and internal suffering of not feeling good enough or loved enough to make the right choices.

Weight loss takes planning and preparation.  It also takes changing your thinking, beliefs, habits and behaviors.  If I continue to begin to change my thinking to focus on those things I am grateful for, it helps me approach tough choices around eating.  I’m convinced this is a habit that will support me through this journey and I will continue to keep you posted as I progress.

 

 

One pound at a time

It’s been a long week getting back into the routine.  I have been working on my habits which has been going very well. It feels good to ‘check the box’ daily to see I’m doing something to support my life on a regular basis.  I feel really good about it and it doesn’t seem like this overwhelming goal I ‘have to achieve’ but instead small nuggets of progress that is encouraging me to continue.

I have also been diligently listening to podcasts on way to and from work which resets me for the day and keeps me thinking about the positive. I love ‘Half Size Me’. I’m only on episode 35 but so far, it’s been awesome.  I love the inspiration and the tips/tricks others have shared in their weight loss journey.  One major learning is that everyone has their own journey, everyone has their own ‘approach’ to losing weight and keeping it off.  It’s about finding what works for you.

I needed it because I found myself going into old thought patterns when I was back at the office. There were a few things that had happened this week where I felt myself tense up and get defensive and when that happens, in the past, I would shut down and go into Negative Nelly mode or Vani Victim where I would blame others for feeling bad.  After one meeting, I had to get up and go for a walk. I ended up taking the stairs, which was really good. It immediately put me into another state because I was upset and I new if I didn’t get up from the desk, I was going to ‘stew in my Negative Nelly juices’.   It was a big win. The key for me is to keep the positive messages flowing, whether through podcasts, movies, audio books, or reading.  If I do, it helps me stay positive and take time for myself to breath, it really helps me focus on the good.

I’ve been reading this amazing book which I recommend to anyone who’s looking to change. The book is called The Willpower Instinct: How Self-Control Works, Why It Matters, and What You Can Do to Get More of It  by Kelly McGonigal Ph.D.  I learned about it after listening to an “Addicted to Success” podcast.  This book is amazing. It’s the first resource where I’ve learned about more about why I self-sabotage.  I couldn’t believe it!! It was like singing ‘hallelujah’ because I felt like, okay, I’m not the only one who goes through this and now I know why.  Her chapter on “Moral Licensing” was genius. It’s so true for me.  The basic concept is when you are trying to achieve a goal, in this case lose weight, you often find yourself during the day making good food choices in the morning and then saying to yourself in the afternoon, “I’ve done so well this morning, I deserve to eat this ice cream tonight.”  OMG, this has been my life for TOO long and I realized, I’m not the only one.

I’m still reading the book but as I go, I’ll continue to share my experiences because everyone who has lost weight or tried losing weight will relate to these concepts.  I’m excited to continue learning because I find new things I’ve never seen before and it’s amazing to see how it debunks my old beliefs, thoughts and behaviors.  Each day I’m transforming and I know in a matter of time, the weight loss will follow.

 

Happy New Year! Lose Weight & Feel Great?

Every year it seems like I find myself defeated before I even start because I’m used to creating multiple goals and not achieving them.  Well, I shouldn’t say not achieving all of them because like everyone else, there are areas of my life where I’m doing well. My job, family and living situation is all going well.  However, the one area that takes up my thoughts and emotions, my weight, is where I’ve failed more than I’ve succeeded.

What’s going to be different this year?  I decided, instead of writing all these goals (like 25 of them) and becoming discouraged if I don’t see massive progress in 2 months, I’m doing things differently. Why? Because of the saying, “you can’t do the same things and expect the same results”.  In 2015, I’m not going to do the same thing. I’m not going to write out SMART goals around losing 65lbs.  That’s what I’ve done in the past over and over.  I’m not even going to write out a SMART goal for losing 5 lbs. I know some of you are cringing, and I was too because this has been my MO in the past. Nope, I’m not doing it!  As much as it pains every ‘achiever’ fiber in my body, I’m doing it differently!

Remember I’ve been working on my small habits. I’ve typed up a spreadsheet to track Habit Trackerhow I’m doing (image included).  It’s so different and out of my ‘comfort zone’ for sure. Is it working?Yep!  I feel so much better because I a whole load of pressure is off my shoulders.  It doesn’t feel like I’m ‘pushing a wet noodle up a hill’ (a saying an old colleague used to say).  It feels weightless, doable, achievable because I can see the progress daily.  But here’s the real key to it all…when I don’t do one of the habits, I’m not beating myself up senseless (metaphorically). Instead, I’m saying, “Okay Maria, you didn’t drink your green juice today, but look at all the other habits you did today. You go Girl!”

 

It sounds strange even as I type this because I was my own worst enemy.  You didn’t have to say anything bad to me because I did a great job of doing it to myself.  I consider myself a recovering perfectionist!  This is the way to freedom and peace.  Instead of beating myself up, which never worked anyway (Louise Hay is helpful to read and listen to on this subject), I’m learning to love and accept myself for my quirks and imperfect ways, and that’s okay.  Why should we beat ourselves up? Society does a good job doing that for us right??  If we aren’t going to cheer for ourselves, who will?  If not, we’ll always live lying down (another metaphorical reference) and I refuse to let that happen, if not for me, then for my family.

Each day I feel like I’m building my self-efficacy by checking off the boxes and it feels good. If you are a tracker like me, you’ll love this!  If you’re not, then I know there’s another way that works for you, if you dig deep think about it.  Everyone is on a different journey with different ideas and strategies that work, find what works for you!! After reading about a ton of successful people in the world, the small changes is where it’s at!! It only took me 20 years to realize it!! 🙂

Happy New Year – Here’s to losing weight and feeling great in 2015!   XOXO