How Cookies led to Self Forgiveness

Just one of those days…..

Last night I met with a group of ladies for our weekly book club (I will be sharing about the book and our group in a future blog post) and our discussion was about stress—how it affects our bodies, our weight and how to begin to change the response habit to stress and create stress relief habits.  It was a great discussion.  And I was ready to work on how I deal with stress…..

We had met at Panera Bread and I had bought a bagel, my favorite, to take home to have for breakfast this morning.  I planned my day ahead so that I could make that 10 SmartPoint bagel work.  And it was good! 

But…..

I got up way too early this morning, ate my breakfast way to early this morning and then started my day.

I was exhausted before the day started and well, exhaustion does NOT bode well for healthy choices!

And the stress hit…. appointments to take my son too (2 before 10 am) and waiting time in a waiting room.  Lots of to-do list items that I needed to take care of, and I was getting pretty stressed about them, while waiting in the waiting room

Rushing to appointments so that we are not late STRESSES me! 

Having no control over my schedule and life STRESSES me!

A million things on my to-do list (that may be an exaggeration) STRESSES me!

Starting my day without my quite reading time STRESSES me!

Ugh!  Let’s be real….  EVERYTHING STRESSES me when I am EXHAUSTED!

So, that plan I had for my day to stay on track and make me a priority while enjoying a favorite bagel…. well….. it got lost somewhere between the soda and the cookie isle in the grocery store…..

And the Pepperidge Farm Milano Pumpkin Spice Cookies found their way into my cart, at the register and then in the car heading home.  Once home, the cookies found their way to the end table next to my favorite chair and there I sat, exhausted and stressed.   And I ate a cookie.  Then another…. And another….. and another and before I knew it 2/3 of that bag of cookies was gone.  And I hadn’t even tasted them.  What the heck?

At that moment I stopped.  And I threw the rest in the garbage.  And I remembered what was said in workshops this week about our character strengths and using one of those strengths to help us to reach a goal this week….. I hadn’t chosen which I would use yet.  But today I choose mine while I was sitting there thinking about what I had just done and how it undermined my progress… And before I could beat myself up, I decided that my strength would be forgiveness.  

I am great at forgiving others, but me, not so much.  It is hard to overlook my mistakes, and even harder to let them go without some pretty harsh words directed at me.  So, forgiveness was my character strength this week, one I could use to help me forgive myself.

And I did!  I forgave myself!

I realized that forgiving myself for letting old habits pop up to deal with exhaustion and stress was another way I made me a priority!  I am never going to be perfect.  I know that there will be times that stress leads me into old habits. There will be times that exhaustion leads me into old habits.  I know that there will be times that life throws me curveballs and best laid plans, well they fall apart.  By forgiving myself, I end the cycle— stress, eat, guilt, eat, guilt, stress, eat…. I can then move on and get back on track.

The cookies are counted.  A light dinner had.  And I don’t feel guilty! 

THIS is how I make me a priority!  THIS is how I change old, unhelpful habits.  THIS is how I reach my goals! 

Today forgiveness gave me back some control on my perfectly imperfect journey.

Advertisement

Happy Dance!!

Happy Dance!!  Happy Dance!!  Happy Dance!!

Can you tell I am happy? 

This morning I went to a workshop and I stepped on the scale to weigh in.  I weigh myself every morning (see my previous post here about weighing or not weighing) and I knew it would be down!  Down! 

After all of my struggles the past couple of years and especially this year, I am thrilled to see the number down.  But I have seen this before.  Shoot, the past year I have been up and down a million times.  So, what makes this week any different?  Why am I so happy?  What makes me so sure this is the beginning of continued downs on the scale?

Because things are different….. food choices, behaviors, thoughts, words I say to myself and my mindset….all different.  Finally!

I committed these past couple of weeks to making me a priority.  And that means, I do the things that help me move forward.  It means I am tracking.  It means I am mindful of my food choices, the signals my body is sending me and the thoughts in my mind.  It means I go to a weekly workshop and step on the scale.  It means I meal plan.  It means I remind myself every morning that I am worth it.  It means I am taking care of me—mind, body and soul.  I am making me a priority.  (Seriously, why did it take me so long?) 

This past week I made some changes.  In my mindset, by making me a priority and in my food choices and awareness, which meant I tracked.  Every. Single. Day. 

Food choices were not always the best this past week, but they were made with me keeping in mind that I am the priority.  Each temptation, each meal plan, each food choice was predicated with the question to myself—“Does this make me a priority?”  If yes, then go with it but if not then what will?  The best example of this is on Halloween, yes, that challenging day filled with all sorts of candy temptations.  My husband and I went to a movie, and we got a bag of Twix bites to share.  Before this past couple of weeks, I would have just sat down and ate, without thinking, out of the bag.  And I would have eaten quickly to make sure I got my “share” before my husband could.  But this time, with this new mentality, I actually looked at the back of the bag at the label.  5 pieces were a serving and there were 4 ½ servings in the bag.  I calculated the points (7!) and decided that I could have 2 servings—10 pieces.  I told my husband that I wanted 10 and he could have the rest.  And I ate them slowly.  When I finished the 5th piece, I stopped.  I STOPPED!!  At that moment I knew I was good.  That the treat made me feel like a priority, but I didn’t need anymore.  So, I did not eat another piece.  I made me a priority—enjoying a treat without the guilt or overindulgence. 

The other part of my food changes came in the form of a lightbulb moment!  I realized that when Freestyle launched 2 years ago, that it just didn’t work for me, because I changed, drastically the way I ate.  When it first launched, I was teetering dangerously close to the edge of the cliff and needed to be talked off that edge by a friend and one of my managers.  I knew myself.  I knew that all of those 0 point foods, that used to be points, would be dangerous.  Because now I could eat all of those foods AND STILL eat all of my points!?!  I knew I would overeat.  I knew it would be dangerous for me.  But my manager and friend convinced me to look at it differently…..that those foods would fill me up and keep me from eating the other higher point things….. but for me, personally, that wasn’t how it would work.  But I tried it and convinced my members to follow it and to trust the program. 

Freestyle works for a lot of people.  But not everyone.  Weight loss is NOT a one-size-fits-all journey.  And each of us needs to find what works for us.  Because, we are the only ones who truly know us.  No one else knows what works for me, only I do.  And I often told members in workshops that they needed to find what worked for them, to trust the science and then make the WW plan fit their life.  Make it their own.  We are all on a similar journey, but an individual one.  And I needed to remind myself of what worked for me, so I pulled out my old trackers.  That is when I realized that I had changed the way I was eating.  When I brought out my old program materials and my old handwritten food journals, there it was, one of the missing puzzle pieces to my journey….. I had changed what I was eating and how much.  And I was still eating ALL those points too.  I was eating 4-6 eggs per day and counting 0 points, when in the past they would have cost me 8-12 points.  But they were 0 points now and I could eat them, as much as I wanted…….

Every time I heard a member say they could eat as much as they wanted I would stop them, and we would discuss that it was meant to be as much as they needed to fill satisfied.  And here I was with that same thought process, only I hadn’t realized it ‘til just last week.  No wonder I was struggling!  So, I told myself what I had heard my voice say when talking to struggling members, “just because they are 0 points does not mean they are free!  And it does not mean we need to change the way we eat, just because the food is now 0 points”. 

AHA!  BAM!!  The truth for me was that I needed to eat the way I had been eating for years, the way that worked for me.  And this past week I did just that.  I went back to my egg white omelets in the morning.  I went back to my normal lunch, instead of looking for the 0 point foods and gorging on them.  I went back to healthy snacks that were not just 0 point foods, instead of the sweets and chips that I was eating to use up all those points I had left because the other foods were 0 points.  And you know what, I felt great!  I tracked it all and I stayed on track.  Why didn’t I just do this sooner?  Had I continued eating the way I had been, then Freestyle would have worked fantastically for me!  Instead, my mindset around food changed and my choices did too.  How I wish I had realized this when WW first launched Freestyle, I would not be where I am today (maybe).  But this journey is about learning and growing and finding what works for me so that I can be the healthiest and best version of me. 

Like I said earlier, we each need to find what works for us.  And while I struggled, many others found great success, including a friend and former member of my workshops who reached lifetime today with a 105 lb loss! 

Find what works for you!  There are many things I love about Freestyle—it keeps me from feeling guilty or stressed.  It gives me flexibility.  I love the rollover points, so I can plan for those parties and special occasions and not worry about going off the rails.  But for me, the unstructured 0-point foods were dangerous….. Now that I know that, well I can get back to eating my normal way.  Instead of 2-3 cups of chili AND cornbread (usually 2 pieces, with butter and honey), I am having 1 cup of chili and a piece of cornbread.  Instead of 6 eggs in my day, I am having 1.  Instead of 6 oz of Chicken breast, I am eating 3-4 oz.  It works for me.

Those food realizations and changes, combined with my “make myself a priority” mindset, proved to be quite successful for me this week!

When I stepped on that scale this morning, I was thrilled!  I lost 4.6 lbs this week!!  (yes, I know a lot of it was water, but I LOST!)  And next week that scale will be down again.  Why?  Because I am now making myself a priority!! 

I may not be perfect each day.  But I am perfectly imperfect on this journey to a healthier and happier me!

Accountability and Commitment–Making me a Priority!

A few days ago, I wrote about excuses and that it really comes down to making me a priority.  Since writing that, I have been mindful of making me a priority.  I have been more aware of my thoughts.  And I have been more purposeful in my choices, choosing me as a priority.  It is not pretty or perfect, but I am working on it. 

I have been, still am and will always be a work in progress.

This morning I took a step that made me a priority.  And in the process I found accountability beyond myself and commitment to myself.

I went to a WW Workshop.  And?  What is different about that?  Haven’t I always gone to workshops? 

Well, yes, I have gone to workshops.  I lost my original weight going sitting in those chairs.  I continued to go to workshops even when I worked for Weight Watchers as a Coach…..most of the time, anyway.  And once I quit working as a Coach, I continued going to workshops.  But I didn’t go regularly.  I didn’t want to pay…..

And when I did go, I did not step on the scale.  I didn’t want to see the number written down, though I already knew what the number would be, because I weigh myself at home.  I also didn’t step on the scale because I would be weighing in front of former co-workers, some friends of mine.  I didn’t want them to know how much I was struggling (as if they couldn’t tell by the clothes I wore or the way I looked….).  Excuses.  Excuses.  Excuses!

This morning I had planned to go to the workshop because someone I know was going to reach Lifetime and I wanted to celebrate with him and his wife.  Before yesterday afternoon, I had no plans to step on the scale.  I was just going as support for someone else and this wasn’t about me and my struggles. (yes, more excuses)

And then last night I thought about how I can move forward making me a priority.  And it hit me that workshops are important for me and my goals.  I had been making so many excuses all these months for not going to workshops for me and instead only going as a support for others therefore I did not need to step on the scale.  I was not making me a priority!  I was missing out on a tool that works for me.  A tool that keeps me accountable.  A tool that provides the support I need.

So, I made the decision that when I got up this morning I would go to the workshop and I would pay.  Not just pay for this one workshop, but I would purchase the three-month pass for three months of weekly workshops.  That would be my commitment to me.  Finally!  Commitment to making myself a priority.  No more excuses! 

I was still on the fence about weighing on the scale in front of former co-workers.  I didn’t want them to know.  I didn’t want my weight submitted so that my former bosses could see.  I just wanted to be anonymous.  I wanted to keep it a secret.  But NOT STEPPING ON THE SCALE does not work for me!  I need the accountability.  So, I told myself to suck-it-up buttercup and get on the scale at the workshop regardless of who would see the number.

And I did.  I stepped on the scale.  I hated the number I saw.  I hate that I am not the only one who saw that number.  And you know what, that means that I cannot hide any longer.  I cannot deny any longer.  It is so easy to push the reality deep inside the back of my mind where I don’t think about it, if no one else sees the number.  This morning I went back to what works for me because what I had been doing for a year now, wasn’t.  And the accountability was real.  No denying now.  No hiding behind oversized jackets now.  No excuses! This is real!  This is my journey.  This is me making myself and my health a priority!

At the workshop this morning I found another form of accountability beyond the scale.  I said out loud, in answer to someone else, that I was committed to being there and to myself.  I said I would be there every week.  And then the Coach looked around the room at everyone else and said that they heard me and now were going to hold me accountable to be there and the room all said they would. 

CRAP!  What did I just do??  Now I had to be there every week because they were expecting me to be. 

Good move, Coach! 

When I was a coach, I often said that saying something out loud in the workshop gave everyone accountability, to themselves and to the group.  And now here I was, at the receiving end of that accountability.  THAT is just one of the many reasons that Workshops work for me!

I am listening to me now.  I am making me a priority.  And I am creating accountability beyond just myself.  Because, honestly, accountability just with me, doesn’t work for me.  It is too easy to excuse it away, to hide and to deny.

Next week I will step on the scale again and it will show a loss.  Why?  Because I am making me a priority on this perfectly, imperfect journey!

Excuses. Excuses. Excuses.

Excuses.  Excuses.  Excuses.

I can come up with hundreds.  But none of those excuses will help me to get where I want to be.  None of those excuses will help me to reach my goals. 

The only thing excuses do, is keep me from becoming the me I want to be, the me I strive to be.  Excuses keep me stuck, unable to reach the goals I set.  And excuses keep me beating up myself.

Every day I step on the scale.  Dread fills me as I look at the number.  I know what it is going to say.  When I started this blog last April I was 26 lbs over my goal.  Now I am 29 lbs over my goal. 

And that frustrates me!

And then I justify my weight with a myriad of excuses.  Excuses that keep me from reaching my potential.  Excuses that fill my mind with negative thoughts and words.

I am working on changing those thoughts.  I am working on ending the excuses. 

Today I get real.  With myself.  And with you.  No more hiding behind the mask of excuses.  No more lying to myself.  No more “I’ll start tomorrow”, because guess what—tomorrow never comes! 

No more excuses.

I am where I am because I have not made me a priority.  Period.  And there is no excuse for that.  How can I be the best me, if I don’t make myself a priority?  And that doesn’t mean that I become selfish in the sense that I never do anything for anyone and only do what I want for me. 

Making me a priority means–I face my emotions instead of eating them.  I find time in my day to move more.  I find the time to spend on self-care.  I make time to fix healthy meals.  I make time to meal plan.  I get a good night’s sleep.  I spend time with my family.  I make time for walks with my husband.  I make time for date nights.  I spend a day in my pjs watching movies if that is what I need.  I write. 

Making me a priority means letting go of the stress, anger, and other emotions that I allow to make me eat.  And it means letting go of the things I cannot control.

Making me a priority means living my life to the fullest.  And it means loving myself, imperfections and all. 

No excuses.

So, today I start, right now…not tomorrow, today!  And I start now 29 lbs over my goal weight.  No beating myself up over this, because that won’t help and will lead me right back down the excuse lane.  Instead I will celebrate that I am getting real with myself.  I will celebrate that I did not gain the entire 72lbs back.  I will celebrate that I am alive and can now work on what needs to be done.

Because, after-all, I am worth it! 

I know it won’t be perfect, but who needs perfect?  I just need to keep moving, keep learning and keep growing!