TT Thursdays : 5th wk Weight Loss Challenge: Love watching numbers going down

TT Thursdays : 5th wk Weight Loss Challenge: Love watching numbers going down

(for those who don’t know, I blog on Thursdays about my progress on my HealthyWage weight loss challenge. I started at 252 and want to get down to 185.)

Yay!  I am finally out of the 240s.  I hit 239.7 this morning so am very happy.  So far I’ve lost 12.4 pounds and 2.3 pounds since last Thursday.

I noticed one of my responses to frustration is I want ice cream, pizza or something crunchy like fried chicken.  So when I hit the plateau, I was frustrated and had cravings.  Big cravings.  Huge Cravings! One of the things that helped me was you all.  Knowing I have to face you on Thursdays means I walk past the freezer section because I really really don’t want to blog about buying a pint and gobbling it up.  Yeah, I’m still thinking about the pizza but I haven’t gone out and bought one in weeks or eaten one, not even a slice.  Knowing that you’ve all been encouraging no matter how well I’m doing means also there’s no fear factor in the sharing.  Professionals write get a diet partner because it helps keep you on track.  It’s like I have a bunch of partners and it helps.  So thank you.

So besides you all, what else has helped me.

Identifying the emotion that triggers a craving

Like I said, I found frustration = ice cream.  What that means is you have to vent the frustration, not keep it bottled up inside of you or it will explode, likely into a binge session and who needs that? And, no, you can’t vent your frustration on your friends and family.  They’ll get even!

You might keep a food mood diary for a few days.  When you get a craving, jot down what was the thought or feeling just before the craving.  You might be surprised.  Maybe feeling lonely makes you think of fried chicken then instead of KFC, call a kind friend.  Talking to a friend is 0 calories.  I know it sounds simplistic but simple works more often than not.  If you identify the feeling, you can work on taking care of the feeling without turning to food.

Frustrations, distractions and finding your zen

So you’re feeling frustrated (scared, angry or whatever feeling).  Ok, that happens.  But you don’t have to hold onto the feeling like a long lost twin. Find things that can either vent your frustration, calm you, distract you or focus you on something else.  Do something instead of sitting there thinking about food or the feelings that trigger the cravings.  Dwelling on it just sends you on an unhappy spiral. For some people, that might be running or punching a bag.  Other people garden or clean.

I wrote a few poems about dieting, post food pics joking about “I can look” and made a Second Life picture of me as a giant kicking a car. It took forever setting up the photoshoot in Second Life, finding a place and a pose.  (Sorry, Comedy Plus [Sandee], I didn’t notice it was a sheriff’s car until just now.) By the time I was done, I forgot I was hungry.  On the days, I wrote the food haiku, writing about it got food out of my head oddly enough and then I went back to writing poems about other stuff.

Distractions work because they take your mind off the cravings/feelings even if it is for a short time.  The more you think about the trigger emotion, the more your mind spirals and intensifies the whole thing.  So yeah, go see a movie, read a book, call a friend or walk around the mall.  Go on Pinterest and like 50 cute cat pictures.  Read an article on the web and research one idea in the article — as you go from article to article following an idea, it’ll pull you away.  Every five minutes you spend being distracted even by silly things, helps to break the emotional cycle triggering your cravings so that it spirals down until it disappears.  Go exercise for 30 minutes or 60.  Huffing and puffing is good for distracting you from your thoughts and you often finish with the emotional hurricane dissipated.

Focus is better.  If there is something that focuses you like writing, knitting, art or working on a car, do that for half an hour (yeah, it might move into more time but that’s okay too).  When you surface, the frustration is gone and you have something to show for it.  Focusing on doing something you enjoy fills your mind, leads you to that calm center and other things get pushed out.

No one is a saint.  Forgive yourself.

The Virgin Mary and Saints at Mission San Xavier del Bac mortuary chapel

If you fall down, forgive yourself and move on.  So you ate an ice cream cone? That’s not even on the list of commandments.  Ok, gluttony is a  sin but one ice cream cone is not gluttony.  You ate a gallon? Well. um. Still. Let it go.  All that angst, the guilt, the getting angry at yourself keeps your mind focused on food, on whatever you ate.  The feeling bad punishes you and makes your mind spiral around thoughts of food like a hurricane.  It accomplishes nothing except gets you pity or sympathetic remarks.  You have to let that need for pity or sympathy go too.  It might feel good to be cradled in pity or sympathy but honestly you’re better off with encouragement and cheering.

If you forgive yourself, you get back on the plan quicker.  Think about this: Edison tried more than 3,000 different times to create a storage battery.  His friend Walter Mallory said, ” In view of this immense amount of thought and labor, my sympathy got the better of my judgment, and I said: ‘Isn’t it a shame that with the tremendous amount of work you have done you haven’t been able to get any results?’  Edison turned on me like a flash, and with a smile replied: ‘Results!  Why, man, I have gotten lots of results!  I know several thousand things that won’t work!'””  He didn’t dwell on his failures.  He didn’t even see them as failures but rather as experiments. He just tried something new until he got it right and eventually invented the alkaline storage battery. That double AA battery you’re using, that’s all Edison because he didn’t give up.  You are experimenting, trying new ways to have a healthier eating plan, a healthier lifestyle.  Give yourself time to get it right.

So you fail at this meal.  Big deal.  We all fall. It happens. Like missing a note in a concert, jump back in at the next interval.  At lunch, you screwed up and had a pizza and a mojito.  Ok.  Look at your dinner eating plan.  It’s baked chicken?  Wash the chicken, wrap it up with some rosemary, and put it in the oven to bake for dinner.  Just pick up where you left off. No need for melodrama.  You don’t have to star in a tragedy.  You are starring in a success story.

What happens over time is like a toddler learning to walk, you start falling down less and less.  It gets easier to stay on track.  Yeah, you have a tantrum once in a while but you take more steps everyday. Then something shifts after a few months.  Let’s say you gave up soda with a lot of whining.  Once in a while you sneaked some but gradually you stop and drink ice cold refreshing water instead.  Then six months down the road, you take a sip of soda, shudder and set it down.  You don’t like it.  It’s too sweet! What happened?  Gradually you’ve changed, your taste buds changed, your portion size changed and that’s what your body likes now.  It makes you antsy to sit still because you need your daily exercise. You just have to hang on until you get there.

So are we there yet?

HealthyWage Slimming Coach Monica’s health tip on July 10th.

These are things I’m learning/recognizing as I go along.  I might fall tomorrow but I’ll get up.  My confidence is growing.  My body was set at 250 for decades — I might gain a few pounds but then I’d drop back to 250 within a week.  Same with losing.  I’d lose a bit and then it’ll be back within a week.  It was like I was anchored at 250.  When I decided to do the HealthyWage challenge, I opted to bet on the low end, only $30 a month because I was worried I’d fail and be stuck at 250 until I died.  Seriously.  But I wanted to try again anyways because my back and my knees were bugging me.   I had lost stamina.  Last summer I had joined a gym all gung ho for a couple weeks and then quit by the end of two months.  I had bought two bikes (10 speed used and basket one new) at Christmas to start exercising then but didn’t.  I was stacking up failures like logs on a bonfire. Still I wanted to change.

And this time, I am changing.  I won’t lie.  I’m erratic on exercising.  But I do walk at least a mile a day at least three times a week.  I walked over a mile and a half today.  Woo hoo!  The first time in ages. And I had a backpack and camera bag with about ten pounds of weight total. Carrying weight is a new thing this week. I am choosing salads with chicken when I could have fried chicken or alfredo.  Weirdly, I am choosing the salad because I actually want it.  It looks good.  Shakes my head in wonder. I drink water instead of soda.

Of my two HealthyWage challenges, the HealthyWager challenge, I am behind the curve ball due to that plateau which finally broke last week.  I should be at 238.7 but am at 239.7 pounds.  However, I expect to be back on track within a week.  Crosses my fingers.  I have narrowed the difference down from last week.  On the other challenge, the Slimming Challenge is 90 days and I committed to lose 6% which is 15.1 pounds.  I should have it lost around 45 days, half the time of the challenge.  What I love about the Slimming Challenge is the coach Kate’s daily tidbits like this SMART goal reference and links to medical articles.  They are very helpful. I think once I finish the Slimming Challenge, I will sign up for another 6% challenge because I really like having a coach’s info sharing.  The HealthyWager challenge doesn’t have that although we do have a chat forum where we encourage each other.

So am I there yet?  I’m not there yet but I’m getting there.  I’ve pulled up anchor.  I’m not stuck at 250 any more.  Yeah, I get you think losing 12.4 pounds may not be much when I started at 252 (if I’dve waited a week, I’dve been at 250 anyways so maybe only 10 pounds counts.)  But the weight has stayed off more than a month.  That is huge.  We’re off and sailing.



From Amazon: I use Fitbit Flex 2 to track my steps.  It’s half the price of the fitbit charge 2 and counts some hand movement as steps (probably because it was designed to be water resistant so you can go swimming with it) but I like it.  It even counts my sleep hours.  I hadn’t realized that I usually sleep a little over 6 hours, not seven until it documented my sleep time.  Apparently there are books and logbooks to help you use it.  I am thinking about the $2.99 book but it’s kindle only and I like real books better so I might wait.

Fitbit Essentials: Lose Weight and Live Healthy With Fitbit
Fitbit Essentials: Lose Weight and Live Healthy With Fitbit

Fitlosophy Fitbook: Fitness Journal and Planner for Workouts, Weight Loss and Exercise

Fitbit Flex 2, Black (US Version)


Myth Buster: Edison’s 10,000 attempts
Thomas A. Edison Papers
Rutgers School of Arts and Sciences

SMART criteria

Amazon disclosure: “We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to and affiliated sites.”

HealthyWage Disclosure:  I am signed up as a HealthyWage affiliate.  If you join through the links above, I’ll get a commission.  However, they also have a friends link, if you join up by clicking this friends link, it adds a $40 to your HealthyWager award if you complete your goal and $40 to my HealthyWager award if I complete my goal.  We don’t get the $40 if we fail.  I think the $40 is for HealthyWager challenges only and not the other ones like the 6% individual challenge or the team challenge. The HealthyWage affiliate link doesn’t matter if anyone succeeds but there is no benefit for the friend, just for the affiliate no matter what kind of challenge they join. I think joining through the friends link also lets you view your friend on the dashboard: you’ll see their name and what % they’ve lost so far but not the actual weight.  That’s private unless you make it public.

11 Replies to “TT Thursdays : 5th wk Weight Loss Challenge: Love watching numbers going down”

    1. Thank you! I appreciate your encouragement very much

      Hope you’re having a great day on the water

  1. Serious progress, and great insights, Mary. Recognizing triggers and being willing to explore the emotions behind them takes courage and patience, and often being present to something we’d rather not hang with. Well done. cheers to you!

    1. Thank you, Steph. Yeah, not eating has helped me to seperate a few things. I found hunger was not a common trigger before — mostly because now I recognize hunger and that’s not what I was feeling before. It was mostly different emotions pushing an eating impulse which I thought was hunger. Same with thirst. I can tell the different now between thirst and hunger and I used to get the two confused. It’s been a revelation to me to realize I was rarely hungry before as I ate regularly. The urge to eat was a lot of things like habit, frustration or a trigger visual like an ice cream photo on a menu.

      I think English needs a new word. We overuse “hunger” when what we mean is an “impulse to eat”. “Food cravings” is okay but needs a modifier. If we had a softer word we could downplay the impulse to eat. The way “crush” downplays “obsession” or “love”. So a person who says I have a “crush” is likely to get over it more quickly if it’s not returned than someone who says I’m in “love.” I’d like a word for the “impulse to eat triggered by x” which can be quite strong which is like “crush” to make it both easier to write about and let it go. I think words are important — they show what a culture acknowledges and what a culture thinks is less important and can be lumped together.

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