Saturday, May 3, 2008

Hard Habits to Break

Dear Readers: I've noticed lately that I've made typos that I don't find until much later. That isn't like me, and it's not good considering I have to be perfect (in my text) for a living. It could be my distractions; I hope so. My apologies for the errors! I promise to proofread more carefully before publishing! - D

In talking with a blog buddy about habits and triggers, I began to think about my weight loss last year. As I told her, I had to lose weight to get my health under control, so I had to take some drastic measures. I went on Medifast and dropped 40 lbs. in addition to the 20 lbs. I had lost by cutting some things out and by going to the gym. I had to break many habits. No more Starbucks (except for unsweetened black tea or plain coffee), no more ice cream, no more candy bars. I had to stop grazing. I had 5 Medifast meals per day along with one meal that I cooked (a measured portion of meat and a measured portion of vegetables. No bread. No rice. None of that. I got used to it, though I had headaches a lot at first as my body adjusted. The pounds came off quickly, which made it easy to stick to the diet. I had some positive reinforcement!

I don't think it's that way with all habits we must break. What reinforcement do you get when you, as my blog buddy is doing, quit smoking? When I quit smoking at 21, it was because I was pregnant. No more cigarettes, no more beer. I was working at a hardware store and living with my husband's family on the Outer Banks of N.C. He was in infantry school on Camp Lejeune. When the pregnancy test came out positive, we were delighted, but my life changed. No problem! I had a great reason to quit. I never started again, though I had a cigarette here and there with friends. I never had that urge to light up. When my husband tried to quit, it took him three different times before he was finally able to kick the habit for good. It was hard for him, because every activity required a cigarette. First thing in the morning with coffee, last thing before bed, after a meal, after sex... there were all kinds of reasons to light up. But he finally quit and never looked back. We became health nuts, more and more, as we went along. I think it's hard to do that, though.

Since I've had the stress of additional pain and procedures (since last fall), it's been harder to stay away from sweets. Still, I was doing alright until after our mini-vacation for our 25th anniversary in February. When we got home, our daughter moved in within 2 days. The stress started. Even now, the stress lingers. My slide started with some 100-Calorie packs. Those things are GOOD! But even then, I kept it under control, only allowing myself one per day. The snacks in my life were still reasonable. Lately, though, I have found myself getting a cookie - not the small homemade kind - the Starbucks kind. Very fattening. Or I pick up ice cream at the store. Or I have dessert at a restaurant. What is wrong with me? I know I don't want to have to lose that weight again?

Stress, I know, is one of my triggers. It's a big one. When the stress goes on for a long, long time, unabated, you have to let the pressure go somehow. Maybe you jump out of an airplane. Maybe you smoke. Maybe, like me, you turn to food for comfort. It doesn't work, though. It just spirals into something that feels bigger than you.

Well, today is the day I get it back under control. Fortunately, I've only gained a few pounds, less than 5, so now is truly the time to change. I went shopping, and I got no ice cream, no cookies, no candy, nothing that would tempt me. Instead I got some string cheese for snacks, along with the 100-cal Jell-o Pudding in the fridge. Discipline is a good thing. Though I will still have to deal with triggers, I don't have to respond as I used to. I like being a size 10. I don't have to avoid shopping, avoid cameras, or avoid social gatherings. I don't have to feel like the biggest person in the room. Discipline is a lot better than abandon.

I wish my blog buddy luck in finding her discipline and in kicking her habit. I know that she has some goals and reasons for doing this: health, smelling better, feeling better. With a constant reminder to yourself of those goals (a list, a photo, something that jogs your brain out of its habits and routines), you will get there.

May you all break an old habit this year. Start fresh.

Peace - D


:-Daryl said...

I empathize ... I put on 5 lbs this past holiday season and have see-sawed them on/off over the last 4 months .. bread is my undoing ... I cannot eat just one slice of good fresh bread .. I dont even need anything on it .. I have started cutting out bread at meals during the week but have been indulging on weekends .. BAD move.. so beginning today I am banning bread from my weekends and hope those 5 lbs finally go away once and for all...


Momma said...

I was proud of myself today. No snacks from Starbucks or Borders, though I ended up at both today. Just coffee & a chai. I only had the second one because hubby returned from visiting his mother, and he asked me out :-)

Good luck with the 5 lbs - though you look mahhhhh-velous!

Peace - D