My friend Karen posted an article over on Facebook that so completely made my day. It rung really true for me, I’ve been using some of these strategies unconsciously for the last few years and this put it into really clear, sensible language that is backed up by scientific research.
Short story: The words you use to talk to yourself matter, so use the right ones to achieve your goals! Please give it a read and think about implementing the suggestion, it’s definitely something I’ll be doing a lot more of now!
So my department is having the Annual Holiday Lunch on Friday. This is where the corporate masters rent a ballroom at a nearby hotel to serve us all lunch while we sit around tables trying to make awkward conversation while chicken or beef is served to us in a room with a Christmas tree in each corner. Then there’s a white elephant gift exchange which I always lose and end up with the worst gift in the pile.
The meal always involves bread, salad, meat drowning in sauce, starch, dessert, coffee, probably cookies, etc. And there’s no option to sit there and not eat without tipping off up to a hundred people (the larger department sponsors this so it’s a Big Deal) that you are on a special diet and having to explain it over and over and…
Exhausting. My solution to getting out of this dilemma? I declined the invite from the corporate Admin and said “Sorry, I’ll be on PTO that day.” Then I informed my boss I’d be taking a vacation day for 12/13. Voila! I have a 4-day work week, and I don’t have to go through the generally awkward and this year especially-awkward department holiday lunch! I wasn’t planning to take any vacation this year for Christmas anyway and I’ve got lots of extra time to burn, this seemed like the perfect way to do it.
It won’t work every time, but…I’m very pleased with my decision this time!
This weekend I ran the gauntlet of Masonic installations and holiday parties. Actually, there are a lot more ahead of me, so I guess I can say we just got started on them! But, the reason I mention it is because both of these things invariably involve lots of delicious food – food before, food after, food during!
Saturday we had an early afternoon and an early evening Masonic installation, followed by a party at a friend’s house. That’s 3 holiday parties in one day – all of them with attendant buffets or food service! Sunday was my husband’s installation as Master of the Lodge, which meant that we were the ones setting out the food spread! Here’s how I handled it and what I struggled with:
The first one on Saturday was easy because there was a brunch offered before the ceremony, and we just skipped it and showed up at the ceremony time. Easy! The second one was a little harder because the food was a meal after the ceremony, and it would have been rude to just leave straight away, so instead of taking a seat and denying each course as the servers came around, we spent a little time standing and chatting with people before whisking ourselves away to another party while everyone else ate.
The party Saturday night was quite a bit more difficult because it was a Pearl Harbor Party, with Hawaiian delicacies and fruity rum drinks and little delicious food bombs scattered throughout the house – bowls of M&Ms, big platters of pulled pork..I’m getting hungry just thinking about it. My husband got me a club soda with a couple of slices of lime and an umbrella to sip on, and I mostly stayed away from the food table but after about two hours we were both running out of willpower. It was getting harder and harder to NOT just absently pick up a handful of something delicious and ruin almost 3 months of hard work. Around 10:30pm my husband leaned over and whispered in my ear, “Take me home, I can’t resist any longer,” (he meant the food!) and we left right quick.
Sunday was a Big Deal for us as my husband was being installed as Master of the Lodge, and we had to put on a reception. I had planned ahead by hiring my friend Joyce who has recently started a catering company to handle all the food and hall setup. This was a huge lifesaver, on one hand, because I didn’t have to handle any food at all. It was a little harder, on the other hand, because she’s an amazing chef and all of the food looked and smelled WAY BETTER than anything I could have put together had I done it on my own! I managed to not eat any of the magnificent banquet she put on by keeping my hands busy, always having a non-caloric drink in my hand, and limiting the time I spent in near proximity to the food tables.
Towards the end of the evening, though, the ability to resist really gets depleted and there’s a point where it’s prudent to simply absent oneself from the situation. This is definitely something to be vigilant of! Fortunately I was able to manage the whole weekend without any straying…didn’t get much exercise though! I still feel like it was a total win.
I know, there was no Week 10 Results post. That’s because we didn’t have a class last week. That’s great because the classes are a complete waste of time. Tonight they had a fitness trainer come in to talk to the class. I was waiting for him to say something I didn’t already know, and he actually did, finally, in the last 5 minutes. I now have a slightly different stance I will experiment with using while lifting weights. So that was worth an hour of my time. *eyeroll*
As you may or may not recall, the results I’ve posted for the last 3 times have been 1 pound, 1 pound, and 1.5 pounds. I was concerned because my rate of loss seemed to have slowed to a crawl. Well, this week was 2 weeks worth of effort and I am extremely pleased – apparently I needn’t have despaired.
- Change this period (2 weeks): -6.5 pounds
- Total change so far: -34.5
Husband also lost 6.5 pounds, to bring his total to 42.5.I think we are both planning to start adding a bit more strength training into our exercise regimens this week.
This weekend we have several fancy events to dress up for, I’m pleased to note that almost all of my fancy dresses fit again so I have the full selection at my disposal. And I wore actual pants (not yoga pants) to work this week. And I actually have an idea of what I’m going to ask for when I go to see the Hair Whisperer on Friday. This is so unusual as to be almost unheard of! I feel like I’m getting myself back finally.
I’m in Denver, Colorado tonight on a business trip. I just finished my workout at the gym, wherein I planned to do 5K on the treadmill, however that takes a bit longer when you’re not used to being at elevation! I found that when I set the treadmill to a speed I’m usually pretty comfortable at, I was having a lot of trouble keeping up! So I had to go a bit slower, but I did finish my 3.1 miles.
Today I was in working sessions from noon to 5pm, so I had my breakfast shake when I woke up, one at 11:15 right before leaving for the conference space. Then at 2pm I had a bar, at 3:45 I had the next one, and another when I got back from the meeting before my workout, and I ducked out of the group dinner outing.
I’m mulling this over because I have 6 meal replacements I need to consume every day, 4 shakes and 2 bars (technically we can have up to 3 bars in a day but I’ve been doing 2 a day). For tomorrow it’s going to be a bit tough because I’m not interested in sharing with the ~40 people I’m presenting to today and tomorrow that I’m on a medical weight management program. Like I’ve mentioned before, I hate talking face to face about dieting (boring!) so the less I tell people the less I have to do that.
So, here’s my plan for getting through tomorrow:
- shake before heading out (meetings start at 8am local tomorrow, so probably around 7:30)
- a pre-made shake I’ll have in my laptop bag, sneakily slurp it down outside the conf room during the break at 10am
- a bar when everyone is eating lunch at noon
- another shake from my laptop bag around 2pm when meeting wraps up
- a bar once I’m on my airplane (which leaves at 5:20, so 5-ish)
- a shake once I’m home (around 8pm)
I’m a little uncomfortable with the long stretch in the afternoon and the long stretch between my 5pm shake and my 8pm (that’s actually closer to 4 hours with the time change, I think). So I will probably try to push my 10am and noon meals as far out as I can, put them off to ease the pressure on my afternoon/evening hunger. I try to space everything out so that I don’t have to go more than 3 1/2 hours between any meal because I don’t like getting really hungry.
The other thing I’m not super excited about is having those mid-day shakes warm. I really don’t enjoy them anything but cold cold cold, but if that’s the worst suffering I have to endure on this trip I’ve got nothing to complain about. I just hope the storm heading towards Denver holds off until my flight is up in the air and on its way tomorrow evening.
Being on a Medical Weight Management program like I am can be very isolating around the holidays – to avoid difficult food situations you have to avoid the people you love. To be around the people you love you have to risk sabotaging your program. I know I can’t rely on willpower – I’m no willpower ninja by a long shot – so I had to absent myself from several gatherings of friends I would have loved to attend.
Fortunately I have some close friends who understand and were willing to support us in our program by putting off their Thanksgiving feast for a day so that we could spend Thursday with them. I was deeply touched that they were willing to do that for us, obviously, you don’t find friends like that very often. So instead of putting myself and my husband through a tempting ordeal of staring at but not eating delicious food all day long, and explaining to every person present whether we knew them or not why, we went to the beach.
We gave thanks for living in a beautiful region where going to the beach on Thanksgiving is an option. We gave thanks that the weather was ridiculously perfect and picturesque all day long. We gave thanks for having friends willing to put off their Thanksgiving feast a day to allow us have a special day too. And I personally gave thanks that I wasn’t groaning and uncomfortable from over-consumption. It felt good to not have any regrets or guilt about my eating.
And it all ended with a glorious sunset and an evening of games, tea, and companionship. I hope you had a beautiful Thanksgiving day, however you chose to spend it.
1. Due to my diet program, I don’t have to brave the grocery store this holiday season. At all. Enjoy your mob scene, everyone else!
2. I don’t have to worry about gaining weight over Thanksgiving. I already know what I’m eating, when I’m eating it, and how much I’m eating. And I know that I will lose.
3. My food program makes people uncomfortable around mealtimes. It’s really confounding: what I’m eating seems to be an issue for everyone but me, it really makes people act weird. “Oh, uh, is it ok if I eat?” Yes, yes it is. I don’t expect everyone I know to stop eating just because I had to do something about my weight. Keeping me on program is my responsibility, not yours. So I’m opting to do my own thing on Thanksgiving (going to the coast and tidepools) and avoid large food-focused gatherings. Also I don’t have any family to spend it with anyway, so this removes the occasional obligation I feel to make the day seem festive without a family gathering. It’s kind of nice to have a ready excuse to not bother.
4. I can wear actual pants again. This has nothing to do with the holidays, I’m just happy because last night I pulled out my only pair of jeans and they fit again after years of not. I’ve been wearing yoga pants and other stretchy leggings under dresses for years now because my size 16 pants were all too tight and the bigger options were so unflattering. Size 16 is kind of the cutoff point for me. I’m happy to be able to wear real pants again, not just stretchy pants! I’m still unlikely to wear them often, because they’ve never been comfortable for me, but if for some bizarre reason I was invited to a jeans-required event, I could go!