Once I finally found the time and energy to read this chapter, I was tasked with writing a schedule for when I would exercise and complete other activities necessary for weight loss. As a freelancer, my schedule is pretty flexible, so it wasn’t hard to schedule time to exercise. I also decided I can spend two hours on Saturday or Sunday planning and preparing dinners for the week to get it all over with at once.
Day 9 – Select an exercise plan
I’m going with The 10-Minute Total Body Breakthrough as I blogged about earlier. I’m hesitant to do too much at once in regards to exercise. This is a chronic illness thing. We can’t upset the balance!! My goal most days is to simply maintain an equilibrium. If I can get through a day without feeling like crap, it’s been good day. I don’t have to feel super-duper great, just ok is fine with me. I’m afraid to rock the boat by trying to do too much at once and radically changing my schedule by, say, suddenly training for a marathon.
Of course, exercise is ultimately good for your health and I know it would be beneficial in regards to my illness, so I should stop making excuses and just do it. That’s why I’m starting with a 10-minute plan. It’s better than nothing and doesn’t seem totally overwhelming.
Day 10 – Set a realistic goal
Dr. Beck recommends demands, that your goal be to lose 5 pounds. That’s because 5 pounds is a small, achievable goal which won’t overwhelm you. Once you lose 5 pounds, your goal is to lose another 5 pounds, until you get to a weight you’re happy with.
I understand the reasoning behind this, which is why I set my first weight loss goal to 20 pounds although 50 pounds is my overall goal. So…even though I get what she’s saying, my goal is still to lose 20 pounds, not 5. Sorry, Dr. Beck! To say otherwise would be a lie!
Day 11 – Differentiate between hunger, desire, and cravings
Some of the other days have been pretty easy to do since they’ve only gone over things I already knew, but this one contained some information that made me really think. During the day I had to write down my hunger level on a scale of 1-10 before and after each meal. The exercise was meant to make me focus on whether I was actually hungry or if I simply desired or craved a food. Here’s how each is defined:
Hunger – When you haven’t eaten for many hours and have an empty sensation in your stomach, often accompanied by stomach rumblings.
Desire – You eat a big meal and yet still want to eat more.
Craving – You have a strong urge to eat, accompanied by a feel of tension or an unpleasant yearning sensation in your mouth, throat or body.
Focusing on this topic made me realize I sometimes eat out of desire and not real hunger. I also eat because of cravings, but that ain’t no surprise.
Day 12 – Practice hunger tolerance
On this day you were asked to skip lunch, unless you had medical reasons not to. The practice is supposed to show you that hunger may be uncomfortable, but it is not something to fear. Being a bit hungry won’t kill you, so the next time you’re tempted to eat something extra that is outside of your food plan, this exercise is supposed to remind you that you’ll be ok even if you don’t have that extra cookie.
However, when I mentioned on Twitter that I was attempting this, a few people sent me concerned emails, afraid that I was on a crazy, crash diet or that I had suddenly become anorectic. Thank you for your concern, but I assure you that I enjoy eating far too much to start skipping lunch on a regular basis. Besides, when you think of all the people starving in Haiti right now, it doesn’t seem like a big deal to wait a couple hours to eat lunch. I caved after two and a half hours anyway and made myself a peanut butter sandwich. Yum!
Day 13 – Overcome cravings
Dr. Beck reviews some strategies to overcome cravings in this chapter. At the beginning of the text she says:
The more often you wait out your cravings, the less intense and less frequent they’ll be in the future. Eventually, you’ll experience a craving, and, instead of feeling bad, you’ll feel good. You’ll spontaneously say to yourself, “This is great…I’m feeling a craving, but I know I can tolerate it and it’ll go away…It’s great that I’m tolerating it!” Instead of feeling deprived, you’ll feel good—proud, strong, confident, in control. Dieting will get so much easier.
My response to this was, “Bite me, bitch.” I certainly wish it were like that, and maybe after I practice a lot there is a remote possibility it could become like this, but for real y’all, that just sounds like bullshit. Cravings are not fun. Cravings are CRAZY!! My cravings get the worst when I’m having a bad headache day, a headache day that lasts for at least 16 hours of consciousness, meaning I want to eat some ice cream all day. I don’t foresee myself ever feeling great about not eating the ice cream. Instead, I have long 30-minute debates in my head about why I shouldn’t eat the ice cream vs. how much better eating ice cream will make me feel, because it will.
So, uh, Dr. Beck gives you some of the usual advice about cravings, basically that you should step away from the food, drink some water, and try to distract yourself with something else. There are also some mindset techniques where you’re supposed to recognize and label the feeling as a craving, tell yourself it will go away eventually, go over all the reasons you want to lose weight, and ultimately tell yourself there is no choice, you simply can’t indulge the craving.
I’ve tried these techniques 2 or 3 times this month and…they are only moderately helpful. The truth is, when my head hurts, I want some frickin’ ice cream, and the feeling of pain is NOT going away, sorry Dr. B. I’ve tried distracting myself with video games, which is mildly effective, but cravings just suck and I hate them and that’s about it. I just try to keep the bad stuff out of the house because I rarely feel well enough to drive somewhere for my fix when my head hurts.
Day 14 – Plan for tomorrow
For the last day of the week, you’re supposed to write out a plan for what you will eat tomorrow. Like my cats, I already have a fairly predictable feeding pattern. I wrote it out anyway, with a few snacks having an option 1, option 2, and option 3 depending on what I want to eat. My dinner is the most variable part of the day, so I should start planning those out in advance, probably on Sundays.
End of week impressions
At this point in the plan, I’m getting really sick of reading my weight loss advantages list over and over again. I’ve been getting my email reminders to do so and just deleting them. Perhaps I should just cut back to reading it 3 or 4 times a week? I also didn’t find the advice about cravings all that helpful, since it doesn’t seem to account for people who are in chronic pain.
On the bright side, I have been having much longer debates with myself about my cravings, even if I still lose a lot of the time. I’ve been paying much more attention to the eating experiencing too, focusing on what I’m eating and enjoying it as much as I can instead of mindlessly snacking. I’ve also been more mindful of my hunger, reflecting on whether I really need to eat before going to the kitchen. Also, simply following a new plan has kept my mind focused on weight loss in a way it hadn’t been for awhile.