Today has been four weeks since I started my "Lifestyle Adjustment" - I have to call it that because, as Dr J pointed out, "diets" aren't sustainable, whereas Lifestyle Adjustments are.
I have been taking my measurements every two weeks, and would be due to take them today, but I'm going to wait until Thursday, which is a month, to see where things are then. In the meantime, I met my weight goal. Yippeee! I wasn't sure how that was going to work out, given the fact that last week I was regularly eating two desserts at each meal (though limiting myself to three bites, thank you very much). Still, I've lost over 8 pounds, I'm still on target to meet my 40 pound goal by August; and my jeans, which I couldn't button when I was pregnant the last time, keep falling down. Crazy.
Here's what I'm learning so far:
First, it really does get easier. A month ago, I couldn't fathom the idea of going to bed hungry. I mean, intellectually I knew that I wasn't going to starve overnight. But still, the idea of going to bed on an empty stomach seemed so foreign. What was the point of a bedtime snack, then? Of course you had to have a bowl of cereal or a nice big hot chocolate before you went to bed. It helped you sleep better, right?
The first few days of this Lifestyle Adjustment were so hard because I had to get used to being hungry. I've said this before, and I will continue to say it. If you're going to lose weight, you will be hungry at first. Anyone who says you won't be is a liar. I was averaging around 2800 calories a day. Now I'm down around 1800 a day. You don't just lose 1000 calories and not miss it.
I think that's why I was never able to sustain a weight loss before - I wasn't embracing the hunger, and would quit after the first couple of days. As soon as I got hungry, I would eat. That is a normal human response to hunger, but in my case, my idea of hunger was so twisted and unsustainable, I was reacting to habit more than actual physical sensation. It takes time to learn new habits, and I'm still not there - I doubt I ever will be - that's the thing about addictions of all kinds, you never really get over them. You just learn how to live with them, and not let them run your life. But four weeks into it, I'm at a point now where I can be ok with hunger, as long as I'm getting the nutrients my body needs.
The other day I was talking to a friend of mine, telling him about how much I obsess about food, and he said that he believed it was good that I had such a love of food, because it's a natural part of life, and I should be able to enjoy it and really love it. But that's where the distinction comes in. I don't love food. If I truly loved food, I would enjoy cooking it, watching the colors blend together, tasting all the flavors, and I would take hours to eat a really good dinner. I don't do that. If woofing down a bowl of spaghetti in less than five minutes was an Olympic sport, I would be a gold medalist.
It's the difference between love and obsession. A stalker doesn't love the person he's stalking. He's just obsessed with her. It's the very same thing. Just because I've been obsessed with food doesn't mean I love it. It's the opposite, actually. If I really loved it, I would savor it. I would recognize its goodness, how it nourishes me, and I wouldn't abuse it. No, there's a huge difference between loving food and obsessing over food.
I'd like to get to the point where I can have a healthy, loving relationship with food. Recognizing the problem is the first step, they say, so I guess I'm on my way.
Now, by next week I should have lost 10 pounds, and my reward for that is I get a full-on Spa Day. Cut, color, highlights, massage, facial, the WORKS. While the scale number alone would be reward enough, I'm definitely glad to have an extra incentive.