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Sunday, August 25, 2013

I've been in this weight loss thing long enough to know that it goes much deeper than shedding a few pounds. The number on the scale is just the tip of the iceberg - it's the part sticking out of the water. You know, the part you can see with the naked eye. But if you only address the part you can see, you will never fix the rest of the iceberg. That is the journey I have been on for the last several years. Here is a diagram I drew to demonstrate what I mean:

In case the image isn't clear (I can't see it right now) - the bottom of the iceberg has these things listed:

Past successes and failures
Biological/physical issues

These are some of the major issues that need to be addressed for permanent weight loss (ie a healthy fulfilling lifestyle) to be achieved. Here is a quick snapshot of where I am coming from on these:

Emotions - identifying triggers and effects of emotional eating

Justifications - my focus for today (see below)

Past successes and failures - here we go again (facing yet another "start" and "falling off the wagon" acceptances

Misconceptions - desperate attempts to follow an unrealistic lifestyle long term. Not understanding how food affects your particular body.

Biological/physical issues - beating candida, diabetes, heart disease, family obesity, physical limitations etc.

Today my focus will be on justification because this is where I am struggling these past few weeks. Justification is just a fancy word for excuses. The excuses I make to justify making choices I should not be making. Let me give you a few real-life examples:

Example #1
My family came to visit last weekend from PA. I had 8 women to feed. Instead of feeding them the foods I claim to have adapted as my new normal, I recipe searched and found lots of delicious casseroles to feed a large crew. They were not in the least bit healthy. I have spent months talking about how I avoid processed foods and make yummy healthy recipes based on meats and veggies and occasional quinoa (the total truth) yet I failed to live by example when they came here for the weekend. I used their visit as an excuse to eat the old way - it's only for a weekend after all! Desserts and pastry and yummy chips and dips - oh boy, did I live it up - all the while saying to them how "its been months since I got to indulge in these things..." Well, guess what? On Sunday one of the ladies told me that she had been looking forward to coming down and trying out some of my healthy recipes - yikes, a knife in the heart. Fail. Epic fail. I missed this great opportunity to be a living example of how you can eat healthy and delicious at the same time. I feel like a fraud. Justification - it's a special occasion - they only come to visit twice a year, enjoy yourself.

Example #2
I returned to work two weeks ago. Leadership development training - all day sitting and listening. Breakfast and lunch provided! Well, again, when feeding a crowd what is the most inexpensive way to feast? Processed food - carbs! Lots of them! Bagels, muffins, coffee cake, donuts - yeah, baby! Pizza, subs, sandwiches - you betcha! Well, again, teachers fussing about how much weight I lost as I eat plate after plate of what I shouldn't eat. Justification - once school starts its all food from home so go for it. Oh, I'll just exercise when I get home (nope, too tired).

Example #3
The pity party. It's Friday night after a long week eating my way through leadership development. I'm tired and don't feel great (wonder why?!) and it's not fair that my hubby can come home and eat pizza and drink a glass of wine and relax his way into the weekend. Poor pitiful me. I'll just workout extra over the weekend - pour me a glass of wine honey and what do you want on your pizza, I'm having chicken and spinach on mine! Justification - I deserve to relax too and I can make it up later.

All three of these examples show just a sampling of how I can talk myself into going down a wrong road very easily. Until I can quiet these voices I won't truly have victory over my weight loss. No wonder I go up and down so much. No wonder I have been struggling to get healthy for over 10 years. I have to get control over the justifications. But how?

I really believe it is practice, planning and accountability.

I need to be held accountable. Don't wait until the end of the weekend to question my cooking decisions - tell me now while I can still do something about it! Draw attention to the fact that I am over doing it - I won't like it but I'd rather face my folly when I can limit the damage than beat myself up later when more damage was done. I need to also hold myself accountable for my choices - I know that Friday nights are typically when friends want to kick off the weekend with happy hour - so I should plan for it by making better choices during the week so I can have some fun on the weekend. Planning in advance helps me to indulge in a healthy way - not a throw in the towel for a days-on-end kind of way. And most importantly, as with anything else, practice makes perfect. I know I'll never reach perfect, but the more I say no to myself the easier it is to follow through and ignore that voice that wants to justify making a bad choice.

Hey, we are all a work in progress. As long as we keep trying, keep reflecting, keep tweaking who we are we will succeed in become a better, healthier, more informed us. I am learning that it is so much more successful when we have a large support group. Thanks for being such an important part of my support group!
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  • no profile photo CD8292103
    AMAZING blog and AMAZING points. Hang in there. You can do it!
    2673 days ago
  • JEAN111766
    Hey lady,
    Love your iceberg pictorial... makes lots of sense. And your examples made me laugh! I have to agree somewhat with TD in that the justification is not necessary (I differ in the faith/religion being thrown out... I totally gain my strength from my faith). We are on a lifelong journey and can eat whatever we want to eat. There are no 'bad' or 'wrong' foods. It is all about portion control and balance. Eat the bagel/ pizza/ dessert... just limit the portion to what is an appropriate amount and balance it with some freggies. This is the mindset I have adopted and have been living by since June. I am so much more satisfied. I gave up 'restarting' because I never quit. If I eat too much on any given occasion, I know the scale will be up because of the sodium mostly. I up my water intake and cut the junk out and before I know it, the water weight is off and I am feeling much better. I am tracking my calories and my exercise and keeping my calorie intake to less than 2000. Something must be working b/c I have dropped close to 20 since the beginning of July... and I feel great.
    Check out the SparkCoach... I have gained so much from that program :)

    Many hugs Sparksister!!
    2707 days ago
    Well said Chris. Thanks for the examples. I find it easier to go with my unhealthy life style words in times like that. But as you said, we are a work in progress. Keep up the awareness and be willing to make the changes your small inner voice is telling you to make. What a great journey this is and I am glad that you are a part of mine! Prayers for continued success.

    2709 days ago

    For me it's about transformation. I ate out pretty much every day last week and felt really horrible Friday and yesterday. Just physically sick. The scale reflected a 2.4 pound gain (One that I knew would vanish fairly quickly).

    Yesterday I detoxed and didn't eat out. Ate the foods that have lost me 15 pounds over the past 4 months. This morning, I did an unofficial re-weigh and **i que sorpresa !** I'm back down to a matter of a few ounces over 200. As I kind of figured, most of the gain was water weight (Oh, and I slept really well).

    Over the next few months, At least a few of my Wednesday blogs will be about how religion (guilt, confession, "redemption" and "justification") doesn't play out well in weight loss. I've been there.

    The reason I have been victorious is that I threw religion out as my main spiritual authority (both in weight-loss and life in general). As a result of doing so, I:
    * No longer fall off and get back on wagons (I've overcome the most hindering issue and will overcome the others as necessary)
    * Never really worry about the numbers (just kind of know that they'll go down)
    * Have victory
    * Have resolved most internal conflicts
    * Live in greater peace and freedom

    For me, justification wasn't an issue in that I would justify bad eating/lack of exercise/etc.. It was that I felt the need to when those happened.
    2709 days ago
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