Thursday, July 31, 2014

I don't actually like cake

I worked from home today. I was freakishly productive and got all ahead of myself, so I'm using my commute time to write a quick post!

I love the feeling of being productive and knocking things off the list. I wish the appeal of that feeling motivated me to be this way everyday, but laziness does tend to set in.

So. Remember how I was all gung ho about calorie counting and fit-bitting and trying to lose 10 pounds? I quit. It was crazy making, and without any pressing health reason to quickly lose that weight, I had no incentive to deal with that level of anxiety. It just didn't feel natural and started twisting my generally healthy mindset towards diet and exercise into a weird, calorie deficit focused one.  I would go on super long runs and then try to eat as little as possible so I could see that huge negative calorie recording on my log. I would go get the kids after work (which means leaving work a little bit early), not because I wanted to see them, but because I wanted the calorie deficit that came from the 3 additional miles of walking.

Also, counting calories for every single morsel I put in my mouth took a fair amount of time and brain space. If you really are actively trying to lose a lot of weight, then maybe your brain is already focused on that, and this can be a great tool---particularly for the many people who have NO IDEA how many calories they are eating on a daily basis (that includes myself). It was helpful to get a sense of how many calories are in the foods I generally eat, and to know how full I feel after various caloric intakes---it helps me plan better what to eat for what level of hunger or activity. I made a few small changes based on my charting---eliminating foods I don't really care for that I was eating for ease and happened to have loads more calories than I suspected (wheat crackers & peanut butter are the two I remember), and eating more of things that I love that had less calories than I thought (certain fruits & veggies, hummus, corn tortillas/taco shells).

I still wear my fitbit, though I stopped (just this week, and initially by accident) wearing it when I run or exercise. The point was to try to increase the steps I get in daily activity, so seeing the steps pile up from a morning run (and then stay at the same level all day) was deceiving. I sit most of the day at work and I want to try to change that by motivating myself to get up every hour or so---seeing the lower step count is more likely to do that.

What I really want isn't to maximize calorie deficit so I can lose weight over the next two months. What I want is to make healthy choices...for life. I want it to be intuitive, and easy, and a good model for my kids---not stopping during dinner to obsessively check & record. To move throughout the day, not pace in my room at night so I can reach some arbitrarily set goal (really, where did the 10K steps come from? I'm too lazy to look it up right now, I'm sure there were studies). I want to get to this state (great post by nicoleandmaggie and even better comments) where I know I'm doing what makes me feel the best.

Of course I don't always make the right choices. My body occasionally (more often than I want to admit...) tells me it wants a metric ton of cheese or Pirate's booty and sometimes, I listen. All in moderation, I guess.


  1. I tried to comment this morning and my comment somehow disappeared! I wanted to say that I know what you mean about dieting leading to an unhealthy obsession with how many calories are in each thing. Sometimes it seems like in order to have a healthy weight you need to have an unhealthy attitude towards food. I think what's worked for me this time is looking at weight loss like a project. Just like weight lifting or running are fun because I see myself improving, or learning Spanish or crocheting, I am looking at it as a project to work on just to see whether I can do it. Oddly, that's motivated me far more than health, or looks, or fitting into clothes.

    1. I was just checking to see if I had any comments and up yours popped! I was thinking about you and Esperanza when I wrote this, about how impressed I was with your success. I like the idea of thinking of it as a "project" or challenge, but my question is--does it ever end? I don't want to work hard and lose 10 lbs and gain it back in the next year because I stop being obsessive. I guess I want to see if I can maintain, maybe lose a couple of lbs, WITHOUT being obsessive, because that is more manageable long-term.

  2. They all have their merits. I don't play favorites, but I have to admit I was pret-ty thrilled when I got a birthday request for Funfetti cake. In terms of pure celebration, I'm not sure you can beat Funfetti.
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