12. Not paying attention to what fitday can tell me.
Recently, I noticed that the reports fitday produce show a consistent pattern of x% protein, y%carb, and z%fat. The results vary but slightly when I ask for the report for the last month, last two months, last four months, etc.
If I look at these ratios (and the way I tend to eat calories within a certain range), I can see that, like a homing pigeon, my brain + my body + my emotions conspire to give me just those results from food choices. No matter what I THINK I'm trying to achieve at the time.
It may be true that small changes over time can effect larger changes. But I am fooling myself if I think I'm not keeping myself going forward exactly on an even keel, and this is keeping my weight relatively stable. My goal is to lose weight, not stay at my same weight.
Lesson learned: focus. The tools are there to see what I change and what the results are: that's what the reports can do for me. It's going to take some real effort to adjust my diet. Real effort as in focused, concentrated attention. One meal's not going to do it - more like 2 or 3 weeks' worth of food choices.
#13. Noticing portion sizes and not making changes according to what I see. When I see a plate of food, I see X food and Y and Z foods on the plate, and it's as if my brain computes 'good food' or 'bad food' for each. Although I really believe there are no 'bad' foods, I still automatically put foods into categories. What makes a huge difference is portion size, and I rarely, if ever, act on this knowledge.
I have a habit of using both halves of a large pita bread (8 gms fiber) to make a sandwich. This morning, I used just one half and hoped that I can make this a habit. Baby steps! BTW, the sandwich still had a substantial filling of vegetarian bologna (I cannot taste much difference at all in the lack of fatty meat there) and a slice of non-fat American cheese. That's all good, but I think the best thing about the sandwich - it did taste very good, with some Dijon mustard - was its portion size!
#14. I forget that this world is, as I navigate it, obesogenic, from what I can SEE.
I have to make the effort to notice that EVERY website that shows food, including diet websites, makes the food portions look large and luscious. I was visiting a diet website that featured a picture of pancakes, with some topping that included strawberries. There were at least two pancakes and they were stacked, they were not bare (they had a cream-type thing or a butter-type thing on top) and it looked like a LOT of food.
Now, it may not have been a lot of food. But the photograph was staged in such a way to make it seem so. That's just not real life, not for the me-who-seeks-to-slim-down. Every person or website or magazine or newspaper depicting food seeks to make the food portion LARGE, or at least appear large. This is the standard.
Breakfast in a diner: the food spreads across the plate like the map of a vast continent. A cup of soup looks like a BOWL of soup used to.
All of this has worked its way into my conscious mind. Unless it's the case of spending $20 for a minuscule appetizer made of smoked pigs' cheek in a posh restaurant, 'small' looks ugly and mingey.
I don't think I'll ever forget an elderly friend who told me of her visit to a young friend who worked in the athletic department of a college. In the morning, the young friend made blueberry muffins and presented exactly one on each plate, with hot coffee for the morning beverage. My elderly friend was horrified. Just one little muffin. You have to put out a platter, with an array of food, with butter!
I thought it was odd, too. Don't think I've EVER been served something that way at someone's house. In context, my elderly friend was slim, watched her calories, would never have WANTED more than one muffin, and her young friend likely knew it. But, but --- it was the principal of the thing!
15. I think I can concentrate on a task. And I can. I know this because I focus on a very time-consuming task, sit down and devote myself to it (usually I load up a DVD or have some drama streaming to my computer in the background) until a lot of the task, or all of it, is accomplished. Then I wish that tasks were smaller, but what can I do about it? I seem to choose tasks that involve a lot of work - a demanding course, sorting all the clothing that is to be given to a charity, filing months of papers, etc.
However, I notice that I cannot focus other times - and this is news to me because I'm just noticing this now. Perhaps I have always been this way. I became aware of the tendency when I read, 'How to Live on 24 Hours a Day,' by Arnold Bennett.
This is an oldie, but a goodie. Arnold Bennet died in 1933, yet this book's reputation endures. In the book, he attempts to train the reader to manage his or her time optimally. Unlike modern time-management books, the message delivered is not to multi-task.
He says, 'When you leave your house, concentrate your mind on a subject (no matter what, to begin with). You will not have gone ten yards before your mind has skipped away under your very eyes and is larking around the corner with another subject.'
I began paying attention to my own mind-wandering tendencies and found that I mind-wander 24/7!
I pray (it's an activity encouraged by my religious upbringing, and in my old age, I've revived the childhood habit) and find myself thinking of other things while I pray. While driving, I think about some issue that seems important and I notice that while thinking about that, I also try to fit in forty other observations and random thoughts that have nothing at all to do with it. I try to rein myself back in to the topic at hand and almost immediately, something else pops into my mind to think about.
I'm going to have to work on this one particular skill until I can feel that it works for me - after all, focusing on what I need to do to not overeat is a task, intending to exercise and then following through is a task. Breaking down bigger issues into smaller tasks is natural, but: my mind wanders!
If you eat 2 grilled cheese sandwiches, homemade with plenty of cheese and butter, and you don't count calories, or watch calories, or appreciate the effects of calories, do those calories count as a meal or a snack?
These luscious sandwiches were made when a formerly overweight blogger was growing up. She ate them alone, and nobody knew she ate them. She says that eating these sandwiches contributed to her obesity and that is hard to argue with. She ate dinner as usual and no one ever knew she ate that snack.
I am sure that I have very similar episodes in my past (even the not-too-distant past) but instead of thinking the secrecy of the eating was the problem, I think the naming of the eating is the problem. It's not a snack because it's not meal-time. Because calories count, and there are more than a few calories to two grilled cheese sandwiches (even one grilled cheese sandwich), it's a meal.
If a tree falls in the woods, does it make a sound? If there are two luscious grilled cheese sandwiches on your plate and then you eat them and they are gone, but it's a mere 3 p.m. in the afternoon and you ate lunch at 12, and dinner is at 5, did those sandwiches make a meal? I say yes. I say, that was a very early and a very caloric, BTW, dinner. Maybe it took less than 5 minutes to eat, even two minutes, but it was a meal.
I say that now. I don't think I ever said that to myself in the past. If I did, I didn't keep that in my head long enough to help me through the next snack attack.