Make Plans

If you have been following along with this blog you have:

  1. Paid attention to your eating behavior and patterns “Do This Now”.
  2. Have your goal(s) “Start at the End”.

Perhaps you wrote down your goals on an index card as a reminder.   I did this on a business card size card stock and had it laminated.   I pull it out when I feel out of control to redirect my thoughts from food to the goal.

However, even before you need to pull out your “goal card” to redirect your thoughts it’s important to know what your plans are for the day.  If you have control of your day then you won’t become “out of control” and be tempted to make poor decisions about overeating or poor food selections.  Make a morning to do list to gain control before you have lost it or become out of control.

Do you need a routine?  Establish a routine so you do not have to think about it.  Making room for any kind of “Plan B”.  Plan a standard menu that you like so there are not too many options and you spend too much time thinking about what you are going to eat. Your easy “go to” menu.  You plan this once and have the items ready so it keeps you from thinking about it.

Make plans and adjust the plans for fit the time of day, the season as well as the day of the week.  The purpose of putting together a plan for scheduling your time is that you will not have time to think about food.  This is not a meal plan that will cause you to focus on when your next meal is and what it will be – it is a plan to fill up your day to keep you distracted from eating and to live your life.  That does not mean that you fill up your day with tasks that are labor intensive and not enjoyable.  You could plan your day to include a nap, or just sitting in a chair meditating.  As long as the plan is not focused on eating but living.  Living encompasses a limitless list of activities and just being, it is so much more than being about the food.

You can change out the plans to fit the scenario:  Change the plans for the season.  You do not have to have all of these plans far in advance you can make them in the morning.  However, if you are bored or need a distraction you can create all kinds of plans – plans for the weekend, party strategy, hectic day plan, etc.

All of these plans might seem like a lot of work but think of it as a game.  If you were playing a game, you would have game pieces (your goal card) and a strategy for winning (your plans).  You win the game when you reach your goal.  The goal isn’t a final weight – it is the list of items on what you would do and how you would feel differently – the way you want to feel.

What I know About Myself

Having a plan is important for me because my habit was to walk into the house and head straight to the kitchen to grab something to eat.  I would feel anxious from the day and would shovel food into my mouth without enjoying it.  Sometimes I wouldn’t even take my coat off and would act like a “wild woman”.  All the while knowing my behavior was disgusting.  I couldn’t stop the screaming locomotive racing through the kitchen.  Once I had that thought of eating in my brain it had a “Vulcan grip” on my thoughts.   Now, I visualize before I go home what I will do when I walk through the door.  I derail the train before it leaves the station.

The Playtex Living Bra

When you are chubby everything becomes… “chubby”.   In the fourth grade I became a candidate for a bra.  The popular bra of the day was the “Playtex Living Bra”.  I don’t know how it was discovered that I was wearing a bra, probably a wayward bra strap or a top that was clingy.  All I remember is girls taunting me to go home and “feed by living bra”.  That’s when I started walking hunched over.  It’s been a struggle ever since to correct my posture.  I have been told I “walk like a man”, “walk like an old lady”, and have the posture of “a boiled shrimp”.  It’s ever-present in my mind to stand up straight.

The bra event wasn’t the worst event in my life but when you are singled out for something you get singled out for just about anything.  In that same class, I remember having an itch on my face and just scratched the itch.  No big thing, right?  Well, another boy in class thought differently and imitated me making monkey noises and very exaggerated.  Those things are cemented in your mind for – ev – ver.   I see him every time I have an itch on my face.  Luckily, it’s just a thought and the feelings I felt at the time don’t come up.   But let me tell you he was rather unkempt and had long hair that covered his eyes.  Not a sight I care to remember but what can you do (ha, ha).

bra2monkey.jpg

Start at The End

I remember reading someplace that a particular author would start writing his novels by beginning to write the end of the story first. I found that quite interesting and great advice for deciding what I hope to achieve by losing weight.

What do you hope to achieve? Make a list of positive thoughts about doing well and what that looks like to you. How would you feel differently if you were at your desired weight? What would you do differently if you were at your desired weight?

My list of how I would feel differently and what I would do differently:
I would walk with confidence.
I would feel lighter as I walked and moved.
I would move faster.
I would feel a “weight off of my shoulders” of not having the burden of being different from others.
I would have more energy and be able to participate in activities.
I would tuck my shirt in my pants and wear pants with a belt instead of blousy shirts to cover/hide my stomach.
I wouldn’t sit with a throw pillow in my lap to hide my stomach roll.
I would look forward to a dinner invitation instead of dreading it and worrying that I will eat too much during the day and blow up a size by going out to dinner.
I would enjoy buying clothes instead of punishing myself by wearing the same old thing because it was too depressing to go shopping,
I would enjoy wearing a bathing suit instead of dreading summer and the beach.

I eventually got to experience those feelings and activities when I did lose weight and was down to a healthy weight. I went into the GAP to purchase jeans and the sales girl asked if I needed help. I said yes because I was overwhelmed with the selection. She asked if I was a 6 or 8. I laughed out loud (actually roared) because in my mind I was much, much higher! I could not believe that someone could size me over and come up with those numbers.

I actually did end up trying on the size 6 and picked up a jacket to try on as well. The sales clerk said, “honey that is way too big”. With joy I willingly took the smaller jacket to try on. To my delight it fit. However, the sales clerk still felt that it was still too big. I had to say, “let’s not get crazy” and kept the second selection. I’m sure I skipped out of the store. To this day when I see that jacket it makes me happy. P.S. I am also now a belt hoarder.

“Skinny and Fatty”

As I started to get older and now into elementary school, I was larger than the other children. Not clinically obese at that time but taller, larger frame and chubby. At the time I didn’t feel being different was a bad thing. However, that feeling changed. There was a movie that was shown on television back in the 1960’s. It was called “Skinny and Fatty”. I do not remember the details but it was about two Japanese boys one very thin and one quite large. I remember that the large boy was bumbling and could not do physical activities well. His name was Oyama. There was a skinny boy in the film who tried to help him. The skinny boy was Komatsu. Back then we really didn’t grasp the translation and thought the large boy was Komatsu.

In my neighborhood the children called me Komatsu as if to make the comparison of me to the large bumbling boy. They would yell “Komatsu, Komatsu” when they saw me. I remember trying to laugh along with everyone so that they didn’t see that I was hurt. Any time I was made fun of I would laugh along. In some way I thought if I showed pain it would make what they said true. If I laughed along it meant they were just making a joke and laughing “with me”.

However, I would go home and hide under the basement stairs to cry in private. I didn’t want to look like an overweight, bumbling, Japanese boy. Back then girls wanted to look like the “Breck” girl. The “all American”, perfectly coiffed hair, perfectly everything girl.

When you are told in your formative years that you are different and not a good different it stays with you. I spend a lot of money trying to achieve the “Breck” girl still today. I am Sephora’s largest customer… oops I mean “best” customer.

fattybasement.pngbreck-girl.jpg

Do This Now

Understand when you are eating and identify patterns in your eating behavior.  There may be a reason that you overeat or there may not be.  There may be a legitimate reason that causes you to overeat but it doesn’t matter. You cannot change the past.

First consider this – how does food make you feel?

  • Do you understand the circumstances around when you eat?
  • Are you rewarding yourself for doing something difficult, either emotionally difficult or physically difficult?
  • Are you celebrating for good work or good news?
  • Are you trying to comfort yourself in time of sadness?
  • Are you enjoying the food—the smell, taste, or presentation?
  • Is food a form of pacifier for you?
  • Don’t have a reason—just do?

You may make a list of the times that you eat (optional).  You can either put the list together right now or keep a running list of the occasions that you eat.  It could be a number of reasons.  It is important to understand your patterns, your behavior, because you will need to use this information to help you learn how to help yourself change the pattern.

What do you notice about yourself?   There could be many different situations, you should record them all.  The pattern still might be the same in all situations.  That’s okay.  Just start by recording or be mindful of the information, you don’t have to record and analyze at the same time.

What has worked for you in the past?  There might have been at least one moment in time that you wanted to eat but passed.  Do you remember why?  Were you embarrassed to eat in front of others or was it you simply didn’t like the food?  When you are successful, take note of that – that is just as important if note MORE important.

A Lesson from Amazon

You might be anxious or excited to jump in and do everything you need to do all at once to lose weight.  I used to say I’ll start on Monday and eat 1000 calories, drink a gallon of water, and exercise for 1 hour.   I wouldn’t even last one day with that strategy.

It’s important to take “baby steps” and focus on one aspect to get healthy at a time.  Master that one new change until it becomes a habit or second nature before you move one.  Remember even Amazon just started selling books.   That’s how they launched and for years that’s what they sold.  Their slogan was “we have more books than get fit in the Pentagon”.  They sold books on-line incredibly well.   Now look at them!!  Be like Amazon – they rule and so can you!

The Campbell Soup Kid

The first time that I have a memory of a body image for myself was when I was told that I looked like the Campbell Soup Kid.  The “Kid” is the iconic cartoon image on the Campbell Soup can.  I was probably pre-school or kindergarten age.  At the time I remember feeling special and I had myself convinced that I was in fact the Campbell Soup kid.  I remember skipping down the sidewalk with elation thinking I was famous.  To this day when I hear the word “lunch” I picture a bowl of Campbell’s Chicken Noodle Soup.   Luckily it never occurred to me that I resembled a chubby round-faced child and that could be a bad thing.  That would come soon enough.

What I Learned About Myself

I have learned that as soon as I talk myself into eating one item, regardless of how small the item is, it is the trigger to continue a non-stop action of eating.  If I talk myself into eating just one M&M, the next thing I know I have eaten an entire bag.  I do this pattern over and over again

What I also learned about myself is that I will spend a lot of effort and mind power justifying why it’s okay to have just one.  I will say that this will be a good exercise for me to just eat the one.  I will feel great just having the one and being able to walk away.  However, I will not just eat the one, I will continue to eat.  I will tell myself that 2 is a good number, no 3 is a good number, or this is all that I will eat today.  If I eat nothing else today, I’ll be okay.

Most days I would have eaten my daily quota by 3pm and then give up with the notion of “diet”.  I’ll start fresh tomorrow so I’ll indulge today.  It never turns out good.  Do not do this.  Start NOW, this MOMENT, not tomorrow.  As stated previously, start by watching yourself and your behavior.   This is a productive part of being on your way!

campbell soup kid

Welcome and Introduction

This blog is not about nutrition, diets, or the science of eating. It is about living with an eating addiction while losing weight and maintaining a desired weight and body size.

Many books are written by doctors who have conducted perhaps several years of research. I am forty years of research.  I desperately wanted to know how to lose weight without the scientific overhead. I wanted to read something that said “do this now!”

With all of the diet workshops, surgeries, medications, supplements and diet foods the population is still increasingly overweight. There has not been anything presented to stop this trend. I decided to write because through the years I have tried all types of weight loss plans and gimmicks to lose weight and to keep it off.   (You would be amazed at what I’ve tried).  The only solution for me has been what I have learned through the years that I hope at least one person can relate to.

I hope you will find it a passionate, positive, uplifting and even sometimes humorous account of a life dealing with weight issues from early childhood to adulthood. I hope you will understand what it is like to be called the “Campbell Soup Kid” as a child to catching a reflection on the side of a car as a adult and finally not seeing a “fat person” in that image.

It’s Not About the Food

You might read the title of this blog and say to yourself…what do you mean “It’s Not About the Food?”  It’s the food that goes into my mouth that has the calories, that packs on the pounds—it is clearly the food!

I say that it is not about the food because I came to the realization that the actual taste of the food is so fleeting, are we really making our lives so miserable over just those fleeting moments of tasting food?  How insane is that?  Why?  What is it about those fleeting moments that are so addicting?  Is it more about the desire and allowing to give in to that desire as a reward or self pampering?

The actual title was a spontaneous reaction to an advertisement for a nutrition/diet bar.  I had heard that there was a diet book by Dr. Phil that gave steps on how to lose weight.  At the time I heard about the book I thought “finally, someone who understands and will help us all to lose weight”.  I felt this way because I respected Dr. Phil based on what I had seen on television and through articles he had written.  Moreover, I felt that the reasons people ate were complex and it was so much more then sticking to a diet.  Don’t most of us who overeat know what we should be eating and when to stop?  I thought his book would be different.  It would touch more upon the psychology of eating then calories of food.  I was encouraged to get the book and to learn.  However, prior to actually getting the book I came upon the print advertisement in Oprah magazine for nutrition bars that were developed and branded by Dr. Phil.   I immediately shouted out – “No!  You sold out!  It’s Not About the Food”!  Exasperated, I sighed and said “I should write a book” really not expecting to but responding to people just not getting it.

What gives me the right to author a blog about losing weight and keeping it off?  It has been my life.  I realized that I have lived almost my entire life being addicted and obsessed with eating.  I have tried countless diets with which most people are familiar but with minimal success, short-term success, no success at all, or demise.  I have gone through each of the diets and understand why they did not work for me.

Each week I hope to present a goal or thought that helps people and also share some of my struggles – both in the past and still today.

Thank you for reading!   Wishing you joy!