The Dark Side of Weight Loss: A Weigh-In Update and Confession

The video above is a read-through of the text below, so either one you pick to read or watch will give you the same info!

Welcome to a very special installment on Julie Loses, lol!

This experiment with a goal reward is not going exactly as I planned. Or maybe just not how I had hoped. If you aren’t caught up on my earlier posts, I decided to attach a compact digital camera as a reward for hitting Onederland – 199.8 lbs or less on the scale. Overall I think the idea of setting goals and assigning rewards is a good thing. I’ve definitely been more motivated over the last week or so, because I REALLY want that camera in my hands!

One of my objectives for this blog is to be completely open about the experience, thus I have to be honest about this goal experience in particular: I do not think assigning weight-based goal rewards is the best idea for me (note the “for me” part, your mileage may vary). While I have been more motivated to push myself in my workouts, and to keep my eyes on the proverbial prize, I am not proud of this morning’s activities surrounding my weekly weigh-in. It’s harkening back to the earlier months on the program when my weekly numbers were a tad too important for me, and I would participate in “intermittent fasting” each Tuesday morning before my dietician appointment. On with the confession…

Yesterday I made the irresponsible decision to taper off my water intake. I drank a bunch of tea hoping it would flush my system and didn’t get in my normal eight or more cups of water. This morning, instead of getting up at a reasonable time and adhering to my normal weigh-in routine, I instead waited to get up until I was ready to (WARNING: TMI ALERT!) have a bowel movement. I find I typically have one first thing in the morning, and then another in the mid-morning a bit after breakfast, so today I waited until noon to weigh myself, to get the “full benefit”. And I refrained from taking in any liquids or food until after my weigh-in. When the number on the scale didn’t quite meet my goal of 199.8 or less, I forced myself to try to eliminate more waste material to reduce by mere ounces – by leaving the faucet running to arouse the need to urinate, rubbing my belly to promote #2’s, running around the house… you get the idea.

I didn’t eat until a half hour ago, after I finally gave up and resigned myself to the number I saw on the scale. That number on the scale, mind you, was nothing to scoff at. I’m down 1.8 lbs this week to an amazing 200 lbs. This may help explain my ridiculous desire to “go” just a little bit more to try to break into the 100’s, but it certainly doesn’t excuse my actions. This is the dark side of weight loss for me. The unhealthy side. Instead of celebrating a respectable 1.8 lbs loss I find myself feeling deflated. And if I *did* achieve that 199.8 lbs on the scale after doing what I did this morning, I don’t think the achievement would have felt as sweet. There’d be some bitterness, some regret. I feel it even now. It’s not a nice feeling.

This isn’t how reward systems are supposed to work, right? I mean, I definitely feel like I should celebrate hitting Onederland in some way – it’s an achievement and it marks, at least in the US where we use Imperial units, a distinctive transition. But I think setting goal-based rewards that aren’t tied to a number (be it weight or inches lost) might be a better system for me. For example celebrating a week of exceeding my Fitbit step count minimum, or getting 72 ounces of water or greater, or exploring new hiking trails, might produce a healthier approach to implementing rewards. It’s clear to me that I have a competitive spirit, but it’s also clear to me that I’m not above exploiting my bodily mechanisms to achieve results. I’m not proud of this, but I have to admit it to move forward.

So what will happen with this current reward? I’m keeping at it. I’ll not be chucking it out and going out and buying the camera for the hell of it – nor will I set a new goal to base it on. I will follow through with this, but I will not again endure the ridiculousness I put my body through these past 24 hours. I’ll get up and look forward to whatever result I see on the scale tomorrow, and the next day – same as usual. But I won’t waste half my day waiting for my biological systems to catch up to my desires. And I think once I hit Onederland, I’m going to taper off my weigh-ins to once per week again, for at least a little while.

But for today, I did reward myself for hitting 200 lbs by purchasing the domain JulieLoses.com for this blog. I had been thinking about it for awhile and decided that hitting 200 lbs was deserving of some treat for myself. I’d be lying if I told you my first reward idea wasn’t a Five Guys cheeseburger, but the domain is a much wiser decision.

This weight loss process, beyond the advantages of being smaller, more fit, and physically feeling healthier, has really given me tremendous insight into what makes me tick – both good and bad. I’m learning lessons and hopefully learning to move beyond some of my hang-ups. The benefits have gone well beyond what I originally imagined, and if that ME that decided to lose weight in the first place was an entity I could actually communicate with, I would give her a hug and thank her so much for taking those first steps. I’m losing weight, but I’m gaining so much more. It sounds silly to say it, but it’s really the truth. Thanks so much for coming along with me on this ride, and until next time – take care!

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Liveblogging a Binge: A Look Inside the Mind of a Disordered Eater

I knew I shouldn’t have. I know what it does to me. I know that having Cascadian Farms Organic Cinnamon Crunch cereal in the house is too tempting. Something about cereal. I want to eat the whole box, bowl after bowl. So I don’t buy it. But today the boyfriend had cereal on the grocery list, and his brand of choice happens to be the Cascadian Farms Graham Crunch, which is RIGHT NEXT to my crack on the grocery aisle. And it was on sale. Bastards.

I picked up two boxes. I don’t know why. I’m a sucker for a sale. Hook, line, and sinker. But there was something else going on. Some rebelliousness, or boredom, or some other unknown emotion driving me to desire the treat. I originally planned to have leftover slow-cooker pork loin for lunch, but now with cereal… plans change. I get home and carefully measure out not one, but TWO 3/4-cup servings (totaling 54 grams), and pour 120 mL of unsweetened vanilla almond milk atop. If I’m going to do this thing, I’m going to play by the rules. Weigh it. Track it. And then other rules, rules that I just made up. More on that to come.

After wetting each sugar-dusted piece by dunking beneath the almond milk with my spoon, section by glorious section, I let them sit long enough to get just the slightest bit soggy. And then it’s on. Within minutes, the bowl is empty. The rule I just made up is I need to drink 24 fluid ounces of water between bowls. There must be order in this deranged universe. So that means one bowl wasn’t enough. Why can’t one bowl be enough? I drink the water and sit for a bit. Checking feeds, tweeting about my sports bra, trying to keep the cereal out of my head. I look at the empty bowl and empty water bottle and rise from my chair with both in hand, ready for Round 2.

If it’s possible, the second bowl is gone even faster than the first. Everything measured, everything tracked. Maybe if I look at my macronutrient totals it will startle me into stopping. So far today, 23% protein, 19% fat, 59% carbs. Oh that’s not so bad. I was thinking it would be closer to 75% carbs. I start to think about blogging about it. Which is where I pick up here. I start drinking the water again. 24 new fluid ounces. 8 ounces gone. I keep looking at my tracker. Hoping something gels and I can be done.

I’m full, but not satisfied. And this rebellious feeling, WHAT IS THAT?!? I feel like my dog, who is constantly scolded for grabbing the flip flops from just outside the garage door, but still bratty enough to make yet another attempt whenever the door is opened. He knows, but he just can’t help himself. He actually looks like he is thinking twice, but oh hell IT’S A FLIP FLOP HE MUST RUN AWAY WITH IT! No one here is going to be mad at me for eating all the cereal in the house. I’m playing this sad game with myself.

I’m looking at this third-empty bottle of water. Considering my options. Considering the alternatives. I am in control of what I put into my mouth, right? There’s no universal order that demands my submission to the cereal gods, and yet I feel the pull. Forty minutes has passed. I’m staring at this blog entry screen trying to feel my way around and past my urges. The water isn’t gone yet. I’m going to leave with my bowl now, but it’s going to get washed and put away. No more cereal for me today.

 

To Splurge Or Not To Splurge

That is the question. With Valentine’s Day here, a nice meal out is long overdue. I’ve been struggling with my thoughts about going out to eat, and how to achieve success (a good time out with my partner). Here’s the full text of an email I sent to my dietician this morning:

Turns out we’ll be going to The Keg this weekend (the brewery will need to wait for our friends to come back to town next week), but I’ve been going back and forth in my head with an idea, and I’d love to get your professional input on it.
On one hand, there’s part of me that is afraid of stepping outside the guidelines and eating rich “no no” foods. On the other hand, as part of a lifestyle change, I’m worried about creating “no no” foods altogether. One part of me wants to order the filet, cooked as plainly as possible, with only extra steamed veggies and learn to be OK with that; but another part of me is thinking: “Look, you only go out once in a blue moon. Have a half order of mashed potatoes. Have a little cheesecake. It won’t kill you”…
I’ve been digging into it a lot online. Looking at pros and cons of “cheat meals” (as many refer to it). I really don’t know what to think. Some people think it’s vital to combatting cravings. Some even say there are physiological reasons why it’s good for weight loss (something to do with shocking the body into maintaining an active metabolism). I’d love to think this is all true, and to be okay with having a meal that’s purely enjoyable and that’s not a result of a binge, or eating to the feeling of stuffed-ness. Like, just having a rich meal on a nice occasion and it being okay. Is that realistic?
The other part of me is afraid of derailing my progress. Of getting a bite of cheesecake and then having to eat the whole thing. I think I’m being a little irrational in that fear. Like, part of me wants to believe that if I approach it the right way, in a setting that I control in a reasonable way, that I can 100% handle it. How do I know if I don’t test it? Ack, it’s a dilemma!
I think this is my long story which can basically be summed up as: for a special occasion meal, I want to me able to taste things that I feel are a “treat”. Is this disordered thinking?
Your thoughts?
Stay tuned for her response. Ultimately it’s MY decision, and I’m pretty sure I know what I WANT to do, but I guess I’m looking for permission. It’s a weird thing. Is giving myself permission the right answer? Am I worrying about this too much? Yes to both, is what I think is the correct response. Just trying to honestly represent my struggle here. Feel free to chime in if you’ve had any experience with this struggle yourself!

UPDATE IN COMMENTS!