Tuesday, August 24, 2010

There's a difference between "I can't" and "I don't want to".

I've been absent lately. At first, it was a bad thing. But if morphed into something very interesting.

A few weeks ago, I went hog-wild. I'm talkin' pizza, Dairy Queen, kraft mac n' cheese wild. I weighed myself one day and it told me I was 221 lbs. The nerve! But it stuck with me. Something in me clicked. A lot of the weight came off fast, because it was water weight. But it's been hard. Last week. I was down to 208 bs. This week, 206 lbs. I've been rigid in my eating. Lots of salads; lots of veggies. I joined a gym and I've been GOING.

Today, I learned the difference between "I can't" and "I don't want to." Have you ever really struggled with this line? I have. I tend to give up when the going gets tough. But today, I was at the gym. I climbed onto the elliptical and started a program for 25 minutes. I am seriously out of shape. I haven't done more than 10 minutes at a time since I joined 2 weeks ago; but I was thinking big. At around the 10 minute mark, I felt this insane need to quit. Normally, I would have. I was breathing heavy. My legs burned. I was bored. But I told myself that I didn't NEED to quit. I just wanted to.

An odd thing happened. Around the 20 minute mark, my muscles loosened up. I felt relaxed. I found a rhythm and went steady. At 25 minutes, I stopped because that's what I had planned on; but I could have kept on going.

How often have I quit because things got hard? I think back to the weekend I spent at Sleeping Bear Dunes last month. Husband and I got to the dunes in the morning, and began climbing. At the top of the first big hill, I gave up. It was hot. My legs were killing me. But mostly, the BODY was willing but the SPIRIT was weak. I cried. A lot. I told Husband to keep going. Being a gentleman, he said no way - he'd hang out with me until I was ready. But I didn't want to go. I didn't want people to see me struggling so much. I didn't want to continue asking him to slow down. I didn't want to take it slow. So I didn't do it at all. I sat down in a heap on the sand and dug a hole while he explored. When he returned, I put on a cheery face and we ran down the hill.

I could have done it. It would have been so gratifying to get to the end. But I'm afraid, and so I give up.

I know some people will disagree with me on this, but I've stopped having the obligatory 3 meals + 2 snacks. I've spent every evening going through every diet book I own. The Superfoods Diet, South Beach, Atkins, French Women Don't Get Fat, Skinny Bitch, you name it. And it is mind boggling. How can I possibly eat oatmeal every day, eat eggs, eat yogurt, eat the required protein, eat protein with my fruit at snacks, etc. etc. etc. It's OBSESSIVE. All I do is think about food.

So I've taken a break. I don't need all of that food. People always say "the secret is to eat before you get hungry". I'm sorry... but there is a reason people feel hunger. It makes no sense to me that I would lose weight, and never be hungry. That means I ALWAYS have to eat the right things, at exactly the right time, in order to lose. I think that idea is meant to keep people from binging. If you are never hungry, then it's easier to say no to temptations. But I don't want to have to manipulate myself into not failing. I need to become a person who, when she actually feels a hunger pang, turns to fresh fruit or veggies; who can truly believe that when she is hungry, an entree salad CAN be enough.

I've stuck to the same plan for the past couple weeks. Oatmeal for breakfast, a light lunch (veggies and a protein), dinner of either a big salad with a protein, or a protein+veggie+whole grain combo. I have dessert of some sort to end my day on; a sugar free fudgecicle, some greek yogurt with fresh fruit, or some chocolate milk.

I've been finding little things to find joy in, food-wise. Hubby and I found a small asian noodle restaurant in town. It's a total dive. My bowl of noodle soup had some unexpected tripe in it! But you know what? I had a fabulous time. This place SMELLED of China. The dishes looked the same. The feel was amazing. At the end of the meal, they brought a small dish of some coconut/rice dessert. There was probably only 2 tablespoons in it, but I savored it. I walked away from that meal fulfilled. I only ate about 1/5 of my noodle bowl, so I went home and made myself a salad; but I was so completely satisfied and didn't have a single craving in the world that night.

I bought red bean popcicles at the asian market. I came to ADORE red bean flavored stuff in China. Have you ever tried it? It can take a few tastes to really appreciate it; but it's amazing. The popcicles are not only yummy, but they have beans in them, so they are filling.

I know things will probably change; and I'll have to adapt. But for now, I'm LOVING being able to just live. To not think about food every 2 hours of my life. I feel like a normal person again. I get caught up in things; when I feel hungry, I eat. I start college again on monday. I'm terrified. But I'm prepared for the changes. Bring it on!


  1. I agree with the difference between I can't and I don't want to. I find that barrier more often than not in everything I do.
    I am "trying" to be a triathlete. I've had more of those moments this week than ever before.
    In my run on Sunday, I was ready to quit after the first lap (5km). I had done alright, my friend wanted to stop... but I kept going. Hell, I didn't even run the whole way. My body is STILL complaining... but I finished. Second last, but I finished!!

    My bike ride on Saturday... God damn those hills look larger when you are on the bike than in the car... and they hurt. It was so windy, and almost raining. My OH went home! I almost did too. And kept riding. 3minutes in on my own I thought I was mad. It was so windy, I was moving so slowly... but I made it home. And felt great.

    Last night at the pool I challenged myself. Swimming has always been my sport, but I am sore... I can do 1000m in under 10 minutes. Ready? Set? Go!! 6 laps in, I almost convinced myself that I was only going to do ten.
    Now, swimming is the worst. Can't hear anything but myself thinking, can't see anything but a stinking black line... but I did it. And I made my time... And today I feel better.

    Point is... something I know if I make the concious decision that I can keep going, and I get comfortable... be stuffed if I can think about that when after 3 minutes of running I want to keel over and die!

    Also, agree with all the "diet" stuff going around. I just want my body to WANT to be healthy, to WANT the good food.
    Admittedly, I am not an entre salad convert just yet, but I am getting there. I am still VERY afraid of thinking of lettuce as a meal, even if I do have a tin of tuna with it.

    I plan all my meals for the day the night before. I had a food diary that I check first thing, and after breakfast, I pack myself a lunch box. No matter whether I am going to work or staying at home.
    When I get hungry, I can have something from the lunchbox. Whatever I do, what I can eat, is in the lunchbox... Saves me scouring the pantry or fridge and eating things I don't really need, or saves me from boredom eating.

    Anyway, sorry, I've made an epic comment, when I should be writing in my own blog... Actually, you've given me an idea :)

  2. Hurray for getting back to the gym! I believe you have to make loosing weight fit into your life or it won't work. Just a caveat, you have to eat to loose. I know it sounds counter productive but it does work. However, I totally understand feeling like you are always thinking about food. I always am.

  3. So just like Jess I feel my own epic comment coming on...My problem has never been "I can't" vs. "don't want to" - it's been "I don't want to because I'm lazy" vs "My body really needs the break." Ugh, I hate that struggle!

    I do think that food wise different things work for different people. For me, too few calories didn't work, and neither did small amounts of junky food. Now I eat all day - 8 times a day - at least 6 of those mini meals are fruits and veggies. The weight loss feels effortless now - but honestly I don't think it would work for everyone. I really struggled mentally with eating that much food in one day, and felt like my whole life was revolving around stuffing my face. Now though I love it, feel great and am starting to learn to indulge in some delicious high calorie foods but in small quantities.

    I guess my point is that your balance and what you need will probably not make sense for or to anyone else but once you figure it out, it will be great!

    ps, I love red bean popsicles....yum!