Monday, August 22, 2011

An internal workout

My week at my Dad's house was great. I did go in with lofty exercise plans but my strategy changed.

I've been reading "Shrink Yourself" by Roger Gould M.D. Now I started this book before I left on vacation but my usual reading time is right before bed so I rarely get very far before I'm out like a light.

As I waited for the bus to Olds at the Greyhound Station last Saturday I got really into it. I do have to say this is the best book on emotional eating I've read to date.

The book gives a great overview of emotional eating and how it's phantom hunger not physical hunger and what I really appreciated it's got nothing to do with motivation or will power. It's deep in the psyche. I really like the part where he goes into "your inner critic" otherwise known as self doubt. It's the naysayer in your head who whispers things like you won't succeed. this your self doubt talking.

It goes into a lot of detail that I can't really sum it all up for you. I read it twice while at my Dad's and I'm going to read it a 3rd time. Every-time I go through it I can see more into myself.

Later on the book is broken into session as he's a psychiatrist after all. "Conquering the feeling of phobia" is a session that I particularly liked as this part is really getting into defining your triggers.

All in all it's not just about what makes you eat the tub of ice cream but going deeper into how you learned this behaviour and really seeing your triggers.

I've blogged about going deep before after reading Jillian Michael's Unlimited but what I tend to do is get inspired by a book or a lecture and then immediately I go into I must do this now and of course it eventually fizzles.

So I instead I spent the entire week focused on delving into my psyche and why I self sabotage and seem to have this mega mental block at 170 pounds.

One part of the book was a definite aha moment when he talks about goals to lose weight. I've often thought, said, written that getting to goal will help my self esteem and my sense of self worth. That's total and utter bull %$# after I read this part. Weight alone is not 100% responsible for self esteem and it's totally unrealistic for me to think so. He gives a list of whack of "goals" people have and when it gets right down to it. The only realistic goal is to lose weight to be healthier.

The other part that hit home is when he talks about what keeps you fat. That's another part of the psyche that can be due to fear...remember my hang up with 170lbs.

When I got home I went through pictures to see the physical evidence of when I really started gaining and I can pin point it to when my parents separated when I was 13. I don't remember being all that upset that they separated as for peace in the family I thought it was a great idea. What did happen though is my Mom became my primary caregiver and I finally realized she was an emotional eater. Before then I wasn't a fat kid, I was not lean and skinny but not obese either. I can definitely see that both parents where iffy on nutrition. I do totally believe my Mom was doing what she thought best but a soup bowl of whip cream is not an appropriate snack.

My Mom had abandonment issues. She really grew up during WW2 so that has a whole whack of issues from huge amounts of stress, malnutrition and she lost her brother who was her closest sibling. This now explains to me why when I would home sick from school she would take me shopping. Not to buy stuff for me but for company. The ice cream and the pastries where something she did with me.

I don't remember caring about sizes or weight through Junior High, I do remember buying a pair of size 18 white jeans for a Bermuda day. My Dad was with me and I remember him saying something about my weight. I being a typical teenager didn't respond that well to that. He has certainly been critical in the past but again I know he was doing the best he knew how. Lessons he tried to teach me where "Don't trust anyone" and "Don't get your expectations high". I'm sure you can see how that was a bit of a hurdle. Back when I was 13--16 I definitely felt like I wasn't good enough and that I was a disappointment.

Flash forward a few years to just before starting high school. That summer I got up every day and did Charlene Prickett's workout on TV and then went bike riding with my friend. When I returned to school I got all these compliments.

When my Dad was diagnosed with colon cancer was the next event. I think I gained 20lbs during that period from eating hospital cafeteria food and staying by his bedside. My Dad is my rock.

Living with just my Mom from the age of 13 I turned into the parent. I had resentment of being the parent and making sure the laundry was done and doing all the cleaning but then I had guilt about the resentment as well. I loved my Mother but I definitely don't think motherhood came naturally to her. Go forward a few years and she was diagnosed with Alzheimer's that added a whole new level of stress. I think that was the only time in my life I wished I had siblings but that wouldn't guarantee I had to carry the burden myself.

I also went through all my yearbooks. If you ever need a pick me up I suggest you do this. I read all these great comments about me.

I also took notes while I read "Shrink Yourself" and I'll share them with you:

Analyze my motives for losing weight
Harriet - the naysayer in my head that highlights my self doubt
Fear of failure, avoiding challenges, abandoning dreams.
Wanting to stay under the radar, while also wanting to rise above it
Food distracts from anxiety for a moment, isolate stressors
Because I'm fat, I hide.
My feeling triggers: depressed, jealous, bored, lonely, guilty
My self doubts: powerless, inferior
My rewards for a food binge: secure, delay in dealing with self doubt, intensity of feelings
Exercises as an alternative to food: relaxation, have fun, be more active, keep perspective

The good news is I'm not 13 anymore and over the years I've learned that I'm strong, smart and funny. I'm quite happy that I'm 30lbs down from my original start weight with Weight Watchers. Walking in those doors for the first time was the best thing I could have done.

When I got back this weekend I started tracking in a notebook as I needed more room then the WW trackers. I'm adding a component to track when I do have the little naysayer in my head encouraging a snack but also to track when I'm physically hungry for a snack. It's a pause to determine my motivations.

When I got back the Body Media was here. I got it charged up yesterday and started wearing it by 2pm. I did get the Bluetooth version so it can sync with my iPhone. It's worn on your left arm and so far there's been times I forgot it was there or thought it was bra strap that had slid down.

The data was cool especially the sleep tracking. The food tracking part is the same as any other where you have to enter it. The database isn't bad and it's easy to add new items. I still tracking points as well because I want to compare. I set the daily calories at 1400 and then I need to burn 2400 to get 2lbs off a week. You can customize your goals. The burning of calories is not just workouts. You wear this thing all the time so these are total calories burned throughout the whole day and that includes sleeping. There is a goal for vigorous and moderate activity. I discovered my brisk walk was 6 min of moderate and 53 min of vigorous.

I did originally plan to go to Iron Reps today but I had headache that started yesterday so instead I opted for a mega walk around the neighbourhood.
59 minutes, 4.27 miles, Pace 13:50-12:57, 7508 steps. I was happy to see that my Garmin works with just the food pod as I'm now wearing the Body Media for calories burned. I also switched to miles as I'm going to train for this half marathon in miles rather then KM. It's a mental thing. I am a little relieved that my walk pace is fast enough for the half marathon minimum pace.

I leave you with cat pictures of my brothers and sisters at Dad's house.

On the left Mama Meow the matriarch, in the middle Dusty (otherwise known as Motion Sensor as if you're even near the sliding door he appears with a pitiful meow that inevitably earns him treats) and on the right the whole gang from the left Dusty, Max, Mamma Meow, Spook and Fred. Fred still remembers me and purrs when he sees me. He even rolled over and showed me his belly. Just a reminder these are wild cats that my Father decided to start feeding when there were just two kittens (Fred and Spook). I have told him they're now his cats as they come to the door like clock work at feeding times. Sometimes all of them sometimes not. They do a good job at mouse catching on the 8 acre property. I call them my babies and I'm sure they call me "the easy one, just look cute and she'll give us treats".

Tomorrow I'm back to work and this week looks like it's going to be a little crazy. I have a 16 hour day tomorrow, fly home on a later flight on Wednesday and work all day with dinner and boss's boss house on Thursday. I might have to resort for walking around the building every so often as that's pretty much the only way I'll get in any activity for the next 3 days.

Alright my friends, I strongly recommend the book if you have trouble with emotional eating.

I hope you all had a great week.


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