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Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Update on my Weight Status

I have come to realize that with managing my weight I really have two challenges going on simultaneously. There is the desire to lose weight and there is the desire to keep weight off. These are, obviously, not mutually exclusive objectives....but they seem that way at times.

The reality is that since the end of July I have not lost any net weight. In fact, the struggle has been to keep the weight off I have lost. As of November 1 I was up .4 lbs from July 31. Today I am down .4 from July 31st. Overall this means I am 50 lbs down from my absolute high a year ago and 25.2 lbs. down from this January. I seem to go up and down about 4 to 5 lbs. A good thing but not the best thing. With my goal to lose 2 lbs. a month, I should be down another 8 lbs. from July by the end of November.

There is a lot in my world I still don't deal with very well. When I am at home, managing my own meals I am much more in control. When I travel, which I have done a lot of since July, I am not so good. When I get sick, which I did recently, I go for comfort food and inactivity. Let's be real, I love any excuse to pamper myself. And, unfortunately, pampering to me often means an extra glass of wine, comfort food from my childhood, stopping off at that favorite bakery when I am visiting back in my hometown or having an appetizer or dessert when I am out to dinner with friends or family.

I am a firm believer there is a balance between denying myself the pleasures I enjoy and over indulging with the consequence of gaining weight and feeling bad both mentally and physically. And I also have the additional need to lose more weight. So what is stopping me? Why am I stuck and not able to lose more weight? Am I basking too long in my 50 lbs. loss? Am I truly lazy? Where is the motivation I need? And why am I ignoring the goals I set out for myself...especially since I thought they were reasonable...and, after all, they were goals I set, not goals somebody else gave me.

In the book Predictably Irrational the author, Dan Ariely, discusses this very conundrum we all struggle with. He states, "Resisting temptation and instilling self-control are general human goals, and repeatedly failing to achieve them is a source of much of our misery." He believes our only means to combat this predicament of repetitive failure is to make "pre-commitments" to ourselves. He says "...the best course might be to give people an opportunity to commit up front to their preferred path of action." But our preferred path may not be very easy or pleasant so how do we get ourselves to do the right things? Ariely suggests "By pairing something that we love with something that we dislike but that is good for us, we might be able to harness desire with outcome-- and thus overcome some of the problem with self-control we face everyday." In other words, it is not just enough that we want something, we have to help ourselves through planning and positive reinforcement. Sounds to me like I need to act as a parent to myself! My internal "truth gauge" is telling me he is right.

So I made the "pre-commitment" and even put it in print for the world to read. That seems like a first "right step". Then what about the pairing of what I love with what is the more difficult task of losing weight? I think I want the carrot of an IPad...

My current strategy is to lose 8 lbs by the end of November. This means no giving into over indulgence, including at Thanksgiving. For every 2 lbs I lose I am going to put $20 into my piggy bank for buying an IPad. I really plan on putting money in an jar. And I know it it going to take a while, but that is the point!

How am I going to keep myself honest? By exercising at least 1/2 hour each day, preferably at the "Y" and with weights. I am also going to set up time with my trainer to learn the "art of Spinning" to help with the calorie burn. I am going to go back to logging everything I eat as well as my exercise. And I am going to give weekly updates to the blog on my progress. Let's hope this is the ticket to changing habits and achieving success!