If ever I had any doubts about having entered a new phase of my weight loss journey, they are dispelled. We just got back from a fun little trip to Laredo, to help celebrate my friend Suzanne's birthday. As usual, the setting was lovely and comfortable, the company was delightful, and the food was excellent. The last time I visited, I remember being in a bit of a tizzy about the whole traveling-eating out-eating at friend's houses problem. I no longer get in tizzies over these things, and you know what? It's not such a good thing. A little tizz would be good for me.
Perhaps it's the application of that old adage: familiarity breeds contempt. I've been at this so long now that all my techniques have become routine. Also, there's no question that over time, I have gotten sloppy on some things and it takes a lot more energy to reign myself in. As I continue to observe, work through this, and just experience it, I realize that it really is a lifetime effort and is going to require ongoing vigilance.
The first one hundred pounds came off fairly easily, I now realize. The next thirty were harder, but eventually off they came. Now I feel like I've been embroiled in a battle for the last several months! It's challenging, and at times discouraging, but in the overall scheme of things I am not discouraged. I am more determined than ever to get over the hump.
I think this is going to mean finding some new tools, and also wrenching myself back to some old ones that worked, however painful that may be. It is very hard to make yourself go back to something once you've let the habit slip. Case in point: I have discovered that it is better for me personally not to have "celebration meals" when I just throw caution to the wind and let myself have whatever I want, however much I want. That one meal doesn't do that much damage to my diet; but it's SO hard to go back to eating normally the next time. It's SO easy to lie to myself about how "just a little bite" isn't going to hurt. It hurts because I don't just take a little bite; I take twenty; and then I do it again the next time. So for me, it's better to have a single treat once in a while, rather than a whole meal of treats.
As I sit here thinking about it, I realize that I am no longer in the Zone. A couple of weeks ago, when I visited with my friend Robin in LA, she was very much in the Zone, and I was so impressed with how in control she was. It was an effort for her, and I probably didn't help much (although I did introduce her to the joys of the farmer's market and roasting fresh veggies --- yaaay me). Last year, this time, I was still in the Zone. My mental game was tight.
I gotta get back in that Zone. I have to find some new tools.
So one of my shiny new toys is this Engine 2 Diet book. I'm giving it a try. It's different in some ways from what I was eating before: many more carbs, but they are all from whole grains; no added oils (only the fat that comes from nuts, avocado, and other natural, unprocessed sources); no processed sugars; and completely vegan. Portions are not specified, but each recipe is extremely generous, and the servings are much bigger than what I need to eat, so I adjust accordingly.
Yesterday was our first full day doing E2, and I have to say, my tummy and tastebuds were happy. I'm not a big cereal eater, but one of the breakfasts is a big bowl of mixed cereal topped with fresh fruit, and it was good and satisfying. Dinner was especially yummy, and will most likely become a staple for us: a big bowl of brown rice, black beans, corn, and a pile of fresh veggies (cilantro, green onions, some avocado, fresh homemade salsa, water chestnuts). This morning, the scale showed that I'd lost two pounds! OK, I missed salad dressing a little bit, and I miss real milk in my coffee and honey on my fresh, hot, homemade bread, but I can adjust to all those things. I've found that I like almond milk in my coffee better than soy; it has a milder flavor and also fewer calories! And I often eat salad without dressing anyway; especially if it's already got fat on it, like avocado.
It's not a diet for everyone, but so far I'm enjoying it and look at it as a way to sort of clean up my slightly messy eating habits. As I spend some time examining the current state of my habits, I realize that so much has changed for the better. We eat much, much healthier than we ever did before. Exercise is a daily part of our lives ---if nothing else, we walk. I am now working to find balance between this personal makeover project and all the other projects in my life. And this is a good thing. When we stand still, we stagnate.
This ain't over; it ain't over by a long shot. But I am in for the long haul, without question.