Observations

by Stephen Vinson on November 29, 2011

in Uncategorized

I have learned two things (actually way more than that, but for this post, just two) about my weight loss since starting this blog:  I’ve learned what works for me to lose weight and what doesn’t work for me to lose weight. The big problem is that I want to continue with some of the behaviors in the “what doesn’t work for me” category, and I’m learning that it’s not going to work. I am going to have to stick with the stuff in the “what works” category, and get rid of all of the “what doesn’t work for me” stuff.

I don’t like what I’m discovering about myself, but all of this therapy, seeing the dietitian, and monitoring my food and exercise are there to help me identify problems. I have to accept the findings, learn from them, and adapt. If I do, I will reach my goal of getting this weight off. If I continue to behave as I have been, I’ll keep flip flopping up and down on the scale, and continue to binge and be miserable.

There are no promises or declarations from me about the following because we all know I love to make declarations and not follow through. No, these are recommendations for preventing future binges: most important items are highlighted in red

  • Take meds at the same times every day, and DON’T SKIP MEDS. – I take a blood pressure pill in the mornings, and my anti-depressant, throid, and allergy meds at night.
  • Don’t consume alcohol. – I have noticed a trend that when I drink alcohol, I binge.  – I can hang out with friends that are drinking, and I can go to bars, just don’t drink booze. I’ve done it before, and I can do it again. Alcohol is easier for me to resist than junk food at a buffet…
  • Always sleep using the CPAP machine AND humidifier. – Lately, when I sleep over at friends’ homes, I either don’t use my CPAP or don’t use the humidifier on the machine.
  • Stay away from buffets and parties that serve snacks “buffet style”. – 90% of the time, I cannot control myself in this environment, especially if alcohol is thrown into the mix.
  • Plan food in advance, and stick to the plan! – Weekdays I can relax on this one. My really troublesome areas are sleeping over at someone elses home, vacations, and the weekends.
  • Follow the exercise plan! – Danny has provided me with a run schedule for the Merdeces Half Marathon in February, and I also have planned workouts. My only designated rest day is Sunday.
  • Have contingency plans just in case plans don’t work out. – For example, go to a spin class or run on the treadmill if it’s raining outside.
  • Track all exercise and food. – It’s helpful information in discovering patterns and also troubleshooting problems.
  • Drink at least 64oz of water per day. – My good patterns always start to go downhill when I don’t get that water in every day. – I also tend to skip my water when I’m away from home and work.
  • Stay away from situations and environments where you will in all likelihood overeat or drink alcohol. – My greatest threat is parties with alcohol. Also, going on a cruise is not a good idea.
What brought all of this on was this past weekend. Prior to the weekend, I was doing fantastic. However, I have sucked at following my plans since. Sure, I overate and drank alcohol on Saturday at the Iron Bowl football party, but I didn’t believe it would be a big deal. Well, I’ve paid for it on Monday and Tuesday. I’m tired, depressed, been binging, and haven’t been working out.
I believe a combo of a few items brought on this latest episode of binging… I believe the alcohol played a big role because I take antidepressants. Second, I skipped my meds on Saturday night and made up for it on Sunday midday, but then continued my usual regiment on Sunday night. Finally, I didn’t sleep with my CPAP machine on Friday or Saturday night, then I didn’t use the humidifier on the CPAP on Monday night. (The humidifier is a big deal because my air pressure is set so high. If I don’t use the humidifier, my nose gets dried out and I wake up in the middle of the night. )
I believe I could have skipped the alcohol, taken my meds, and slept with CPAP and humidifier, and I would have been okay. Sure, I would have overeaten, but besides that, I should have been okay because I would have not been tired, and brain chemistry wouldn’t have been effected by the alcohol and anti-depressant combo.
Two big upcoming hurdles for me are a Christmas Party in early December (lots and lots of alcohol, and I go to this party every year; I’m expected to be there.) Then the National Championship football game in New Orleans in January.
I’m thinking it would be best for me to skip both of these this year. I can still enjoy the game at home, and I can live without going to a Christmas Party, but I know the closer time gets to these events, the more tempting it’ll be to go to them. I’m still thinking about these….

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MorticiA November 30, 2011 at 10:27 pm

Hello Stephen,
Great observations! To me, though, a lot of it read like advice. We should all take our meds on time, have contingency plans, and drink lots of water, so thanks for the reminder!

I’m like you in some ways – there are some things I just can’t do in moderation, so I just don’t do them at all. That is why I don’t ever try to tell myself I can have just one french fry – who am I kidding? One of my favourite quotes: “Make certain decisions only once . . . We can make a single decision about certain things that we will incorporate in our lives and then make them ours – without having to brood and re-decide a hundred times what it is we will do and what we will not do.” – Spencer W. Kimball. This stuck in my mind when I heard it as a kid. I would not drink alcohol at all, so that when someone asked me if I wanted a drink I was always ready to politely decline – I had made my decision, no need to reconsider. I feel the same way about certain food additives and artificial sweeteners.

What I didn’t decide is that I should not have soda or punch either – it is just sugar water, and I also stay away from juice unless I have squeezed it myself. At parties and weddings I actually take along my monster plastic tumbler and straw and set it on the table in front of me, full of ice cold water that I can sip all evening. I like to fill up on it too, so that I don’t consume too many calories, and I get my water intake for the day times two, I am sure. I am not ashamed of it. It reminds me that I want to make healthy choices, and most of the time most buffets also have healthy options I can choose from. Hands down though, I think this is what has prevented my weight gain at every Christmas dinner over the years – the huge volumes of water I drink. Sometimes I drink mineral water with a shot (just a shot) of apple juice in it to give it some flavour, all night, usually at least 2 litres. Crazy, huh? But it works for me, and I don’t feel deprived. I am still eating but there is no way I could possibly overeat with that much fluid in my tummy.

Deb November 30, 2011 at 9:39 pm

We have a lot of the same points I see. Parties with food laid out for the nibbling are the worst. I lose all self control, no matter what I tell myself ahead of time.

You’ve taken a good solid first step in identifying this things though. I’d say pick one and work on it til you have a down, then the next one, and the next one.

Mary Jo November 30, 2011 at 7:22 pm

Stephen -

you are the best. Even when you are “bad” you turn it into “good”. Thanks for sharing.

As to the party, hell yes you should go. Drink a fizzy club soda or tonic water but tell everyone its a gin and tonic.

Valerie November 30, 2011 at 3:34 pm

I have been following your blog for the last month or so and really enjoy reading it. Thank you for being “real” and sharing your struggles with your readers. I am trying to lose weight (35 to 40 pounds to be exact) following the birth of my second child 5 months ago. It is comforting to know that we share many of the issues in regards to food, self control, etc. I have yo-yo dieted my entire life and am so frustrated at times as to why I can’t “just do it”!!! Keep up the good work and take it one day at a time! By the way, could you share the half marathon plan you are using? Thanks!

Stephen Vinson November 30, 2011 at 9:34 pm

Here’s my training schedule: http://www.whoatemyblog.com/calendar

Jaime November 30, 2011 at 10:46 am

Just wanted to comment. You should be taking your thyroid by itself and first thing in the morning before you eat. You should have an empty stomach for at least 30 minutes, but more like an hour after you take the pill in order to get the best benefit from it. Maybe you’ve already talked to your doctor about this, but that’s what I’ve always been told by mine, so I just wanted to share.

Stephen Vinson November 30, 2011 at 9:32 pm

I read that on the bottle, and I can’t remember what led to me taking the meds at night, but my doc didn’t have an issue with it. Thank you :-)

Shelley December 4, 2011 at 10:17 am

I agree–it is very important to take your thyroid medication in the morning, 30-60 minutes before you eat. My doctor told me this, too!

Shannon November 30, 2011 at 10:44 am

I think you should give yourself some big props for recognizing what works and doesn’t work with you. That really is huge. Also, my 2 cents, skip the party. It’s ONE party in the scheme of your life. Get yourself back in a good routine, and maybe think of going to (or hosting) a New Year’s Eve party instead. That gives you a few more weeks to get yourself together and make a plan of attack. Or, can you offer to be the Designated Driver for a friend at the party? That way you really CAN’T drink more than a beer or two. I find that if I have someone to be accountable too, I do much better.

TNTriGirl November 30, 2011 at 12:21 am

It sounds like you are figuring out important elements which will help prevent falling off plan in the future. Good on ‘ya. As far as the parties, I think you should stay the course for now, get some good, disciplined days under your belt. When those events draw closer you can reevaluate if it would be too much of a risk to your plan or not. If you are honest with yourself you will know the answer. If things go really well and you are feeling strong and in control, it still might be a possibility. If not, have a wonderful time at home.

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