Today: I maintained the integrity of my maintenance calorie budget, I remained refined sugar-free, I met my daily water goal, and I stayed connected with excellent support.
One of the most common questions I receive involves the turnaround from relapse/regain. I've had a couple of busy days, so I'm doing a rerun tonight all about that topic.
This turnaround from relapse/regain wasn't a simple declaration of "starting tomorrow things will be different." I tried that approach several times without a shred of success. I wasn't creating an action plan and then when things remained the same the next day, I'd sit around feeling hopeless and doomed. It was like throwing the same thing against a wall and hoping it would somehow stick this time. It didn't, several times.
I needed an action plan. Once an action plan was created, that's when things started changing dramatically.
The list was long: Return to writing this blog daily, as the name suggests. Weigh and measure my food as much and as often as possible. Log every single thing in MyFitnessPal. Tweet a picture, description and calorie count of every bite, every day. Make sure what I do eat, I enjoy, 100%. Commit to a regular exercise plan. Re-commit to giving and receiving more support via group and one on one interactions. Abstain from refined sugar. And treat all of these elements with an importance level in the highest, most non-negotiable way.
Honestly, the list felt a little overwhelming, at first.
The very first thing I did was try to figure out reasons why it wasn't possible for me to do this thing. I remember one session with Life Coach Gerri, that mirrored almost word for word what was asked by my therapist at the time. I was talking about how I was way too busy to return to daily blog posts. Gerri immediately challenged me with some good questions: When you experienced so much success before--and you were blogging daily, were you not just as busy? Very true. Good point. I was just as busy. And she didn't stop at making a good point: So, what you were doing was working well until you stopped doing it, right? Well, when you put it that way, but...
I kept throwing out objections and Gerri kept persisting with questions designed to challenge me into changing my perspective. Suddenly I stopped coming up with reasons why I couldn't do it and I started coming up with ideas and solutions proving I could.
Besides, I thought you said that writing brings you immense joy. Why would you stop something that not only contributes in positive ways to your success--but does it at the same time it's bringing immense joy into your life? Damn it. She's good.
Okay, okay--from this moment forward, I'm blogging every day. That was over 450 days ago. (now 1,395 days ago) I haven't missed one since. (still haven't--and don't plan to!) Sure, occasionally time constraints require a short one--and sometimes a "tweets only" one...but it's done, each and every night. And it's made a profound difference.
The MFP and Tweets really bothered me, mainly because I knew that if I committed 100%, the only way it would work is if I applied a very strict code of honesty. The first time I eat something without logging and tweeting it--it's all over. I knew that going in--and it seemed extreme and beyond necessary to tweet everything. Turns out, it's helped me in monumental ways. The Tweets inspire me to eat well. I eat much better now than I ever did before. The Tweets and MFP logging have encouraged me to slow down and enjoy the process of planning, preparing and enjoying my food. I make the time to take good care--and in this care, I'm honoring my commitments.
In my book, Transformation Road, I wrote about my philosophy on cheat days or cheat meals--or cheating, period. If what I'm doing is so restrictive and against the grain of what I can do for the rest of my life, then perhaps I need to change what I'm doing. For me to accept a "cheat day," suggests that what I'm doing the rest of the time is just a means to an end. If I'm constantly looking forward to the day when I can cut loose--then I might want to inspect the daily restraints. This isn't about defining restrictions, it's about refining solutions--making this something enjoyable, doable--workable, delicious--satisfying...and if we can make it all that, then why would we feel the need to deviate into old behaviors for a day or a meal? If what I'm doing is a temporary means to an end--and I'm forcing myself to do something unnatural to me and what I like--then I'm setting myself up for a monumental problem down the line.
The abstinence from refined sugar has made a profound impact bio-chemically--effectively turning off the "binge switch" and ushering in a peace and calm I never knew. But as I've discussed before--it doesn't stop the other side of things--the deeply ingrained pattern of seeking comfort with food in times of extreme emotion and high stress. I've had three very close calls in the last fifteen plus months--one of those three happened recently, on Wednesday, July 15th. Each time, reaching out for support--texting it or talking it out, has made a HUGE difference. It's not as easy as simply agreeing that excess food doesn't fix anything--or that food isn't a therapist. It doesn't matter how long or how much success we're experiencing, I've learned that unless I reach out for support, I'm perfectly capable of talking myself into the comfort food dynamic.
My success isn't a guarantee. I'm not entitled. It's not automatic. If I stop doing the things I'm doing, I'll quickly fall hard.
This here thing is a daily practice--a one day at a time practice of uniquely crafted fundamental elements. I just want one more day feeling as good as I feel when I'm honoring my commitment and maintaining the integrity of my plan. I'd like a whole bunch of "one more days."
It's crucial for me to treat my continued recovery from food addiction with the same reverence as someone in successful recovery from other things treats their sobriety.
One thing I'll add-- I do believe it's time to evolve the plan enough to stop tweeting everything, every day. I don't ever plan to stop logging in MyFitnessPal, but the Tweets, although serving a wonderful purpose four years ago, is likely something I don't need to do anymore. I can use my Twitter account in other ways. When I do stop the Tweet stream, I'll still occasionally tweet a meal idea with a description or a recipe or two. I'm still contemplating when I'll stop the tweet stream. Very soon, for sure.
Today's Accountability Tweets:
#morningdeal 2 cups water, 20 push-ups, and 20 squats-✅✅✅Done. Coffee pass earned! pic.twitter.com/BvV6fObfIW— Sean Anderson (@SeanAAnderson) February 22, 2018
3 tbs half & half in the first cup, another 3 tbs half & half in the refill cup, to-go, soon. 120 cal. pic.twitter.com/43rnrYjVPb— Sean Anderson (@SeanAAnderson) February 22, 2018
Breakfast in MyFitnessPal. Not shown: 4.7oz apple slices & 136g red seedless grapes. pic.twitter.com/6Ew7blMB4j— Sean Anderson (@SeanAAnderson) February 22, 2018
Sprouted grain Ezekiel toasts. One w/3 eggs whites, 1 whole egg, 14g cheddar-jack, and 24g black olives. One with 52g avocado. 4.7g apple slices & 136g red seedless grapes. 612 cal. pic.twitter.com/SUD6cQZ79b— Sean Anderson (@SeanAAnderson) February 22, 2018
2 tbs half & half in this midmorning cup of coffee 40 cal. pic.twitter.com/wxRFpwnoTv— Sean Anderson (@SeanAAnderson) February 22, 2018
Lunch in MyFitnessPal. Not shown: 40g lettuce & 246g cantaloupe. pic.twitter.com/2BZNQ0RAHR— Sean Anderson (@SeanAAnderson) February 22, 2018
Tostadas with 148g fat free refried beans, 14g cheddar-jack, 34g black olives, 63g avocado, 30g sour cream, and 40g lettuce. 246g cantaloupe. 601 cal. pic.twitter.com/97WtYXIaI1— Sean Anderson (@SeanAAnderson) February 22, 2018
3 tbs half & half in this afternoon cup of coffee 60 cal. pic.twitter.com/M0YC9IlUNl— Sean Anderson (@SeanAAnderson) February 22, 2018
Dinner in MyFitnessPal... pic.twitter.com/134QkLawDA— Sean Anderson (@SeanAAnderson) February 23, 2018
7oz grilled chicken breast chunks, 86g grilled red onion, 186g red potatoes, 2 tbs half & half, 1 tbs (14g) butter, and 120g green beans. 547 cal. pic.twitter.com/5jl8EPsRvP— Sean Anderson (@SeanAAnderson) February 23, 2018
2 cups water meets today's #watergoal 4.8oz apple slices & 44g natural peanut butter #lastfoodofday 319 cal. pic.twitter.com/YdAIP4CDks— Sean Anderson (@SeanAAnderson) February 23, 2018
Thank you for reading and your continued support,