I have gained some weight since early August.
No it’s not muscle, not fluid retention. (Nice try.)
It’s plain, ol’, legit weight gain.
I have to own it for what it is…
I’m trying not to panic. I’m trying to remember this is ALL part of the process, the adventure. Life.
But the idea and process of gaining weight – even a little – terrifies me given my history.
My brain – multiple times a day – chimes in with something along the lines of…
‘One pound? Might as well be 200 pounds Bets! You’re gaining weight. Slipperrrryyyy slope. This might just be the time you can’t stop it…’
I KNOW that gain/loss are normal parts of this whole process. And will remain consistent, persistent company for the rest of my life.
I have been rallying with…
‘This is about being healthy. Fit. And being healthy and fit for a lifetime. You know what to do, you’ll get it done. You’re worth the work. ‘
This is more than a single pound. Yet, I’m not entirely sure exactly how much weight — since I don’t rely on the scale anymore. I am working to use ‘environmental cues’ so that I do NOT get caught in that ‘weighing myself 5 times a day’ craziness that has plagued me in the past.
One day about 4 weeks ago I noticed that my pants were fitting tight. I felt a tickle of panic.
The past 3 weeks it has been noticing new things daily… My rain coat, race shirts, work shirts are all snug. I’ve spent the past 10 days or so trying NOT to panic. And trying to figure out exactly what to do about it all.
Weight loss, maintenance, fitness. Not a single one of those is linear or given or constant. You gotta keep working at it.
I know this. Yet I haven’t been paying it the attention it deserves or demands.
Training for and running the 100 miler was extraordinary. I’m hooked. I am already eyeing the next one. 🙂 The reality for me is that between tapering, resting an irritated achilles, ample recovery from the actual 100 miler, a post-race infection… I’ve actually had about 6 weeks of very, very low activity. And let’s throw into that mix that I never reigned in my eating. I was eating like I was still running 100 mile weeks. Plant-based, healthy, BUT TOO MANY CALORIES. So while the ‘tight pants predicament’ is disappointing and slightly frustrating and panic-inducing – it is in NO WAY an actual surprise. I have been eating more and moving less for weeks. And that equation is exactly how I got to be 400 pounds and Type 2 diabetic in the first place…
I need to focus on eating whole, nutrient-rich foods, in appropriate serving sizes and get back to moving more.
And that freaking HARD.
It’s hard to get things back on track. Being off track is so ‘easy’ and fun. Until it’s not. And then it’s just daunting, hard, tireless work.
Here’s my plan for the next 21 days to get my habits back on track…
Accountability communicating regularly with a handful of friends who get my goals, my compulsions, my excuses, my food/fitness levels and history.
Tracking. Write everything down. Not just what I think looks good, appropriate or healthy. All.the.foods. Write them all down. (True confession. I used to lie in my own food journals. Especially at Weight Watchers when they used to review the journals at your weigh-in. I would lie BIG TIME, then we would all act SHOCKED when I had a weight gain, because my food journal was perfect… Please tell me I’m not the only one who has done that…) Tracking makes me more mindful and intentional.
Apples. If I am hungry and cruising in the kitchen/pantry for food during non-meal times, the rule is I can eat an apple. And if an apple doesn’t sounds good? THEN I AM NOT TRULY HUNGRY. Time for a gut check. Or a glass of water.
Check my thinking. I really did think I was ‘cured’ of my compulsive thinking and behaviors about and around food. Uh… Yeah… No. No way. That stuff might take a hiatus, you might have some tight control over it a while and you can even ignore it for short periods of time. But it never goes away. I’m working through this with a dear friend and mentor who battles eating compulsions as well, she reminds me to take things minute by minute, NOT even day by day. A day is a BIG, HUGE CHUNK of time when you’re managing food! She will gently and then not-so-gently remind me that I need to focus on what I can do in the next 5 minutes to help myself… Maybe 30 minutes, maybe an hour. But thinking in small, manageable ‘bites’ of time. Be mindful. Breathe. And we agreed that I need to only eat when I can really think about what I’m eating and doing and limit all distractions. (No more eating in the car, while walking across campus, mindlessly at the computer or standing at my desk…)
Routine. I will get back to running soon, which will help body and soul. 🙂 But there are other things that work well that have fallen by the wayside. Packing snacks and lunches. Keeping easy to eat, healthy items, visible and up front in the pantry and fridge. Using a part of my weekend to roast veggies and get things ready for a successful week. Making my health a priority, not an after thought.
No hoarding or hiding. This one is hard to admit. I was SO, so, so good at hoarding and hiding – ninja level for decades. And I have found myself recently hiding food. It was subtle and I was trying to justify it to myself as ‘I’ll need food after a run/work, so I’ll just keep it in the car.’ I’m really hiding it from Spencer, my roommate. I don’t want him, or ANYONE, to know the quantity of what it is that I’m actually eating. He would never judge or comment. He just wouldn’t. BUT I am fully aware that what I’m doing is eating way too much of something that is best in small quantities or probably best not being in my daily diet at all; and I don’t want to get ‘caught’. When I’m hiding food and worried about what someone is thinking, I KNOW I have a problem. The other giveaway about hoarding/hiding was this week I realized I’m keeping things hidden in three different areas in my office, so that if I open one cupboard, any given person only sees about 1/3 of the total stash I have squirreled away. Granted — this is all plant-based, healthy stuff. I’m not hoarding snickers bars. 🙂 But none-the-less, it’s stupid and self-defeating and self-sabatoging. It’s the behavior, not the food that is the core issue. I’m the only loser in this game. I stopped it for over four years and yet in the past four weeks I can see it slightly, quietly, trying to creep back in. I’ve talked to my accountability team. Have taken everything out of my car. At work on Monday — I’ll consolidate all of the food in one spot.
I’m using the time between now and the end of the year to get this train back on her tracks.
…Running back in the mix, plant-based foods at the core, sugar GONE, walks with friends instead of food, apples front and center in the fridge, kicking meditation up a notch, spending time with friends who are working toward the same goals…
What do you do to get things back on track?!
I would love to hear other helpful tips…
7 thoughts on “My pants are getting tight…”
Betsy, this post really resonated with me. I have never been 400 pounds, or even close, but I have felt the same struggles that you have. My weight and food are on my mind CONSTANTLY. I think about every single calorie I put in my body…knowing some are good and some are crap. You are amazing and an inspiration. I think of you often as I struggle through my jogs. You will reset. You know what to do. It’s such a battle. 💜💙
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Betsy, I have been struggling for months now and doing everything I can to halt my 25-30 pound weight gain since I my last lowest weight last year. I have a plan in place but keep getting derailed, however, I refuse to give up! I can’t go back to the way I was. I just can’t.
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Amy. My cell is 541/231.1472. TEXT ME when you hit a rough spot. Reach out. I know that sometimes I don’t reach out because I WANT TO EAT and not be caught. But we can not, will not go back. This journey is about so much more than just US. We have to do the work – but we also have to be smart about letting the strong and brave women around us lend us some of their smarts and sass when we need it. We’ll do it for them when they need us… Right?! STAY STRONG. Make the next right choice you can. And then the next. Don’t think in days, think in single food choices. And think about the end result you’re after… Healthy.
Hang in there my friend!!!!
Betsy, THANK YOU SO MUCH!!! I will take you up on it, and you can text me, too. I love cheerleading. I know all about the secret eating thing – it is one of my biggest challenges, to be honest, and one of my deepest-seeded things. I’ve been doing it since I was a kid! 😦 I have had a good weekend of actiity and eating, looking forward to carrying it into the week. We can do this! xoxo
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My recovery as an alcoholic sounds very similar to your struggles. It’s hard to identify and deal with old behaviors but you are doing it. And shouting it loudly, clearly and proudly. Thank you for honesty.
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I swear you are one of my biggest cheerleaders. Thank you for the unwavering encouragement Ruth. It is a gift – and I don’t take it lightly.
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This post almost got me to tears. I’m on the opposite side of the spectrum as you are now, but I’ve already talked to my wife that panic is the first thing I feel when my weight goes up a little in between weigh-in’s. I’ve expressed fear that I’ll never be “comfortable” in my weight but always obsessing over each calorie.
Will I never be able to freely eat a steakhouse roll without fear again?!
Thanks for your honest sharing.