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Week 71: Trading One Addiction for another and 500 consecutive days of tracking!

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

On May 17, 2017, I will have reached a noteworthy milestone that I would never have thought that I was capable of: Since January 4th, 2016, I have tracked every BLT( WW's for 'bite lick and taste') here on Sparkpeople using the Nutrition Tracker. It is something that I honestly thought was 'near impossible' for a compulsive overeater like myself to do. Part of my food addiction was 'self-denial', rationalizing and minimizing. I knew starting in 2016 that the one thing that I needed to do was 'come clean' about what and how much I ate each day. The first thirty days were the scariest. I swear the thought of admitting to the 'world' (all y'all) terrified me.

Could I be honest every single day? No, that is impossible. I was not completely 100% honest with you but I came pretty darn close! One thing is that as I 'showed up' on a daily basis I got where being honest became easier because I was learning self-acceptance. I did not see a trip through a fast food restaurant's drive thru as the worst moment of my life. I learned to cut the melodramatics. There is a great WW saying: " You eat 21 meals a week. One not on plan will not blow your progress!" I learned to keep things in perspective.
On the other hand, I also learned to pause before making food decisions if I knew that it could slow down or stall my weight loss progress. My impulsiveness was lessened as a result.

As I continued to track my food every single day without fail (sometimes I grit my teeth through electrical storms) I came to see that what I ate was just part of this weight loss equation. In fact, it began to take on more importance as I watched how my body responded to certain foods. I found out that no two calories are the same nor do they have the same effect on my body. I could see 210 calories in almonds or French fries ( a child's size) but the difference in the source of fats (mono vs. saturated) meant the difference in how my own body fat came off. I found out that by certain choices I could impact how I was losing weight through my food plan a lot more effectively than by 'killer' workouts. That was quite an eye opener since I had relied on working out to keep my weight stable (even as I was a larger person).

However, another thing that I discovered during this time was that I was beginning to trade one addiction for another and it was something that seemed innocuous as first---the internet. I would turn my computer on the first thing in the morning and then it would be the last thing that was turned off at night. Yes, I would check in here on Sparkpeople which is a good thing but before long I noticed that I was looking for reasons to stay on longer. I would rationalize that I had to read everyone's posts and then respond to each and every one. I got compliments on how thorough I was. I became very enmeshed in all of the wonderful people's lives in my various teams but after I had checked in my four teams I looked up and I hadn't moved in 3-4 hours! I had to quick do my workouts so I could report them. I felt stressed and rushed. Yes, no one was telling me to do that and, yes, I am sure that I was using that as a way of 'avoidance' of all the tasks I needed to do around my home (dirty dishes, laundry, etc.) I was seeing it as a 'problem' when I realized that I just couldn't do it any more. I had cared too much about others and not enough about myself.

A comment made by one team leader really put things in perspective for me: " This team here is not big on chatting. We are more about doing." I told her that really resonated me.

I turned a corner in the past couple of months when I broke both a plateau as well as losing (once again) some weight that I had regained. I hated going over the same ground over and over again. I had a long term goal and I really wanted to meet it: break through to Onederland. I had to ask myself what did I need to do differently to make this happen. I began to make some changes. It was hard. I left some teams. I loved many of these people who had shared their lives with me and I mine over months if not a year but I was stalled. I was choosing talking and not doing too much. This weight loss journey of mine got lost in the shuffle.

Then I joined two teams where there was more doing than talking. I honestly felt like I was going through withdrawal. I missed talking but I found that the only talking that was getting done was about what they were doing or maybe the help they needed to do what they wanted and needed to do. This was the kind of support that I needed. I asked for help with my food plan and I got it. I don't know much else about these individuals other than when I need help they are there to guide and instruct me. I am not dissing teams that love to discuss things outside of weight loss but I know that it is an attractive distraction to me and one that trips me up every time. I love a good 'chin wag' as well as the next. It is just that nothing else gets done when I do.

As I saw myself making more strides moving away from my food addiction I also saw myself spending more time on the internet. I would justify that I needed to check my bank balance, play online computer games, check social media and so on and so on. The truth is that those things do not and need not take up a lot of time. However, I was finding that I didn't want to leave my computer to do just about anything including preparing meals or going to sleep. It is and has been a great avoidance for me. I was withdrawing into the cyber world much like I did when I would order a lot of food and then eat alone.

So, as I turn another page in this chapter of my life I made a decision that even surprised me. I have decided to cancel my home internet. I was certain that on those sleepless nights I wondered what I would do instead if I wasn't on the internet. I thought about checking in with my SP teams. Well, most of them require checking in 3x a week so I can do that by frequenting any one of the free Wi-Fi places around my neighborhood. (I will drive BY McD's not drive THRU though on this one). I can still manage my finances and check in here but I won't be able to continue my streak of tracking consecutive days any more. That is one thing that I will have to relinquish. I paused for a second on having to do that since I am really proud of this achievement but I now realize that I have gotten what I came for 500 days ago: I do take ownership of what I eat and I do believe that I can continue to do so on my own.

So, without the addiction of food and/or the addiction of the internet I set out for a new course in the next chapter of my life. It is all about doing. So, if I am not as present around here you will know why and what I am probably doing instead. I am moving closer and closer to Onederland and a healthier and happier ME.

If I have learned anything is that once you set course on this weight loss journey you just never know what will change you or what you will be willing to change to meet those goals of yours and in the process even surprise yourself!

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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    No home internet......scary thought!!!!!! You have put forth some great reasons for trying it though. Thank goodness that I have a husband who would never agree to do it. LOL
    1363 days ago
    Brilliant! Especially this:

    " I am really proud of this achievement but I now realize that I have gotten what I came for 500 days ago: I do take ownership of what I eat and I do believe that I can continue to do so on my own."
    1430 days ago
    I wish you all the best on your journey! emoticon
    1431 days ago
    I am not going to cancel my home internet, but I have also noticed my dependence on it. This was a very thought sprinkling blog. Thank you.
    1431 days ago
    This is very insightful. It takes a lot of guts to cancel your home internet. I don't think I could do that, and not for nothing, but I do need it for work. I have been involved with BLC since 2011 (not continuously), and it is definitely a conundrum in that time spent online Sparking is time that could have been spent exercising. I am currently a member of a BLC team where chatting is somewhat de-emphasized. I miss the comaraderie of the old days when you had to post at least 3x/week or risk being kicked off the team, but I can't deal with that any more (a little tongue in cheek there because I now realize that it wasn't the best situation).

    About 6-7 years ago I became addicted to internet games, mainly Farmville and Cafe World. It almost ruined my life. I was up till well past midnight most of the time trying to keep up with it. I almost got fired from a job because of it. I friended a lot of strangers on Facebook for the sole purpose of being able to play games and get the gifts needed to keep things going. I will say that there were no adverse consequences as a result of that. But then a lot of my friends stopped playing, which made it harder to keep up. I was actually playing at least 10 games, so eventually some of them went by the wayside. At the end of 2011 I made a decision to stop playing in the new year. I actually got so disgusted that I quit a few weeks before. Fortunately, I pretty much never spent money on these activities (at the time some people spent thousands of dollars - I only spent a little bit once and regretted it in principle even though it was truly a small amount). I am so glad I was able to move on. A few years later when Words with Friends became popular, I refused to touch it because I never want to go down that road again.
    1431 days ago
    Nice job
    1431 days ago
    This was such a great read. Thanks for sharing the ups (and downs) of your journey. Much resonated with me, and I walk away with a few nuggets about moving past self-denial and doing more than talking. Best wishes on your continuing path.
    1431 days ago
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    Disclaimer: Weight loss results will vary from person to person. No individual result should be seen as a typical result of following the SparkPeople program.