I have been thinking a lot lately about change and who I am and what I want. I have been reading Change Anything by Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, David Maxfield, Ron McMillan, and Al Switzler. I have not finished the book, but one of the concepts I have been employing in my health journey is the idea of being a “scientist,” which really just means that I am observing my life from a place of curiosity and non-judgement. I am looking at the influences that encourage me to make bad choices and stray from my goals. I am also looking at the attempts to correct my behavior and analyze if they really work for me. The process takes the pressure off of being perfect. I will make mistakes. But when I make a mistake, my journey is not over. I have the ability to learn from my mistakes and then try something new. The key is not giving up.
For the last two weeks, I have successfully lost about four pounds (2 pounds per week). This achievement is not a random fluke. I have been working hard to employ change tactics in my life. I am cooking more and eating out less (I take Sunday to prep all of my food for the week and package the meals so I can grab and go, which takes pressure out of having to cook during the busy week, which allows me to exercise more after work). I am going to a weekly in-person Weight Watchers meeting, which adds an element of accountability that I did not have with the online app, which is encouraging me to not give up. I have also been trying to combine the food from Betty Rocker‘s meal plan system to fit with my Weight Watchers points so that each week I can end in the positive, which will lead to weight loss (having positive points means I have leftover calories I could consume and still lose weight; being in the negative means I have consumed too many calories for the week and will most likely maintain or gain weight). Using Betty Rocker’s plan means I am eating more nutritious food, which helps me feel full and satisfied, but since I am sticking within my Weight Watchers points, I have the ability to add in treats and alcohol and still stay on target to lose weight (I do not have to give up everything I love forever, which keeps me on track).
Having said all of that, I am not out of the woods yet. Two weeks of sticking on plan does not mean I am healed. Last weekend, my sister and I went to 6 Flags New England. We packed food to save money and calories. I thought I was prepared emotionally to make healthy choices for the day, but then I walked into the park and was immediately hit with the delicious smells of fried dough, ice cream waffle cones and images of nachos, candy, and treats at every turn. I started to obsess about all the treats I wanted to consume: funnel cake, a caramel apple, nachos fully loaded, cheese fries, Cold Stone cake batter ice cream with ALL the toppings, and so much more. I tried tracking all the treats to see how many points they would set me back: funnel cake was over 33 points (I only get 30 points a day for food). A small Cold Stone ice cream with no toppings was about 17 points. A caramel apple was the least disastrous at about 11 points. At some point, I found myself not caring: I like food so why do I want to be thinner?! Thankfully my sister was there and offered support. She did not encourage me to eat the junk food but helped remind me of what I was trying hard to achieve: better health and fitness for a more enjoyable life. I settled on a plate of nachos and requested less cheese and way more lettuce, tomatoes, salsa and jalapenos (all 0 point items). I got a treat but still kept within my points for the week.
I celebrate the 6 Flags experience because I know that the influence of food and treats is stronger than my desire to be healthy, but I am not, nor did I give up. The change process is not immediate but it is also not impossible. We can all change. I can change. I AM changing.