Whoa! The last few weeks have been super busy and super stressful. Despite the grumblings in my last post, I’ve actually done relatively well. Last week I didn’t get as much exercise as I would have liked but that was because I was travelling, not because I was too caught in stress.
I think I’ve improved a lot when it comes to dealing with stress. Compared to how I was just a year ago I’m much better able to withstand stress without resorting to poor eating or dropping my exercise.
The secret is to not let yourself get caught in the panic mentality. Things aren’t usually as bad as you think they are. It’s just the stress talking.
The cake in the title is my niece’s birthday cake (She turned 5). See how Iiris is hiding behind one of her presents. Se is very shy and hates being at the receiving end of (group) attention. 🙂
Iiris told me that I smell good (that must the argan oil I’ve started using to keep my hair nourished) and that I have funny teeth (eek!).
The cake was beautiful and delicious, though I have to admit I enjoyed Hanna’s Rocky Road bars even more than the cake. Hanna makes them especially for me because she knows I love them.
What about the insight?
Over a month ago I made a decision to stop using an online calorie counter to keep track of the calories I consume (and other things beside that). Starting to use the calorie counter was a crutch I needed last fall, but it’s not a good long-term solution for weight loss and maintenance. Besides, I think I was using the calorie counter to control my eating instead of letting my body do the job it’s meant to do.
Since then I’ve used only pen and paper to keep track of my eating and especially my meal times (I don’t count calories or restrict the amount of food I eat. I eat till I don’t feel like eating anymore).
So what did I discover when I stopped counting calories? Interesting things! First of all, I discovered that there’s still a voice in my head that has very firm opinions on what I should and shouldn’t eat and especially on how much I’m allowed to eat.
I had one especially interesting incident after I stopped using the counter. One night I ate what – according to the voice in my head – was way too much bread. The voice in my head promptly started predicting doom and gloom – “You’re never going to lose the extra weight this way, yada yada yada. You must be extra careful tomorrow so you don’t eat too much!”.
I’m pretty sure you’re familiar with this voice if you have lots of dieting experience. 🙂
This time I didn’t allow myself to get caught in that train of thought. I just jotted down the thoughts in the journal and went on my way.
Guess what happened the next day? I kind of noticed that I wasn’t very hungry so I naturally ate less than the day before. That was a super exciting discovery to me: my body actually knows how to regulate my eating if I just let it do it’s job!
My second insight is related to exercise and appetite. As I’ve mentioned I’ve started doing my strength training in the morning (three days a week). I’ve noticed that I eat less and better on the days I start with strength training than on the days I don’t. I wasn’t really surprised by this because I know that exercise tends to improve appetite control. That’s probably the reason why exercise is such an important part of long-term weight maintenance even though it isn’t as important for weight loss.
I think I will be a normal, stress-free eater one day. 🙂