Its late on my first full day here in Cancun and you might wonder why the heck am I blogging? Well, its not like I’m a daily or even weekly blogger anymore, I blog when I’m inspired by something to talk about. Tonight, I am inspired to talk about my progress with The Emily Program and how it has taken a huge chunk of anxiety out of my life. I know I’ve already talked about how much better my anxiety and my eating habits are, but holy cow I can really tell now that I’m on vacation.
When we are in our day to day life at home there are healthy decisions that need to be made all day….what to eat, what to wear, what’s on my schedule today, feed the cats, feed the husband (teehee), hit the showers, scheduled exercise, blah blah blah.
But, here in Cancun at an all-inclusive resort, everything is in slow-mo….hardly any decisions and I can take my time to make them, plus they aren’t that hard…..pina colada or a mojito? Heehee
In the past, I would have really noticed my tendency towards compulsive eating and my anxiety when on vacation. I would have been saying to myself all the time, “Well, I’m on vacation I might as well eat this and this and this and that and that and that……..” which would trigger guilt and anxiety afterwards OR I might have been on the other side, before I learned intuitive eating, and I could on vacation while on a “diet” Oy…that would have sucked, there are so many wonderful foods here…fresh tropical fruits, fun drinks, outstanding traditional style tacos, room service, gourmet restaurants in the hotel etc etc……being on a “diet” would have thrown my darn anxiety off the charts.
But after today, I feel fantastic. I had more than your average number of adult beverages on the beach today, not that I was counting. We ate every few hours when we were hungry, a nosh of tacos here, a bit of fruit there, some happy hour veggies and dip, some yummy salad and steak for dinner…..no worries, no woes, just yummy fuel on a magnificent day at the beach.
Small aside…I was finally able to go back to regular exercise after 3 months of physical therapy. I’m happy to say that after 1 month of Megan K’s Fit Body Boot Camp I’m down 3 inches off my body. No diet food, just 3-5 days a week of 30 minute boot camp sessions and intuitive eating with the instruction of my dietitian at the Emily Program (its not a food plan or a diet) I know some people progress faster, but this is just perfect for me
I realized that I have only blogged 5 times since the last Fitbloggin’ in June. I always have a lot to say, but it never comes to mind when I have time to sit down at my computer, or once I do those thoughts become irrelevant.
I want to do a good, the bad & the ugly, but backwards and not so much negativity, here goes:
My Can Do Plan:
I’ve learned from my dietitian and from personal trainers that the best snacks are ones that have a combo of macro nutrients, or at least one!!
What’s a macro nutrient? Carb, Protein and Fat are!
One of my morning go-to snacks that is easy to pack is 1 serving of crackers (either measured out, or usually a snack bag size) and 1 string cheese!! (Carb and Protein!)
Another is homemade trail mix: (this is 10 3/4 cup servings)
(The trail mix has Fat, Carb and Protein in it!)
I also like to have a single serving size yogurt (any kind…regular, low fat, greek (BUT NOT FAT FREE) and a 100 calorie bag/3 cups of regular microwave popcorn (Fat, Carb, and Protein!)
Sometimes though, I’m in a big hurry….I can only throw a few things in my purse before I head out the door, whether or not I know if I’ll have to be eating or have a challenging food choice later in the day, I always put almonds in my purse!! You get fat AND protein…plus, umm, there are some really yummy ones out there.
Today at my desk I had these that I mentioned above:
Yeah, these are chocolate!! Not coated in candy chocolate, but a light dark chocolate powder. Omigosh soo good!
As many of my readers know, Blue Diamond almonds was kind enough to give out lots of samples at Fitbloggin ‘13 and they *did* send me a box of dark chocolate samples because I was so sad that they ran out at the conference! How sweet are they? However, they did not request in any way that I talk about or review them. I just like them so much and feel that they are so kind, that I wanted to share how much I really do love almonds.
Have you guys had their toasted coconut ones? Wow, if you want a healthy tropical getaway in your mouth, go get a sleeve of them and enjoy guilt free!!
I also have been known to pick up a sleeve or two of their Mocha Cappuccino at the gas station when I want a pick me ‘up, they actually work, plus they fill my tummy
Other items that I substitute in for snacks are:
2 Babybel cheese rounds instead of the 1 string cheese.
3-4 Graham cracker squares and a single serving of regular chocolate pudding
Goldfish crackers and Cheez It snack bags as my cracker choices
Oooh and …. 2 Oreo Cookies and a single serving yogurt
Yes, yes…things that are sweet are okay and if you know that you can always have them and that nothing is bad….its easy to build up automatic moderation.
I actually haven’t had Oreos for a few months now, not because they are “bad” but I know I can have them anytime and I’ve developed more of a taste for cheese, crackers, yogurt and nuts!!
There is also another cookie that I love to have, its super filling, mouth-wateringly tasty and I also was introduced to it at Fitbloggin!!
Have you tried Lenny & Larry’s complete cookies?
There are lots of flavors, my absolute favorite is Pumpkin!!! But double chocolate is fantastic as well
They are not “diet” cookies but much healthier and filling than a store bought cookie!! Scrumptious!!
Lovely Alyssa was representing Lenny & Larry’s at Fitbloggin’ 13 and sent me cookies to sample. She did not request or require any reviews or postings from me, I just love them that much!
I hope you guys get some ideas about yummy and easy snacking! Its important to eat every 2-3 hours to keep our blood sugar stable. Going too long between meals and snacks drops your blood sugar and then you just want to maw down anything you can get your hands on…which is not good! Keep ahead of blood sugar spikes and valleys by keeping your eating regular and healthy!!
Two weeks ago I couldn’t fall asleep, I was distraught, uncomfortable and crying. I knew that the Emily Program and overcoming an eating disorder would be a long process. A process that had to start with abolishing all food rules and learning to listen to my body. Then, I slowly learned to listen to my body and I learned the guidelines for fueling my body with what I need…and without judgement.
I spent about 2 months eating what my body craved and wanted, learning to be comfortable with not worrying about food. That worry slowly subsided and my brain felt so much clearer, I felt so much better with everything day to day. My general anxiety lightened up….but my body didn’t…I went up about 2-3 sizes. I had to go back to shopping at Lane Bryant, I had to put away all the cute clothes that I got in 2012 when I lost all that weight…
Now, I don’t hate myself for that, I love myself for getting over an eating disorder and for doing what my brain needs. I could have continued on with diets…and lost weight, not gained weight…but I would have just yo-yo’ed again, its inevitable with my eating disorder history. But, even though I’m happy about the progress in my head, I was incredibly sad about what it did to my body….I was ready to just quit the Emily Program and go back to Weight Watchers…or something…..I wanted the blob attached to me to go away!!
My husband recommended that I tell exactly that to my dietitian, that I was done with putting on and maintaining weight, I needed to start working towards a weight loss goal immediately or I’d have to leave therapy. At first I was so nervous, I didn’t want to lose my therapy or my dietitian, I had come so far. I did it though, I kinda teared up as I told her what I needed, fearing she’d tell me that we weren’t done with learning to live without rules and learning about food exchanges and portion sizes..that it would be awhile longer. That I’d have to make the decision to leave when I wasn’t done….
But…she told me I was definitely ready to utilize my success in clearing my head of food rules and food anxiety and move forward with sculpting all the food exchange guidelines into portions/servings that had a weight loss goal. YIPPEE!!!
Besides the fact that I have to keep a bit of a closer eye on my portions and I have specific servings a day of the different food exchange groups, this isn’t hard to do. I have been learning and building my way up to this. If I make a mistake…have too little or too much…its just a mistake, and because of dropping my emotional attachments to food..and my anxiety about food…I don’t obsess, I don’t blow the day or the week…I just move on. Not that I’ve messed up really. Its only been 2 weeks and the food plan is just real food….all real food…any type of food..and lots of flexibility and exchanges….yes, I”ve been hungry a couple nights…but I realized that some of the food combinations I chose may not have been the best to satisfy me, so I adjusted…and it was okay.
The best part…I’m not craving some big snack attack, some big binge, a whole pizza or a mountain of ice cream….because I know…all those things are there…and will always be there…and I can have them whenever I want. When I do have them, I don’t have to eat a ton, because again..I can always come back later, the next day or the next week and have it again.
Nothing is forbidden, nothing is wrong, nothing is bad…food is fuel and I use it to make my body healthy.
Some day in the future…like a special occasion…the goal of “weight loss” may not be my #1 priority..instead it might be to relax on vacation, enjoy new foods, have a drink…etc….well that’s okay…I have to go by what my priority is. But right now, my priority is the goal of weight loss..so I’m focusing on the Emily Program guidelines to obtain that.
If you are interested here they are:
6 – 8 servings of protein a day (1 oz of cooked meat is a typical protein, this also includes nuts and vegetarian proteins in other amounts)
2 servings of milk a day (a serving is 1 cup of milk, 1 oz of cheese etc)
5 servings of grain a day (a serving is 1/2 cup of cereal or rice, 3/4 cup of yogurt, a few ozs of crackers etc)
2 servings or more of veggies a day at a minimum, more is always welcome (1 cup of raw vegetables is a serving)
3 servings of fruit a day (handfruit, fruit in yogurt, applesauce, etc)
3 servings of fat a day (1 tsp of butter, 1 TBS heavy cream, 3 TBS hummus, etc)
1/2 Dessert a day (think of this as half of a premium dessert or a WHOLE lighter dessert like a Skinny Cow cone or 1 cup of light ice cream)
This is extremely manageable and gives me more than enough food, plus there are a lot of foods that fall in more than one category and so they can be exchanged around….like 1 oz of cheese can be a protein OR a milk..whee!
Alright this post has gotten long and I wanted to let you all know how I’m doing. I’m open to answering any questions and also hearing what you guys think about what I’m doing and how I ‘m doing!
Soon, I will learn if I can actually look at the scale again, I haven’t since March!! MARCH!! It feels kinda good, but now I want to see how my weight loss goal efforts are panning out, too!
My friend Robby, Fat Girl vs. World asked on Facebook this morning:
“What makes people choose elimination diets (i.e., “no carbs” or “no solid food” or “nothing that rhymes with orange”) over moderation/food logging?” – click the link if you want to see what everyone from all over the blog world is saying on her FB thread, we have lots of smart friends
– She noted that this does not apply to people with a food allergy or something like gluten intolerance or celiacs, because obviously those people must eliminate for medical reasons.
Here’s the answer I started typing, I realized it was very long, so I decided to post about it instead:
Elimination and food rules triggers my compulsive eating because I have anxiety and I’m a perfectionist (as diagnosed by my ED therapist and dietitian).
For most compulsive eaters its actually the SAME THING, they just haven’t been diagnosed for an ED or talked to anyone professional about emotions/foods. If you remove the emotion from a food (which can be done with ED therapy NOT by WW or any elimination diet (paid for or free), you can eat in moderation…
You can have what you want…because you know it’ll always be there, so there’s no trigger to eat more and more. (this is NOT for people who have allergies/diseases etc that require them to eliminate things obviously, I mean people without sensitivities).
For 99.9% of people that are overweight, its all emotion..its all recovery from something
….for people that just got lazy or that had active young lives and now aren’t as active..those people can do WW or calorie counting or whatnot..but that’s not most of us, most of us eat to feel good, to hide something, to repair something.
Just like anxiety, depression, etc….overeating/compulsive eating…even if its not anorexia or bulimia…requires some learning about self-acceptance..it truly helps.
I’m in the middle of therapy for compulsive eating and I can have all my old “trigger” foods right in front of me, because I have learned how to heal myself in other ways…a lot of me has healed already…I know that my favorite foods – Oreos, spaghetti, pizza, ice cream..well, they will be there tomorrow, too..and oh boy, leftovers of my favorite food (if I happen to get a large portion at a restaurant or make too much at home)…
I automatically moderate now because food doesn’t fix and I know food doesn’t go away..I hope what I’m typing here is helping someone.
I personally go to the Emily Program which I know has locations in Minnesota and Washington State. I also know that Park Nicollet (in MN) has Melrose.
But honestly, reach out to your regular doctor, tell them you want to be connected with someone who can help…compulsive eating is now an eating disorder and can be covered by your insurance.
Not to say that I will never have a bout with emotional compulsive eating again, but I have truly moved past them as a regular occurrence in my life.
I started at the Emily Program back in March with an hour of therapy and a half hour of a dietitian every week. In those months I have been focused on removing food rules, identifying emotional eating, working on what the true causes of my emotional eating are. For me it is feelings of sadness, loneliness, worry and general anxiety. There was also just a food anxiety in there that has built up over the years of Weight Watchers and other “food limit/food counting” type of diet plans.
Over the last month or so my food logs, which I have an example of here and my use of H.A.L.T which I talk about here have lead me to a point where pretty much none of my eating is scored as anything out of the average range and I’m eating when I am at the “H” in H.A.L.T, which is Hungry!
I did have one bout with emotional eating a couple weekends ago, but it was short, I identified it and talked myself through it and…it was over and done with after only about 8 Oreos (that’s pretty good!!)
I talked to my dietitian yesterday about being concerned about my weight (for health reasons, not looks) because as I worked on this journey of no food rules and identifying/regulating my emotions, I definitely have put on a few more pounds. I haven’t been weighing myself, but I know because I have to wear bigger sizes.
Since my emotional eating is in the normal range, my dietitian and I moved on to still logging what I’m eating, but also categorizing what I’m eating as follows: protein, grain, vegetable, fruit, fat, dairy or dessert. Pretty much every serving of food falls into one or more of these categories. There are guidelines and goals for how many servings in each category a person should be eating and yes servings have measurements. But for now, we are just categorizing, so I can learn about the food groups and how many of each I am getting each day and eventually we’ll move to learning balance and guidelines for each group. This is all moving towards intuitive eating.
Speaking of, she recommended a book to me that I’ve been reading (and we’ve been following, but not to the letter). I want to recommend it to any of you who are struggling with “eating plans” and “diets”…and instead want to learn about eating what your body needs and wants…..like when you were a baby…you cried for food and stopped when you were done, and you weren’t overweight, right? RIGHT!
I feel like I’m taking back control, my dietitian and therapist have been invaluable in helping me learn a new way of eating and a new way of thinking for myself and to get away from thoughts that are triggered by anxiety….thus moving me away from emotional eating which has been destroying my efforts to be healthy almost my whole life.
Thanks for reading
Hi everybody! Readers old and new! I have so much to say about Fitbloggin’ 13 but I think I”m going to just start with a photo blog of my activities and people that I spent time with. Just to organize my thoughts! I also plan to talk about the swag I brought home and even a prize that I won coming up in the next week or so. I have to get that all organized in my head!
Fitbloggin’ is so much action, fun days of learning, loving, feeling, and moving….I’m so impressed by the bloggers who did live blogs or posted blogs almost every day that they were at the conference, I bow down to them!! For me, I’m not that fast, I need to process. So let’s start with my photos!
Thursday: (Day 1): Flew into Portland and got on a bus to head up to Trout Lake Farm for a tour with Nutrilite, ending the day with dancing!
Friday – Checking out the expo, hitting up Deschutes Brewery for dinner, and mingling at Ignite Fitness in the evening
Saturday visiting VooDoo Doughnut, the Closing Reception and Sunday morning
I’ve done a lot of work over the last couple of months on removing the taboos of food rules, food restrictions, and food labels…..which helps remove “some” of the emotion from eating….and has helped me remove feelings of anxiety surrounding meal planning, what I’m going to eat next, what I can eat, and guilt, etc.
While continuing to keep that at the front of my mind, I am now also working on the situations that bring food to the forefront for me, the emotional ties. A good acronym that my Emily Program dietitian taught me is H.A.L.T which stands for” Hungry, Angry, Lonely and Tired” I started practicing asking myself that every time I thought about having a snack or a meal..and writing it down in my meal log along with the food.
Well, lo and behold…it pretty much started working right away! I can’t believe that an extra little step like that, just asking myself why I wanted to eat…but not judging myself on the answer…helped me make better eating decisions. Its important not to judge on the answer…otherwise that can bring emotion right back into the mix.
During my first week of practicing H.A.L.T, I stopped snacking on the fun size candy bars in my office drawer. I know they are there and I can have them if I feel like it. But, every time I wanted one I asked myself why. Usually it was an emotional answer. Note: even if my answer doesn’t fall in “A, L, or T” those categories help me determine if my answer is emotional or an actual nutritional need.
One of those times I actually answered “Hunger” but instead of going right for a candy bar I asked myself, “why am I hungry, am I missing a food group, what am I hungry for?” It actually turned out that I was a bit low on protein for the day after thinking about it and I grabbed a snack pack of tuna instead!
Another bit of an emotional episode this weekend caused me to want to drive straight to the closest Dairy Queen, McDonald’s or any place I could for a big frozen treat. But, I stopped myself…asked HALT? The answer came back as “angry and tired”….I acknowledged my feelings, thought about how food wouldn’t solve them, and talked myself into going straight home and getting comfy in bed and enjoy some TV! I followed through with my plan, but about every 5 minutes I had to tell my brain to stop drifting back to my old “ice cream!’ response and to come back to the “you need comfort of home and sleep” response. It worked!
This is not to say that going for an ice cream treat is a bad thing, this is just saying in this situation it was for the wrong reason. I can have ice cream even if I’m not filling a nutritional or hunger need….but I absolutely do not want a treat if I’m filling a negative (or sometimes even positive) emotional need!!
I love ice cream Its in my freezer, I could have had it when I got home, too..but I didn’t…because its not what I needed. I fell asleep right away when I got comfy in my bed and I felt so much better the next morning!
Now that I’m really in the flow with HALT and I’m going to keep that up along with losing the food rules…we’re working on The Hunger Discovery Scale for my next session….how hungry are you before you eat…and after….and what part of the ranges are good to stay in. I’ll come back with a report in a couple weeks
Yesterday I ran on a 4 person relay team for the Minneapolis Marathon and it was fantastic! My leg of the relay was 5.1 miles and I ran at a 13:19 pace, which is the fastest I have done since hurting my back 3 weeks ago and the LONGEST DISTANCE I have run since last September when I did a 10K.
I get such a great rush from wanting to do the best I can for my team, just the whole race atmosphere…a bunch of other people also trying to do their best AND tons of support and cheers, and just looking forward to celebrating at the end!!!
My leg was so pretty…I ran on streets, walking paths, bridges and a brick road. There were a couple hills, which I chose to walk up instead of run…I think that helped me keep my pace versus hurt me. I took a couple walking breaks towards the end while watching my overall pace so I’d only lose a few seconds..which I instantly regained once I started running again (30 seconds of recovery is sometimes all we need to keep going strong!)
My team overall did a fantastic job as well. We all came in faster than our predicted paces AND we finished the marathon 26 minutes sooner than we thought we would, beating our record from last year!
We were all feeling a bit nervous about our run this year since we haven’t been able to dedicate as much time to training as we did last year. Despite the hiccups in training, we all got our finishers medals and were super proud of ourselves at the end of the day.
I just love that rush of pride and joy of accomplishment at the end of a race and its 1 million times better when you did it with a team!
Not only were RUNNERS part of our team though, we had good friends Kris and Corryn providing tremendous support. We didn’t have to worry about taking relay shuttles, riding the light rail, parking our own cars, or even checking/lugging our gear around.
I truly hope this kicks of a fantastic rest of the summer and into fall running streak I’m going to keep doing lots of stretching before and after races and I’ll be kicking up my cross-training, too! I’m looking forward to getting my pace back to where it was early in the year AND to improving even more!
My next race is a 5K, its the Color Run here in the Twin Cities in July and I’m very much looking forward to it!
Oh, and as an update with my Emily Program treatment…I have been feeling much more confident with myself and my choices…its a slow process, but I feel myself getting better. Positive attitude, which is enhanced by working out helps!!