Don't Let's Call It a Diet

Writing It Down

I had a little meltdown on the "Don’t Let’s Call It a Diet" front that has me looking at how much like a diet it is going to feel from now until the goal is reached. The magic of the Weight Watchers plan is the way the points adjust as your weight decreases. The activity points become worth less because people who weigh less burn fewer calories than people who do the same activity while carrying more pounds. It makes sense. And heavier people need more calories just to meet basic needs. That also makes sense.

Every time a person drops into a lower "decade" of weight, one of the daily food points goes away. The last time this happened, I felt a bit rebellious, but this week, when confronted with the wee number of 20 points per day (around 1000 calories, although this calculation depends on fiber and fat grams, too), I somehow fell off the food-tracking planet and enjoyed several Williamsburg Orange cupcakes made by The Princess and her cousin for a little family gathering the other night. By which I mean I ate one then, but they were still here on Sunday. And Monday. And today. And somehow writing them down felt impossible, and the bad feelings of binge-i-ness overwhelmed me.

"What’s the point?" I asked myself, in classic self-defeating style.

Well, what is the point? The point is learning to live in a more healthy, less unconscious fashion, but there I was behaving incredibly unconsciously and launching myself straight into a classic downward spiral.

I guess the good news is it felt uncomfortable, and that led me to confess my sins to Pure Luck while we were out for a walk. He tried to reason with me. God bless him. He tried to reason with me, but I had to finish spewing all my disappointment and shame before I could hear a word he was saying.

I have admittedly been off-kilter due to the diminished exercise opportunities of the past few weeks, really the past month (too cold, too icy, my ear hurts, etc.), some of the reasons legitimate, but some embroidered because it’s so easy to fall out of the habit.

That worries me. I would hope that six, almost seven months, of living differently would be at least the foundation of a set of new habits, but apparently it’s very easy for me to lose them, very.

I came home from our walk and did a really hard thing: I wrote down all the stuff I ate on Sunday and Monday, as best I could reconstruct it. Let’s just say, for those of you who comprehend the WW system, I have only 2 weekly points remaining to last through Friday. But I wrote it all down. I wrote it all down as best I was able.

Is that good enough? For those of us whose version of perfectionism is "perfect" or "self-destruct," it’s hard to say it is. But it’s all I have for right now.

18 thoughts on “Writing It Down”

  1. ((songbird))
    Of course it’s good enough: learning to live well with your body and with food and yourself is about picking up when things go not-the-way-you-wanted.
    But that can be hard to feel inside sometimes.

  2. Ah, golly. How many times have I been there!? You have done the hardest possible thing by writing down what you actually ate. YEAH FOR YOU!!
    I have found that when I have eaten all of the week’s flex points and oh, maybe a lot more, facing the facts is the hardest, bravest, hugest thing. (I just want to write “LOST WEEKEND” across those pages of the journal…!) You are GREAT!
    If we were there we would throw you up and down on a blanket, like in Winnie the Pooh!
    But since we are not, I say, Hip hip HURRAH! for the Songbird!

  3. I am proud of you for doing what you did (writing it down).
    20 points…. it tells me you are getting close to your goal. It’s scary when you venture off and eat stuff we know we aren’t supposed to? At least it is for me.
    You keep up the good work and know I am behind you 110% just like you are for me!

  4. The weather is freezing, the sidewalks messy, the sun still too low in the sky even when it deigns to appear. Me, I just ate a whole bag of a snack I wasn’t even hungry for, because I’m tired and it’s already been a long, long winter.
    Yeah. I think writing it down is good enough. The world isn’t perfect. Why should we be?

  5. You are so very normal to fall off the wagon while trying to change your habits!!! It’s OK. Here’s what I learned about habits:
    A habit is a trail in your brain. Much like a deer trail in the woods. They travel the same trail because it is there. It’s a neural connection that was created by repetitive behavior.
    In order to create a new habit (blaze a new trail), the old habit must be broken. It is only broken with conscious will and non judgmental observation. Which is what Weight Watchers creates the landscape for.
    At the same time, you create new habits by consciously performing the behavior that will reconnect the broken neural pathway (trail) into the new one.
    When you consider how long it took to create the habit you want to change, I for one would say to you, Songbird, that you are freakin’ amazing with the speed in which you are blazing your new trail!!
    That’s probably why you feel so guilty. Because the wagon you set off in and fell off of for a second is traveling so fast, you have to run, quicker than most, to get back on. But I know you will. Because you are amazing.
    (She blathered on mixing metaphors and dangling participles)

  6. Writing it down is wonderful. It’s not a punishment; it’s a release. Being a writer, you might find it interesting that author Julia Cameron has written a book, The Writing Diet: Write Yourself Right-Size, about how writing can help people lose weight. There’s an article about it in Newsweek:

  7. You go, cheese.
    I’m going to a WW meeting tonight. I’ve never “used” one this way before, as a support tool in the middle of the week.

  8. You are here for me, and I am here for you. And I think that the fact that you *could* write it down, and the fact that you could also come here and write this post, shows that you’re far stronger than you feel.

  9. I just think you are amazing – in all of this.
    It nearly makes me brave enough to confess to the box of post Christmas Belgian chocolates that are no longer in my study…
    Love and hugs and encouraging prayers too

  10. Songbird, your honesty is very helpful to me. Since going to a 50th Anniversary party on Saturday night, I’ve been eating snack-y things. Tonight I had portobello ravioli at Olive Garden. I have not been writing things down. AND you did!! For the past days! GOOD FOR YOU!!
    You are my shining example! Thank you.

  11. “Is that good enough? For those of whose version of perfection is “perfect” or “self-destruct,” it’s hard to say.”
    You have no idea how helpful it is to hear someone else name that dynamic in their own life. I’ve been fighting a slippery slide back into that kind of all-or-nothing thinking for the past several weeks.
    In my head I know that the meaning I assign to something makes a huge difference, and I do have choices about the meaning I assign, but it’s still hard not to catastrophize.
    Good for you for writing it down. I hope it does help. Maybe just doing something different and not hiding will make a difference. It may not make easy, but maybe it will help.

  12. Thanks for writing this. YOu encouraged me to go write down my unexpected eating today instead of giving into “whatstheuse….”

  13. Have you read Anne Lamott’s stuff about food (and also about loving oneself even when we think we’d make “Jesus drink gin out of the cat dish”)? She is SO GOOD. I think it’s in Traveling Mercies, my favorite of hers. There’s one called “The Devil Wore Icing” that was in O Magazine. . . I turn to her when things get scary in my head–
    Be well!

  14. You are my big inspiration, you know. I admit I’m not doing so well on the exercise front, but I’ve lost 27 pounds and your story was a big part of what it took to get me started.
    Those point reductions when you hit the milestones really are negative reinforcement of your success. I suggest going out and buying yourself something fabulous that you couldn’t possibly have worn when you started out. That kind of thing usually works to give me the motivation to climb out of the hole and keep going.

  15. you wrote it all down.
    i’m so thoroughly impressed.
    and you still have 2 weekly points. not the end of the world. why am i so afraid when i overdo that if i count it will be the end of me?
    blessings, songbird.

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