My Super Simple Plan for regaining control

October 20, 2014 in Uncategorized

It’s tough to regain control once you’ve lost it.  Especially if you have regained a significant amount of weight.  When it was only 10 pounds, I knew I could handle it.  When it was 20, I started to worry.  When it was 60, I thought I should probably just quit.

It’s not easy to start again when you’ve gone so far off course.  I think it’s especially hard on us emotionally because we feel more pressure than we did to begin with.  Before we lost weight,  we were always in the same place.  We may have felt hopeless but at least we were used to it.  We might always have been trying to lose weight but the fact that we never did at least kept things in a realm which we were familiar. But then you made progress!  You lost some weight.  You had some victories.  And suddenly things were changing.  But now you gained them back.  And you feel worse off than before.  Even worse than you did when you started.  At least before, you only had a vision of what it might be like to lose the weight. This time you have lived it.  You know what it feels like.  You had finally started living your dream.  Only to watch it disappear.

So where do you go from here?  How do you get back control once you’ve lost it?

It’s simple.  So simple in fact that we don’t believe it can work.  So simple that we aren’t always willing to trust the process.

And that’s part of the problem.  TRUST.   We don’t have it.  At least not in ourselves anymore.

We need to believe that we are capable.  We need to remember once again that we aren’t weak.  We have to be reminded every day that we CAN accomplish our goals.  We need to feel victorious as often as possible to rebuild our confidence.  And there is only one way that I know to make that happen.   And it’s this:

Set super small goals and do them daily.  

So small that you can’t make an excuse.  

So small that it almost seems pointless.

30 Seconds at a time if necessary

I’ve been trying for a year to get my second wind. To get back to my daily workouts.  I get motivated in spurts.  Random days where I feel inspired. It might be 4 miles.  Maybe 5 miles.  But what I lack is consistency.  And consistency is the key.

Success doesn’t lie in what you will do occasionally.  Randomly.  Or in spurts.  It’s what you will do daily.  That’s where true progress lies.

So I decided to take a step back.  All the way back to the beginning.  Back to 30 seconds at a time.  And go from there.

Last week, I decided that I was going to walk a half mile outside every day for 5 days straight.  I decided 5 days because I start to freak out mentally if I think I have to do something forever.  Even something that small.  So I decided to just do 5 days.  And it worked.  Every day I got out there rain or shine and walked that half mile.  Not because I believed that a half mile would burn off enough calories to make me lose weight.  But because I needed to rebuild confidence in myself that I could work up the mental strength to do something consistently.  By the end of the week I was jogging almost half of it.  For the first time, I was feeling some hope.

Now nothing else was getting accomplished.  My food is still out of whack.  I am not losing weight.  BUT I set a goal and I accomplished it.  That means I am winning the battle.  It means that I’ve gotten things rolling in the right direction.  Not quickly, mind you!! But forward movement is forward movement!

My goal was only to do this Monday through Friday in an effort to avoid feeling like it was forever.  Since I took the weekend off from that half mile walk, it made this morning a little bit harder on me.  However, I still got out there.  And I was slow. There was zero jogging involved.  It took me about 22 minutes to walk what I had done in 13 minutes last week.

photo.81

 

 

So yes I was super slow.  I was almost dragging because I had no motivation.  I refused to jog one bit of it.  And to be honest, I didn’t even feel like putting on my tennis shoes so I just wore flip flops (which resulted in my feet freezing because it was cold).  But that is how unmotivated I felt.  I could have gone further or done more physically perhaps.  But instead, I  stopped a lot to look at the sunrise and I took some pictures.

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But guess what? I STILL WIN.  I still get to check off the victory box because my goal didn’t involve anything but doing it.  And I did it.

So…CHECK!

Because while it’s Monday and I had two days off with zero motivation to start again….I still went.  I didn’t refuse to go.  I don’t care that I was slow.  I was there.  Last week and now this week!   So round 2 of the half mile walk is already in the books.  And I’m going to continue another 5 day streak of walking that half mile rain or shine every morning this week.

The plan though must keep moving forward.  That is the real secret behind it.  We start super small and we add things in over time.  Increasing by 30 seconds or adding a mailbox.  Or adding in a goal in some other area.  But the idea is to keep adding things in small increments.  Increasing it to where you are moving forward but slowly enough that you don’t feel overwhelmed.  This worked for me in the beginning.  It will again.  If it could help me then, it can help me now.

So I have to increase somewhere.    I had originally thought that I would try to tweak my half mile by turning it into a jog.   I’ve since decided not to do that. Right after I made the goal I immediately felt burdened by it.  As if I wouldn’t be able to accomplish it.  I don’t need goals like that!! I need to feel victory not defeat.  When we are off track and already feeling depressed the last thing we need to do is set goals we are going to fail at so we can beat ourselves up and feel worse.  That feeling let me know that wasn’t the goal for me this week.  It may be in the future but not right now.

If I WANT to jog it, I can.  But that will be my choice.  If I want to do additional exercise in the day (like my Leslie Sansone walking videos) then I can.  But all of that is by choice.  The only “mandatory” thing in my mind is the half mile walk.  Just like in the beginning when my only mandatory exercise was 30 seconds.  By doing this, I have such a small task to accomplish that I can’t lose.  And no matter what I do the rest of the day, I have already won if I checked off the victory box for that half mile walk.  Whatever else I might do in the realm of exercise is in my mind now extra.  It’s me going above and beyond! That resets the day into a more hopeful mindset with less pressure.  So this week I am just going to continue with that half mile in the morning.  Nothing will be added.  I believe that just working on consistency daily is where I need to be with that goal.

I am, however, adding a second challenge.  And this will be in the area of food.  For me, food is the biggest issue.  Losing weight is probably 85% what you are eating.  You can’t out exercise a bad food day regardless.  That is why I now view exercise as something I’m doing mostly for mental strength than anything else.  But food—that is my biggest struggle.  Getting back control in the area of food isn’t easy.

I can tell you what works for me though.  I can tell you the exact plan that allowed me to stop obsessing over food and lose 240 pounds.  I wrote a lengthy post about it here.  And it totally works.  The simple version is that I drink Atkins shakes because they are low carb and very low sugar.  I drink them every 2-3 hours rotating coffee/tea and water in there as well.  I do it on a fairly strict schedule in an effort to remove the guesswork, planning and thinking that often comes with questions like “Am I hungry?”.  The answer to that (for me) will almost always be YES.  Not because I am always hungry but because I often think that I am always hungry.

Sugar is evil for me.  It really is and I’ve been hooked back on it for a long time.  Why do we go back to things we know are bad for us? Ask that to any person who has experienced a lifelong battle with overeating.  I believe that this is a chronic condition for me.  It can’t be treated like a curable “disease” that can just go away.  I don’t say that to sound hopeless.  I just say it because for me it’s true.  I have a mind that goes for food.  I just do.  It goes into “remission” if I follow what works for me though.  It may rear its ugly head on occasion but not daily when I follow what works.  The problem is that I often don’t.  And here we are.  60 pounds heavier and knee deep in sugar again.   And when you feel hopeless, you don’t need complicated.

What works for me in the area of food is this:

Coffee

Water

Shake

Coffee

Water

Shake

I rotate them about every hour. Switching to hot tea from coffee after the first 2 or 3 cups.

In the morning I usually spend about an hour and a half working on a cup of coffee.  Then I move onto a full bottle of water.  After that, I grab an Atkins shake.  Usually that first round of “Coffee, Water, Shake” takes me about 3-4 hours to get in.  It could be less time or more depending.  If I do this rotation throughout the day I might get in about 3-4 shakes by around 5 pm.  In the beginning of my weight loss journey, I was doing full liquids for awhile and this helped me completely detox off of sugar and even lose a desire for food in a lot of ways.  It totally broke the hold food had on me.  At other times, I will just do the liquids during the day and then eat a low carb dinner in the evening.

Only last month, I had success with this and wrote about it here.  I even had lost 10 pounds. But something happened and I went right back again.  Gained the 10 pounds back and here we are.  Regardless of THAT, it still works.  The problem is once again—consistency.  I did it for a week but I couldn’t maintain it.  So I am going to try to go back to that super simple plan of making small changes.  So small that I won’t say NO to it.  And for this week my 5 day streak involves that.

I am going to commit to doing ONE ROUND of the liquids for 5 days straight.  For me, one round means

8-9 am Coffee

9-10 am Water

10-11 am Shake

That  is only 3 hours of my day where I am committing to follow a strict food plan.  Now that does not mean I am telling myself to go crazy and head for Wendy’s right after that.  I am still going to continue to do what I have been doing all along . Trying to stay in control and mostly succeeding but not always.  However, for the first 3 hours of the morning I will adhere to my strict schedule.  Those 3 hours I WILL succeed.  Whatever happens the rest of the day— happens.  If I screw up, I screw up.  But it won’t take away from my victory.  Those 3 hours in control over my food daily over the next 5 days will build hope in my heart.  It will show me that not only can I make myself get up and go walking a half mile every single day for 5 days straight—I can  regain control over my food for at least 3 hours every day too!!  Just like with my other goal, if I choose to continue drinking shakes the rest of the day I totally can.  But not because it is MANDATORY.  Only if it’s my choice.  And if I don’t do that then it’s ok too.  I will still have accomplished my goal.

I find so much of getting back on track to be a battle in my mind over being FORCED to do something I feel that I either don’t want to do or that I am incapable of doing.  I always feel so much pressure on me when I try a “diet”. Originally I had planned to set the food goal as doing the liquid shakes until 5 pm as I have done before.  But I immediately felt burdened again.  Right away I knew–that’s not the goal for this week!!

You know how they say go big or go home.  Well I say the opposite.

Go SMALL.  And when that feels overwhelming—GO EVEN SMALLER

So I knocked it down to 3 hours and that felt do-able.  That felt like a challenge I could accomplish.  Because I am tired of the pressure.  I am tired of being told I have to do everything perfectly day in and day out to feel successful.  I have found that it is better to make super small goals so I have a better chance at experiencing victory instead of defeat.  As time goes on, I choose to do more.  Not from pressure but by choice.  And by that time, I have gained confidence and even a DESIRE to do more.  And that’s the difference.  We always are more successful when we are doing something we truly want to do and not something we feel forced to do.

So my 5 Day Super Simple Victory Plan?

Walk a half mile every day this week

One Round of Liquids from 8-11 Am every day this week

That is all I have to do to be successful this week.  THAT IS IT.  And while some people might say that isn’t enough to matter–I happen to have the advantage now of knowing that YES IT DOES.  Because I did it already once before.  This is exactly how I lost weight in the first place.

Not with any of the other methods I had tried in the past.  Not with any hardcore exercise program or radical diet.  But by making super small goals that I knew I could achieve.  Maybe not easy but DO-ABLE.  And I made sure to celebrate each 30 second victory like I had just run a Triathlon.  Because who gets to say when we get to celebrate??  WE DO!  And changing our life no matter how slowly we do it IS cause for celebration

This girl was in hopeless confusion on how to ever dig herself out…..

beforeholly

 

And by setting SUPER SMALL goals 30 seconds at a time, I was able to accomplish something I never thought I would be able to.

That is the reason my brother had a medal made for me when I lost 200 pounds that says  “200 Pounds lost 30 seconds at a time”

 

200VictoryFinalRun.059

And you know what I need to do?? Pull that medal back out and wear it around my neck on that half mile walk!!  Because WHY NOT?  I know small steps work.  I know THEY WILL WORK.  We must believe and have faith in the process.  We must rebuild our confidence that we can do it.  And we must be patient with ourselves along the way.

It doesn’t matter how small the goal just so long as you pick one and go for it.

And since it’s my life, I get to decide what that goal will be.  I get to set the standards.  I don’t have to let anyone else tell me what I have to do to be considered successful.  This is a very important aspect of the journey because anyone who has ever struggled with obesity knows that EVERYONE has an opinion.  And I do mean everyone.  You almost become used to being told what to do.   And you often feel you have to listen because after all…you can’t even trust yourself not to eat everything in the refrigerator so why should YOU have a choice?

But you do. You have a voice.  You have a choice.  And no matter how much you weigh, that freedom should never be taken away.

I was most successful when I stopped letting other people tell me how to lose weight.  When I stopped allowing other people to tell me what was acceptable or good enough.  This is what works for ME.  And I will not feel guilty about it being small.  I know small things turn into big things.  I know what I need to do to build confidence and motivation in myself to keep going.  I give myself permission to do what works for me.  And I’m going to start doing it once again!

Once upon a time, I had a Victory List.  My original one is HERE

I decided to make another one for this week with my goals. I am displaying them proudly on my fridge!

photo-40

 

What are your plans for the week?

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{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

Marjolein October 20, 2014 at 5:14 pm

Thank you! I can very easily identify with this. Since I am forced to ride my bycicle to get to work (no car) I get excercise OK, but the food….I need to re-start every day.
Onward!

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Mrs. Abella October 20, 2014 at 5:26 pm

You can do it!
Mrs. Abella recently posted..Verses of EncouragementMy Profile

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Tess October 20, 2014 at 6:16 pm

This is a great post!!! You are so right on the money with making small goals. Goals that are too big are quickly left behind. We all gained our weight one bite at a time, why can’t it come off the same way? 🙂 And I love your idea of wearing your medal while walking, DO IT!!!

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Pam Holmes October 20, 2014 at 8:57 pm

Taking control again after losing it is super hard. It took me 30 years to regain control, after losing 100 lbs. when I was 30. I promptly regained it all plus some more, and then spent the next 30 years morbidly obese. After losing 178 pounds and hitting my goal weight in 2011, I stayed in control for two and a half years, before losing my way again late last year. I didn’t go wild, but every bad choice paved the way for more bad choices and made it easier and easier to overeat. I never went completely crazy–I didn’t go back to the fast food drive-thru’s, nor start devouring bags of chips, cookies and/or candy. I just ate too many of those 100-calorie snacks, occasionally I would have a second helping at dinner, and maybe even a piece of cake at a party or wedding. And I felt so lost and out of control. I was frustrated with myself, losing confidence fast and hated what I was doing to my new body which I had worked so hard to get back. In six months, I regained 32 pounds, and I saw no end in sight–I knew I was headed back to 328 lbs., and I also knew how much I hated living in that body. I had noticed these “Diet Bets,” all around, and decided to try one. Once again (like I did in my original weight loss), I started slowly and barely made the 6 lbs. (4%) goal at the end of 28 days. But I did it! And that got me motivated and my control returned as I joined another bet and another and another. I’m now down 26 of those 32 pounds and feel so much better now that I have regained control. This is what worked for me: I threw out all those “healthy” snacks. They are not in my house and never will be again. I’m still working on my daily walks, and am pretty inconsistent about getting those in, but as you say at least 85% of weight loss is in what you eat. I have BIG plans to be back at my 150-lb. happy weight by Nov. 4, the date of my next Diet Bet weigh-in. I’m hoping to find a maintenance Diet Bet, (maybe I’ll start one?!) because these little “bets” are working so well at keeping me motivated, even though the money actually bet is insignificant ($25-30)! That weigh-in at the end keeps me focused. We have to do what works for us. And we can do this–one day at a time, one hour at a time, one minute at a time, 30 seconds at a time! I’d bet money on your success Holly!!!
Pam Holmes recently posted..A Walk in the ParkMy Profile

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Anneli Byrd October 20, 2014 at 9:01 pm

Way to go!!!!!! You’re absolutely right about everyone having an opinion. I know I sure do. But YOUR opinion is the only one that counts, because you’re the only one who knows your mind and body.

I’m working on changing a deep-set mind glitch. It’s a common one—,”ONE cookie, brownie, extra helping, etc won’t matter.” I’ve found the book, “You on a Diet” by Dr. Oz, and am liking it a lot because it challenges that glitch. This book traces what happens when you eat anything. If I have a brownie, I won’t gain a dress size immediately, but my LIVER, and STOMACH and BRAIN and a whole host of other parts of me must deal with that brownie. I’m working on improving what I eat so that my body will recognize that I HAVE eaten, and demand less.

Good luck with your fight today!!!
Anneli
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Wendy October 20, 2014 at 9:26 pm

I am in the same place! I am struggling to get back on track. Actually, today is my first day to get back on track with my eating. It has a been a LONG hard day. The cravings were out of control, because of how far I’d fallen off! But, I’m taking it one step and minute at a time! I know if I do it in small steps that I can do it! And, I know that you can also!
Wendy recently posted..Weigh In Monday!My Profile

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jeanie October 21, 2014 at 12:31 am

thank you so much for posting. I have lost 100 pounds 3 different times. I feel over-whelmed to start again. Everyday is a new day, but I struggle everyday to get started and if I had one small goal to start with it might work. I loved reading your blog. Sometimes you feel like you have to walk 3 miles or people thing why even go.. But I need to start like you.. with a 1/2 mile, that does sound do-able.. Thank you again for your honest post. it is very motivating .

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Christine October 21, 2014 at 1:05 am

Awesome idea wearing your medal! I also meant to tell you that I loved your idea of the tortoise so much that I ordered several tortoise/turtle items to pepper around so that I can see them to remind me to keep trying. I even got one for my car so that when I’m driving home, I don’t break down and make a food stop. Keep up the fantastic ideas and forge ahead.

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Karen P October 21, 2014 at 1:22 am

Keep going, Holly. Keep building on your goals. You will get there.
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stacey October 21, 2014 at 1:46 am

I LOVED what you had to say today (I actually love what you have to say every day but today more than others) You are so insightful and you have inspired me…I can completely identify with your story because it is mine too….Keep up the hard work WE can do this
Peace and Love

Stacey

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Holly October 21, 2014 at 2:15 am

This 5 Day Streak of yours inspired me to try my own! I’m going for a Five Day Streak of eating ONE vegetable every day. Eating vegetables is a big challenge for me, but ONE I know I can do. I’m
so excited!! I can’t believe you have me excited about eating vegetables of all things!!
Holly recently posted..The One with the Regrets (and Thanks)My Profile

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tammy October 21, 2014 at 4:57 am

I needed to read this post. thank you so much for writing it! this afternoon i am going to start an exercise class and i am terrified. sometimes i can barely make it to the car without gasping for breath. i have been making myself move a little more every day but nothing “consistent”, so today when my diet coach from the health department called and invited me to join this class i took a deep breath and said yes. she promised that the trainer would even meet me at my car if need be. how sweet and yet humiliating all at the same time. i have reached day 10 of my low carb eating and have survived with no cheating. i want to move my body, i want to get stronger, and i believe that with God’s help i can do it!!!!

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Anna October 21, 2014 at 12:04 pm

Awesome post! Just what I needed. Thank you for posting. I love your blog.
Congrats too on making it through last week, and starting this week out so positively with a walk even though you didn’t feel like it.
I totally know the feeling of being burdened / daunted / scared by the goals I set, and then not achieving them – it really is just setting myself up for failure and then going round in the vicious cycle of eating to numb the pain again. I am going to make sure I never set goals that make me feel this way ever again after reading your post today.
My goal this week is to simply to 2 minutes of marching in front of my TV each night after I put my son to bed – for 5 days straight. That’s it! Totally achievable and almost too easy! But worth setting a goal to do this as it’s still more than I would otherwise have done. It’s something… and who knows, while I’m up marching I may end up deciding to do 5 or 10 or even more minutes!
Thank you so much 🙂
Anna

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Holly from 300 Pounds Down October 21, 2014 at 8:40 pm

Thank you so much for your encouragement Anna! It’ amazing that you said this about setting yourself up for failure. Someone else made that comment too. I feel a theme coming on! I guess a lot of us do this. We need to start setting ourselves up for success instead. I LOVE LOVE LOVE the 2 minutes of walking. BRILLIANT! Please come back and tell me how you did. I want to know. !!

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John (Daddy Runs a Lot) October 23, 2014 at 6:46 pm

Congrats on sticking to the plan 🙂

Love the attitude in this one.
John (Daddy Runs a Lot) recently posted..Where I write about things that have bothered me this week.My Profile

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Beth M October 24, 2014 at 6:03 pm

Your consistency, day-in and day-out has been such an inspiration to me every day as I log in to MFP.
This post reminded me of something I tried last year, a “tiny habits” method of making changes and creating new behaviours, as invented by BJ Fogg at Stanford. He even has a one-week email session you can sign up for. He’s a definite advocate for the baby steps approach to change. He also emphasizes the importance of celebrating your success in the new habit every time you practice it – creating those reward pathways in your brain.
Your post is a good nudge to me that I need to get back to tiny habits, committing to those small changes and adding to them step by step. Thanks for the inspiration!

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Nanette October 30, 2014 at 4:26 pm

Thank you.

Thank you so much for sharing.

I have been stuck for so long. I have big ambitions. I previously lost 80lbs on my own with diet and exercise. I have since re-gained 50lbs of it, at 345lbs, I have had such a problem with my thoughts and being my own saboteur.

I am going to follow your excellent example. I am dedicating today to concentrating on two small changes that I can commit to for next week. Not for the sake of weight loss, for the sake of being able to succeed and know that I have within me, the power to accomplish great things.

Your remark on Trust is absolutely true. I have been disappointed in myself and no longer trust my own word to accomplish things. Well, I want to repair that relationship within me.

And for all these VERY important reflections, realizations and motivation, I thank you humbly.

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