Why I stopped dieting and what happened after I did.

I’ve been feeling the nudge to share this for some time now, but I just never took the time to do it. Since I have a lot of free time this afternoon, I figure now is as good a time as any.

I really thought I had told this story here before, but looking through my archives, I can’t seem to find the post about how/when/why I stopped dieting. This is shocking to me because it had such a profound effect on me and I’ve thought of it often over the last 18+ months; I can’t believe I never blogged about it.

In early 2014, I started working with a weight loss company who offered a personal coach (who was also a Registered Dietitian) to help me lose weight. Now let me say upfront, I loved my RD. She was a great help to me and I know she tried her hardest working within the parameters of the program. I still to this day hold nothing against her. And the program itself was pretty good, but there were certain aspects that I just could not wrap my brain around. So, I struggled from the beginning but with the help of my RD, I did okay. I lost ten pounds on that program, but it took me a solid year to do it, and I white-knuckled my way through that whole entire year. I learned a lot about nutrition, but I also learned that I was miserable.

Fast forward to SuperBowl Sunday 2015. We had planned a small party with our next door neighbors and we had all the usual Superbowl Food: hot wings, Lil Smokies in bbq sauce, Rotel dip and chips, etc, etc, etc. I had some healthy foods on hand like carrots & celery, whole wheat crackers, and some Buffalo Cauliflower (cauliflower dipped in buffalo sauce batter, then baked – very delicious). It’s the Buffalo Cauliflower I remember the most about that day. I had tried to load up on the healthier options, and have just a tiny portion of the less-than-healthy foods because I knew I would have to log my foods and my RD would be seeing my log. I knew that since the cauliflower was dipped in batter, it probably wasn’t the healthiest choice, but I knew it was better than some of the other foods we had there. I had a few pieces and I really liked the taste.

Guys…I couldn’t stop. I kept popping those cauliflower bites into my mouth one right after the other and I COULD. NOT. STOP. I ate what was left of them (and there were a lot because no one else really liked them but me) and then I said “Screw it!” and partook of a little more of everything else on the table. I was eating what I wanted to eat and I was in ECSTACY. I remember thinking to myself, “This is purely the result of restricting my eating. This is due solely to feeling deprived for all these months.” It was right then that I decided I was done with restricting what I ate and done with feeling deprived. I vowed right then and there never to go another diet ever again.

On Feb 3, I told my RD that I needed to walk away from the program because it was just becoming too hard to stay on it. Surprisingly, she agreed and we parted ways amicably.

My biggest fear was that since I had no “plan”, I would just gain and gain and gain until I had to be lifted by a crane from my house through a cut-out in the wall. Well, guess what? it’s been a little over 18 months and I’ve only gained the ten pounds I lost, and not surprisingly, I gained them fairly quick. For the last year though, I’ve maintained my weight. Let the significance of that sink in for a minute.

In the last year, eating whatever I want, whenever I want, I have not gained weight. I’ve maintained my weight within 2-3 pounds (up and down) for an entire year – without restricting. 

When I gained those ten pounds back, I was eating all the foods I had deprived myself of for so long, and I was eating them without guilt. Then things sort of leveled off and I realized that I didn’t want to eat junk food all the time because it really didn’t make me feel very good. So I started thinking about what foods would make me feel good and I started eating those foods more often.

The way I eat now… I really can’t put a label on it. It’s not Intuitive Eating because I don’t rate my hunger or consciously “stop when I’m satisfied”, or carry a food bag around with me. Maybe you could call it mindful eating, because I do stop and think before I eat about what it is exactly that I want – sometimes I want a huge salad with a lot going on in it, sometimes I want a meal like meatloaf and mashed potatoes, and sometimes I just want some ice cream dammit. It really just depends on the day.

What I really love about the way I eat now is that there is no angst. I don’t worry and fret about whether or not this particular food falls in line with my program, and I don’t spend hours and hours obsessing over food in general like I used to. There are no more “crazy food voices” anymore. I couldn’t imagine I ever would say this, but gaining those ten pounds was a fair exchange for the mental and emotional freedom I have now.

So for those of you who think you’ll just go crazy and eat the world if you aren’t on a diet or a food plan or a weight loss program, I am here to tell you, you won’t. You might go nuts for a couple of weeks, but then you’ll slow your roll and start eating like a person who hasn’t been trying to live on 1200 calories for years and years. You’ll be okay.

When you stop dieting and start focusing on YOU – what makes you tick, what makes you happy, what relaxes you – and start adding in those things on a regular basis…that’s when the magic starts to happen.

And as I always say, this is what works for me – your mileage may vary – but I do know that there are an awful lot of people just like me who need to hear this today. There are so many of you out there who are holding on so tightly to your dream of weight loss that you don’t even realize that there is so much more to life than the number on the scale (I was there, I get it).

If you have any questions about this or you just want to vent, you can always email me (sassypearblog@gmail.com) or share your thoughts in the comments. Just remember, you are not alone in this.

xoxo

 

 

Back to School & Coping Ahead

My kids started school yesterday. This summer went by so fast that it hardly seemed like summer at all, except for the sweltering 100-degree temps which felt a little too much like summer!

But anyway, school. Tuesday was Open House which is when all the students and their parents descend upon the school and get their schedules and meet their teachers and find their lockers and see their friends. It’s hectic and hot and fun and exciting and yet bittersweet for me for reasons that have nothing to do with my kids.

Back-to-School always brings up a lot of “stuff” for me. One year I can remember being at the first home football game and seeing all these moms with slender figures climbing the bleachers to their seats or chasing their kids to the concession stand and I distinctly remember saying to myself that “this time next year I will be thin like they are. I will not be a fat mom at the beginning of school next year.”

Well.

Guess what happened? I didn’t become a thin mom. Not the next year, or the next, or the year after that. The disappointment I felt for not meeting that goal is always there to greet me every year and it happened again this year at Open House – I saw all these adorable moms in their cute little summer dresses and shame and guilt instantly flooded me. I wrestled with it for a couple of days, then at my session with Emily, we talked about it. The thing is, I’ve accomplished a lot in the last 12 months. I have a whole new brain (metaphorically speaking) and I have a long list of coping skills to deal with unpleasant emotions (like shame and guilt). Emily asked me what the purpose was for the shame and guilt, why were they there? I couldn’t think of an answer to that question until I said that I think that the biggest part of it is just that it’s become a habit to think this way when school starts. Every year for so many years, I’ve felt this shame & guilt and just told myself I deserved it. But I don’t deserve it. Unless you’ve done something really horrible, like kicking puppies, no one deserves to feel guilt & shame unnecessarily. You especially don’t deserve it just because you haven’t lost weight.

And truth be told there was a lot going on that day that probably would have made me feel icky even if I was a size 4. During the Open House, I wasn’t feeling my best. I was sweating profusely (because the school has Open House for one hour. ONE HOUR. For the whole school. So many people…so, so many people.) and I was wearing my least favorite pair of jeans and my hair was flat (because SWEATY) and my makeup had slid off my face into a warm beige pool on the floor. I was not feeling like The SassyEffingPear at that point. I was feeling like my middle school self – bad skin, bad hair, and I’m pretty sure I awkwardly made a fool of myself in front of one of the teachers. IT WASN’T MY FINEST HOUR, OKAY???  So yeah, of course I let the shame & guilt in because those are familiar feelings! But they weren’t the appropriate feelings and had nothing to do with my weight.

So here’s the deal, the first home football game is coming up in a couple of weeks and I’m going to practice coping ahead for that because I’m 99% positive those emotions are going to come up again simply out of habit. I’m going to give myself lots of pep talks and wear my hair in a cute ponytail (because SWEATING) and put on my favorite game-appropriate clothes and spackle on my makeup and enjoy the heck out of the marching band and the cheerleaders and the general people-watching. My weight will not play a factor in how I feel about myself. SO HELP ME I will not be railroaded by my emotions this time.

Now it’s your turn: does August/September bring up “stuff” for you too? Or is there another time of year it might happen for you? Do you make it a practice to cope ahead for situations that bring up unpleasant emotions?

Stuff with which I am currently in love

Did you like my grammatically correct title up there? I enjoy some good grammar from time to time.🙂

Just wanted to share some things with you all that I am really enjoying lately. I’m not getting any money from anyone for mentioning these things – no affiliate links or anything – I’m just a giver. It’s what I do. Unless there’s chocolate involved then you’re on your own. JILL DOESN’T SHARE FOOD. (10 points if you can name the reference)

Actually, I am going to share one food item with you. Not the actual food, just the name of it:

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As you can plainly see, this bag is empty. I may or may not have eaten the whole bag by myself. Not at one sitting, but a few chunks every day were usually my 3pm sweet-tooth  satisfier. They weren’t too sweet – they had a mildly sweet coconut flavor and I found that just a couple of chunks were enough to make me happy. I found these at The Walmarts, but I imagine you could find them at most grocery stores.

This is my new water bottle for work:

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Also purchased at The Walmarts. It’s from The Pioneer Woman collection and as much as I have resisted her, I could not resist this glass mason jar with a lid and a straw and a handle. It holds 32 oz of water and I LOVE IT. It makes my desk look like a happier place.

Also love this:

stopbreathethink

Yep, I’ve gone all woo-woo and I now meditate regularly (if you can call the last 5 out of 7 days regular). I think this app is great – you tell it what emotions you are feeling and it suggests a few different meditations to either reinforce your good mood or help you out of your funk. The meditations are short (but they can be longer if you prefer) and I really do feel so great after I’ve done one or two. I try to meditate after my morning workout and I find the two activities together make me feel noble, like I’ve actually done something good for myself (which, I have).

Finally, there’s this stuff:

jergens

 

Have you tried this yet? I am so bad at moisturizing my skin after my shower, but with this stuff you just put it on after your shower but BEFORE YOU DRY OFF. Then you just pat your skin and you’re good to go! You don’t even have to rinse it off first. I’ve tried other in-shower moisturizers but I found that once I rinsed them off it made my shower floor slippery and icky. I don’t have that problem with Jergens. And the scent is nice and light. Perfect for summer!

Anything out there you are in love that you want to share? Have you tried any of the products I’ve mentioned here? Share a couple of your favorites in the comments – I am much more likely to buy something if I know someone who recommends it.

 

Everything’s different, but the same

This has been a BIG ENERGY WEEK for me (and it’s only Wednesday, Lord help me). It’s one of those weeks that contain lots of STUFF going on, and even if it’s good stuff, it can still deplete my energy. Lots of things are changing around here, mostly for the good, but even though they are changing they are still the same in some ways. It’s the “different, but same” that’s got my head spinning.

Over the weekend, we finally gave our neglected bedroom some much-needed TLC. We painted and rearranged our furniture, hung the TV on the wall, and ordered a new window blind. I’m really excited about the changes, but after having our bedroom set up the same for several years, it’s a little odd to see it arranged differently. And at night when I inevitably have to get up to make a bathroom run, I now have to carefully make my way around with my hands outstretched to make sure I don’t bump into something. Banging your hip on the corner of the dresser because your sleepy, foggy brain forgot it was there now is not a lot of fun.

So…different, but the same.

Also, my new boss has fully taken over the position and even though I’m thrilled with him, being at work is like having a new job. I’ve had more work to do in the last few days than I’ve had all month, which is great, but again, coming to the same job and doing different tasks is a little jarring. It’s been a really good thing, but still, it takes a lot of energy to get through that “getting to know you and what you expect of me” stage.

So…different, but the same.

And of course summer for us is winding down and school activities are already beginning, even though school doesn’t officially start here until August 11. For the last couple of weeks, I’ve been driving my daughter to and from volleyball practice which drives me insane, actually. But this year I know what to expect, and I also have some great coping techniques to use to get me through this. (Volleyball is RELENTLESS. The season only lasts 2 months but the schedule is jam-packed and it feels like you can hardly catch a break.) So even though it’s still summer vacation, things are gearing up to get busy and our schedules are starting to change.

So…different, but the same.

I’m a little wired, a little tired, and ready for some continuity. I’m getting through this Big Energy Week by taking naps after work if I need to, making sure I get in a workout in the mornings and eating for energy. Giving myself pep talks helps too. These weeks don’t happen all the time, but when they do, I try to pay extra attention to how I’m feeling so I don’t end up losing my sh*t and having an epic meltdown (not that that’s ever happened…ahem).

How do you handle a Big Energy Week? Share your tips!

Weekly Menu Template

Sometimes I am super organized and at the beginning of the week, I plan out a dinner menu, go shopping for ingredients, and prepare nutritious meals for my darling family.

Other times I pretend I have zero responsibilities as a mother and we totally wing it all week long. These weeks stress me out, to be honest, so I came up with a template to help me quickly figure out what to cook for dinner.

Behold! The Weekly Menu Template! Menu template

I had to get a little creative with some of the titles but just go with it. Let’s break it down, shall we?

Monday – ‘Murica Monday! In which I serve Bald Eagle for dinner. KIDDING! This is going to be what I consider a Home Cooked Meal such as meatloaf, pot roast, chicken & noodles…you know something your grandma would’ve made for dinner. I typically have a little more time on Monday evenings to cook and I like to start the week with a meal that says “I made an effort.”

Tuesday – Taco Tuesday! Who doesn’t love Taco Tuesday?? You can’t go wrong with Mexican food. Really, you just can’t. Except if cilantro is involved then YOU HAVE GONE SO WRONG. Ick.

Wednesday – Crockpot Humpday! Wednesdays are my busiest days and the days I get home the latest, so having a dinner that has cooked itself is like giving myself a high five when I walk in the door.

Thursday – Italian Stallion Thursday. No, we’re not having Rocky over for dinner, but we ARE having Italian food. Except spaghetti. My kids are SO FREAKING OVER spaghetti it’s not even funny. I maaaaaay have made spaghetti one too many times over the years and now my kids hate it. But they love lasagna and tortellini. Go figure.:/

Friday – Take Out Friday (Cause Mama is Tired)! This one can work two ways: A) Take Mama out to dinner or B) take dinner out of the restaurant and bring it to your home. Whichever one works best for you because Mama deserves a break.

Saturday – Grill It! We like to grill something on weekends, so why not just make it official and put it one the calendar? Steaks, chicken, kebabs, whatever…as long as it’s something my hubs can throw on the grill, I’m good with it.

Sunday – Seafood Sunday! I love seafood. LOVE IT. Yet, I rarely think to cook it, so by making it a part of the template I’ll get to have it more often. Shrimp Scampi, GET IN MAH BELLY.

How do you plan your dinners? Or do you just wing it and hope for the best?

 

I’m full-on​ Veruca Salt for this thing.

Have you guys seen this?

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(source)

It’s the Bellabeat Leaf Urban fitness tracker and I want it. It tracks your sleep and fitness like most trackers but it also tracks your stress level, your monthly cycles, AND it has a meditation practice too. So cool!! But mostly I just want it because it’s pretty and I’m shallow.

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(source)

Just looking at it makes me want to unroll my yoga mat and thrown down some tree poses. So zen! It can be worn as a necklace, a bracelet, or a clip-on. I would probably mostly wear it as a bracelet because I like the way it looks with the double band. It comes in silver and rose gold, and I think I like the silver one better because I feel like the rose gold trend is going to fade before my love for this tracker will. But I don’t know, man…the rose gold is pretty too.  I think I’d be happy with either one, really.

I signed up for the wait list – I have no idea when it’s going to come out but I should probably set some funds aside to purchase this lovely bauble because I HEART IT SO BAD.

 

Facebook has become the candy dish of my life. And not in a good way.

In mental health news, I deleted Facebook from my phone a few days ago. It was becoming too easy to just grab my phone and have a gander whenever I had a few moments between activities or if a commercial came on TV or if I just wanted to avoid doing something. And it was getting to the point that I was looking at FB instead of doing something like reading a book whenever I had precious spare time. Facebook had become like checking the fridge every half hour to see if some new and delicious food had appeared since the last time I looked, which was probably just a few minutes ago. It was getting ridiculous. So I deleted it off of my phone to see what would happen.

What happened is that instead of checking FB I now sit with the boredom or I actually DO something. I think I’m so used to multitasking that it feels uncomfortable to only do one thing at a time like watching TV, or eating, or waiting patiently for my daughter to get out of practice. But it also feels so GREAT when I flip through a magazine or read a book or paint my nails instead of scrolling through FB. I told Emily that scrolling through FB for me is like grabbing a handful of candy from a too-available candy dish twenty times a day – eventually, you just get sick of the candy. That’s how I feel about FB now. I need a break.

If I want to check FB at home I have to actually sit at the computer and do it. Or I can still look at it at work if I want to, but I’m trying to limit my time there too. I find I’m much more satisfied with it if I let some time pass between log-ins.

Anyone else a little too involved in social media? Did you go cold turkey or were you in too deep?