It’s been awhile.
I’ve been seriously lacking inspiration for a new post these past few weeks. A big reason for this is probably because I haven’t been on my A-game with taking care of myself. I’m a dietitian, I’m supposed to have that all under control, right? So I haven’t been able to bring myself to post anything. But then it hit me, maybe some people would appreciate hearing this, that dietitians struggle with the same things they’re teaching. That we are not perfect. That we wake up some mornings hungover and not able to fit into our pants. So here goes….
I gained weight. Too much of it. 17 pounds, to be exact.
I convinced myself the scale didn’t work, that it needed new batteries, that my boyfriend’s scale was actually the accurate one (the one that made me literally the same weight every time I stepped on it no matter how much wine I had last week… It’s in the trash now, by the way)
I kind of had to accept the facts when I couldn’t fit into my pants anymore.
I’m not fat by any means. But I know that the more unintended weight we gain as we get older, the more we put ourselves at risk for yucky diseases like diabetes, hypertension, cancer, etc. etc.
I decided to put down my pride and make this into a lesson learned for both myself and whoever is reading this blog of mine: so, what did I do wrong?
1.) I drank too much.
I don’t mean that I got drunk every night. But the CDC’s recommendation for women (defined as “moderate alcohol consumption”) is no more than 1 drink daily. Going by this recommendation, I drank too much. A bottle of wine is far too easy to polish off in two nights (a bottle of wine is 5 servings).
2.) I ate too many of my calories after dark.
It is very easy for me to control my portions and choose the right foods during the daytime hours. I experience very little temptation and I am often so busy with work that I am able to distract myself. It’s when I get home that I find myself starving and craving all the wrong foods. Over the winter months this became especially difficult.
3.) I snacked too much.
I. Picked. At. Everything. Boyfriend munching on chips? I had four or five of those. Bowl of popcorn at work? Handful of those. Cooking dinner? Spoonful here, forkful there. The worst part of this habit is, you don’t feel as if you are consuming much of anything so you subconsciously write off the calories. It is so easy to consume hundreds, even thousands of calories without even realizing it.
4.) I stopped working out.
Back in June, I sprained my ankle badly. I had been training for a race and took a bad step during a run. It took months to heal, and it wasn’t until November or December that I was pain free. I truly love to run, and not being able to do this for so long was extremely discouraging. Instead of taking up another low impact activity, I threw in the towel all together. This, combined with my fairly sedentary job, did not help the situation.
SO, what now?
It’s not going to happen overnight, but the first step to fixing a problem is admitting you have one in the first place! I’m not going on some crazy diet. I don’t believe in eliminating anything that you can’t keep up with for a lifetime. I’m going back to the basics. I already know what my downfalls are, and I’m addressing them directly:
1.) Moderation! I’m not giving up my wine by any stretch of the imagination. But, I am going to cut down considerably. The body really doesn’t know how to process alcohol except to store it as fat. That, coupled with the fact that when I drink I become magically hungry, practicing moderation will do me some good.
2.) I am going to make a conscious effort to stop picking. Chewing gum has worked for me in the past. I find that if you keep your mouth occupied , it keeps you from picking at food when you aren’t really hungry.
3.) Back to working out..I just picked up a yoga class recently. We meet once weekly, and my hope is that keeping up my flexibility will prevent me from becoming injured again when I build up the cardio to start running again. For now, only power walking for me.
4.) The kitchen is closed at night! Late night snacking will be cut down considerably. In the past I have set myself up for failure by not doing enough planning : I don’t eat enough during the day, and so when I come home, my body is all ready to make up the deficit. By making a conscious effort to eat enough of the right foods during the day, my body will not be crying for food when I’m trying to wind down for the day.
I hope at least someone benefited from this. Just know, you are not alone, and dietitians struggle too.