Day 340

It’s Christmas Day, and Princess Sophie and I will be relaxing at home for most of it. Yes, she woke me up in the middle of the night to go out again, because she absolutely hates the weather, so she holds her business until she realizes that she can’t anymore. I appreciate the consideration; I just wish she had it at 9:30pm and not 2:15am. I love my doggie, so despite my issues falling asleep the last little while, I got bundled up and took her out. Fortunately, she was not dawdling… she did her business, and then made a beeline for the front door of the building.

Despite my best planning, I had to go out yesterday afternoon… to the store… in violation of every rule that I have ever set for myself. I was not careful, and I spilled the last of the milk, meaning I could either venture out and brave the cold, the wind, and the holiday hordes, or I could drink my coffee this morning black. I do so when I have to, but I really do prefer a little bit of cow-juice in my coffee, and my morning coffee is one of my constant pleasures in life, through good times and bad.

While I was at the store, I decided to splurge. Yes, my diet has gone to crap through these last few days and weeks, but I am still essentially treading water. I decided to buy myself fancy buns and meatless hamburgers, and I made them for dinner… even though I had already eaten my daily meal. The bigger mistake that I made for my meal plan was having that in the evening, after having my chicken earlier in the day. I should not be eating carbs and starches at night; if I am going to eat them, I should be doing so earlier in the day. I bought two of the buns, but only ate one of them last night. I will correct this mistake today and will have (meatless) hamburgers for lunch. Of course, since they are vegetarian burgers, I might even add some cheese to them today. Happy Holidays!

I was hoping that the winds would die down so that I could enjoy a cigar on the balcony today, but that is not in the cards. Depending on whether I listen to the CBC (who predicted a forecast high of -2°, or the weather app on my phone (which has it at -5°), the winds are not dying down today. They should abate in the middle of the night, and tomorrow should be better. HRF and I are driving to Strathroy tomorrow to visit with my godchildren tomorrow, so it is unlikely that I will be smoking – unless I decide to enjoy a cigar in the car. Tuesday, however, shows a forecast of partly cloudy with a high of -3°, which would make for a perfect day to spend a couple of hours on the balcony… as long as I bundle up and light up the heater. We will see.

It is incredible what a difference a year makes. I remember spending last Christmas with my wife (then girlfriend) and it was wonderful… but I was at or near my absolute heaviest weight; despite my joy at spending the week with Leslie, I hated myself. I did not have to look into the mirror to feel it, I remember the difficulties I had tying my shoes, I remember hating that even my XXXL shirts did not fit properly, and I hated that I needed to buy a 4XL ski jacket, because the jacket that I had worn for fifteen years wasn’t just tight, I actually could not close it up. Walking Princess Sophie was a chore, and we would hardly walk to the corner before turning around and heading back. I remember the difficulty in just bending down to pick up after her, and how embarrassed I was that I had to struggle to do so. Today I am married to a woman who loves me. I am ninety pounds lighter than I was; in warm weather, I can walk ten miles, and at a very good pace. I am wearing Size 40-42 pants, and shirts that are either XXL and loose on me, or XL and fitting properly. I can bend down to tie my shoes, or I can do what was not so long ago unthinkable and cross my leg (without bending down to pull it over) to tie them. I still look in the mirror and see that I am extremely overweight… but despite plateaus, I am still trending down toward where I want to be. I may not truly love myself yet… but I see great potential, especially with the recent realizations of what many of my real problems are and beginning on the road to fixing them.

Why do I plateau? The physiological answer is simple… I stop following my meal program religiously, and I cheat. The psychological answer is not so simple, nor is it as simple as saying ‘here’s something we can point to that is the reason for cheating.’ In 2017 I lost nearly a hundred pounds, and I did so in a twelve-week period. It was intense, it was regimented, it was absolutely unforgiving. When the program was over, it did not take very long for my weight to creep back up, until I was back to where I started… and worse. 2019-20 was not so different. I think those two times I was so unforgiving of myself that when my life got more difficult, I forgot the lessons I learned – just like after my military service, I let all the regimented strict behaviour go. I hope that this time around, taking longer but being more forgiving of myself will allow me to not revert back to old behaviours once the program is over. I have to remember that cheat meals might be an occasional indulgence, but not a daily one. I have to remember that portion size matters, and that if I go overboard on a given day, the following day cannot be a continuation of that… despite the fact that I will feel hungrier and tempted to indulge. I have to stay focused… forever. So yes, I have these plateaus, and I sometimes beat myself up over them. I have to find a way to make sure that they stay in check, even though they are going to happen.

This current plateau (which has now lasted a month) has to end, not with my going back up, but by getting back on track. I know that tomorrow I will be indulging at Cam and Amanda’s house for Boxing Day, and I know that New Years Eve I will be indulging at Lyle and Dorothy’s… although that one will be less of an indulgence, knowing that while they are gourmet chefs, they have been trying to lose weight (even before Lyle’s stroke). Aside from that? I will be back in the gym this week, and I will be back on my program. Today I am making the correction to eat my hamburger (with the seeded ciabatta bun) at lunch and will have chicken as an early dinner. I will not be buying any more breads, with the exception of challah rolls for the Sabbath. I will not be buying any more popcorn or pop chips – While a serving portion may not be bad for my program, I do not yet have the willpower to limit myself to a serving portion. I have said it a few times this week… Focus.

In addition to focus, which has been a theme these last few days, I have to include awareness. I have to be aware of everything that I eat, and everything that I buy at the store. As an example: a couple of days ago, I decided to buy a box of Corn Flakes so that I could make a different chicken recipe for myself. The fact that the box of cereal was here means that Mr. No-Willpower had the means and opportunity to have two bowls of it a couple of nights ago. Does that mean I cannot make my different chicken recipe because I cannot withstand even the slightest temptation? No… but rather than buying the cereal, I will look for breadcrumbs that have similar nutritional value, but no temptation to eat.

I am over eleven months into this program, and I still do not feel that I have built the willpower to withstand temptation. That does not mean that I have not changed (or at least started to change) the unhealthy relationship I have with food. Not only am I more aware of my dietary requirements for my religious progression, I have also noticed that some foods are just less appetizing to me when I see them in advertisements. That is not to say that I did not steal one chicken wing from my son the other night when we were out for dinner… but the fact that I only stole the one chicken wing shows real progress. As for the salad that I ordered, which was delivered in an edible bowl: I took a very small taste of it, and then crushed it down and doused it with water so that I would not be tempted to eat it. The speaks to my awareness that is better than it was; I knew that eating the bowl was a bad idea, so I took action to eliminate its allure.

Today is Day five of my medication journey, and I am seeing some real improvement. As I mentioned yesterday, I do not know if that is because I am looking for it, and so I am behaving the way I want to be… or if I am really seeing a difference from the medications. It might be a little of both, but in the meantime, this journal entry (which is now close to 1,700 words) was done with only minor interruptions… I got up to pour another cup of coffee, and while I did, I realized that the tower of wrapped presents that was perched on the side of my desk might fall if I did not move them, and so I did. Other than that, I have been writing from the time I sat down. Is that medicated focus, or is that my wanting to be focused? I don’t know… maybe it is a little of both.

Have a great day folks!

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