I have a confession. I'm incredibly impatient. I thrive off of instant gratification. I'm also a completionist and a perfectionist. Once I commit to doing something I want results and I want them perfect and I want them now. These character quirks make me an amazingly efficient asset in the workplace and a really shitty dieter. I'm sure you can understand how. Dieting is slow and circuitous and continuous. There is no instant, no perfect, no complete. To combat this I set small goals and become obsessive about reaching them.
I hate the word obsessive. I especially hate it when it is applied to myself, but it's the only acccurate adjective to describe weighing yourself five times in a row to get the best reading, or feeling genuinely upset that you can't find accurate calorie information on a food you just ate. Or deciding not to eat at all because you had a donut the day before. Which leads me to my next confession: I have some serious concerns about how this diet is shaping my relationship with food.
Nutrisystem is basically systematic starvation. They recommend a daily intake of 1200 to 1300 calories, regardless of activity level. To put that in perspective, the general recommendation for a moderately active adult woman is 2200 calories. Each meal is between 130 to 270 calories and you are expected to eat six times a day. My nutrition has been reduced to a math problem and I am constantly obsessing over the bottom line. For example, my fiance and I went to lunch at a salad restaurant and I remember thinking I couldn't even eat there because the salads started at 330 calories. I'm not even talking about those salads that are more meat and cheese and dressing than veggies. This was the good stuff with 2 oz, if that, of grilled chicken and a drizzle of homemade low cal dressing. It's the kind of meal decision that I would have been proud of myself for making 6 years ago. But now I couldn't even eat lunch without calculating where else I could cut back to compensate for the meal I was eating, or if I should write the whole day off as a loss and start over tomorrow. It might just be me, but I don't think a salad should be the thing that sends you into a full blown diet crisis. Even my fiance told me that he missed when we made our choices based on what was in our food and not just the calorie content. I agree with him. Making a balanced, satisfying, nutritious meal from whole foods that is less than 300 calories is nearly impossible to do.
I can't honestly say that being so strict on my calorie intake has been effective. In fact, I've been struggling with a plateau for most of last month. It wasn't until that terrible Thanksgiving that I finally dropped some weight. I'm fairly certain that when you factor in my increase in activity, I haven't been eating enough. When I was at my strictest my weight never waivered, but once I started allowing myself a few more calories in the day, it fell off. So now I'm fighting against my tendency towards restriction to find some balance, and I'm being rewarded for it. I met my latest weight loss goal! I'm below 130 kg (285lbs).
Now that I've met my goal, I'm trying very hard not to self sabatoge. I have a tendency to decide I "deserve" a "reward". My rewards usually come in the form of a million little cheats. Like two pieces of boxed chocolate one day...or a graham cracker fluffer nutter...or a doughnut...or some wine, which individually would be fine. It would be that indulgence I wrote about a few blogs ago. But indulging day after day is no longer a treat, but a trend. So far I'm doing well to avoid a trend of indulgence, but I just reached my goal like three days ago, so give it time!
Lastly, now that I've reached a goal, it's time to move the goalpost. I've decided on my former lowest weight ever. It's ambitious, but I'm confident I can get there. It may be a while before I meet a goal again. I'm looking forward to it!