Photo inspiration: 10 years of yo-yo dieting

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I’ve been working on a food photo collage for our kitchen and yesterday decided to print a few inspirational photos of myself – both at my heavier and lighter weights. This was the most inspiring exercise I’ve done to-date. I couldn’t believe how much I’ve fluctuated in weight over the years!! The picture of the “thinner me” looked to me like what I should look like. I don’t see someone that’s too thin. I see someone that looks “right.” I see my bone structure. I see my smile. It looks like it should (in contract to pictures of a thinner Adam, who’s fluctuated in weight by the same amount, that just looks too skinny to me… interesting). The pictures of the “heavier me” instantly bring tears to my eyes. I am unfortunately getting too close to that weight and I refuse to get there. I will not let myself go like that again!!

These are pictures going back to 2002 in no particular order.

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Katy, Allison and me in NYC

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[Toy gun for Halloween Smile ]

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This is me today:

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I actually think this picture hides well all of the weight gain but I’m reversing this trend starting TODAY.

Here is my plan:

  • Start P90Xas soon as I get better (I’m nursing a cold). I’m hoping this will give me good structure with my exercise which I’ve definitely been missing lately.
  • Eat (mostly healthy eats) when hungry. Stop when I’m full.
  • Limit the amount of dessert I eat. I refuse to put myself on a diet and limit my caloric intake (I’ve dieted nearly my entire life and these pictures show that it just doesn’t work in the long term). But indulgent meals need to be limited. I’ve been in denial about my food. No more living in la-la land. It’s time to buckle down!!

What motivates you to stay (or become) fit and healthy?

Diet-free living: stupid scale

I stepped on the scale a week and a half ago (actually on the last morning of my full-time job!) and saw a number I wasn’t happy with. I knew my weight has been slowly creeping up but even knowing that, I still wasn’t happy with the number (it was a lot higher than I thought it would be!). That morning I had a giant stomachache – it was a very unsettling feeling. Of course I was saying good-bye to my co-workers and closing a long chapter of my life that day… so I attributed it to that. I also told myself that a lot of the weight was gained from work stress and general unhappiness with my life (again: attributed to work) so that was the last time I’d see that number. I was finally going to be happier. And weight loss was surely to follow!

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I can honestly tell you that I’ve been so at peace with everything for the last few weeks. My dream of becoming a gym rat hasn’t exactly materialized (seriously, I cannot believe how fast my days fly by and I wake up at the same time, if not earlier than I used to!!) but I haven’t been stress eating at all. What is happening is that I don’t notice the time and forget to eat… until I’m starving and I just snack on things while preparing my meal, which I end up not really eating (since I’m already pretty satisfied)… and then I’m hungry again a bit later with the cycle continuing.

Mentally that’s been cool… no drama around eating. We haven’t been eating out so I’m preparing all the meals and trying to keep them healthy and sane Smile I’m of course happy to have days where time flies by instead of watching the clock and hoping for it to end. It’s been wonderful.

Except the scale was up almost 3lbs again!!

I hate this so much! I’m finally happy with my life in general. Sure there are a lot of unanswered questions but I’ve been letting myself just be. Eat whatever I want. Stop when I’m satisfied. Sometimes have an extra cookie brownie and not fret about it. Just being. I thought that’s what balance was but clearly my body disagrees. And now the peace is gone.

I’m so conflicted about what I should do next. I want to:

1. Continue just doing what I’ve been doing and seeing whether that number was a fluke. Just being felt so good.

2. Count calories for a few days/weeks. Perhaps my portions are so out of whack I’m not even realizing what I’m eating/doing?

3. Hide in fear of becoming a whale one day.

4. Restarting a food journal where I document my hunger and fullness levels before and after every thing I eat.

What’s a girl to do?!

PS – If you’re looking for a delicious recipe, check out my latest post on pumpkin pancakes over on Russian Bites.

Diet free living: it’s not NOT about the weight

I haven’t weighted myself in many many months, but I know I’ve been gaining weight, slowly but surely. I can tell this because I keep outgrowing my clothes. Remember my closet clearing exercise? Even some of those items are becoming too snug to bear and my newly acquired pants I fear will have the same fate if I don’t stop this madness.

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I believe it was Geneen Roth (love her!!) that said: “It’s not about the weight, but it’s also not not about the weight.” The message was basically that you can be happy at any weight once you deal with what’s really bothering you instead of focusing on the weight. But at some point weight can make things physically uncomfortable, like when you can’t walk a block without being winded or when you can’t comfortably sit in a chair, and in that case, it’s important to deal with the physical weight. I am not that overweight. I know this. But the weight gain is causing me discomfort when I continuously grow out of my clothes. It makes getting dressed a painful exercise daily (we’ve heard this before, huh?). I can’t continue buying larger and larger clothes. I need to do something!

Here is the deal… I want to be very clear about this: I am not gaining weight because intuitive eating doesn’t work. I’m gaining weight because I haven’t been listening to my body. I’ve been ignoring its signals – eating things my mind wants vs. what my body needs. Eating things in amounts that at times cause me physical discomfort.

I know better. It’s time to get serious because I’m done sounding like a broken record. Here are the things I will focus on:

1. I will eat what I want but I will ask myself if I am physically hungry before anything goes into my mouth (tuning in to your body is very important here!). A little bite here and there may seem innocent but it’s habit forming and little things add up. “It’s so good, I can’t stop even though I’m stuffed.” Sounds familiar? You and I CAN stop. We need to choose to stop. Here is why it’s better to stop. You can definitely have something very delicious again, possibly the exact thing you “can’t stop” eating right now. You can make it again. You can go to that restaurant again. If it’s a one-time thing, you can make something similar… or you can make something different that can bring you the exact same level of pleasure (maybe more!!). You can stop. You should stop. This is important. It’s the difference between guilt, discomfort, crying over not fitting into your clothes and not worrying about your weight. This is how you lose weight without dieting!

2. Declutter. I’m not just talking about physical clutter (although I really should fold that load of laundry I did a few days ago!). As Steven Pressfield said in the The War of Art(which by the way I didn’t love, but this one message really stuck with me) – you need to make a distinction between what’s urgent and what’s important. Choose what’s important. I have a constant sense of urgency that’s cluttering up my mind with an unnecessarily long (and unimportant in the big scheme of things!) to-do list. It’s causing stress, often panic, misguided prioritization and a less-than-optimal life. Guess what else all of this leads to? Yup, eating. Eating food that my body doesn’t want or need. Why clutter up my mind with this non-sense? Identify each morning a few things that are important and do them!! No watching tv (while munching on cookies) instead of doing something that’s important. It’s time to take care of myself like I know I deserve (btw, I deserve tv too and it can be on my important items list for the day Smile ).

3. Work out. I’ve been feeling very sluggish lately which leads to general sense of “blah.” <—yes, that’s a technical term Winking smile Working out, for me, should be a top priority – not because it burns calories but because it makes me feel strong, energized and balanced. It’s like taking my medicine. Sometimes I’m too lazy to get up and get a glass of water, etc. but it’s important (here is that word again) in order to feel better. Don’t underestimate it when you feel overwhelmed by other little things you feel like you “need to” to do (as per (2) above.).

I wrote this list in my journal yesterday morning and had one of my the best days in recent memory. My list of “important items” for the day actually changed. For example, getting a manicure seemed important in the morning but coming home and making a healthy dinner for Adam (who is trying to lose weight) was more important. Today a manicure is getting back on the important list. Smile (I have chipped nail polish that is just driving me insane. I don’t care if some people think it’s silly and non-important. This is my list and I put whatever I want on it!)

So here we go. Sorry for writing a novel. I hope it’s helpful to some of you. It’s time to end this cycle for good!!

Any thoughts on the subject from my dear readers?

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