Taking accountability for my actions


I attend my Weight Watchers meeting every week and every week I always weigh in. And if I can’t make it to my meeting, I find another location that either is hosting a meeting at a time I can attend OR I find a location I can go to just to weigh-in to have that accountability for the week.  Now I realize I can go into my meeting, think “gee I had a horrible week, I don’t want to weigh in” and I can choose to not weigh in that week.  I have never explored this option before because for me, personally, if I don’t weigh-in I feel that’s a way to be dishonest with myself and pretending the week before didn’t happen.
After the past week, I knew the majority of it was “off plan” as I was having a pity party.  I felt a little puffier and I knew I had gained, but I didn’t know how much. In my mind, I gained 5+ pounds.  Part of me truly didn’t want to know the damage and for a sheer second I considered not weighing in tonight. I got out of my car, walked into my meeting, put my stuff down on my chair, went to the bathroom (pre-weigh-in ritual) and decided to suck it up and step on the scale. I asked the receptionist weighing me in to not tell me the damage and she didn’t. I saw my weight pop up on the screen and was surprised, it wasn’t that bad!
Truth be told, I gained 2.4 pounds this past week on my pity party. 2.4 pounds! Truly that amount is not that bad and certainly not as bad as I imagined it. I didn’t want to explore the option of not weighing in because that would become an “out” for me and I don’t need any outs in my journey.  Honesty and owning up is the best policy. Not being aware of the “damage” could have essentially caused me to continue the vicious cycle.
My meeting was influential and I learned a good chunk. There are four people in my meeting who recently got laid off in the last 2-weeks … I’m not alone. I realize there are people all over the world/state who are unemployed and/or getting laid off. But as a very powerful and informative lifetimer in my meeting said to me in conversation: it’s up to me to decide how I want to spend my time, how I want to eat my food and what I want to do in a day.
My day was preplanned yesterday and Friday, most of Saturday and half of Sunday are already prelanned.  I’m also planning on going back to the gym – slow and steady because this is my life, my journey and I deserve to get to goal!

Dealing with change & being accountable


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“When we are no longer able to change a situation – we are challenged to change ourselves.” – Viktor E. Franklin
I’m going to be completely honest. I strongly dislike change. I realize change is a natural progression in life … but I’ve never been a big fan of it. It steps in and shakes up my world and sets me off kilter. Some aspects of change (change of plans, etc.) in a daily life don’t throw me off balance as much as a huge change (loss of a job, start of a new job, etc.)
I have been out of work for some time nursing a shoulder injury. After getting approval from my doctors to go back to work – I submitted all my paperwork to find out on Monday morning that while I was out on medical leave, my position had been back-filled and I was now out of a job and gainfully unemployed. Not quite where I wanted to be or imagined myself being.  I admit it was a thought that crossed my mind (thanks to Google searches) – but I thought “noo”.
Now I realize the situation (being home) has not changed, but the situation I developed in my mind has completely gone askew.  I was getting back into the mindset of being back at work – packing all my foods and bringing them with me, getting meals planned out so dinner could be put together and eaten at a reasonable hour, being around friends and coworkers who I haven’t seen, etc.  After the phone call I received, my entire world felt like it had been shaken up.
I’m not angry. I’m not sad. I guess I’m a little indifferent but I do feel that as one door closes another opens to bigger and better opportunities. Now it’s just to put the time in to find those bigger and better opportunities which I know are out there.  This of course adds a little bit of added stress: money constraints, frustration, health insurance concerns, etc. I realize things will work out for the best with time but sometimes it’s the waiting that is a little aggravating.
So I’ve been doing the whole unemployment thing – signing up for unemployment, attending seminars, searching for jobs, networking, etc.  In the overall spectrum, simple tasks – but since it’s so much change at once it’s got me in a bit of a funk. But I find myself comforting myself with food, making poor food choices, eating too late at night, etc. It’s almost like a pity party for Shannon at table one.  And I know that I’m doing it – I’m fully conscious but I’m doing it anyway.
It’s not a good thing to be doing.  And I’m feeling well, like crap (due to the foods I’ve been eating), I would think that would push me back into the celebrate Shannon mind-frame.  But like I’ve always said it’s truly mind over matter and I’ve got to work at getting my mind back and focused on me. Eating, consciously or subconsciously isn’t going to cure anything and it’s not going to make anything better. It’s up to ME and ME only to make things better … and I’ve got to get back to working on me. I’ve also got to get myself back to the gym – slow and steady, especially since I haven’t been to the gym in a long time due to my shoulder injury.
I guess I’m saying … I really need my meeting this week. I need that fresh start – a fresh new week to focus on me and make better choices and be a better version of myself each day.  I’ve got my week menu in the process of getting planned out. It’s up to me to turn this “tragedy” into a triumph.  This week long pity party cannot continue. I won’t let it continue … I can’t.  I’ve also got to learn how to cope with change – I’ve learned many things along this weaving road in my journey, and this is one that I’m going to have to do some work with.
Plus to be honest, there are some foods I’ve eaten that I wouldn’t mind NOT seeing again for a while …. So bring on the lean meats, fruits and vegetables! I’m strapping my big girl boots back on and I plan on lacing them up real tight.

Why I don’t believe in cheat meals


“Cheat meals” is one of those phrases thrown around amongst folks who follow regimented plans (counting calories and only allowing X-amount of calories a day) and even folks who are on Weight Watchers.  I’ve never understood the concept of a cheat meal.  I’ve learned with Weight Watchers food is food and I can have ANYTHING I want as long as it’s in moderation and I correctly (or in the case of not being sure – guestimate [and I usually try to aim higher than lower just to be on the safe side] the points for it) the points plus values for it. I personally know the damage I could do in a day and I know that one day or even one meal of unaccountability would allow me to have multiple days of “ohhh I’ll be 100% good tomorrow.”  It’s just the way my mind works.  I’ll tell myself I’ll do better tomorrow and tomorrow comes, something out of the ordinary will happen and it’ll end up the next day.  The natural born procrastinator and stubborn teenager in me comes out, sticks her and extended fingers in the air and says “neener, neener, neener.”
Why don’t I believe in cheat meals?  Well, I believe in accountability and I know that life happens.  I wouldn’t be able to have a day where I don’t count points all day OR for a single meal and have a good week thereafter.  Life happens, unexpected plans arise and I would hate to be sent into panic mode if my pre-planned dinner of BBQ steak turned into Chinese food with the family.  I could see myself say “but I just ate this, that and the other on Sunday … I just, I can’t go.” Doing that a few times over would essentially make me throw in the towel because it would make portions of life unmanageable and I’d have to face the scale as it crept up and up and up.  I realize that there isn’t a solid meal on the planet that I cannot have.  I can have anything I want, anytime I want it, wherever I want it.  If I can’t find what I want at a restaurant, I can go to the grocery store and buy the ingredients and make it (or as closely to it) at home.
Am I completely 100% strict with my Weight Watchers meals? Of course not. Why? Because this is a lifestyle and there are things that I enjoy and without them I’d be miserable and would simply stomp my feet on the ground and give up (again, stubborn child coming out again).  I am a natural born snacker, always have been and probably always will be but I’m okay with that.  Why? Because I’ve learned that I can eat my favorite snacks, but I’m aware of portion sizes, points plus values and I know what is worth it for me.  It may not be worth it to everyone, but if it’s worth it for me, that makes me happy and makes the plan work for me – as it should for everyone.  For parties and events where I know point values for foods are higher than I’d normally consume, I am allowed 49 weekly points to allow myself to engage and enjoy myself without having any feelings of remorse or guilt.  The points are there and they are built into the plan to be used – but it’s up to each member to have their own system on how to use them, or if they are even going to.
Another reason I don’t believe in cheat meals is because I’ve calculated that in my pre-Weight Watchers life I could very easily eat 114 (more or a little less) points plus values IN A SINGLE DAY.  That 114 only includes breakfast, lunch and dinner and does not include any snacks, or extra goodies I may have consumed while at work or at a family event.  My coffee alone, pre-Weight Watchers was 8 points plus (to be honest, it’s more than 8 but I can’t figure out the exact points because I always ordered a large ice coffee with extra, EXTRA cream and sugar).  A day filled of “cheat” would send me into a literal free-for-all.  Nothing would be off limits. I’d eat things purely just to eat them. Not to enjoy them, but just because “I haven’t had that in a long time.”  That one day would cause me to pay for the rest of my week – needless to say I’d feel sick as a dog for 3-days afterwards.
I do go out to eat and when I know ahead of time I check the company’s website for nutritional information.  If I can’t find any, I look at their menu and try to decide what I want before we even get there.  Once I’ve decided I look up similar meals online, compare them and get the points plus values for that similar meal from a company that does offer nutritional information.  Granted, the ingredients may not always be the same so I do add a few extra points towards it to be on the safe side.  I rather estimate over than estimate under.
Eating out is a treat because I don’t do it very often. I’ve never been a big restaurant person – even pre-WW, so when I do eat at a restaurant it’s nice and it’s different  My “eating out” has typically always been fast food establishments and ordering pizza and sandwiches because it was quick, easy and generally on my way to whatever destination I was heading to.  I admit, being so far into my journey I do sometimes become a points plus value snob.  I look at something and think “I could make that at home for so many less points and I’d have so much more on my plate.”  I love to cook (which is completely a new thing to me because 3+ years ago I could make a pack of Ramen noodles and a frozen pizza and thought I was Chef Shannon).  I love to experiment with new dishes and new flavors, but what I love the most is taking some of my favorite dishes and cutting back on them, making them healthier and making them point friendlier.  All of these allowing me to be accountable and allow me to know exactly what I am putting in my mouth.  I’m not saying in order to be successful you need to cook your own meals, etc., I’m just saying that in order for me to be successful I need to be accountable to myself.  I need to find what works for me and what doesn’t and always keep those in mind because old bad habits die hard and they can creep back up on me at any given moment.  I was overweight for 25+ years of my life and that mentality can creep back up on me and I just know the damage I could cause in one single un-tracked meal.  But I also know that once I’m “off plan” it takes about a week to get back on plan.
Needless to say cheat meals aren’t my thing. They never will be because they’ll only get me going in one direction… back peddling.