Monday, March 28, 2011

It's Deja Vu All Over Again

What has been will be again,
what has been done will be done again;
there is nothing new under the sun.
Ecclesiastes 1:9

“There’s nothing new under the sun.” Mama Helen used to say that to me all the time when I was growing up. That and “what goes around, comes around.” It wasn’t until I got older that I realized the saying was part of a Bible verse. It wasn’t until I got much older that I realized it was true – whether it came from the Bible or from my mom, it was true.

I distinctly remember when 1970’s platform shoes and fashion came back into fashion. It was when Little Helen was in high school so it really felt like déjà vu all over again! Made me wish I’d saved some of the stuff I had back in the day. But I digress.

Lately as I’ve been up, down, and all around with lack of progress on the weight loss front, I’ve been doing some serious soul searching. As I said before, while I have come leaps and bounds in loving me for who I am and not what I weigh, I still want to weigh less.

This deep thinking was brought on by looking though old photos of myself and realizing that I have been extremely hard on myself for most of my life and that 25 pounds ago, I looked pretty damn good. That realization is what led me to say in last Friday’s post that if when I get back there, I am going to worship MYSELF. I don’t mean that in a blasphemous way, I mean that I’ve learned not loving myself hasn’t gotten me anywhere but back into size 12 jeans.

Looking at those photos got me to thinking about what I did, both pre-thyroid, and the one period of time post thyroid in 2007-08 where I had some success. It’s said that if you want to be successful, you should repeat patterns where you had previously been successful. As I looked at these photos I realized that ‘my’ past success was not in strict dieting or calorie counting, it was in eating real food in smaller portions.

Strict dieting is the crazy land where my head wants to go hoping for a quick fix. I’m not a binger per se, nor do I have issues with any foods – other than the issue that I dislike liver and lima beans - but the fastest way for me to overeat is to constantly deny myself. So in looking for that middle road, I realized that in my past successes, I didn’t go for a quick fix. I simply knew I needed to reduce in order to reduce.

For me it’s quite simple. Eat whatever I want, but in smaller portions. What I’ve come up with is to set up some rough guidelines on how much protein, starches, fats, fruits, vegetables, dairy and extras I really need in a day. I have no idea how many calories I’m eating at all. It’s a thinking pattern that makes me look at food and think, “eat less.” For example, I ‘want’ 2 scoops of ice cream. But I also want to lose some weight. Therefore, I will have 1 scoop of ice cream today. It also makes me evaluate my overall eating pattern. If I eat a couple of eggs for breakfast and a 4 oz. chicken breast for lunch, I do not need to eat a 16 oz. porterhouse for dinner. If I really want the porterhouse, then I have a little.

I’m going on my third week of eating like this and dare I say that I felt a looseness in some slacks that 3 weeks ago were uncomfortably tight? I will admit to you that I was pretty hungry for about 4 days. This only makes sense. After all, I had been eating more even while calorie counting. That hunger has subsided now and I’m experiencing what I call ‘normal’ hunger, i.e., if I haven’t eaten in a while, I get hungry – or maybe if a previous meal was more filling, I’m not hungry for quite some time. Either way, in the long run, I have to trust the process. Experience shows me that in the past, this has been a path to success.

So what is old is new again. What I’ve done, I’m doing again. I hope in the process that I will be new again too.


  1. I've NEVER forgotten something a teacher once said when I was a young girl in Catholic school: "Your body is your temple." I believe that's in the Bible somewhere, I'm sure she was quoting it.

    Makes sense! You're just treating your temple as a holy vessel and I LOVE THAT!!!! It's brilliant. :)

  2. Yes. I agree with Chubby McGee up there. You're awesome.

  3. I think that's a great plan Helen! And I am with you on the deja vu - my daughter just bought some wedge shoes that I wore in the late 70's - fashion does come around doesn't it?!

    Happy Monday!

  4. Portion control is what is working best for me. I do count calories, but it's just so I know what my body does in response to X calories as compared to XX calories. Still learning, I suppose.

  5. It's so hard to make any meaningful progress on this journey and so, so, so damn easy to slide back down that slippery slope that gets so many of us into so much trouble.

    I'm back on the wagon myself, and this time I'm staying in the center part. I seem to fall out kind of easily...

  6. Ahhh, the quick fix in crazy land - I know that terrain quite well. And oooh, can I relate to looking back on old pictures and wanting to smack yourself for thinking you looked bad.

    I'm so pleased that what you are doing now is working. It looks like you are being true to yourself, accepting what is reasonable when it comes to meals, and hello...eating good food!

  7. You are so right, Helen! If I would have just been happy with myself at 140 pounds (oh so many years ago), instead of going on that crazy Dr. Stillman diet, I don't think I would have experienced a devastating regain that I have replayed over and over through the years! It's "Just Like Startin'Over"(a friend just posted this John Lennon song on FB, and then I read your blog...).

    Good for you accepting such a wise way of dealing with food! I'm doing WW right now, but I'm hoping what I am doing will evolve into a more natural way of making decisions about what I put in my mouth. My best to you...

  8. Helen, you are so beautiful right this minute. I think so every time you post a picture.

    It can be tough finding what works but it sounds like you've got it figured out. And a big YAY for the pants fitting looser! That's a sure sign of progress.

  9. Sounds like it's working. If it ain't broke, don't fix it. Moderation is a glorious thing for those who can be moderate in all things.

  10. LOVE this post. I am right there with you. My favorite lines?

    eating real food in smaller portions

    I dislike liver and lima beans

    Yep, I"m right there with you.

  11. I love this approach, it's something I'm going to work on the next two weeks too with my eating plan. To get concious again about smaller portions. I don't know how many calories I'm eating either and don't want to know.

    I believe this will get you to the weight you want Helen.

    And that diet train that keeps stopping for us and begs us to jump on: let it pass, we don't need it!

  12. Nice post. I like your approach. I see too many people restricting and bingeing out there.

    Portion distortion has always been an issue of mine and why I always weigh my food out, even if I am not counting calories that day.

  13. What a great post!!! Have a wonderful, healthy, kind to yourself day!!!

  14. Glad this is working for you..... I bought a few things this week I have not eaten for ever, with the idea that I split it into 4 meals etc etc.... portion control......

  15. Don't forget to have small snacks so you don't get too hungry. Also you will get used to eating less and not get hungry as easily. Your pants are telling you youre doing good!

  16. It isn't hard to regain...hell, if regaining or gaining were hard we wouldn't have so many fat people.
    It's hard to maintain sometimes.
    today I went around saying to myself "it's okay to get hungry'.
    It won't kill me.
    way to stay takes all of our will power sometimes.
    love yourself.

  17. I think I got lazy. I don't envy (not that you asked me) your having to go thru the mind-stomach connection. Though I still struggle with the same ole sh*t. I just struggle in a smaller frame, almost into size 10 jeans. In fact, I'm too thin. haha (sorry, I had to write that because some people have said it to me). Still, I don't envy the constant thinking about food and pants and if I'm going to regain or if I'm going to stay slim. In my next life, I think I'll be a banana slug. Someone mentioned small snacks...those string cheeses are good.

    Maybe if we worshipped ourselves NOW, we'd get there or be there.

  18. Brilliant post Helen. It is simple but very doable. Don't you just love that feeling when the pants start to loosen up a little?

    I think it was Bob Green (Oprah's trainer/friend) who said that when you feel that little bit of a hunger pang you can either feed it or let it go and let your body fat feed it instead! I love that!

  19. I really enjoyed your post on Jenn's site!

    Your strategy of eating less and working through a little hunger to get to a "normal hunger level" again is exactly what I do when I need to lose some weight. I need to be really mindful again and pay attention. It's really the only thing that has worked for me over the years. I've always eaten quite healthy foods, but it's easy to get used to eating too much.

  20. Hi helen, not sure why I can't comment on your shock value post, so will here. I HAD to tell you how much I love the Girl Hero article, how amazing you look, and what a true inspiration you are!! I'm so glad I found/follow your blog. Have a great day.