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Quarantine Reflection (MFP Reposting 06/29/2020)

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

I'm so sorry for my absence. I'll be honest - this self-quarantine and pandemic has been psychologically and emotionally rough for me. In addition, I did end up gaining some weight, so that also isn't helping my mental state either. But I am still moving forward, not giving up and I hope you are too! In the meantime, here's something I wrote back in June:

Here we are, at the end of June. Over half of 2020 is gone, and I'm struggling to think of what I've spent half the year doing with my life. Between the 51 day illness that marked the beginning of this awful year and the quaratine/lockdown that continues to this day, I really feel like this year has been a bleak time of doing chores, trying to figure out what to eat (my sibling and I talk about how some days all it feels like we do is discuss what to eat) and keeping myself from going completely batty from so much time inside. What have I really done in these months? What do I have to show? I haven't lost a massive amount of weight, gained sweet muscles in areas I didn't know I had, nor have I managed to binge-watch shows I've promised myself I'd get around to watching or have I finished playing Skyrim or even make any progress on the multitude of books I have stacked on my nightstand.

This could lead to a rather depressing blog post, I realize. I think we all get it - I desperately want to meet up for soup or coffee or a craft night or a game night with my friends, but I know that's not going to happen for a long time still.

So instead, with me 2 years out from the start of this journey, let's just run through the highlights and what I've learned that actually has worked this time, vs the failures of my past.

1. My portion sizes are so much smaller. I recall the horrible days of the late 00's and early 10's where I'd eat more than one bagel & cream cheese (mini ones, but really, it's still disturbing to me now). I basically ignored portion sizes, relying instead on how much I would need to eat to feel full. Unsurprising to those of us who've read the diet books and health advice, when you are relying so much on carbs for your diet, that's a lot of food.
2. I eat more nutritionally balanced meals. Long gone are the days when I'd eat only a bunch of bagels for dinner. (Though right now, I'm seriously craving a bagel ha ha!) I make sure to rely more on fat and protein to keep me full for longer. I don't really do keto, but I do end up relying a lot on keto recipes to reduce carb intake.
3. I avoid added sugars. The AHA (American Heart Association) recommends less than 25g of added sugar per day for women, so that's what I aim for. If I go over (for instance, a special occasion involving cake and ice cream), it is extremely rare and usually results in my having a headache.
4. Treats are actually treats. There was a time when I HAD to have a treat with every meal - a cookie for lunch, a Dairy Queen Blizzard for dinner. I still have a "dessert" (Lily's chocolate for instance), but it does not have to be after every meal and it is actually a portioned serving size.
5. I exercise regularly. For a time, I let my running partner's availability dictate whether I would exercise or not - and a lot of times, due to his work and the time it takes to commute home, that meant I wouldn't end up exercising at all. These days, I make sure to get in those 3 - 5 exercise days a week. And if I don't, I can tell mentally.
6. I learned to take the scale with a grain of salt. Today I stepped on the scale and was roughly 191 pounds - not what I really want to be, to be honest. However, I'm not mentally beating myself up all day about it, either by super restricting what I'm eating or giving up my "diet" and binging on everything.
7. I've learned that there are some foods I just cannot eat. I don't buy Doritos and Oreos at all anymore - having those foods around are just too tempting for me, as I cannot eat just one serving.
8. I understand better when I am feeling full and need to stop eating. I'm not perfect about this still, but I am getting a better idea of what full vs satisfied feel like and resist the "Finish Your Plate" urge.
9. I know that I may never be that magical weight that other women my height and age can be. I'm technically considered obese again in the BMI - a fact I'm not happy about, understandably - but I realize that the years of being fat have done their damage. I may never be able to get within my BMI (which would be roughly 155 pounds), but I know that I am healthier now than I have been for most of my life and that's most important right now.
10. I will not give up. I once did the math, and approximately 95% of my adult life I have spent overweight/obese. This has left its mark on my body, from the knees that creak and groan and protest to the myriad of stretch marks that make it seem like I've carried a child. I hate that I have done this to myself, but I will not carry the baggage of the past with me into this next portion of my life.

Although 2020 has been incredibly hard with this pandemic, I am happy that I am continuing on this journey. I haven't given up, and while I am heavier than I would like to be, I am not letting that give me an excuse to throw in the towel.
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