HOW TO ACTIVATE MOTIVATION:
Plan ahead. Get organised. Write up your good food list and go shopping. Work out your snacks in advance. Cook some meals and freeze them for those crazy days when you won’t have time to cook. Buy your vitamins. Clear out your cupboards and fridge/freezer, throw out all the junk food. It’s no good getting up in the morning abuzz with the changes we want to make only to discover we have a choice of white bread or a chelsea bun for breakfast.
HOT TIP: A BENTO BOX
Whether you work at home or go out to work, a Japanese Bento Box is a neat way to organise your food intake and store your food, according to Bento enthusiasts. It’s a system of stacked containers with compartments for food storage. There are microwavable versions available so check if your Bento can be heated. If you are a newbie patient or need more compartments, cupcake containers or mini tupperwares can fit into it giving you more compartments. Some people take Bento to an art form by adding loads of snazzy little accessories like mini containers for mayo or soy sauce. Mini skewers are useful. Food presentation matters (well to some of us!) It’s about opening the container and it looks delicious. (PS: You don’t need to eat Japanese food for it to look pukka!)
When you buy your Bento check capacity, not measurements. E-bay Bento’s can be pricey, too small and on the cutesy side. I just checked them out, but I don’t think anything there suits me. I have BIG needs – lol! However as the link below explains a Bento’s size can be used to estimate calorie content easily too, which is a great feature for those who need to do just this.
However when you read her food portion section remember you need to adapt it to suit your surgeries needs. As a DSer I would generally as a very rough guide, eat 3 portions of meat/fish and 1-2 portions of cheese/dairy plus 2 portions of veg & omit starches. The best thing about a Bento is you can do it a cheapie way if you are skint. You don’t need to get posh or fancy with the food either, but it might mean you do give your food a little more thought than usual (which is not a bad thing!). I found some good cheap ‘tupperwares’ at Tesco’s. They came as a set with two cylindrical ones included. If you work and need to take a packed lunch make a Bento bag or box yourself to carry your compartments in, or use a small togbag. An arrangement of Straps with velcro work might work just as well to hold the boxes together and provide straps for carrying it. You’ll have to be creative though – I haven’t figured out just how one could do this yet!
Below is a really thoughtful Bento Blog. Enjoy browsing it.
Doing it is easier than you think. Think ‘Today’ only. Don’t think about next week.
If weight and or nutrition are your concerns, observe what you eat. Join ‘Fitday’ or a similar food monitoring program and key in HONESTLY what you eat daily for one week at least.
- LISTEN TO YOUR BODY. Your body has intelligence. It speaks to you by using symptoms and signals. Give it quality time. Sit with it. Feel it in your mind. How does it feel right now? When I was morbidly obese I hated my body so much. I could not even look at it, let alone listen to it. But really it is not the enemy. It is how we live – it’s a beautiful phenomena that allows us to be here on the planet with all our loved ones. It deserves respect. Never mind the overweight or the flab, these are truly not the main reasons we are in our bodies. If you come to your body with understanding you will find as I have that it is a gift, not a curse. No matter what is going on with it, it is a spiritual gift.
- Seek support. Some lapbandsters and RNYers join Weight loss clubs such as weight watchers. If it works for you do it, but do think about the fact that as a RNYer your needs are different to a ‘normies’ needs nutritionally.
Your energy is your power to change and it supplies your daily motivation. It’s precious like gold. Don’t throw it to the dogs! Don’t waste it on negativity or negative people in your life. It’s not going to change them, only their energy can change them.
Rome was not built in a day: You may not lose weight quickly, feel happier quickly, feel healthier quickly. Be patient.
On the other hand, if you are a procrastinator, take stock now! Ask yourself why you are procrastinating? Observe how procrastinating affects yourself. I am a procrastinator by nature. I find all sorts of things to do other than what I should. It affects me badly because I start to get overwhelmed by my backlog. I lose energy. I am learning to be firm with myself. Why wait to take that calcium! I tell myself : DO IT NOW! When I do it’s remarkable how it clears my energy. One less thing to remember! I’m learning it is well worth my while to do something immediately I think about it. I’m not accumulating mental baggage. It frees me up considerably.
Don’t sweat the small stuff! If you have a bad day or a bad hour don’t let it de-motivate you. You can redress any imbalance. You may have ate a really unhealthy lunch. Fine. Supper is coming so make it full of good stuff! It was a bad day – it happens. Tomorrow will be much better.
Don’t aim for perfection. We practise living with a surgery until around year two or three. It’s a journey of learning how to adapt. For a while. Then the goal posts may shift or the surgery itself may undergo a change and we go back to the learning process again. The old adage we learn by our mistakes is true. Learn from any mistake you make and next time you may have the insight not to repeat it.
Live by the 80-20 rule. If you do most things right 80% of the time, you will get where you need to go.
Aim to create a habit. Consistently doing something can become a habit. I hated eating breakfast. It was a real effort for me to factor it into my day. But now it is a habit. I miss it when I don’t have it. The effort has gone.
Make one or two small changes , when they become a habit add in another one or two.
Don’t underestimate the power of a small change. Dropping one small choc daily meant that I lost close to a stone in the months to follow.Doing one thing one enjoys once a week can re-energise one for several days.
Don’t allow deprivation regarding food, but do work out a compromise or a replacement for that food that is better for you.
Don’t wait for ‘perfect conditions’ to start anew. In one’s mind there will always be a better day than ‘now’ to start.
Take action as soon as problems arise. If one just goes along despite them, it reinforces them and they become ‘bad habits’. Break the pattern early on.
- Portion sizes do matter after a year or two. As a Dser I eat a flat plate of food 3 times a day. I leave around 20% of it uneaten. I have 2 protein snacks. Consider always leaving food on your plate. A small side plate might help you regulate portions better. EAT SLOWLY!
Why should I avoid carbs? Why should I not eat fat? It is stating the obvious but so often I hear a person say:’ My surgeon told me not to eat fat.’ Did he explain why? – if so, you understand the reasons. If not try to understand why he said that. Examine it from your own personal perspective, do you have a non malabsorptive surgery? Or do you have a DS? If you eat fat what effect does it specifically have on you? I I eat fats because I feel fine eating them, they don’t affect my body…but I walk the middle road. Most of my fats are from natural sauces. I avoid trans fats if I am aware a product has them, I have unsatured fats if I please. If you have time, do a little research to feel out a more global perspective about those ‘taboo foods’.
Should I have sweet things in moderation?
Depends! Can you? Or does it usually end up in a binge and guilt feelings? There are times in my life when I can be moderate. There are times in my life when I know I will not be moderate because of circumstances. Stressful or very busy times mean I won’t be moderate even with my best intentions. For some people they find it is the other away around, relaxed times mean they won’t be moderate!
How can I remind myself to take my vitamins daily? How can I change XYZ habits? How can I feel better about myself? etc!
….But sometimes, STOP thinking:
Thinking can be wonderful if it leads you to greater awareness and understanding. It can take you into yourself to discover just who you are and what your meaning and lessons in life are. But sometimes it can add to your fog, leave you tired, upset and confused. You feel even more stuck. At times like this living by the old saying ‘Keep it simple’ can help.
Sometimes it’s easiest just to reconnect with our surgeries compliancy needs or rules. It’s easy to let these slip with the years. What do you need to come back into your life? Be specific. If you need to eat better food – what do you mean by that? What type of food? Healthier food? What is truly healthy food? Which of the healthy foods do you like? Which don’t you like? Defining food preferences are important, you’ve got to be able to live with it and eat it! No good knowing whole wheat bread is better for you if it just gets mould in the breadbox!
When motivation does not work:
…It’s sometimes because we actually don’t want it to. Sometimes we set ourselves up for an internal argument. While preferences are always a good thing to have on one’s side there might be times even this has to give way. We can’t always like everything. I don’t like eating when I don’t have an appetite, but the fact is I actually don’t have a choice. Why not? Because my health matters. It’s just as simple as that. I eat whether I like it or not! Sometimes we need ‘tough love.’ Occasionally a Dser won’t take their vitamins. Why? Is it due to stressful circumstances or bad memory? No. It’s simply because they don’t like them. My response: Tough. No one likes to take medicine, but this was the trade off for the obesity. Take them, or be willing to suffer the consequences.
Sometimes, we really do need to just give it over:
Sometimes there are times when life is out of our control and utterly overwhelming. Crises do occur in our lives. No amount of planning stops the daily avalanche of endless priorities. It seems that everyone else’s needs are more pressing than our own and sometimes they are. When my mum was ill I was buckling under big strain and even my workable boundaries fell apart between constant hospital visits and mega disruption. Don’t forget to take a little time out during the day, even half an hour alone can recharge the old batteries. Don’t try to do major getting back on track work. However, do the bare basics: Drink or eat enough protein, take vitamins/ minerals and any meds you are on. This will maintain your basic health. The rest can come later. Get as much help and support as you can. Draw on your faith. Ask good friends to visit you. Spoil yourself a little between every one else’s needs. Get out even if just for a head clearing walk. Remember, everything is temporary and what you are going through now will also pass. When it does, move to give as much of your energy as you can, to yourself, while you get back on track. It’s not selfish, it’s about surviving.
GOALS OR MILESTONES?
You decide. Personally I plump for milestones and here’s why. A goal is an attempt to fix something permanently. I used to live by goals. My goal was to get down to a normal weight and I did, but since then the goalposts have moved. A lot. I have regained a little at times putting me outside my goal. I have lost too much at times threatening my goal. I have realised that I can’t actually accomplish a goal permanently. Why? Because it’s attempting the impossible. Nothing in life is permanent. Moreover it makes me feel disappointed when I can’t freeze it in time. I get right back onto my ‘failure’ pedestal. The goal posts always move because life itself is a moving phenomena…it just doesn’t work on a fixed A to B kind of line. Not in my experience anyway. I used to have goals because I wanted to ‘be in control’.
Milestones however are flexible. I’m living with surgery lifelong so it suits me to be flexible. A milestone is not fixed to a frozen point in time. It’s just part of my unfolding journey. I plod along pondering things and doing my best. Suddenly I realise I have had another milestone! It’s so exciting! It’s happened enough for me to have faith, both in myself and my surgery. And as I am discovering this WLS journey actually has no end, not while I am alive anyway. So why do I need to make goals for myself? Why do I want to put myself under so much stress and pressure? Short answer: I don’t!
“When you’re finished changing, you’re finished” (Benjamin Franklin)
I hope the above helps you think about some things you can do to get back on track. I know some of it might seem simplistic, but sometimes even when the obvious is staring us in the face we don’t see it.
You may already understand a lot about yourself and your surgery. Great – next step might just be to plan a workable boundary for yourself and begin the action.
It’s never too late to give things a shot. Our surgeries do undergo a degree of adaptation. I have found myself several times during my own process needing to rethink things. I’m no saint, I write things such as the above and believe me I see my own shortcomings glaringly too – lol! It’s also my way to kick myself up the jacksie and get my own flow moving too. I seldom hit a 100% perfection rate…and right now my water consumption among other things is sad ops: .
In my next blogs I want to share with you some of the easy ways that I deal with the foodie/vitamin aspects of my life. That’s the kind of stuff I really enjoy writing about the most – food! From what a portion of food actually is – to a neat way of eating that helps me never feel hungry. Right now I’m having difficulty just keeping up with everything that is demanding my time. I’ve been trying ‘badly’ to cook the usual dinners, but I need to get on top of my fast nutrition fixes again. I’ll cover some of my ‘quick fix’ meals later in this blog series as well. My motivation for the week ahead is to eat well but cook fast! Oh, and get onto my water intake again!
Hope you have a great and motivated week!