Calling In Reinforcements

Monday, March 31st, 2014 | Posted under Health + Fitness

We’re now a quarter through the way 2014 and I have lost three pounds. That’s an average of one a month. Also known as really pathetic.

I’ve been doing some reflecting on the first quarter of the year. I’m trying to figure out what I want to do differently. The truth is that I don’t know what to do differently because I’m not sure what hasn’t been working. I don’t feel that I’ve been particularly dedicated to anything. I’ll count calories for a few days, and decide that doesn’t work for me. Then I decide that I’ll go with intuitive eating, and that works for a couple of days until it doesn’t and then I decide to go back to calorie counting. Or I’ll decide to eat low carb but then decide that I don’t want to do that, so I think I’ll just eat really clean, except then I don’t. I’ll tell myself that I’m going to exercise five days and manage to eek out two, maybe three, if I’m lucky and the stars align.

Instead of being really good at doing one thing, I’ve been haphazard about a bunch of different things. It’s not surprise none of it’s really working for me.

I thought back to the last time I lost a significant amount of weight. It was just before my wedding and I managed to lose 15 pounds in three months. What did I do? Well I know I exercised very regularly. I did circuit training using Jillian Michael’s website. She told me what to do and that’s what I did. I thought I calorie counted, but I browsed through MyFitnessPal during those three months and it doesn’t look like I was particularly committed to calorie counting. That being said, I did calorie count some of the time and I have to believe that paid at least some role into my losing weight.

I didn’t follow any particular diet, from what I can recall. It was before I knew about Paleo or low-carb or anything like that, so I think for the most part I just tried to eat less.

For this next quarter, I’ve decided to call in some reinforcements. Although I’ve loved having the support of Stephany with our accountability, I realized that I needed some more professional help in tackling what’s going on with my stalled weight loss and I’m tackling that on both fronts: food and fitness.

The first reinforcement I got is Jenny Smith, who is a registered dietitian and CDE at Integrated Diabetes Services. IDS is the diabetes education practice that I was a client of when I was in college. At the time, I worked with a different CDE, Gary Scheiner, who started the practice. This time, I decided to follow the advice of my friend, Mari, who suggested I work with Jenny instead. I think it makes sense because Jenny is an RD, and my main problem is my weight, not my diabetes (not that my diabetes is perfect – ha!). But exercise will be part of my weight loss plan, and exercise can lead to low blood sugars, which leads to consuming calories via fruit juice. It’s a big vicious cycle.

The second reinforcement I got was Jillian Michaels — sort of. I signed back up for her website so I could get her circuit training plans again. I joined awhile ago and for some reason didn’t like her updated plans, but I have decided just to suck it up and just do it — or at least as much of it as I can. She had increased the number of circuits from 3 to 5 and I remember being really overwhelmed with that. But I figure that I can always start at 3 and work my way up to 5, rather than just not doing it at all.

On top of those things, I decided to join two DietBets. I know, I know. I had such a spectacular failure with the last one. Why bother again? Well, first is that I joined Amber’s DietBet (starts next week!) and Stephany is joining it too, so I thought it would be fun to do a weight loss group with some girlfriends. On top of that, I also joined Jillian Michael’s DietBet. Since they run concurrently to each other, I figure that if I’m already going to try to lose weight for one, I might as well try to earn more money by joining a second! Sure, I might also lose more money, but that’s just even more motivation to get this going!

With the DietBets, I finally have some deadlines to work towards. I’ve always liked deadlines. Here’s my overall game plan of action:

- Work with Jenny to help me sort out my eating, my exercise, and my diabetes and figure out what my pitfalls are. Especially if the changes I’m making don’t work, I want her expert opinion on what I can do to make things better, rather than waiting until the end, losing the money and then asking Jenny for help.

- Do the Jillian Michaels circuit training. Since I’m not longer training for the half-marathon in June, I’m going to take a short break from training. Jillian Michaels has four days of circuit training, one day of cardio and two days of rest. And that’s exactly what I’m going to do.

- Calorie count. My personal limit is 1600 calories a day, and I’ll also eat half the calories I burn to make sure that I’m fueling my body, but also account for any inaccuracies in calorie burn estimations.

- Change my diet by eliminating carbonated beverages, alcohol, popcorn (my biggest temptation) and processed sweets. I’m not cutting carbs or eliminating grains or doing anything crazy. I’m just eliminating my temptations to keep me focused on making better choices. And I don’t foresee this being permanent either, but I’m hoping that this little fast will reboot me and hopefully I won’t be so quick to pick those unhealthy options. And before you ask, “Why don’t you just eat the smaller bags of popcorn?” I’ll just say “No. It doesn’t work for me.” When I eat popcorn, I like to eat a lot of popcorn. Those little bags leave me even more unsatisfied than if I just didn’t eat it.

The toughest thing about all this is that I feel like I should already know how to do this. I want to be a dietitian and diabetes educator and yet I feel completely useless in helping myself. How can I help someone else?! A couple weeks ago I was convinced that I should just quit and give up because clearly if this was so hard for me then it’s not worth trying to help others. Some well-meaning friends tried to give me love on Facebook but I was really in no mood to hear any of that. I just wanted to sulk and being a grump. But it is true that I am still many years away from professionally helping people with their diet and exercise. I don’t have to know how this works right now. I’m still in school, I’m still learning! As everyone gently reminded me, struggling myself only gives me an edge in helping others because people will know that I know how hard it is. Then I read a great post by Gary who admitted that his diabetes management isn’t as good as he would like because he spends so much time on other people that it’s hard to focus on himself. That made me realize that being the perfect diabetic or the healthiest dietitian is not necessarily a requirement for the job. I think it’s something most people who give any kind of professional advice feel at some point.

My vision for my life is helping people get to the other side of their obstacles, but since I’m still hung up on my own obstacles, that vision is cloudy and uncertain. I have a lot of anxiety about whether or not this will work out, and it’s devastating because I cannot for the life of me think of anything else I’d rather be doing as a career. Sometimes I wish I had decided that I wanted to become a dietitian and diabetes educator after I felt I had “figured it all out” — not before! I don’t really have any confidence in any advice that I give to people because I haven’t seen anything work out for myself. I have “book learning” — I’ve read plenty of articles and can tell you biologically about certain aspects of healthy living, but as far as practical applications? I’m useless.

That’s why I’m hoping that bringing in additional reinforcements through Jenny at Integrated Diabetes Services, Jillian Michaels via her online website, and even more friends and community through the two DietBets will help continue to push me in the right direction so that I can eventually come out on the other side.

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Comments on this post

  1. Laddie says:

    “I want to be a dietitian and diabetes educator and yet I feel completely useless in helping myself. How can I help someone else?!”

    That statement is why you will be a great dietician and diabetes educator:-) It’s also a testament to how difficult these things are. Type 1. Losing weight. Staying healthy. Exercising and training. It’s just hard. I hope your “team” will help you achieve the results you want.

    1. Amber says:

      I’m SO glad you decided to join my DietBet despite having a bad experience before. My biggest piece of advice for this next four weeks is USE the community! Seriously use that Facebook group I created and post in it when you’re having a bad eating day or when you really don’t want to go to the gym or whatever. Let the group rally around you and lift you up and really take that whole SOCIAL dieting step to the next level!


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