My remote job is now in-person again and the transition has upended my daily food plan. For anyone in this boat with me, here’s what has helped. Update: -62, averaging 10 pounds per month.
The early months of COVID-19 lockdown brought the joy of at-home cooking and recreation with my adult son. The decision to begin a new food lifestyle came in the later months of COVID, still at home with full control of my schedule, foods, and exercise without any social stressors. Now, back to on-site work, I’m using vastly more emotional energy, eating on a different, inflexible schedule; and find myself feeling either hungry or full at the wrong times.
As always throughout this journey, the solutions are awareness, commitment, and data.
Cravings ~ These days, instead of a nice even cycle of hunger and fullness, I feel like I’m starving when I get home even though I’m between formerly satisfying meals. I’m just so relieved to be home without any demands that I turn to my old friend Food. I actually had to write down my new food schedule to see that I’m getting enough calories and am not starving.
Commitment to the long game ~ I tend to do best on a rigid plan without a lot of leeway and choices, but this transition on top of other stressors in the past couple of months has challenged that approach. Finding the balance between a permissive attitude that sends me back into excuses and weight gain, and a harsh attitude that feels like failure, is a daily discipline. If I misjudge, before I know it, I’m rummaging around in the pantry looking for something sweet. Or salty. Or both. A compassionate self reminder that this is normal and manageable, along with a renewed commitment to staying with this for the long term, has allowed me to be my own “parent” and coach.
Data triumphs! ~ Ultimately, two daily practices are keeping me on track.
- continuing to log my foods in MyFitnessPal, keeping the calories and carbs in my successful range with higher proteins and healthful fats;
- discounting any blips on the scale when I know I’m following the plan (increases which are easily attributable to extra salt, not enough water, etc.) “Trust the plan.”
Confident in the reliable, helpful data, I can acknowledge I feel hungry, eat something off schedule that comforts the mental need and provides a quick energy boost, but doesn’t derail the plan in MFP (such as half an apple, or a dish of fresh raspberries), and know that I’m getting the nutrition I need for the day.
I do also need to find other ways to deal with work and social stress. In the meantime, I’m enjoying the earned rewards of weight loss so far: clothes from deep storage that finally fit, greater ease moving around my workplace on my feet all day, and better sleep at night.
If I can do this, so can you. 🙂
Here’s the plan for today which will be fewer than 1250 calories.
Black coffee with 1 teaspoon of Carlson’s Cod Liver Oil (surprisingly easy to get used to!)
1 Applegate burger, 24 grams Fage Total 0% Greek yogurt, 3 cherry tomatoes
Half a medium apple
1 serving homemade tuna salad (measured, made, divided, and recorded recipe in MFP), 3 baby carrots, 3 cherry tomatoes. Brush teeth. Mint gum.
1/2 cup sauteed, seasoned spinach with 2 tilapia fillets (spray oil in pan), 50 grams low-fat cottage cheese, 3 cherry tomatoes
Treat before 7 p.m.
Crunchy peanut butter