Stabilizing the Wobblies

I’ve been feeling a bit “off” with my eating lately. Discounting the splurgeriffic vacation, I’m sort of on plan, but not 100%. (Keep in mind that my 100% means 90-95% on plan. Yes, algebra is required for The Tippy Toe Diet.)

gymnast on balance beamSome days I feel like I’m a gymnast on the balance beam who lands slightly off center, wobbles a bit, and then has to go through all sorts of awkward, arm-flailing machinations to stay on the beam. She’ll still get some points, but she’s not going to win any medals.

That’s me. I’m still on the beam, but it’s not fluid or graceful. And it’s for damn sure not going to win me any medals.

On a positive note, I don’t have Tim Daggett and Andrea Joyce replaying my every move in slow motion and (over) analyzing what went wrong.

On the downside: I’ve got me for that, and I tend to be overly critical. Since that’s rarely, if ever, helpful, today I’m calling a timeout and re-centering my thoughts in a constructive way. Feel free to join me if you’re feeling a bit wobbly yourself. Or even if you’re off the beam completely and trying to suck up the courage to get back on. Ya gotta start somewhere, right? I’m starting with three simple(ish) questions:

Questions You Can Ask Yourself

1. Why is this (eating healthy, exercising, yada yada) important to me?
When I first began losing weight, I sat myself down and listed the “reasons why” taking control was important to me. Those reasons are mostly true for maintaining the loss and continuing this lifestyle, so after adding a couple of new ones (I like how I feel & I don’t want to buy new clothes), I’ve printed a new copy to keep with me to help with focus.

2. What’s going well and how do I continue?
I like to start with the positives and count even the small wins. :) I’m exercising regularly and vigorously an average of 40 minutes or so per day. I’m eating lots of fruits, vegetables, and lean protein in the proper portions. Yay, me!

This part is pretty easy for me to continue as it’s mostly habit. In fact, I get a tad grumpy if I stray too far from exercise and my normal diet for too long. :)

3. What’s not going well and how do I fix it?
In thinking it over this morning, I realized that my days are actually going really, really well…until about 9 or 10 p.m. That’s when the extra 100, 200, or 300 calories sneak out of the kitchen, hop down the hall, and propel themselves into my mouth. Or sometimes I just go in the kitchen and nibble. In either case, I’m usually staying within my calorie range or going over by 100 or so. Nothing major, but it makes me feel off-center.

Nighttime snacking has always been a slightly slippery slope for me, but I’ve managed it pretty well by planning my evening snack ahead of time (a yogurt “sundae”). Lately, though, I’ve been nibbling after the snack, and that could quickly become a problem.

I’ve pondered and pondered, and the most likely culprits are 1) anxiety, and 2) inadequate sleep. I want to nibble when I’m feeling anxious, and when I’m tired, I’m less likely to make good decisions, which makes me feel anxious. It’s an ugly little circle, isn’t it?

I know the cause of the anxiety and am working on it, and the sleep issue is part natural-rhythm and (I think) part hormone-related. I’ve never been one to sleep through the night, but waking up every 1-2 hours is unusual, even for me. To make matters worse, I’d noticed just before going on vacation that I was consistently waking up bear-level, can’t-go-back-to-sleep hungry around 2 a.m. (about 5-6 hours or so after my last meal or planned snack), which makes me think my nutrition is wacky.

So here’s my tippy-toeing plan:
1) Log my meals/snacks via sparkpeople. Maybe I’ll be able to ferret out why I’m waking up growly hungry in the wee hours.
2) Experiment with improving sleep quality, starting with shutting down the home office between 9-9:30.

And if those don’t work, I’ll try something else. The point is to do something to stay on the beam, even if it does require a bit of awkward arm waving and such. :)

What, if anything has you feeling wobbly? How do you regain your balance?

(Image credit: Public Domain via Pixabay)



28 thoughts on “Stabilizing the Wobblies

  1. This post is perfect timing for me as I am just a wee little wobbly myself! You are so creative – love the whole gymnastics analogy. I usually have to sit back and review what I am doing and be “honest” with myself. When I did this just this morning I realized that too many carbs (albeit they are healthy ones) have been on my menu. I am super carb sensitive and they do seem to prevent me from losing weight and even seem to add extra poundage. That coupled with foot pain and resulting stress of not being able to be as active as I wish has me at a stand still just 3-4 pound above my goal weight.

    I find that when I don’t get enough sleep I crave carbs. It’s not a good thing!

    I have an out of town trip later this week so my plan is to continue to eat healthy, enjoy my trip make the best possible food choices while eating out. Then when I get back home I will fine tune my menu by weeding out the extra healthy carbs and see what affect that has.

  2. Wobbly doesn’t even begin to describe how I’m feeling. I’m the one who is doing the face plant, apparently. Seriously, great post, Cammy. I’ve been doing the same sort of evaluative things myself and it helps to hear another’s perspective.

    • I’m sorry, Roxie! {{Hug}} One thing I’ve noticed is that even the gymnasts who do a face plant get up and try again. (Even though they do have to paste on a smile. :) ) Here’s wishing you easier days ahead!

  3. Wobbly doesn’t even begin to describe how this whole moving process has messed with me. Let’s just say my dismount has had several steps backwards. This post was helpful and although one never wants to be glad others are struggling, it does help to know I’m not alone. The good news for me is that the “want to” is most definitely there and I believe settling into a routine will get me back on track.

    • I can’t even imagine how packing, moving, and preparing a new home would affect me! LOL I have no doubt you’ll quickly be back to Sharon-normal!

  4. I love the comparison to the gymnast because it is so visual. Although I wake up at least once every night, I don’t wake up hungry. That would not be good.

    I’ve often wondered about the people who have midnight snacks. The refrigerator may call me all through the day, but I don’t hear it during the night. :)

  5. Yeah – your number 3? I could have written that. Sleeping problems, hormones and stress. When those beams cross, those are bad times indeed. I plan food, but that doesn’t mean I don’t eat things not planned LOL! I am on the upswing, though,

  6. Oh, I do not like waking up hungry. There’s got to be a way to fix that! If/when you find it, be sure to share with us. And yes, the after-snack snack. I try to hold off on having my last snack until about an hour before I go to bed. That seems to be the magic number that doesn’t allow time for the after-snack snack.

    Are you talking about real work when you say shutting down the home office? If that is true, I hope you can shut down WAY before then. You need more time to shut your brain down before you can go to sleep.

    Oh, on the waking up hungry. I have a terrible habit. I might not even be that hungry, but I will grab some gum when I wake up, and then will go back to sleep chewing gum, and wake up 4 hours later still chewing it. THAT IS A TERRIBLE HABIT. Please do not try this one!

    • LOL I don’t chew gum, so no worries there!

      As for shutting down my office, sometimes it’s work-work, sometimes it’s freecell-work or facebook work. :) My office is set up with a television, and sometimes I’ll surf and watch television until my eyes start to droop. Lately I’ve been going into the den and trying to read for a bit before bed. I find it very difficult to be still once my day gets going. :)

  7. P.S. I forgot to say that I love the way you think things through. It is much more organized than my thought process.

  8. I completely understand – while I don’t wake in the night wanting to eat, I am experiencing anxiety eating lately. It is so important to recognize it – even though knowing what it is doesn’t necessarily stop us from eating our way through it!

    I think having a plan is excellent – you are so good at pinpointing things and taking action! I keep a supply of almonds or protein chips in my drawer at work to crunch on when it hits me. When I’m home, go upstairs, away from the kitchen and distract myself with ironing or something that keeps my hands busy!!

  9. Cammy, I had an unexpected break through for sleeping this year. And, I’m glad I stumbled upon both of them.

    1. I did a lower inflammatory diet in Jan 2013 and realized that I slept like a baby during that month. It was awesome, but I had no idea why.

    2. In May 2013 I did a “low carb” challenge and again, slept like a baby, and yeah, keeping my carbs on the lower side seems to be the trick. I get most of my carbs from veggies, berries, and a few in season fruits.

    3. Dairy, eliminating it cleared up my sinuses and I can breath through my nose for the first time in my life. Stopped snoring, sleep got much better. I always blamed my Hoosier seasonal allergies even though I lived in So. Cal 19 years now!

    4. I am officially in menopause now (I’m 47) and as I was in perimenopause for the last 2-3 years during weight loss , my sleep got worse- so trying different things with my diet was a nice way to see what works. Fewer night sweats, fewer hot flashes in the lower carb area.

    I have no idea why I’m counting…. but anywhoo- keep trying things. I know the 90 day opt out from the Refuse to Regain book really helped me get zeroed in for 90 days and get focused in Feb 2012. Once I felt comfortable, then I took a deeper dive into it. I tend to reach for food in the evening and if I stop myself, it’s almost always sleep (deprived) related.

    Take care and let us know what works for you…. Karen P.

    • Thanks for sharing what worked for you, Karen! I suspect that my legitimate hunger signals are more a lack of something than the need to reduce a food group. But you never know.

  10. AHHH I SOSOSO have the lifewobbles lately.
    Im hoping things stabilize but until they do Im leeeeeeeaning on others.

  11. I think that there are certain times of the year when the wobblies are more prevalent. For me, it’s during the summer and mid-winter, after the holidays. I have had to stabilize too, and I have found it involves more than just the diet. I’m trying to create a supportive lifestyle, but it is time consuming and not always easy. I think the first step is to recognize what is going on, like you have. I used to bury the wobblies and just go on, blindly. Loved this post–you’re a smart lady!

  12. Great post, Cammy! I love your humor. And your analytical approach to dealing with the wobbles. Stress and lack of sleep are two big wobble triggers for me. Fortunately, they are not a chronic problem. I love how you just keep tweaking and assessing and tweaking some more. I took an incredible 20 week class several years ago called The Psychology of Eating. The instructor’s belief that our issues with food/struggles present themselves to teach us something that may be food or nonfood related. Will be curious to hear how it progresses.

    • Thanks, Martha! I’ve finally figured out that life is just a series of never-ending tweaks and twists. It does serve to keep things interesting. :)

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