Confessions of an Ideal Protein Coach: Weigh-in Day Cheating

Hi Everyone -

I'm excited to say that Wednesday, at my weigh-in, I was down nearly 2 lbs - despite being smack dab in the middle of Shark Week (if you know what I mean).  It was a relief! I hate stagnant weeks even when I know there are legit reasons for them. 

So here's the problem… 

And I'm once again embarrassed to admit this…

I wish for once I could report a perfect, successful week…  But alas.

I was all over the place with my food after my weigh-in on Wednesday and part of Thursday.  This kind of weigh-in day cheating was a pattern for me during the second half of my first stint on Ideal Protein, and I'm a bit mortified to see how easily I slip back into it.  The pattern is this:  I feel good about my progress, but a cocky little voice in my head suggests that my success means I can lighten up on myself for 'just one day.'  This doesn't come from stress or emotional eating … Just over-confidence and short-term memory loss about just how badly any cheating affects me.

In the spirit of full disclosure of my tricky, devious ways, here's exactly what happened.  I didn't journal. I neglected my water even though I have a phone app reminding me.  I ate NO vegetables. :(  My insane thinking told me that because I hadn't eaten my veggies, I could afford a few more carbs, so I ate 4 extra IP packets (!).  I mixed one of them with butter -- a common cheat for me because when I'm in this state of mind, I tell myself fat is no big deal… WRONG!  But the most problematic cheat was that one of my extra packets was a second restricted.  The combination of 2 restricteds and all of that extra protein (a good portion of which is converted to carbs in the body) popped me out of ketosis.  I've been hungry ever since, which I'm sure was why I also overate on Thursday. 

I seriously contemplated not telling you this.  I was thinking that as long as I pulled off a 2 lb loss again next week (which is likely because I'll be done with Shark Week), no one would be the wiser and I'd totally get away with it.   My mind told me I'd been honest enough for now.  It makes my stomach hurt to admit how devious I am.  It surprises me how quickly I throw aside my own promises to myself and then how automatically I want to lie about it.  Who do I think I'm fooling? I'm certainly not fooling myself.  And why on earth would I want to fool any of you?  No one who is reading this has a single thing to lose if I don't hit my goal.   It's only me I'm hurting. 

I don't know why I'm so prone to sneaking around and wanting to hide it. But it seems to be a fundamental character flaw for me. My mind tells me I need to LOOK perfect to the world - by whatever means necessary - or I'll be rejected.  My mind says hide.  My soul says to hide is to die a little inside.  I CHOOSE LIFE!  I can't eradicate what I don't acknowledge.  Today I'm asking for help from my higher power to face this character defect and remove it.  I'm willing to move into the light of honesty and transparency. 

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Yesterday, I had the incredible honor of sitting with a very dear family member to offer support during a difficult and painful time.  As we talked, he ended up supporting me as much as I supported him because I was honest about the ways I struggle too.  Our empathy for one another let us both feel connected and helpful.  Amazing how powerful that is.

As we talked, the topic of God came up. I'm still so shy about discussing my fledgling spiritual awakening. I always feel afraid people will hear me bring up spirituality and roll their eyes, wishing I wouldn't go all "woo-woo" on them.  But sometimes when you're in a lot of pain, the feeling of brokenness translates into a new kind of openness to ideas you ordinarily wouldn't consider.  That has definitely been true for me.  So I was brave and told him how helpful my attempts to develop a spiritual connection have been.  I described how I reach inside to try and feel the tiny spark of awareness which seems so still and which seems to form a backdrop larger than anything else my mind can conjure… Any thought, impulse, fear, doubt… That spark seems bigger, more steady, more constant, more powerful, more peaceful.  My strategy has been to ask the peace that flows from that place to saturate me, shape me, guide me.

To my surprise, he knew exactly what I was talking about. He told me about times when he'd felt that 'presence' inside of himself, too… In nature, in quiet moments when everything falls away and you feel the connection between all things.

His eyes shone as he remembered it. I saw his back straighten and his energy brighten. I imagine he saw something similar happening to me because describing it and then seeing him resonate brought it into really clear focus for me.  As we shared that awareness, I felt an even deeper connection with him.  And with myself. Like our shared willingness to acknowledge that spark made it brighter for each of us.

And then I remembered that THIS very act - helping others remember their spark -- is exactly what is called for to keep the spark alive in ourselves. St. Francis said, "It is only in giving that we receive."  If I want to stay connected to my source, I need to get OUT of MY SMALL, LIMITED SELF and think of others. I need to be constantly asking how I can be loving and useful to them. I forget this all the time, but if I stay open and humble, I find my way back. 

I always tend to think the answer to my struggles with food will be a diet (i.e. Phase 1).  But then I learn over and over again that compulsive eating is only a symptom of my lack of spiritual connection. When I reconnect, it disappears. 

Today is the first day of a week-long vacation, including Thanksgiving. I'm going to prioritize my spiritual focus on this break. I'll check in on Monday with my progress and results.  Meanwhile, I'm going to go meditate for awhile. Thanks for listening.