This week I was shopping around online for a weight loss support program. I went first to Weight Watchers where there was a free 7 day trial offer. I found their service a bit complicated and I couldn't use certain features because I don't have a flash player installed. I cancelled my subscription on the 7th day. If I hadn't I would have been charged $65 for the first 3 months and then about $17 each month afterwards. I then found reviews and ratings for 10 of the most popular programs online. Most charged between $16 and $19 per month, but the cheapest charged $20 for a whole year. This was the Anne Collins Weight Loss Program and it was the lowest rated amongst the 10. For $20 I decided to try it anyway.
Ms Collins offers about 10 different diets all designed for losing weight, some are for diabetics, some for lowering cholesterol, some for vegetarians, etc... The basic premise is the same as Weight Watchers: in order to lose weight you must eat less and exercise more. I found portion controlled measurements which showed me that though what I eat is not so bad, my portions are way to big. Basically I need to cut out about 500 calories a day or one meal if I am going to begin losing weight. The instruction is to eat when hungry, every 3 hours or so, but to eat small portions of healthy food.
There are active message boards for added support and each person is encouraged to create a personal log of what one eats, exercise and general thoughts for others to read and respond to (though it is okay to keep the log private if you so choose.) So far I've introduced myself. In my introduction I revealed that I suffer from schizophrenia and have gained weight, in part, due to some of the medication I'm taking. I was hoping that by being honest I can reassure others in similar circumstances along the way. So far I've gotten one positive response.
Basically, I have never gone on a diet though I have watched what I eat and for a short period of time I skipped meals in order to lose weight. The voices warned me about eating disorders, saying that it can be a terrible trap. Still, dieting is about control and too much control is mind warping. So a balanced approach is the key I think. So now I am beginning the process of paying attention to everything I eat and drink. I will measure and count just as millions of people do every day. I will join the ranks of those determined to lose weight.
It won't be easy and it will take me a year of determination, but I can do this. I will allow for relapses. The main thing is to get back on track afterwards and work towards a steady pace, keep track of my successes and get support for when I fail and give support in return. I have to learn to be accountable to myself.
I can't help but see parallels between eating too much and smoking. There's the strong desire to do it and the near unconsciousness when you do do it. I mean how often do I eat mindfully? Usually I'm thinking of the next bite as I'm chewing on the first one. Before I got ill, I practiced yoga and meditation and mindful eating. Before I took the first bite I would identify all the ingredients and be grateful. I would slow everything down. Cooking, if you don't cheat, is a good way to appreciate food. It slows things down. I just don't want to become food obsessed, but I do want to begin measuring my food in a way that I haven't done before.
A Recovery Blog
This blog is about my continuing recovery from severe mental illness. I celebrate this recovery by continuing to write, by sharing my music and artwork and by exploring Buddhist ideas and concepts. I claim that the yin/yang symbol is representative of all of us because I have found that even in the midst of acute psychosis there is still sense, method and even a kind of balance. We are more resilient than we think. We can cross beyond the edge of the sane world and return to tell the tale. A deeper kind of balance takes hold when we get honest, when we reach out for help, when we tell our stories.