Ever since I downloaded and read Rebecca Regnier's My Twitter Diet, I have been playing around with different ways to use my blog's twitter account to aid in my weight loss efforts. I have been participating in the #twitterdiet online chats (8 p.m. on Sundays and Thursdays) and following fellow tweeting dieters. I have been tweeting about my small victories and concerns, and replying to others' similar tweets with support. If all of this sounds like a foreign language to you, be sure to get the Your Twitter Diet ebook, which explains how to use twitter and gives some ideas on how it can be a good way to find a helpful community.
This week my weight has an upswing. I have been wanting desperately to get back into the 170s again on the scale but have been having ups and downs. I have been having a hard time forcing me to use LoseIt to record my food and to watch my calorie intake, and the days I don't log tend to be the days where things go off the rails. I thought that it might push me to follow my intentions more closely if I followed a "tweet before I eat" philosophy. For many of the meals and snacks, I have even been including photos.
It does really help, because I have to imagine how my choices will look to others. At the same time, I don't want to project a fake image of perfection and pretend that I am a person who lives on celery and never eats sweets. I have even been posting calorie counts for my meals and I get caught up in wondering if someone will criticize me for having a 500-calorie breakfast, as I did today. At the same time, my rational, sensible mind tells me that if I put myself into Diet Jail, I am going to bust out. I have seen plenty of people try to live that perfect life, succeed for a while, and then dive headlong into the HoHos. I have seen myself do it too many times. I also find that there is a big difference between taking four Girl Scout cookies, putting them on a plate, and enjoying them with a cup of tea and mowing through an entire sleeve of Thin Mints while I'm standing in the kitchen with the pantry door open.
According to the Fat2Fit BMR calculator, someone with my current stats should be able to lose weight at a calorie range between 1736 (sedentary) and 2496 (very active). Before the most recent episode of their podcast, I was trying to set my calories at the lowest end of that range and add in calories for exercise. I found I had the same problem their correspondent had, that on my no-exercise days, I was too hungry and couldn't stay within range, and on my high-activity days, I was eating just because I had calories in my "bank." Since I listened to that show, I have been trying to stay between 1800 and 2200, depending on my hunger levels. I'm also trying to steer myself toward 3 meals and 1-2 snacks, instead of all-day grazing, which was my former habit. Hunger isn't an emergency. But because I find myself ravenous at night if I cut my calories too low, I try to use more of my calories earlier in the day, when I am more active.
I'm posting the truth, and will be curious to see if people react with negativity, criticism, or support. Mostly they haven't said much. A list of someone else's food choices may just be too dull for comment. Or people may be silently criticizing but too nice to say anything. That's totally fine. Yesterday I had to take my father to the emergency room (it turned out to be no big deal) and he wanted to stop on the way to eat in case he was admitted. He hates hospital food. I didn't get anything but a bottle of water, but he offered me some of his french fries and I ate a few, then threw the rest away. I realized they didn't taste good and I was just stress eating. I tweeted about the fries but of course worried what my followers would think about someone supposedly on a diet eating fries from a fast-food place. It's not my normal habit, but I personally think anything can be included in a reasonable diet IF you can keep the portions small.
I decided to post this discussion about my food philosophy in case anyone had any questions about why I'm doing things the way I am. I realize I post similar discussions quite often, and it makes me realize how defensive I feel about food. I have always been self-conscious of having an appetite and afraid I would seem gluttonous or unfeminine if I admit that I like food. I know myself, though, and I can't live happily in Diet Jail. I know I will never be as thin as I could be if I was more restrictive of my eating, but at the same time,
I want to find a "happy weight" where I can be in balance -- both happy about the way I look and happy about how I eat. I can find ways to make healthy food pleasurable, but I can't convince myself that I don't need to enjoy my food.
That out of the way, I plan to continue tweeting what I eat for the rest of the week, at least. Feel free to follow along, if you're interested.