Do You Sneak???

Are You A “Sneaker”?

If so, you’re not alone! Here’s a short but familiar story.

Today, I started reading “Weight Loss Boss” by David Kirchhoff, the President and CEO of Weight Watchers. Most of what I’ve read so far is familiar since I was in Weight Watchers for over a year, lost about 30 pounds, and then promptly gained it back after leaving the program. But that’s just me – many people have successfully lost and kept off weight on WW. What I’ve found the most resounding though is the chapter on “sneaking”.

The hardest “willpower” times for me are when I’m at home, alone, sitting on the couch, and dealing with one of the big three: boredom, loneliness, and depression. Any of these or a combo sends me either out the door to B’s Cupcakes, to the junk drawer for a take-out menu, or to the cupboard to make easy one-bowl/pan brownies. Do I tell my honey (or anyone) about these “sneaked” treats/meals? Oh, No! Do they make me feel any better (like today’s meatball parm sub and cannoli!!!) – No, just a bit fuller and a lot guiltier. Will going to the gym to work out or take a class make up for the transgression? The latest research is also saying NO! Using exercise as either an excuse to splurge/sneak or a way to burn off excess calories doesn’t work in the short or long run. The only true way to lose weight is to eat less calories (and healthy ones) than you burn off through exercise/activity.

Saying that, and after losing almost 80 pounds in a little over a year, why I am jeopardizing all the hard work by listening to “the call of the take out menus”? My story is a lot like the book’s author. My parents didn’t keep a lot of unhealthy food in the house, except for my stepfather who had a stash of candy he bought for himself and hid. Which of course my brother and I found immediately. They would buy horrible ice milk and nasty sandwich cookies that were ok for us to eat but tasted terrible. So I clearly remember waiting until the ‘rents were gone to sneak a few snack size candy bars or Starburst fruit chews. Frankly, I didn’t really even like either of these but they sure beat the only other “sweet treats” in the house. What’s truly weird is that even after I was working, I rarely spent my money of junk food. We didn’t have dessert at home very often so even out I didn’t indulge very often. And when I was working, I was more apt to have a yogurt or other healthy snack during my breaks. So until I hit my late 20’s (and after learning what great food tasted like and enjoying the convenience of being close to a ton of terrific restaurants), I was skinny for the first 27 years of my life. But man, when it hit, it hit! Shortly after my 28th birthday, I realized I was almost 30 pounds over my “normal” weight.

I immediately went to a shady doc to get some “phen/fen”, shed all the weight, and promptly hit the mental health wall. With all the med changes, eating to self medicate, and becoming a couch potato (I was always pretty active for the first part of my life), the weight piled on. Those of you who’ve been with me know I lost most of my weight through careful diet and exercise but have had consistent bumps in the road over the last few months. Another fun fact: the more weight you lose, the slower your metabolism gets – which is why losing those last 10, 20, 40 pounds seems like climbing Mt. Everest. And that’s without “sneaking”. (Let’s not call it cheating – let’s just bite the bullet and call it what it is. If that’s you at midnight with the spoon in the carton in the dark kitchen, well you know what I mean!)

David has some terrific suggestions to help Stop Sneaking, but I’d like to share my first one now: THROW AWAY THE DANG TAKE-OUT MENUS!! I just did a few minutes ago because I know they are a huge trigger for me. Do I feel any less nauseous from my crappy delivered lunch? No, but at least I know it will be harder to indulge like that next time I’m tempted.

Other “Steps To Stop Sneaking”:

1. Focus on what works for you, not what others think. Having healthy behaviors for yourself is more important than getting approval from others. Especially others who want to order dessert!

2. Understand that going undercover with minor indulgences encourages them to blossom into monstrous food disasters. Shame is it’s own weird kind of motivation.

3. Become more aware of the situations in which you’re tempted to sneak food and find detours – or major highways – around them.

4. Plan indulgences into your routine so they don’t knock you off your path of progress. Then it’s a pothole, not a crevasse.

5. Air your dirty laundry! Whether with a friend, on a blog, or notifying Facebook friends, find a safe place to share your “sneaking” and you’ll probably be very surprised how not alone you are and the support that’s out there to help you keep on track.

I hope this has helped a bit today and I’m grateful to have this blog to safely share my “sneaking” and steps I’ll also be taking to put an end to it! Comments and sharing are welcomed!!!

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4 thoughts on “Do You Sneak???

  1. I literally laughed out loud at the “spoon in the carton” comment. I was super strict for the first 6 weeks and now I find myself saying “that small spoon of peanut butter isn’t that bad for me!”
    My weakness is I can’t sleep when I’m hungry – so if it’s 4am and I have awoken from a pet or kid (yes both seem to keep me away from ZZZ’s it seems) I somehow always end up staring at the fridge light with a glass of milk and a scoop of peanut butter when I just can’t sleep. I try to remember to track them but half the time it’s a wash. So last night I got a can of low fat peanut butter – at least it cuts it 1 point in half.

    Great article & thank you for sharing! Every step counts – even throwing away those menus is a huge one!

    • Going to sleep hungry is really tough!! Maybe an evening snack of a protein/carb mix like 1/2 cup of lowfat greek yogurt with a bit of fruit or veggies with lowfat peanut butter or hummus (a few tablespoons). Just something to curb late night munchies. Don’t worry, it’s been over a year plus and I’m still getting the hang of this food thing!!

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