Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Recidivism, Diet, and Exercise

Negative thinking or just contemplative?

Journal Entries, Oct. 27-Nov. 2, 2010

October 27: Weight = 172.4 lbs.; Coinage = $.96, 11 pennies, 1 dime, 3 quarters; Glass bottles = 3; Ground Scores = 3.
October 28: Weight 173.2 lbs.; Coinage = $2.29, 94 pennies, 1 nickel, 13 dimes; GB = 6.

October 30: Weight = 175.2 lbs.; Coinage = $.48, 18 pennies, 1 nickel, 1 quarter; GS = 6; GB = 5. One interesting event was a movie set in Mid City NO. More than 50 trucks, technicians everywhere, busy action, and giant lighting equipment. I wonder which of the people where the stars and which movie was being shot. We have so many movies and television series shot in our fair city it is becoming known as Hollywood South.

October 31: Weight = 176.2; Coinage = $3.91 including one int. coin (100 Chile pesos), 81 pennies, 10 nickels, 11 dimes, 6 quarters; GB =10.

November 1: Weight = 176.0; Coinage = $1.89, 69 pennies, 2 dimes, 4 quarters; GB = 9; GS = 6.

November 2: Weight = 175.4 lbs.; Coinage = $1.39, 39 pennies, 4 nickels, 2 dimes, 2 quarters; GB = 6; GS =5. Today was a nice walk in the rain.

Feature Entry: Recidivism, Diet, and Exercise
There is no question; October was a disaster for the MoneyWalker in terms of exercise and diet adherence. The month contained three separate trips to see friends and relatives. Weighing ever day—forget about it. Healthy breakfasts, no way. Ninety minute zoom walks—are you kidding me. Portion control, how about raw gluttony. All my old bad habits bunched together in one wonderful guilt-free month of unrestrained eating and hardly any boring exercise. Now my waist line shows the result. Guilt and shame have returned with a vengeance.

My October was a working definition of recidivism. Here is how recidivism works. First, you develop a bad habit. We will call it overeating sweets and starchy carbohydrates. The result is weight gain and being overweight. Second, is a resolution to follow a diet and lose weight. The resolution works and a healthy BMI (body mass index) is obtained. Third, a long vacation is experienced followed by a calorie filled holiday, Halloween for instance. The good eating habits are broken and the lost pounds race back. That is how recidivism works.

Unfortunately for people like the MoneyWalker, losing weight is not just a matter of diet and portion control. It also involves a chain of behaviors including exercise, journaling portions, and daily weighing. With recidivism, all the positive behaviors are victims. Collectively the loss of adherence to healthy behaviors results in a vortex of shame and guilt that leads to more binge eating and denying.

Besides weigh gain, a dangerous side effect of diet/exercise recidivism is loss of self-esteem. Lowered self-esteem can then lead to anxiety which if not checked and if other stressors are also present can lead to depression. Stressors such as abuse, personal conflicts, illness, personal issues such as weight gain, death, and substance abuse can all pile up and lead to clinical depression. Clinical depression is serious and should be treated by professionals, but there are behaviors and techniques that can be used to combat regular depression and similar feelings including episodes of stress, unhappiness, sadness, or grief.

Clinical psychologists often use Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) to help their clients understand how to change negative thinking into more healthy feelings. All situations have positive as well as negative aspects. CBT utilizes a series of exercises that help the individual to identify the positive and eliminate the negative. CBT is not recommended for do-it-yourselfers, but a related skill, positive self-talk, is a doable. Positive self-talk is what the MoneyWalker calls “cognitive over ride,” a replacement of positive thoughts with negative thoughts." Elizabeth Scott, MS has provided several ways to practice positive self-talk.

Because self-talk can be both negative and positive, and because people with common depression focus on negative self talk, she recommends that we notice our patterns of negative thinking. She recommends that we keep a journal to jot down negative comments in order to summarize our feelings. Knowing our patterns can help us to practice thought-stopping. When the negative thoughts begin, we just say STOP!, and then replace the thoughts with positive thinking. Some use a rubber-band around their waist and pop it when the negative thinking begins.

It is not always possible to totally replace negative thoughts, but the self-talk can use milder wording. For example, we can substitute “pain” for “discomfort.” When walking and dealing with rude and dangerous drivers, instead of saying “I hate drivers that never yield to pedestrians, they make me so angry!!!” Instead we can say “ I don’t like rude drivers, they annoy me.”
Concerning healthy food choices, we can use positive self-talk to change negative selections to neutral or positive selections. At a party, we can use self-talk to select non-fattening foods and beverages. We can say, “This chocolate brownie will only give me a minute or two of pleasure, but I will feel depressed for hours; I will munch on these veggies instead.” And we can change self-limiting statements to questions. Instead of saying, “I can’t handle this temptation,” we can turn the episode into a question, “How can I handle this sugary food temptation?”

The MoneyWalker is giving positive self-talk a chance. I’m just going to over ride my desire for fattening foods and tell myself to eat healthy. Just follow my journal entry and watch those pounds fall away.



    I was raised in a "glass-half-empty" family. I've worked hard in the last few years to overcome that habit and become a "glass-half-full" person. There is still a lot of work to do.

    I made the dreadful mistake of buying chocolate treats for Halloween. Then I added to that by giving out the non-chocolate treats first. Result: leftover Hershey bars and Kit Kats, my favorites. Bad decision. Add to that some rainy-no exercise days and I now have tight jeans.

    I will reread your post again tomorrow for inspiration.

  2. Numi, you are the greatest for reading my long winding posts. I also appreciated your comments from the previous post. Good luck with your resolution. Last night we had a coupon for Italian. I self talked my way out of pasta and had a light wrap. We'll see!