This month’s topic, despite the cutesy title, is really a look at what makes maintenance a unique situation for each of us – and any maintainer! We all have that one thing that makes us different in our challenges to lose and maintain weight. My biggest challenge? Working from home.
For anyone new to the blog, I work as a medical transcriptionist. That means a lot of sitting and a lot of typing. Because I use a foot pedal for the audio files, I can’t use a treadmill desk (oh how I wish I could!). I have tried standing while working, but because my right foot has to be flexed on the pedal, I end up shifting my weight to one side, which is hard on my back. So, I have to face the fact that this job is sedentary. Now, you all know that I do exercise. I ride my bike most days of the week and do some strength training, but it really is hard to erase all that sitting, but I think I do a pretty good job at being active outside of my work time.
My biggest issue actually lies not as much with the sedentary part of my day, but the fact that I have food available to me all the time! And it’s not just any kind of food like might be in an office environment, but it’s food that I eat regularly and enjoy (or it wouldn’t be in the house). My working chair is maybe 400 feet from the kitchen pantry, which is also right by the laundry/bathroom. It’s very easy to take a bathroom break and then swing by the pantry for some nuts or crackers or a piece of chocolate. It’s just always there.
Now, I also don’t live in a vacuum. Someone else lives in this house and there are some foods that I probably just wouldn’t have here if I lived alone. Things like granola, chocolate chips, pretzels, sometimes potato chips. And the occasional bag of M&Ms. These are foods John enjoys and doesn’t binge on. We do keep foods that are problematic for me up high so I can’t just walk to the pantry and get them, but I do sometimes pull over a chair and help myself, particularly when I am stressed. And most of you know work has been pretty stressful for me lately on several fronts between computer issues and the constant barrage of how behind we are. I stress eat.
I have had people say to me that I should just ask John not to have this stuff in the house. My thought is that it isn’t very fair to him. If he enjoys eating cereal, why should I say it can’t come into the house? It’s not like packages of Oreos or a bag of peanut butter cups. I do ask him to really hide those occasional M&Ms so I don’t go looking for them. But here is the problem with that – John said to me that when he had to hide food, it made him feel sort of guilty for eating it. Not good. I don’t want to foster any kind of food issues within someone else.
Of course, if I want to binge on something – I can do it with any kind of food. It could be fruit, dates, nuts, cheese. I will even just eat nut butter from a spoon – which happened when I was so frustrated last week. That is what people would classify as ‘normal’ food or ‘healthy’ food, and yet one can still overeat it. In my world, calories count - not just the type of food I am eating.
I do know that I am lucky in that I don’t have to worry about office potlucks or the break room loaded with food or an endless string of office birthdays/retirements, etc. It is sometimes surprising even to me the difficulties I can have at times. It’s not all the time (or I would be back at 250 pounds), but it happens often enough and is probably a reason I never got down to my weight goal.
I have worked outside the home and from home and for me, it is much more challenging from a food point of view working from home. It’s something I will always have to work on -as long as I am doing this job, at any rate.
Make sure you read more at my fellow AIMers’ blogs for their thoughts on this topic!
AIM: Adventures in Maintenance is Lynn, Lori, Debby, Shelley, and Cammy, former weight-loss bloggers who now write about life in maintenance. We formed AIM to work together to turn up the volume on the issues facing people in weight maintenance. We publish a post on the same topic on the first Monday of each month. Let us know if there is a topic you would like us to address!