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posted: 3/31/2014 5:30 AM

Emotional eating affects the scale

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  • Lisa Townsel battles an emotional attachment to food and a discouraging week on the scale.

      Lisa Townsel battles an emotional attachment to food and a discouraging week on the scale.
    BOB CHWEDYK | Staff Photographer

By Lisa Jones Townsel
Daily Herald Correspondent

This has been a week of resisting temptation. It's a battle I thought I was winning until the scale tipped two pounds higher than last week. Good grief.

It was my sons' spring break. It's usually a time of celebration, and celebration for us often includes lots of yummy food choices found during trips to the mall, water parks and nights spent at the theater.

Well, we did all of that, and I avoided the normal pitfalls that I'd normally give in to, but I am trying my best to not measure my success or failure simply by the scale -- although it is certainly the most important measuring stick.

Weight gain aside (not that I am not thinking about it, I am), there have been some successes over the past six weeks. For one, I'm stronger. At one point, my right hand was considerably weaker than my left. I couldn't twist off a jar top and completing a burpee just couldn't happen with that hand.

Now, I pretty much can do all of the floor exercises, including burpees, push ups and planks. I can run on the treadmill at a fairly fast clip, and my body shape is changing, making it possible for me to wear clothes that I hadn't dared to try on or wear for more than a decade.

But nevertheless, this has still been a very challenging week. I worked out hard with my Push trainer, Joshua Steckler, this past week and on my own, in some instances duplicating the trainer-led workouts with almost as much intensity. I tried to end dinner time earlier for myself, and when we traveled, I carried my own food. But I must say, I was not happy about it. It was frustrating that I was passing up on cinema popcorn, food court fritters and water-park goodies. Yet, I kept reminding myself that it was more important to think about why I wasn't eating those things.

The week's blunder must've been when we ate out, and I got the rotisserie chicken, Brussels sprouts and broccoli from the lunch bar. They looked benign and were not highly seasoned. But honestly, I didn't know how they were prepared and guessed on portions.

During Week 5, I barely moved one pound, and I was bummed about it. So please know that I am incensed about a gain this week.

When I work out, I work out hard. I expect to see results, although, realistically, I know that I might not always. I want my missteps to make me press down harder, but sometimes it's as much as an emotional blow as a physical one. And it leaves me, well, deflated.

On the bright side, when I went to the water park and put on my swimwear and later a pair of pants, I noticed how much space was left in each -- space that I used to fully fill; so I couldn't deny that my efforts were not in vain.

And let's face it, whatever toning I've achieved thus far and weight I've lost to this point, I simply couldn't have done it on my own. Some of the exercises that I do with Steckler are bizarre and beyond difficult. But truly the worst part of this journey for me so far has been to find out how attached I am to food.

I knew I was an emotional eater, but I didn't realize just how much until embarking on this journey. Some days I have just been pouty and truly unhappy because I wasn't eating what I wanted to. That's when I remind myself that eating what I wanted to didn't exactly help me to get to this point, either.

Yes, we're halfway through the challenge now. But the way I see it: another week behind me, and more progress ahead.

Change is coming.

• Week 6 was a deafening wake-up call for freelance writer and substitute teacher Lisa Jones Townsel. Now with six weeks to go, she is that much more determined to lose weight, lose the excuses and to finally stop pouting.

Starting weight: 198

Current weight: 189

Weight lost: 9 pounds, 4.5 percent

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