I spent the last week traveling around the country, performing stage hypnosis shows for colleges.  Lots of flying, airports and hotels, and driving rental cars to the performance venues.  It’s not helpful in terms of supporting good eating habits.  You tend to look for food that’s convenient instead of food that’s healthy, and the hectic pace is a bit stressful, which triggers more urges for crappy food.

Luckily, I’ve been doing this annual tour for fifteen years, so I’ve gotten better and better at managing those factors, and the results show at this week’s weigh-in.  I still can do an even better job.  I definitely had some times where I grabbed a cookie or had a drink with sugar in it.

It’s particularly important that I get to that next level of clean eating, as I’m now off the second steroid taper, and my itching has come back a little bit.  It’s nowhere near as bad as it was, and I want to keep it that way.  In fact, I want it gone.  In order to achieve that, I must manage my stress even better, push more water, and reduce the sugar and carb intake.

What are your favorite healthy, natural foods?

The week after the hypnotists’ convention, I began my annual “Back to School Tour” where I travel around the country performing stage hypnotism for colleges as they begin their new school year.  This is always a fun time of year for me, as I get to travel around, meet a lot of nice people, and be in the role of entertainer.  While it’s a really busy time, it’s not something that I think of as stressful.  There’s a definite feeling of relief as I’m at the point in the year where I really just focus on this one thing, and so my stress has definitely reduced.  I’m still on the steroid taper, and I feel pretty good.  Sometimes the steroids affect my sleep, so there’s a little bit of a negative factor there, but overall I seem to be doing pretty well, and it was reflected on the scale.  I’m under 300 pounds!

Obviously, there’s still a lot of work to be done, but there’s something about not seeing that “3” at the beginning of the scale read-out that has really lifted my spirits.  I realized, as I was reflecting on it, that it has been nearly three months since I started this project, and while I have lost weight much slower than I hoped, I have also gone nearly three months without ever gaining more than a half pound in a week, and that’s a pretty significant change in my old pattern.  For years, the pattern was to keep going slowly and steadily upward, and now I’m going slowly and steadily downward, and that’s a great feeling.  And again, to have done it without dieting, without aggressive workout plans–just by shifting my thoughts and awareness a bit–is pretty cool.

But there’s still a lot of weight to lose.

So now I find myself debating internally; do I keep going the way I’m going, or do I make a shift that somehow accelerates things, so that I don’t get too comfortable with the way things are?  One of the things I’ve learned about myself is that when I get comfortable, it never leads to anything good.  Shaking things up gets me to create new things, achieve new things, and keep growing.

I mean, at my current rate of progress, it’s going to take me three years to lose the weight I want to lose.  Not cool.  Clearly I have to adapt to some new strategies and practices, and create better results.

The day before my hypnotists convention, the itching was so bad that I wanted to scratch the skin right off my body.  I went to an urgent care, and they put me back on steroids, but a slightly higher dose this time.  Within a day of being on the steroids the itching was practically gone, which was such a relief.

In speaking with the doctor, the possibility of an allergy was discussed, but it seems more likely that I’m having a giant stress reaction, and my body got crazy inflamed from all the stress.  While I did definitely have a poison ivy reaction on my hands, that was the only place where it looked that way.  The rest of me was quite different.  The doctor suggested that I might be having a bout of urticaria.

I only share this because it links to an important issue relative to weight, which is stress.  If my stress is so bad that my skin is breaking out in some kind of crazy reaction, what other ways is my body being affected by that stress?  Surely there are cortisol spikes, increased urges for carbs and sugars, and eating challenges that come from being in that stressed out state.  Not helpful for losing weight.

This brings me to yet another disappointing moment as a hypnotist: why am I not using hypnosis more effectively to manage my stress?!  I know that hypnosis is an excellent tool for stress management, and yet I am not practicing this particular action on a daily basis (most weeks, not even on a weekly basis).  This theme of knowing something, but not practicing it is one of the core issues that I really must face.  My challenges are largely due to avoidance.  I keep avoiding the issue of my weight, and my stress, and then wondering why I’m not at optimal wellness.  Quite frankly, it’s stupid.

So, at the time of this post, just returned home from convention, I’m now on a daily routine of stress management that includes listening to audio programs at bedtime, as a way to get grounded and clear before I go to sleep, and then a morning hypnosis routine so that I start my day with a more clear intention and positive energy.

The poison ivy has mostly gone away, but I’m still finishing my steroids regimen.  I itch all the time, still, and my whole body has a light pink rash.  The itching is so bad that it wakes me up at night sometimes, so my sleep quality is suffering, and there’s a link between poor sleep and weight gain, but I’m hoping the effect for me over the past week has been minimal.  It reminds me that I should get some guests on the show who are experts on the sleep/weight relationship.

In any case, weighing in down to 301 was a relief this week.  I didn’t make any significant changes to my diet or exercise regimen.  I’m still just focusing on only eating when I’m hungry.

This week I’m heading out to Marlborough, Massachusetts for the annual hypnotists’ convention, and that always gets me fired up about the work we do.  Perhaps I’ll start actively practicing self-hypnosis after spending a few days with my colleagues talking about varied strategies and approaches.