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Vote! For Me, Please!

Image by Chris Olson via Flickr

I woke up to the most wonderful news today – that SHAPE magazine has nominated FoodFoodBodyBody for one of their Favorite Weight-Loss Blogs of 2011! How awesome is that! VERY VERY AWESOME! The other awesomeness is that I have been nominated in the company of some of my favorite and most inspiring friends. What an honor! I’m ecstatic.

I also love what SHAPE said about us:

Losing weight is hard, even under the best of circumstances…That’s why we love these 20 blogs. Each of the bloggers nominated in the weight-loss category is honest, funny and emphasizes the importance of health over weighing a certain number. They inspired us, and we hope they’ll inspire you, too!”

I can’t even being to express how happy that made me! Yay!

So please, if you are so inclined, go vote for me HERE. Thank you so much, SHAPE!

Weighing In Mess

I got an email from the WW people saying that my monthly official weigh-in was overdue (it’s taking me a while to understand the rules here) so I thought I’d check out a meeting out here in the Midwest. Found one just a mile from my hotel.

Now this is the deal with Lifetime. You are eligible for free meetings if you are no more than 2 lbs over your Goal Weight. (the weight you were at when achieving LT).  At my last weigh-in, I was almost two pounds UNDER. So today, I was 1.8 lbs over THAT weight, which meant I was .4 lb over my GOAL. (also, the clothes I am wearing are easily .4 heavier than my normal weigh-in outfit) And the weigher tsk-tsked at me and said, “Hmm, 1.8 up. Well, you’re on vacation, right?”

It affected me. WOW. Why did I let it affect me? I sat and steamed through the whole meeting (and btw the leader was TERRIFIC, not the same person as the weigher). It made me think, once again, about how sensitive this whole weigh-in thing is. People who do this can seriously throw people off.  When I do this at my job, I really try to be as positive as possible, as encouraging as I can.

I really liked the meeting, which was about restaurant eating. Speaking of restaurants, my daughter took me to this GREAT place last night. It was so uber-healthy and delicious! You basically go to this huge vegetable bar, load up your bowl, add some protein (if you want) and they stir fry it up and bring it to your table. You have total control of portions, ingredients, etc. It was incredibly yummy.

Anyway, back to the meeting. The leader had everyone fold up their nametags (good way to have people not walking around with tags on all day) and she did a drawing for a prize. The woman next to me said she does this every week. I’ll have to remember this. It was fun – she gave away a journal. I wonder if she gets these things in bulk or whatever, but I thought it was a great idea.

I came back to my hotel for breakfast. They have this free buffet thing with a decent assortment. I headed straight for the hot egg mcmuffin (actually a mcBagel thing). Definitely  not the best choice but I was still all messed up from the stupid weigh in. WHY? And why did it make me make a “bad” choice? I didn’t just have one, but two. (OK, two HALVES so I guess one whole bagel!) NOT a big deal in and of itself, but the fact that I was eating out of pure emotion. Hmmm.

Then after breakfast I was too full to go work out. But I’m not in the mood for hotel gym right now. I’m going to go to that Nia class again. I am hoping it will help calm me down.

Interesting what a crazy cycle it all is. If I had weighed-in at home, I would have felt perfectly HAPPY with my weight, which is just FINE. But that offhand little comment/facial expression whatever, just threw me. It THREW ME ACROSS THE ROOM. It made me eat all emotionally. How stupid is that? Or how…? I don’t know. I’m just feeling all discombobulated right now and I could really use some spacey music (or maybe some geriatric lavender aromatherapy, hm Mizfit?) to calm me down.

Be Mindful, and Don’t Suffer

At least once a week I go someplace where I run into someone I haven’t seen in a few months or more. Since Before. And very often they will say, “HOW did you do this?!?” It’s hard to sum it up in a few words, because it truly is a long story, but I think my “elevator pitch” (code for how to pitch a book, or business proposal to an agent or funder in the time it takes to ride an elevator) would be “By being mindful, and not suffering.”

I know, it’s very Buddhist, right? But truly I think this is what has made All the Difference this time. I started attending a meditation class very soon after my pre-diabetes diagnosis. And the idea of being mindful- of paying attention – made a huge impact on my whole weight loss journey. I decided to really pay attention to everything  – to what I truly wanted to eat, and if eating was what I wanted at all, and how much to eat, and everything. It has been absolutely invaluable.

I loved that this week, in my WW mentoring session, the leader spoke a LOT about “being mindful.” I don’t know if he’s a Buddhist or not, but he did bring it up about 20 times during the meeting, and people were nodding and really getting it. I loved that.

Another big concept in Buddhism is that of Suffering.  I know that I have suffered mightily because of my weight and food issues, throughout my life. I suffered when I felt I was depriving myself of food I wanted, but I also suffered when I ate things for the Wrong Reasons (ie for comfort or distraction). I suffered from guilt and remorse, shame and self hatred. There was a LOT of suffering going on.

It’s been shocking for me to notice that this New Way has involved very little suffering, and I know that if I feel like I am suffering, it’s going to come back and bite me BIG time. So it’s important for me to never, ever sigh dramatically and say, “I guess I should eat THIS (salad?) instead of THAT.” Because if I feel deprived in ANY WAY, shape or form, I’m going to overeat. Every single time. I have to find something that makes me HAPPY and satisfied, as well as being a good choice.  Salad is a good example. Sometimes I really crave and love and feel like eating salad. But often, if it’s a cold day or whatever, I want HOT FOOD.  Before, it would be a choice between two kinds of suffering: I’d have a cold salad and feel all deprived, OR I’d have .. I dunno, a huge plate of lasagne or fried chicken and THEN I’d suffer because I’d feel overstuffed, guilty and remorseful. And fat.

So the key is to really be MINDFUL and say, OK, I don’t want salad. (“Then don’t eat salad!”) I want hot food. OK, what kind of hot food will satisfy and yet not make me feel remorseful? Often it is SOUP. I have come to looooooooove soup very much. Because there are so many delicious kinds of soup and EVEN soup that is a bit rich (some cream in it, or meat) a cup of soup can go a very long way. There is a wonderful French food takeout place near my work that has two kinds of amazing soup every day. Usually that will be all I want for lunch, and it probably has WAY fewer calories than a salad with blue cheese, nuts, dressing, avocadoes etc etc.

I have had to build up my repertoire of foods that I both love and feel good about eating. This has taken some time and practice but now I feel like I have wonderful choices.

I still always have half-and-half in my coffee, because I have tried many alternatives (black coffee, skim milk in coffee, nonfat half and half) and they ALL make me suffer. I want my half-and-half. But I have made other changes that allow that to be okay. (more exercise, soup for lunch, etc)

So that’s my short answer for How I Did It (and how I intend to keep Doing It): Be mindful and don’t suffer.

Over and out.

Day 3: (catching up) Goals and Celebrations

Oh gosh. TOO much to say! This is going to have to be a speed blog.

Yesterday, day 3 of the challenge, went well. I ate all my fruits and vegies. I went to WW and am now officially 1 lb away from 30 lbs lost, AND my stated goal. I am really thinking about this whole “goal weight” thing. When I first started this journey in January, I truly did not think that a 30 lb loss was even remotely possible in this lifetime. I was hoping for maybe 10. Maybe 15, tops.  I have not weighed this weight in almost twenty years, and while it is great, it is also a little freaky. I am not used to it. It’s a little bit strange.

Also, when I began this blog, I had very negative feelings about people who dieted while in their healthy range. I am now in my healthy range.  But I really do not think I am dieting anymore. (was I ever?? That is up for debate) I am making choices every moment of every day. If those choices lead to further weight loss, then good (I think). If they keep me exactly where I am now, then fantastic. If those choices make me gain weight, I will make changes.

Like I said, I did not think I would ever reach this weight. So now that I am here, I am looking around and thinking, well?? Now what? I am aware that MANY people who are at my current weight and height feel very unhappy with themselves. They feel fat and want to lose 20 lbs. more.  Me? I am far from “skinny.” I still have a pooch of a belly, and still have padding around my hips. I’m not svelte by any means, although much svelter than I was. Part of me is pleading with myself to STOP NOW. Part of me is curious about how much weight I could or will lose if I keep on going.

I guess only time will tell.  The thing is, at WW you must state a “goal weight” much like declaring one’s major. I sort of arbitrarily put my goal weight down as 30 lbs. It’s in the healthy range. So it’s possible that I could get there in the next few weeks. (I’m less than one pound away) I am not sure it is a good idea or realistic to make it much lower. But… I don’t know. It’s weird.

I’m going to just see what happens.  My goal has always been to “be healthy” and I feel healthy right now. Really healthy. So now I feel like any additional weight loss would be primarily for aesthetic reasons, which I have been rather vehemently opposed to.  I supposed I COULD get healthiER. But what does that mean?? It’s something to mull over.

———–

Last night we went out to dinner to celebrate my daughter’s 15th birthday. We went to a great Italian place that serves family-style.  We ordered lots of amazing and great food and I enjoyed every single bite. But I think the key word is bite: I only had about 2-3 bites or forkfuls of every item. Bread with olive oil dip, fried calamari (!!) with aioli, caprese salad (tomato and mozzarella), eggplant rollatini (breaded eggplant with ricotta/marinara), cracked crab, penne Carbonara (yes, with cream and pancetta! bacon!), and gnocchi pesto. Then we came home and had CHEESECAKE.

This meal made me so happy – so very happy – because I enjoyed it with absolutely no regrets. I didn’t feel guilty. I loved every single bite, savored every bite. I was a tad nervous when I got on the scale today but told myself that even a couple of pounds would be worth it. But guess what: I weighed exactly the same as yesterday.

Yay.

Guest Post by The Fat Geek!

shapeimage_1It’s truly wonderful to find healthy eating/fitness buddies on Twitter and the blogosphere. One of my newest buddies is The Fat Geek. He just posted my “Got Sweat?” entry on his blog and so I’d like to share one of his posts with all of you.

Week 4: Super Motivated

Week 4 has been a real success. I was super motivated the whole week. Thanks in no small way to all those folks who send encouraging e-mails and tweets via twitter, subscribe to the podcast and of course my family and friends. I am getting unbelievable support from all areas and it is truly what is making the difference. I Thank You all emphatically from the bottom of my heart.

I think the difference between success and failure with weight loss is 95% motivation. More on that another day, let’s get to the week that was and lessons learned.

I had a 2 lb weight loss for week 4. This is fantastic given the travel that took place during the beginning of the week and constraints the hotel gym put on me. However, we (or I did anyway) learned from week 2 that during travel it is your diet that requires the most attention. I was able to improvise the gym routine to ensure I got a good workout in, but I really paid strict attention to what and where I was eating. I think that made all the difference….and my proof is in the results this week compared to the results during week 2. If you remember, during week 2 I worked out like a madman, wasn’t too sure about what I ate and lost nothing. This week I worked out as best I could and concentrated more on my eating plan, which resulted in a weight-loss.

In science we would refer to my “Concentrate on Diet during Travel and less on Workouts Thesis” a hypothesis. To test my hypothesis we require experiments that test the casual relationships among the different variables. In this case it will not be fair. Given my not so good results in week 2 and my good results here in week 4. I will continue to follow my “Travel Hypothesis” (of concentrating  big-time on diet) as I go forward. Thus, we won’t get to see if other factors may have caused the week 2 problem. We are all different but the results of this first experiment (last week, concentrating on diet) gives me enough proof to feel confident in my hypothesis that I will continue with that strategy during travel weeks. Which, by the way, happens again next week.

My workout routine for week four was pretty similar since the beginning. I have been doing strength training and running every day, with the following exceptions: Monday and Tuesday I had to improvise my strength training routine due to lack of equipment. This meant doing some old fashion push-ups and bench dips along with the machine exercises. I didn’t run on Wednesday morning because I arrived back home late Tuesday night. I did my strength training that was scheduled for Friday evening on Saturday morning because I was really tired Friday night. I feel way more confident with this routine right now, because I am confident that I can improvise as required and still gain great benefits from the exercise plan. That means a lot to me, given my work schedule and travel requirements.

My healthy eating plan was excellent for this week. I averaged around the 1700-1800 calories range each day of the week. I had about three Subway meals for either a lunch or dinner (trust the Subway 6 grams of fat meals). I ate out on Friday night, had some Salmon and rice (600 calories). During travel I tried to eat the same way I did when I was home. Bought a bag of apples and some bananas to throw in the hotel fridge, so I always had a healthy snack during the day. Basically, I ate the same as I would at home all during the day and then had a really healthy choice for supper. This worked. I will continue with this strategy for week 5. As I mentioned above I am on the road again. Once again I will be traveling to Calgary for part of the week (Tuesday to Thursday).

So, over the past 4 weeks I have lost a total of 14 lbs. However, if you break down the numbers you see that I lost 12 lbs during week 1 & 3, weeks I stayed home and had no travel. I lost 2 lbs during week 2 & 4, weeks I travelled. Big, big difference. Maybe week 2 skews the results, but it certainly tells me that I need to seriously consider what my expectations are during travel weeks. I need to be patient about my weight-loss when it comes to travel weeks. Finally, I need to trust my process here and that doggedly continuing to concentrate on exercising and eating healthy will have long-term pay-off.

To read more from The Fat Geek, to keep him company and cheer him on, visit his blog!

On the Road

Sorry I haven’t posted a more upbeat post since my last downer. I’m doing a lot beter now! I’ve been traveling with my daughter’s crew team – they are at their regional championships this weekend and I am in charge of all travel details: hotels, dinners for 300, etc! so I’ve been a busy bee.

I’ve been really so busy that I forgot my blood testing kit. I am hoping that I’m OK but I feel good and I just have to trust that I’m not going out of control. I have to say it’s kind of a relief to be without the thing for a few days and to let myself feel a little “normal.” Of course, I don’t have a scale either and it is really nice to have an escape from the numbers for a little while. I contemplated going to a WW meeting while here – my normal meeting day is Saturday- but I think I will wait till I’m home on Monday.

Did I tell y’all I went to that WW leader recruitment meeting last week? It was interesting. I think I’m gonna go for it. I love and miss teaching (I’ve been teaching writing since 1994 but recently have not been teaching so much and I miss it). I have a formal interview with the regional director of WW on Tuesday. I’ve been thinking a lot about how teaching writing and teaching healthy living/weight loss are similar, or could be, or here is my pitch about why I think I’d be a goood WW leader!  So many people say they’ve “always wanted to write” but don’t believe they can.  Same with weight loss/healthy lifestyle, right?  Well I know I’ve been very capable of breaking things down for beginning writers, to help them feel excited and successful very soon. I am really good at validating peoples’ positive efforts and for showing them what they are doing right. I think so many of these same things are important in weight loss. So I hope it works out. We shall see.

I’ve been running a bit along the lake where the races are being held. Both yesterday and today I noticed that the first 10 minutes or so of a run are killer. I am full of pain – my groin, my feet, my shin, and I’m out of breath. It pretty much feels awful. And then BAM, after I hit the 11th minute or so, ALL of my pains just VANISH, my breathing is easy, and the running truly feels effortless. I feel like I could go on forever. Yesterday I ran about 35 minutes, and today around 25, and walked a bunch. Both times the same thing happened.

Anyway, busy times around here. Tonight, Chevy’s is catering dinner at our race site for 300. I am not worried about it at all, in fact I am excited about it. Things have really changed.

Feedback from the Scale: It’s Just Information

So my weight was up a few pounds when I got back to my home scale this morning. I’m not completely shocked, and for once not distraught or freaked out over seeing that plus sign. I can attribute it traveling for 3-4 days, eating out every meal, eating in greater quantities, and exercising less. Although I was exhausted from walking around in 90 degree heat, it wasn’t the same as working out. I had two sesssions at the hotel fitness center but not as regular as usual.

I think the thing I am happiest about is that I’m not flipping out. I’m not feeling GUILTY or overly upset. I looked at those numbers and just said, “Hmm. Okay. Now what?”

On Saturday night I went back to the same restaurant as Friday night (with the dieters) – this time it was with a group of other parents, and we all ordered from the menu. The food was awesome.

I had: a glass of wine (first time since my dx – I was experimenting), a bunch of grilled/marinated veggies from antipasti plate (artichokes, mushrooms, bell peppers, tomato), about 4 little fried calamari rings, about 3-4 oz of seared ahi tuna with tomatoes, 3 tiny pieces of potato, a bite of chicken from my hubby’s plate, and… some whipped cream (from the top of the complimentary tiramisu) and blueberries/strawberries.

It was all really really delicious. I enjoyed it a LOT. I was more concerned with my blood sugars than my weight, though, so I took an extra dose of Metformin before going to bed. When I woke up, all was well.

I’m thinking about the two “optional” items I don’t usually get – the wine and the little portion of dessert. Was it worth it? Would I, in the future, choose to forgo those things, or would I do it all again the same way?

Hard to say. I’m going to see how long it takes me to get back down to last week’s pre-trip weight. If it happens fairly quickly,  I’d say it was all worth it. I didn’t pig out, I wasn’t crazily full. If it takes forever (how long is “forever?” two weeks??) then I’ll have to re-evaluate.

So my answer to “now what” is I’m going to eat as mindfully/cleanly as possible, try to step up the exercise a bit this week, and see how it goes.

UPDATE: so it took me exactly 9 days to get back to the pre-trip weight. It wasn’t forever. But of course it takes longer  – a lot longer – to take it off than to put it on.  I’m not upset about this. I don’t think it was “not worth it.” It was just… interesting. (I’m channeling my meditation teacher now: “Just notice.”)

Dieters Make Me Nervous

Last night I was eating out with a bunch of parents with my kid’s sports team. We were at a huge pasta feed in prep for today’s race, that had been prepaid (ie the menu was set).  It was penne pasta in an amazingly delicious homemade marinara. Plus a salad with oil and vinegar.

Now I’m not any big pasta eater anymore, mostly bc my diabetes doesn’t tolerate it very well.  But I took about half cup worth and a bunch of salad. Three of the women at my table were not eating ANYthing. I was wondering if they were shunning the salad because… it had oil in the dressing?  They ordered off the menu and asked for a plate of grilled vegetables. In came a big plate of steamed carrots and broccoli, and then some grilled veggies. While they were delicious, I was like.. this is too much. I could almost palpably feel the anxiety of these (thin) women who didn’t want to eat anything.

After dinner I felt myself ravenously hungry for the first time in a very long time. Being around these women had made me SO nervous and wanting to eat, just out of being in proximity to them. Sitting with them made me want to order a huge plate of lasagne. I felt myself getting angry (at what, I am not sure) and I was completely off my “center.” It took several hours to settle down, during which time I didn’t eat, but I sure wanted to.

I had the feeling that they were doing the exact opposite of intuitive eating. It was like “fear eating” and I could smell the fear.

Overdoing It?

Last night I went out to dinner with a co-worker (actually my boss) and two guest speakers who are in town for this conference today. We went to a really nice place that I’ve been to a few times with my husband. There were so many good looking things on the menu and I got kind of overwhelmed; so I ordered a grilled asparagus appetizer (ie 4 stalks of asparagus grilled with lemon and about half an ounce of Manchego cheese) and for my entree, a big salad (a huge amount of lettuce, very lightly dressed with about 1/4 apple, a tablespoon of blue cheese crumbles, and maybe 4 walnuts). Was it virtuous, eating “right” or just over the top?

Everyone else had “regular” salads or appetizers and entrees. I don’t want to be that conspicuous ‘dieting person’ when going out with a group. All of my food tasted really delicious but it wasn’t totally satisfying in the end. I had eaten VERY lightly all day in anticipation of the dinner out, so I had “banked” my points so I could eat semi-normally. But when I got there I couldn’t bring myself to do it.

I think there has to be a balance – between figuring out what I want, and not eating too much or the wrong things. I think I ultimately did not trust myself last night, so only ordered a vegetable and salad.

Today I am going to be at this conference all day with very few choices of what to eat. I better run down and make my own breakfast b/c when I get there it will be coffee and pastries, and if I’m hungry, adrenalized and stressed, that’s not what I want to eat.

Trying to figure out the restaurant thing. I’ll probably have another chance to “practice” tonight at the post-conference dinner. Hmm….

PS. And another thing. After my 2 hour workout and my paltry dinner last night, I’m still stuck at that darned 13 lb mark. Booo.

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