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The Phase

When I wrote last week’s post about enjoying the foods that I can have, I forgot about “the phase”. When I reset my eating program, I usually have to stop eating so much. And that voice in my head urges me to eat BECAUSE I CAN’T. It’s not like a craving it is the literal urge to put food in my mouth. (part of it is probably boredom). But for the first part of the week, I was making circles in my apartment because I would walk to the kitchen and walk back out). Until I get used to the eating less part, I’ve been compensating with fruits and vegetables. So when I can’t resist any longer, I’m snacking on nectarines instead of chips, or nuts, or whatever. But the ultimate goal is to eat when I’m hungry.

Believe it or not, I purchased a carton of Edy’s Slow Churned Sugar-Free Ice Cream. I’ve been keeping my serving sizes to half a cup per day. The deal I made with myself is if I get crazy, I have to throw it out.

This week, my weight is 159, so I’m down a pound.

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My number this week on the scale was 160.5. Ok, fine. It is really time for me to buckle down, because the truth is, I’m kind of over this mediocrity. It is time for me to act like I’m trying to lose weight. One of the things that is really sticking in my craw is all of the things that I will have to give up:

Pizza
Wine (all alcohol, really)
Fried (fill in the blank)

Don’t get me wrong, I believe in moderation, eventually I can have the slice of pizza or the glass of wine, or the fried chicken. But the way I’m feeling right now, in this moment, I’ll want it all. And not the sensible healthy versions. But instead of focusing on what’s unavailable, I should focus on all of the healthy foods that I can eat, and the ones that I know I can enjoy in moderation:

Concord grapes. When I was a kid, my grandparents used to have grapevine on their farm. When I went to visit in late August before school started up again, I could eat the grapes right off the vine. They’re only available for a short time, and they are worth the price.

Cheese. It wasn’t until I began trying to lose weight that I realized exactly how special cheese is. And it is one of the great things that you don’t need much of to enjoy. A dab of blue cheese, feta, or goat cheese hits the spot. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t do fat free cheese. There is something about the way that fat coats your tongue that makes me feel satisfied.

Garlic.  Because you can smell it before you can even taste it, garlic adds an “interestingness” to your food that reminds me that healthy food does not have to be boring. Onion falls into this category as well.

Kale. Kale is the veggie du jour, and at the ripe old age of 35, eating it is about as close as I’m going to get to being trendy. I prefer my kale sautéed with a little garlic and onion. But since recipes are all over Pinterest I’m sure I’ll come up with several interesting ways to eat it.

Bacon. Like cheese, a little bit of bacon can go a long way. I don’t need 5 slices of bacon to feel like I’m treating myself. One slice with a poached egg and sautéed mushrooms makes me feel like a foodie, not a dieter. And bacon makes everything better, so I can try it with almost any whole food.

Believe it or not, I think I just came up with my grocery list for this week! See you next week.

Did you see Chantell on last week’s Extreme Makeover? She decided to take up running because it was the thing she hated the most. I hate running too, so her perspective threw me off. Why would I do anything that I hate — by choice? But you’ve seen the scale go up, so maybe a new perspective would lead to a different result.

This past week, I’ve added a run/walk to my workout. In addition, I’ve made it to yoga class Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday. That means double workouts some days.

I should point out here that I have an exerise allergy. It sounds funny, but it is legitimate. If I walk for more than 10 minutes on the treadmill, I’ll start to itch. For me, it’s not a huge deal, but it does present an obstacle. When I workout on the treadmill daily, it doesn’t become an issue, but if I stop getting on the treadmill for a week or so, getting back on becomes a process.

When people get allergy shots, they are injected with a small dose of allergen so that their body can build a resistance. Regular walks on the treadmill have the same effect. So, missing a workout is unacceptable when I’m trying to build up my resistance. I started by walking 10 minutes on the treadmill in addition to 30 minutes on the elliptical. Now, after, a week or so, I will walk for 3 minutes and then run for two between the 5 minute and 20 minute mark. So, that hasn’t really shown up on the scale yet. But I’ve been making moves.

So imagine my surprise when I get on the scale and it says 163.5. REALLY? Because as I stood on the scale, I was hungry. As I type this I am hungry. That’s bullshit.

I know what you’re thinking, what did she eat? I won’t pretend that I spent the whole week munching on veggies and lean meats. But I know my body enough to know that when the scale says 161.5 on Monday, and it says 163.5 on Wednesday, that’s some bullshit. When you’re at the point in weight loss that I am, where I only have 10 lbs to go (well, 13.5 now), it is important that I am meticulous in my weight loss. I haven’t been meticulous. I went to Starbucks yesterday, and though I wanted it — really wanted it — I abstained from getting a sweet treat to go with my short skinny vanilla latte. So that doesn’t really show up on the scale, but I know that I’m making progress.

This week, I need to set eating properly as a priority — go to the grocery store, cook for the week, and keep a food journal.

So, first of all, I totally thought I posted last week. I weighed in at 158. Well, I thought that was PMS, but today when I weighed in, I was at 163. So, some of it may be PMS, but I was there last week. I had free pizza, earned some points from the McDonald’s Monopoly game. I believe there was some movie popcorn. I won’t beat myself up.

I mean, I went to the farmers market, I finally replaced my faucet water filter. So right now, anything else would be BS, right? My goal is to lose five pounds by next week.

A Little Late

This week, my weight was 157.5, so I’m down a pound. And yes, I’m a little late posting. I actually saw my weight dip to 165, but the official number on weigh-in day was 157.5. More later.

You know how you see those infomercials on TV that say, “Before beginning any nutrition or exercise program consult with a physician?”. They should say, “Before you begin a nutrition or exercise program, figure out what healthy means to you.” Far too often, we let the media and society (the somedia) decide for us what healthy means.

Healthy is not a look

Between reality shows and news sound bites and the billion dollar weight loss industry, it is easy to think that body fat = unhealthy. People die from complications due to having too much fat. Although it may seem like semantics, hear me out. Illness comes when the fat keeps their bodies from functioning efficiently. Diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, all of those illnesses scientifically linked to obesity (or too much body fat) occur when parts of your body starts to work overtime – your heart, your kidneys, your hormones. Body efficiency is not measured by a number on the scale. When you visit your doctor, they run all these tests – blood tests, urine tests, etc. and read very important numbers and say things like your blood sugar is high, which will make you sick. Your triglycerides are high, you need surgery. Research shows that fat is not a sole indicator of good health. The point is, consider what your idea of healthy is, and it may or may not have to do with the number on the scale.

Skinny does not equal healthy

We can improve our bodies’ efficiency by what we eat and how we move. I am not arguing with that. But weight loss is a side effect of living healthy, not the goal. There are “skinny” people whose bodies run inefficiently. Skinny people have heart disease, diabetes and high cholesterol. Some folks may have the metabolism to support unhealthy food, but that doesn’t mean that the blood is flowing through their arteries at maximum efficiency. It doesn’t mean that their hormone levels are normal and it doesn’t mean that they are going to live longer than someone who takes care to nourish their body. Skinny people don’t always live healthy and shouldn’t get credit for doing so just for looking a certain way. If you’ve ever busted your ass at the gym or traded in your favorite chicken/burger/pizza/pie for a vegetable or fruit – you know how hard it is. So many people say they want to lose weight to be healthy, so they exist on a diet sodas and 100 calorie snack packs as if that is the key to better body efficiency. But those foods with preservatives, fillers and artificial “stuff” present a different host of health concerns.

Healthy is not sexy

One of the reasons you hear less about good health than weight loss is that a chart of recommended blood levels is BORING. Only Dr. Oz is willing to don a pair of gloves and show you a fucked up liver. And to keep it real, we’re all kind of making faces at the TV. It is a challenge to turn a salad into action shot. You’ll see the nutritionist work with the contestants on the Biggest Loser, but we’re all really tuning into see Jillian yell at them as they flip tires. The media is challenged to take this thing that we’re all so concerned with and turn it into drama and sex. So we get a distorted view of what’s healthy. Because the realest part of the show is when the contestants visit Dr. H.

Weight loss is an industry

As long as you think that weight loss is the key to health, you will keep coming back for more. When you accept that exercise and balanced nutrition will support the efficient function of your body parts, they’re afraid you’ll realize you don’t need the pills, you don’t need the gimmicks. Heaven forbid you accept your body the way it is and make it its best instead of trying to turn it into something its not. This probably deserves its own post, but the point is as long as you define weight loss as good health, someone is getting rich.

Believe it or not, the point of this post is not to attack the somedia, it is to encourage you to define for yourself what good health is, and to seek to attain that.

I can’t begin to decide for you what good health means, but for me, it means possessing a body capable of managing the things I want and need to do. I want energy at 2 P.M., I need to climb 3 flights of stairs to get into my apartment. And I’ve seen people skinnier than me winded at my front door. I want to do yoga, so good health to me is possessing the body that supports that. I’ve discovered, much to my chagrin that when I am dehydrated my body does not function as well in yoga. Many of you reading this will want to chase after children or grandchildren. That’s healthy – not a number on a scale.

Obviously, my coworkers don’t read my blog. If they did, they’d know that at last count I’m up a few pounds. Just this week though, two of them told me separately that I look like I’ve lost weight.

WHO DOESN’T WANT TO HEAR THAT!

Yet, how hard is it to say “Thank you. I’ve been quite hungry lately, and I’m glad to know it’s not in vain.” Instead we say, “oh it’s the dress”, or “Really, I feel like a pig”.

When I got the first compliment, my instinct was to say, “Really, because I’m up a few pounds”. I caught myself and said, “I haven’t but thank you for saying it. We’ll just pretend I did.”

By the time I got the second compliment, I could say, “Thank you. You can tell me that as much as you want because it never gets old.”

It is important to give and receive compliments. When you get one, don’t deflect. Simply say thank you, I appreciate your kindness. That person took the time to notice, and the time to verbalize. They took a moment out of their own thoughts to verbalize something nice about you. ACKNOWLEDGE IT.

Give compliments

Having the occasional job dealing with the public, I’ve learned how compliments can break the ice. But more than that, how often have you left the house in a hurry wondering if that new hairstyle was a good idea? Did you really master that smoky eye or do you look like a raccoon? Do those striped leggings really look as good on you as they did on that girl on your Pinterest board. Isn’t it a relief to hear validation that you hit the mark? Give that to someone else. Turn their day around by telling them something nice.

This week, my number was 158.5. I’m on my way back down. I managed to do two things: drink more water and stop acting like I can eat anything I want. So I’ve been paying attention to my portion sizes and asking myself if this “splurge” is important. Since my weigh in, I’ve hit the grocery store and my refrigerator has whole foods and produce in it now. On the right track.

Life, no excuses

This week I’m up to 162. It looks like a 4 lb weight gain. It has been one hell of a week. I’m going through what a professional might call a life transition. My work situation has changed, so I’ve taken a part-time job – being on my feet for minimum wage. Well, since it is summer, coworkers are on vacation causing me to jump in with both feet — 8 hour days.

Budgeting is real

Add to that job transitions usually mean money changes. It’s tight right now. Eating healthfully on a small budget is different than doing so on a medium budget. Highs: I hit the farmers market and got some plums, tomatoes and eggplant for less than $10. I’ve been able to purchase eggs, tuna and other whole foods while managing a tight budget. So I won’t sit here and say it can’t be done. I will say it requires more planning than I anticipated. Because I have to cook it. I will get a chance to hit the reset button on my next check…Lows: If you have to stand up to read the menu, I’ve been there.

I don’t stress eat.

I’ll be the first to say that I don’t eat out of stress. If I’ve have a hectic day, I won’t say, “Mmmm, some fried food will really take the edge off.” That’s not me . But I do like fried food, and after 8 hours of doing something I have to do, I’d like the small pleasure of eating something I want to – chocolate, fried, fatty, salty. At first, it wasn’t a big deal because my budget wouldn’t allow a binge. But according to the scale, I’ve gotten too comfortable. I suppose the solution for this is planning. Planning that I’ll have a hectic day, that I’ll want a “reward”, and to have a luscious mango already cut up, or a tad hummus.

In the short term, I can drink more water — that’s still affordable, right? A few limes and I’m in business.

Food Guilt

I know, I promised you a post on the difference between being skinny and being healthy. But…I’ve just finished my lunch from Jimmy John’s thought it better to discuss the way we kick ourselves when we indulge. I’ll apologize when I call someone by the wrong name; I’ll apologize when I bump into another person on the sidewalk. I’m not going to apologize for eating the whole sandwich and chips. Because I knew what I was doing when I placed the online order. And it was a good ass sandwich.

This type of food guilt leaves us stuck in the past on what we did and didn’t do, instead of focusing on moving forward, being in the now. By letting go of the sandwich I had for lunch, I can be free to make good decisions for dinner instead of punishing myself. Emotional eaters may even eat more because they’re feeding their food guilt with more food. We make choices, and we should stand by our choices. And then let that shit go.

How many times do we say oh, I shouldn’t eat this, or I was bad. Here’s the thing: assigning good and bad value to food will cause us to assign good and value to ourselves for eating it. I can tell you for sure that our value has nothing to do with the food we eat. It has to do with how we treat others and how we treat ourselves. Why not treat yourself kindly by leaving the past in the past.

I don’t even like the term “cheat day”, cheating is wrong, it is the thing you shouldn’t do. But to pick a day or meal to enjoy food even more than usual is something you should do. How about an indulge day, when you get to give yourself more than you normally would? I prefer the term bonus day, when I get to have some bonus calories. That means that every meal can be good, but on bonus days, they’re extra good.

Each meal is an opportunity to begin, so let’s leave the past in the past.

Today’s weight: 158.5

If I could just wake up in the morning and have a clean apartment, I’d love that! But the truth is, cleaning up requires that I take time out of my schedule to dust, vacuum, and make the beds. So it doesn’t always get done. If I want a place that is spic and span, then I need to make that a priority over TV, reading, talking on the phone and going to the movies.

For many most of us, that’s kind of how being healthy is. If I we could just wake up and be the weight that we want, we’d be there. If we could pop that pill we saw on Dr. Oz or hit the gym for the first two months out of the year to get what we want, we’d be on it! But unfortunately, it doesn’t work like that – no matter how much money we try to throw at quick fixes. The moment we have to put in work, it becomes less attractive. To live a healthy lifestyle, you have to make it a priority.

Here come the excuses

When people say things like, “I don’t have time, ” or “I don’t have money” what they are really saying is that it is not that important to me. We’d rather spend our time and money on something more fun and interesting — things that are more important.

That’s not to say making time to work out is always easy. That’s not to say that choosing nourishing foods is easy. But if we want it bad enough we’ll do it.  For example lots of people say that they don’t have time to workout because when they’re not working, they are spending time with their family. How about if the family rides bikes together, or plays catch in the backyard? When we make health a priority we look for ways to incorporate those priorities into our lives.

This post isn’t actually about how to make healthy living a priority (we’ll save the how-to for another day). What it is about is asking yourself do you want to make it a priority. Are you comfortable putting food into your body that isn’t nourishing you (even if it is tasty)? Are you comfortable watching others live active lifestyles while you’re just chillin’?  Whatever you want to do is your decision but once you have made the decision, you can do one of two things:

1) Do what you enjoy and stop talking about something you’re not going to do, or

2) Commit to being the person you want to be.

Today’s Weight: 158.5