Moving Forward

Things are going well. I’ve been much less greedy about my potions lately and am still feeling a satisfied, balanced full at the end of most meals. I had leftover stew for lunch today. I didn’t finish it all. But really, I didn’t crave stew. I don’t even like it that much, but I had leftovers and it was handy to take to work. Now that I think about it, many of my lunches are unexciting but portable. Tomorrow I will make something more appealing. Perhaps salmon salad.

I had a very satisfying dinner tonight. I made two fried eggs and added pineapple salsa and guacamole with rice crackers to soak up the yolk. Fantastic. But I was very hungry, so I ate a handful of kettle chips as well, and finished the meal with dark chocolate. I feel very good.

I read the 3FC forum again today, like most days. People are so wonderful and supportive there. I am, however, struck by the very black and white thinking many have. Counting every calorie, every carb, every fat gram, every second of exercise, ever planning the next meal. And it does work. Many reach their goals very quickly. MUCH more quickly than my progress.

But many reach success, only to fail at maintenance and return to the forum a year or two later, sometimes weighing even more than when they started. A select few have maintained for years, but it seems the majority of posters disappear into oblivion.

I read a CNN article the other day talking about Weight Watchers’s new Points Plus program that will revamp the points allocations. Many many WW followers posted about their successes with WW over the years. But I was again struck by the number of people who fell off the wagon. Many touted its ease and success by telling about how many times they lost the same 50lbs after going off plan. “It’s a lifestyle,” they say, but it seems that many, many “lifetime members” are really just on a WW merry-go-round.

I don’t mean to knock WW. It worked fantastically for me ten years ago. I lost 40 lbs and it was the first time since elementary school that my scale read 147. But, like most of the other posters, I went off plan and gained most of it back. I didn’t like counting everything and eating bland foods like diet bread and egg whites at the end of the day to keep from going over my point limit. Reading over the success responses, I almost wanted to rejoin WW. But really, I know that history would only repeat itself.

I guess it makes me thankful for IE. I don’t believe IE would work for every person, but I am thankful for the measure of success I have had with it. It has been nearly a year and I am maintaining a healthy weight. I can eat whatever my husband or family is eating without excuses or hurt feelings or special requests. I take life as it comes and enjoy the foods I love without remorse. My husband and I have always bonded over good food, and we can continue to do that. I do sometimes struggle with portions, but that is a struggle for dieters and non-dieters alike in this culture.

I am tired and am beginning to ramble. But, it was a good day. A day worth remembering.

Reflection

Looking back on old posts, I am realizing that my portion sizes have sneaked up on me again. No wonder I have gained a bit back.

My stress levels are off the charts compared to last spring. I’m sure my Cortisol levels are as well, contributing to the problem.

However, I feel I have been too negative about my journey. Yes, there has been a setback, but I have also become better at certain aspects of IE. I’m now better at tossing leftovers than I was last year. I have also learned plan my hunger with appropriate eating times with my husband. And I do leave food on my plate. Not every time like I should, but at least one meal a day.

Persistence is often the key to success. I have already done very well not to quit on IE. This is the longest I have maintained such a weight loss. I have been much more successful with IE than any weight loss program I’ve tried. I am on the right track. I simply need to continue on. Successful weight loss and maintenance is a journey, not a destination.

Winter Weight Blues

I haven’t posted in a while, although tonight is the perfect night, since the internet is too slow for much else.

I have maintained most of my weight loss. I had hit 147 this summer. Right now I consistantly weigh in around 150-153. It is depressing. Part of me blames my arctic environment. Part of me blames me, as I have been slipping up a lot lately. I guess I’m starting to have the, “Oh what does it matter, I’m not losing anyway” mentality.

I fully intend to continue with IE. I can’t imagine giving up my favorite foods, obsessing about calories and fat grams, and eating bland foods all of the time. I think I still love food too much. It is the highlight of my day in my isolated environment. Sad but true.

In my hometown, I had many more hobbies. I could go hiking, swimming, horseback riding, play hockey. I could pick up a delicious pre-made salad at a grocery store or fast food joint. I could truly satisfy my cravings. Here, I have no grocery stores, no restaurants. My choices are limited to my fridge, and fresh produce doesn’t keep terribly long, especially when it is none too fresh to begin with. I miss my old life. Unfortunately, I can’t go back to my old career at the wage I left, and my current career, though lucrative, will not allow me to transfer for a long time.

I have noticed myself eating emotionally lately. My husband is as depressed as I am, and it really sets me off when we fight. I binged the other night. I haven’t had a true binge since starting IE, but I was upset at everything and my lack of control over my life. Did the food make me feel better? No. Lesson learned.

I am contemplating the use of a food journal to record my meals, feelings, etc. Perhaps that will help me out of this rut. I also admittedly need more exercise. Perhaps that will take the edge off my depression.

I am in a sad place in my life. I pray for happier times, greener pastures, and good health.

 

Off the Wagon…

I have been a total brat lately. And not just with food, either. I am writing to get myself back on the wagon.

Work has been very stressful. And because my husband and I work in the same field, we’re both stressed this time of year. So marriage has been very stressful as well. We’ve been fighting, I’ve been coming home exhausted, I have been having [probably work related] health issues and depression, and as a result, I have been greedy with food lately.

I’m assuming my stress has been responsible for the sporadic migraines and bouts of zooming depression I have been experiencing. These are extremely unusual things for me, and they have been happening to me with almost regular frequency the past few weeks, just when the demands at work started getting out of hand.

For me, headaches are almost always caused by lack of food or water, or occasionally an artificial sweetener that doesn’t agree with me. So at first I responded by feeding the headaches. Then quenching them. Then cutting out my Splenda. Finally, I resorted to Tylenol or Ibuprofen. I hate any kind of pills, but it was my only relief.

Well, the headaches are becoming less frequent now that work is calming down, but I am still greedy for food. I’ve been bad. Blatantly eating when I’m not hungry. Having seconds when I know I’ve had my fill and I know the good taste will wane with every bite. Continuing eating foods that don’t even taste that great. Letting co-workers or my husband nudge me into eating when I’m not hungry at all.

Well, it stops tonight. I feel fat. My tummy is puffy from all the salt and I’m up a couple pounds on the scale. I feel soft and tired. I feel unhealthy. Unbalanced. This is not me.

Anyway, I have started using my elliptical in the mornings again. Tonight I will do some weight training, which I have wanted to start for some time.

I also have a couple weeks of much-needed vacation time at the end of the month. I look forward to some freedom from the endless altercations and reports and extra projects that have been plaguing me. And I will enjoy some fantastic foods when I visit town… the hubby and I will be sure to visit our favorite pub, where I can have an iced tea, great beer and some fantastic fresh baked flatbread. :)

 

Helpful Things

Below is my list of things that help me on my diet. I will continue to add to it as things occur to me.

  • Drink liquids with every meal. The liquid helps me feel my fullness sooner and more distinctly.
  • When possible, eat a variety of things in a meal (fruit/veg, protein, carb). For whatever reason, it is more satisfying.
  • There’s ALWAYS the next meal!
  • I am no longer a member of the Clean-Your-Plate Club.
  • Show the food who’s boss… leave some scraps!
  • Toss the unwanted leftovers or scraps. Better in the trash than on my hips.
  • Nothing wrong with getting the kiddie meal. Both satisfying and perfectly portioned.
  • I don’t like bread crusts or ungrilled tortillas very much… so why eat them? Cut em off or scoop the good stuff out. No need to waste good tummy space with the sub par!
  • Am I physically hungry yet? If in doubt, wait and listen.
  • A meal is a fist-size of food. Not coincidentally, the same size as my stomach pouch!
  • After eating, if I still feel light enough to run a few miles, I know I got it right.
  • Eat to answer the hunger, not prevent it.
  • An apple and 2 TBS of peanut butter… a meal made in heaven!
  • Stop mid meal and re-assess. Am I full? Am I over the flavor now? Am I satisfied?
  • Why eat the extra bite? Will that honor God? Myself? If I’m full then I don’t need it.

Checking In

I have been busy lately and haven’t posted in a while, but things are going well. Dinner is sometimes a struggle for normal portions, but the rest of my meals seem to be naturally smaller.

I’m still learning, still making mistakes, but I did lose another pound last week. I also received my copy of the Eden Diet in the mail, which is similar to Intuitive Eating in many ways, but I am finding it to be a bit more pragmatic about portion sizes and helping one find true hunger. I am only halfway through the book, but it seems to be more about learning a few rules to eat like a thin person, while Intuitive Eating seems more geared to listening to one’s inner cues and only going by what those tell you.

Overall, my cravings stay pretty healthy, even at our favorite Chinese buffet restaurant. I tend to shy away from greasy or sugary junk foods that leave me feeling sick or unsatisfied. Portions remain my biggest challenge, but perhaps the Eden Diet will help me succeed with that.

In the meantime, my next trip to town for groceries is coming up soon. I can’t wait to fill the fridge with fresh goodies again and have a meal or two at Taco Bell, my favorite fast food joint. My mouth is watering already, although I recognize that as head hunger since I just ate!

Aftermath

    So, most of my business travel is done for now. I found myself craving less and less fast food as my travels continued. Unfortunately, it was not always possible to choose where I wanted to eat, as I was sometimes in the company of others. On one occasion, my hubby brought a BIG  variety of McDonalds back to the hotel room. Not wanting to disappoint him for his thoughtfulness, I ate more than I should have and paid for it with that overfull-sick feeling for the rest of the night. Now the thought of any greasy burger or chicken joint is completely unappealing. I still thoroughly enjoy Taco Bell, though. :)

    More and more, I am learning to “let go” of food. The hubby and I ordered in some chinese food one night, and I had my favorite dish: shrimp chow mein. We also had an appetizer platter of all manor of fried goodies, plus fried rice and soup. As I do frequently now, I sampled a little of everything at the beginning of the meal and rated the foods I most wanted to eat. Normally, the fried foods would have been at the top of the list, but this time I was craving the cabbage and veggies in the chow mein. I ended up eating all of the chow mein without most of the shrimp, a couple of small fried items, a few spoonfuls of fried rice, and a  taste of soup (which was sub par). Overall, I felt satisfied and had a balanced full feeling at the end of the meal, even though there was a pile of food still untouched when we were done. We ended up tossing the leftovers the next day since we were hitting the road. Before, the waste would have bothered me, but this time I knew I had eaten the best parts, so why waste a meal on so-so tasting fried leftovers?

   Overall, things are going well. My scale read 149.2 this morning, so I must be doing something right. Although I am still stumbling, I am learning a lot. I feel great physically and emotionally. I feel healthy.

Cycling Tastes

I am traveling on business again this week, but it appears my love affair with fast food has waned. It is still widely available, but no longer appealing to me. Instead of burgers and fries, Chinese food and Thai, I am suddenly craving salads and fruit, grainy breads and rice crackers. Will my cravings cycle back to junk food? Time will tell. I have several more business trips in the next month.

3 Cheers for Micky D’s!

I haven’t posted in a while, but things have been going quite well. I weighed in at 150.2 and 152.2 a week or so ago and I am happy with my progress. Slow and steady wins the race!

I have been on the road quite a bit and have thus been eating out much more than normal, as I live in the sticks away from stores and eateries. I have now discovered that fast food and restaurants are a whole new world for me now that I am on IE!

I am amazed at how much less I order now. One trip to McD’s I had 2/3 of a Southern Chicken sandwich and a handful of my fries with an unsweet iced tea. And I felt no guilt about tossing the rest of my sandwich and fries, which was a major breakthrough for me. On a trip to Carl’s Jr, I decided I was only a little hungry after having a Starbuck’s latte. So I ordered a small onion rings (ate about half), had a couple bites of my hubby’s Big Carl and a handful of fries with another unsweet iced tea. I was full for hours! After a trip to Orange Julius, I had a 20 oz Strawberry Banana Slim smoothie, which actually made me feel overfull, so I wasn’t hungry again for four hours. This morning I stopped at McD’s on the way back home and picked up a sausage biscuit and a large vanilla iced coffee. I ate half of the biscuit and tossed the rest (it was a bit dry anyway) and was again full for hours.

I used to eat BIG breakfasts, as I had always thought that my body needed them. Now I often go to work with a cup of coffee or two (with soy milk and flavorings) and a banana or a packet of instant flavored oatmeal with strawberries and raisens. Then my energy level goes up and I’m not hungry again for 3-4 hours.

I just can’t get over being on a “diet” that works AND I can eat whatever I want without counting or making bland tasting food substitutions. I feel so free. I now embrace my hunger instead of fearing or dreading it. I truly enjoy my food instead of making myself miserable with worry over it. Thank you, IE!

BINGE!

It was bound to happen, according to IE, and it did: I fell on my face when it came to dinner last night. Looking back, I can see my mistakes and why they snowballed:

  1. My breakfast was unsatisfying: coffee and a lot of flavored popcorn. I never did feel full, and I think it was due to the poor quality of the food.
  2. I made lunch for two: mushroom soup. Oh, was that ever good! Very satisfying, five stars! But I ate a little more than I should have when I was putting the leftovers away. I wasn’t overfull, but I did not need the extra.
  3. The soup filled me for hours… and so I only had an inkling of hungry come dinner time when my husband was starving. But we made dinner anyway, which we’d been planning for a while: steak, potatos, and battered onion rings.
  4. I ate the rings first– they were fantastic! The meat was so-so, so I didn’t eat much of it. I ate most of the potatos, which were also so-so for some reason. I guess I was surprised because most of the time they are fantastic, and I didn’t know why they suddenly weren’t.
  5. Dinner did not satify me, even though the onion rings were great. So I scarfed down like 5 fun sized chocolates and the last handful of flavored popcorn. Maybe it wasn’t the binge of the year– or even a binge at all to most people–but I lost control. Again, I wasn’t stuffed, but I felt sluggish and crappy for the rest of the night.

Okay, so I should have backed off during lunch, and then I would have been more hungry for dinner. And I should have backed off on most of dinner because, hello, it wasn’t that good.

The solution? Planning my meal times better and not eating while I am preparing meals or putting away leftovers. It’s food greed and it will only hold me back. I don’t need extra food… there is ALWAYS the next meal to look forward to!

I did better today. I didn’t get hungry right away in the morning like I normally do, and I waited and then had a modest but satisfying breakfast. This kept me until dinnertime, when I ate thoughtfully and was satisfied. So, the world has not ended. This eating plan has not ended… it will not end because it is always satisfying and it is healthy.